We'll take any opportunity we can get for a furlough from our shackles at Defamer HQ, so off we go to the Los Angeles Film Festival, which opens tonight with the world premiere of Angelina Jolie's emaciated-assassin actioner Wanted. Maybe not the gritty, funded-by-credit-cards entry you'd expect from fest organizers Film Independent, but that's what the rest of the event is for; running until June 29, this year's LAFF is enticing enough for us to call in sick at least a few days, maybe even all of next week.
We guess we'll wait and see, but meanwhile, we've scanned the program for a few daily recommendations you might consider through the end of the festival — from no-budget micro-horror to a primate-centric Charlton Heston tribute to a Reitman family gab session. See them all (and add your own tips) after the jump. And give us a ride, would you? We're quiet, clean and can probably fit in your trunk.
Tonight: Start the fest in style by crashing the premiere and after-party of Wanted; assuming she shows up, it's likely the only way Entertainment Tonight can be sure Angelina Jolie has not yet made twins.
Friday, June 20: Not to be confused with Alan Ball's execrable eye-terror Towelhead, the Duplass Brothers' Baghead is a nifty comedy/horror hybrid about four struggling actors who hit a cabin in the woods to hash out a screenplay for themselves. Creative tension gives way to sexual tension, which in turn gives way to a bag-wearing homicidal maniac. What, your writing partners never tried to kill you? Alternate: Swear-A-Long Scarface at the Ford Amphitheater. It is what it sounds like.
Saturday, June 21: After eluding their damn dirty hands in April once and for all, the late Charlton Heston receives a free tribute screening of Planet of the Apes outdoors on Broxton Ave. Alternate: Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgson and his Cinematic Titanic crew return for a live-on-stage lampooning of Roger Corman's The Wasp Woman.
Sunday, June 22: David Duchovny and Chris Carter drop by the Crest to show clips from X Files: I Want to Believe and deflect amateur screenwriters' offers during the Q&A to write the franchise's next film. Alternate: The engrossing, Sundance-winning doc Man on Wire, about the wack-job who walked between the World Trade Center towers on a tightrope in 1974.
Monday, June 23: Ivan and Jason Reitman chat all things Canadian and nepotistic in a conversation at the Geffen Playhouse. Alternate: Guillermo del Toro chats all things monsters and Hobbit at the Billy Wilder Theater.
Tuesday, June 24: A late revival screening of The Lost Boys promises "special guests" (someone named "Corey" is a high-percentage guess) and a preview of the straight-to-DVD sequel Lost Boys: The Tribe. Alternate: Una Noche con Antonio Banderas at el Teatro de Guillermo Wilder.
Wednesday, June 25: We haven't seen Paper or Plastic?, but any documentary about a grocery-bagging competition in Las Vegas seems virtually guaranteed to soar. Alternate: Josh Safdie's kleptomaniacal Cannes and South By Southwest sensation The Pleasure of Being Robbed.
Thursday, June 26: The Russian social "satire" Cargo 200 is arguably the bleakest, most uncommercial and bitterly amusing film we've seen this year. Which is to say we loved it. See it now or wait for Netflix. Alternate: Rob Reiner gets his spittly, hyperventilating election-year game going with a screening and discussion of his 1995 film The American President.
Friday, June 27: Night Flight: Born Again revisits the gone-but-not-forgotten program's stash of music videos, interviews, shorts and other cult artifacts that made it the compelling (if short-lived) analog to '80s-era MTV. Alternate: If that's not fringe enough for you, three hours' worth of Kuchar brothers films are screening at the same time down the street at the Billy Wilder Theater.
Saturday, June 28: Another crash-worthy gala premiere of Hellboy II: The Golden Army starts winding things down, followed by more monsters-and-Hobbit talk from Guillermo del Toro. Alternate: The Peter Bart-approved crankhead opus Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal.
Sunday, June 30: The W Westwood hosts a 20th-anniversary screening of A Fish Called Wanda. Alternate: None. Are you kidding? Have you seen A Fish Called Wanda?