Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The big, bad BAMcinemaFEST begins tomorrow: What a line-up!

Aaron Katz's Cold Weather, New York-premiering at BAM

Marisa Tomei and John C. Reilly and their new movie Cyrus on opening night!  Olivier Assayas in person!  The "soulful" Billy Paul!  Hits from abroad and from SXSW. A mix of movies that includes smart, art, straight, gay, short, full-length, narrative, documentary, and a bunch of special events such as the director's cut of Zodiac, a midnight screening of Maniac and who knows how many other "iac"s.  Whew.  (Part of the great fun of this fest is that, despite its dedication to the celebration of independent film, it remains totally all-over-the-place.)  Best of all  is that this year, the exclusive BAMcinemaFEST sponsor is... wait for it: The Wall Street Journal  (What?  Rupert? The only walking/talking definition of "higher power"?  Yikes!  Well, he's gotta do some good, some time.)

There is literally so much going on at this amazing festival -- which takes place at one of our favorite haunts that we wish we could get to more often: Why does Queens-to-Brooklyn seem so much more difficult a trek than Manhattan-to-Brooklyn?  One look at the complete schedule (start here, then hit all the specific links) and you'll be frothing at the mouth and making plans immediately.

We've seen a few of the BAMcinemaFEST films already, including Cyrus, the opening-night feature -- which is a simply amazing blend of chemistry between actors (above, left to right: Tomei, Hill, Reilly and Keener) and chemistry between characters; a non-stop delight and a great choice for an "independent" opening night.  The Duplass brothers have here gone from mumblecore to mainstream/
independent in one fell (and fab) swoop.  And don't worry: if you miss the film (or the said-to-be-great-fun opening night party that your ticket stub will let you into), Fox Searchlight is distributing Cyrus -- later this month.

Also on the program is Valhallah Rising, the new film from Nicolas Winding Refn who gave us the Pusher trilogy and last year's Bronson.  Unlike his earlier movies, this one goes for "art" but comes out "fart" -- overlaying glacial pacing with oodles of slo-mo (a questionable combination) along with gore and gorgeous scenery (this combo works a bit better).  The always fine Mads Mikkelsen (above) stars as a mute, one-eyed, killing-machine hero (yet another odd mix).  IFC Films will release this one in theaters and On-Demand soon.

Another premier, hailing from IFC On-Demand, is Lovers of Hate (above), a more-or-less mumblecore mix (with more shouting) that debuted at SxSW and definitely has its moments (I covered the film earlier here).

One film worth seeing that does not yet have distribution (I can't imagine why: it's a documentary about four Iraq war vets returning home to start their post-service life) is How to Fold a Flag, from Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker, who earlier gave us Gunner Palace.  Their four vets are very different, but each has a great story to tell, whose outcomes run the gamut.  The filmmakers are deeply sympathtic, as they were in their earlier doc -- without any undue agenda-pushing.  The guys (one of which is shown above, with flag and gun) -- so different and so "American" -- are definitely worth spending your time with.

These are but four of the16 New York premieres (and one U.S. premier) in this 12-day celebration of independent cinema. A film that TrustMovies is really looking forward to is Cold Weather, pictured at top, from Aaron Katz, the man who made my favorite Mumblecore so far, Quiet City.  (And we haven't even gotten into the short films!)  So click on that link, independent-movie fans, and get started.

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