Shailene Woodley's 'White Bird in a Blizzard' & 9 More Must-See Sundance Movies

For most people, January is basically the worst month ever, but if you're a film lover, then the first month of the year might just be your favorite, because January is when some of the country's biggest film-related events all the place. There's the Golden Globes, the Oscar nominations, and, of course, the Sundance Film Festival. The festival, which takes place over eleven days in mid-late January, is where some of the best, most anticipated films of the coming year have their premieres. Some past examples of major movies who first showed at the festival: OnceBefore Sunset. PreciousGarden State. And Sundance isn't just about indies; Four Weddings and a Funeral and Memento also premiered at the festival, 20 and 14 years ago, respectively. This year's Sundance line-up was announced last month, and there's already much to be excited for, including the festival's nearly equal ratio of male and female directors. The movies selected for premiere look to be an exciting mix of drama and comedy, with a perfect balance of old and new stars. 

Ten of the most-anticipated films from the festival, below:

1. Frank


About: A wannabe musician (Domhnall Gleeson) who joins a pop band led by the myserious Frank (Michael Fassbender), a musical genius who hides under a giant fake head. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson. 

With: Fassbender, Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy.

Why We're Excited: It's weird in an awesome, original way. Plus, Fassbender.

2. Hits


About: The reckless, fame-hungry residents of a small upstate New York town. Directed by David Cross.

With: Meredith Hagner, Matt Walsh, James Adomian.

Why We're Excited: It's directed by Tobias Funke. Need we say more?

3. Laggies


About: An immature 28-year-old (Keira Knightley) who freaks out over a marriage proposal and starts hanging out with teenagers. Directed by Lynn Shelton.

With: Knightley, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell, Ellie Kemper, Jeff Garlin.

Why We're Excited: Lynn Shelton's films are always thoughtful, always smart, and always great. Also, that cast is pretty wonderful.

4. White Bird in a Blizzard


About: A young woman (Shailene Woodley) whose life is thrown into chaos when her mother (Eva Green) suddenly disappears. Directed by Gregg Araki.

With: Woodley, Green, Christopher Meloni, Gabourey Sidibe.

Why We're Excited: We'd watch anything The Fault in our Stars' Shailene Woodley is in, but White Bird sounds hugely compelling.

5. Life Itself


About: The life of the late film critic Roger Ebert, who died early last year. A documentary directed by Steve James.

With: Ebert, Gene Siskel, Chaz Ebert.

Why We're Excited: Ebert was beloved by all, and a film documenting his extraordinary life, blessed by his wife, is a definite must-see.

6. Young Ones


About: A futuristic world where a teenage boy (Nicholas Hoult) might fight for survival after water becomes scarce. Directed by Jake Paltrow.

With: Hoult, Michael Shannon, Elle Fanning, Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Why We're Excited: A teen-led dystopia that actually sounds good? We're on board.

7. The Voices


About: A odd, sweet man (Ryan Reynolds) whose relationship with a woman (Gemma Arterton) takes a terrible turn. Talking dogs are involved. Directed by Marjane Satrapi.

With: Reynolds, Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver.

Why We're Excited: That cast, and that director (Satrapi wrote Persepolis). Also, a plot that sounds awesomely, Bernie-ish weird. 

8. They Came Together


About: A satire of a certain type of romantic comedy, in which a lovable, awkward New York Jew (Paul Rudd) falls for an adorkable woman (Amy Poehler). Directed by David Wain.

With: Rudd, Poehler, Ed Helms, Cobie Smulders, Max Greenfield.

Why We're Excited: It's Wet Hot American Summer meets Annie Hall. We're in.

9. Nick Offerman: American Ham


About: Nick Offerman's one-man comedy show, which includes his 10 tips for living a more prosperous life. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts.

With: Nick Offerman. Possibly Megan Mullally.

Why We're Excited: It's Ron Swanson. What more could you want?

10. Rudderless 


About: The unlikely friendship between a grieving father (Billy Crudup) and a young musician (Anton Yelchin) who form a surprisingly successul rock band. Directed by William H. Macy.

With: Crudup, Yelchin, Felicity Huffman, Selena Gomez, Laurence Fishburne.

Why We're Excited: A smart-sounding story, a talented ensemble (well, we'll see about Gomez), and a collaboration between Best Couple Ever Macy and Huffman sounds like a pretty perfect movie to us.

Image: Why Not Productions

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