|Displaying Movies Seen In The Past Week Chonologically|
|09.23.18||Deadly Games||Rene Manzor||This late 80s French film is like Home Alone meets Die-Hard. This crazy kid in this crazy mansion fends off a crazy santa claus trying to kill him. It's got a real... not sure how to put it... ephemeral style? Like I was never quite sure if the establishing shots were miniatures or to-scale sets and everything has a wide angle to it and there's lots of interesting POV work and the lighting in general has a kind of glaze to it. It really does a nice job in putting you in this fairy tale headspace in which this kid programs computers, has a prototype of an iphone strapped to his arm, and wakes up every morning to a weight training/Commando-esque gearing up montage. I had a lot of fun with it.|
|09.23.18||The Night Comes for Us||Timo Tjahjanto||This one kicked some fucking ass. The same dudes and stunt team from The Raid accomplished some of the most brutal action I've seen since... well, The Raid. Lots of great sequences here but the climactic fight is holy shit. Similar to The Raid, you kind of get inured to the broken bones and slashed throats by the end, but they did a great job of varying the fights to keep that monotony relatively low. Basically, any movie ever where there's a knife fight or someone hits someone with a sword and you think "shouldn't there be more blood?" This movie answers with "fuck yeah there should be. HERE YOU GO." A Highlight of the fest so far. Awesome stuff.|
|09.23.18||Suspiria||Luca Guadagnino||The secret screening this year was Suspiria. I was actually looking forward to this and think I liked it more than my friends did. I liked Thom Yorke's music when it was in there and all the dance stuff I thought was really good and the climax was pretty sweet as well. Friends' criticisms after the movie were valid however. I'm not sure why it had to be two and a half hours, I'm not sure why it had to be called Suspiria (it's really like an opposite take on the story), and I'm not sure why Tilda Swinton had to play two roles. Eh.|
|09.23.18||Blood Lake||Tim Boggs||This is a shot-on-VHS slasher restored by Bleeding Skull. It was pretty fun. Way more water skiing than slashing, but still. It's fun to get these glimpses of what could have been a home movie of a vacation. I guess youtube is where the equivalents of this are today but they don't seem anywhere near as charming.|
|09.23.18||Shadow||Yimou Zhang||Day Four.|
Started with this Wuxia from the guy who did Hero. I liked some of the monochromatic set design and the one major battle sequence was cool but otherwise it felt overlong and like it was actively trying to put us all to sleep. Seriously, constant rain, a soundtrack full of traditional Chinese... lute? stringed instrument? And I swore there was even a rhythmic inhale during some sequences. I thought it was someone snoring at first but it was coming from the speakers. Harsh trial for a morning show.
|09.22.18||Between Worlds||Maria Pulera||This one was pretty crazy in a fun way. It's dominated by Nicholas Cage's performance as a southern truck driver. Pretty much every line reading drew applause. The movie is definitely in on the joke though and it goes some places that make it a nice fit for the festival. I had fun with it.|
|09.22.18||Hold the Dark||Jeremy Saulnier||Jeremy Saulnier's latest. I liked it but not as much as his previous two. There's some great stuff in it (as always, the action and gore are well done), but afterward as I thought about the story... I really don't know why any of it happened. I suppose that's a feature of the source material and it's open to interpretation or whatever, but it kind of feels like just a bunch of random events.|
|09.22.18||Savage||Vincent Mariette||Not as savage as the name suggests. This one... was ok. Not bad, but it didn't... there wasn't much to it. I guess that's underselling it a bit, but not... much... happens? I liked it ok? i dunno, NEXT!|
|09.22.18||After the Screaming Stops||Joe Pearlman, David Soutar||Day Three.|
Today started with a doc about a british boy band reunion. I'm not familiar with the band Bros at all, but I think the entertainment of this film comes from the relationship between estranged twin brothers who are in the band. I thought it was interesting and funny that the directors confessed so easily in the Q&A that they antagonized and played the brothers against each other for the footage. Also, one of the brothers has a bunch of stupid observations right out of Spinal Tap. It's not a bad movie, but there also wasn't anything in here that I couldn't guess. or haven't seen before. Maybe it has more weight for Brits who know the band.
|09.21.18||Sudden Fury||Brian Damude||A lost gem Canadian suspense thriller along the same vein as Blood Simple or Dial M For Murder. This was really good really solid stuff. While the budget was low, you don't really feel it. The performances are surprisingly great and the film is put together with an expert eye toward pacing and editing. It's a shame Vinegar Syndrome didn't have any finished Blus there for sale because I think they would've sold. The best thing I've seen so far.|
|09.21.18||Apostle||Gareth Evans||Not exactly like The Raid films and actually further from Evans' segment in V/H/S 2 than I thought it would be. I liked it pretty good. There were a few interesting things about it, but also some stuff I didn't love. It also kinda gave me a headache but I suppose I can't hold that against it. I dunno, It certainly kept my attention but it's already fading from memory. That sounds harsher than I mean it to.|
|09.21.18||Border||Ali Abbasi||The write-up for this film included unfair amounts of hype. Comparisons to The Witch, It Follows, Hereditary, and Let The Right One In. I guess that's a way to get people to see the movie without telling you anything about it, but I don't think it does the film any favors unless it really is that great.|
EH... I feel like this is a quintessential Fantastic Fest movie. It takes a genre topic and treats it with humanity and compassion. If anything, I got more of a Big Man Japan vibe than any of the movies mentioned. It was not a bad movie, but I do feel like there's a twist/gimmick/"thing" about it and once you know what it is then the whole experience is deflated.
|09.21.18||Keep an Eye Out||Quentin Dupiex||Day Two.|
I liked one of Dupiex's previous movies Wrong at a previous fest and feel like I am a little more in tune with his sensibilities now. As such, I enjoyed this pretty well. If anything, I think the surreal stuff is a bit of an unneeded add-on here since the fun anxiety fever dream of the police interrogation (which dominates most of the film) is strong enough on its own. Still, I liked it, thought it was better than anything I saw yesterday.
|09.20.18||White Fire||Jean-Marie Pallardy||For whatever reason, there's a bunch of rep screenings in this year's programming. I chose a strategy of sticking to these pretty hard. My thinking is that someone loved it or thought it was cool enough to fight for it and add it to the schedule. Now I kind of see that Vinegar Syndrome is a sponsor so they probably got a few slots for whatever, but I think my idea still holds true because Vinegar Syndrome as a company restores and releases films that it thinks are worth seeing. Anyway, that was a pretty chatty way of saying that if I saw an older movie on the schedule, I put it on my list.|
On paper, this one sounds like it should be the best movie of the festival. There's, like, diamond smugglers? And they're in Turkey but it might be the future because they're wearing these weird onesies with helmets and the guns don't look right and then there's this whole Vertigo Face/Off angle to the main characters that is overtly incestuous... and Fred Williamson shows up. But truth be told, it's a little too random and disjointed to hold together as a movie at all. There are nice moments for sure, but there's way too much going on and none of it comes together like you want it to. And it takes like an hour for The Hammer to show up and I'm convinced there was never a script or anything because everything Fred Williamson says is... terrible. I think he was just making it up.
The theme song is good though. I think my favorite scene was this montage where the main dude is falling in love with this other girl but he's doing it by yelling at her trying to teach her how to drive a jeep through sand. That's real love.
|09.20.18||An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn||Jim Hosking||I didn't see The Greasy Strangler but heard it was bad. I wasn't going to see this but the cast is pretty good and... I dunno, man. I gave it a chance.|
I didn't really like it much, although I will say that it reminded me of Eagle vs. Shark in some ways that I do think Jim Hosking has a good movie in him... he's just not there yet. I'm hoping he makes a What We Do in the Shadows or Hunt for the Wilderpeople but this wasn't it.
It comes off way too stilted and random, like just another guy trying to do what David Lynch does. Everything winds up feeling very forced. Although Jermaine Clement and Matt Berry still managed to be entertaining. Next!
|09.20.18||Halloween||David Gordon Green||Boom it's time for another Fantastic Fest. I have to say, this year I haven't been 100% psyched for this. I think I need to work on improving my attitude a bit. Hopefully I'll see a good movie and my mood will lift but right now I'm kind of feeling like if the fest isn't amazing this year then it might be my last. I'm writing this down here now because I realize I kind of think this at the beginning of every fest and by the end of the week i've had enough fun to want to keep going as long as they have it. But we'll see!|
Anyway, I felt like I had to see the Opener just like I feel like I have to see the Closing night film, even though I've never been a huge fan of the Halloween franchise so a new entry is pretty whatever on my psyched-meter. Really though, the opening night ritual of sweating my ass off in an overly-packed lobby while waiting for them to open the flood gates and let the first films seat is the real opener of the fest. I feel like it's happened every year. I don't know why I think it'll be cooler inside. It's just not. Thankfully, this was the only time that it was miserable inside or out. Rain is in the forecast so let's hope things don't go too poorly.
The movie... eh, I mean I guess it was ok? Again, I'm not a great judge. There were a few cool parts... a halloween night sequence in particular was really well done. I like that Jamie Lee Curtis showed up to work and didn't just phone it in like I kinda remember the last few that she was in feeling like. Certainly it wasn't terrible.
The Q&A afterward was good. Danny McBride saying he was just up there because he went to college with David Gordon Green was pretty funny. Jamie Lee Curtis was funny. ok!