Welcome to another nutritious edition of The (Mostly) Indie Film Calendar, a weekly roundup of what's happening beyond the multiplexes in this great land of ours. If you know of something cool going on where you live -- a small film festival, retrospective, midnight movies, etc. -- let me know! You can find me at Eric.Snider (at) Weblogsinc (dot) com.

INDIE THEATRICAL RELEASES
  • Frontiere(s) is a French horror flick whose history is almost as torturous as its content. It was supposed to be part of the After Dark series last fall, but its NC-17 rating made that impossible due to the contract that the After Dark people had with the theatrical venues. So now it's basically going straight to DVD -- but first it's being deposited in a handful of theaters today in New York, L.A., Denver, Seattle, Philly, Austin, and maybe a few other places. Cinematical's Scott Weinberg gave it a mixed review at Toronto last year.
  • The Fall: Remember The Cell, that freaky Jennifer Lopez movie from 2000? I know I do! (I never forget a movie with a vivisected horse.) The director, Tarsem Singh, is back now with The Fall, a visually stunning fable where a man in a hospital tells a little girl a story, and that story is craaaazy. Opens in New York and L.A. today.

More indie releases and a city-by-city list of cool events after the jump....


  • Noise is an indie comedy about a man (Tim Robbins) who takes vigilante action against all the noise of New York City, which is driving him crazy. What's particularly interesting to me is that it was written and directed by Henry Bean, whose 2001 film The Believer was an extraordinary Sundance hit (and an early sign that Ryan Gosling was a terrific actor) about a Jewish neo-Nazi. Noise opens in NYC today and will hopefully expand in the coming weeks.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Austin: Austin's own Kevin Ford will present his new film, buddy comedy When Is Tomorrow, this weekend at the Alamo Drafthouse -- and the film's star, Eddie Steeples (Crabman on My Name Is Earl) will be there, too. Steeples is gonna do stand-up (Steeples does stand-up?) for a half hour before the screenings, and then stick around for post-film Q&As.

Boston: Quick quiz: What is the oldest surviving feature-length animated film? The answer is The Adventures of Prince Achmed, a German cartoon from 1926 that utilized stop-motion photography and other nifty tricks to tell a story inspired by 1,001 Arabian Nights. The Coolidge Corner Theatre will screen the film Saturday night, with live musical accompaniment provided by a local group called Tiger Saw. Silent German cartoons and live music! What could be better?

Boston: The Brattle Theatre's "Elements of Cinema" event for May will focus on Charlie Chaplin. The free program, taking place Saturday at 11 a.m., will include clips from Chaplin's movies and a discussion of his work. Grab a cane, put on a Hitler-y mustache, and come join the fun!

Brooklyn, N.Y.: BAMcinématek is celebrating the cinematography of Ed Lachman this month, with screenings of his films and personal appearances by Lachman and some of the directors he's worked with. It kicks off tonight with Ken Park (Lachman and Larry Clark in attendance) and continues with I'm Not There on Saturday and True Stories (Lachman and David Byrne will be there) on Sunday. See the whole schedule here.

Chicago: Sci-fi fans should cancel their Saturday plans and head down to the Music Box Theatre for the Sci-Fi Spectacular. It starts at noon and includes seven sci-fi classics back-to-back, along with vintage trailers, contests, and more merriment. The flicks on the schedule are: Island of Lost Souls (1932), Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Death Race 2000 (1975), The Road Warrior (1981), and Robocop (1987). Nerdtastic!

Denver: How about some film education and some trippy images, all at once? The Denver Film Society's "Film and Design" series will showcase some historical avant-garde work Wednesday night, including several shorts from the 1920s and the feature-length Man with a Movie Camera (1928). These filmmakers didn't tell traditional stories; instead, they experimented with moviemaking and found ways to convey ideas through images and editing.

Los Angeles: Just in time for Mothers Day, the Egyptian Theatre is screening two classic musicals that everybody's mom loves! Tonight is My Fair Lady (1964), and Sunday is The Sound of Music (1965). Your mom can't wait to see them on the big screen, provided the sound isn't too loud and you can still be home at a decent hour.

Los Angeles: The great director David Lean would have turned 100 this year, so the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica is celebrating with a series of some of his big-screen classics. Tonight is a 70mm print of Lawrence of Arabia (1962); Saturday is a matinee of Oliver Twist (1948), followed by Doctor Zhivago (1965); Sunday is Ryan's Daughter (1970); Wednesday is Bridge on the River Kwai (1957); and Thursday is a double feature of Summertime (1955) and This Happy Breed (1944).

New York City: Robert Frank's work as a photographer and filmmaker (Pull My Daisy, etc.) in the late 1950s and '60s was hugely influential, so why not celebrate the man? The Film Society of Lincoln Center will do just that next Thursday with two programs of Frank's films, followed by an evening event joined by the man himself.

Portland, Ore.: Just in time for Mothers Day, it's Zompire: The Undead Film Festival! (Just kidding. Don't take your mom to this.) It's two nights of zombie flicks, hosted this weekend by the Hollywood Theatre. Titles include From Dusk 'til Dawn, Dawn of the Dead (2004), Brain Dead, and Wasting Away. There are some shorts, too.

Salt Lake City: Midnight. Tonight and Saturday. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. The Tower Theatre. San Dimas High School football rules!

Seattle: Film buffs know the father of special effects was Georges Melies, the inventive French filmmaker whose early short films -- and I mean early, like 1896 early -- were creative, whimsical little masterpieces featuring effects that were astounding then and still charming now. (If nothing else, you've definitely seen images from his most famous work, A Trip to the Moon.) The Northwest Film Forum will present an evening of Melies' work next Thursday, complete with live performances of some of the director's narrations, as well as musical accompaniment. Beat that, Speed Racer!