A trio of splashy, late entries to the Los Angeles Film Festival were announced Wednesday: the mega-budget summer movies “Man of Steel” and “Monsters University,” as well as an in-person discussion with indie auteur Spike Jonze that will include footage from his upcoming feature, “Her.”
On June 12 -- one day before LAFF kicks off at downtown Los Angeles’ L.A. Live in earnest and two days before the film's release -- the festival will host a special screening of director Zack Snyder’s Superman movie reboot, “Man of Steel.” Starring British actor Henry Cavill as Krypton’s favorite son (and Russell Crowe as his father Jor-El), the $175-million action-adventure follows Superman’s crash landing on Earth, existential reckoning as young Clark Kent and search for purpose on an alien world -- en route to becoming a symbol of hope for mankind and saving the globe from annihilation.
“Monsters University,” the prequel to Disney-Pixar’s smash 2001 animated comedy “Monsters, Inc.,” will screen at the festival on June 18, three days before the movie’s wide theatrical release on June 21. Set during the party-hearty college years of professional “scarers” Mike and Sulley (respectively, the voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman), the film takes us back to when the future friends were once arch rivals competing for primacy at the university’s elite Scare Program.
LAFF has never shied away from showcasing mainstream Hollywood fare intended for the widest possible multiplex audience. In years past, the festival has featured such popular films as "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" and premiered Michael Bay's sci-fi blockbuster "Transformers." Last year, the festival hosted a gala debut for the Channing Tatum stripper romp "Magic Mike."
This year, music-video-ace-turned-Oscar-nominated-filmmaker Jonze (whose impressionistic oeuvre includes “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation”) has been booked for a discussion forum titled “A Brand of His Own: Spike Jonze” on June 22. There, the writer-director will talk about his eclectic career – he co-created the MTV series “Jackass” and now serves as creative director for Vice Media’s VBS.tv -- and screen clips from “Her." The sci-fi romance, Jonze's first film since 2009's "Wild Things," stars Joaquin Phoenix as a lonely writer who falls in love with a Siri-like computer system.
Other events announced Wednesday by the festival include an program honoring costume designers and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences launch of the Costume Designers Branch, and “Women in the Cut: A Celebration of Women Editors,” a conversation featuring some of today’s top film editors. More information is available at lafilmfest.com.