Dispatches from Sundance

I covered (virtually) the 2023 Sundance Film Festival for AwardsWatch.com.

Even though I only officially reviewed three films, I saw a total of nineteen in seven days.

Here’s a brief wrap-up, sorted in order of my preference:

Directed by Nida Manzoor
Starring Ritu Arya and Priya Kansara

Hands-down the most colorful and energetic film of the festival, Polite Society is an off-the-wall, hugely entertaining film that is what you get when you mix Booksmart, Bend It Like Beckham and any Quentin Tarantino movie with Crazy Rich Asians and Get Out. It is a wicked, broad comedy, a martial arts movie, a fantasy and a teen buddy movie all rolled into one and it is so much fun. Ritu Arya plays a Pakistani-British teen who dreams of being a stuntwoman and becomes so desperate to stop the arranged marriage of her sister that she enlists the help of her friends to pull off a wedding sabotage worthy of Danny Ocean. But it’s not the plot that makes Polite Society the experience that it is (especially when it gets way too silly at the end), it’s the style, as director Nida Manzoor imbues every second of this film with infectious charm. You literally won’t stop smiling from start to finish.

Will be released April 28 in theaters

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TV REVIEW: Poker Face

This new era of prestige television that we are lucky enough to enjoy has seen the balance of power shift from the networks to streaming services, as the most awarded, critically acclaimed, and popular shows are now found on any of the multitudes of streaming platforms, each one with their own slate of lauded original programming. Every major streamer has joined the party, even Roku hitting the critical jackpot with their highly-praised original film, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, which premiered in November. It seems as if the only major streaming service that hasn’t jumped on the prestige TV bandwagon is Peacock, seemingly happy to bask in its vast catalog of popular shows from NBC’s archives, in addition to churning out under-the-radar original programming marked by reality series, competition shows, and formulaic sitcoms.

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