Fantastic Fest

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

FF 2008 shakeyface winner's amazing prize is IN THE HOUSE!

You may have seen greatness before, but you've never seen it as a 6-foot-tall woven blanket.

Until now.

As attendees of FF '08 acutely recall, everyone at the festival (including our honored guests!) was asked to submit a Shakeyface photo for their badge, and the most ridiculous and biologically impossible was promised a valuable award. We're proud to report that we have the prize in hand for winner Robert Lambert! Whether he hangs it above his hearth, makes it the centerpiece in the living room or uses it as a decorative bedspread, Robert's talent Shakeyface legacy will live forever, immortalized for the ages.

When we picked up the blanket, the lady at the counter said, "If I had that in my house, it would make me die." An unsolicited testimonial to true victory!! Congratulations, champion!

The FF '08 Shakeyface competitors are largely represented in this gripping educational film:

A Man Named Nacho

The great Nacho Vigalondo, who devastated Fantastic Fest over the last few years with the brilliant feature TIMECRIMES and his hilarious shorts has been wearing Weird Wednesday and Terror Thursday shirts out to his big major appearances. It's a huge honor for us here and it makes us even more psyched to watch Fantastic Fest Audience Award Winner TIMECRIMES on the big screen again. Watch it with us. It opens at the Alamo Lamar on December 5!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Inside the Mind of the Muscles

This week, Marc Savlov from the Austin Chronicle had, what I have to assume, was a rare and sumptuous treat: the honor of interviewing legendary ass-kicker Jean Claude Van Damme. His new film JCVD, a Charlie-Kaufman-esque meta-comedy/drama/action hybrid features Jean Claude Van Damme playing Jean Claude Van Damme, an aging, broke action star who in one day loses a big role to Steven Segal, is being divorced by his wife and disowned by his daughter. The day really spirals out of hand, however, when he finds himself in the middle of an actual bank heist.

Check out Marc Savlov's interview "Inside the Mind of the Muscles" in this wee's Austin Chronicle, read the glowing external reviews on the Alamo show page, and most importantly, come and check out the film at the Ritz starting this weekend. Whether you side with the art house or the action flick, this movie will blow your mind and make you realize the true depth of what I once assumed was a one-dimensional Belgian karate champ.

Don't take my word for it though, here's what Marc Savlov has to say, "It's one of the most riveting, emotionally devastating, and altogether unexpected performances of 2008. And, love the guy or hate him, JCVD really needs to be seen to be believed."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fantastic Fest Classic DARK AGE Finally Coming to DVD!

Those who attended this year's NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD Ozploitation retrospective were among the chosen few to experience two rare big screen showings of Arch Nicholson's 1987 killer croc epic DARK AGE, which previously screened at the Alamo as part of QT Fest VI back in '05. Prominently featured in director Mark Hartley's NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD (opening at the Alamo next spring), DARK AGE is one of the last great Aussie genre films of the 80's, a kick-ass combo of giant monster movie, ecological horror, and Ozploitation that everyone who's seen it has raved about.

One of those in the audience this year was Don May, Jr. of the great indie DVD label Synapse Films, one of our Fantastic Fest judges this year and friend to the Alamo. Having already released several classic Aussie films on Synapse such as PATRICK, LONG WEEKEND, and FANTASM, Don looked into the rights for DARK AGE after seeing it at Fantastic Fest and quickly acquired them along with another long-lost Aussie favorite, THE ODD ANGRY SHOT, which also features DARK AGE star John Jarrett. May tells Fangoria, "[W]e’re probably going to fast-track it, because with NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD coming out early next year, we want to get DARK AGE out as soon as possible.” Another great genre film is resurrected thanks to Synapse Films and Fantastic Fest!

We'll keep you updated as to the release date, along with more exciting Synapse DVD news real soon!

Monday, November 10, 2008

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN Opens This Friday at South Lamar

That's right, one of the most acclaimed and anticipated films ever, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is coming to the Alamo South Lamar.

Maybe you caught LET THE RIGHT ONE IN at Fantastic Fest. Or maybe you just heard everyone talking about how spectacularly amazing it is. Either way, you're going to want to catch it at the Alamo South Lamar starting with the Thursday midnight screening.

While LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is a vampire movie, it's a huge divergence from most vampire films. The protaganists are young children and the film plays out in a clean orderly apartment block in modern Sweden. There are no bats or strings of garlic. The film builds its atmosphere from scratch without resorting to readymade horror tricks. And it really works as a scary horror film.

But surprisingly it also really works as a love story between two children. And that may be the greatest success of director Tomas Alfredsson in LET THE RIGHT ONE IN - the ability to create the world as seen though a child's eyes. There's an uncanny crystalline brightness and simplicity to every frame of this film that takes you back to childhood. It's such an unusually structured film that it feels much more like a memory than a movie.

It gets the highest recommendation of all of us here at the Alamo. When we compile our 10 best lists it's almost certain to be at the top of at least a couple of them and it will be included on all. It's a pretty special movie that you must see on the big screen.

Check out what the critics are saying about LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Jean Claude Van Damme in the NY Times!

Anyone who has talked to me at all about my favorite movies of the year so far will know that I fell truly, madly, deeply in love with the new Jean Claude Van Damme meta-actioner appropriately titled JCVD. A wickedly funny black comedy features the "Muscles from Brussels" as himself, an aging action star with little respect and no decent prospects in Hollywood. Returning to Belgium to get his life in order, he gets caught up in a crime and is confronted with his own sense of personal heroism.

The wild thing is that Jean Claude is incredibly poised, intelligent and brilliantly funny. Acting in his native French for the first time, his now signature hammy blunt delivery is striped away, revealing a confident actor with serious chops.

The New York Times recently interviewed the man himself. I highly recommend reading the whole article.

You can also check out the Fantastic Fest write-up for JCVD here, complete with user reviews from festival attendees.

When you are done, you can buy your ticket to the film here. It opens at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on November 20 (that show features a special get-you-in-the-mood double bill of JCVD's old-school fave BLOOD SPORT). A full-run of shows opens on Friday, November 21.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Industry friends, join us for Karaoke at AFM!

Todd Brown from Twitch and I are heading to the American Film Market for our first Fantastic Fest scouting trip of the year. If you are going to be at AFM or are in the Santa Monica area on Sunday night, please join us for a Karaoke Explosion at the Gaslight from 7PM to 9PM. Directions to the Gaslight are here. We've teamed up with our pals from Imagination Worldwide to present the party and will have free cocktails while our tab lasts! We hope to see you there!