My credo now approves of any film festival with the category “The Strange Batch” to cover what it describes as “wonderfully weird shorts.” This decision came after looking at the lineup of the Twister Alley Film Festival, happening May 2-4 at the Woodward Arts Theater. That listing is just one indication of the festival’s offbeat sensibilities. With other categories including “WTF!!! Shorts” (horror), foreign shorts and shorts for kids – plus a slew of feature-length films – there’s bound to be something for every taste at Twister Alley.
Catching short films at festivals is rewarding because they hardly play elsewhere and are a great way to catch directors making independent films in which ideas far outstrip budgets. Twister Alley is on the small side for a festival, so each film or group of short films only plays once. Check the schedule at twisteralleyfilmfestival.com.
Binge-watching a beloved sitcom is a favorite pastime for many, and some of the best marathon fodder of the last decade has come courtesy of Amy Poehler (Parks & Recreation) and Tina Fey (30 Rock). The longtime friends have had a spottier track record making films, but their last team-up, Sisters, is quite good. Poehler takes the director’s chair for their new film, Wine Country, debuting on Netflix this month.
The film appears to cross the hang-out vibe of Sisters with the wine snobbery of Sideways and sports a more-than-promising cast. Joining Poehler and Fey are old Saturday Night Live hands Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, the perpetually underrated Paula Pell and Maya Rudolph – the latter two tending to steal any scene they’re in. It remains to be seen if Poehler will prove as adept behind the camera as in front. Regardless the film’s style, it should provide an evening of laughs from the comfort of your couch.
The bizarre-looking Pokémon Detective Pikachu looks intriguing, but, with apologies to that oddity, the May film scene belongs to one man: John Wick. The grim, bone-crunching assassin – the role of a lifetime for Keanu Reeves – was last seen being hunted by every other hit man in New York. In John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Wick looks to escape them all, despite having burned his bridges by violating the arcane rules of the assassin’s world.
The appeal of these movies is twofold: Wick performs some of the most balletic, awesome stunts imaginable and the trilogy has built a ridiculous mythology around itself – a world it spins with tongue firmly in cheek. Part 3 should prove another satisfying entry in the best action franchise around.