Fantastic Fest

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fantastic Fest '07 Flashback

I asked Tim if I could help out with the Fantastic Fest blog and he demanded to see my qualifications. I told him I've been "blogging" (a word I loathe) for Cinematical (blatant plug) for several years, plus I run my own nerdly little movie blog right here (pathetic plug). He said Yes, I Know You Retard and Thanks For The Help and off we go. My plan is to give the Fantastic Fest Faithful a reason to visit this blog more than, say, once a fortnight (which I think is three months).

So to give you a little taste of my oh-so-thorough "blogging" (ugh) abilities, I'm starting a new tradition right now: Every June 1st we'll scan back through the previous year's FF titles and see how they're faring on the U.S. distribution front. And by we I mean me.

Aachi & Ssipak -- Available on an all-region DVD as of last December -- although it may be tough to find.

Alone -- Unavailable in R1 as of yet, but imports are available.

The Backwoods -- Lionsgate released the DVD in April.

The Beautiful Beast -- Released as a double feature (along with the 1946 version) last May.

Big Man Japan -- Magnolia has it. Expect a DVD release some time this year.

Blood, Boobs & Beast -- Still on the festival circuit!

The Cold Hour -- Released in the UK, but not the US.

Death Note 1 and 2 -- The DVD comes out in September, although I'm not sure if it's both flicks or just the first one.

The Devil's Chair -- Still no "official" word on the US DVD, but be patient!

Diary of the Dead -- The Weinsteins gave it a limited release; the DVD just came out a few weeks ago. And is excellent.

A Dirty Carnival -- Hit DVD on May 20, courtesy of "Genius Products."

Dog Bite Dog -- The Weinsteins put the DVD out last October.

End of the Line -- I wish I knew at this point.

The Entrance -- Lionsgate put it out just last week.

Exte: Hair Extensions -- Available from Tokyo Shock on July 29th.

The Ferryman -- First Look released it only a week after FF '07.

Finishing the Game -- Just hit DVD last week, courtesy Genius again.

Five Across the Eyes -- Anchor Bay bought it for US distribution; no release yet. (It's out in the UK.)

Flash Point -- Genius / Weinstein released it last month.

Flight of the Living Dead -- New Line released the DVD last October.

The Girl Next Door -- Anchor Bay released the DVD late last year.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time -- Import only.

Hell's Fever -- Looks to have been released and gone out-of-print already.

Hell's Ground -- TLA's Danger After Dark label unleashes the Pakistani lunacy later this month.

Inside -- Weinstein's Dimension Extreme label delivered the DVD last month -- but DON'T rent it from Blockbuster because their version's been gutted.

Invisible Target -- The Weinsteins again: June 10th.

Kiltro -- Now available from Magnolia DVD!

The Last Winter -- Will FINALLY hit DVD in July. Thanks, IFC.

Maiko Haaaann!!! -- The R1 DVD hits shelves on June 24th.

Mirageman -- Magnolia. Expect the DVD a little later this year.

Moebius Redux -- It's played on TV all over the world by now.

Never Belongs to Me -- I have no idea.

Offscreen -- Still without US distribution, as far as I can tell.

Persepolis -- Sony releases the DVD later this month.

Postal -- Recently had some sort of limited release. Expect the DVD before long.

Princess -- Apparently Tartan has the US rights, but didn't they just go bankrupt?

Retribution -- Lionsgate released the DVD last April.

The Rug Cop -- Import only, it seems.

Sex and Death 101 -- Anchor Bay will release this one on July 1st. (It's funny!)

Son of Rambow -- Playing at South Lamar right now! Expect the Paramount DVD later this year.

Southland Tales -- Now on DVD from Sony. Brace yourself.

Spiral -- Anchor Bay released it in February.

Summer Scars -- TLA picked it up. Release date pending.

The Sword Bearer -- Now available, I do believe.

Taxidermia -- Another one Tartan owns US right to.

There Will Be Blood -- Now available on Paramount DVD. And still awesome.

Timecrimes -- Magnolia has a hold of it; English-language remake is coming from (maybe) David Cronenberg!

Uncle's Paradise -- Apparently unavailable as of yet.

Weirdsville -- Magnolia released it last February.

Wicked Flowers -- See "Uncle's Paradise."

Wolfhound -- Import only. But worth it.

Wrong Turn 2 -- A Fox release from last October.

So there you have it. My first post for the Eff Eff blog and it only took me like three hours. Cool. See you all soon! (And thanks to Jette for the photo!)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Love him or hate him...UWE BOLL is FOREVER!

Fantastic Fest guest, pal of the Alamo and enemy of film critics everywhere, Uwe Boll has been given the honor of a lead story in last weekend's New York Times! Though the feature doesn't blindly praise all of the director's work, it does give him the rare opportunity to state his case in the major media, and explain why his title of "Worst Director of All Time" is a bit less than fair.

Read the article HERE!

It also covers his most recent film POSTAL, which debuted to packed houses at Fantastic Fest 2007 and will be returning to the Alamo South Lamar THIS FRIDAY to obliterate the boundaries of good taste. Get your tickets HERE!

Congratulations, Uwe!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

FF '07 favorite DEATH NOTE earns a series of US screenings!

One of the most stunning films to play last year's Fantastic Fest was DEATH NOTE from Japan, a mind-twisting tale that has created an avalanche of excitement in its native country. We're happy to hear that some of that excitement has carried the film to the US for a limited release, and Fantastic Fest congratulates the folks behind DEATH NOTE on their international success!

Details on the upcoming US screenings are below in this official press release from Viz Entertainment:

* * * * * *


San Francisco, CA, April 14, 2008 - VIZ Pictures, an affiliate of VIZ Media, LLC that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, has announced that it will team with NCM FATHOM, the entertainment division of National CineMedia, to present a special two-night multi-city debut at over 300 theaters across the United States for the live-action special event DEATH NOTE on May 20 and 21, at 7:30 pm. local time.

This special two-night event includes a specially produced 20-minute feature on how the manga translates to live action as well as the first-ever interview with director Shusuke Kaneko.

Advance purchase tickets will be available from April 18th through April 20th to all subscribers of the SHONEN JUMP e-mail newsletter (sign-up is available at Tickets for the general public will be available starting on April 21st at presenting theater box offices and online at For a complete list of theater locations and prices, please visit the website.

DEATH NOTE is based on the hit supernatural action mystery manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The live-action film, directed by Shusuke Kaneko, known as the director of popular monster film GAMERA series, was released in Japan in 2006 and mirrors the manga's story of Light Yagami, an ace student with great prospects who is bored out of his mind. All of that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god named Ryuk. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals mysteriously begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to investigate, and he is soon hot on the trail of Light, who must now reevaluate his one noble goal. Both Light and L believe themselves to be on the side of justice, and the two match wits trying to show exactly which of them is "good" and which of them is "evil."

Presented by NCM Fathom and VIZ Pictures, the DEATH NOTE live action feature appears on the big screen in high-definition with Cinema Surround Sound in select locations throughout the U.S., screening in more than 300 theaters.

"NCM Fathom is excited to partner with VIZ once again to bring such a unique event to the big screen for DEATH NOTE fans across the country," said Dan Diamond, vice president of NCM Fathom. "DEATH NOTE is a perfect fit for NCM Fathom's line-up of alternative in-theatre entertainment of all types - from anime, music concerts, extreme sports, comedy, children's programming, the Metropolitan Opera and more."

The DEATH NOTE manga and animated series have become extremely popular domestically. The 37-episode animated series is seen by millions each week on cable broadcast and the series is also distributed on DVD by VIZ Media (rated T+ for Older Teens). On the print side, DEATH NOTE 13: HOW TO READ, a companion volume to the successful manga series, also published domestically by VIZ Media, was recently ranked in USA Today's Top 150 list of America's best-selling books in February.

"DEATH NOTE is a riveting and critically acclaimed drama that has become the latest animated and manga series to capture the attention of millions of fans across North America," says Seiji Horibuchi President and CEO of VIZ Pictures. "Inspired by its manga and animation counterparts, the live-action DEATH NOTE combines the best aspects of suspenseful crime dramas like Heat, Seven and Sea Of Love with supernatural plot elements to make for a very unique story. We are very excited to partner with NCM FATHOM to present this special two-night event in major markets across the country. With multiple genres available to enjoy the story we hope the film attracts fans of the manga and animated series and vice versa."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008



After the success of our Big Screen Sci-Fi Classics series at The Ritz, we wanted to top off our incredible pre-summer movie series with something COLOSSAL. And after the rousing reaction you all gave to our screenings of another John Carpenter/Kurt Russell masterpiece THE THING, we realized there was only one option...



For those of you who've yet to experience this pulse-pounding foray into life-affirming entertainment, this movie ranks way up there with GHOSTBUSTERS and PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE as an ultimate distillation of PURE FUN. Kurt Russell plays two-fisted trucker Jack Burton, a gambling, beer-chugging schmoe whose macho heroics land him on the supernatural immortal kung-fu warrior shitlist. The lightning and magic lazerbeams fly through the streets of San Francisco as Jack and his fellow lowbrow adventurers face off against rampaging maniacs, elemental demigods, mythical beings and even prehistoric subterranean monstrosities!!

MAY 18 - 21 is your rare chance to catch this absolutely unparalleled movie in its enormous Scope 35mm widescreen glory, so don't miss out! Get your tickets HERE!

Here's the astonishing trailer!:

We also have special limited edition silkscreened posters made just for these shows available through the mighty Mondo Tees HERE! They glow in the dark and are soooo WOW. Look!:

...And as a special bonus, here's director John Carpenter's so-called rock band The Coup De Villes with a very uncomfortable MUSIC VIDEO for the film's infectious theme jam!:

Doesn't that keyboard player look exactly like the lovechild of Adam Sandler and Billy Joel?

Anyway, don't let the music video fool you...BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA is an EARTH-SHAKING JUGGERNAUT of ADRENALIZED EXCITEMENT gone TOTALLY OVER THE MAX! See you there!!!!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

First details on Fantastic Fest 2008

We printed a few little nuggets about Fantastic Fest in our most recent printed Alamo guide, but as not everyone has access to that, I thought it would be fair to mirror those tidbits on the Fantastic Fest website. The most important in my opinion is the tweak to the badge system. We are attempting to eliminate the long and sometimes frustrating lines that form for regular badge holders who are hoping to get tickets to the really big movies.

Here's the scoop from the printed guide. We are working on a major website overhaul soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that.


Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the United States, and it all happens right here at the Alamo Drafthouse. By genre, I mean horror, science-fiction, fantasy, crime, animation, action and all-around badass cinema. It’s as if you packed the very best of what the Alamo offers and slams it all into one crazy week. All of the screenings of the approximately 65 features and 40 shorts take place at the Alamo South Lamar, so there’s no driving/walking from venue to venue. In our fourth year, we have already established ourselves as a worldwide leader in the genre film festival circuit.

We’ve devised a new system for tickets this year. VIP badge holders are still guaranteed to get into any show they desire, but we are asking that the VIP badgeholders commit to your schedule no later than noon on the day of the show. After noon, regular badge holders can pick up what tickets are left. Individual tickets will be sold 15 minutes before each show to non-badge holders. This refinement of the system still offers VIP Badge holders their guaranteed seat, but eliminates the problem of regular badge holders waiting all day and missing potential screenings so they can be first in line for the big movies. I think everyone will be satisfied with this new system.

The masterminds behind last year’s brilliant Nikkatsu retrospective, Harvey Fenton from Fab Press and Marc Walkow from the New York Asian Film Festival are at it again in 2008. Together with author Jasper Sharp (Behind the Pink Curtain; Midnight Eye), they have programmed a mini-retrospective of Japanese Pinku films for Fantastic Fest. Pinku describes Japanese softcore sex genre, but unlike in the states, these films are the breeding ground for new filmmaking talent. As long as they deliver the requisite number of minutes of nudity and softcore sex, the rest of the picture is theirs to craft. In the past two years we’ve shown THE GLORIOUS LIFE OF SACHIKO HANAI and UNCLE’S PARADISE, two of the most delightfully surreal films in Fantastic Fest history. With this series we’ll be reaching back in the vaults to screen some very rare and very delicious treats.

Again, no firm details yet, but we’re working on another great repertory series for Fantastic Fest. Magnolia is producing a documentary on the history of Australia exploitation which we intend to show, and in addition we will be screening some of the classics of the genre. MAD MAX didn’t just come out of nowhere, Australians have been making our kind of movies for a long time, and we’ll be bringing you a small collection of those gems.

We’ll be making a major content announcement after the Cannes Film Festival in May with numerous updates to follow, leading up to the festival. In 2008, expect a return of the Fantastic Feud and Karaoke Party, as well as new concepts like the Fantastic Debates and the Celebrity 100 Best Kills Showdown, where visiting filmmakers and guests introduce their favorite cinematic kills and square off against the scenes provided by the audience. We’ll also have more parties, incorporate more signature Alamo programming into the mix, and of course, provide a boatload of the craziest new genre cinema from across the globe! Join us on Facebook or check the website ( for details as they come about. (Tim League, director and co-founder, Fantastic Fest)

During his Keynote Address at the International Film Festival Summit in Las Vegas, Variety president and publisher Charlie Koones listed Austin’s Fantastic Fest in a list of “10 Film Festivals we Love,” which he described as “interesting and exciting” events, not listed in order of importance. In addition to our festival, the list included industry heavy-hitters such as Cannes, Toronto and Telluride. What has drawn the interest of Variety is the caliber of our programming and the community that we have built around the festival. It’s that sense of community and collective passion for watching really fun movies that makes this week my absolute favorite of the year. If you love Asian cinema, giant robots, blazing gunfire and some truly unexpected craziness on your celluloid, you simply must join us this year. It’s going to be the best festival yet!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Free Screening - Machine Girl 6/2

We began programming Fantastic Fest 2008 in December 2007. One of the downsides of starting this early is that films that you really like sometimes find distribution and get out to market before the festival. One such movie is Machine Girl, which has found a home at Media Blasters and will hit video in Early June. We thought you guys would really like to check out this film early and have arranged with Media Blasters to present a sneak preview free screening of the film.

About Machine Girl
When bullies kill her younger brother, schoolgirl Ami (Minase Yashiro) seeks revenge on the perps and their parents. She loses an arm during a yakuza torture session; fortunately, sympathetic motor mechanics help with a machine-gun prosthesis, and Ami turns the bloody tide.

Check out the trailer below. Wow! Arterial sprays, chainsaws, ninjas, throwing stars and rotary drill bras. Machine Girl is without a doubt our kind of popcorn.

Admission to this show is free. Fantastic Fest and Austin Asian American Film Festival badge holders (plus one guest each) will be guaranteed admission as long as you arrive 20 minutes before showtime, all others are welcome but will be admitted on a space available basis beginning 20 minutes before the showtime.

Please RSVP at the Fantastic Fest Facebook Group so we know how many folks to expect.

This event is presented by Fantastic Fest and the Austin Asian American Film Festival

Friday, May 02, 2008

Iron Man Photo and Video Posted!

On April 26, Fantastic Fest and AICN teamed up to present a sneak preview screening of Iron Man featuring a guy in an actual jet pack flying around the parking lot before the film. If the jet exhaust was so loud that you couldn't take your fingers out of your ears long enough to snap photos, never fear. Our pal Mary Sledd from Sledd Photography was furiously snapping away. You can find the complete set of Iron Man/Jet Pack photos on the Alamo Flickr Page.

If you didn't get a chance to see IRON MAN yet. Do so. Quickly. A super hero movie that has a 96% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes is practically unheard of. It really is that good.

Serious Tony Stark fans should only see it at the new Alamo Ritz where we'll be flexing our new full-liquor license and featuring some of Stark's favorite adult beverages.

Check out video footage of the Jet Pack extravaganza below: