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by Peter Knegt
October 13, 2010 2:22 AM
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Big Screen | Top 5: From "Carlos" to London Film Festival, This Week's Theatrical Best Bets

A scene from Oliver Assayas's "Carlos." [Photo courtesy of IFC Films]

As noted in yesterday's "Small Screen" column, "Big Screen" is back and brings with it a bit of a facelift. Each week, five recommendations for theatrical viewing pleasure will be made in list form, taking on everything from new releases to film festivals to curated series around the world. From a 5 1/2 hour "roadshow" to the UK's biggest film festival to projectile vomiting in 3-D, here's the first five best bets:

1. "Carlos" Roadshow (criticWIRE page)

Beginning this Friday, IFC Films will give New Yorkers the chance to watch Olivier Assayas's 5 1/2 hour miniseries "Carlos" in all its glory with the full "roadshow" edition of the film screening at the IFC Center. A portrait of the renowned international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal (played by Édgar Ramírez), the film debuted on The Sundance Channel earlier this week. But this weekend's screenings - complete with one intermission, free popcorn and a program book - will also include director Olivier Assayas in person Friday at 7:00pm, and at both shows (12:30pm and 7:00pm) on Saturday and Sunday. Five and a half hours in a movie theatre might seem like a bit much, but anyone who saw the film in Cannes seemed to argue the opposite. “'Carlos’ is everything ‘Che’ wanted to be and much, much more—a dynamic, convincing and revelatory account of a notorious revolutionary terrorist’s career that rivets the attention during every one of its 321 minutes," Todd McCarthy wrote on his blog. IFC is also screening the 165 minute version at Lincoln Plaza, with Assayas doing a Q&A after the 3pm show.

2. The BFI London Film Festival (festival page)

Kicking off Wednesday night with the European Premiere of Mark Romanek's "Never Let Me Go," the 54th edition of the festival will offer upwards of 200 films - 11 of which are world premieres. Other films on tap include Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere," Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan," Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech," Mike Leigh's "Another Year," Errol Morris’s "Tabloid," Danny Boyle's "127 Hours," and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives." indieWIRE will be on the scene during the first week of the 15-day event, so check back for full coverage.

3. "Down Terrace" (criticWIRE page)

Ben Wheatley's "Down Terrace" is making its US theatrical premiere this Friday via Magnet Releasing after debuting at last September's UK-based Raindance Film Festival (and then following that up with screenings at Slamdance, Rotterdam, New Directors/New Films, LAFF, and countless others). Perhaps under many folks' radars, it's definitely worthy of an evening this weekend if "Terrace" didn't end up at a film festival near you. Shot in just eight days, the dark comedy stars Wheatley's co-screenwriter Robin Hill and his real life father Robert Hill as two men recently released from prison who sit around drinking and smoking as they ponder who ratted them out to the police. In her warm review for The Village Voice Melissa Anderson notes the film could be appreciated as "The Sopranos" meets Mike Leigh, though offers "a more fruitful comparison" to last year's British satire 'In The Loop.' In both films, verbal aggression makes for the biggest laughs and the surest signs of moral decay," she writes.

4. Barbara Hammer at MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art's month-long film exhibition of filmmaker Barbara Hammer - renowned for creating the earliest and most extensive body of avant-garde films on lesbian life and sexuality - comes to a close October 13th with the screening "Lesbian and Gay Histories, Parts 2 & 3." It will encompass both Hammer's 1995 "Tender Fictions," which explores lesbian and gay history through both a personal narrative and an exploration of the literary genres of biography and autobiography, and her 2000 film "History Lessons," which looks at lesbian and gay sexuality in America from 1920 through the 1960s by turning archival footage into "a comedic compendium of lesbian pre-Stonewall history." If you haven't gotten a chance to check out this series, this screening is an excellent chance to do so before it's too late.

5. "Jackass 3-D"

And now for something completely different... While not typical fare for indieWIRE-world, Friday's release of "Jackass 3-D" - with Johnny Knoxville and company back and marking the 10 year anniversary of the "Jackass" series - sees the first time the latest 3-D technology will be utilized with regard to projectile vomiting and excretion. indieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez was on hand this weekend (at MoMA of all places... so maybe it's not completely different from the last entry after all) and offered something of a recommendation: "'Jackass 3D' is as funny—and grotesque—as any of the other 'Jackass' movies," he writes. "I love them. The films are outrageous, hilarious, raunchy, and super entertaining. The latest installment is on par with previous entries." Take that for what it's worth.

Please feel free to utilize the comments section to make recommendations these five didn't get to, or to e-mail indieWIRE about upcoming events that definitely warrant attention.

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