April 17, 2009

MSPIFF: What to See in Week 1

If you still haven't worn out your highlighter and given yourself a headache in trying to figure out what you're going to see at MSPIFF over the next few days, save yourself some trouble and consider my recommendations below. Also, don't forget to join Kathie Smith and I at our inaugural Film Goat get-together tonight at Pracna at 5:30 PM. I've got curly black hair; Kathie says she'll be wearing a blue T-wolves cap. Maybe we'll be sitting outside in the nice weather...

(The Necessities of Life, Il Divo, & Lion's Den)

Many of these are playing more than once, so refer to the schedule if you can't make it on the day listed. Also, click on the "tickets" link and buy in advance so you can save a dollar.

Please note that I've only see the ones I've reviewed...

Friday, 4/17 (tickets):

Win or Lose: A Summer Camp Story
- Director Louis Lapat asked me to review this prior to its screening but I couldn't do it in time. Louis has agreed to provide a screener; watch for a review in the coming weeks. Louis will be at the screening.

Is Anybody There?
- Charming dramedy starring Michael Caine. Opens in Minneapolis on May 1, if you can't make it.

- Indie thriller directed by David Lynch's daughter. That alone should make it somewhat interesting.

Just Another Love Story
- Indie thriller from Denmark. Sounds like you could be forgiven for getting this confused with Surveillance.

Horn of Plenty (2/4 stars)
- This Cuban film didn't do much for me, but it's the only real comedy of the group. Read my capsule review here.

Saturday, 4/18

The Necessities of Life
(4/4 stars)
- Moving drama about an Inuit hunter recovering from TB in 1950's Quebec City. Read my capsule review here.

Liberation Day
- Drama about reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda. Sign me up.

- Drama about about a boy biking across Peru.

Song From the Southern Seas
(3.5/4 stars)
- Bizarre dramedy about a Russian couple living in Kazakhstan. Read my capsule review here.

Il Divo
- Drama with overtones of The Godfather about an aging Italian mob boss. Originally I thought this was a doc about the opera boy band/singing group. I'll see this on one Monday night.

- European, near-silent comedy about quirky Belgians who like to dance.

The King of Ping Pong
- Napoleon Dynamite-ish dramedy from Sweden. Can't count anything out from that country after Let the Right One In.

Lion's Den
- Argentine thriller that I wasn't sure about until three local sources all gave it A's and/or four stars. Not sure how I'm going to see this one but will hopefully squeeze it in late Sunday night.

Sunday, 4/19

Trust Us, This Is All Made Up
- Documentary about the Second City improv group in Chicago. Director present.

Living In Emergency: Doctors Without Borders
- Documentary about doctors working abroad, presumable living in emergency.

- Performance film illustrating Portuguese culture through music and dance. Also plays next Thursday, 4/23, at the Walker - free admission.

The One Man Village
- Docudrama about a Lebanese man committed to living in his war-torn village after everyone else leaves.

Letters to the President
- Documentary about Iran.

Blind Loves
- Documentary exploring the love between blind couples and families.

American Violet
- Drama based on a true story of an African-American woman mistakenly arrested on drug charges.

Monday, 4/20

Heart of Fire
- Drama about child soldiers in Eritrea.

Tuesday, 4/21

The Secret of the Grain
- Drama about food and family, over 150 minutes long and sure to make you hungry.

Shakespeare and Victor Hugo's Intimacies
(3/4 stars)
- Documentary about a mysterious artist/serial killer in Mexico City. Read my capsule review here.

Somers Town
- Dramedy about two teens forging an unlikely friendship in London, from the director of This Is England.

Wednesday, 4/22

The Infinite Border
- Documentary about Guatemalans crossing into Mexico. Probably a nice supplement to Sin Nombre, opening this week.

The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World
- Documentary about, you know.

Los Bastardos
- Thriller following a day in the lives of two L.A. day laborers who take a messy job.

- Charming Polish comedy about a kid dreaming of a better life, this also played at BBFF last month.

That's it for the first week of MSPIFF! If you for some reason don't want to see any of these, check out new releases like State of Play and Sin Nombre, or Hunger at the Walker (where I'll be tonight), or classics like Cinema Paradiso at the Parkway and Rear Window at the Riverview.


  1. Sorry "Rumba" didn't do it for you. I went into it totally cold and just fell in love with it. I guess it's one of those movies that is just hard to hype.

  2. No worries, Matt, your track record is still fit (you were right about Goodbye Solo, remember). I would have seen Rumba either way, and it's not even that I didn't enjoy it, just that I was too impatient to wait through the slower moments, which I know were slow for a reason.


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