Manchester by the Sea
Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges, Kyle Chandler
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
In its own words: "After his older brother passes away, Lee Chandler is forced to return home to care for his 16-year-old nephew."
Why it's already buzzing: If you live outside New York, you haven't seen Lonergan's best work. An award-winning playwright, his dealings with Hollywood haven't gone well. His last film, Margaret, sat on a shelf for six years before being dumped. He also wrote the Rocky & Bullwinkle movie, Analyze This, and an episode of Doug. But Lonergan's an under-appreciated master, and the Sundance crowd will be flocking to his latest pet project, which sounds so emotional, I'd write it off if it were anyone else.