2021 Sundance: Day 2 Recap and Reviews

2021 Sundance: Day 2 Recap and Reviews


Sundance day two is in the books, and there was a wide range of films I watched today. Other than CODA (really a day one release), day two was filled with thrills and haunts. Some of which worked, while others fell flat. Check out my reviews for each below!

CODA – A

Current Tomato Score: 98%
Predicted Studio: Netflix/Amazon

A tear-jerking, heartwarming, crowd-pleasing romp with a star-making performance from Emilia Jones. Would be surprised if this didn’t win the audience award.

From my Review:
“CODA is a film that I believe won’t find many haters, and will surely be one of the crowd-pleasing/heartwarming films of the year. The entire cast of deaf and hearing actors blew me away, but Emilia Jones stood out in a star-making performance. A beautiful movie that allows the audience to peek into the life of a CODA. A perfect way to begin Sundance.”

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Human Factors – C+

Current Tomato Score: N/A
Predicted Studio: IFC/NEON

Human Factors is a film that might not have completely worked, but was compelling nonetheless.

From my Review:
“Human Factors is a thrilling experience, with great camera work, and good acting, but inconsistencies in the different perspectives and confusion among the overall meaning leave much to be desired. The structure is almost flawless and works from almost every standpoint, but the execution fails. That being said, there is still something about this film that I found highly interesting, and it is a movie that I might revisit later in the year.”

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Klemens Hufnagl

I Was a Simple Man – D+

Current Tomato Score: N/A
Predicted Studio: A24/NEON

I Was a Simple Man was the first true let down for me this festival. I wanted to love this, I wanted to like this, so much more than I ultimately did. Gorgeous sound and visuals though.

From my Review:
I Was a Simple Man is anything but simple. It looks and sounds beautiful, thanks to great camerawork Eunsoo Cho and a haunting score from Alex Zhang Hungtai and Pierre Guerineau, but it is an extremely dry and slow-moving ghost story. I wanted so much more from this but just wasn’t compelled.

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Eunsoo Cho

John and the Hole – B

Current Tomato Score: 58%
Predicted Studio: IFC

Where to even start with this film. A haunting and piercing movie that will leave you with a ton of questions. It’s insane, but I wish it would have gone even further.

From my Review:
“John and the Hole is an utterly intense movie bolstering a piercing score and direction that came straight from an insane asylum. An odd and strange film that works on some levels, and falls apart on others. Some plots are out of focus, but the duality between the family of learning to be an adult vs learning to be a kid worked in a twisted and manic way. A truly ambiguous film that is a lot to unpack, and that ending?? I do really want to see this in a theater.”

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Paul Özgür

On the Count of Three – A

Current Tomato Score: 88%
Predicted Studio: Amazon/Netflix

What a powerful look at friendship and life from feature director Jerrod Carmichael. Christopher Abbott and Carmichael come together for what will be one of the funniest and emotional powerful films of the year. Could rival CODA for the audience award.

From my Review:
“On the Count of Three is a moving and hilarious look at friendship and life. Jerrod Carmichael proves to have some serious skill as a director, and his chemistry with Christopher Abbott is as perfect as you can get. Both Abbott and Carmichael prove their worth as serious actors in Hollywood and will be household names soon enough. The script is as funny as it is touching, and it should be a Best Original Screenplay Contender come the end of the year. This is a film I will watch over and over again, likely with friends.”

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Marshall Adams

Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.

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