Five Film Favorites: 18th James River Film Festival

The 18th James River Film Festival gets underway today, April 7, and runs through next Wednesday, April 13. In honor of the little festival that could, I — and a few other regular James River Film Journal writers — are dedicating this week’s Five Film Favorites to the James River Film Festival and sharing with you our favorite five films and/or filmmakers featured during this year’s festival.

So, without further ado, here are my five favorites at the 18th James River Film Festival:

1. The Night of the Hunter. This is going to be even better because of the reading that precedes the movie. Not simply because I get the pleasure of the introduction, but I know that the people who love this classic film will be in for a great surprise to learn that the source novel is incredible… and perhaps even better.

2. The Spanish Dracula with guitarist Gary Lucas. Live music! A movie that is almost assuredly a new experience! What could be better!

3. New Jerusalem. Does it count that I won’t be there for this screening? It’s only April, but R. Alverson’s beautiful and intensely spiritual film is tops on my list. It’s going to be hard to beat this movie for my favorite of 2011.

4. Hot Dogs and Movies. Again, this may be cheating, but as much as I can’t wait to do a reading before these classic shorts, as much as I can’t wait to see the shorts, well, there’s hot dogs from Captain Slappy’s! Are you kidding me?! There can be no better celebration of spring.

5. Mix Up with Jonathan Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum’s one of my favorite critics–astute, intelligent, grumpy, the works. He calls Mix Up one of his favorites. I’m always up for a surprise. This festival, as usual, is full of great surprises!

Look for a few more Five Film Favorites: 18th James River Film Festival today and during the festival. This year you can buy tickets online via the James River Film Society website or just show up at the door 30 minutes before each show. I’m hitting the road today and look forward to seeing you during the festival. For the complete schedule, ticket info, locations and more, visit Or stop by Chop Suey Books or Video Fan to pick up a printed program.

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