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2009 Boston Underground Film Festival: Highlights

Logo of a bunny as part of the Boston skyline

This is just a quick update reminder that the 11th annual Boston Underground Film Festival starts tonight, March 19, and will run until March 26.

While I haven’t seen tonight’s opening film, Frank Henenlotter’s Bad Biology, which is screening at the Kendall Square Cinema at 7:30 p.m. — which I wish I have because I’m a big Henenlotter fan — I have seen several of the films screening this year, mostly courtesy screeners sent to me by BUFF, that I want to recommend below. But first, also tonight after Bad Biology, there will be an Opening Night party at TT the Bear’s, where a trio of Boston bands will be performing: Big Digits, Uncle Monsterface and Get Laid. Sounds like a blast and I wish I could be there!

While I’ve already posted up the festival’s full official lineup, here are the five feature films that I’ve seen and heartily recommend. These are all not to be missed and each one is screening at the Kendall Square Cinema:

1) The Man Who Would Be Polka King is Joshua Brown‘s triumphant return to BUFF after last year’s killer Altamont Now with this sneak preview of his co-directional effort with John Mikulak. The film tells the outrageous true story of Jan Lewan, a polkafied Mini-Me version of Bernie Madoff. I reviewed the film here and it’s screening March 21 at 12:30 p.m.

2) The Rock-afire Explosion by Brett Whitcomb explores the obsessive sub-culture that has sprung up around the animatronic band that used to perform at the now defunct Showbiz Pizza Place chain of restaurants. Meet the man who invented this phenomenon and the few adults who hold on dearly to their childhood memories, including one man who has recreated the band in the garage behind his house. I reviewed the film here and it’s screening March 22 at 12:30 p.m. with a repeat screening March 24 at 7:45 p.m.

3) Modern Love Is Automatic by Zach Clark is the hilarious deadpan story of a bored nurse who becomes a dominatrix and her delusional roommate who has dreams of becoming a famous model but in reality can only get a job working in a sleazy mattress store. This is a very original comedy that has a way of sneaking up on you and tickling you to death. I reviewed the film here and it’s screening March 21 at 7:15 p.m. with a repeat screening March 23 at 7:45 p.m.

4) Morris County by Matthew Garrett is a twisted triptych of tales of sex and death in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three short films in this feature is a wonderfully scripted and acted piece that spirals into the darkest sides of human relationships. I reviewed the film here and it’s screening March 21 at 9:45 p.m. with a repeat screening March 24 at 9:45 p.m.

5) Mock Up on Mu is Craig Baldwin‘s dizzying journey across the scientific and spiritual history of California presented as a futuristic sci-fi film noir. This is a film that has to be seen to be believed. I reviewed the film here and it’s screening March 22 at 5:45 p.m. with a repeat screening March 25 at 5:45 p.m.

Also, in addition to the features, I heartily recommend the short films Attackazoids! by Brian Lonano and Bally-Master by Gary Beeber, which I’ve previously reviewed on the Underground Film Journal. (Click titles for reviews.) Also, BUFF was nice enough to send me a selection of shorts to review, which I did here, that I recommend going through the lineup and trying to find all of these.

Based on the films I’ve seen, it looks like BUFF is going to have a great year! Check out the full official lineup on the Underground Film Journal, or please visit the festival’s official site.


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