The Ann Arbor Film Festival rarely disappoints, and we expect it to be no different this year. But unless you’re a hardcore film buff, the wide range of work poses a daunting challenge when it comes to picking and choosing. So here’s an eclectic sampling of what’s in store, in case you need a little guidance at the box office.
“Big Time”: Dig Tom Waits? Sure you do. Live concert footage with surrealist zeal mark this exercise as hipsterdom from the raspy old crooner. Plus, it’s a midnight movie, so all bets are off.
“The Adventure”: It’s a common fact that the general public is disgusted by mimes. So when a traveling-through-the-countryside couple is terrorized by one of those creepy stooges, all hell might break loose. But don’t worry, it’s still (supposedly) comedy.
“Cabinet”: It’s a shame Ted Kaczynski went to the University, but maybe viewing him as a fetishistic nut job might make it easier on all of us. That’s what this piece aims to do.
“Larry Flynt: The Right To Be Left Alone”: He’s old, creepy and politically crazy, but man, Larry Flynt is entertaining. The man who made “Hustler” gets documentary treatment in this feature length film. Pornography and politics? Why not?
“Filled With Water”: Hand-drawn animation may have gone by the wayside in recent years, but it’ll never truly disappear. This young woman’s surfing journey will be the latest proof.
“Brand Upon the Brain!”: Canadian quack-artist Guy Maddin takes the gonzo route in describing childhood trauma. The mix of a bizarro camp, vampish lesbianism and parental confrontation guarantees a true geek show.
“Crank Balls”: This claymation short is about two crank balls (their words, not mine) and their resistance to happiness. With its mad-face animation and easy subject matter, this could be a pleasantly weird surprise.
“Kids & Money”: Interviewing teens from a variety of Los Angeles cliques, we get a peek into their So-Cal pocketbooks and learn what it means to have and spend loads of money: A valuable lesson for the “broke” college student. Hopefully these kids will know better than to call Pizza House at 3 a.m.
“Leningrad Cowboys Go America”: In this midnight movie, the world’s crappiest Finnish band comes to the United States in search of fame and fortune. And who wouldn’t want to see a movie with that title?
“Coconut”: It’s only two minutes long, but a succinct film on duck, duck, goose is surely better than no film at all on the titular subject.
“bLuE daHLia Live Performance: Seven Chances”: The classic slapstick star of silent film Buster Keaton set to the world music of Kalamazoo’s bLuE daHLia couldn’t be more esoteric. But at the very least, you owe it to yourself to see at least one Keaton film before you die.
“Dish”: Six gay men describe their obsessions with Oprah. Hopefully it’s not the complete punchline, but the premise might just be enough.
“Think (What Does it Take to Change a Habit?)”: An existential crisis of old age, habits and one person’s struggle to opt for paper instead of plastic.
“Gibson & Recoder Projector Performance”: Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder create innovative light works using projectors and experimental sound – imagine flashing lights representing everything from the soul to everyday absurdities.
“Out of Sight”: No, it’s not that rad George Clooney heist flick. It’s a time-lapse art piece set on a landfill. Go ahead, relish in the opportunity to pay for garbage.