As we mentioned yesterday, the Dallas Video Festival kicks off its 21st, um, festival tonight at 7 at the Angelika Film Center in Mockingbird Station -- and, as always, founder Bart Weiss and his crack staff have assembled an eclectic, exciting lineup. It's truly a best-of-the-best this year, as Weiss has trimmed the sprawling beast to a more manageable schedule that runs through Sunday and includes the Dallas premiere of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, which, as former Observer-er Sarah Hepola wrote five years ago upon its world premiere in Austin, turns "all the Raiders action -- clichéd after 20 years of imitation -- into a new and genuinely startling viewing experience." Chris Strompolos, among the trio of then-10-year-olds who began working on the project in 1981, will be in attendance tonight -- but, look, he had to come, because the three who made the movie over several years don't ever let the thing out of their sight.
After the jump, we've provided trailers for and clips from 11 of the festival's highlights -- among them, a vintage bit from Saturday Night Live featuring Mr. Bill, who will be here along with creator Walter Williams for Oh Nooooo!!, a retrospective scheduled for 9:15 p.m. Saturday. Here, then, but a few of my favorites in this year's fest: The Wrecking Crew, a thrilling, catchy doc about the Los Angeles studio musicians of the 1960s who more or less defined the West Coast pop-rock sound of the era; Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue's (yes, that Phil Donahue) Body of War, a heartbreaking, frustrating and occasionally infuriating doc about a soldier paralyzed from a bullet after but a week in Iraq; and the grief-stricken, guilt-ridden Winter Soldier, about the 1972 investigation into atrocities allegedly committed by soldiers stationed in Vietnam. And, better still, the Godfather of the Modern-Day Doc, Al Maysles, will be here on Saturday night present the honor that bears his name. That alone makes the DVF essential. --Robert Wilonsky
Guest of Cindy Sherman
My Mom Smokes Weed
The New Position
The Pleasure of Being Robbed
Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation
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The Wrecking Crew