No preamble - let's get to it!
ERRORS OF THE HUMAN BODY
I have no idea what this movie is about, except that human genetics seem to be involved, and the synopsis - Plagued by the memory of the infant son he could not save, geneticist Geoff Burton plunges into a web of intrigue, jealousy and lies in this icily precise thriller, according to the Fantastic Fest website - doesn't open things up much. But like all things at this festival, I'm sure there's some weird subversive filmmaking happening here. This also got a pretty great response at Fantasia and FrightFest, and looks to get into some interesting body horror aspects, judging by the trailer.
HERE COMES THE DEVIL
Sorry, don't have a trailer for this one. But I'm already pumped to see it - Adrián García Bogliano has brought movies like PENUMBRA and COLD SWEAT to Fantastic Fest, and this one, judging by the picture, looks suitably creepy. Two children get lost exploring a local cave, but when they return.... they don't return alone. I've really enjoyed this filmmaker's movies so far, and if you haven't heard of him yet, I think you will. He's got a very unique style and if you're curious, PENUMBRA is on Instant Netflix right now if you want to check him out.
Drew McWeeny went batshit nuts for this movie when it played Cannes earlier this year, which guarantees a ticket from me. In his words, "It may be the best film I've seen in my two years at this festival. I am refreshed by it, my faith in the unique power of film completely restored. I feel like I've just had my first drink of water after a drought, or my first bite of food after a fast. Even at a festival that has featured many very good or even great movies, this stands out as something special, as that hit I am always chasing when I sit down to two hours in the dark." Damn, that's a bold statement to make. Leos Carax's film takes us through his spellbinding visions as Mr. Oscar (Denis LEvant) goes across town in a limo, taking on different personas as the day goes on. This sounds like one of those movies that will utterly polarize an audience, just the kind of movie that Fantastic Fest is known for.
I DECLARE WAR
I'll have a review for this one once it plays Fantastic Fest, but short version - I loved I DECLARE WAR, but I'm already a sucker for these kinds of movies anyway. As P.K. (Gage Munroe) fights his hated enemy Skinner (Michael Friend) at a game of war in the forest, friendships are tested, loyalties change, and a lot of gunfire goes off. This brilliant little movie won Best Film at ActionFest earlier this summer, and I can see why - it's original and full of terrific performances, especially Michael Friend, who I swear is channeling Gary Oldman from THE PROFESSIONAL at one point. Ther's a lot going on under the surface as well, and I found I DECLARE WAR to be imaginative, funny, and smart. Plus you get kids with automatic weapons, which means it'll never play for the parental set. Bonus!
THE KING OF PIGS
This South Korean animated film looks appropriately brutal, as two friends come to terms with their rough upbringing and their rememberance of one boy named "the King of Pigs." I really like the look of this one - it seems very stylized and raw, and apparently it played very well at Cannes earlier this year. A brutal, unflinching story of youth that doesn't hold back, judging from the trailer. Considering where the movie came from, I'd expect nothing less. South Korea continues to make the world's most fascinating, compelling movies, and this one looks no different.
You've heard enough about this one already - and I think it's safe to say that Rian Johnson's LOOPER is one of the most anticipated movies of the year. At least by me. It feels like everyone has seen this damn thing but me at this point, and this is no doubt a lock for me to go. Rian Johnson's movies so far have been wonderful, and I expect this one to be no different. The reviews for this one have been outstanding, and I imagine that this screening's going to be a bitch to get into, so I'll probably start lining up for it... right about now. Seriously excited for this one.
Cocaine-powered motorcycle ninjas. According to the synopsis, we get cocaine-powered motorcycle ninjas. Is there any way in hell I'm going to miss this? Hell no. How can anyone miss what Zach Carlson calls "the most rampaging crowd-pleaser of the '80s, bursting with vibrance, violence, honor and hilarity." Zach knows his shit when it comes to movies like this. Done, my friend.
UPDATE: The subtitles on this trailer are spoof subtitles. I feel like a schmuck for missing them. But, since there's no other trailer online right now that I can see. enjoy!
I haven't seen "Beat" Takeshi Kitano's OUTRAGE yet, but that's going to be remedied this weekend, in preparation for the sequel, OUTRAGE BEYOND. He's always made great, intense crime cinema and this looks to be no exception. "Noboydy kills me! Only I can kill Kitano!" That's damn right. Hell, he'll steal his enemy's car and park it right in the water and walk away with no fucks to give. This looks to be yet another badass movie from one of the most formidable directors in Asian cinema. I love how in this trailer there's violence and mayhem, but everyone's so worried that Kitano's going to wreck more cars. This one looks fun as hell.
Personally, the jury's still out for me on this one. I love the original RED DAWN - it might be a bit dated, but who gives a shit. I lived during that time and RED DAWN is very much a product of the 1980s ideology that permeated everything. Is it a classic? Depends on who you ask, but for my friends and I, RED DAWN felt real enough that we planned escape routes from our various schools should the unthinkable go down. This one won't have those years of political subtext to draw upon. Reading twentysomethings today, I don't think they quite understand the mentaility of the country at the time. Now, this one's been on the shelf for a few years (I guess this and CABIN IN THE WOODS were just waiting for Chris Hemsworth to take off) and I don't know if it'll hold up to scrutiny, but the fact that it's programmed for this particular festival means that there's something worthwhile in it. I'll certainly find out myself, when it has its World Premiere Closing Night screening.
I am not a SHINING obsessive. In fact - and I'll be slammed for this, I'm certain - I think I've only seen the movie twice. There's a reason for that. See, I've always preferred Stephen King's book to Stanley Kubrick's movie. I know there are a few of us out there - not many, to be sure, but there are. King's book plays to me much more like a tragedy, a very human piece of work by a man struggling with his own addictive demons. Kubrick's THE SHINING is a sterile, cold movie - it's almost an alien perspective on the human condition and much of King's empathy from his book is gone. One of my biggest beefs with the movie is that by casting Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, there's no uncertainty to where the movie is headed - Jack goes crazy, as he must, because he's Jack Freaking Nicholson. But I will never deny that the movie has a horrifying power to it, and judging from its fanbase, it still resonates all these years later. ROOM 237, which played at Sundance, examines THE SHINING and it's obsessive fanbase, and if there was ever a documentary that should play at this festival, this one is it. Fantastic Fest will also play THE SHINING: FORWARDS AND BACKWARDS, a superimposed version of the film that plays, well, forwards and backwards simultaneously. That's got to be disconcerting to say the least.
I've already seen SINISTER at South By Southwest this year, and I found it to be a pretty damn good horror movie. Of course, it's written by Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill (otherwise known as Massawyrm around these parts), so I do know several of the people involved with the movie, but I don't think that should let that stop you. With all the found footage horror we get these days, SINISTER is about the person that finds that footage, and the terror that ensues as he inadvertently brings a great evil in with it. Ethan Hawke is our surrogate through this scary journey, and he's pretty damn good in it, too. I dug SINISTER quite a bit, and I think you will too. Does it change the genre forever? No. But it works a hell of a lot more than it doesn't, and by those averages, it's worth your time.
TAI CHI 0
A steampunk kung fu mashup movie? With crazy visual effects and fight scenes? I'm in. I've read a few reviews from this one and I don't want to read anymore - like reviews would be any good to describe a movie like this. Yeah, there's definitely an homage (to put it lightly) to THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO trailer up there, but it looks, at the very least, like one of those movies to crack a beer open to and just groove on the imagery. Looks like a fun ride to me.
Wow. TWO RABBITS looks amazing, judging by the trailer. An elaborate revenge plot unfolds as Edgar tries to take his vengeance on the people who forced him to leave his home in Brazil. With very punchy, playful cinematography and glorious action sequences, TWO RABBITS looks like something out of the Coen Brothers catalog. It's just one of the aspects of Fantastic Fest that I adore - I would never have known about this movie otherwise if it wasn't programmed here. Just watching that trailer made me certain that I'm going to have to clear even more space on my schedule.
Last year, Jose Padilha's (ROBOCOP) ELITE SQUAD: THE ENEMY WITHIN played Fantastic Fest, and I found that movie to be as riveting a crime drama as I've ever seen, parts Scorsese and Oliver Stone, with a political conscience and amazing acting. This year that slot looks to be filled with UNIT 7, Albert Rodriguez's crime movie about a group of narcotics officers in Spain who become increasingly unaware of where the line shuld be drawn. The trailer looks intense, and this one looks right up my alley. I love gritty crime movies, and this one looks to really bring it this year.
WAKE IN FRIGHT
I'll be honest, I'd never heard of this one until Drafthouse Films bought it earlier this year for release, but judging from the horror aficionados online, Tim League scored a really prize get on this one. This movie, unreleased for many years, is an Australian horror classic that played the Cannes Film Festival back in 1971 to rapturous reviews... and then disappeared until Leagus squared away the rights. So you could very well be seeing this one soon. I love the synopsis, according to the Fantastic Fest website - "an uncompromisingly brutal look at what happens when men are left alone together in the country with guns and a lot of beer" - which even left Martin Scorsese "speechless." Fantastic Fest attendees will definitely want to check this one out.
Quentin Dupieux's RUBBER played Fantastic Fest two years ago and blew the roof off the joint, no small feat for this particular festival. This year he returns with WRONG, and the title seems to sum it up nicely - this is a world where nothing seems to fit correctly, and one man's search for his dog takes him on a very strange and surreal journey. But we expect that from a Dupieux movie. And yes, that's William Fichtner, which ratchets this movie up into awesome levels. I heard that Tim League saw WRONG earlier this year and went nuts for it, and if he loved it I'd imagine that the Fantastic Fest crowd will eat it up.
That about does it for me - and there are many, many other movies playing this year that people may want to check out. The crazy THUNDERBIRDSesque DANGER 5; the crude, profane, and very funny NEW KIDS NITRO; the documentary MY AMITYVILLE HORROR which examines the real event and whether or not it actually happened; AMERICAN MARY, about a young woman desperate to pay her medical school bills and dives into a surreal world of body horror; World Premiere movie THE COLLECTION, the sequel to THE COLLECTOR; TOWER BLOCK, an intense thriller about the residents of an apartment building who find themselves at the mad whims of a sniper; and a ton more. There's also Fantastic Fest's remarkable Shorts program, which every year continues to impress with new filmmakers and their visions. And - this never fails - there's going to be one movie that no one expected that just comes out of the gate and kicks everyone's ass relentlessly. I can't wait to discover the many wonderful movies this year - I just hope I have time to catch them all. Next week, baby.