It was my very last day at Fantastic Fest and I had a huge gap in my schedule. As I was leaving the Alamo Drafthouse, I was stopped by Aaron Morgan, who asked if I was going to see a movie called K-20. I said I wasn't and he started telling me about how great it was and that I need to see it because its only ever showed in Japan up until this point. After juggling the possibility in my mind, I checked out a trailer on YouTube, and decided to walk in last minute. Thank you Aaron, because I loved this movie! He described it to me as a movie that Christopher Nolan would be making if he was in Japan - and he's dead on with that description.
Another surprise delight I discovered at Fantastic Fest is Tom Shankland's The Children, a horror-thriller from England. I've been waiting to find out what this year's Let the Right One In would be (since that I saw that film at Fantastic Fest last year). While this film isn't exactly that incredible, it's one of my favorites of the festival (so far) along with Mandrill. The Children is, in short, about a group of children who go crazy and start killing their parents. Shankland takes everything to the next level, though, even though he doesn't need to, from the great performances young and old to the thrilling story to the beautiful cinematography.
I saw this on display at Fantastic Fest a few days ago but didn't think much about it. Apparently this poster for Lars von Trier's Antichrist was created specifically for Fantastic Fest by poster artist David D'Andrea (visit his site: dvdandrea.com). We were just sent an email with a copy of this thing in high res and it's worth checking out. It's a fairly beautiful poster and I think you can actually buy them here in Austin, but I'm not sure if you can order them online or else (check Mondo Tees in a few weeks). As for more review of the very controversial film, check out: Twitch or Fangoria or HorrorMovies.ca. Anyone still interested in seeing this?
I always love to be surprised at film festivals and luckily today that happened. I caught a great Chilean film titled Mandrill, which just so happens to be filmmaker Ernesto Díaz Espinoza's follow-up to Mirageman. Espinoza pretty much made Mandrill as a film he wanted to be able to come back to Fantastic Fest with again and debut. For whatever reasons, going into this, I had no clue what to expect. What I discovered was a badass (and I'm not using that word lightly) action thriller that mixes James Bond, spaghetti westerns, and 70's exploitation in an incredibly entertaining way. It's hands down one of most fun films I've seen here.
I'm not the biggest George Romero fan, but I do know that no one can make zombie movies like he does. Unfortunately in the last few years he's been making some pretty awful zombie movies, including Diary of the Dead which I saw at the Toronto Film Festival a few years ago and really hated. But he's back at the top of his game again with Survival of the Dead. It's not a return to form, but he is back. Somewhat like Steven Soderbergh, Romero has reached a point where he just likes to experiment and do whatever the hell he wants, which includes making a zombie movie that feels more like a western than a post-apocalyptic epic.
I'm currently sitting in the lobby of the Alamo Drafthouse on the morning of the 4th day of Fantastic Fest down in Austin, TX. Although I got a few days of rest earlier this week, I'm back right in the thick of things already and exhaustion has definitely started to kick in. However, if it weren't for the wonderful hospitality of Tim League and everyone at Fantastic Fest, I wouldn't be as happy (and excited) as I currently am. This fest really is incredible, I've had a blast every day, and I love seeing movies here at the Drafthouse. I've seen about 10 movies so far, including Zombieland (as seen above), but there's still plenty more left to come!
I just saw Ruben Fleischer's Zombieland for my second time down here at Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX. It's a great zombie comedy with lots of good comedy and lots of flesh eating zombies. But as I was sitting there watching it, I started to realize that it has a lot of similarities to John Hillcoat's The Road, which I saw a few weeks back at the Telluride Film Festival (read my review). And instead of just reviewing Zombieland normally (as Brandon will be doing that anyway), I thought I'd look at the comparisons between Zombieland and The Road, just for fun. So without further ado, let's get right into it, but beware there will be spoilers!
The big opening night film at Fantastic Fest was Jared Hess' Gentlemen Broncos, his third feature film following Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre previously. In short, I didn't like it much, despite my hope that I would. I'm a very big fan of Napoleon Dynamite, but hated Nacho Libre. Gentlemen Broncos is slightly better than Nacho, but that's not saying much. It has some occasional humor, thanks to the brilliant Jemaine Clement, but I didn't laugh that much otherwise. Peter from SlashFilm and Scott from We Are Movie Geeks shot a short video talking about the film at Fantastic Fest - check out that video review below!
The third and final festival in my epic 28-day tour is Fantastic Fest that takes place from September 24th to October 1st down in Austin, Texas. This is my second year attending and it's one of my favorite festivals. Why? First off, because it's unlike any other film festival out there. And secondly because it takes place at the world famous Alamo Drafthouse, only the very best movie theater in the entire world (not even joking about that). Every time I come down to Austin, I just love being here and I fall in love with the Drafthouse all over again. Thankfully I get to spend 8 days watching crazy films at the Drafthouse for Fantastic Fest.
Today I embark on another 28-day adventure around North America to three great film festivals. I fly today to Telluride, Colorado for the Telluride Film Festival, then head to Toronto on September 8th for the Toronto Film Festival, then head to Austin, Texas on September 20th for the Fantastic Fest held at the world famous Alamo Drafthouse, before finally returning home on October 1st. It's a whirlwind adventure that I've been excited to go again since finishing the same "epic tour" last year. Joining me on the road for all 28 days is Peter Sciretta from SlashFilm. You can expect plenty of great fest coverage all this month.
The first wave of content for the 2009 Fantastic Fest held at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, has been announced today (via the official website)! Leading off the announcement is the opening night film: Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) returns with Gentlemen Broncos. Jared Hess and Jemaine Clement will both be live in person. This is Fantastic Fest's fifth year and it seems to only be getting better each and every year. I attended last year and had a blast and I'm planning to attend again this year. Fantastic Fest is the premium genre film fest; I suggest that anyone who loves foreign or genre films should try to attend!