Short works, feature-length offerings, comedy classics, documentaries, an awards party, and a Q & A with Midwestern success stories are just some what film fans can look forward to at this year's Alternating Currents festival, with more than two dozen screenings and events scheduled at three downtown-Davenport locales.

Ordinarily, it's the sort of movie I'd casually dispose of in a couple hundred words at the end of a series of reviews – a chaser after time spent on more worthy subjects. This past weekend, though, saw Hobbs & Shaw the only new offering in wide release, so I suppose a few hundred extra words are in order. That shouldn't be a problem, though. There's so much here to hate.

There are certain things, many things, we've come to expect from a Quentin Tarantino movie, and unless John Travolta is jump-starting one with a shot of adrenaline, heart isn't exactly among them. That's why the primary shock of the writer/director's ninth feature Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is that it's positively teeming with heart – an unabashed love letter to Tinseltown fringe figures of a bygone era who, as the fairytale title suggests, are eminently deserving of Happily Ever Afters.

At about the 90-minute mark of director Jon Favreau's two-hour remake of The Lion King, we're finally (finally!) treated to a sequence that's visually rapturous, narratively transfixing, slyly touching and funny, and thematically transcendent all at once – everything that you wish Disney's new CGI behemoth was, and isn't, on a scene-by-scene basis.

Described by The Huffington Post as “a heart-warming tale of human dignity and innovation,” and by the Hollywood Reporter as a work that “transcends the artist-doc format and has a broad emotional appeal,” the Oscar-nominated documentary Waste Land enjoys a special screening at Davenport's Figge Art Museum on August 1, serving as a companion event to the venue's current exhibition Vik Muniz: Hand Remade.

If there's any rule-of-thumb regarding high-concept movies, it's that their appeal – and, oftentimes, their plots – can be succinctly described on the fingers of one hand: “violent Nanjiani/Bautista action comedy,” for example, or “killer alligators in a hurricane.” In effect, those respective precis tell you everything you need to know about Michael Dowse's Stuber and Alexandre Aja's Crawl – except, perhaps, that both films are even more entertaining than those grabby five-word descriptions might suggest. Not a lot more, mind you … but entertaining enough, during my recent double-feature, to make me not regret the collective three hours spent in their high-concept company.

Midsommar, the new cinematic freakout by Hereditary writer/director Ari Aster, opens with barely withheld sobs and closes on the image of an ear-to-ear grin – and despite the unsettling, emotionally raw 140 minutes in between, you might find yourself exiting the theater smiling just as hard.

I should probably be knocking wood as I type this. But if my heart ever suddenly stops while you're in the vicinity, don't call for a defibrillator – call for Danny Boyle instead.

Is this latest franchise entry enjoyable? Absolutely. Is it frequently clever and touching and sweet? For sure. Is it well-animated? Duh. But does it feel the slightest bit necessary? Nope. Does it enrich the inner lives of beloved characters we've known for decades? Not really. And is it in any way a more satisfying end – or “end” – to the Toy Story series than 2010's seemingly conclusive third chapter? No way.

Pages