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The Way, Way Back:
There’s a lot of Adventureland and some Little Miss Sunshine in the DNA of this movie, but with more material for the adult characters (the cast is pretty damn fantastic, featuring Toni Collette, Steve Carell (making smart career decisions), Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney, Amanda Peet, and Maya Rudolph). But the emotional core of the film appears to be the coming-of-age story of the young protagonist, and if the audiences at Sundance are anything to go by, the directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriters Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants) is a crowd-pleaser.
The Look of Love
This is the fourth collaboration between director Michael Winterbottom and star Steve Coogan, the story of real-life British porn mogul Paul Raymond. There appears to be more drama in the comedy-drama mix than is usual for Coogan, but his humor is pretty irrepressible. It also looks to be a good showcase for actresses Imogen Poots (Greetings From Tim Buckley) and Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies).
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me
The thing about Big Star is that you have either never heard of them or, if you are a fan or know anybody who is, all you ever do is hear about them. Nothing Can Hurt Me digs into the Big Star story, why they were so great, why they were such a cult phenomenon (as opposed to a wider sensation) and hopes to introduce the band to the next generation of obsessed cultists.
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
Documentaries about performers have been super hot this year (just check out our list of the year’s most essential docs and see the entries for Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me and 20 Feet From Stardom). Kevin Hart is having a moment, culturally speaking, having hosted Saturday Night Live this year and pulling in bigger and bigger movie roles. So now's about time for a concert film/behind-the-scenes hybrid to knock him up to the next level.