Trolls! It's a premise that could very easily come off campy and without any sincerity at all. The thought of a found footage film about hunting trolls in the forests and mountains of Norway could work against the film. It could illicit laughter from the audience, as ideas of Harry Potter or Gandalf saving the day might fill their distracted heads from what is playing out in the film before them.
Thankfully, with Troll Hunter, director Andre Ovredal has achieved the extremely difficult. He has made up the idea of trolls living out in the wild, he has taken that myth that is so instilled in his own, Norwegian
Both Victor Crowley and the notion of horror franchising are still alive and well. When we last saw Crowley - the mutated ghost with a penchant for ripping people's heads open of Hatchet fame - he was pulling young Marybeth, the heroine of the first film, out of a lake by her hair. As with any decent horror sequel, this is precisely the moment we're thrown in at the start of Adam Green's Hatchet II. Luckily for Marybeth, now played by Danielle Harris, as well as the producers behind the Hatchet franchise, she escapes and becomes a survivor who then takes a team back into the woods to finish Crowley off once and for all.
Those Koreans and their brutal acts of vengeance. Over the course of the past few years, the revenge film has become a staple in the South Korean film market with Park Chan-wook's Vengeance trilogy (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) leading the pack in terms of quality and style.
One of the latest films in this subgenre to come out of South Korea (I say "one of the latest" as this notion of Korean revenge was delivered at Fantastic Fest in spades) comes to us from Kim Ji-woon, the exciting and visionary director of A Tale of Two Sisters, Bittersweet Life and The Good, the Bad, the Weird. The film,
A feature length film told in a total of twelve, long-winding shots. That was the main parameter Spanish director Miguel Angel Vivas set before himself in making his newest horror-thriller film Kidnapped (also known as Secuestrados originally in Spanish). Telling a rather basic story within a somewhat basic setting is one way of handling this challenge, and that is precisely what Vivas has done with this film. Kidnapped, for all of its grand conceptual staging and near flawless execution, ends up failing to resonate as a narrative, and, unfortunately, Vivas underlying idea in the story he has set out to tell becomes a gimmick in the end.
No reason. That's a safe moniker to throw at your audience, particularly when your film is about a rubber tire named Robert with a taste for blood. This is the general premise behind Rubber, the new French film from Quentin Dupieux (aka Mr. Oizo), that opens up the idea that anything goes right at the beginning. As Stephen Spinella's Lieutenant Chad explains to us in the film's opening monologue, questioning what you are about to see is as inane as asking why E.T. is brown. No reason. Why did the people in Texas Chainsaw Massacre never wash their hands? No reason. If trivial questions like those can be viewed as meaningless
"Once there was a way to get back home..." I love seeing films at Fantastic Fest that I don't know anything about going in, yet walk out loving. Yoshihiro Nakamura's Golden Slumber is one of those films, and one that I can honestly say I truly loved. It's quite long, running over two hours, but it's a great story that kept me intrigued as it continued to relentlessly push forward. The story follows Aoyagi (Masato Sakai), a humble delivery man from Sendai, Japan, who suddenly ends up framed for the assassination of the Prime Minister and sets off on the run from the cops. It's a smart, amusing, captivating thriller that I'm so glad I got to see.
There could be a decent film scrapped together in all that Darren Lynn Bousman shot for the remake of Mother's Day. As one of the benefits of seeing a film with a Q&A after, you realize the potential a film has even before it is released to mass audiences. In the Q&A at Fantastic Fest, Bousman explained that there was also five-hour cut of the film, one that we obviously did not see and one that will obviously not be shown to the public. It should be noted at this time that this first paragraph is not part of my review, but more an explanation that what I saw may not be what you will be seeing when Mother's Day gets its release next
How many film festivals can you go to where the RZA himself presents a Lifetime Achievement award in the form of a sword to filmmaker & martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo Ping before screening his new film True Legend. Oh and after watching that and a fascinating Q&A, they showed a print of the first film Woo Ping directed, Snake in Eagle's Shadow. And if you're still not tired then, you can go and sing karaoke at an all-night party held at the Alamo Drafthouse's sister lounge, The Highball. Yep, that is Fantastic Fest for you, and there's nothing like it in the world. And I keep coming back every year because it's that awesome.
Let Me In, the Matt Reeves-written/directed retelling of John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel originally known as Let the Right One In, is beautiful, gripping, and terrifying. It is a powerful story of one boy's isolation from the world and the creature that comes into his life to accept him. From the way Reeves adapts the story to the way it's executed, there is so much to appreciate in this film, yet there is a difficult feeling to shake.
Let Me In is not only another retelling of Lindqvist's novel, it is a remake of the 2008 Swedish film, which was adapted to the screen by Lindqvist himself and directed by Tomas Alfredson. While Let Me In cannot be
For many, Austin, TX is the center of outside of the box, that civilization of abnormal and cool that anyone who gets a taste wants so much more. Fantastic Fest, held at the world famous Alamo Drafthouse (the one on South Lamar), is the week-long celebration of that abnormality in film, and it honors those strange, genre titles that you may not be privy to otherwise. After months and months of anticipation, speculation, and otherwise debates on what is to be expected, the first day of Fantastic Fest 2010 is in the books, as the fest officially kicked off Thursday. Both myself and Alex will be covering the festival for the next week.
Another post about Buried? Yes, but Lionsgate is really kicking up their marketing in these last few weeks before its opening and there is some cool stuff that I need to feature. A few weeks ago, we talked about an event/stunt that the Alamo Drafthouse was planning for Fantastic Fest called "Buried with Buried" where four fans would be buried alive in coffins and shown the movie while buried. The event took place over the weekend and we were just sent two photos of the setup and it looks badass. This is awesome, I'm a bit sad I didn't get chosen, as I would've loved to participate in this. Talk about an unforgettable way to see a movie!
Another great announcement regarding Fantastic Fest next month. Fantastic Fest will honor director and master fight choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the world premiere of his new martial arts fantasy True Legend (seen above), starring Vincent Zhao (Dragon Gets Angry), Zhou Xun (The Emperor and the Assassin) with Michelle Yeoh (Babylon A.D.) and the late David Carradine (Kill Bill). We actually featured a trailer for True Legend late last year, which you can still watch right here. That movie will play as part of a double feature with Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, Woo-Ping's directorial debut.
The Alamo Drafthouse's Fantastic Fest is gearing up for a hell of a badass festival this September and that includes making a big announcement today of 16 more movies that are part of the line-up (including Stone, Drones, The Housemaid, Ong Bak 3 and Redline). Another film that was recently added as a Gala Screening is Rodrigo Cortés' Buried, starring Ryan Reynolds, which I'm sure everyone knows by now is that buried alive flick that places entirely inside a coffin. To tease that even, they're also hosting a "Rolling Roadshow of One" where four lucky (or maybe unlucky?) fans will be chosen to watch Buried while buried underground.