On Friday, join us as we escape from reality at the Dance on Film Festival with short works by choreographers Rebecca French, Ashley Horn and others. French contributes The All Hands Meeting, a surreal piece that follows a woman as she attempts to escape from her sterile office environment. Mallory Horn appears in a stunning solo and in a boundary-defying duet with Carlos Guzman in All Hands, which includes gravity-resisting choreography in which characters fall up walls and casually climb on the furniture. Film editing and set design for All Hands are by Robert Thoth. Ashley Horn contributes Drain, a love story about underground pipe dwellers. Shanon Adams and Alex Soares appear as the two characters who live in a world of concrete and sludge (Drain was filmed in Houston's runoff water system). Other shorts will be announced at the screening.
The Dance on Film Festival starts at 8 p.m. on Friday at Frenetic Theater, 5102 Navigation. For information, visit the theater's website.
If you think you can't like romantic comedies, then please give Love, Actually, our recommendation for Saturday, a shot. First off, it's a British film shot by Richard Curtis, which means that it is by definition better and smarter than 90 percent of anything anyone else can produce. Second, it has the kind of cast that looks like it was assembled by God himself. Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Rowan Atkinson, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson and even Billy Bob Thornton as the President of the United States of America all weave in and out of relationships, adultery, rock and roll comebacks, and family in the weeks leading up to Christmas in England. You will be hard-pressed to find a more engaging look at how people love one another than Actually, and in our opinion, you'll need to see it multiple times in order to fully appreciate the depth and complexity of the lives of the characters. Make this one of those times. Feel free to bring blankets for this outdoor show.
See Love, Actually at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Market Square Park, 300 Travis. For information, visit the Alamo Drafthouse website.
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Many children of divorce hope for the miracle that will bring their parents back together. In director Hirokazu Koreeda's I Wish, our suggestion for free entertainment on Sunday, one 12-year-old boy does more than just hope -- he tries to make that miracle happen with grit and the help of sleek, modern transportation. During their parents' marital separation, Koichi (played by Koki Maeda) lives with his mother while his younger brother (Maeda's real life little brother Oshiro Maeda) resides with their father in another town. When a bullet train connecting the two cities is opened, Koichi, aided by a group of friends, sets out to "wish" his parents back together. (He believes that wishes come true for people who stand between two trains as they pass each other in opposite directions. Hey, he's a kid, remember?) The 2011 film won applause from critics including A.O. Scott of The New York Times, who praised it for its sensitive and realistic portrayal of children caught in the middle of warring adults, calling it "delicate and observant" and "a lovely and piquant examination of childhood."
See I Wish at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the Asia Society Center, 1370 Southmore. For information, visit the center's website or call 713-496-9901.
Jef with One F and Bob Ruggiero contributed to this post.