my Movie
FantasticFest 2009 (09.23.09 - 10.01.09, 30 movies)
Date Viewed Movie Director Notes
09.24.09 Van Diemen's LandJonathan Auf Der HeideFantastic Fest!!!! Holy shit i'm at the Alamo South Lamar again! New menu items, new... hmm. Well ok it's largely the same, except the highball, which i'll probably talk more about later. Although I don't really go out to many movies anymore (at all), i'm still glad to be here at this fest and to have a badge that allows me relatively little stress in seeing what I think looks good. For the fest, I'm working half days and skipping all the weekday midnight movies (except tonight)... we'll see if I can keep up a regiment of four movies a day and manage to drag myself into work on time.

Let me start off by saying thanks to whomever may still read this that is also going to the fest. I saw about a dozen friendly faces tonight and didn't get too much shit from any of them. The job/girlfriend combo seemed to answer everyone's questions pretty quickly, leaving time for pretty cool catch-up conversations with a lot of my old friends. It's kind of like the best possible school reunion ever, so thanks to everyone for remembering who I am.

So ok, Let's see... where to start. I picked my badge up last night. Looks like 3D is a big push this year although I don't think I'm seeing any 3D films. Oh Well. I also hear rumor of a Stunt Rock shirt. Have to be on the lookout for that.

Skipping ahead: Van Diemen's Land is - I think - a German movie about a group of British and Irish prisoner's in old-timey Australia who try to escape and quickly run out of food trekking through the harsh wilderness. The program guide mentioned Aguirre: The Wrath of God, which I thought might be because of some sort of genius subtle psychological portrait of the depths of isolation but ended up meaning it was in the jungle and really slow. Yes, the dude's start eating each other but you have to spend such a long time looking at them doing the same thing (walking through trees and stuff) over and over again, it literally becomes more interesting to look at the scenery (which is beautiful by the way and shot very well). The story itself follows a well-defined path (that of a way less exploity (and therefore less fun) Ravenous) and ends how you think it'll end. In fact, I found the most interesting part of the story to be the text on screen at the end of the movie, and wished very much that they condensed the 104 minutes I'd just watched into about 20 and showed me what happened next instead of offhandedly telling me right at the end.

Let's just say I'm glad I saw this early in the festival while I still have a buffer for tedious pacing.

There were a few actors who undoubtedly had interesting things to say, but since we had to hustle over to the Paramount next, Jarrette and I ducked out to find parking.

Freedom is ahead
Oops I'm hungry for human
Time to stare slowly
09.24.09 Gentleman BroncosJared HessThe Opening Night film is this: the new one from the Napoleon Dynamite guy. They got him, his wife, Sam Rockwell, Jermaine Clement (in full character reciting the winner of some sci-fi-ku competition (my favorite of which was "twinkle little star / if you do not grant my wish / I will destroy you)), and star Michael Angarano to appear with it, which would've been cool if my super VIP badge didn't yield me perhaps the worst seat in the venue. OK Maybe that's a bit facetious. I wasn't in the far right or left so the screen wasn't obscured by the box seats, but I was in pretty much the last row of the orchestra so the top of the screen was obscured by the balcony and all the ushers sat around me with their old person smell and disregard for the movie. So when the special guests came out, they strongly resembled animated action figures. In fact, since I didn't recognize Angarano by name, I had no clue he was the kid from Sky High (not to mention young William in Almost Famous where he would've stolen the entire movie if the rest wasn't so damn good) until I saw him on screen. So for everyone wanting celeb sighting dish, I can say that Rockwell had a buzz cut or something.

So the movie: I liked it. But I also liled Nacho Libre. I didn't get a kids-movie vibe from this one, but I did get a valium depressant vibe, which is what I think threw a lot of people off. I think this might be a movie for kids on horse tranquilizers. Take that as a good thing or a bad thing.

Actually that's how I view most of this movie. You can take the style and setting and characters as a good thing or a bad thing depending simply on whether you dig it or not. I think it's easy to see this movie as a deliberate step back into Napoleon Dynamite territory (the beginning titles are very similar, the first scene takes place on a school bus, there's a wacky female parent,...Utah) but if you don't see it that way and instead take it in as Jared Hess' personal worldview and accept that almost every movie he does is going to be this way, then it fits right in and works well.

The undeniably great parts of this movie are Jermaine Clement and Sam Rockwell. Both play characters that are extreme but both ground it in a comfort with who they are that it works; they are a joy to watch. The problem is that neither one are in the movie as much as you want them too.

It's definitely an odd movie from the guy who did Napoleon Dynamite. I think how you react to it depends on how open you are for it. To reiterate: I liked it.

Again there was a Q&A (which i heard was good, even from people who did not like the movie), but again, we had to haul ass back to South Lamar to make our next movie... so we had to leave right after the final scene in the movie which appears after the credits.

As a side note and potential advice to latecomers to the fest: apparently everyone thought that the line of white vans parked outside South Lamar was some sort of shuttle service taking geeks back and forth for the gala events. So also apparently, the "news" traveled everywhere (the variant I heard was that there were shuttles but the waits would be very long). Third apparently, there were large clumps of people standing on the sidewalk waiting for some phantom shuttle to take them 2 miles so they wouldn't have to park downtown, thus making some people late for the movie. HA HA. There is no shuttle.

This tweet is copy
righted in effort to a
void plagiarism
09.24.09 MacabreMo brothersBack to South Lamar (parking is a real issue) and my next movie was already seating (damn, no time to check out the Stunt Rock shirt). I picked this one because the program write-up started with this: "God bless the creators of Macabre. Really. Because divine intervention is the only way this blood drenched slasher will ever clear Indonesian censors to be seen by audiences in their home country."

I figured that was good enough for me.

As it turns out... The extreme gore and voluminous amount of blood mentioned in the write-up were there, but so was a pedestrian story and by-the-numbers execution that the write-up didn't really say much about. I mean, I get that it's supposed to be about the gore, so the story isn't really "important" or whatever, and it's really weird to say that after a while, no amount of chainsaws and decapitations re-sensitize you to the blood enough to take interest in what's happening, but I left the theater really feeling empty like I had watched make-up tests for 95 minutes. Again, I can't really complain because nobody ever said it was going to be the Wuthering Heights of Indonesian slasher flicks, but whatever. I guess these kinds of films just hold less draw for me nowadays.

Help me I am lost
Take me to my creepy house
Now eat this strange meat
09.24.09 Paranormal ActivityOren PeliThe midnight shows were running late because they held the 10 o'clock shows for people returning from Broncos, so I had my first official way-over-capacity-lobby experience of the fest! But now instead of three lines filling up the space and making everyone awkwardly overhear each other's conversations, it's just a huge cluster of people wanting to be closer to the hallway entrance even though their ticket numbers are like 156 and the entire lobby will have to pass by them before they can move. But hey, I guess it's too much to hope that people think about where they stand when they start talking to their buddies so whatever, it happens. I'm sure this won't be the last.

Once seated (with free popcorn and soda - a dubious sign), I started to wonder if I'd make it through without falling asleep. Macabre made me pretty tired and I started to think when the last time was that I was up this late on a school night. Luckily, the film kept me up (more on that in a few paragraphs).

This movie is the story of a couple who buy a camera to document the titular paranormal activity going on in their home. Surprisingly (shockingly?) Harry Knowles actually had a pretty decent introduction likening it to the best episode of Ghost Hunters (with Rod and Douche) ever. It was a good intro because I think this movie needs a lot of help from the viewer. Like with any thriller that people call "scary," it needs some amount of cooperation on your part. I will say that if you buy into it, as I and most of the theater did, it works pretty well.

After watching, I have several issues with the movie. So before I get into them, for the non-spoiler crowd let me say it was the movie I liked most tonight, it genuinely creeped me out, and kept me thinking about it right up to the point where I fell asleep in my unprotected bed in my unprotected apartment unfortunately alone. As Quint mentioned in his review, it's probably best to watch this movie at home alone but seeing it in a theater is pretty cool as well. Also as he mentioned, the film succeeds largely due to the acting of the leads; both (well, all three) were great.

It also has a very interesting effect of completely announcing when the movie's about to get scary EVERY TIME then actually creeping me out almost every time. It conditions you to the point that when the movie cuts back to the bedroom with a "night #14" or whatever, you tense up. What's gonna happen now? The scares are even telegraphed with the sound design so there's no cheap "the cat jumped out of the closet!" gags at all (quite the opposite) yet the film still succeeds at freaking you out, which is quite an achievement.

Ok, ramping up spoilers from here on out. The first few are minor, the fourth paragraph is pretty big.

First, the girl wears nothing but tanktops. I didn't really mind while watching (boobs) but Victor mentioned it right off the bat and it was a total "oh yeah!" moment.

Secondly, I know everyone has to sleep sometime but... don't you think you might want to change it up or something, sleep during the day so you can wake up at 3:08 when all this stuff seems to happen? I think I'd have a much harder time relaxing in that damn bed after night 6 or so.

Thirdly, the last shot sucks. I guess it's a familiar problem with this kind of movie (Blair Witch suffered from it as well) in that the whole thing is so subtle and realistic that when the cards are shown and you have to have some cap to the whole movie, showing something subtle is not enough. If you ask me, even cutting the last 20 seconds would've helped it incredibly. it's such a downer to be "with" the movie the whole entire time just to go "eh" at the very last part of the very last shot.

Fourthly, and most hugely, the dude in this movie is an idiot. Enough so that the whole movie now borders on reinforcement of Eddie Murphy's classic joke about the difference between white people and black people when confronted with ghosts. "Oh honey don't you love this house isn't it great? ~GET OUT~ too bad we can't stay, baby." I know the film goes out of its way to stress that it's the girl who's haunted and not the house, but the dude acts annoyingly white nonetheless. His fierce refusal to let anyone help and do everything wrong leads the latter parts of the movie down paths that I didn't find realistic at all. Like the "research" he does and the webpage he finds (complete with full-screen video even though the page itself looked from 1996) and the stuff with the potential names on the ouija board. It all seemed fake to me. I don't care about any of it and wish it wasn't in there. Why do demons all the time have to have backstory? Ugh. And seriously, how stupid do you have to be to burn a cross and think that's helping anything? I know his character is the way he is for the whole audience to have this reaction, but wouldn't it also be a cool audience reaction to have your main characters be pretty smart and do things that I would think to do and still have them pestered by demons? I know that's a harder job and all but... damn was this dude stupid. ugh!

So that's that. It's 2:30, time for me to head home and to bed. In my dark bedroom. Where who knows what goes on while I lay there asleep.

Hey ghost! I dare you
to fart on my cheek at night
Hah! Got it on tape
09.25.09 Robo-geishaNoboru IguchiMy second day at the fest actually started with the Drawn and Quartered animated shorts program, which started very late and was the reason why I sat in the front row for Robo-geisha, but whatever. Sometimes the bar eats you. So the shorts were... ok I remember the latest Don Hertzfeldt which I didn't like much (too random at this point. I guess he's surreal now so that's ok but I don't get it, which is my problem... i guess), this quick one utilizing all these vintage ad materials that was pretty awesome, and an 8-bit short called Consoul that was pretty damn cool. Some others were tedious and boring and there was an anxiety among a bunch of people about making it to the Paramount in time for Zombieland which is another unfortunate byproduct to festivals but again oh well.

So like I said above, I ended up in the front row for the first secret screening, which just about everyone knew or thought was Robo-geisha. Tim and Mark Walkow get up and start talking about Japanese things and then a whole slew of people involved with the film, including two tiny women with pointy boots, went up and were pretty funny. They promised a Q&A afterward and the movie started.

So, I haven't seen Machine Girl or Tokyo Gore Police. If you're a fan of these, or Japanese... whatever you call those movies, then look no further. Wacky Japanese humor does nothing for me so honestly it's something I try to avoid during the fest. However, my distant memories of Big Man Japan (a previous secret screening/Tim pick) were more or less positive so I figured if there was something Tim was this excited about showing then hey, let's give it a chance.

So it's about robot geishas. They eventually get weaponry installed in different places on their body. Most of the crowd seemed to laugh and cheer a decent amount. It was lost on me personally but I was expecting that so again... oh well.

After the movie, all the male filmmakers (along with Tim and Mark) came out in a line all wearing sumo "wraps" (whatever you call the ceremonial undergarment used to cradle the junk and separate your buttcheeks), went down a row of seats rubbing their asses on "lucky" festivalgoers (bet you don't see Redford doing that at Sundance) then came up for a weird little ritual that eventually summoned forth the two Tengu girls in their bikini costumes who swung swords around then poked all the dudes in the ass with voodoo pins. Then they did a Q&A which was... I can't really remember any of the questions because front row made the costumes and bloody asses a bit too real for me.

Sister, you are foe
Know what's better than your sword?
My hip katana!
09.25.09The Men Who Stare at GoatsGrant HeslovBack in the lobby (with the girls still in their Tengu bikinis posing for pics), everyone seemed to be talking about what the next secret screening would be. I guess it was kind of an open secret that Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassuss would play, helped a little bit by me overhearing Tim League tell someone "It's Imaginarium" right in front of my face. We sit down and Harry rolls up and starts talking about what a tight ship they run at the fest and how this movie was not the movie that he himself thought was going to play. Then he said the title and there were relieved sighs throughout the theater. Yay for us! And Kudos to TIm League. My guess is that it's something that exactly two people knew about and he had been disseminating false rumors as some psychological warfare technique. It makes me wonder about another rumor I heard about the last secret screening... A rumor that doesn't make any sense but would be a good cover for a guest who also happens to be in another movie coming out soon with direct ties to Aint it Cool. I'll have to get back to you on whether my hunch proves correct or we have to watch a crappy direct-to-video movie at the last night's secret screening. We'll see.

Anyway, the movie was pretty good. It didn't "blow me away" but it wasn't bad either. People seemed to get a kick out of the repeated references to Ewan McGregor not knowing what a jedi is, which I'll admit does reek of a bit of irony. All the actors were good, it looked good and all that, it just didn't surprise me with anything. I think maybe the trailer gave too much away or something (the people who hadn't seen it laughed at all the trailer moments). I appreciated the ties to reality and it was enough to make me vaguely interested in doing a few google searches to see if this was a Fargo "based on a true story" or not. I probably won't do the searches though because that would make me a sap if it was all false.

In the end, I liked it. Probably liked it more than Broncos. Less than Paranormal Activity.

Cloony with high hair
Use jedi accent, Ewan!
The Dude has been found
09.25.09 Smash CutLee DemarbreSo, I guess when I added this to my calendar, My eyes saw David Hess, Herschel Gordon Lewis, and Sasha Grey but somehow missed Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter. Probably should have noticed that.

Hess plays a director who makes crappy movies that decides to use a stripper he accidentally kills in a car accident as a prop in his new movie. Everyone says how good it looks so he keeps killing to finish his "masterpiece."

Hmmm... OK I didn't like this. Not sure how much detail I need to go into to beat the horse though because this movie borders on a weird cult underground status that apparently people who liked Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter "get" and people like me don't get. Maybe it's supposed to be hokey and over-acted and cheap and hard to watch. Maybe that's what the kids like.

The biggest problem for me was the music. It was wall-to-wall and loud and might sound ok as a house band for some bar but didn't make sense to the movie and was mixed way too loud and was also pretty repetitive. Maybe the music was an effort to hide other weakenesses of the film but it ended up causing a huge one. I feel like movies with music like that just aren't real. I mean, I did the same thing with my highschool psychology film that I made in 11th grade. You don't see me submitting that to festivals, do you? (say no). Turn the music off.

Afterward there was a Q&A for the people who had stuck through the movie. My favorite part came when David Hess (who was sitting on the little stage literally right in front of a chair) mocked the director's laughter. They had a poster that they had forgotten to sign but said they would for anyone who could answer their trivia question. They asked what Ruggerio Deodato movie David Hess starred in and this was funny to me because a) I knew the answer (House on the Edge of the Park) but b) i didn't want the poster. Now, why didn't I want the poster? Well for starters, I didn't like the movie much so I didn't want to misrepresent by having some poster for some movie I didn't like just because it's signed by David Hess and the director of another movie I didn't like, Second, I didn't have a sharpee and could see a severely awkward moment of me standing in front of these two guys saying "I don't have a sharpee, do you?" back and forth forever, but lastly and most importantly, my memory of David Hess IN The House on the Edge of the Park is so evil and visceral that it's still ingrained into my brain and quite honestly I didn't want to get too close to the guy. I'm sure he's nice and all but... he was kind of creeping me out. So... great acting, Mr. Hess!

After that I checked out the Highball party long enough to see the Robo-geisha girl hang from a stripper pole, meet a drunken member of the press, and hear some amazingly awful karaoke before getting in my car and heading home.

Actors are cattle
They do what you tell them and
they bleed out real nice
09.26.09 Under the MountainJonathan KingMy third day at Fantastic Fest started with me checking out the "3D lounge" at the Highball with Ryan and Jarrette (TVs are too small to be immersive, not much more than slight novelty) which inadvertantly made me late for seating this movie because I was dillydallying in the lobby rather than realizing everybody was already in the theater. I know this is impractical but for future Fantastic Fests I could really Airport screening status screen on one of the indoor flatscreens that tells me if and what seats each screen is seating. Anyway, I found an ok seat in the second row and was therefore pretty close to Zack when he got up to announce the film as something he's incredibly excited about.

The premise is that there are aliens living under the volcanoes around Auckland and these twin teenagers are the key to keeping them from waking up and destroying the planet. Samn Neil plays a good alien who's been keeping watch over the volcanoes but is now too old to be of any good.

I never got around to seeing Black Sheep but I heard it was good and bad. This is neither good nor bad. It's really just bland. Everything happens how you think it'll happen and everything's pretty generic and familiar and although I like Sam Neil he doesn't have anything to do here except get mad at the brother for not believing in his sister (blech). Now I guess this is supposed to be for kids or young adults or whatever but still, pretty boring stuff. It had enough money to look and flow ok but I didn't really like it enough to think anything about it.

As an aside because I just had some, I wish they sold the sour dust that you get at the bottom of Sour Patch kids in bottles in the cooke aisle. That way I could put it on everything.

aliens are weird
but ginger twins are also
tentacle cliche
09.26.09 Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's AssistantPaul WeitzQuick jaunt over to the paramount to sit in another inexplicably bad seat for another movie supposedly intended for kids. i didn't really know anything about this going in. Had no clue it was based on yet another series of young adult vampire books or any of that. Pretty much all I knew was that John C. Reilly was gonna be there and that was good enough for me.

So, I guess in an effort to pack the seats, they solicited high schoolers and junior high schoolers to come for free. That made for the whole front half of the orchestra seats populated with excited teens who think they're cooler than me. I even saw a kid with a mullet. I don't think he was old enough to be ironic but not young enough for his parents to be ironic so maybe mullets are coming back now? Crazy. Then the T-shirt guy came around and all the kids went CRAZY for youth XS-sized shirts. After the box was emptied and the suddenly-cool dude with the free t-shirts went back to being the gross old dude that all kids hate, impromptu marketplace shouting sprouted up here and there. I guess that's what we did before ebay and craigslist, huh?

The movie. It was actually pretty good! I enjoyed myself about on par with Zathura (which I liked when it played the first Fantastic Fest but haven't felt a need to see it since then). John C. Reilly was great in it with a straight-forward sarcastic tone to his vampire that was pretty refreshing for me. The supporting freak show cast were also stocked with actors who are better than they need to be and the story itself was pretty smart and engaging. I really don't have anything bad to say about this. I was pleasantly surprised for sure.

Hey smartybottom!
sweet bloody wine, to your health!
You're now one of us
09.26.09 Survival of the DeadGeorge RomeroAfter Cirque they made all of us go back outside just to come back in again. This created the longest and probably only line I'll stand in for this year's fest. Completely worthless. They're employing like 80 geriatric ushers all with wireless ticket scanners to stand in front of the doors and escort you to the seats, they can't have three of them do a pass of the theater real quick while others clean? Come on, now.

Anyway, George Romero came out and did a pre-screening Q&A in which he received thunderous applause (two standing ovations) and warm reception to every word out of his mouth. I completely agree with Tim League when he said that if/when there's a Horror Hall of Fame, Romero should be the first inducted. However, I also kinda agree with Jarrette who said afterward that he should just retire and executive produce more if he needs money. While this movie didn't have the handful of fatal flaws that kept Diary of the Dead from being successfull in any way (except i guess in video rental markets), it did have a noticeably lack of any of the stuff that made his earlier stuff great: scares, threat, edge. The zombies were more or less the comic relief in this movie... I guess it's natural for any genre to move from innovation on a steady slope toward satire but you wouldn't expect it from the man credited for "inventing" the genre himself. Leave it to a Wayans brother.

This really wasn't a zombie story at all. It's the story of a family feud between two Irish clans (except they live in delaware) who now disagree on whether to kill the dead or keep them around in hopes that they will regain some of their previous humanity. Romero answered a direct question earlier about how he's always been sympathetic and moving toward zombie humanity in all his films so I guess I can't complain about it, but it doesn't make me like it any more. I wish the ending of this movie was different.

The tone to this was also much much more comical, with self-confessed "looney tunes moments" peppering the occasional gore and c-level acting. Again, not as bad as Diary (not as many monologues, no camera-facing soliloquies), but not great either.

And finally, I know I shouldn't say this but after reading World War Z, I kinda feel like Romero had a few things wrong with this movie. In Max Brooks' thoughtfull novel, the beaches become the most dangerous places to be due to the unknown number of zombies lingering on the ocean floor. I don't think they'd just stand there as seen in this film. They'd walk to wherever you're going and walk up on the beach and be there. So an island is... not the best bet. Yet there only seems to be a handful of zombies on this island and tons of living people so... oh well. It's a shame but I think Brooks has advanced the logic of a zombie apocalypse a little further than Romero is willing to admit.

But then again, Romero's zombie movies have never really been about zombies. It's just kinda hard for a zombie fan to realize that sometimes.
09.26.09The RevenantKerry PriorBack to South Lamar just in time to find that they in fact did not hold the midnight movies for the Paramount crowd, I managed to find an ok seat way in the back as Harry gave a too-long introduction to this film (which I'm grateful for; if he shut up earlier I might missed some of the film).

This one's kind of a darkly comedic look on an army guy KIA who wakes up after a month of being dead. It's mostly about his relationship with his best friend (a loser played surprisingly unannoyingly by Chris Wylde) and the hijinks they get up to with his newfound abilities (and needs).

OK this movie is good. Real good. It consistently goes places you don't expect it to go, don't think it will go, and don't believe that it just went there. Because of that, there are several tonal shifts from light hearted comedy to serious drama and back, which is incredibly tough to do and admirably pulled off by this film. Both lead actors are amazing, the film looks great, there's a surprising amount of effects work for a film without studio backing and it all looks incredible, everything looks completely professional and fantastic about this movie.

It's just a tad too long.

This should be a great movie with a breadth of quality deleted scenes on the DVD that you can watch after the film and enjoy on their own. Possibly due to the amount of turns that the story takes, it has a little bit of the Point Break effect where you think it's gonna end like 3 or 4 times before it actually does. I understand the filmmakers' pain because it's all good stuff... but Prior just made too much movie. Some of it should go.

Which is a shame because there's a ton of great stuff in this movie. The funny bits are sharp and funny, the shocking bits suitably shocking. It's all believably realistic and did I mention the performances? Great performances.

Great stuff. Liked this one a lot.

I ended the night by dropping by The Highball and saw drunk Nick strangleholded by his drunken buddy while wearing 3D glasses, Nacho sing karaoke, and Anne hop on the pole, then went home to bed.

My eyes freak you out
bullets do not hurt me, holmes
I'm awesome, let's drink!
09.27.09 DuressJordan BarkerIn the words of Henri, "Day i'm-too-hung-over-to-remember-what-day-it-is" of fantastic fest was a day of transition for me. No midnight movie. Because of that, I only saw three films. The first film is Duress.

Martin Donovan (whom I usually like) plays a dad with a daughter and his wife/her mom has just been killed in either some sort of accident or suicide or whatever. She zapped herself in the bathtub. So, because of his grief the whole movie has a dull blue color palette and everyone acts mopey.

In the first ten minutes or so, he says he's "thinking clearer" then sees a Tyler Durden-esque character insert himself into his life and make him accomplice-ize with a murder. It's at this point that I start hoping this killer dude is not just a figment of his imagination.

The spoiler-free version of the rest of these notes is that the first 98% of this film is intolerably dull. Like unbelievably boring. it's basically the scene I described above repeated 10 times or so. Donovan's there like "oh don't hurt my family just leave me alone" and the weird european-accent-for-no-reason killer is like "we're in this together, you're just like me, and by that I mean a killer not European" over and over and over again until you think the movie's some sort of meta joke to put the audience in titular duress because they're somehow not walking out. But then the ending is not only not what I expected but actually a pretty decent explanation of events (even if it does feel a bit close to Dexter). I don't know if I thought the ending was good because I was so relieved it wasn't another Fight Club rip-off or because it's actually of quality, but either way I walked out thinking it had a good ending but not good enough to make it worth sitting through.

Duu uuu uuu uu uuuuu
uuuu uuuu uu uuuuuuu uuuuu uuu uuuu
uuu ull good ending
09.27.09 MandrillErnesto Diaz EspinozaAs stated in Tim's intro, Fantastic Fest 3 was memorable for having a couple stand-out movies attached to stand-out personalities that were there to party and also show their movies. One was Nacho, another was the Chilean action movie team behind Kiltro and Mirageman: Ernesto Diaz Espinoza and Marko Zaror.

Well they're back with Mandrill: An In Like Flint / James Bond action movie where Marko Zaror grows up idolizing an In Like Flint / James Bond TV show and becomes an assassin to seek out revenge against the eye-patched gangster who killed his parents.

Afterward the guys said they basically made this movie just to come back to Fantastic Fest, which is pretty damn awesome if you're Tim League. It's a testament to either how fun this festival is or how boring all the other ones are. It's also surprising because the movie didn't seem rushed or unpolished to me. I think a couple people maybe did but I didn't see it.

Instead - and I think this was intentional - it seemed to me like an episode of this guy's own show that he runs in his mind. There are also flashbacks to show how awesome his uncle is. One of my favorite moments was the very beginning when he goes to an assortment of increasingly ridiculous locales in search of his target. It's pretty James Bond cool until you realize who he's looking for: "Donde estas Waldo?"

I really like this movie: the style, the action, the fight scenes are impressive (they could afford a better camera this time so they slow a lot of Zaror's flashier moves down to see just how awesome his flying kicks are), the ladies quite lovely (and unbelievably tiny in real life, although I loved the leopard print dress), and the humor genuinely funny.

I still place it a tiny bit under Mirageman, but enjoyed this much more than Kiltro. This was good times for sure.

Marko is Mandrill
He loves to love the ladies
and kicking faces
09.27.09The Imaginarium of Doctor ParnassusTerry GilliamWhew. VIP Badges selling out in 2-4 minutes is pretty scary, even if you got one.

Anyway, the third secret screening was the movie everyone said would be the second secret screening. I have a feeling Harry didn't know what was showing so he passed it off as an insult to those that use twitter. I've never heard so many gasps at the words "London, England" before. Me? Even after Eric said he liked it a lot, I still wasn't exactly excited to see this. I kinda like Gilliam and he's made a few movies that I like a lot (12 Monkeys, Fear & Loathing as long as I watch less than an hour at a time) but mostly he's too much for me. Too much packed into his movies so i get overloaded. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing, just my personal taste. But then on the other hand, I found Brothers Grimm to be not weird enough (like Sleepy Hollow... should've been better) so... this seemed like one or the other.

It was ok. The girl was really hot. Like super hot in one of those japanese fantasy ways where the girl doesn't look exactly human but her feminine bits are accentuated to the point of faerie-like cartoonishness... with big boobs.

Oh right, the movie. Yeah it was ok. What's odd is I don't really have much to say about it. I liked the little hairs that stuck out behind Tom Waits' ears as a nice weird little thing. The CG in the imaginarium was colorful and whatnot but something about it seemed like... well to be honest it reminded me of Richard Stanley's Dust Devil. It seems like it could've or maybe even should've been a really cool film but due to a number of factors wound up being a movie that barely comes together and kind of strains against the duct tape keeping everything together. I can't say the entire plot made entire sense to me... like how Plummer is immortal then mortal but then apparently immortal again or something? or why exactly Heath Ledger's character is shady in some way, or why the other dude turns into Harry Potter at the end. But damn that girl's legs (and boobs) were nice.

Sorry, anyway...yeah another middle-of-the-road entry for me.

I forgot to check out the highball tonight before heading home. It was probably too early to see anything memorable anyway. From here on out I'm skipping midnights (except maybe wednesday) so I can put in some work hours in the mornings. We'll see how that works out.

Imagine a world
filled with wild images
that you imagine
09.28.09 Love ExposureShion SonoI was going to see Cropsy and Bronson until I stopped by The Highball and Jarrette put his entire reputation on the line to get me to see this instead. Having never seen Suicide Club or anything else this guy's done, I was dubious of Japanese Weird-ness. Luckily, I didn't consider it too wacky at all.

I guess the story is mainly a love story between two teen kids: Yu, a poor kid with a terrible dad that forces him to become the prince of upskirt photography, and Yoko, a pretty girl who hates men due to a terrible dad that lusted after her when she was little. Throw in some catholic imagery, a bunch of hard-on jokes, and another girl (who's sociopathic due to a terrible dad who carried out his lustful impulses when she was little) who is hell-bent on ruining Yu's life (not quite sure why, something about original sin) and you get this four-hour epic opus that's distinctly Japanese.

I enjoyed this one. I'm not sure it needed to be four hours long but there was definitely enough story to warrant 3 and I guess once you're over three hours, why not make it four? Because of the amount of time he had, Sono was able to take the movie in a lot of different directions. The first half is a bit more kinetic and comedic while the second strays into a lengthy subplot about a cult religion (which is what dragged for me). It's certainly epic and lots of things happen, but it did not change my life. Sorry, Jarrette.

So many upskirts
So little time to snap them
I must sin! Thanks, Dad

I hate men! Thanks, Dad
Miss Scorpion you're so dreamy
I love monologues!

It's all been my plan
Because I hate sex! Thanks, Dad
Hello there, birdie
09.28.09 Venus in FursJess FrancoNext up is my first Franco screening. I originally didn't intend to schedule all of these, but I'm a bit shamefully unexposed when it comes to his films so I figured this series would be a good place to start. Although in a way I started a long time ago.

When I was in college, I somehow heard about a cd called Vampyros Lesbos: Sex-a-delic Dance Party. I bought it and loved it and listened to it a bunch. This led to a naive DVD search of the film Vampyros Lesbos, which seemed to be doomed in delayed release. When Synapse finally put it out, I bought it on a lark to see what kind of movie could be so crazy to fit the music on this disc. Well, turns out most of the songs I loved on the disc were from other movies, and I quickly lost interest due to too much vampyros and not enough lesbos.

This was way before I moved to Austin and took any interest in these kinds of films at all. Instead, my knowledge of "these kinds of films" came from a different influential source of education and excitement: Cinemax Friday After Dark.

You see, kids; growing up before the internet was pretty tough. For instance, if you were a horny young boy just starting to feel the urges, there was no youporn or GGG or sluts on ice a google search away. Instead, you had two options: Live the shame of going to an adult book store and paying 30 bucks for a VHS or scouring whatever's on your TV late into the night, deciphering random nipples in the twisted signal of blocked pay-per-view or hunting through whatever European art film Cinemax could pick up for any sign of flesh. This was before the shot-on-video influx of fake boobs and shiny lip gloss. Less Red Shoe diaries and More Emmanuelle. I can't even remember how many crappy dubbed german, scandinavian, and italian movies I sat through just to see some bush. Some were memorable (2069: A Sex Odyssey), others not so much. However, I think I credit my patience for sitting through sexploitation films today to me sitting down in the basement all those years ago, inadvertantly picking up an affection for the weird slow taste of 60s and 70s sleaze while waiting to see the bikini tops come off.

So my first exposure to Franco was completely in this vein. Understandably, it didn't work.

Today though, with several seasons of Alamo tutelage under my belt, I was prepared to take in Venus in Furs on the other level. The dream-like atmospheric muck level rather than the tits-and-pubes-level. I wanted the musical groove tone poem, not something that necessarily made sense. It was in this mode that i enjoyed the film.

These women are unbelievably gorgeous. The music infectious and dynamic, driving the film to the point where the plot behaves like a song with verses and returning choruses and swirling elements that make it seem like the entire film takes place in just a few minutes like how they say your brain constructs dreams that seem to take fifteen minutes before incorporating the alarm that only started seconds ago. Istanbul, Rio, Klaus Kinski, a beautiful girl dead in the surf. What a fascinating experience.

It's also interesting to be so aware of how me just a few years ago would hate this movie. I think back to debates I had in college or my supposedly sophisticated tastes in between the child innocence of the 80s and a few years ago when QT showed me Tony Arzenta and have to laugh.

After the movie, Jess Franco held forth on a few topics, but that familiar festival itch started to take over when I heard people announcing other shows that were seating and I started thinking more about whether I would find a seat in the next movie or not than being fully absorbed in Franco's soft wandering voice. It's a real shame actually.

Wanda on the beach
Venus in Furs is smiling
Blow that horn, baby
09.28.09 Terribly HappyHenrik Ruben GenzMy last movie of the night was a Danish movie about a big-city cop who comes to a small country town and tries to fit in with the locals. I liked the main actor but the movie was just as soggy and waterbogged as the landscape it portrayed and I felt like things didn't really get going until two thirds through the picture. Ultimately, I thought the movie was just OK. There were a few things to make it interesting and I actually kinda liked the flat Danish landscape, but the more Hitchcockian suspense elements... were not made by Hitchcock.

Another early night in hopes of decent sleep.

First they can't stand me
then they cover up my kills
this town sucks asshole
09.29.09 Kaifeck MurderEsther GronenbornFantastic Fest Day Tuesday. Everyone is pretty shocked at how quickly VIP badges are sold out. We now wonder when the price will hike up. It'll be at least a year I guess.

I was mildly looking forward to this German supernatural murder mystery, but when Matt Kiernan used the words "stick with it" in his intro, my hopes started to dwindle. That's an unfortunate terms I've been hearing more and more this festival. I guess it's harder to make movies with interesting beginnings and middles but slow endings?

Anyway, this ended up being a little different from what I thought. The murder mystery mentioned in the write-up took place like 80 years ago so it's less mystery and more watching a guy dream about old dead people. And the supernatural part is... watching him dream about old dead people. So there's a lot of dreams about old dead people in this movie. Then at the end a guy dressed up like the "monster" from The Village gets set on fire.

Once again, I didn't dislike this movie but found it a tad slow and ultimately forgettable.

These people are weird
what is it with rural towns?
Fuck you, Horned Barny!
09.29.09 RampageUwe BollA punk kid has enough so he buys a bunch of guns and a heavy armor suit and goes on a shooting spree, killing dozens of innocent people and blowing up the local police department. It's a Uwe Boll movie.

Surprisingly (unless you've heard), it's good! There are a few things about it that kept me from loving it (mostly because I would've edited this movie a different way), but for the most part it's a very effective film. The lead is pretty strong (although I have to say that after seeing how tiny he is, the impact of the movie was lessened for me just a tiny bit. "Tiny," get it?) but it's ultimately the straight-forward attitude of the film that makes it enjoyable (for me anyway, I can definitely see a lot of people having a problem with this movie).

Really only two things bothered me. One is the non-linear editing techniques used primarily in the beginning but peppered all throughout. I really would've loved to see the van explosion when it happened in the story and not as a flash just to hold my interest during these supposedly slow bits of buildup in the first act. I think it was a choice made out of insecurity (just my guess) and this film is all about balls. The second is that it's all jerky hand-held. This is the first movie that's given me any sort of motion sickness and I was surprised by it but nonetheless I found myself having to periodically close my eyes to settle my system a little bit. Which kind of took me out of it a little bit.

But overall I liked it a lot. All the stuff with him in the suit is fantastic. I liked the ending a lot (although the very end title cards are a little weird and arbitrary). I liked the lead performance (although the other dude kind of grated on me a little bit, which is ok because that made the ending better), and the parents were pretty fun. I just wish it was shot like a much more hardcore (and less gay) version of Elephant than some verite mish-mash.

I also found it a bit funny that this movie is basically the serious version of the Postal video game. I remember when Uwe was here with Postal (which was nothing like the video game (as I remember (i didn't play much of it)), maybe more like Postal 2 than 1), he mentioned writing another movie very quickly because he was in such a rotten mood then moving on to the lighter Postal material. I guess this is that movie, which ended up being a way better Postal adaptation than the official one.

So yeah, Uwe continues his slow but steady rise in quality. Who knows, maybe some day mainstream critics will have to rescind some of their jokes. It wont happen with this movie though; way too brutal. I'd be surprised if it saw any sort of release.

media breeds rage
Tiny man with lots of guns
I know, scary, right?
09.29.09 SuccubusJess FrancoThe second Franco feature, this one also a QTfest alumni. This one is about... well ok. To be completely honest, I had no friggin clue what this was about. At no time during the movie could you pause it and ask me what was going on and I'd have an answer for you. Right from the get-go I was pretty confused and after a while sort of gave up on even trying to connect things in any sort of logical way.

If forced, I'd say there was this woman who liked to kill her lovers and at first her man liked it but then she started doing it to much (probably because of this other dude who psychoanalyzed her at some point) so he ultimately decided he had to kill her, except she came back as a ghost to kill him at the end. I'm sure people who actually know what the story's about are laughing right now but there you go: the honest record of what I got.

So since the story wasn't doing anything for me, I decided to focus on the film in much more of an abstract way. I saw the audio and visual as two separate entities (it wasn't hard because the dialogue was so vague and enigmatic anyway and I was grooving to the constant jazz). At some points they seemed to separate quite a bit, then kind of came back together at the end. Somewhere deep down in my brain stem was surprised at the lack of constant nudity although pretty much all the women were truly beautiful European figures.

I can't say that I liked this as much as Venus in Furs because this didn't engage the left side of my brain at all, but I still found it enjoyable in a deeply abstract way. Kind of like how in college I'd turn all the lights off and listen to albums with cthugha (a precursor to winamp and itunes) visualizations turned on.

Afterward I thought i'd have to skip the Q&A to get into the secret screening, but when I walked out I saw the Ninja Assassin crowd pouring out of the theater. Thinking I had a good 20 minutes, I went back and was able to hear Franco talk a bit more about various things like how this was a rare movie of his that he still liked and other things that I already can't remember. The gist I got from hearing him speak was that there are a ton of things I didn't know about him (like how he worked with Orson Welles to complete Don Quixote or how Fritz Lang was a fan of his) and I wonder if there's a generally-agreed-upon definitive biography out there that I can check out. He seems like he's lived quite a life and I bet there are a lot of stories there.

She's a perfect match
Wicked soul and spiny back
with silver panties
09.29.09A Serious ManJoel CoenSo 15 minutes later I get out of the Franco Q&A and see that the Secret Screening is already seating all seats. Is it me or is the time between them calling seats 1-50 and all seats now less than two minutes. What good is pulling these tickets and waiting in line when everyone just rushes forward anyway? Luckily, Victor had saved me a pretty decent seat so I got in quickly and got ready to enjoy the movie...

...which is the new Coen Brothers film. I was particularly excited for this one since Jarrette worked the movie and it had a real chance of being good. It's about a cursed jewish family and their descent into hell set in 60s or 70s suburban Minnesota. If you're not a fan of seeing good guys with terrible terrible luck, don't see this movie. Over the course of the film, so much frustration builds toward the main character that you wish would just punch somebody - anybody - to regain some of his dignity, that by the end you either have to laugh or cry.

My biggest surprise is how little the kids were in it. For some reason I thought this was going to be a little more autobiographical about the Coens' childhood. I don't really know why I thought that... nothing seems to support that claim other than them using their real hebrew school to shoot in, but nonetheless i thought it anyway. Instead it's about the dad and his... problems.

It's a pretty enjoyable movie. i'm not sure how it will play to the masses but I found it to be intimate and extremely effective. The ending in particular was great and reminded me of why I love the Coens so much (hey, i already know what's going to happen... why do i need to see it?). Their unique point of view and seeming inability to cow to Hollywood standards of storytelling are so refreshing. I am so glad that they're out of their Intolerable Cruelty/Ladykillers slump!

So that about does it for today. I'm starting to feel the burn for sure, although I plan to do a midnight movie tomorrow which might make me just a tad tired Thursday morning at work. We'll see. For now, I enjoyed heading home at 11pm to get a full night's rest.

I now understand
the pain and suffering that
went into bagels
09.30.09 Sweet KarmaJames FlerI was actually looking forward to this one thanks to Kier-la's program notes and a general affinity for naked women and revenge. Plus any time any movie takes place in "the seedy side of..." any town, I find it pretty interesting because with most movies you get the tourist postcard, not the reality. This one's about a mute Russian girl who's sister goes to Canada to do housekeeping work but is really trapped into the sex trade. She dies, the mute sister gets a bag of her belongings, and then goes on a very calm murderous rampage through the offending organization's ranks.

So I went in really hoping for the best with this movie, and enjoyed almost all of it. It's kind of weird that she doesn't talk (it seemed pretty obvious to me that it was to hide her inability to act... very much a model walking through this movie rather than an actress playing a part) and some of the action... well ok never mind I thought the action and violence sequences were competent. Nothing legendary but it wasn't laughable either.

My beefs were two fold. One: there should've been more nudity. There's a TON of underwear in this movie. women are barely ever wearing more than underwear but also barely ever wearing less. It gave the movie a bit of tame-ness that I wouldn't expect... like it's trying to be at least a little trashy although the story and premise are complete trash. I could've used a bit more shocking nudity. Two: the ending.

OK spoilers for this paragraph. So she kills her way up the ladder until finally she get's to the investor: the guy who put up the cash for the whole operation and gets half the profits living off the pain and suffering of innocent girls. She rushes in ready to kill him and a girl shouts "no!" and.... it's her sister. WHAT!? Never mind that after she supposedly got bought into freedom and now loves her once-captor, she apparently not only doesn't write to tell her sister that she's ok but she fakes her own death?? Huh??? It makes no sense to me why the sister would get all these personal items and clues to her whereabouts off of a dead body that's not her sister. It kinda... invalidated the whole movie for me. And of course then we get the scene where she can't bring herself to shoot the guy even though she was like a lady terminator throughout the whole movie shooting dudes without any emotion at all. Ugh.

But despite those two things, i still thought it was pretty decent for the most part. Yes I wished it was better but oh well.

Mute model kills scum
Hot girls stuck in the sex trade
More nudity please
09.30.09 YesterdayRob GrantWalking into this, not only did I know nothing about this movie, I had no recollection of why I even put it on my schedule. Jarrette was in the same boat and fully prepared to leave if it sucked.

He left about five minutes in.

Which is a real shame because if he would've stayed like 3 more minutes, he would've seen the first scene that tipped me to what this movie was REALLY about. The scene in question takes place in an office break room where three businessmen sit around a table and talk about how many people are out sick today. The only thing that sets it apart from any other poorly-acted and -scripted scene is that all three "businessmen" are like 17 years old (one also looks like a lovechild between Ben Stiller and an ape). These are clearly kids "playing older" because they ran out of adults to play adults! Wait a minute! This isn't some faceless terrible movie I'm watching, it's a bunch of friends getting together on weekends to make a zombie movie!

From there, my enjoyment of the film increased dramatically. I started to create my own world behind the camera of this film (I have no idea if this is true or not... probably not) where the guy who played the shooting expert (awesome by the way) was also the director or writer and just wanted the world to finally understand why he likes to wear dusters everywhere (even though he lives in a basement apartment 3 miles off campus). These are mostly college students (with a few townies thrown in because they needed some older guys and that one dude has some gnarly chest hair) banding together with a handful of credit cards to make their version of the ultimate zombie apocalypse. Kinda like Pathogen but a little older.

Could this all be in my head? sure. But there's a scene where one kid has to chuck a rock through a car window out of anger or fear and you can clearly see him smiling because... hey, he gets to break a window!!! He knows he's supposed to be acting or whatever but come on! How often do you just get to break a car window with no repercussions? It's fun!!! It's also pretty fun to pour a bucket of blood in your friend's face, get a semi-cute girl to lay down and put fake bloody intestines on her midriff, play like you're shooting people in the face because you're an expert sniper marksman, and go camping in the woods! This is the power of zombie cinema.

So yeah, this was a terrible movie, but in a lot of ways one of the most enjoyable for me during the fest. In lieu of quality, I love that amateur sincerity that comes through with stuff like this and the Indiana Jones remake and things like that. Reminds me of the little skits and movies I used to make with my neighborhood buddies as a kid. As Chris said afterward, if it was me and a bunch of friends that made that movie, I'd think it was pretty awesome as well.

Of course this could actually just be a crappy movie made by some crappy 28 year old, but the way I chose to see it was pretty damn fun.

Let's meet after class
and make an awesome movie
I can pass for old
09.30.09The Bare Breasted CountessJess FrancoOK, for anyone who read my Venus in Furs notes, know that 13 year old me would've KILLED to see this movie.

The story is about... a girl descended from vampires who walks around naked and enjoys killing people at their height of pleasure ingesting their blood and their "hormones" together. The countess is played by Lina Romay, who's been accompanying Franco all three nights here at the theater. It's a little odd to interact with her during the Q&As then ogle her 20 year-old amazing body for 90 minutes then go back to Q&A. That's a little weird for me, but I guess it's no weirder than watching a movie that's basically 90 minutes of a naked writhing woman with a sold-out theater of dudes and a few chicks all around me.

This movie was much closer to what I thought the first two would be. It's very atmospheric, very languid in pace and story, and very very erotic. Oh yeah, add hearing the guy behind me say that he could feel each of the victim's orgasms while watching the film to the pile of weird sensations for the night.

It's pretty interesting to think that all three of these films really don't have any sort of conflict at all. None of them come close to conforming to traditional American narrative structure at all. It kind of opens you up to how versatile film can be; ;how many different things it can be used for and how many different ways it can communicate to its viewers.

I really liked this. Put simply, it was hot. And I don't know why but, boots and belt is better than naked!? Gorgeous gorgeous women. I have no idea why I thought I might doze through this. More than the constant gazing at beautiful naked female flesh, the thing that made this movie hot for me was Franco's camerawork. He's unabashed in what he wants to see and the camera is quick to zoom in all the way in all the most interesting parts. There's a real energy behind the camera that reminds me of my most carnal thoughts... kind of exactly what I'd want out of an erotic film. In a sense, Franco's camera is another character in the film, constantly making love to Romay as she does whatever she's doing in the movie. The lust is palpable.

All in all the Franco screenings were a huge success with me. Ideally, we would've had an indefinite time after each film to hear his stories late into the night but I guess a retrospective like this wouldn't have been possible without a festival to cover it so I'm just grateful for what we got. It's amazing to think how much that guy's done over the years (and continues to do - I heard he made three films this year!?) and judging from the three films of his that I saw during the fest, he's working on a plane very few others share.

Huh? What did you say?
Sorry, i was hypnotized
by amazing bush
09.30.09 Down TerraceBen WheatleyI was told a dark version of The (british) Office. I don't really get The Office reference much unless they just mean British humor , but I definitely see the dark.

A father and son are apparently in the midst of a court case against them. The dad seems to be the head of some sort of criminal organization in which the son is a part. He lives with his parents (the mom is more or less pure evil). Things get worse from there.

I liked this film quite a bit. I couldn't get over how much the son looked like Bob Saget BUT ONLY FROM CERTAIN ANGLES. It was pretty weird, but undeniably true. I also loved the dad (and am aware that the father and son are really father and son, which is pretty cool) and really all the performances were very strong (which completely made the film). Not sure what else to say really. Very effective well-made film!

Oi guvnor bloke mate!
Why don't you learn some chords, son!?
Ah, regal England
09.30.09The Human Centipede (First Sequence)Tom SixEvery festival I usually end up seeing something that sticks out in my mind as being... something I could only see at Fantastic fest. Something that stretches the limits a little bit of what I expect from gore or horror or gross...ness or whatever. I guess it started with Gary's Touch, continued with Taxidermia then Martyrs and now this year... we have The Human Centipede.

A couple dumb american girls get lost in the woods while trying to find a party and wind up at an isolated house's doorstep in need of help. Oops, instead of Mr. Rogers answering the door, it's a creepy-as-fuck German surgeon putting rohypnol in their water. A short time later, they're part of a human centipede!

So... this movie is really great. I flat-out loved it. It's got twisted humor, fantastic performances, sick probably-illegal ideas and it's actually contained in a well-produced film! People have compared the surgen (Dieter Laser) to a mix between Christopher Walken and Udo Kier. That's pretty accurate. His performance is nothing short of amazing. His reading of "No, I don't like human beings" is
classic. I loved every second he was on screen and was genuinely sad when... oops, spoilers!

The centipede actors were also admirable. Having to spend half the movie on your hands and knees tied together must've been hell for them but they all did a pretty great job considering the circumstances.

So I loved the film. It delivered for me exactly the way I wanted it to and made me supremely happy. What made me happier though was the Q&A afterward.

Something about Dutch people... they always sound so happy when speaking English. This guy came out looking a little like Denholm Elliot from Last Crusade in an off-white suit and fedora and started talking about the most disturbing stuff with an innocent smile on his face and perk in his voice. I bet he's ecstatic that the film is so effective (both positive and negative) and quickly announced his plans for the sequel The Human Centipede: Full Sequence. He said he wanted it to be a double feature because the idea is so crazy that the first film was just to introduce the concept then the second will delve more into the different details. i think this maybe made some people really happy and others almost offended. One guy asked "just to hear this from your mouth, when you were talking about a sequel... that was a joke, right?"

In Zack's words, it was one of the best Q&As ever. Each question was interesting and insightful and Tom Six the director had answers for every sordid detail (yes, he did consult a surgeon on the medical accuracy of the script; yes, you CAN do this at home and keep people alive for a very long time (years); no, you can't pull your face free due to the skin grafts on your cheeks... it would be like ripping your entire face off; etc.). The second-to-last question was "What's your ultimate celebrity centipede" and Six gave a deserving answer. I think a classic has been birthed.

Afterward, knowing I was heading home to less than 4 hours sleep, I popped my head in the highball just long enough to see that there wasn't much more to the 3D dance party than a handful of TVs showing random stuff in 3D and a bunch of people I didn't know.

Tom Cruise the front
Nicole Kidman in middle
J-Lo in the rear
10.01.09 HausuNobuhiko ObayashiLast day of the fest. Pretty tired after the missing sleep last night but hopefully I can power through one more day; maybe call in sick tomorrow to enjoy a long weekend.

I initially wasn't interested in this one (looked like it definitely qualified as Japanese weird) but after hearing that Micah liked it (whose tastes for the genre pretty closely mirror mine), I figured I'd give it a chance. My hunch was confirmed when I noticed Lars, Zack, and Tim all sit down to watch. I think this is the first film of the fest that I've seen Tim take the time to watch anything. So going in, I was pretty psyched to see something, even if it didn't fit my taste very well.

What an amazingly mind-melting movie.

To say that I walked out of this completely and utterly confused is an understatement. This movie messed me up. Ryan can attest that I more or less just sat in the lobby for about a half hour trying to understand what I just saw. It kind of gave me a headache and was also the moment where my throat got scratchy and gave me the festival cold that is right now keeping me home from work (i know. irony that i would actually get sick when planning to take a sick day, shut it). It was like in the Lovecraft stories when people come into contact with something so alien that their mind can't even comprehend it so they go bonkers or immediately forget who they are.

To explain this movie... is folly. I could say it's about a group of girls who go to stay at an aunt's house and find that she's a ghost. I could also say that it's a potent experimental mindtrip for children that pre-dates ritalin and crack cocaine yet manages the same effect. Those would both be technically true but nothing I merely type here would summon even a shred of the emotional sensory explosion that is this movie.

My immediate reaction was a memory of the book Flicker by Theodore Roszak. The account that the narrator gives upon his first viewing of a Max Castle film. I feel like if there are any movies out there with hidden subversive techniques like those explored in that book, it'd be this film.

It's not just that it's weird. It's super weird. Every scene is weird. Every shot is weird. Every frame is weird. I mean, why is the sky that way? There's no reason for that. It doesn't have anything to do with anything, yet it moves around on its own.

It starts off kind of like a teletubbies episode. Everything is so very happy. For a little while.

I feel very affected by this film. I really can't verbalize it in any way except to say that I've never seen anything like it. I mean sure if you break it down and take it scene by scene or shot by shot then yes, I'm familiar with some of the techniques they're using. But there are so many of them so fast and so overwhelming... it's crazy crazy crazy.

I can't say I like this movie. Or dislike it. or hate it or love it or despise it or worship it. Right now it's kind of like a tumor in my head: when I try to think about it my head starts to hurt. I need more time.

Why is she called Mac?
Why am I even asking?
auntie cat nightmare
10.01.09 District 13: UltimatumPatrick AlessandrinAhh thank goodness. Back to movies where I know exactly what to expect.

There's a little parkour, a little action, a lot of french talking, some cool tattoos, and a president I guess. It was ok.

Punch! Kick! It's all in
your mind! If you wanna test
me, I'm sure you'll find!
10.01.09 Universal Soldier: A New BeginningJohn HyamsSo... OK. Some random faceless person I don't even know told me at the beginning of the week that the last screening was the new Universal Soldier. I spent the entire week thinking it was an elaborate plant to explain away why they were getting Dolph as a guest. I was pretty damn sure they were playing The Expendables.

I was wrong!

They actually played this as the last secret screening of the festival.

It was about as good as I thought it'd be.

We're all back for more
Where'd my ear necklace go?
Answer my question
10.01.09 DaybreakersMichael Spierig, Peter SpierigLast movie of the festival. Can't say it came too soon. I am wiped out. On one hand, I'm feeling pretty hardcore for seeing 30 movies and working half-time through the whole fest, but on the other, I'm tired and feel this damn cold coming on at the last damn second. I was hoping to escape bug-free this year (mental note: 6 hours of sleep a night next year no matter what).

Anyway, I didn't really know anything about this so was pretty happily surprised by what I saw. In a world 10 years after vampire plague, only 5% of the world's human population is left and the vampires are running out of blood. An interesting take on the genre. From there, Ethan Hawke plays a human-sympathiser and Willem Dafoe is in it and stuff happens. Good, gory awesome stuff.

This was like 10 times better than Undead I thought. I guess they had 10 times the money which helped but mainly in story, this was a very solid flick. I particularly liked the explanation of blood deprivation and its effects. Pretty sweet and refreshing exploration of a very familiar genre!

And that does it. Another Fantastic Fest down. Time for sleep.

I'm hungry for blood
but the human bank is closed
sunshine sacrifice