There’s very little about IFFBoston’s 2017 that I am not excited about.
I’m always excited for IFFBoston, of course, for reasons I’ve elaborated on very recently on the pages of this very blog (and which I’ve probably talked about extensively in the deep past), so I’ll spare you my usual spiel on the subject. In 2017, I’m even more excited for the fest than usual thanks to reckless prognostication; a huge chunk of the films on the slate this year happen to be films I saw coming from several months away, including one that I’ve already seen and already deeply admire. Maybe see if you can guess which one as you pore over the lineup for yourself, at this here hyperlink; or maybe see if you can guess which one from the select titles listed below, comprising the titles at the top of my must-see list:
*Landline, Gillian Robespierre’s follow-up to her 2014 debut, Obvious Child, a movie I liked well enough but which I felt had problems and others; Landline feels much more open-ended and freeform, which I suspect will suit her style nicely. Either way, I’m into it. (Starring Jenny Slate & Edie Falco.)
*The Strange Ones, a joint effort by Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein, the latter of whom contributed a pair of segments to last year’s omnibus film Collective: Unconscious, which I liked much. I’m mostly just jazzed to see her working in a feature format. Seems like reason enough, yeah? (I’ll cop to being interested in seeing whether she can make Alex Pettyfer interesting to me, too.)
*The Trip to Spain, the third film in one of my favorite contemporary movie series, in which two very funny British men playing alternative versions of themselves travel abroad and eat delicious food that they are not qualified to offer critical commentary on. I have an obvious bias in favor of Rob Brydon over Steve Coogan, but I love Steve Coogan to the moon, so I hope that my preference for his Welsh comrade in comedy doesn’t hurt his feelings.
*Band Aid, in which Zoe Lister-Jones and Adam Pally play music to repair their failing marriage. I like it. Lister-Jones deserves to be in a movie that deserves her, and being as she’s the architect of Band Aid (meaning she wrote and directed it, obvs), I think it stands to reason that it’s a movie that deserves her.
*The Hero, a reunion between the excellent 2015 film I’ll See You in My Dreams‘ director, Brett Haley, and leading man, Sam Elliot, where Elliot plays a broken down old Western film icon who tries to fix his relationship with his daughter (Krysten Ritter) and balance his relationship with a stand-up comic (Laura Prepon) while dealing with a cancer diagnosis. If you fed me that synopsis without mentioning the names involved, I’d just write it off as trite on the page, but this is why names are important.
*Lemon, a movie about white male mediocrity written by a very-much-not-at-all-mediocre white male, the great Brett Gelman, and Janicza Bravo, who also directed. (They’re married, which makes their collaboration all the more interesting to me.) Bravo has directing credits on episodes of the best new TV show to air in 2016, Atlanta, and she also has a fucking fantastic name, which is sort of irrelevant to people who aren’t me (and thus who do not obsess over people’s names, because they’re privileged to not have a last name like mine, which is the sort of last name that encourages fixation on last names as a general habit). Seems like good reason to get excited for her feature debut, but combine that with the film’s focus on a socially maladroit failure (played by Gelman) and I don’t see how Lemon is anything less than essential viewing.
*The Little Hours, because there’s nothing wrong with the idea of Alison Brie, Kate Micucci, and Aubrey Plaza playing a bunch of vulgar nuns. John C. Reilly is also in this movie. Good enough for me, and that’s even taking into account how little I liked director Jeff Baena’s Life After Beth.
*Columbus, because :: kogonada does great work for The Criterion Collection and therefore I can’t help but be fascinated at the idea of him directing features; and also because Paterson proved last year that movies titled after and focused on small town America can be poetic and nuanced and deeply compelling. (I have no idea if Columbus is that, but there are towns in the U.S. called Columbus, so I’m rolling with it.)
I think that if I keep going I’ll just end up talking about 90% of the features gracing screens for IFFBoston this year, so I’ll cut myself off there. Just go look at the page for yourself, I don’t do this for a living or anything, jeez. (But seriously, mark off April 10th on your calendar. That’s when tickets go on sale for the general public. You should think about buying some. One man’s opinion.)
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