A few days ago, the list of features for this year’s Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival dropped. There are more than 170 movies in the lineup, and, as you can imagine, there’s a lot to look through. Luckily, the good guys and girls over at the Film Society have posted trailers for almost all of the movies, so you can spend a lazy afternoon figuring out which films you have to catch when the festival rolls around next month. I’m curious about The End of the Tour, which has Jason Segel playing the late literary genius David Foster Wallace, and Clouds of Sils Maria, which promises to be a playful, psychological thriller headed by the somewhat odd combination of Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart. Tickets for MSPIFF 2015 go on sale for the general public next week, and Film Society members can get their tickets starting Thursday. You’ll want to plan ahead, as screenings can sell out fast.

But back to this week…

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The Walker Art Center has four films on life in Ukraine starting Friday. The films (two documentaries and two features) are part of a series titled “Ukraine: Revolution, Love and Mayhem,” and they each look to tell vital stories from the currently embattled eastern European nation.

On a lighter note, there’s also blood-soaked yakuza Smash Bros.-style comedy from Sion Sono, and a love story that looks like a Richard Linklater movie mixed with a monster from H. R. Giger’s sketchbook.


Tuesday, March 17: Why Don’t You Play In Hell? (Trylon Microcinema)

I’m not even sure what to say about this Sion Sono movie other than this: Watch the trailer.


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Friday, March 20: Spring (St. Anthony Main Theatre)

Take Linklater’s Before Sunrise, inject it with some sci-fi, and you might have something resembling Spring. The movie, from directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, takes the travel-to-Europe-and-make-love-to-a-total-babe teenage fantasy and kicks it up into something more surprising and sinister. While it might not be a typical date movie, Spring may just have that cinematic something to take the edge of this weekend’s back-to-reality 30-degree temperatures.


Saturday, March 21: Coal Miner’s Day (Walker Art Center)

This is part of the series on Ukraine. It’s a documentary on workers in a remote coal mine where conditions are dangerous, the tools are from another era, and yet the men feel a sense of pride in being behind their country’s economic development. French filmmaker Gaël Mocaër gets in the middle of these men, capturing their harsh working environment as well as their sense of humor. Discarding the fly-on-the-wall approach, he films as the men crack jokes about his movie and obeys them when they yell “Shoot, shoot, shooting,” pointing to the obvious dangers in their day-to-day lives.

Later this week, I’ll have a review up on another film in the series, Maidan, which follows the 2014 Ukrainian revolution from the heart of the protests in Kiev. That film screens at the Walker on Friday.

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Jonathon Sharp