For no reason I can think of, Hollywood has decided to open two of the week's big movies today instead of two days from now. (Are they trying to avoid competition with Neil Blomkamp's Elysium, opening Friday? Can Blomkamp have become that formidable after just one film?) My review of We're The Millers will be in Friday's Daily Messenger and next week's Post papers, but in the meantime let's talk for a minute about the local programs available to film-lovers over the next week.
First, there's tonight's one-night-only presentation of the 2013 Rochester Teen Film Festival, co-sponsored by WXXI, The Little Theatre and Nazareth College. Dozens of submissions from young local and out-of-town filmmakers were evaluated by a programming committee, and the 12 finalists were viewed and assessed by a panel of local judges (including -- full disclosure -- me) two weeks ago. There's some really powerful stuff in the films you'll see tonight at 5pm over at the Little Theatre, 240 East Ave. It's free of charge, and because the films are all short, you'll be out in time for dinner.
Then we move to Friday night, and a 10pm local premiere of the film Ashley, starring Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) and Jennifer Taylor of TV's "Two and a Half Men." Madsen will be on hand for the premiere at the Pittsford Cinema, 3349 Monroe Ave., along with co-star and Fairport resident Tom Malloy (also a producer on the film) and director Dean Ronalds. Tickets are now on sale for both the premiere event and the second-chance screening of Ashley the next day at 11:30am. (The film is opening in 14 other cities around the country on Friday, as well.) I haven't seen the film yet, but how can we pass this up?
Then, once you've gotten through the weekend (and presumably seen Elysium), make plans to come back to the Little on Tuesday, August 13. That's when the monthly One Take documentary series will be presenting Blackfish, the much-discussed doc that looks at the issue of whales in captivity, with a particular focus on Tilikum, the orca who killed three people at Orlando's Sea World park in 2010. The film premiered at Sundance in January and has been picking up major praise at national festivals ever since.
It's getting so hardly a night goes by without a blink-and-you-miss-it chance to see something really remarkable on our local movie screens. Grab these opportunities while you can.