Movie Maniac

October 9, 2011

This month's Tallgrass Film Fest boasts strong lineup

The Tallgrass Film Festival recently announced its full lineup, and it looks to be a strong program.

I'm particularly intrigued by the German film " The Sandman," which kicks things off opening night on Oct. 20. It tells the unusual story about a man who wakes up one day to realize he is made of sand. Great, now I can't get the Metallica song "Enter Sandman" out of my head.

Actor Elliott Gould is this year's Ad Astra Award recipient, and the festival will have a screening of his Oscar-nominated performance in 1969's " Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," with Gould attending Oct. 21.

The festival's centerpiece gala Oct. 22 will be a screening of the documentary " Never Make it Home," which chronicles the plight of the late Kirk Rundstrom, of local music act Split Lip Rayfield.

The festival continues with screenings and parties through Oct. 23. For more information, go to

Also look for a special-section guide to the festival in Friday's Eagle.

Food for thought — The documentary " Forks Over Knives" examines the claim that degenerative diseases can be controlled with the right diet, namely no animal-based or processed foods — which is pretty much all I eat. Maybe I should see this.

The film follows doctors doing groundbreaking research with patients who have chronic conditions from heart disease to diabetes. They learn how to adopt a plant-based diet as the primary approach to treat their ailments.

The film will be shown at 4 p.m. today at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Wichita, 7202 E. 21st St. Admission is free (though donations are welcome), and the doors open at 3:30. Refreshments will be served after the film.

Gordon-Levitt soars — It's too bad " 50/50" only opened last week in fifth place at the box office (taking in about $8 million), because it's a terrific film.

But it's understandably a hard sell: A young man (played by Joseph Gordon- Levitt) learns he has cancer and tries to beat it.

While it sounds like a downer, it's really not. Actually, it's funny and life affirming.

And it boasts a finely detailed, knock-out performance by Gordon-Levitt, who is fast becoming one of his generation's finest actors. I think his performance is worthy of an Oscar nomination. Let me know what you think.

Zombie zone — I will present my zombie film " The Dead Can't Dance" with a live commentary about the making of it with cast members Wade Hampton, Randall Aviks and T.J. Williams. It starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Alibi Room, 919 E. Douglas, and admission is free (though you must be 21).

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