The annual Los Angeles Film Festival started Thursday night at the Regal Cinemas at LA Live downtown and will run through next Sunday. The festival is a combination of over 200 independent films of all sorts, domestic and international as well as short films and music videos.
I've seen a few films since Friday and will see one almost every night this week. Here's a snapshot of the films I've checked out so far.
From William Friedkin, the director of 'The Exorcist', 'To Live and Die in LA', 'The French Connection' and many other films, comes 'Killer Joe', starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon and a scene stealing Thomas Haden Church.
KILLER JOE- Trailer
McConaughey is a Dallas policeman who moonlights as a hitman. He's hired by Chris (Hirsch) to kill his mother, so that he can collect her insurance money. Lacking an advance payment, Joe decides to use Chris's sister Dottie, as 'collateral.' The film, rated NC-17 for violence, sex and nudity, boasts a career best performance from McConaughey and will probably be one of the most controversial films of the year. It's hilarious and deeply unsettling at the same time.
Vampira and Me
Back in the 1950s 'Vampira' was a local television host who inspired Elvira, Ghoulardi and many more tv fiends. She had a short lived run at celebrity, ultimately falling into a downward spiral that she never totally recovered from. This documentary by director RH Greene is clearly a love letter to a woman that he befriended and cared for, but unfortunately, the lack of Vampira footage, combined with a melodramatic narration and padded film footage, results in a movie only a hardcore Vampira fan can enjoy.
Question Bridge: Black Males
A fascinating movie, 'Question Bridge: Black Males' is an ongoing transmedia conversation with American Black men of all ages and walks of life, as they ask each other the hard questions of what it means to an African-American man in the 21st century. This version of the film was constructed specifically to acknowledge Father's Day, but is a wide ranging dialogue that covers everything from 'why do you have that "take" mentality', to 'is anyone else self conscious about eating fried chicken and watermelon in front of white people'. It's a breathtaking and inspiring project. The trailer is below, but to get a feel for the complexity and depth of the project, check out the website http://questionbridge.com
QUESTION BRIDGE: BLACK MALES- tralier
I believe a new film subgenre has been created: the urban-film noir-coming of age movie. 'Luv' is its name and it's anchored a sterling cast headed by Common and newcomer Michael Rainey jr.
'Luv' is the story of Woody, a young Baltimore pre-teen who takes a day trip with his just out of jail uncle 'V', who decides it's a good day to become a man. The day quickly becomes an adventure that neither anticipated and changes the lives of both forever.
Common, as 'V', essays his most assured performance yet, while young Rainey jr. is a natural scene stealer. Michael Kenneth Williams, Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, Lonette McKee, Charles Dutton and Meagan Good, provide color, humor and gravity as this urban fable takes flight. When it comes to your town later this year, 'Luv' is one to see.
Take care of your whole self, and max out the week!