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Thread: Fantastic Fest 2016

  1. #41
    Senior Member 1st Electroshock Session Sock Monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian861 View Post
    One of these years, I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and join you for this. It's literally right down the road.
    Oh, man...if it's close then you absolutely have to do it one of these years. It's a lot of fun.

  2. #42
    Senior Member Jeez! Don't you have anything better to do with your time? Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sock Monkey View Post
    It is that time of year again!!!

    In about four weeks, I'll be headed back to Austin, Texas to assault my eyes and brain with more Fantastic Fest goodness.

    Attachment 21652

    This will be my third time attending and like both of the times prior the wife and I will be doing the second half of the festival. Though I'd like to do the full eight days (and was supposed to in 2017 until life got in the way), the price gets up there for tickets and accommodations. And it truly is a grueling process. I'm looking to try to get 16 movies in over four days. It's super fun, but tiring.

    They have announced two waves of titles so far with at least a third on the way along with the short film and various activities announcement. Here a links to the two announcements and one for the all the films so far if anyone is interested in checking it out:

    http://fantasticfest.com/news/entry/...t-wave-is-here
    http://fantasticfest.com/news/entry/...st-second-wave
    http://fantasticfest.com/films/features


    Movies that I'm pretty excited for:
    1. Colour Out of Space from Richard Stanley, starring Nick Cage

    2. Fractured from director Brad Anderson (I love The Machinist and Session 9, so I'm happy for a new film)

    3. In the Shadow of the Moon from director Jim Mickle (Seriously, you haven't seen Cold In July yet...)

    4. In the Tall Grass, adapted from the King/Hill collaboration

    5. Synchronic from directors Benson and Moorehead (Resolution, Spring, and The Endless)

    And that's just trying to keep the list short...

    Opening night film is JoJo Rabbit and closing night film is Knives Out, which both look fantastic as well.
    Have fun!

  3. #43
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    Socky ! I am so jealous but taking The Wife to Austin ? So there goes boffing a UT gal. Hook em !
    Also, I was shocked to hear you thoughts on Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance . That is my favorite film from that director.
    But man, the new Benson/Moorehead ? Sa-WEET ! and I have seen a lot of the films now but the main one I wanted to see
    was Synchronic the new Anderson plus the Mickle film.
    I lived in Texas for years. Wish I still did. I'd just pack a cooler, hit the road, tell my boss to fuck himself end up in Austin in a beery haze sitting on the grass watching all the bats...

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyree View Post
    Socky ! I am so jealous but taking The Wife to Austin ? So there goes boffing a UT gal. Hook em !
    Also, I was shocked to hear you thoughts on Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance . That is my favorite film from that director.
    But man, the new Benson/Moorehead ? Sa-WEET ! and I have seen a lot of the films now but the main one I wanted to see
    was Synchronic the new Anderson plus the Mickle film.
    I lived in Texas for years. Wish I still did. I'd just pack a cooler, hit the road, tell my boss to fuck himself end up in Austin in a beery haze sitting on the grass watching all the bats...
    I probably need to revisit Sympathy, but it didn't quite hit me the same way his other films have. I think my expectations might have been too high. The Benson/Moorehead, Mickle, and Anderson films are all at the top of my list to see, but to tell you the truth it's always the ones you just take a chance on cause your filling a slot that knock it out of the park.

    Oh, the bats! Man, the bats rock!

  5. #45
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    Heh.
    Dude, you mentioned the mind-altering Fasionista. Fuck man I saw that one only because the director
    helmed a perfect film, Red, White and Blue. Seen it ? If not find, beg steal, whore yourself set a bum on fire for a DVD I do not care. Plus, has the same smokin' hot actress as the town tramp. Big leap. Set in...AUSTIN ! that is right buckaroo.

    And ANOTHer dadgum thing. Hold you horses.
    Quote:
    (At one point, he stated that he and Nicolas Cage wanted to work together again to remove the stain from their previous project and joked that Cage had so many stains at this point it wouldn't be possible).

    Fuck.
    That.
    I have read Larry Brown's JOE twice and seen the Cage adaptation three or four fucking times. If anyone does not find Cage, the father of the tough as nails boy Joe takes under his wing great actors, the father should have one an Oscar-- all excellent, well sorry, they have majorly shitty taste in films. Father: was evil personified and played the part so good it hurt. I have BIG BAD LOVE on DVD. Five times viewed.
    Why ? Source material: Larry Brown, RIP, thanks for drinking yourself to death you wonderful, elegant man. Say HI ! to Kerouac for us.

  6. #46
    Senior Member 1st Electroshock Session Sock Monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyree View Post
    Heh.
    Dude, you mentioned the mind-altering Fasionista. Fuck man I saw that one only because the director
    helmed a perfect film, Red, White and Blue. Seen it ? If not find, beg steal, whore yourself set a bum on fire for a DVD I do not care. Plus, has the same smokin' hot actress as the town tramp. Big leap. Set in...AUSTIN ! that is right buckaroo.

    Red White and Blue was on my radar for a while, but I just recently was able to track down a DVD of it. I did like it. I found it similar to Fashionista in the sense that the movie shifts gears and reinvents itself over the runtime making you rethink what the movie is actually about. I might have a little more fondness for Fashionista because I'm a pretty big fan of Ethan Embry.

    Speaking of Ethan Embry, you haven't seen Cheap Thrills, I HIGHLY recommend this one. I think it would right up your alley. VERY dark comedy. One of my favorites.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2389182/...1?ref_=nv_sr_1

  7. #47
    Senior Member 1st Electroshock Session Sock Monkey's Avatar
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    Here's the links to the Shorts programming and the final wave of feature film announcements

    https://fantasticfest.com/news/entry...l-wave-is-here
    https://fantasticfest.com/news/entry...h-2019-program

    I haven't checked out any of the short film presentations beyond those that play before the films. I'm thinking that this might be the year. I'm little unsure as there are SO many movies I'd like to see and if I pack the day from beginning to end (and don't collapse from exhaustion) I'll only be able to squeeze 20 in over the four day period.

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    Socky ! What's the haps, babe !
    I know you need time, gather you thoughts, match with films you viewed. I am just letting you know, I am looking forward to them.
    You are a great reviewer and we're looking forward to hearing your opinions, set our sails towards some good, stout new viewings.

    Also, I will be watching The Nightingale, which looks fantastic and is from the director of the remarkable The Babadook

    Curious: Was this one of the films presented this year ? Also, I heard Rumsley was coming out with a new film shortly.

    Anyway, hope you had a great time and no hurry on your badass essays/reviews...Ok, time's up. hoss! Let's get a move on ! Giggle. Round em up, move em out---yee HAW !

    Thanks, buddy.
    Mark

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    Oh hey ! Did you get a chance to see The Girl on the Third Floor ?

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyree View Post
    Socky ! What's the haps, babe !
    I know you need time, gather you thoughts, match with films you viewed. I am just letting you know, I am looking forward to them.
    You are a great reviewer and we're looking forward to hearing your opinions, set our sails towards some good, stout new viewings.

    Also, I will be watching The Nightingale, which looks fantastic and is from the director of the remarkable The Babadook

    Curious: Was this one of the films presented this year ? Also, I heard Rumsley was coming out with a new film shortly.

    Anyway, hope you had a great time and no hurry on your badass essays/reviews...Ok, time's up. hoss! Let's get a move on ! Giggle. Round em up, move em out---yee HAW !

    Thanks, buddy.
    Mark

    Thanks for the encouragement and compliments! I've been meaning to get around to writing all the reviews, but, man, does life get in the way. They are headed to the forum pretty soon.

    As far as The Nightingale, it wasn't presented at the festival, but it is most definitely on my "must watch" list. Like you I was a fan of The Babadook and am interested in what the director will do next.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyree View Post
    Oh hey ! Did you get a chance to see The Girl on the Third Floor ?
    No, but the trailer looks bonkers. I listened to a podcast with the director recently--Shock Waves, maybe?--and it piqued my interest.

  12. #52
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    Fantastic Fest 2019 Overview:

    It has taken me way too long to get going on the reviews for this year's Fantastic Fest, but I will be posting reviews for all the movies and shorts that I saw at the festival, but it will probably take me a bit to get through it all. I thought prior to posting the reviews, I would just do an general post about the trip and the festival.

    It was another great year at Fantastic Fest, even if the weather in Austin was pretty miserable. They were in the midst of a heatwave and most days were close to 100 degrees with bonkers humidity. I'm in San Joaquin Valley in California so we get heat. 100 degrees is normal during the summer time, but what we don't have is humidity. It's all a dry heat here, but in Austin it was like all the heat I'm used to but also being smothered by a hot moist blanket. Luckily, I was in a theater most of the time.

    I did however beat my personal best and I saw 17 movies over the four days of the festival we attended (For those keeping tally, I saw 15 and 13 movies in 2016 and 2018 respectively). And while not all were my cup of tea--every year has one or two that you walk out of just shaking your head--there were some very big highlights including when, after a screening of Parasite, Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League escorted us all outside of the theater with director Bong Joon-Ho in attendance and rechristened the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar into the Bong Joon-Ho Cinema.

    On top of the movies, I had some great conversations with other festival-goers and my wife and I had a great time as always. And, yes, we are already in discussions about attending in 2020. The question is stay with the Second Half or do all eight days. I'm leaning towards the full festival next time.
    Last edited by Sock Monkey; 10-25-2019 at 07:23 PM.

  13. #53
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    Glad to hear you had a great time and made it home safe n sound. Yes, I am well aware of the weather Texas can get---paralysing, like walking around with a soaking wet heated hairshirt on. I live in the Victorville area, Socky, so yeah, we know our heat but that fookin' humidity is, well, like you are covered in hot fudge.

    after a screening of Parasite, Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League escorted us all outside of the theater with director Bong Joon-Ho in attendance and rechristened the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar into the Bong Joon-Ho Cinema.

    Very cool ! Parasite is on my must-see list and I thank you good sir.

    And for some reason, The Girl on the Third Floor rocked my world. Yes, it is bat-shiot crazy, but again, for some damned reason I had a ball with it. Watched it around five days ago. Maybe I'll torture Wifey tonight and watch it again.

    I've watched quite a few good films and am planning a drive-thu run down of them in the TV/Movie section including
    thoughts on the savage Nightingale, from the director of The Babadook which Essie Davis owned.

    Thanks for doing this, brother. Nice to have a list of upcoming thrillers, crime and horror films to keep a watch for.
    Now back to A Good Woman is Hard to Find. Holy crap this is good...

    Mark

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    Fantastic Fest 2019 Day One:

    HAPPY FACE: Fantastic Fest is touted as one of the nation’s largest genre film festivals specializing in horror, thriller, and science fiction, but it is also home to cinema of the off-beat, the theatre of the left-of-center. While that term might normally, and rightfully, bring forth images of insane exploitation flicks or strange imports from around the world, there is also a subset of films shown Fantastic Fest that eschew all such trappings of genre and deliver compelling stories that still feel relevant to an audience that is there for the viscera. I saw three such films at the festival this year: one soared the top of list of “best movies”, one crashed to the bottom, and the third, Happy Face, landed squarely in the middle.

    Stan is a good-looking young man with his whole life ahead of him. He hangs out with his friends and hooks up with girls at the local bar. Stan’s mother is also dying of cancer. With an absent father and no other close relatives for support, in an attempt to cope with the destruction of his mother’s body, he disguises himself in bandages to join a therapy group for individuals with physical deformities. As the group begins to open up to one another it is only a matter of time before his secret is revealed and Stan has to face the truth about himself and his mother’s inevitable demise.

    Director Alexandre Franchi delves deep into his own experiences with his mother’s battle with cancer to craft the film and in some of the best—and hardest—moments that personal connection shines through. Franchi also chose to cast individuals with real facial disfigurations in the roles of the therapy group members, adding to the authenticity of the movie.
    Alternating between heartfelt and hilarious, Happy Face pushes its characters and audience to reevaluate how they view themselves and the people around them and never allows the outcast members of the therapy group to become saintly martyrs. To the contrary, the most interesting aspects of the film is when it comes to light that maybe the reason why some group members’ families ostracized might have nothing to do with their appearances. Unfortunately the movie doesn’t delve into this until rather late in the game and it never gets a chance to fully flesh this plot point out. The films is also a little too forgiving of its lead character and never really digs into how his behavior is destructive to those around him.

    It might seem after reading the last paragraph, and a look the final “grade”-- that I didn’t like the movie, but I really did. It’s charming and so are all the characters, unfortunately it doesn’t quite achieve its potential. It’s a flawed movie, but one that I do recommend.
    A quick aside, one of the great parts of a festival is the Q&A's with the directors afterwards. The chance for the audience to participate with the filmmaker is, I feel, I very rewarding one as these can become quite personal. In this particular Q&A, an audience member stood up and thanked the director for the film because they had gone through a serious illness when they were younger and had their sister did not visit them and it was only through this movie that they realized now what their sister must have been going through on her end while they dealt with their health problem. It was an amazing moment to watch unfold.


    Grade: C+


    IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON: This was one of the movies to top my list of “Must See Movies” at the Fantastic Fest. I’m a big fan of director Jim Mickle’s work (Stake Land, We Are What We Are, and most notably the Joe Lansdale adaptation Cold In July; seriously, if you haven’t seen this one yet…) and while I knew this would be debuting on Netflix I didn’t want to miss out on a chance to catch it on the big screen.

    Boyd Holbrook plays a Thomas Lockhart, a police officer that hunts a serial killer that resurfaces every nine years. What starts as an opportunity to move from a beat cop to a detective becomes a full-on obsession that leads him down the path to discovering the truth about the serial killer.

    Director Mickle is in top form and Michael C. Hall and Bokeem Woodbine both put in solid supporting roles, but the movie begins to stumble once the pieces start to fall into place. The reasoning for the serial killer’s actions are interesting, but the moral implications are never touched upon, leaving the movie to resolve the plot with as little impact as possible. There was a lot to themes to play with—obsession, loss, sacrifice, hatred breeding violence from both sides—but the movie never concerns itself with those topics any more than it needs to move the plot along. Once the big reveal comes, it should elevate the movie, and there is an attempt at emotional resonance, but it is one that feels unearned. While I enjoyed the ride, it ultimately felt insubstantial.

    Grade: C+

    IN THE TALL GRASS: I’ve never read the source material--and for some reason I kept getting this one mixed up in my head with King’s story, “N”--so I can’t compare the two, but I did find Vincenzo Natali’s adaptation of the King/Hill collaboration a mixed bag of scares and weirdness that didn’t completely work, but also was quite satisfying.

    The movie’s premise is simple yet compelling: a brother and sister on a road trip through rural Kansas hear the cries of young boy asking for help in a large field of grass. Though hesitant, the siblings can’t not respond to the young boy’s pleas and enter the field themselves only to quickly become separated and lost. As they attempt to find each other, it becomes readily apparent that things are not quite right with the field of grass or even with the young boy himself.

    Vincenzo Natali does an admirable job not only making the grass creepy, but somehow making the field feel both endless and claustrophobic. And the movie is not afraid to get weird. And it does get a little weird.

    My favorite type of horror is one that doesn’t feel the need to over-explain itself. I don’t need the writer to rationalize it with the real world. The very fact that the horror exists in contrast to normal reality is what gives horror its frisson. Natali knows this and, while there is some explanation in the movie, it never tips its hand fully, allowing the weirdness—and Patrick Wilson—to shine.

    Unfortunately, there are a couple of narrative devices used that took me out of the movie instead of drawing me in further. To explain more would be to ruin some of the movie’s surprises, but suffice to say that the narrative shifts felt rather clunky. Fun, yet flawed.

    Grade: B-

    THE LODGE: I didn’t expect this movie to be as divisive as it was at the festival. I was sitting in a screening for another movie where I was eavesdropping on a conversation to the right of me where one audience member stated that it was terrible with little to no pay-off and only a minute or two later the people to my left were discussing how much they loved it. I am firmly in the “Love it” camp.

    In an attempt to build their relationship, a divorced father encourages his fiancée to spend time with his two children in a remote cabin the week leading up to Christmas. Left alone, the young stepmother-to-be attempts to bond with the two kids, only to find her attempts thwarted once they find out her past as the lone survivor of a suicide cult. As the days stretch on, all three find that there might be more going on in the cabin that might push them to the edge.

    The directors’ previous movie was the equally divisive Goodnight, Mommy, which I feel got a bad rap due to the misleading trailer. If you’ve seen that movie, you know what you’re in for with this one: a slow burn with a level of dread that can chill to the core. And this movie delivers on those in spades. I’d like to go on, but this is one where the least you know the better.

    Between this, Hold the Dark, and Logan Lucky, Riley Keough has silently moved up the ranks in my Movie MVP ranks. It’s a challenging role in a script that a vacillates between alienation and sympathy for the character and she pulls it off deftly

    A slow, brooding movie with a cold heart, this is one that I definitely recommend.

    Grade: A

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyree View Post
    Glad to hear you had a great time and made it home safe n sound. Yes, I am well aware of the weather Texas can get---paralysing, like walking around with a soaking wet heated hairshirt on. I live in the Victorville area, Socky, so yeah, we know our heat but that fookin' humidity is, well, like you are covered in hot fudge.

    after a screening of Parasite, Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League escorted us all outside of the theater with director Bong Joon-Ho in attendance and rechristened the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar into the Bong Joon-Ho Cinema.

    Very cool ! Parasite is on my must-see list and I thank you good sir.

    And for some reason, The Girl on the Third Floor rocked my world. Yes, it is bat-shiot crazy, but again, for some damned reason I had a ball with it. Watched it around five days ago. Maybe I'll torture Wifey tonight and watch it again.

    I've watched quite a few good films and am planning a drive-thu run down of them in the TV/Movie section including
    thoughts on the savage Nightingale, from the director of The Babadook which Essie Davis owned.

    Thanks for doing this, brother. Nice to have a list of upcoming thrillers, crime and horror films to keep a watch for.
    Now back to A Good Woman is Hard to Find. Holy crap this is good...

    Mark
    Yes, please post those reviews! I'm curious as to your thoughts. I've been plowing through another chunk of horror movies due to the Halloween season that I need to get reviews up for. But I'm still battling those Fantastic Fest ones. Four down, thirteen to go...

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    Fantastic Fest 2019 Day Two:

    The Color Out of Space: Reclusive director Richard Stanley. Nicholas Cage. H.P. Lovecraft. Mix those three together and you get one bonkers adaptation of the Lovecraft classic. Like In The Tall Grass, I have not read the source material (disclaimer: I’ve only read three Lovecraft stories which are “Call of Cthulhu”, “Rats in the Walls”, and “Pickman’s Model”, and I only really liked the last one) but am familiar enough with Lovecraft’s approach to cosmic horror and had the general gist of the story so I thought I was fairly well-prepared. I was wrong. While there is full-on Nicholas Cage in this movie that toed the line of taking me out of the it, this is one movie that isn’t afraid to get weird. And I like that.

    Nicholas Cage plays the patriarch of a family living on a rural farm when a mysterious object crashes onto their land and begins to infect and change first the plants, then the animals and humans who live on it. While it does meander a little bit in the second act, the movie hits full throttle in the third. It might not be everybody’s cup of tea on where it goes, but at the very least no one can say that it pulled its punches.

    Grade: B+


    Swallow: This was by far the most pleasant surprise of any movie that I saw at the festival. After reading the description to my wife, she politely declined and we had put it in our “Not to See” list. On this day, there wasn’t much that jumped out at us during the particular time slot so we decided to give this one a chance and I’m glad we did.

    Hunter seems to have it all: a loving husband, a beautiful home, and has recently found out she’s pregnant. Beneath the thin veneer of perfection, there is a hollowness that needs to be filled and Hunter slowly begins to give into that urge. First, it’s a marble she swallows, but then other items follow leading her down a path to either her destruction or her redemption.

    Looking up the film on the internet shows it listed as a “horror/thriller” and if you go into this movie reading my description above and expecting a pure genre movie, you will be very much disappointed. This a dark drama that leads the viewer down that afore-mentioned path with Hunter; never judging, but never shying away. Dark and darkly funny, moving and heartfelt, this is one that you shouldn’t miss.

    Grade: A

    The Vast of Night: Set in the 1950s, this low-fi sci-fi flick tells the story about a DJ and a teenage switchboard operator’s quest to uncover a mystery in their small town over one night. To go any further into the plot details will ruin the fun, so I won’t. Instead I’ll give you this: If you took the disc jockey set-up of Pontypool and dropped it into a Twilight Zone episode scripted by The West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin and dusted it with Spielberg’s penchant for nostalgia, you have a good idea of what The Vast of Night is like. And most importantly, all of it works.

    Unfortunately due to the nature of the story and the lack of big budget effects or action set pieces, this will probably fly under a lot of people’s radar. If by chance my description above intrigues you, please check it out when it is released by Amazon Studios.

    Grade: B+

    Fractured: The Machinist, Session 9, and Transsiberian are all great movies in my opinion and I’ve been hoping for a new Brad Anderson movie, so I was very happy to hear that his newest would be playing at Fantastic Fest. Even though it was going be on Netflix soon, I just didn’t want to miss out on seeing on the big screen.

    The movie follows Ray Monroe (played by Sam Worthington whose commitment to his role flat-out saves this movie) who, with his family, is traveling back from a trip to his in-laws’ when an accident at a rest stop rushes the family to the emergency room. While the hospital staff seems a little odd, Ray is happy to get help for his daughter, but after falling asleep in the waiting room whle his wife accompanies their daughter for her tests, Ray finds that his family has disappeared and there are no records of them being there in the first place.

    This isn’t a bad movie, but it is a movie that employs a device that I’ve seen many times before and used a lot more effectively. To discuss further would spoil the movie and I’m sure that this will find its fans. The cast is solid and Anderson directs the heck out of the movie, unfortunately the script wants to surprise you with twists most of the audience will see coming a mile away.

    Grade: C-

    Synchronic: Dennis (Jamie Dornan) and Steve (Anthony Mackie) are two EMTs whose private lives are beginning to resemble the shambles of the city they traverse nightly as a deadly new drug named Synchronic brings deadly consequences to those that use it.

    The newest from directors Benson and Moorhead, this is a big step up not just in star power (I mean, one of the leads is an Avenger) but also in storytelling. While not quite a horror movie, this does probably have some of the most emotionally dark moments in one of their films, but conversely it also probably their most funny effort. While the budget restrictions do show the movie’s seams at points, what’s really on show are the two performances from the leads. The script, also written by the directing duo, tees up a great relationship between the duo that both Dornan and Mackie knock out of the park.

    While where the movie eventually goes wasn’t nearly as interesting to me as to the potential of the setup, it was still a ride worth taking.

    Grade: B
    Last edited by Sock Monkey; 11-06-2019 at 05:39 AM.

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    Fantastic Fest Day Three Part I:

    The Other Lamb: Day 3 kicked off with this meditative slow burn of a film. Selah was born and raised into an all-female cult lead by the sole male named Shepherd. Living in the woods, cut off from society, Selah and her fellow members of The Flock follow the Shepherd without doubt or hesitation. But as Selah approaches adulthood she begins to see the cracks in her perfect world and in the only life she has ever known.

    In terms of filmmaking and cinematography, this is more The Revenant than Midsommer, and more drama than thriller in tone. Beautiful shots of nature and long takes that linger on the cast allow you to settle into the world that characters inhabit. While the beautiful composition can border on the pretentious at times, the director’s firm grasp and the cast’s minimalistic yet engaging performances prevent the film from stalling out. Raffey Cassidy as Selah anchors the film with her journey, her wide-eyed innocence slowly shifting to disbelief and distrust throughout the movie.

    Unfortunately, there is a deliberate choice at the end that undercuts the emotional impact of a character’s actions and subsequently denies the audience some catharsis. While I understand the reasoning behind the decision as the director clearly had a vision of what type of movie this is, as a narrative choice it left me wanting.

    Grade: C+

    Cosmic Candy: Not all films one sees at a festival are going to be winners. Some are going to just not be to one’s taste, failing to hit the mark in either tone, execution or subject matter. While these viewings are very few and far between, it does happen. But that’s kind of the point of a festival: to check out a wide range of movies and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Some times—a LOT of times—it pays off, other times…it does not. Cosmic Candy is one of the times that it didn’t.

    The movie follows a reclusive supermarket cashier with an obsession for the sweet treat known as Cosmic Candy who has to take in the pushy, outspoken pre-teen next door when her father disappears. The subsequent journey not only opens up the world to, but also the heart of, the reclusive cashier.

    If this sounds all too familiar, it’s because it’s the plot synopsis of a lot of other films. And that wouldn’t be a bad thing as it is a tried and true formula. Unfortunately, these types of films rely on the charisma of the actors to elicit sympathy from the audience and at least be fun. I didn’t find either in this film. The comedy fell flat and I found the main characters to be obnoxious more than endearing. Ultimately, all movies have to get you to care; care about the characters, care about their dilemma, care about how things are going to turn out. And in this case, I didn’t.

    In short, I can’t really recommend this one. If the plot synopsis sounds like a good time then check out 2002’s About A Boy.
    Grade: D

    The Long Walk: Grief and the inability to handle it forms the heart of director Mattie Do’s third feature film. Similar to her previous feature, Dearest Sister, The Long Walk uses the supernatural to punctuate the drama. In Sister it was the blind cousin’s supernatural sight, in The Long Walk it is the ghost of young woman who grants an old man the ability to travel back to a time when he was young and his mother was dying. It is that time that forms the nucleus of the movie and of the old man’s actions in the movie.

    Director Do posits a world set in the near future, one where technology continues to expand and grow, but does little to change the struggle of the working class in Laos. Yes, there might be fancier ways to pay for one’s dinner, but the building containing the restaurant is as battered and decrepit as it has always been. Even when good Samaritans come to give free solar power, they have little interest in what the family really needs and are more wrapped up in the “good” they are doing. It is this juxtaposition of traditional ghost story and science fiction elements that creates a compelling vision to behold.

    Little can be told about the plot without spoiling all the best bits as this is a cinematic gift left best for each to unwrap. This story isn’t meant to scary, though it isn’t afraid to get ugly. This story doesn’t go for the jugular, it goes for the heart. I am excited to see what Mattie Do does next.

    Grade: A

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