What do you do if you’re a film noir in #metoo-era 2018? A woman solicits the help of a gumshoe, but both are comically thwarted by the genre’s sexist gender politics in this snappy, subversive send-up.
For fans of The Big Sleep and Airplane!
AGUILA DEL SOL: CONTRA LOS TRES MALVADOS (UNITED STATES, 16 MIN)
In this tights-donning, butt-kicking crime yarn, a perpetually masked luchador travels to Chicago to rescue a family friend from a cabal of criminals.
For fans of Nacho Libre and Black Dynamite
ART OF MOTIVATION (UNITED STATES, 24 MIN)
A motivational speaker, a life coach, and newly recruited relationship expert look to become an agency’s next big thing. If they weren’t constantly undermining each other, they might even have a chance.
For fans of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and 30 Rock
BAIT (UNITED STATES, 8 MIN)
When a slacker takes a bacon hamburger dangling from the sky, he finds himself in front of an alien tribunal – and possibly with the fate of humanity in his greasy hands.
For fans of The Big Lebowski and Bruce Almighty
BARRIERS (UNITED STATES, 6 MIN)
She’s not a delivery woman, but that doesn’t stop her Russian neighbors from calling her to order Chinese food. When she decides to bring them their dinner, anyway, Sara will realize what she’s been missing.
For fans of Broken Flowers and Junebug
BERNADETTE (CHICAGO, 98 MIN)
1994 was the perfect summer… for heartache. At 15, Archie Kinsler has an impossible goal: to win the heart of Bernadette, an older French foreign exchange student and lifeguard, before she returns home at the end of the season. To gain her affection, Archie enlists the help of his park district boss, Dixon, a cad who also happens to be his mom’s boyfriend. Under Dixon’s tutelage, Archie and his friends learn about love, adulthood, and the things that books can’t teach.
For fans of Adventureland and Superbad
THE BIRDS SING TOO LOUD (UNITED STATES, 15 MIN)
In an effort to reconnect, Mitch invites his two bitter, crotchety aunts (Jane Lynch and Kate Mulgrew) for a visit to his lavish home in the Hollywood hills. Subjected to their endless complaining, it doesn’t take long before he massively regrets his decision.
For fans of Grandma, Jane Lynch on Glee, and Kate Mulgrew on Orange is the New Black
CARE TO LAUGH (UNITED STATES, 77 MIN) MIDWEST PREMIERE
This heartfelt documentary follows Jesus Trejo, a rising star in the comedy world, as he pursues his dream of becoming a successful comedian while caring for his aging parents. While most aspiring comedians build their careers on the road, Jesus juggles his responsibilities at home in Long Beach with open mics and auditions in the Los Angeles area, often driving more than two hours each way daily. When his set catches the eye of producers at The Late Late Show with James Corden, Jesus may have scored the big break he’s been banking on.
For fans of Uproarious and I Am Comic
CHAMPIONS (CHICAGO, 17 MIN)
Despite his flights of whimsy involving President Obama, mermaids, and psychotropic coleslaw, an eccentric dope tries to prove to his live-in girlfriend that he’s got his act together. This antic comedy will ensure you never look at spaghetti, or Wilford Brimley, the same way again.
For fans of Portlandia and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
DICKY & FLO (CHICAGO, 8 MIN)
Flo (Julia Sweeney) is a sweet old taxidermist living in the Chicago neighborhood Albany Park. She has a penchant for talking to corpses such as her stuffed dog and hamster – and her husband, Dicky, whose lifeless body she wheels happily about town.
For fans of Up and Weekend at Bernie’s
DINGUS WISHES (CHICAGO, 8 MIN)
Every year, the Wish Gremlin of Dingus Town (née Lakeshore Falls) grants the wish of the town’s youngest resident, which has resulted in everything from talking horses to giant stuffed penguins. Hoping for more socially useful outcomes, the mayor decides to hold a vote, but will the community be able to agree on a wish that isn’t idiotic?
For fans of The Princess Bride and Shrek
DOUCHEAHOLICS: MELODY & MADISON (UNITED STATES, 11 MIN)
Melody and Madison, a pair of entitled, texting-obsessed “predouchelescents,” find themselves at what they think is detention, but is actually a support group for people who exhibit bad behavior. Hostility gives way to camaraderie as the girls rattle off their social media-inflected grievances.
For fans of Mean Girls and Ingrid Goes West
FIRST BORN (UNITED STATES, 3 MIN)
Two former college buddies make an outsize bet on a keg-stand challenge. One of them is very serious about the stakes, the other is not. What could go wrong?
For fans of Old School and The Hangover
FOR MURIEL (UNITED STATES, 14 MIN)
Septuagenarians Elaine and Helen, along with their younger friend Jenn, plot to rob a bank. Envisioning their robbery in the styles of three different movies, the women will put their profound lack of criminal experience aside in order to get the deed done.
For fans of Point Break and Barry
FREE ADVICE WITH ADAM CHERNICK (UNITED STATES, 4 MIN)
In this episode of the popular web series, precocious 11-year-old “free advice expert” Adam Chernick teaches us how to have more empathy for other people by visiting… parking enforcement, of course! As he says, “If I walk away having sympathy for them, I can have sympathy for almost anyone!”
For fans of Billy on the Street and Conan O’Brien’s “remote” segments
GREENPORT (UNITED STATES, 26 MIN)
A struggling Hollywood director’s career is thrown into disarray when he is summoned to Greenport, New York to help his elderly parents. Balancing family obligations, including his autistic son about whom he’s developing a film, with PR fiascos and an assortment of other hindrances, one seemingly small trip quickly becomes the impetus for calamity.
For fans of Extras and Arrested Development
LEADING MAN (UNITED STATES, 8 MIN)
Robert and Mickey are two middle-aged guys trying to get “back in the game” at a singles party. Only problem? Whenever a woman introduces herself, one of the guys involuntarily transforms into a popular character from a movie featuring her namesake.
For fans of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Zelig
LEITMOTIF (UNITED STATES, 9 MIN)
His GPS keeps telling him to go in circles. Pharrell’s “Happy” never ends. Nobody can seem to get off their phones, and his is actively egging him on. Is John going crazy, or is this just 21st-century life for an apathetic corporate drudge?
For fans of Brazil and The Double
LITTLE HOPE (UNITED STATES, 37 MIN)
Upon being released from prison, hapless white-collar criminal Terry grudgingly moves back in with his parents and takes a job leading a church self-help group. Surrounded by people with serious issues of their own and lacking the skills to assist them, Terry comes to realize how much help he could use himself.
For fans of Shrink and Short Term 12
MISSING LEFTY / LEFTY ME MANQUE (UNITED STATES, 4 MIN)
The existential story of Righty, a lonely right hand, who mourns the unexplained absence of his other half: Lefty. With whom will he play rock, paper, scissors? This wry parody of French New Wave films, shot in black and white, ponders the question: who is right when no one is left?
For fans of Breathless and La Jetée
NIGHT CROSSER / SANG PAPIER (CANADA, 8 MIN)
It’s not easy crossing into a new country when you’re a Transylvanian vampire, a hard fact Mr. Constantinescu learns when he gets detained by two bemused customs officers while attempting to enter Canada.
For fans of Only Lovers Left Alive and What We Do in the Shadows
OLYMPIA (CHICAGO, 92 MIN)
Struggling Chicago artist Olympia has a lot going on in her life: while trying to earn a living doing what she loves, she’s also coming to terms with the fact that her mother is dying. If things weren’t difficult enough, her boyfriend, Felix, breaks the news to her that his company is moving to California. Featuring splashes of animation that bring Olympia’s illustrations, and inner-thoughts, to life, this bittersweet romantic comedy is a perceptive portrait of loss and new beginnings.
For fans of Waiting to Exhale and Insecure
ONE-ARMED RABBIT (UNITED STATES, 7 MIN)
When a fighter pilot awakens in the desert with no memory of how she got there, a furry hallucination provides her unexpected company.
For fans of Kung Pow! Enter the Fist and Monty Python and the Holy Grail
ONLY A MOVIE (UNITED STATES, 17 MIN)
Ted E. Johnson can’t figure out why his life seems so repetitive and familiar. Then he realizes he’s actually stuck in a terrible movie, and he’s been cast as the lead character. Upon finding out that the film will end with his demise, he decides to go off-script and rewrite his own narrative.
For fans of Stranger Than Fiction and Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN (CHICAGO, 16 MIN)
Margot Antler dreams of becoming a renowned novelist with a three-book deal and a summer home in Ghent. Reality check: she’s a rookie second-grade teacher about to experience the insanity of parent teacher conferences for the first time! It doesn’t take long before she realizes it’s not her students who have problems – it’s their parents.
For fans of The Office and Parks and Recreation
OVER THE HILL (UNITED STATES, 12 MIN)
A middle-aged couple moves to the San Fernando Valley and discovers at a neighbor’s party that not everything there is as it seems.
For fans of Modern Family and The Comeback
PETNAP (UNITED STATES, 16 MIN)
A little stoned and in need of cash, a trio of lackadaisical schemers become caterers for an E-list Hollywood celeb – and decide to kidnap his dog for ransom.
For fans of Entourage and Pineapple Express
REMEMBER ME? (UNITED STATES, 2 MIN)
With his life savings in a crumpled envelope, a vengeful introvert brokers a deal to confront a childhood figure who wronged him.