Fantastic Fest

Friday, June 15, 2007

2nd Wave of Fantastic Fest titles announced!

Check out the official Fantastic Fest website for a list of the next round of confirmed shorts and features. We are bouncing with excitement about how the 2007 line-up is shaping up and simply cannot wait to ignite your eyeballs with this volatile Molotov cocktail of films. Plus, off the record, we have confirmations of several truly amazing titles and events that we will not be able to announce until right before the festival. Expect more strange, wonderful and occasionally horrific cinematic treats in the months to come.

Please take a few minutes to scan through the new roster of features and shorts and tell your friends that may not already know: Fantastic Fest is the ONLY place a true movie geek is going to want to be from September 20-27. If you are considering it, you should commit now. First, because there are only a limited number of badges available and we will almost certainly sell out before the festival. Also, as our current badge holders can attest, we have been offering up a vast array of special events that are available exclusively to Fantastic Fest attendees...the Transformers opening night with Robosaurus live, the Eli Roth premiere of Hostel and the Patton Oswalt sneak of Ratatouille to name just a few. We'll have more of these as the summer marches on and to be eligible for tickets, you must be a confirmed Fantastic Fest badge holder.

Below is a brief summary of some of the newly confirmed titles:

Blood, Boobs and Beast: John Paul Kinhart's fascinating documentary on the criminally unsung hero of the video generation, Baltimore gore auteur Don Dohler.

Crazy Thunder Road:
An incredibly rare screening of this legendary sought-after violent punk biker masterpiece from revered filmmaker/brainmelter Sogo Ishii!

Five Across the Eyes: On their way home from a high school football game, five girls accidentally hit a parked car and decide to flee from the scene. As the driver of the damaged SUV begins one terrifying assault after another, the five girls will lose their innocence and possibly their lives in this brutal and shocking thrill ride.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: Winner: 2007 Japanese Academy Award: Best Animated Film. Jaw-droppingly beautiful animation accentuates this funny, charming story of a vivacious high-school tomboy who inadvertently masters the art of time travel.

La Hora Fria: This fascinating new twist on the sci-fi genre is also loaded with plenty of horror thrills. La Hora Fria has been getting rave reviews on the European Melies Fantasy Film Festival circuit.

La Belle Bete (The Beautiful Beast):
A love triangle between a mother, son and daughter, LA BELLE BETE (THE BEAUTIFUL BEAST) is a dark drama on the themes of jealousy, vanity, emotional incest and, finally, murder.

Offscreen: Winner: Young Cinema Award: 2006 Venice Film Festival. Nicolas Bro reigns supreme in the role of Nicolas Bro – a man intent on making a film about himself. His friend Christoffer Boe lends him a camera and tells him to record everything, a remark which Bro takes a little too literally. If all you know about Danish cinema is Lars Von Trier, prepare yourself for a whole new breed of Danes.

Postal: Uwe Boll live in person! A completely unhinged assault of a movie, touching on terrorism, anger management issues, religious cults, Nazi-conspiracies and full-frontal Dave Foley nudity. Guaranteed to offend.

Spiral: 2006 Fantastic Fest fave Adam Green returns with his new film, a taut, Hitchcockian thriller about a dysfuctional office worker living out a possibly homicidal fantasy alter ego.

Summer Scars: From Last Horror Movie director Julian Richards. When six fourteen year old kids truant school to play in the woods they are befriended by a drifter (Howarth) whose behaviour becomes increasingly abusive. Held hostage in their den they are forced to embrace the dark side of human nature if they are going to survive the ordeal.

Uncle's Paradise:
Terrified of falling asleep, Takashi desperately gulps caffeine drinks and seduces every woman in sight. To heal him, his nephew Haruo must go on a trip to the underworld, guided by giant squid... Imaoka balances the subtle portrayal of human relationships with a crackling firework of feverish Japanese absurdity.

Wolfhound: The scale of the project for Wolfhound is unprecedented in post-Soviet cinema. No previous movie in the fantasy genre has been made in Russia, and certainly nothing based on national culture and history. Wolfhound marks not only the first 'Slavic fantasy' in Russian film production, but also the introduction of a new kind of positive hero.

Zibahkhana (Hell's Ground): A collaboration between Pakistani director Omar Ali Khan and British producer Pete Tombs (author of the "Mondo Macabro" book on international horror cinema), Zibahkhana is the first modern horror film to be shot in Pakistan. In the spirit of the EC horror comics of old, the film tells the story of five teens who get lost on their way to a rock concert, are menaced by flesh eating mutations and then fall into the clutches of a family of backwoods killers.

The next wave of titles will be announce on July 15. Check back again soon!

Friday, June 08, 2007

3 Updates for Fantastic Fest Attendees!

2006 Fantastic Fest's Severance opens today at the Alamo South Lamar
Festival favorite Severance opens at Alamo South Lamar today. In my opinion, Magnolia didn't properly sell this gem of a film. The UK Trailer rocks, but the US trailer doesn't give you any sense of what the movie is about, let alone indicate that it's going to be funny. Really funny (just think bear trap and airplane). It's a disservice to what I thought was one of the funniest, most crisply written films of last year's festival. Please tell your friends to come and check this baby out. In the thick of this blockbuster summer, Severance isn't going to be around very long. If you missed it last year, I've included a link to the audience feedback comments from last year's fest. almost unanimously glowing with praise.

Robosaurus tickets on sale next Friday
Tickets for the ULTIMATE Transformers experience, (you know the one with the actual transforming, fire breathing, car-smashing, 60-foot metal robot in the parking lot) go on sale EXCLUSIVELY to Fantastic Fest badge holders in 7 days, at 1:00 PM, Friday, June 15. The show is on July 2 and includes a ticket to Robosaurus live and the opening show of Transformers at South Lamar. If you have friends on the fence about attending Fantastic Fest, let them know that right now is the time to hop down off of said property divider. Otherwise, the Ultimate Transformers experience may just pass them by.

2nd round of Fantastic Fest titles to be announced next Friday
Not only is the shadow of Robosaurus looming large over next Friday, but on that same day you will get the first peek at the next wave of confirmed titles for Fantastic Fest. I'm very excited about the way that the fest is shaping up, and come Friday, I think you guys will agree. We'll update the website at noon on Friday with the next round of confirmations.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Patton Oswalt Live: Farewell Alamo Downtown

Ain't It Cool News and Fantastic Fest
Patton Oswalt Live in Person
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: June 11

No hyperbole here- Patton Oswalt is my favorite comedian working today. He's smart, shocking and is able to get a crowd excited just as easily by riffing on the news of the day as he can by busting out with his classic jokes. The most important reason he resonates for me though is that he is truly one of us. Obsessed with comics, metaphysically changed in 1977 by the raw power of the original Star Wars, and able to riff on the nuanced distinctions between Autobots and Decepticons, Patton would fit right in to the hardcore Alamo Downtown audience were he to live in our town. Unfortunately, we only get to see him when he is coming through town: for the Comedians of Comedy at SXSW, the Onion launch party or one of his stand-up comedy tours.

When the call went out to our all-time favorite guests to come back to the Alamo Downtown for one final farewell, the stars aligned and Patton happened to be coming through Austin on the Ratatouille Comedy Tour. With the help of Harry Knowles' Ain't It Cool News, Disney and Paramount Vantage, he was able put together not one but two "Farewell to the Alamo Downtown" special events.

Show #1:
Patton Oswalt presents
Alamo Drafthouse Downtown
7:00 PM

If you aren't super excited about Ratatouille, then you simply are not informed. Ratatouille is Brad Bird's long awaited follow-up to THE INCREDIBLES, without a doubt the peak performance of Pixar to date. RATATOUILLE follows the adventures of a rat named Remy who dreams of becoming a great chef despite his family's wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly rodent-phobic profession. It's a fun premise (especially fun for us, given the robust food tie-ins), and Brad Bird in my book can do no wrong. However, coupling Patton as the LEAD ACTOR voice with a supporting cast of Will Arnet, Janeane Garofalo, Ian Holm and Peter O'Toole to name just a few, my expectations have flown wildly off the charts. Just so everyone knows, this show will feature the "family friendly Patton," all ages are welcome to this show, and from what I can tell, all ages will have a great time with this film.

Show #2:
Patton Oswalt presents
The Foot Fist Way
Alamo Drafthouse Lamar
10:00 PM

The Foot Fist Way doesn't star Patton, nor did he have a hand in writing it. Why then is he hosting a sneak preview screening of it? Because, as I mentioned before, not all that deep down inside, he's a fanboy and he wants this awesome movie to succeed and find an audience. I'll let him sell it in his own words (note: I have changed the words in the following quote, because there may be young, impressionable Ratatouille fans reading. You lot are NOT invited to THE FOOT FIST WAY):

"another film to look out for is THE FOOT FIST WAY. Holy (poo poo), I watched this yesterday morning and nearly laughed myself into a kidney stone. I'm not sure how that works, but the film's (freakin') funny. Danny R. McBride, Ben Best and Jody Hill have crafted a low-budget, Southern flavored THE OFFICE, if Ricky Gervais' character taught tae kwon do -- badly. I don't want to spoil the surprises, the cringe-inducing moments of hilarity, and spot-on dialogue ("I hope your hair literally turns into (poo poo), so when you pull your comb through it, there's bits of (poo poo) stuck to the comb")'"

Just so everyone knows, this show will NOT feature the "family friendly Patton," all ages are NOT welcome to this show.

Both of these sneak preview screenings are free. We are offering them first to Fantastic Fest Badge Holders and Heroes of the Alamo members beginning at 5:00 PM on Tuesday, June 5, and if any are left, they will be opened up to the general public at 5:00 PM on Thursday, June 7. You can reserve your seat to either show by purchasing a pre-paid food/drink voucher. Follow the links below:

Reservation for Ratatouille at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown, 7:00 PM, June 11
Reservation for The Foot Fist Way at the Alamo South Lamar, 10:00 PM, June 11

Alamo Drafthouse Tortures Eli Roth

Sunday at midnight at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin is normally a sleepy time. But on June 3, fans of acclaimed director Eli Roth caused the street to be anything but sedate. A capacity crowd assembled by Ain't it Cool News and the Alamo Drafthouse were literally (and by literally I mean figuratively) frothing at the mouth in anticipation of the sneak preview of Hostel: Part II. The evening began with a live S&M show on stage featuring an impromptu performance by none other than Eli himself. You can download hi-res versions of this photo and others at our Flickr site.

After a few introductory words, a couple vintage trailers and a "director's cut" version of the infamous Thanksgiving trailer (with more details on the "trampoline stab" and final "turkey stuffing" sequences), the feature was underway.

I was a big fan of Hostel, and this next installment is even better. I greatly preferred spending 90 minutes with the lead actresses from Hostel: Part II than the boys from Hostel 1. The photography is lush, the KNB effects are downright artful, and the action is even more inventive without going further in the direction of overt cruelty. I was happy to see the bubblegum gang back with a vengeance, and as Harry pointed out in the Q&A, Eli payed way more attention to the details of the fulfilled fantasies of the killers, one of which featured a welcome cameo by Cannibal Holocaust director Ruggero Deodato.

I am very happy to announce that I can fully and wholeheartedly endorse Hostel: Part II. In a summer that seems to be delivering a deluge of cranked-out, under-cooked, fast-burn big-budget offal, Hostel: Part II serves as a shining example that with care and effort, a summer sequel can be even more inventive and entertaining than the original. Strangely enough, although you probably aren't going to believe me, I'm giving Hostel: Part II my vote as the feel-good movie of the summer!

Hats off to Eli, he just keeps getting better and better! Hostel: Part II opens at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on Friday, June 8. You should definitely go check it out, unless you are my mom or my niece and then I would prefer that you don't.