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A McDonald’s Monopoly scandal, a Sept. 11 drama and 9 other Sundance films that could have people talking

A scene from the documentary series “McMillion$.”
Provided by the Sundance Institute

SALT LAKE CITY — The Sundance Film Festival kicks off on Jan. 23 in Park City. We’ve read all the film synopses, crunched all the numbers and fielded a truly insane amount of publicist emails. Here are 11 films at this year’s festival that have the media’s attention.

Be Water

Bruce Lee, who’s the subject of the new documentary, “Be Water,” premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.
Provided by the Sundance Institute

From Chuck Norris to Jackie Chan, every martial artist movie star has walked, punched and kicked in Bruce Lee’s shadow. “Be Water” documents Lee’s struggles to land leading actor roles in America, and his decision to return to Hong Kong in 1971. In two years, Lee completed four films in Hong Kong — “The Big Boss,” “Fist of Fury,” “Way of the Dragon” and “Enter the Dragon” — which catapulted him to superstardom. The documentary makes use of rare archival footage, interviews with Lee’s friends and family, and old interviews with Lee himself.

Showtimes:

  • Jan. 25, 2:30 p.m., the MARC Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 26, 9:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Center, Salt Lake City
  • Jan. 27, 9:45 p.m., the Ray Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 30, noon, Redstone Cinema 7, Park City
  • Jan. 31, 6 p.m., Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room, Sundance Resort
  • Feb. 1, 8:30 a.m., Prospector Square Theatre, Park City

Downhill

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell are the dramedy duo you never knew you needed. The comedy legends star in “Downhill,” a reinterpretation of the acclaimed 2014 Swedish film “Force Majeure.” During a skiing vacation with their sons, Pete (Ferrell) and Billie (Louis-Dreyfus) experience an avalanche, and Pete instinctively tries running away. The avalanche quickly passes, but Pete’s abandonment isn’t forgotten. Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who co-wrote and directed the heartrending comedies “The Descendants” and “The Way Way Back,” team up again on “Downhill.” The film is rated R for language and some sexual material.

Showtimes:

  • Jan. 26, 9:30 p.m., Eccles Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 27, 9 a.m., Eccles Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 29, 9 p.m., Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room, Sundance Resort
  • Jan. 31, 9:45 p.m., Eccles Theatre, Park City
  • Feb. 2, 3:15 p.m., Grand Theatre, Salt Lake City

The Father

Olivia Colman, left, and Anthony Hopkins in a scene from the film “The Father.”
Sean Gleason, Sundance Institute

Acclaimed playwright Florian Zeller makes his film directorial debut with “The Father,” which stars Oscar winners Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman. Based on Zeller’s play of the same name, “The Father” shows the relationship between an ailing, stubbornly independent father (Hopkins) and the daughter (Colman) who’s not sure how to best care for him. The film is described as “mind-boggling, heartbreaking and uncompromisingly poignant.” It’s one of five full-length features at this year’s festival which deals with caring for the elderly.

Showtimes:

  • Jan. 27, 3:30 p.m., Eccles Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 29, 2:45 p.m., the Ray Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 30, 6:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Center, Salt Lake City
  • Feb. 1, 8:45 p.m., Egyptian Theatre, Park City

Four Good Days

Glenn Close, top, and Mila Kunis in a scene from the film “Four Good Days.”
Igor Jadue Lillo, Sundance Institute

Glenn Close and Mila Kunis star in this drama about a mother trying to help her drug-addicted daughter get clean for the umpteenth time. According to the film’s official synopsis, “Four Good Days” is a “tense story of hope and codependency” and “a true emotional roller coaster.” Buzz has been building about Close’s performance, which might earn the Hollywood veteran another Oscar nomination (she already has seven).

Showtimes:

  • Jan. 25, 6:30 p.m., Eccles Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 26, 9 a.m., Eccles Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 26, 3:15 p.m., Grand Theatre, Salt Lake City
  • Jan. 30, noon, Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room, Sundance Resort
  • Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m., Eccles Theatre, Park City

Happy Happy Joy Joy — The Ren & Stimpy Story

“Ren & Stimpy” creator John Kricfalusi in a scene from the documentary “Happy Happy Joy Joy — The Ren & Stimpy Story.”
Provided by the Sundance Institute

One of the most celebrated — and divisive — cartoons of the 1990s, “Ren & Stimpy” broke new comedic ground and became a cultural sensation. Its creator, John Kricfalusi, embodied the show’s insane sensibility in real life, which created controversy for him and his coworkers. New allegations against Kricfalusi have surfaced, bringing his madcap creation back into the cultural crosshairs. “Happy Happy Joy Joy” documents those allegations, and asks audiences to consider how we reconcile an artist and their art.

Showtimes:

  • Jan. 28, 3:30 p.m., Library Center Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 29, 11:30 a.m., the MARC Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 30, 11:30 p.m., Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
  • Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Center, Salt Lake City

The Killing of Two Lovers

A scene from the film “The Killing of Two Lovers.”
Provided by the Sundance Institute

Brigham Young University associate professor Robert Machoian returns to Sundance — he’s had three short films at the festival previously — with a full-length feature. Filmed in Utah, “The Killing of Two Lovers” follows a separated couple — the wife wants space, the husband wants more closeness and is terrified things will fall apart. They all live in a small town, where personal business quickly becomes public, adding to the husband’s escalating paranoia.

Showtimes:

  • Jan. 27, 12:30 p.m., Ray Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 28, 6 p.m., Temple Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 30, 3:30 p.m., Redstone Cinema 1, Park City
  • Jan. 31, 8:30 a.m., Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
  • Feb. 1, 12:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Center, Salt Lake City

McMillion$

A scene from the documentary series “McMillion$.”
Provided by the Sundance Institute

Remember the McDonald’s Monopoly game? Did you know a group of cunning participants defrauded McDonald’s out of more than $24 million? The complex case had its first group of indictments just days before Sept. 11, 2001, and got buried in the post-9/11 news cycle. The docuseries “McMillion$,” which is set to air on HBO later this year, premieres its first three episodes at Sundance. This is a wild story you’ve got to see to believe.

Showtimes:

  • Jan. 28, 11:45 a.m., Library Center Theatre, Park City
  • Feb. 1, 5:30 p.m., Salt Lake City Library Theatre, Salt Lake City

The Painter and the Thief

A scene from the documentary “The Painter and the Thief.”
Provided by the Sundance Institute

One of the festival’s opening night premieres, “The Painter and the Thief” is among the more buzzed-about documentaries at Sundance this year. It follows the unlikely friendship of convicted thief Karl-Bertil Nordland and artist Barbora Kysilkova. After Nordland and an accomplice steal two of Kysilkova’s painting, Kysilkova offers to paint Nordland’s portrait. In the process, the two realize how much they’re kindred spirits.

Showtimes:

  • Jan. 23, 9:15 p.m., Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 24, 8:30 a.m., Egyptian Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 24, 6 p.m., Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room, Sundance Resort
  • Jan. 25, 6 p.m., Tower Theatre, Salt Lake City
  • Jan. 30, 6 p.m., Temple Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 31, 3 p.m., Redstone Cinema 7, Park City

Palm Springs

Like “Groundhog Day,” but at a wedding, “Palm Springs” stars Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti as wedding guests united by a shared sense of nihilism, who wreak all kinds of havoc in a perpetually repeating wedding. J.K. Simmons and Peter Gallagher are among the supporting cast. This seems like the kind of indie rom-com that is Sundance’s bread and butter.

Showtimes:

  • Jan. 26, 3 p.m., Library Center Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 27, 11:30 p.m., Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 29, 6:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Center, Salt Lake City
  • Jan. 30, 6:30 p.m., Eccles Theatre, Park City
  • Feb. 1, noon, Redstone Cinemas 7, Park City

Promising Young Woman

This one will get people talking. Carey Mulligan stars as Cassie, a medical school dropout who spends her nights pretending to be drunk, seducing “nice guys,” and confronting them when they try to take advantage of her. New details emerge about the death of Cassie’s best friend, and she devises a cunning plan to exact revenge. Former “Killing Eve” writer/producer Emerald Fennell makes her feature-length directorial debut here. Its supporting cast includes Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Connie Britton and Molly Shannon. “Promising Young Woman” is getting a wider release in April, and looks to provide the same kind of dark comedy that made “Killing Eve” such a sensation.

Showtimes:

  • Jan. 25, 8:30 p.m., the Marc Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 26, 9 a.m., the Ray Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 26, 9:15 p.m., Grand Theatre, Salt Lake City
  • Jan. 29, 11:30 p.m., Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 31, 9 a.m., Eccles Theatre, Park City

Worth

Michael Keaton, left, and Stanley Tucci in a scene from the film “Worth.”
Sundance Institute

A personal look at the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, “Worth” stars Michael Keaton as Kenneth Feinberg, the Congress-appointed attorney tasked with determining the monetary value of lives lost in 9/11. Stanley Tucci plays Charles Wolf, a community organizer whose wife died in the World Trade Center towers. The tug-and-pull between these two men is the stuff of high drama.

Showtimes:

  • Jan. 24, 9:45 p.m., Eccles Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 25, 8:45 a.m., Library Center Theatre, Park City
  • Jan. 25, 9:30 p.m., Grand Theatre, Salt Lake City
  • Jan. 28, 6 p.m., Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room, Sundance Resort
  • Feb. 1, 5:30 p.m., Egyptian Theatre, Park City