THE LEGEND OF TIMM THALER OR THE BOY WHO SOLD HIS LAUGHTER
TIMM THALER ODER DAS VERKAUFTE LACHEN
2017, Beta Cinema, 102 min, Germany, Dir: Andreas Dresen

James Krüss’ celebrated 1962 children’s novel comes to life in this delightful fantasy about a young boy’s reckoning with his own identity. Timm Thaler (Arved Friese) is an ordinary child, but he has an extraordinary laugh - a laugh so contagious that the devil himself (Justus von Dohnányi) would trade untold riches to obtain it. After the devious Baron tricks him into trading the laugh for the ability to win any bet, Timm embarks on a quest to settle the score, while discovering the priceless nature of true happiness. With sun-kissed cinematography and big-budget set pieces, this German blockbuster is good-hearted fun for the whole family.


MAGICAL MYSTERY OR: THE RETURN OF KARL SCHMIDT
MAGICAL MYSTERY ODER DIE RÜCKKEHR DES KARL SCHMIDT
2017, DCM Film Distribution, 111 min, Germany, Dir: Arne Feldhusen

It’s as if the glory days of the 1990s never ended in this techno-fueled rave across the German countryside. Based on the novel by best-selling German author Sven Regener, MAGICAL MYSTERY follows recovering alcoholic Karl Schmidt (a brilliant Charly Hübner), who finds himself reunited with his old friends, who have now become successful DJs. Quickly enlisted as designated driver for their upcoming tour, Karl must keep the party-happy musicians in line while adapting to the world outside of rehab. For the next several months, he must resist the alluring temptation of partying, drugs and, of course, music! Arne Feldhusen directs this hysterical and charming road trip through Germany’s mid-1990s club scene, co-starring Detlev Buck, Annika Meier and Marc Hosemann.


AN EVENING WITH BEVERLY LUFF LINN
2018, 108 min, UK/USA, Dir: Jim Hosking

Jim Hosking’s follow-up to THE GREASY STRANGLER is every bit as crazy as you would expect. Lulu Danger’s (Aubrey Plaza) unsatisfying marriage takes a strange turn when a man from her past comes to town to perform a mysterious event called “An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn; For One Magical Night Only.” Lulu’s world is populated with grotesque characters who say and do stupid things, and while each of their stories could be its own film, all the disparate elements come together for an absolutely insane finale. Director Hosking has a knack for off-kilter comedy, expertly balancing Lynchian small-town desolation with Jared Hess-style absurdity, and Plaza’s terrific central performance ensures that for every gross joke there’s an unexpectedly tender moment that lends depth and compassion to this bizarre world.


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