The ongoing roll-out of prestige films and award hopefuls dominate the month. In addition to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Jan. 11), be sure to seek out There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, and The Savages, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney, both scheduled for area release Jan. 18.
Led by festival director Jacqueline Murphy Miller, the third annual Riverkeeper Film Festival returns to two Raleigh museums, History and Natural Sciences, Saturday, Jan. 19. Over the subsequent two weeks, the festival will take an abbreviated program on the road for events in Oriental, New Bern and Kinston.
Jan. 28-30, Duke University's Film/Video/Digital Program will launch its "FVD Filmmaker Residency Program" by hosting director Mary Harron for three evening screenings of her films—I Shot Andy Warhol, American Psycho and The Notorious Bettie Page—followed by Q&A sessions with Harron after each film.
The month starts auspiciously with the Southern Documentary Fund's fifth anniversary gala at Durham's Carolina Theatre (Friday, Feb. 1). The highly successful, influential SDF will celebrate with a reception followed by a screening of Doubletime, a documentary about the Chapel Hill-based champion jump rope team the Bouncing Bulldogs.
Also launching Feb. 1 is the N.C. Museum of Art's Winter Film Series, which continues every Friday through April 25. Opening night kicks off with the 1927 silent-film classic Chicago, with pianist David Drazin accompanying the screening with a live performance of a jazz-influenced score. Indy contributor Laura Boyes curates the series.
The Carolina Theatre hosts two other special film events later in the month. On Feb. 11, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will sponsor an event featuring the theatrical world premiere of Black Magic, the latest film from director Dan Klores (Crazy Love). Klores and his co-producer, basketball legend Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, will attend the screening, with ticket proceeds from the film and a pre-screening party benefiting Full Frame. Then, Feb. 22-24, the ninth annual Nevermore Horror, Gothic & Fantasy Film Festival returns to Durham.
After finding a home at Cary's Galaxy Cinema, the Triangle Jewish Film Festival continues to bounce around the calendar. The third annual edition moves up this year and takes place Sunday, March 30, with an expanded slate of films running from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Several films scheduled for release during March bear potential. David Gordon Green's long-delayed Snow Angels will enjoy a limited release March 7, with a local release to be scheduled at a later date. Also dropping March 7, director Roger Donaldson offers another thriller called The Bank Job about the notorious 1971 Baker Street bank robbery in London. Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) directs a prehistoric adventure epic called 10,000 B.C. And, March 14, Edward Norton and Colin Farrell star in Pride and Glory, a NYPD-set crime drama written by director Gavin O'Conner and Joe Carnahan (Narc).
The 11th annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival returns to Durham April 3-6. Approximately 100 documentaries, including 65 new docs, will comprise the program.
The George Clooney-helmed football rom-com Leatherheads, which was filmed throughout North Carolina's Western Piedmont (and upstate South Carolina), is scheduled for release April 4. Also, look out for Shine a Light (April 4), Martin Scorsese's documentary about the Rolling Stones, as well as Baby Mama (April 18), the Tina Fey vehicle written and directed by Michael McCullers, who penned two Austin Powers sequels and the underrated Undercover Brother. Finally, there is Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantánamo (April 25)—the name says it all.
The long-awaited Iron Man (May 2), directed by Jon Favreau, stars Robert Downey Jr. as the Marvel superhero along with Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Samuel L. Jackson. The Wachowski Brothers' live-action adaptation of Speed Racer, their first credited directorial effort since the Matrix trilogy, stars Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci and Susan Sarandon. Finally, under the category of much-anticipated sequels, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian drops May 16, followed by the big Memorial Day release, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (May 22).