The upcoming Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival is putting the finishing touches on its schedule. While the opening night feature hasn’t been locked down yet, not have the individual run dates. Still, the program’s just-released rundown of – gulp – 198 features should sate the most gluttonous cinephile.
The newly announced lineup includes:
Spanish iconoclast Alex de la Iglesia’s endlessly entertaining caper-horror-comedy “Witching and Bitching.” One part Quentin Tarantino, one part Guillermo del Toro and five parts nitroglycerine, the film is exciting, dark and wicked fun.
“For No Good Reason,” a tour through the delirious career of Ralph Steadman, the English artist best known for his splattery collaborations with gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Johnny Depp, Terry Gilliam, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner and the late William S. Burroughs all chip in.
"The Overnighters," which examines the downside of North Dakota's oil boom through the perspective of a Lutheran pastor who welcomes homeless job seekers to take shelter in his church. The artfully crafted documentary features revelatory eleventh-hour bombshells that compel viewers to completely rethink the characters' actions and motivations.
A literal one man show from Tom Hardy, recently seen as Batman's hulking nemesis Bane. He is the star of "Locke." In fact he's the only actor seen throughout the film. Hardy plays a man zipping down an English highway while juggling crucial car phone calls that jeopardize his career and marriage. Hardy is riveting in a sustained closeup performance, creating a riveting portrait of a flawed, admirable man trying to do the decent thing in all but impossible circumstances.
"R 100," A Japanese head-spinner of surreal suspense, bizarre sex play and demented hilarity. Hitoshi Matsumoto's film follows a wage slave who enlivens his humdrum existence by signing a year-long contract with a strange escort agency. The firm dispatches dominatrixes to dish out comically harsh thrashings without warning, in public, at work, even at home. As the hapless client, Nao Ohmori underplays deliciously even as the film opens up outrageous new subplots that further multiply the lunacy.
"The Skeleton Twins," a serious minded film starring Saturday Night Live alumni Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader as warring siblings. The duo are affecting and poignant as long-estranged siblings still scarred by their father's suicide. There are abundant laughs, but the movie's themes of abuse, infidelity and death are played straight. Wiig is compelling as a sexually compulsive woman who feels stifled in her marriage to a plain-vanilla regular Joe (Luke Wilson), and Hader reveals unexpected depth as her witty but depressive gay brother.
The Festival runs April 3-19 on all five screens of the St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 Main St. SE, Minneapolis.