modified from a post at Row Three
The LA Film Festival is headed our way June 17-26, and I’ve watched the press releases with lineup info with great interest – this year I get to go to as much of the festival as I want, rather than the few films I could manage last year, so I’m setting myself up with a monster of a schedule. And it’s going to be a good one, I think; there are a lot of films on the list from notable directors and actors, several that have been hits on earlier festival stops, and of course, this being Los Angeles, a few obligatory big studio crowdpleasers in addition to the indie and world cinema offerings. The full lineup info is here.
The big gala presentations range from upcoming comic book geekery with Green Lantern to Nicholas Winding Refn’s thriller Drive (fresh off rave reviews from Cannes) to the premiere of Richard Linklater’s latest Bernie, with stops along the way for indie dramas (A Better Life), British genre films (Attack the Block), action thrillers (The Devil’s Double), and Guillermo Del Toro-produced scary fun (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark). Even without delving past the galas, there’s something here for everyone. Bernie and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark are the Opening and Closing Night films, respectively, so they’re reserved for passholders, but no fear – they’ll both be in theatres soon enough.
Beyond the galas, though, there are a lot of eye-catching films in the lineup. Here are some of the ones I’m most excited about. I’ve posted a bit of a longer preview at Row Three, and will be posting my reviews over there. I’ll try to remember to check in here, too, but I will likely be swamped. I will definitely be tweeting throughout, though, so follow @faithx5 for updates.
Drive (USA) – Okay, this is a gala, and I mentioned it already, but it is the only gala I’m planning to see, so I’ll toss it in again. The “trailer” for this so far is really just a clip of Ryan Gosling driving a group of thugs away from a crime, but even that is as compelling as all get-out, so I can’t wait to see the rest of it.
Winnie the Pooh (USA) – The Festival is sneaking in Disney’s retro animated feature under the “Summer Showcase” sidebar rather than as a gala, which is an intriguing choice. I worry about what that says about Disney’s hopes for the film, but it may make it easier for me to watch at the fest if I choose to do so.
The Future (USA) – The new film from Miranda July (You and Me and Everyone We Know) is making its debut at the festival, promising a meditative crisis of perceived mortality.
The Innkeepers (USA) – Ti West’s follow-up to Row Three favorite House of the Devil, which looks to be another old-fashioned horror offering.
The Guard (Ireland) – An Irish comedy pairing up Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle as mismatched cop-and-FBI partners? My first thought was it would be a bit too In the Heat of the Night, but the recent trailer allayed those fears, and I’m totally in.
Another Earth (USA) – This film’s trailer is already playing in theatres, and I can’t tell for sure whether it’s more thinking person’s sci-fi or maudlin emo drama, but the base concept of duplicate Earth showing up one day is so intriguing I have to check it out.
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (Brazil) – I haven’t seen Jose Padilha’s first Elite Squad movie, but that isn’t stopping me from checking out the sequel, an action-packed thriller set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Looks like Marina quite liked the first entry.
Kawasaki’s Rose (Czech Republic) – Just as a renowned Czech psychiatrist is about to be honored for resisting Communist rule in Czechsolovakia, it’s discovered that he was actually a collaborator – sounds a bit heavy, but director Jan Hrebjk’s Divided We Fall (2001) dealt with WWII collaborators, too, and I loved that film.
Love Crime (France) – Alain Corneau’s latest is a suspense thriller starring Kristin Scott Thomas (she seems to be doing more French roles than English ones lately) and Ludivine Segnier – I’m a total sucker for French cinema, so this was an easy pick.
Karate-Robo Zaborgar (Japan) – This just looks so batshit insane I have to give it a look. From the guide: “Japanâ€™s scientists, politicians and businessmen are in grave danger. The evil secret society Sigma, led by the nefarious Dr. Akunomiya and aided by Miss Borg, a beautiful man-hating cyborg, has been stealing their DNA and using it to build a giant cybernetic robot. The only man who can stop them is secret agent Daimon, who rides a motorcycle that also happens to be a robot with mad karate skills.”
Mysteries of Lisbon (Portugal) – I’m a bit wary of planning to see a 4 1/2 hour film, but at the same time, its very length is presenting itself as a challenge to me. I kind of can’t stand to let it go by without giving a chance, and everything I’ve read about the stories-within-stories of Raúl Ruiz’s film make it sound like exactly my kind of thing. (Marina’s VIFF Review)
The Bad Intentions (Argentina) – A young girl finds out her mom’s going to have another baby, and is convinced that the baby’s birth will bring about her own death; in reaction, she acts out her resentments with morbid imagination. It actually looks like a really black comedy, and the trailer is pretty darkly funny.
Sidewalls (Argentina) – A romantic comedy with a young man and woman who live in the same block, share the same interests, but somehow their paths don’t quite manage to intersect – the concept of near-possibility and missed chances is one that appeals to me in fiction, so this jumped right out of the program at me.
Mamitas and Entrance (USA) – Both these films were filmed (and are set) on the East Side of LA, areas where I spend a fair amount of time, pseudo-hipster that I am. That in itself makes me interested; add in the Raising Victor Vargas vibe I get from Mamitas and the low-budget thriller/horror aspect of Entrance, and I’m definitely curious about these two.