LA Film Fest 2012 Preview

Ryland Aldrich, Festivals Editor

LA's big downtown fest kicks off 11 of the most fun days Los Angeles has on the calendar this Thursday. Aside from plenty of parties and way more than anyone's share of karaoke, LAFF has a pretty damned good slate of movies on offer as well. We've got our most extensive coverage of the festival in Twitch's history planned for you this year. We're going to start things off with a full preview of the titles that caught our eye. Let us know what you'd like to see!

Galas



MAGIC MIKE
Steven Soderbergh's male stripper rom-com-dram makes its premiere as the closing night of LAFF. Channing Tatum and Cody Horn's romance look to be the main through line from the trailer, but look for Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer playing co-strippers with Tatum to be the real meat of the comedy.

TO ROME WITH LOVE
It's a new Woody Allen movie that kick things off at LAFF this year. Allen stars alongside Penelope Cruz, Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, Alison Pill, Greta Gerwig, Alec Baldwin, Judy Davis, and Roberto Benigni.

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
We've raved and raved about this movie since its Sundance premiere (our review). It killed in Cannes and director Benh Zeitlin just took home the Best Director award at Seattle Int'l Film Fest. Look for the love fest to continue as the film makes its LA premiere at LAFF.

BRAVE
Pixar's latest summer blockbuster is launching with an LAFF Gala premiere at this year's fest. The animated film is co-directed by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and Steve Purcell.

MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
Ava DeVernay took home the Dramatic Directing Prize at Sundance and brings her African American female identity drama to LAFF for some Gala love.

SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
Lorene Scafaria's directorial debut end of the world rom-com starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley will make its debut at the fest.

Narrative Competition



PINCUS
David Fenster's offbeat indie drama is the story of a man who takes advantage of his father's Parkinson's Disease to woo an attractive young woman.

RED FLAG
Alex Karpovsky of Tiny Furniture and Girls fame, hits the road with his movie where he directs himself playing an indie filmmaker hitting the road with his movie.

A NIGHT TOO YOUNG
This hilarious sounding Czech coming-of-ager follows a couple of 12-year-old boys as they embark on a night of strange sexual encounters.

BREAKFAST WITH CURTIS
Michael A. Jackman's mirthful coming of age gardening drama tells the story of a boy spending the summer with some odd neighbors.

CRAZY & THIEF
Starring his own children, Cory McAbee's film follows two young kids, ages 7 and 2, on an adventure across New York City.

Documentary Competition



A BAND CALLED DEATH
Jeff Howlett and Mark Covino's documentary is the chronicle of pioneering early '70s Detroit African American punk outfit Death.

CALL ME KUCHU
This is the story of David Kato, an openly gay activist in a Uganda where the persecuted LGBT community risk death for being vocal. Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall's doc took home the Best Int'l Doc award at Hot Docs as well as a number of honors from Berlin.

VAMPIRA AND ME
R. H. Greene's doc delves into the mystery of Vampira, Hollywood's original 1950s gothic vixen icon.

THE IRAN JOB
Go inside the Iranian Super League, Iran's version of the NBA, and meet the league's lone American baller, Kevin Sheppard, in Till Schauder's debut feature doc.

Summer Showcase



BIG EASY EXPRESS
Emmett Malloy's concert docu follows Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, and Old Crow Medicine Show on a vintage train concert tour across America.

IT'S A DISASTER
David Cross, Julia Stiles, and America Ferrara are the big names headlining Todd Berger's Woody Allen-esque couples' brunch-gone-bad comedy.

GIMME THE LOOT
LAFF continues their tradition of featuring the big SXSW winner with Adam Leon's graffiti writing love story starring Tashiana Washington and Ty Hickson.

QUEEN OF VERSAILLES
Lauren Greenfield won the US Docu Directing prize at Sundance for this look at real estate wealth gone wacky.

ROBOT & FRANK
Jake Schreier's delightful Frank Langella-as-octogenarian-cat-burgular dramedy found plenty of fans at Sundance. Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Peter Sarsgaard, Jeremy Sisto, and Jeremy Strong all turn in excellent performances as well.

CELESTE & JESSE FOREVER
Rashida Jones co-wrote this relationship laugher with Will McCormack in which she co-stars with Andy Samberg. Also featuring Chris Messina, Ari Graynor, Eric Christian Olsen, Will McCormack, Elijah Wood, and Emma Roberts, Lee Toland Krieger's film debuted to a warm reception at Sundance last January.

International Showcase



BUNOHAN: RETURN TO MURDER
Dain Said's complex Malaysian family dynamic crime drama has beautiful cinematography and a poetic rhythm that Asian film fans should enjoy.

EASY MONEY
This Swedish high society crime thriller by Daniel Espinosa has at least one big fan at Twitch in head honcho Todd Brown who called it, "The best Nordic crime film since Nicholas Winding Refn's Pusher II."

THE LAST ELVIS
Armando Bo's Argentinian Elvis impersonator drama found plenty of big fans at Sundance.

SISTER
This Swiss film by Ursula Meier tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who steals ski equipment from a local resort to support his sister and himself.

RETURN TO BURMA
Director Midi Z's docu-drama follows an ex-pat as he returns to a changed Myanmar.

The Beyond



SATURDAY MORNING MASSACRE
Spencer Parson's Scooby-Doo inspired horror looks to capitalize on the recent trend of lots of blood and and lots of fun.

THE KING OF PIGS
This South Korean indie animation focuses on teen violence and bullying.

JUAN OF THE DEAD
The zombies have overtaken Havana in Alejandro Brugues's fun Fantastic Fest feature.

THE HISTORY OF FUTURE FOLK
With a sci-fi plot about two comedic folk singers (from outer space) in Brooklyn, you'd be excused for thinking J. Anderson Mitchell and Jeremy Kipp Walker's film sounds like a lost episode of Flight of the Conchords. Let's hope it can compare - those are some pretty big homemade robot costumes to fill.

Around the Internet:
  • mightyjoeyoung

    "THE HISTORY OF FUTURE FOLK

    With a sci-fi plot about two comedic folk singers (from outer space) in Brooklyn"

    Cory McAbee better watch out.....thanks for this update...lots of new films to keep an eye on, Mr Aldrich.

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