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Reese Witherspoon in Wild, part of LSIFF.
Reese Witherspoon in Wild, part of LSIFF.

For its eighth edition, the Lone Star International Film Festival has joined forces with Christopher Kelly of the late, lamented Modern Cinema festival. Together, they’re putting on what promises to be the biggest Lone Star fest yet, playing both downtown and at the Modern Art Museum.

You can get an early look at acting performances that are generating Oscar buzz: Benedict Cumberbatch as the gay computer pioneer Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, Timothy Spall as the British artist J.M.W. Turner in Mr. Turner, and Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed in Wild, director Jean-Marc Vallée’s follow-up to Dallas Buyers Club. Turkish master Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s latest, Winter Sleep, is here, too. And there’ll also be lighter fare, like the comedy Life Partners, with Leighton Meester as a lesbian confronting her 30s with her straight best friend getting married, as well as two highly regarded horror flicks in The Babadook and It Follows.

Virtuosity, Christopher Wilkinson’s documentary about last year’s Van Cliburn Competition, opens the festival at Bass Hall. It’s followed by other notable docs like Frederick Wiseman’s National Gallery and Margaret Brown’s The Great Invisible (about the BP oil spill). Renowned artist Julian Schnabel will also personally appear to screen all three of his films. You may need to put in some travel time between the Cultural District and downtown, but the movies on tap look well worth it.

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[box_info]The Lone Star International Film Festival runs Wed-Sun at various theaters. Check Calendar for locations. Single tickets are $8-10, passes $95-120. Call 817-924-6001.[/box_info]

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