Tuesday, March 30, 2010

IFF Boston

With April two days away, it's almost that time of year again. By 'that time' I mean the week in late April when New England film geeks converge upon Boston to see films they would otherwise be waiting months or traveling to Sundance or Toronto to see. 2010 marks the 8th annual Independent Film Festival Boston, and it's remarkable to see how this rag-tag festival has blossomed into an beloved 8-day blitzkrieg. Looking at the sparse list of films from 2003, I struggle to recognize any of the titles. These days, they host Q&A's with big-name actors and directors, and are frequently the East-Coast premiere for films coming out of other Festivals like Sundance and SXSW.

I first attended the festival in 2008 when I unknowingly gave the head honcho (or one of them) of the festival a ride home from an Arlington Gas Station. He graciously gave me two all-access passes as a thank-you, and I wasted no time in spending the lion's share of the next few days bouncing around the many screens of the Somerville Theatre, not especially interested in what was playing. Last year I made a huge list and was able catch many films that ended up becoming critical and commercial darlings later that year. Looking down the 2009 list, many of the films that seemed completely obscure at the time, are now Oscar-nominees. 500 Days of Summer, The Brother's Bloom, In The Loop, Big Fan, Food Inc, Bronson all played at IFFBoston, months before any sort of proper release. The question surrounding IFFBoston isn't whether there will be good films there, but which ones are the best and how will I be able find time to see them all? To save you the trouble, I've pored over the list of nearly 100 narrative/documentary/short films and picked the ones with the best word of mouth. There are Spanish Thrillers, Korean Westerns, Kevin Kline as an escort, and of course, a healthy dose of documentaries. The full list is here. I've attached links to clips/trailers/articles/whatever I could find whenever possible.

The Freebie

In Katie Aselton’s directorial debut, a young couple (Dax Shepard and Aselton) consents to permit each other one night of freedom from their monogamous relationship.

The Extra Man
In this urbane comedy, Paul Dano and Kevin Kline play writers who sideline as escorts for wealthy widowed socialites.

Ree desperately searches for her father, whose disappearance after posting bail risks her losing their Ozark home. Stars John Hawkes (Deadwood, Lost).

Mark and Jay Duplass’s hilarious new comedy about the battle for one woman’s affections, starring John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener and Marisa Tomei.

The Killer Inside Me
Casey Affleck portrays a Texas deputy sheriff whose dormant violent tendencies resurface. Directed by Michael Winterbottom.

In this Goya Award-winning suspense thriller from Spain, a rookie guard is trapped inside a prison during a riot and must pretend he is a prisoner to survive.

In this frenetic, high-octane Korean Western, three Outlaws in 1930s Manchuria attempt to recover a map to buried treasure.

The wife of an Italian industrial magnate (Tilda Swinton) embarks on a dangerous affair in this sumptuous film.

Michael Douglas portrays a used car magnate whose personal demons dismantle his life.


The story of two brothers-in-law, close to Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, and their very different outcomes post 9/11.

Alex Gibney (TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE) investigates lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his trail of lies and deceit.

Portrait of the short life of celebrated Neo-Expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

James Franco (PINEAPPLE EXPRESS) makes his directorial debut with this behind-the-scenes look at the making of an episode of Saturday Night Live.

A man deals with being savagely beaten by creating beautiful photographs of G.I. Joe and Barbie dolls to narrate his fantasy life.

Boston Globe writer Geoff Edgers fights an uphill battle to reunite the Kinks.

IFF Boston is April 21st-28th. 

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