LA Film Festival 2017 – ‘What To See’

For those here in LA the film fest fever never stops as witnessed by the myriad of movie gatherings in the month of June alone.  So up next in our WhySoBlu.com comprehensive coverage is a famed fest so prestigious and well known that a cinema celeb sighting is all but guaranteed – it’s time for Los Angeles Film Festival 2017!  Taking place June 14-22 at various Arclight Cinemas and other theaters around LA (go to www.lafilmfest.com for more details!), this year’s cinematic crop promises to be more memorable flick filled than ever before and we’re super excited to partake in the wares within.  So to start the journey off right we’re taking first look at some of the more savory selections that the fest has to offer and the choices were not easy to narrow down.  From the doc delights of filmmaker Nick Broomfield to a new movie featuring my 2015 LAFF Best of Fest actor award winner Jemaine Clement (love that guy!), there’s much to enjoy.  So follow us on a LAFF 2017 film journey of…“What To See!”

Opening Night

“The Book of Henry” – Having adored and fully sung the praises of Director Colin Trevorrow’s outstanding outing Safety Not Guaranteed (it was in my Top Ten that year!) and then sadly having to lull through his generic staging via JurassicWorld, I’m eager to see the filmmaker go back to his low-budget roots with an interesting indie like The Book of Henry – money is no substitute for creativity.  (And for those “little people” like me who can’t get a ticket have no fear – the film opens in theaters two days later!)


“Humor Me” – The fact that this one features one of my acting favorites Jemaine Clement (who took my Best of Fest actor prize for the film People Places Things via LAFF 2015!) makes this one alone worth seeing, but throw in actors like Elliott Gould, a father/son boding angle and the fact that this one is inspired by the popular web series Old Jews Telling Jokes and you’ve got a flick that had me at humor.

“A Crooked Somebody” – In an era of social media gone nuts, this tale of male medium kidnapped by a man trying to send a message to the other side that takes full advantage to exploit the situation to his benefit seems particularly timely – could be a wakeup call for the cell phone set.  (Plus Clifton Collins Jr., Amy “Streets of Fire” Madigan and Ed Harris – somebody sign me up for service!)

“The Keeping Hours” – Somber tales about the passing of children and the toll it takes on the parents left behind are always tough to take, but add in acting gravitas of Lee Pace (aka Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy), some sensitivity via female director Karen Moncrieff and description promises of ‘supernatural circumstances’ and this dour seeming drama could be a keeper.


“Bill Nye: Science Guy” – In the Trump era someone needs to convince educated adults that climate change is real – how about Bill Nye: Science Guy?  (Quirky doc class is in session!)

“My Friend Dahmer” – Filmmaker Marc Meyers, the helmer of last year’s unforgettable flick How He Fell In Love (starring my #1 pick for Best Female Performance of 2017 Amy Hargreaves – I bow!), uses his skilled cinematic eye for creating authentic characters to tell the early teen tale of the famed Milwaukee Cannibal himself Jeffrey Dahmer – in Marc I trust.

“Whitney: Can I Be Me” – Fantastic doc filmmaker Nick Broomfield once again doing what he does best by dissecting and delving into both the ups and downs of the life of iconic singer Whitney Houston – watch and learn from the master doc devotees.

US Fiction

“And Then I Go” – The premise of this one – two teenage outcasts who come upon an idea for some harrowing yet satisfying payback – is a cinematic set up rife with possibilities.  But being based on a novel, here’s hoping the book to screen conversion stays as smooth as the story synopsis.

“Beauty Mark” – Who can a poverty-stricken mom and her three-year-old son turn to – how about the man who abused her as a child?  One horrifying story that’s sure to leave a mark.

“Never Here” – What happens when a photographer who makes a living following and documenting everyone and everything suddenly thinks someone is watching her?  Run.  (Like I will to this film!)

Documentary Competition

“Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators” – Being a huge fan of Curious George and a sucker for a doc that delves into creative back history, this tale involving escaping Nazi encroachment and featuring rare archival footage and animation has got me very, very curious indeed.

“Thank You For Coming” – Filmmaker Sara Lamm wants to find her biological father – some 11 years, 12 DNA tests, 5 ancestry databases, 1 potential half-sister and 900 sixth-cousins we’ll more than likely find out if she does.

World Fiction

“The Night Guard” – A security guard.  A questionable construction site.  And mysterious events that unravel over one evening – hopefully a night to remember.

“Catching Feelings” – Visitors can be a hazard is the premise behind this South African import that sees an writer and his wife’s lives turned upside down by an imposing unwelcome author – me casa es su casa my ass.


“Desolation” – With story pangs that evoke the dread of The Hitcher, Desolation’s story of a woman out to scatter her husband’s ashes in the deep wilderness that discovers a lone hiker in tow could cure those with a fear of big cities real fast.

“It Stains The Sands Red” – Love the title, but throw in a hot couple out of Vegas and an encroaching zombie apocalypse and these sands could be super sweet.

“Replace” – What’s not to love?  A co-written Richard “Hardware” Stanley script, a little Barbara Crampton acting action and a gal determined to clear up her complexion with the skin of others – replace your plans for the night of the screening.

LA Muse

“And Then There Was Eve” – While the story here seems simple – a woman deals with the disappearance of her husband while learning to love someone new – any tale involving a complex female character is always interesting.  But with two involved here it could be an arresting layered ladies affair all around.

“Fat Camp” – A tale about embracing your inner loser set at a fat camp that’s described as ‘willfully offensive with no manners and tons of heart’ is required viewing – dibs on the top bunk!

So head over to www.lafilmfest.com for all the details on these and all the others films featured this year – get out and support great film!  (And see you there!)


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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