Sundance Film Festival 2022: review of sci-fi and theater reviews!

This year at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival there was a wide variety of films available, and as always I try to focus on horror first, but I also had the opportunity to screen some several outside of our usual coverage. What did I think? Watch below as I sort through the rest of my Sundance viewings and find out which ones I recommend you check out during a wide broadcast!


Doubledirected by Riley Stearns

In a world where clones can be purchased for people facing imminent death, Sarah (Karen Gillan: guardians of the galaxy) faces a stark choice when she contracts, and then beats, a terminal illness; accept death or face his clone to death to see who “deserves” his life more. Clearly, such a premise comes with a preloaded dark sense of humor, which makes sense, given Riley Stearns’ latest dark comedy film. The art of self defense. More than a few other reviewers noted the dry form of delivery that Stearns makes his performers give, but once I understood the reasoning behind the dry, unaffected style of performance, I “got” this movie. Stearns has a very particular style of humor that relies on emotional contrast, and even though it’s dark, it hits me home.

Gillan draws a lot from her dual role as Sarah and Sarah’s Double, playing up their differences quite well while making them subtly distinct. By the time the two meet in the third act, it will take a discerning viewer to notice the little clues and differences between the two featured in the film, but it’s well worth the effort. Aaron Paul (breaking Bad television series) has a lot of fun with his small role as Sarah’s sparring instructor for her court-mandated duel, playing it with an Eastwood-esque gritty voice and earnestness that only accentuates the comedic bits he gets. RECOMMENDEDespecially for dry sci-fi fans like The outer limits and Double.

something in the dirtdirected by Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson

When a film is presented by the directors who proclaim “We make weird films”, with wide smiles on their faces, you can tell that you are in for an experience. It is certainly an accurate and fair statement and summary of the director and actor duo Benson and Moorhead, two men who constantly strive to tell strange stories on smaller budgets and with technology easily accessible for their means. and given situations. They’re really impressive examples of people following their creative spark, and I admire them for it. Ironically, something in the dirt is an example of how this passion can twist a person and cause conflict.

While I mentioned in my Horror Roundup that the unfortunate fact of Covid has led to many restrictions in how a filmmaker can make and produce films, Benson and Moorhead seem less constrained by the restrictions, instead making a film more small and focused that feels like a challenge they were eager to take on rather than backing down or moaning. The latter is largely focused on two neighbors in a dilapidated, movie-loving apartment complex who see a chance for fame and recognition after discovering a mysterious object acting in a way it shouldn’t, naturally… This leads the two down rabbit hole after rabbit hole, forcing them to confront each other and their own personal reasons for pursuing the project.

Having worked together for almost a decade now, it’s impressive to see the new and creative ways the two bounce off each other, on and off screen. RECOMMENDED for fans of the duo, as well as those who love conspiracy theories!

After Yang, Directed by Kogonada

I have always been drawn to stories of artificial humans and their sapience since I was a child watching Pinocchio or even the product creatively but ultimately imperfect bicentenary man. I think at this point in the technological development of our species, there are a lot of peripheral concerns about the ifs and whens of the singularity (as machines reach a level of sensitivity equivalent to that of humanity) . However, most films outside of the previously mentioned family fare tend to view the mechanical human as OTHER, as something outside of us that we can never hope to understand and should often rightly fear.

Instead of, After Yang has a more introspective and introspective approach. When his daughter’s companion and guardian android encounters a fatal technical error, Jack (Colin Farrell: In Brugge) must navigate Yang’s memory banks to decipher what he can do to move forward, both emotionally and within his family unit, now that he has lost an integral part. Kogonada uses intriguing and immersive camera techniques and set design to portray the not-so-distant future in a grounded way that helps convey Jack to audiences throughout the other character’s emotional and introspective journeys. RECOMMENDED but be warned, this isn’t your traditional AI story, with a leaning thriller, like, say, Ex-Machina. It’s a drama about memory, grief, loss and recovery, and if you can get on board based on that, I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

If you want to know our thoughts on the horror and suspense movies we got to watch, please check out our link HERE.

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About Donald P. Hooten

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