5 Films to Watch at the 2015 USA Film Festival

Aubrey Plaza lights up the screen in Ned Rifle.
Aubrey Plaza lights up the screen in Ned Rifle.

They say when one door closes, another one opens. Well, in the case of big D film festivals, when one ends its yearly run, another begins. Starting on Wednesday at The Angelika in Dallas, the USA Film Festival will open for its 2015 showcase of Texas and American independent films.

This looks to be a big year for the 42 year old festival. On top of its slate of films, the celebrities will be out in full force. This year, Ernie Hudson, Lisa Loeb, Stephen Tobolowsky, Emmy winner Margot Martindale, and heavy metal icon Pat Boone will be in attendance.

This may be one of the biggest years for the festival yet. Here are the top 5 films to look for at this year's USA Film Festival.

Ned Rifle

Hal Hartley has spent over 20 years making this trilogy that began with Henry Fool in 1997 and Fay Grim in 2007. His third and final installment, Ned Rifle stars Liam Aiken as the titular character who is on the hunt for his father. The term "hunt" is literal in this case as Ned has his hopes set on murdering his dear ol' dad for the years of anguish he has caused the Grim family.

While on the road, he runs into Susan -- played by the insanely talented, Aubrey Plaza. According to the synopsis, Susan is possibly disturbed which is not too far a stretch for someone who played the capricious April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation. The first two films in Hartley's trilogy were well received on the indie circuit and this one looks explosive. Ned Rifle plays at 9:45 p.m. Friday.

Gallows Road

Ernie Hudson aka "the coolest ghostbuster," stars in this heavy drama about a man named Bob Collins who loses his family in a horrific act of racial violence. Now he is alone and bitter - vowing vengeance against the men who destroyed his life. Meanwhile, Jake, one of the men responsible for the death of the Collins family, feels guilty and wants to confess, but the nasty, racist ringleader won't allow it. Will Bob find the strength to forgive? Will Jake be able to make things right?

Gallows Road

plays at 7 p.m. Wednesday with an introduction by Stephen Tobolowsky.

Mr. Holmes

Despite the fact that Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller have all played the super sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, in recent years - that didn't stop Ian McKellen from throwing his top hat into the ring. This is not your average Holmes mystery. McKellen plays the legendary detective at 90 years old who sets out to solve an unsolved mystery that has always bothered him. With no Watson around to aid him in his chase, he relies on the help of his caregiver and her ten-year-old son. Choosing to check out this film out is elementary, Watson.

Mr. Holmes

plays on 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Doo Dah Man

Upcoming Events

Dallas native, Glenn Moreshower, plays a conman who is on the lamb from the law. Will Brittain plays a college photography student who is hitchhiking to California to avoid his family troubles in New Jersey. When the two cross paths, they form an unlikely friendship. Of course, the conman takes the kid under his wing and teaches him all about the art of scamming.

From Dana Carvey's Opportunity Knocks to Nicolas Cage's Matchstick Men, con movies are some of the most entertaining on screen experiences. The Doo Dah man looks to be just as fun. See it at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Welcome to Me

What happens when an Oprah obsessed introvert wins the lottery? Naturally, she jumpstarts her own talk show.

Welcome to Me

has a star-studded cast (Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Joan Cusack, Tim Robbins, and Alan Tudyk) and looks like it will be the funniest film of the festival.

With an R rating, Welcome to Me looks like it might capture some of that Bridesmaids glory. Wiig is best when she is playing odd-ball characters and Welcome might just feature the oddest ball yet. See it at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.


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