Fantastic Fest

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My big super Fantastic Fest Day Two

Even more folks in town for day two of Fantastic Fest. I'm really enjoying the festival atmosphere, seeing out of town friends and meeting filmmakers and others. It's tough seeing all the movies I'd like to see too so I've been trying to check out movies I probably won't get another chance to see on a big screen and with an audience. So movies like WEIRDSVILLE can wait for me, since I know they will have big releases later.

My first movie was the Korean low-budget brain-eraser NEVER BELONGS TO ME, preceded by Canadian short GARY'S TOUCH, which I had seen on DVD and thought I wanted to see on the big screen. Not so sure it was such a good idea to order food during it though. It's a really disgusting, disturbing movie and it made the entire audience feel REALLY FUNNY. And not the tee-hee kind of funny. The feature, NEVER BELONGS TO ME, despite the regionally pervasive "twenty-minutes-too-long" syndrome and a bit of a cheesy '90s feel, is so imaginatively strange that I can't not like it a lot. It makes you ask some of the harder questions, like, "Is it better to have a penis that orgasms bullets or no penis at all?" Tough one, and I hope I never have to make that choice. I hope you don't either.

Then I bought the amazing FAB press book "Nightmare USA" from Mr. Fab Press himself Harvey Fenton, who had a table set up in the lobby to sell his fantastic line of books. I've had my eye on it for a long time but I finally had to have it. Now no one can take it away from me without a vicious and protracted rumble.

At 6:20 it was time for MIRAGEMAN starring Chilean martial artist Marko Zaror as a Chilean martial artist who has a lot of good reasons to be mad and decides to become a crime fighting vigilante superhero. The good news is that the movie is very funny and realistic. Mirageman rides the bus, checks emails, has a hard time changing into his superhero costume before the bad guys can get away. And Zaror specializes in a couple of astonishing moves like this side flip, kinda like a back-flip, but sideways, from a flat-footed standing position, which makes bad guys disoriented and audience members cheer and fist-pump. He also does this move where he jumps in the air and spins around kicking like a million times like some rubber-band/popsicle stick contraption. This made audience members turn red and urinate themselves as they stood in their chairs and bashed their heads against each other in a fakir-like trance of ecstasy.

Afterwards I spoke to Zaror in the lobby, he was very quiet and polite and we had a kind of unusual conversation about the next few career steps he makes, since he will certainly have a lot of opportunities. He is very eager not to sell his soul to make crappy action movies in Hollywood. He wants to reach a larger audience but in the right way with action and heart and humor. As one who loves action movies but hates most of what big Hollywood does, I'd have to say that's a damn good idea.

Then I had a bunch of boring desk and video work to do for a few hours. Afterwards I spoke to my new buddy Joe Lynch who was ecstatic about his new movie WRONG TURN 2. This was not a man with any butterflies whatsoever. He seemed more like a guy who had brought a really great birthday present and couldn't wait for it to be opened. But I know I'll be able to see that one later so I saw DOG BITE DOG instead.

DOG BITE DOG is highly, viscerally brutal. It's well acted, directed and shot. It definitely topped off my violence fix today. It's kind of interesting to see tiny Asian dudes pulling some Incredible Hulk type shit. The movie was compelling even when it was cliched, and it was pretty cliched at times, but then the classic John Woo movies have more cliches than gunshots and nobody complains. The ending is really odd. If the filmmakers would just drop me an email at I will be happy to offer some insight (for a reasonable fee) about how the final scene might be improved.


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