Popcorn, premieres and stars galore – only in LA. Yup, for those within the Hollywood vicinity it’s once again time for the iconic ‘Los Angeles Film Festival 2016’ taking place June 1-9 at the ArcLight Cinemas (go to http://www.filmindependent.org/la-film-festival/ for all the details!) and this year’s event looks to be more interesting, diverse and satisfying than ever before. With a whopping forty-two world premieres, fifty-eight short films and even a handful of free outdoor screenings for those with small budgets, there really is something for everyone this year. We took a gander over the multitudes of movies in various categories and after skimming the descriptions we honed in on some flicks we think could be well worth checking out. From a road trip to jump off a very high landmark to prank calls turned deadly, here are our 2016 fest picks of….“What To See!”
“Lowriders” – Especially for an opening night film, “Lowriders” is one of the most diverse (the flick is set in East LA!) and gutsiest selections ever (no big A-list stars in this one!) and frankly it’s got us excited. A tale of family mending amidst the lowrider car culture – nothing gets the movie engine revving more than originality.
“Kicks” – What do you do when someone steals your dream pair of priceless Air Jordans? Why head into Oakland and get ‘em back of course! Mixed with a coming-of-age angle this one could kick typical movie tropes to curb.
“Life, Animated” – A tale of an autistic boy who can’t speak but eventually finds a way though his favorite animated Disney characters – deep drama that may not leave a dry eye in the house, anyone?
“Lights Out” – Even though this one has a premise that screams ripe for the creepy crowd – a woman and her brother are haunted by a creature that only appears when the lights go out – it’s the inclusion of horror master James Wan as producer that has us ready to brave the darkness.
“The Sweet Life” – In what is the most sullen and engaging premise ever, this tale of two strangers who head on a road trip to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge has our morbid must-see meter on full alert – can’t wait.
US Fiction Competition
“My First Kiss and The People Involved” – The most engaging movie title of any flick this year, we love the fish out of water idea of this one. Following a gal who ‘doesn’t speak, hums with the trees and cracks in the walls’ as she makes her way out of a group home find her mysterious missing caregiver is one case we’re eager to see solved.
“Paint It Black” – Ample actress Amber Tamblyn makes her directorial debut with a tale of a girl who ends up in a ‘twisted’ relationship with her late lover’s mom. With a shameful shortage of female directors these days (more please!) we’re hoping to see if Amber’s ability behind the camera is as tasty as her work in front of it.
“Company Town” – What could be a scathing and revealing doc for sure, “Company Town” focuses on former employees of a company who seem to be getting sick and dying of cancer – delving deep is the surefire sign of a decent doc.
“Dr. Feelgood” – A doc that examines the ethics of prescribed pain-relieving drugs feels interesting enough, but throw in the added story of a doctor sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for having written thousands of opioid prescriptions on the job and we’re thinking this is just what the memorable movie doctor ordered.
World Fiction Competition
“London Town” – A 14-year old boy has his life changed forever when his estranged mother introduces him to the music of The Clash in 1979 London – you had us at The Clash.
“Lupe Under The Sun” – We’re suckers for dramas with ailing families looking to heal old wounds and this US/Mexico production of a man heading south before it’s too late could just fill our making amends movie gap.
“Girl Flu” – Forget the quirky cool title. Forget the fact that this one has Starbuck actress Katee Sackhoff and “Welcome to the Dollhouse” alum Heather Matarazzo. Just read the films’ description – ‘Bird, a smart level-headed tween, and her immature stoner mom gracelessly navigate the arrival of Bird’s first period, which she gets on the last day of school…in front of the entire class.’ Nuff said.
“No Light and No Land Anywhere” – Leaving everyday life after the death of one parent to go in search of the other who abandoned you at age three seems like a rough journey – we’ll brave the bumps.
(This whole category seems extra tasty this year so we’ll dissect each with a few short words.)
“Abattoir” – Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman. (Plus urban legends and horrific tragedies if you need more!)
“Beyond the Gates” – VHS Board game from hell.
“Don’t Hang Up” – Drunken prank call to the wrong dude.
“Mercy” – Estranged family bonding during a home invasion.
“Officer Downe” – Based on a graphic novel about ultra-violent cop.
“Villisca” – Kids sneak into a haunted house – at night.
That’s our first look film fans! Stay tuned to our LA Film Festival 2016 coverage here at Starpulse.com and be sure to head down to the ArcLight Cinemas June 1-9 to form your own movie going opinion and support great indie film – more to come! (Go to http://www.filmindependent.org/la-film-festival/ for all the details!)