Another March, another True/False Film Festival, and another round of cajoling you to go to Columbia, Missouri, to catch this unusual event.
If just one person has driven 5 hours from Tulsa or 6½ hours from OKC to check out True/False, then this column has succeeded. The special festival, which emphasizes nonfiction films of both the crowd-pleasing and experimental ilk, feels like a mixture of family reunion, wild party and art installation. The 18th iteration of True/False runs March 5-8.
When you pack into a giant venue like the Missouri Theater, alongside thousands of others coming to view a weird flick about, say, Orthodox Jewish brothers who are hoarders (an actual film at the festival a few years ago), you know you’re in documentary heaven, surrounded by people who love film just as much as you do.
Please pardon this millennial moment – a recommendation for a movie that diverges from my usual style, one that fascinated me as a child.
The Wizard stars Fred Savage of The Wonder Years fame. Having not seen it since childhood, I’m unsure whether it holds up as a film, but its central premise – a kid who’s really good at video games – held endless appeal to my 10-year-old self. On release, critics complained that the film felt like extended product placement for Nintendo, but millennials have cemented its status as a cult classic.
The film has probably retained some actual value, if only because of its solid cast, which includes Beau Bridges, Christian Slater and a young Jenny Lewis, better known for her work in the band Rilo Kiley.
Shout! Factory releases a new Blu-Ray of the film this month; it features a 4K transfer that should capture the film’s cinematography in all its late-1980s glory. The package also includes deleted scenes, audio commentary from director Todd Holland, and a “making-of” documentary. As a bonus, ordering from the Shout! Factory website scores you a poster featuring new art from the re-release.
Sticking with the childhood theme, March brings another Pixar film to theaters, the studio’s first non-sequel since 2017’s Coco.
Onward is set in a supernatural realm overtaken by science, which has gradually robbed the inhabitants of their sense of magic. It’s an interesting theme for Pixar to tackle, given its place at the vanguard of computer animation, which some argue has robbed films of the magic of hand drawing.
Regardless, this should be another quality Pixar release. The hope is that Dan Scanlon – who directed a favored Pixar film, the critically underrated Monsters University – brings some of that film’s emotional maturity to Onward to balance out the humor, which should be plentiful with comic actors Chris Pratt, Ali Wong and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss among those providing voices for the film.