Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
“(500) Days of Summer” Just as it did two years ago with “Knocked Up,” the LRFF scores an early preview of a buzz-y romantic comedy months before its theatrical release with this Sundance hit. Starring two of indiedom's favorites, Zooey Deschanel (“Almost Famous,” “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Mysterious Skin,” “Brick”), the film takes a traditional formula and tweaks it. Not just in plot — “Boy meets Girl — Boy falls in love — Girl doesn't” is the film's tagline — but in form. The 500 days of the title unfold, from Gordon-Levitt's character's perspective, jumbled up. As memories do. One day reminds him of another. From walking to work the day after he's had sex for the first time with Deschanel's character and breaking out in song to the day they break up and he sees her face in every girl he passes. Better show up early for this one screening. It's bound to be a hot ticket. Market Street Cinema, 7 p.m. Sat., May 16.
“Crude” Another Sundance favorite, this documentary from Joe Berlinger (“Paradise Lost,” “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster”) follows the protracted legal battle between some 30,000 Ecuadorians and Chevron. Some 40 years after the oil giant (then Texaco) began drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon, the soil and waters of the area still run black, while area tribesmen die of cancer at alarming rates. It's a story of not only one of the biggest legal battles in the world — a $27 billion class action suit — but also one that touches on celebrity activism, global politics, fading indigenous cultures and the environmental movement. Berlinger will be on hand for each screening. Riverdale 10, 2 p.m. Fri., May 15; 9:30 p.m. Sat., May 16.
?“Died Young, Stayed Pretty” It's a grim pop culture joke applied to those who die early but leave behind some rich catalog of work. The Jimi Hendrixes and James Deans of the world. But it works as a title for Canadian filmmaker Eileen Yaghoobian not because she's documenting those flameouts or even because her subjects are fascinated by the detritus of pop culture. Rather she's focused on the bizarre world of gig posters, those utilitarian works of art plastered to telephone poles and bathroom stalls to promote concerts. These one-time use posters die young, post-show usually, but within the subculture and on popular websites like Gigposters.com, always stay pretty. The film's trailer promises a rich juxtaposition between arresting art and the personalities of the weirdos behind it. Yaghoobian will answer questions after each screening. Riverdale 10, 4:30 p.m. Fri., May 15; 5 p.m., Sat. May 16.
“Downloading Nancy” Yet another buzz-y film that screened at Sundance, but one with a different sort of buzz. It's the timeless story of a self-mutilating woman (Maria Bello), who hires a man she meets on the Internet (Jason Patric) to torture her emotionally, physically and sexually and kill her when she's least suspecting. The critical response has been, to say the least, colorful. Entertainment Weekly called it a “highbrow-pervo conversation piece,” while a Cinemablend.com reviewer said, “It was like the film was raping my face.” Those make the marketing decisions for the film have embraced that sort of critique. “The most controversial film you will see this year” is its tagline. An arguable position in New York maybe, but here, at least in theaters, you can take it for a guarantee. Riverdale 10, 9:30 p.m. Thu., May 14; 9:30 p.m. Fri., May 15.