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The movies premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, which is happening this week in Park City, Utah, can slip under the radar. (We almost forgot that Whiplash and Boyhood, both up for Oscars next month, were big hits at last year’s festival.) So get in touch with your indie side and take note of these 10 promising films.


Set in Inglewood, California, Dope is told from the perspective of Malcolm (Shameik Moore), a nerdy high-school senior fully immersed in the hip-hop culture of the '90s. And the uplifting soundtrack features new music by Pharrell Williams.

"True Story"

James Franco and Jonah Hill are at it again, but don’t expect their usual antics like in This Is the End. The duo shows a more somber side in True Story, wherein Franco plays a murderer who steals the identity of Michael Finkel, a disgraced New York Times writer played by Hill.


"Mississippi Grind"

Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn play an itinerant nomad and a distressed gambler who travel to New Orleans together to make it big in a poker tournament. (Sienna Miller and Analeigh Tipton also make appearances.)


"I Smile Back"

Might this film be Sarah Silverman’s career comeback? The comedienne takes on her first dramatic lead role, playing a self-destructive, depressed suburban mother whose marriage and family life is at a breaking point.


"The Stanford Prison Experiment"

This film is based on the real life experiment of Dr. Philip Zimbardo, who, in 1971, assigned 24 undergraduates at Stanford to play prisoners or prison guards to examine the psychology of confinement. The experiment took an ugly turn and remains one of the most controversial studies in academia.



Despite the seemingly morose plot, Tig treats the subject of illness with a positive, comedic slant. The documentary follows Tig Notaro, who turned to stand-up comedy when faced with a life-threatening breast cancer diagnosis.


"The D Train"

Jack Black is back as a former nerd who becomes the passionate and animated head of his high-school reunion committee. His quest to make up for his high-school days leads him to risk his adult relationships.


"I Am Michael"

In I Am Michael, James Franco plays Michael Glatze, the former gay activist who inspired millions before adopting Christian Fundamentalism and rejecting homosexuality. The film also stars Zachary Quinto and Emma Roberts.


"Sleeping With Other People"

And now for the obligatory rom-com, because who can resist? Jason Sudeikis, a well-intentioned misogynist, and Alison Brie, who has a hard time staying faithful, begin to change their ways when their platonic relationships takes an unexpected romantic turn.


"Montage of Heck"

This documentary about the short, accomplished but tragic life of Kurt Cobain was the first to be made in cooperation with Cobain’s family. The film has already been picked up by HBO.

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