Critics don't get a lot of perks but we do get to go to all kinds of film festivals. Right here in town is the famous South by Southwest
festival in March as well as the Austin Film Festival
in October and while both those festivals are a fun time, nothing for compares for a geek like me to Fantastic Fest.
Today kicks off the festival for eight days of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, martial arts, and just plain weird movies at the world’s best theater, the Alamo Drafthouse
in Austin, Texas. I’m not just saying that either, about “the world’s best theater”
; Entertainment Weekly
made that claim official and the publisher of Variety
listed Fantastic Fest
in the "Top Ten Film Festivals We Love"
(beating out even Sundance
All of this, after attending this amazing event for the past two years and having the time of my life, leads me to one important conclusion about this year’s festival: Frak, it’s gonna be crowded. I’m not enough of a hipster to start disliking this just because everybody else
suddenly realized what's up, but I’m not the world’s biggest fan of pushy crowds either. But what’s an agoraphobic to do? They're showing "Feast II"
, "Zack and Miri Make a Porno"
and lots of other genre stuff from around the world that in all likelihood will be jaw-dropping....I can't miss this just because of Elbowey McJerkerson
Luckily this year, festival head Tim League
realized things were getting a little tight so he judiciously and kindly chose, not just for schedule-crowded event attenders like myself, but for all the folks who couldn’t make it to the festival for various reasons, to put several of the films and shorts online for free...at least until the end of the day on the 20th. If you go to the Fantastic Fest online site
, you can watch these in high-definition yourself and get a little taste of the kind of treats that await myself, Jason
over the next week.
Here’s a short list of the films you can check out (and the descriptions of them which are taken from the Fantastic Fest site
(Spain): A demented gynecologist discovers a cure for all the world’s illnesses and uses it as leverage to become sole dictator of the earth. Jam-packed with monsters, kung fu, battling robots and deviant sexual practices, DR. INFIERNO doesn’t let budget get in the way of executing a mountain of crazy ideas.
I Think We’re Alone Now
: This fascinating and deeply disturbing documentary takes you deep into the worlds and obsessions of Kelly McCormick and Jeffery Deane Turner, who have been separately stalking 80s pop icon Tiffany for nearly 20 years.
Rule of Three
: Twenty-something Lo (Rhoda Jordan), checks into a roadside motel with her boyfriend for a bit of innocent sexual exploration. In the same hotel, a dowdy middle-aged businessman is planning for his own romantic rendezvous, a first sexual encounter with a co-worker that he feels might turn out better if Rohipnol is in the mix. Neither encounter works out according to plan, and as the stories cleverly intertwine, the tension swirls to a gut-punch climax.
South of Heaven
: Roy Coop (Adam Nee) is a recently discharged Navy boy intent on finishing the great American novel and living the good life, all of which is blown to hell when a case of mistaken identity leaves him violated and completely subhumanized. Meanwhile, his brother Dale (Aaron Nee) is on the run from the law alongside formidable kidnapper/murderer/all-around maniac Mad Dog Mantee (Shea Wigham). In the grand tradition of lawless cinema, everything spirals relentlessly downwards, leaving each character running for their life, foaming for vengeance, or both. Add considerable helpings of femme fatales, spine-snapping hit men and monstrous human deformities, and you've got an undeniably ambitious feature that harkens back to the olden days of pulp criminal bloodlust while remaining unflinchingly innovative in every respect.
(France): Under the Christmas tree, unemployed loser François Margin mysteriously finds a jar of face cream that once applied, temporarily turns him into the most famous celebrity in France. The cream comes into the life of its lead character (played by Laurent Legeay) just when he's struggling to survive with his family on welfare while he's up for a much-needed sales job against the similarly desperate Nicolas Abraham, and with its great power comes not great responsibility but big trouble and tremendous consequences.
Also viewable online are a number of short films as well that look bizarre and well-worth your time and knowing the staff who picks these out to be shown at the festival, I feel confident saying that without having watched them myself yet.
So check these out guys and leave your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to see what you guys think of these and that might be able to guide me to choose my time more carefully as to which ones to sneak in between theatrical screenings.