Kristen Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Aaron hit Sundance

Plus: Christina Hendricks and Kellan Lutz in adorable winter fashions
Kristen Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Aaron Paul hit the Sundance Red Carpet
Credit: AP Photo

The 2014 edition of the Sundance Film Festival is well underway, and stars like Kristen Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Christina Hendricks, Keira Knightley, Chloe Grace Moretz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Aaron Paul, and others are in town to support their films and model some fancy winter wear. 

Check out the latest red carpets images:

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The Best and Worst of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival

Nicole Kidman, 'Upstream Color' and 'Before Midnight' make the cut
The Best and Worst of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival

Another Sundance Film Festival has come and gone, and the HitFix staffers have sorted through all of the films there and come back with a list of the best and worst films at the fest.

Some of the highlights on our list include Nicole Kidman in "Stoker," Shane Carruth's long-awaited sophomore feature "Upstream Color," the reunion of a cherished romantic coupling in "Before Midnight," plus "Two Mothers," "The Rambler," and many more. 

Take a look here:

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Sundance Review: 'Lovelace' doesn't go deep enough despite Amanda Seyfried's efforts

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's porn-fueled biopic premieres at Sundance
<p>Amanda Seyfried of &quot;Lovelace&quot;</p>

Amanda Seyfried of "Lovelace"

Credit: Sundance
Under the name Linda Lovelace, Linda Boreman starred in "Deep Throat," the most successful hard-core sex film ever made, as well as a handful of less successful and less legitimate adult ventures. For a brief period in the 1970s, Lovelace was a public figure with a high degree of fame and notoriety.
 
In less than a decade, she had become an aggressive anti-porn advocate, writing multiple books about the evils of the industry that quite literally gave her her name. 
 
For years, Hollywood has tried to tell Lovelace's story, with numerous writers and directors and stars circling and abandoning different projects, perhaps recognizing the difficulties of adequately depicting a woman mostly famous for her aptitude with blowjobs and then her subsequent disgust at said aptitude.
 
It's a tale that finally had its premiere on Tuesday (January 22) night at the Sundance Film Festival with Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's "Lovelace."
 
Screenwriter Andy Bellin has solved many of the contradictions in Lovelace's life by ignoring them entirely. "Lovelace" is a flat and superficially arced film that relies on a little linear trickery to create the illusion of complexities that are sorely lacking. The resulting film is superficial and flat and wastes a transformative, gung-ho performance by leading lady Amanda Seyfried and an amusing supporting cast that seems to be appearing in four or five different movies.
 
When Stanley Kubrick's "Lolita" was released in 1962, it drummed up curiosity with the tagline "How did they ever make a movie of 'Lolita'?" I suspect a similar tactic could be used to generate initial interest in "Lovelace" before audiences discover the answer to the question "How did they ever make a movie about Linda Lovelace?" is "As blandly as possible."
 
More after the break...
 
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10 must watch Sundance Film Festival interviews

HitFix catches up with the Park City fest's A-list attendees
10 must watch Sundance Film Festival interviews

From music legends Dave Grohl and Stevie Nicks (!) to A-list actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Naomi Watts, the first weekend of this year's Sundance Film Festival was a typically star-studded affair, and we caught up with some of the biggest names in attendance to chat about their latest projects.

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Daniel Radcliffe, Jessica Biel and Michael C. Hall topline 2013 Sundance Film Festival U.S. dramatic competition

New films from Lynn Shelton and stars Octavia Spencer, Keri Russell, Kristen Bell and more
<p>Kristen Bell in &quot;Lifeguard.&quot;</p>

Kristen Bell in "Lifeguard."

The Sundance Institute announced 16 narrative feature films that will be the hallmark of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at this year's 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

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Sundance review roundup from The Fien Print

All the crazy documentaries that weren't reviewed at the Festival
<p>&quot;Return to Homs&quot;</p>

"Return to Homs"

Credit: Kahtan Hassoun
I know that the Sundance Film Festival ended over a week ago, but in the six days I was at Sundance (and on screeners in the days before), I saw 25 movies. 
 
I wrote full reviews for 13 of them. 
 
 
But that left 12 movies that I just didn't have the time to write my usual 1000-to-1750 words on. Since getting back from Park City, I've been slowly working my way through capsule reviews for those 12 movies. These are roughly the length of my Take Me To The Pilots entries, which means that in this format, people are going to complain about all of the text and the lack of paragraphs.
 
Sorry.
 
Because I'm just one part of HitFix's awesome Sundance team, which included Greg Ellwood, Drew McWeeny, Guy Lodge and Katie Hasty, I saw an odd assortment of movies at the Fest, with only six narrative films on my list. Instead, I saw a ton of documentaries and so a lot of these movies probably didn't get more than a few reviews out of Sundance from any outlets.
 
So click through for 12 capsule reviews of tiny Sundance movies. Who knows? Maybe your interest will be piqued for when one of them comes to TV or Netflix or whatever... The reviews are stretched over three pages. Because otherwise, this would be too long.
 
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Composer Joe Trapanese on 'Raid 2,' 'Tron 3,' Le Mans film

How will Joseph Kosinski pull off a historical car movie, and when is 'Tron 3?'
Composer Joe Trapanese talks 'Raid 2,' Daft Punk and Tom Cruise's Le Mans film

PARK CITY, Utah - Joseph Trapanese barely had time to sigh relief once he was done with the score to "The Raid 2," one of the toasts of the Sundance Film Festival this year.

The composer -- along with the filmmakers including director Gareth Evans -- was still editing the action flick only 48 hours before its premiere at the Park City fest. And compared to the first film, this sequel was even more of a marathon, considering it was an hour longer than the original "The Raid."

And, actually, "the first cut was 3.5 hours long," Trapanese admitted during our chat at Sundance last week.

It seems like Joe Trapanese hasn't had many breathers at all in the last five years, as he's composed, conducted and arranged for big budget, edit-sensitive projects including "Oblivion" with M83, "Tron: Legacy" with recent Grammy winners Daft Punk and "The Raid's" American cut from 2012 with Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda; he's also worked on TV digs like "Tron: Uprising" and "Dexter" in between.

When it's come to working with the array of musicians he has, Trapanese said it's a lot of give and take.

"What's interesting about these collaborations is from day one, you really have to wrap your head around what skills am I gonna bring to the table, what skills is my collaborator gonna bring to the table, when are they gonna drive, when am I gonna drive," he said. "It's about creating a comfortable and safe environment for people to really speak their mind."

Of Daft Punk, he said the duo is "really inspiring, they work really hard," and buck the image of pop stars that are "full of themselves" and egotistical. "Daft Punk is not like that at all."

Of "Tron 3," Trapanese said that "we're doing our best to get it off the ground," that he's waiting for a signal from Disney and "Tron: Legacy" director Joseph Kosinski on when that sequel's a "go."

Kosinski has another project due before that will reunite him with his "Oblivion" actor Tom Cruise. "Go Like Hell" is based off of the book "Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans" and the 1966 Le Mans race; Brad Pitt is still a "possible" addition, according to Trapanese. He said he's eager to see what Kosinski -- who, up to this point, has only directed sci-fi bent "Oblivion" and "Tron" -- can do with "something historic."

"I love what he does," Trapanese said of Kosinski. He went into how "Tron: Legacy" was received and Kosinski's touch on the material. "One of the things that people never really understood about the sequel 'Tron: Legacy' is that if you watch the original, it's so campy, it's so funny in many ways. That kind of went over people's heads, who are used to something more Nolan-esque, serious, and thought 'Tron: Legacy' would be trying to do more of the same. If you look at it with a nod to the original film, it's even better than what people give it credit for."

Watch the rest of our interview for Trapanese's thoughts on synths, hip-hop, Moby and Death Grips, and what the 40-year-old stock broker guys will be trading their guitars for in the future.

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Iko and Hammer Girl on how they survived 'The Raid 2'

They seem like such sweet and completely lethal kids
<p>Iko Uwais and Julie Estelle seem like sweet kids who could also kick your spine out of your body.</p>

Iko Uwais and Julie Estelle seem like sweet kids who could also kick your spine out of your body.

Credit: HitFix

PARK CITY - One of the craziest moments in the Keanu Reeves film "Man Of Tai Chi" comes near the conclusion when Tiger Hu Chen finally has to face his competition in the finals of the weird underground martial arts tournament he's been working his way through, and it turns out to be Iko Uwais from "The Raid" and "The Raid 2." When they enter the ring, I readied myself for the fight of all fights, and there's something perverse about the way Reeves has Tiger Hu Chen simply refuse the fight. That would be like having your hero battle his way into a room where Bruce Lee was, then having Bruce Lee shake his hand and walk away.

Iko Uwais does not look like an action icon at first glance. He's slight, with a boyish face, and he doesn't seem particularly imposing in terms of how he's built. The moment you see him explode into action, though, it's apparent that he's a natural, both graceful and powerful. He's also becoming a better actor from film to film. In "Merantau," he seems comfortable in the fight scenes but not nearly as comfortable with dialogue. By now, though, he's gotten very good, and there are several scenes in "The Raid 2" that are emotionally powerful and very simple, with no fighting at all involved.

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Review: 'The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz'

Brian Knappenberger's Sundance doc generates sadness and anger
<p>&quot;The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz&quot;</p>

"The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz"

Credit: Sundance
There is a perception that on the list of liberal enclaves, the Sundance Film Festival ranks only slightly below a poetry reading in San Francisco and Communist Party fundraiser in Boston.
 
There's probably some truth to that. 
 
However, hell hath no fury like a Sundance documentary director disappointed and the unfulfilled potential of President Obama has been a running theme over the past couple years. No amount of Fox News Obama condemnation could ever match the sense of betrayal illustrated in Rick Rowley's "Dirty Wars." Michelle Obama hasn't been immune either, as the First Lady's difficulties taking a hard line with food mass-producers is depicted as a major letdown in "Fed Up." Half of the World Docs seem to wish their central dilemma were receiving more or less attention from the Obama Administration.
 
With the possible exception of "Mitt," you'd be hard-pressed to find a Sundance documentary that wants to claim things would be better had the election results gone differently, but a consistent running undercurrent of recent Sundances is, "President Obama. Dude. You were supposed to be better than this."
 
When it comes to eroded idealism, it's hard to get more damning than Brian Knappenberger's "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz," which begins with news talking heads declaring that the title cyber-activist was "killed by the government" and spends the next 100 minutes confidently underlining that point. No, President Obama isn't really blamed for Aaron Swartz's death, at least not directly, but when it comes to the overzealous prosecution of the Reddit co-founder, there's little doubt that the message is, once again, "We expected better."
 
Actually, I should change the punctuation there. It has to be "We expected better!" because Knappenberger's doc, playing in the US Documentary Competition at Sundance, is all about exclamatory mood. For maybe 30 minutes, you go "Wow, look at this brilliant young man!" Then for maybe 40 minutes you go, "Wow, I'm so angry about what was done to this brilliant young man" and then for the last 30 minutes, you go, "Boy, it's so sad what happened to that brilliant young man!" Of course, all of that exclamation can sometimes be exhausting and Knappenberger maybe underlines some of his points a little aggressively, but he really wants to make sure you feel the outrage of Swartz's tragically brief life. 
 
And I did.
 
[More after the break...]
 
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Review: 'The Overnighters' is a frontier tale for 2014

Jesse Moss' Sundance doc received some of the Fest's best reviews
<p>&quot;The Overnighters&quot;</p>

"The Overnighters"

Credit: Sundance
[Preamble: I saw "The Overnighters" before touching down in Park City last Sunday, which meant I saw it kinda in a vacuum. When I got to the Festival, I wasn't hugely surprised that "The Overnighters" was the doc I was hearing the most buzz about. At that point, I'd written the intro to the review, the part that precedes the page break. I never finished the review, because Sundance is all about starting reviews that I never finish. It's fun! Anyway, I'm expecting "The Overnighters" to be a big winner at Saturday night's closing awards ceremony, so I'm taking one last stab at the review.]
 
Jesse Moss' "The Overnighters," featured in the US Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival, plays at times like a modern frontier Western. 
 
Like HBO's classic "Deadwood" or AMC's much-admired [by the people who pop up in online comments whenever its renewed] "Hell on Wheels" or Discovery's decent new miniseries "Klondike," it's the story of a migration of desperate men, many of them criminals and reprobates, seeking riches in the unspoiled wilderness. Like most Westerns, there seem to be fortunes to be made, but the brass ring remains just out of reach for most settlers. Like many a Western, there are clashes with the natives, who feel like they're being disenfranchised by the scruffy, dirty, dangerous men pushing in on their land. And, like more than a few Westerns, there's a wacky priest at the heart of the story, trying to save souls in the influx of sinners. 
 
I may be overselling "The Overnighters" with that description. Moss' film is slightly at war with itself, trying to tell two stories, not necessarily arcing either story satisfactorily and then relying on what's presented as a somewhat strange twist in the final act to tie the whole thing up in a bow that either makes the whole movie feel too neat or too messy, depending on how you view it. [A couple critics I've talked to have said that they don't think Moss is trying to use the twist to tie things up or explain them. I think that in terms of authorial intent, they're right. However, I know how the story presented on the screen arcs. Causation is implied, even if it's not intended.]
 
And the more I think back on "The Overnighters," the less I buy the "twist," the less the twist satisfies the arc of the story and the more I wish that Moss could have better focused on one of his two stories. But I still wanted to use the frontier Western analogy, because I'm sure it's part of what Moss is going for and, even if it doesn't always work, it's still a big part of what keeps "The Overnighters" watchable, probably endlessly discussable and, in the end, tantalizing.
 
[More after the break...]
 
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