April Fools—Guild Cinema is celebrating April 1 in high style with a one-night-only screening of "Pranks!!" This special salute to April Fool's Day includes an assortment of devilish, devious video works from around the country. "Homeland Security: It's in Your Hands" by The White Ring offers "tips" on surviving these increasingly dangerous and scary times. The hilarious "G.I. Joe PSAs" by Eric Fensler, features the red-blooded TV cartoon hero teaching kids how to defuse many a bad situation. "The Eternal Frame" by legendary performance filmmakers Ant Farm is one of the seminal video works of the '70s, restaging the tragic events of Dallas 1963. There will be plenty more video insanity including a rare, classic "mystery screening" by famed underground filmmaker Todd Haynes (Safe, Far From Heaven). Screenings take place at 5:30 and 8 p.m.
The demise last year of the Taos Talking Picture Film Festival left many wondering what would happen to the artistic, movie-hungry mecca of Taos, NM. A tricky bankruptcy derailed the homegrown festival in 2003, ending (at least temporarily) any chance of hanging out for a weekend, rubbing elbows with a few stars and watching movies in the cool, pine-lined environment of northern New Mexico. Thanks to some last-minute efforts by a team of dedicated film lovers, though, Taos will once again play host to an annual film festival.
Sometimes less is more. The new film Postmen in the Mountains, shot in 1998 but only recently delivered to America from China, is certainly proof of that. This tiny, deceptively simple story concentrates on an aging mail carrier, whose job it is to lug a mail sack through the rugged mountains of China's rural Hunan province. Forced to retire due to increasingly painful arthritis, the postman passes his job onto his son. The entire film takes place over the course of a single journey in which the father (along with a faithful guide dog) teaches his son the ins and outs of the laborious mail route. That's pretty much it for the plot. There are no surprising twists, no giant crises, no big action sequences. And yet, the film carries an emotional weight far heavier than most Hollywood tearjerkers.
Discovery Channel's new series “Animal Face-Off” could be the greatest water cooler show ever invented. That's not to say it's the greatest show ever—there are far too many missed opportunities in the series for it to qualify as essential viewing. But the concept is pure, unadulterated genius. It's guaranteed to spark many a debate at work, at school and on the playground.
“Penn & Teller: Bullshit!” (Showtime 11 p.m.) The infamous magicians return with a second season of their mean-spirited (but spot-on) debunking show. Just to prove they are equal opportunity offenders, the boys take on a couple of very PC topics tonight, calling “Bullshit!” on P.E.T.A. and the environmental hysteria of Greenpeace. It's not that the boys have gone Republican on us, it's just that they hate to see fraudulent misuse of science and truth—whether it comes from the mouth of psychic John Edwards or animal lover Pamela Anderson.