Monday, May 22, 2017

LA Film Fest 2017 Guide

Here's our top picks for this year's LA Film Festival, June 14-22. You know to get tickets May 23, if you're the general public.

Damn, Aubrey Plaza is just blazing it lately with her role on Legion, the leaked Terror Team the upcoming The Little Hours and this films festival closer from NEON, Ingrid Goes West.

Izzy Gets The F@ck Across Town
Jun 17 2017 8:40 PM

Riot grrrl rocker Izzy wakes up hungover AF to find out that her ex-boyfriend is celebrating his engagement to her ex-best friend at a bougie party across town. Not having a car in Los Angeles is not going to stop her from stopping them.

Writer-Director Christian Papierniak’s ensemble cast showcases the city’s finest and weirdest inhabitants in this riotous love letter to Los Angeles, set to a blazing punk rock soundtrack. Producer and firecracker lead Mackenzie Davis shines as the shameless hot mess that is Izzy, reminding us that adulting – and walking from the westside to Los Feliz – is hard.

– Ana Souza

Jun 18 2017 9:20 PM

 Political revolutionary Niki and her son Lefteris live in a world bound by memory, sexual nightmares, and the political chaos of Greece in the 1970s. Their existence is a claustrophobic fever dream in which one face merges into the next, meshing fantasy and horror. The result is a head trip that manages to defy the conventions of genre by crafting a savage meditation, oscillating among political aggression, motherhood and violence as protest.

Writer/director Alexandros Voulgaris and lead Sofia Kokkali create an experience unlike any other, challenging the values of contemporary society with a unique cinematic articulation. Both vibrant and horrifying, Thread is Greek cinema at its most brutal and experimental; a burning hallucination that brands your brain and won't let you wake up.

Note: Film contains graphic depiction of sexual assault.
– Adam Piron

Jun 18 2017 9:15 PM

During the last weeks of his life, Oli must contend with Ana, the disagreeable caretaker hired by his wife. As they spend more time together, it becomes evident that Ana’s placement is no accident.

Masterfully balancing unexpected humor with mounting suspense and tension, writer-director Luis Ayhllón carves out a delicately nightmarish world that manages to surprise and unsettle at every turn. Gorgeously shot in black and white, with a playful mix of styles, Nocturne signals the rise of a Mexican auteur who has tapped into deep-seated oppressions and transformed them into a rewarding, singular tale of dysfunction.
— Ana Souza

Jun 19 2017 9:25 PM
In 1977, Jeff is a teenaged loner who is targeted by bullies, disconnected from his battling parents and spending his free time dissolving roadkill in jars of acid. When he starts faking "spaz" attacks at school, he attracts the attention of a group of guys who think these episodes are hilarious and invite him into their fold. Bolstered by his new position in a pack, Jeff leans into these performative stunts but continues to struggle to keep his compulsions at bay.

Based on the true-life graphic novel by Dahmer's high school friend John Backderf, My Friend Dahmer is a thoughtful exploration of a formative time in a notorious serial killer's life. Skillfully directed by LA Film Festival alum Marc Meyers, who captures the tone of an era and the complexity of a boy becoming a monster.
– Drea Clark

Jun 19 2017 8:50 PM
Alan has a special vacation planned for him and his wife, but when she bails on their plans, his overly eager brother-in-law swoops in to join him. Together they go to Nicaragua’s Mercado Village, a hipster resort for American tourists looking for an “authentic experience,” where they meet the free-spirited Barbara. The three quickly discover they are in for much more than they bargained for.

Award-winning short film and television director Paul Briganti’s feature film debut transcends bromantic comedy tropes with thoroughly enjoyable breakout performances by a trio of rising actors, featuring laugh out loud tropical hijinks intercut with tender, surprising revelations that are the stuff of major life transformations.
– Mark Maynard

 Jun 21 2017 9:10 PM
Traveling across a barren landscape, Lernert digs through piles of rubbish in an attempt to build a body for his companion, Susan, the unresponsive robot head who hangs from the back of his pack. The pair come across Rola, a spirited young woman who lacks survival skills but makes up for the deficiency with sheer determination. This unlikely trio navigates the harsh desert in search of a mythical water basin that could replenish their depleted resources and renew their will to carry on.

Bolstered by an enchanting score from Neon Indian, Everything Beautiful Is Far Away is a refreshing, fable-like debut from directors Andrea Sisson and Pete Ohs. Physical and symbolic isolation perfectly encapsulate modern concerns in this feature that is both thoughtfully sparse and rich with details.
– Drea Clark

Ingrid Goes West 
Jun 22 2017 7:30 PM

Ingrid Thorburn is totally #obsessed with Taylor Sloane, a “lifestyle guru” who is intent on turning her thousands of Instagram followers into millions. Ingrid cashes out her inheritance, moves to Taylor’s neighborhood in Venice, California, and painstakingly recreates every experience in Taylor’s social feeds – from the avocado toast to the Claire V. bags. Relentless, Ingrid schemes her way into Taylor’s picture perfect life and becomes her best friend, until someone threatens to expose Ingrid’s obsession.

Alongside a strong supporting cast, Aubrey Plaza holds nothing back in her delightfully inhabited performance that taps into the stalker vibes that social media has made of all of us. With alternately creepy and tender moments, writer/director Matt Spicer’s directorial debut is a sharp and witty portrait of how thoroughly the façade of one’s online presence can pierce her sense of self-worth and reality. Likes and follows cannot replace human connections IRL.
– Roya Rastegar