2023’s Sundance Film Festival has arrived, and by now many are aware of the bigger titles at the fest. Highlighting the unsung or under-the-radar flicks that may be overlooked is our bread and butter, so be sure not to skip out on any of these exciting titles!
Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Kinda Feel Left Out
Family, Drama, Comedy
For a quirky, adorable family film that plays out like an extremely engaging children’s book, look no further than Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Kinda Feel Left Out! When Itsy (Emma Tremblay) moves to picturesque small town Peddle Falls with her off-the-wall family, she craves nothing more than to return to the hustle and bustle of big city living. However, her dreams of working for the New York Times may actually become a possibility when queen bee Heather (Landry Townsend) comes to the new kid with an exciting prospect—work on a story together for an NYU writing competition! The subject, astronaut-suit wearing outsider Calvin (Jacob Buster), believes his parents were abducted as a child, and is counting down the days until the comet that robbed them will reappear. Keep your eye out for this charming, singular little dramedy that sprinkles in coming-of-age and sci-fi elements!
THE AMAZING MAURICE
Comedy, Animation, Family
Based on the book by Terry Pratchett, The Amazing Maurice deals with magical talking animals, and focuses on the mythological legend of the Pied Piper while taking a meta approach to the material. This may be no Shrek, but The Amazing Maurice does indeed deliver a surprisingly high number of delights and cutesy charm that the whole family can enjoy. With an all-star cast that includes Hugh Laurie, Emilia Clarke, David Thewlis, and Gemma Arterton, general audiences may fall in love.
(Written by Allison Brown) Mamacruz is a celebration of the female body and confidence booster for those of all ages! More suggestive than graphic, Director Patricia Ortega follows an elderly woman’s sexual awakening late in life. A passionless marriage, uptight religious community, and a stringent dedication to being a mother and grandmother prevent Cruz (Kiti Mánver) from truly taking care of her own needs. After accidentally stumbling upon porn from a pop-up ad, Cruz falls down a rabbit hole, slowly putting herself in risqué scenarios as she yearns for more in her simple homemaker life. Little does she know, her life is about to change in a big way! Sympathetic and tender, a risqué topic is made accessible for the sex averse. We love films made for women, directed by women!
Horror, Drama, Romance
Part of the Midnights selection at Sundance and already picked up by Paramount for global distribution, horror/romance/drama My Animal is an easy addition to this list. A lesbian-charged werewolf movie unlike any other, director Jacqueline Castel brings an erotic, surrealistic touch to the proceedings. Heather (Bobbi Salvor Menuez) has a complicated home life to put it mildly—this includes attempting to manage her raging alcoholic mother, and Heather’s own lycanthropic tendencies at the approach of each full moon. Complicated figure skater Jonny (Amandla Stenberg) enters Heather’s life at just the right time. Both women have bruises and scratches, whether physical or mental. Rippling with rich chemistry between Bobbi and Amandla, My Animal is a dark and stylish find that could be a future LGBT favorite for many.
Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls
(Written by Allison Brown) Fans of Syfy’s The Magicians rejoice! Olivia Taylor Dudley is back in something equally mystical and devilish: Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls! Potential viewers may also recall internet meme sensation, “Weird Satanist Guy,” a comedic character originated by Andrew Bowser. Bowser not only plays “guy” Marcus J. Trillbury, who calls himself Onyx the Fortuitous, but also directs, and wrote the script. Clearly a pop-culture fan, Bowser blends the likes of Beetlejuice and Meat Loaf with 80s and 90s visuals and callbacks. Expect hilariously nerdy allusions for genre aficionados at each and every turn.
Comedy, Drama, Romance
(Written by Allison Brown) A meet-cute between tears in a public bathroom stall leads to love in Searchlight’s flashy new British rom-com, Rye Lane. Recently single Yas (Vivian Oparah) stumbles in on similarly situated Dom (David Jonsson, HBO’s Industry) trying to have a private moment, as he loudly sobs hysterically. Apparently Dom caught his girlfriend of six years snapping a selfie with a not-so-mysterious penis in the background, Dom’s ditzy best bud. Yas and Dom initially part ways, but she comes to the rescue at his time of need. The two spend the day on a spontaneous adventure, ultimately culminating in peak romantic comedy flair. Look out for an A-list cameo at the most opportune moment! Expect Rye Lane to join the ranks of Hulu later this year.
Don’t miss out on the fun at 2023’s Sundance Film Festival! To buy tickets for Sundance, and for more information about the entire movie lineup, please head over to the festival website for details.