7 must-watch Sundance films that critics are flipping out for

The Sundance Film Festival is well underway, bringing forth a slew of new movies that are getting viewers excited for the new year in film. Most notable is The Birth of a Nation, a drama about the Nat Turner-led slave rebellion of 1831 that just closed a massive $17.5 million deal with Fox Searchlight for worldwide rights, marking the largest deal ever made at Sundance. This time last year, Fox Searchlight set a record by purchasing the rights to Brooklyn, a recent Oscar nominee for Best Picture.

Fox Searchlight won a bidding war for the film, with reports that The Weinstein Company, Netflix, and Sony also made offers that went as high as a reported $20 million.

The Birth of a Nation isn’t hogging all of the spotlight, though. Several other movies are performing extremely well at the Festival and netting big takes from studios that would be record breakers on their own were it not for Fox Seachlight’s big score this year. Below we’ve got a rundown on the films creating the biggest stir, all of which will be worth watching out for in 2016.

Related Offer: Amazon Prime – Instant Video

The Birth of a Nation

In 1831, Turner led a two-day slave rebellion in Virginia that resulted in the reported death of at least 50 White Americans and the release of many slaves. Turner managed to hide for two months while at least 200 African-Americans who joined his rebellion were killed. But he was eventually captured, convicted, and sentenced to death by hanging.

Nate Parker, known for The Great Debaters and Beyond the Lights, not only stars as Turner in the film, but also wrote and directed it. A true passion project, he also invested his own money to get it made. Already, there’s Oscar buzz about the film; an interesting observation given that the movie is based on African-American history and features a mainly African-American cast. With talk of the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscars nominations, which even spawned the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, the reception to this movie could spark some serious conversations.

Equity

The female-led Wall Street drama Equity is making waves. It stars Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) as a high-powered investment banker that’s navigating the male-dominated world of Wall Street. The movie, which was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics, touches on two hot topics today: the financial market, and gender equality. It’s no wonder the movie is striking a chord with viewers.

Morris From America

Snatched up by A24 — the force behind Oscar-nominated Room Morris From America is a comedy starring Craig Robinson (Mr. Robinson, Hot Tub Time Machine) as an African-American father dealing with life in a mainly white city in Germany. With his son as a key character as well (a first role for actor Markees Christmas), it’s dubbed a “coming-of-age” story.

Manchester by the Sea

Starring Casey Affleck (Lewis and Clark, Gone Baby Gone), Manchester By the Sea is one of several films picked up by Amazon. This one went for $10 million following a bidding war. The story follows Lee Chandler (Affleck) who becomes the legal guardian for his teenage nephew following the sudden death of his brother. It also stars Michelle Williams (Suite Française, Shutter Island) and Kyle Chandler (Bloodline); Matt Damon serves as a producer.

Complete Unknown

Complete-Unknown_1 copy

In Complete Unknown, which was also picked up by Amazon for about $2 million, Rachel Weisz (Oz the Great and Powerful, The Lovely Bones) plays a con woman who returns from obscurity to confront an ex-lover, played by Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire). It’s dubbed a “Hitchcockian-style drama.”

Love and Friendship

Love-and-Friendship_1

Amazon scooped up a third film at Sundance, this one alongside Roadside Attractions: the Jane Austen adaptation Love and Friendship was bought for about $2 million. The period drama stars Kate Beckinsale (Underworld, Total Recall) as a widow named Lady Susan Vernon, who coops herself up in her in-law’s house to avoid rumors about her romantic liaisons. It also stars Chloe Sevigny (American Horror Story). The film will reportedly be released in theatres before it becomes available to Amazon Prime subscribers.

Worth noting: TallulahThe Fundamentals of Caring, and Under the Shadow

Related Offer: Amazon Prime – Instant Video

Netflix has been very present at the Festival as well, buying up movies like comedic drama Tallulah starring Ellen Page (Freeheld, X-Men: Days of Future Past) and Allison Janney (Mom) — for about $5 million, The Fundamentals of Caring — starring Paul Rudd (Ant-Man, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp), Craig Roberts (Red Oaks, Neighbors), and Selena Gomez (The Big Short, Spring Breakers) —  for $7 million, and Iran-set horror flick Under the Shadow, reports The New York Times. In fact, when all purchases are totaled, streaming services Amazon and Netflix turn out to have been the top buyers thus far at the event.

The Sundance Film Festival runs from January 21-31, 2016 in Park City, Utah.

Deals

Today’s best Amazon deals: Sony, Netgear, and Samsung

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be over, but for retail giants like Amazon, the savings are only getting started. We've scoured the depths of Amazon to find you the very best deals going on right now.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Gaming

Play your games whenever you want with a MicroSD card for your Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch uses cartridge-based games, but its internal storage may fill up quicker than you would think. Here's what you should consider when picking out a microSD card to expand your Switch's storage capacity.
Deals

The 6 best blackout curtains to banish excess sunlight and preserve heat

Whether you're a fussy sleeper, work odd hours, or are just sensitive to light, a set of blackout curtains can help. Along with allowing you to enjoy better rest, light-blocking curtains can insulate your home, saving you cash.
Home Theater

What are HDMI ARC and eARC? Here’s how they can simplify your home theater

HDMI ARC is one of the coolest TV features at your disposal. But if you're like most folks, you have no idea how it works, if you even know what it is at all. Here's our primer on HDMI ARC, as well as the next generation technology, eARC.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ ‘Bumblebee,’ ‘Alita,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's the first trailer for Avengers: Endgame, as well as new trailers for Alita: Battle Angel and Bumblebee.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (December 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 2, Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas, and more.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

'Stranger Things' season 3 teaser reveals the new episodes' titles

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season.
Deals

The best 4K TV deals under $500 and over 50 inches

Big-screen TVs with high-resolution displays and 4K color have dropped so far in price that you can find highly rated 50 to 55-inch models under $500. We searched major retailers for the best deals on 4K UHD TVs.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

Between sleek form factors, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.