I'm still yearning for the great time I had at Fantastic Fest this year. Great friends, great food, great movies... 2013 might be my favorite year yet. Even so, I still missed some movies that I realy wanted to see, so I'm happy that some of the wonderful movies that played are going on a national tour of various Alamo Drafthouses across the nation in the next few weeks.
So if any of the movies we covered this year intrigue you, or you couldn't make Fantastic Fest this year, know that some great titles may be making their way to an Alamo Drafthouse near you. For example - you can't miss CHEAP THRILLS. It's one of the best black comedies of the year, as funny as it is cruel. GRAND PIANO is Hitchcockian in the best sense of the word. THE CONGRESS is pure science fiction, with amazing visuals. And JOURNEY TO THE WEST: CONQUERING THE DEMONS, in my opinion, may be Stephen Chow's best movie yet.
If you live in Austin, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, New York, San Antonio, or Virginia, you can experience these films yourself. Just click here for times and locations. I myself missed BIG BAD WOLVES, and have heard so many good things, that I'll be seeing that this Saturday night here in Houston. I'll also be hosting the screenings of GRAND PIANO, CHEAP THRILLS, and JOURNEY TO THE WEST. I hear CONFESSION OF MURDER has a spectacular car chase as well, so I may try to catch that one. Needless to say, I'll be at the Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park for a lot of the weekend. Here's some synopses of the various movies playing on the tour, and I hope these movies play in your area.
BIG BAD WOLVES
Directors: Navot Papushado and Aahron Keshales
2013, Israel, 110 min
The directing team behind the 2010 cult smash RABIES return to the screen their unique blend or horror, suspense and droll comedy. Iconic director Quentin Tarantino recently called BIG BAD WOLVES “the best film of the year.”BORGMAN
Director: Alex Van Warmerdam
2013, The Netherlands, 113 min
Something wicked this way comes in the form of the polite and the normal as a drifter and his followers invade the home of a bourgeois family. Borgman is the official Netherlands entry for the Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film. Jessica Kiang of Indiewire describes BORGMAN as “[c]austic, surreal, creepy, and blackly funny.”CHEAP THRILLS
Director: E.L Katz
2013, USA, 85 min
A recently fired father (Pat Healy) facing eviction is paid to take on an escalating series of insane challenges from a rich couple (David Koechner and Sara Paxton) with a twisted sense of humor. “[Cheap Thrills] is many things: original, satirical, violent, funny….Consider yourself warned,” said Complex.com’s Matt Barone. “Genre flicks this unique, daring, and perversely thoughtful don't come around very often.”CONFESSION OF MURDER
Director: Jeong Byeong Gil
2012, South Korea, 119 min
After the statute of limitations expires on a series of high profile murders, a man writes a book claiming to be the killer, setting off a firestorm of media attention as the families of the dead and the cop in charge of the case hunt for justice. Film School Rejects says the film "melds intense drama, exhilarating action, and honest heart into one hell of a ride."THE CONGRESS
Director: Ari Folman
2013, Israel, 123 min
Robin Wright (playing a version of herself) receives the last offer she’ll ever get from a Hollywood studio in Ari Folman’s adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s classic sci-fi novel, and his follow-up to the animated WALTZ WITH BASHIR. Also stars John Hamm and Harvey Keitel. Empire Online’s Damon Wise describes THE CONGRESS as an “extraordinary and very touching film that exists somewhere in the twilight zone between the existential brainteasers of Charlie Kaufman and the psychedelic wonders of Hayao Miyazaki.GRAND PIANO
Director: Eugenio Mira
2013, Spain, 90 min
In this Fantastic Fest 2013 Audience Award winner, a renowned concert pianist (Elijah Wood) returns to the stage for one final performance, only to become the target of a sadistic cat-and-mouse game with a faceless sniper (John Cusack). IGN calls GRAND PIANO “Hugely entertaining—an acting and directing tour de force that holds the viewer in its vice-like grip from start to finish.”
JOURNEY TO THE WEST: CONQUERING THE DEMONS
Directors: Stephen Chow and Chi-Kin Kwok
2013, China, 110 min
The undisputed Chinese master of comedy, Stephen Chow (SHAOLIN SOCCER; KUNG FU HUSTLE) returns with an action-packed love story about competing demon hunters vying for the same conquests. Badass Digest says the film is “a monster-iffic blast. Outstandingly entertaining - you will laugh your ass off.”WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL
Director: Sion Sono
2013, Japan, 126 min
Things get insanely bloody when an aspiring film troupe collides with a yakuza boss who wants to make a movie with his daughter, Fantastic Fest veteran Sion Sono’s (LOVE EXPOSURE; SUICIDE CLUB) latest has been called “a madcap salute to cinema and yakuzas” by Debra Young of The Hollywood Reporter.