February 03, 2003 12:00 PM

…THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

Forget the posh restaurants that dot Main Street in Park City, Utah. The place to meet during the 10-day Sundance Film Festival (Jan. 16-26; see story on page 80) is Albertsons, a mammoth, 24-hour grocery store. While loading up on bottled water and bagels for between-movie bites, celebs, industry reps and just plain film fans swap advice on must-see films and must-misses among the festival’s 129 offerings.

Must see:

Pieces of April, a moving but hilarious comedy about a family’s disastrous Thanksgiving meal. Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson and Oliver Platt are all terrific.

The Station Agent, a lovely comedy drama about a dwarf (Peter Dinklage) who grudgingly allows himself to be befriended by two other lonely souls (the ever-superb Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale).

Song for a Raggy Boy, a harrowing (and timely) drama about an abusive Catholic reform school for boys in Ireland in 1939. Aidan Quinn stars as a kindly teacher.

Bend It Like Beckham, a boisterous cross-cultural comedy about an Anglo-Indian teenage girl who idolizes soccer star David Beckham.

Must miss:

Party Monster, a tiresome trifle focusing on ’80s disco habitués. Macaulay Culkin gives a maladroit performance as a murderous club kid.

Confidence, a warmed-over heist film even Dustin Hoffman can’t save.

The in-betweens:

Levity, a solemn drama about redemption; The Singing Detective, a middling remake of the groundbreaking 1986 BBC series; Thirteen, an energetic but lurid drama about promiscuous teenage girls.

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