The fifth annual Whiskey Creek Film Festival at Wadena's Cozy Theatre features six current release and award-winning films for moviegoers of all ages. The festival is put on by a group of dedicated movie lovers from Detroit Lakes to Staples and Menahga to Long Prairie. The basic rule for the festival is to screen current release movies of the highest artistic merit, films that are ordinarily not available to view in our part of north central Minnesota. The whole effort is a volunteer, non-profit one, and admission to the festival's six movies is available from the Cozy box office, the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center, the Stomping Grounds in Staples, and Borealis Books in Wadena. A full schedule is available on the Web site for the festival, www.whiskeycreekfilmfestival.org.
The six movies this year are as follows.
From the Academy Award-winning director and world-renowned Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki comes "Ponyo," a story inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Little Mermaid." Already a box-office success in Japan, the story of a young and overeager goldfish named Ponyo (voiced by Noah Cyrus) and her quest to become human features an outstanding roster of voice talent, including Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Frankie Jonas, Cloris Leachman, Liam Nieson, Lily Tomlin and Betty White. Rated G.
"500 Days of Summer" is a familiar plot line but with a real difference. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl doesn't. This post modern love story is never what we expect it to be -- it's thorny yet exhilarating, funny and sad, a twisted journey of highs and lows that doesn't quite go where we think it will. When Tom, a hapless greeting card copywriter and hopeless romantic, is blindsided after his girlfriend Summer dumps him, he shifts back and forth through various periods of their 500 days "together" to try to figure out where things went wrong. His reflections ultimately lead him to finally rediscover his true passions in life. Rated PG-13.
"The Hurt Locker" is critically acclaimed as the best film about the Iraq war. Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post writes: "'The Hurt Locker' is about Iraq in the same way that 'Paths of Glory' was about World War I or 'Full Metal Jacket' was about Vietnam -- which is to say, utterly and not at all. 'The Hurt Locker' is a great movie, period." Rated R.
"Moon" takes place in the near future. Astronaut Sam Bell is living on the far side of the moon, completing a three-year contract with Lunar Industries to mine Earth's primary source of energy, Helium-3. It is a lonely job, made harder by a broken satellite that allows no live communications home. Taped messages are all Sam can send and receive. Thankfully, his time on the moon is nearly over, and Sam will be reunited with his wife, Tess, and their three-year-old daughter, Eve, in only a few short weeks. Finally, he will leave the isolation of Sarang, the moon base that has been his home for so long, and he will finally have someone to talk to beyond Gerty, the base's well-intentioned, but rather uncomplicated computer. Rated R.
"The Cove" is a documentary about dolphins. In the 1960s, Richard O'Barry was the world's leading authority on dolphin training, working on the set of the popular television program "Flipper." Day in and day out, O'Barry kept the dolphins working and television audiences smiling. But one day, that all came to a tragic end. "The Cove," directed by Louie Psihoyos, tells the amazing true story of how Psihoyos, O'Barry and an elite team of activists, filmmakers and freedivers embarked on a covert mission to penetrate a hidden cove in Japan, shining light on a dark and deadly secret. The mysteries they uncovered were only the tip of the iceberg. Rated PG-13.
The sixth film of this year's festival is "Away We Go." Directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") from an original screenplay by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, this funny and heartfelt film follows the journey of an expectant couple (John Krasinski of "The Office" and Maya Rudolph of "Saturday Night Live"), as they travel the U.S. in search of the perfect place to put down roots and raise their family. Along the way, they have misadventures and find fresh connections with an assortment of relatives and old friends who just might help them discover "home" on their own terms for the first time. The movie features the music of Alexi Murdoch. Rated R.