Hey folks, Harry here with the latest report from FANTASTIC FEST. This one from an on-again off-again spy named Psychedelic - that comes in from the LaLaLand to give our virgin outing the pop it needs from an outsider. So let's see what he thought! Here ya go...
Hey Harry and Green Slithering Alien Lizards,
The vicious Underground went totally extreme. Deformity dripped from walls biting aggression. Menacing delusions violated the dream-reality boundary. Wailing wraiths uttered incantations forcing compressed time into tight corners. The pressure cracked down on our heads. Resulting injuries walloped stress long after the initial sting was gone. I needed a break! So I ventured to AICN home turf for the first annual Fantastic Fest Film Festival to fraternize with film fanatics and commune with gonzo cinema.
Imagine the clanging racket of 6 to 10 year-old boys blowing up spaceships for two hours. You get a pretty good idea of the juvenile glee of Jon Favreau’s new film. Two brothers play a very old spaceship board game. It unleashes havoc on their house beginning with a meteor shower that launches them into outer space. Then aliens attack. A truckload of chaos ensues much in the tradition of Jumanji. This is no coincidence since the original books of Jumanji and Zathura were written by Chris Van Allsburg. It’s a fun enough romp whose story mechanics feel forced and thin. Fortunately, everything is grounded by the fine performances of Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo as the two young brothers. Most the special effects are a welcome non-digital retro.
The haunted atmosphere of the Australian Outback is a main character in this chillingly realistic horror film. Three friends venture into the land to drink natural beauty. But writer-director-producer Greg McLean renders open landscapes with uneasy emptiness. There’s a wonderful naturalism to the performances. These are not three cardboard cut-out college students made to be slashed and chopped for grisly delight, but real people you’d like to hang out with. When two of them kiss for the first time, it’s a real moment of connection not a lead-in to gratuitous nakedness. Romance ends when a human predator pounces. There’s a ruthless economical intelligence to how the rest of the events play out. The violence makes you recoil. The consequences leave you rattled.
Wanna see the most expensive Turkish film ever made? Every Sci-Fi clichÃ© is thrown in a Technicolor satire pot and lovingly skewed. Director Omer Faruk Sorak stylizes the production design to delicious 1950s hyper pulp. You can sink your teeth into the layered palette of colors. However, though there are some well earned chuckles, it doesn’t launch into a rapid-fire pace. It feels like a rough cut needing to be edited down by a half hour and then polished many times. As it is, it’s very jerky and sometimes appearing to go almost randomly from scene to scene. On the other hand, if they’d gone further with this editing style, it’d become a surreal Sci-Fi blended swirl Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel would like. Maybe that’s what they were trying for, but didn’t reach.
This is my first time at the famed Alamo Drafthouse and it lives up to the hype. The only way it could be better is if in addition to bringing food and drinks to your comfy seat the cute waitresses would give you a blowjob too. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Wash my dirty mouth and slap my naughty hands. I should be absolutely polite to my kind hosts. Please don’t put anything nasty in my food. But if you want to put in quirky controlled substances, well… he-he-he.