Oh, it’s on, kiddos. The Director & co. are putting on one hell of a swell show this year: I’m as gung-ho as I’ve ever been about the lineup of the Starz Denver Film Festival, now in its 33rd year.

Being the Director’s fair (okay, kinda grungy) lady, I have the rare good fortune to watch a substantial portion of the program right here in our home theater (otherwise known as our tiny, grimy living room). As the program editor, I also have a firm grasp on the remaining films I’m most looking forward to. Below, then, are my annual picks for Dinner & a Movie. For full descriptions & showtimes of these and so many more, browse yourself silly here. Also check out my pal Denver on a Spit’s own roundup.

SHORTS

Black & White & Red All Over
I’ve only seen 3/5 of this package of 5 shorts made by Coloradans, but if those 3 gems are any indication, local filmmakers are collectively on one long, strange trip. Ba Noche dol Fonn Baeo is a giddy spoof on classic Godard, most obviously BreathlessBand of Outsiders, in which the carefree characters are just too cool for words (in fact, they speak an invented Euroesque language). Likewise, The Magnetic Detective is an ultra-charming spoof on gumshoe noir narrated via refrigerator magnets. And The House in Windsor is just creepy as hell.

Pair with: The Squeaky Bean, also staunchly & delightfully oriented toward local producers.

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L: a still from my favorite scene in Band of Outsiders (wait’ll you cf. Ba Noche dol Fonn Baeo); R: peanut butter mousse cake from The Squeaky Bean

NARRATIVES

The Black Panther
Speaking of noir, this here is a sleek black-and-white neo-noir from Mexico that also happens to involve cryogenics & lesbian aliens.

Pair with: El Diablo, equally irreverent & smoky-sultry.

God’s Land
In which the members of a Taiwanese cult descend on a Dallas suburb to await the Rapture. As simultaneously melancholy & funny as it is oddball.

Pair with: Lao Wang Noodle House, whose Taiwanese owners make dumplings to commit suicide in a ritual cult sacrifice—or just die—for.

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R: Lao Wang’s crispy potstickers

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
This one, a big winner at Cannes this year, is even freakier: a magical-realist tale from Thailand about Monkey Ghosts & man-on-catfish sex. Oh, & dying gracefully.

Pair with: TAG. I keep hearing about good Thai around here, but I keep not having any. Meanwhile, Troy Guard’s East-West repertoire is its own form of magical realism. No catfish on the menu, but the coupling of octopus & pork belly is just as awesomely unholy.

Leading Ladies
I spent the first 5 minutes thinking this was going to be a corny, overacted piece of crap. I spent the remaining 97 totally enchanted by an adorably campy, smart, wholly original romantic comedy/musical—which also happens to be Colorado-made.

Pair with: The likewise enchanting version of Colorado campground that is Beatrice & Woodsley.

Mona-in-The-Top-hallway B&Wcheesecake
L: Leading Ladies sweethearts Toni & Mona; R: B&W’s spicy pimiento cheesecake

The Happy Poet
Also an endearing romantic comedy, but in the much lower-key form of “all-organic, mostly vegetarian” mumblecore straight outta Austin. Our underdog hero is a mediocre poet, hapless lunch cart owner, & wouldn’t-be lonely guy. (Aren’t we all?)

Ironically pair with: Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, duh.

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We Are the Sea
Because Chantelle Frazier is stunning & so is the Iron & Wine soundtrack.

Pair with: Someplace as dark & lyrically moody as the namesake song. Forest Room 5, perhaps?