The annual Twin Cities Film Festival is back, through Oct. 28. Here are some things to watch for:
TCFF often gives movie fans the first crack at buzzy titles that go on to Oscar success, including last year's screenplay winner, "Women Talking." This year, keep your eye on Jeffrey Wright, who has long been an Oscar waiting to happen and who's getting best actor talk for "American Fiction" (Oct. 28), in which he plays a writer whose satire of racial stereotyping backfires. Two-time Oscar winner Alexander Payne was in the fest with "The Holdovers," a wry, '70s-set comedy about three loners who "lone" together. (It played only on Oct. 19 at the fest, although it returns for a theatrical run next month.)
Star in the house
Terrence Howard, who is beloved for the "Best Man" movies and who earned an Oscar nomination for "Hustle & Flow," will be on hand for an "In Conversation" event Oct. 28. His new "Showdown at the Grand," an adventure set at a movie theater, screens Oct. 27.
Take in a Paul Mescal double feature
Mescal, who became one of the hottest names in the biz after appearing in the steamy "Normal People" series, can't be contained in just one title. He's in both "Foe" (Oct. 23), where he appears opposite Saoirse Ronan as a man in a mercurial marriage who is asked to make a huge sacrifice, and in "All of Us Strangers" (Oct. 21), Andrew Haigh's acclaimed drama about a guy whose new boyfriend (Andrew Scott) leads him to reflect on his difficult relationship with his parents.
The Spot bar in St. Paul was one of the locations for "Downtown Owl," a comedy drama that also was filmed at Highland Park High School and outstate locations. The Spot plays a tavern where characters portrayed by Ed Harris and Lily Rabe (who also co-directed) drown their sorrows. (Oct. 28)
Something for Halloween
I have not seen "V/H/S/85" but I have affection for previous entries in this anthology series, which purports to be found-footage horror movies discovered in a terrifying room. The five shorts in "85" include a familiar face: Twin Cities native Anna Sundberg, who appeared on just above every local stage before decamping to New York several years ago. (Oct. 20)
Next big thing?
"Moonlight" director Barry Jenkins co-produced "All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt," which traces the arc of a woman's life in Mississippi. The cast has familiar faces (Moses Ingram, who was in Joel Coen's "The Tragedy of Macbeth," and Chris Chalk, from HBO's "Perry Mason") but the name to remember is writer/director Raven Jackson, who has earned a lot of buzz from this debut. (Oct. 21)
Twin Cities Film Festival
When: Through Oct. 28.
Where: Showplace Icon, 1625 West End Blvd., St. Louis Park.
Tickets: $9-$20, twincitiesfilmfest.org.