Bests from the film fests
So you wanna rent Born Into Brothels, but your friends wanna see Monster-in-Law (again). What do you do? Well, you could get Brothels and then watch as your buddies stare slack-jawed at the TV screen while daydreaming about Lindsay Lohan and her newest dye job. Or, you could get new friends. (For the record, we actually enjoyed Monster-in-Law, and Lindsay so should have stayed a redhead.) If you're looking for others who, like you, are passionate about good film, then you may want to check out the Talk Cinema series that starts September 25. The season includes seven sneak-preview film screenings followed by a discussion. You won't know which film you'll get to see (that remains a secret), but Dallas Observer film critic Robert Wilonsky will lead the talk. We know Robert, and he talks real good, so expect a lively discussion about a smart film. Past offerings in the national series have included such titles as Sideways, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Motorcycle Diaries. All screenings are at the Magnolia Theatre, 3699 E. McKinney Ave., on Sundays at 10 a.m. The seven-part series is $120, and reservations can be made at www.talkcinema.com or by calling 1-800-551-9221. --Rhonda Reinhart
In June, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists hosted a forum on Latino cinema that discussed the impact of the culture on Hollywood and the upcoming boom of filmmakers and actors. The most notable guest was John Leguizamo. I guess J. Lo wasn't available. According to J. Leg, Latinos no longer have to take roles playing gang members or gardeners. Soon thereafter, Land of the Dead came out, featuring Leguizamo as the gangster-looking Cholo. For a truly diverse reflection of Latinos in film, there is the Vistas Film Festival, which returns for its seventh year this Thursday through Sunday. Films run the gamut from old to new, short to feature, but, for certain, there will be no screenings of The Pest. The films will be screened at the Angelika Film Center. There will also be special events such as talks and receptions. Visit www.vistasfilmfestival.org. --Rich Lopez
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It was several years ago that Douglas Marcks, resplendent in Tammy Faye Bakker-like makeup and wig of Adrienne Barbeau proportions, showed me how to filk. While not sexually perverse, it is pretty darn weird. Filking is folk singing using the themes, characters and universes of science fiction, and Marcks, dressed as the imaginary wife of an astronaut, crooned a tale of lost love in 1997's documentary Trekkies. Friday through Sunday's FenCon 2, the "science fiction literary convention" at North Dallas' Holiday Inn, features Leslie Fish, the world's best-known filker, as well as dozens of sci-fi authors and artists. We're sure Fish is great, but, you know, you never forget your first filk. Thanks, Doug. The Holiday Inn Select is at 2645 LBJ Freeway. Visit www.fencon.org. --Matt Hursh
What we've all been waiting for--another singer on the big screen. Thank goodness it's a concert film. Nicole Kidman's hunky new beau--oh, and country music superstar--Keith Urban is releasing a concert DVD on Tuesday. On Monday at 7 p.m., however, Urban will premiere Livin' Right Now on a limited number of big screens and donate a portion of the proceeds to the Red Cross. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12.50 at the door. Local participating theaters include UA Galaxy Theater and UA Fossil Creek in Fort Worth. Visit www.bigscreenconcerts.com. --Rich Lopez