Fantastic Fest First Day Update

Tron shares his first day at FantasticFest 2010. Awesomeness abounds.

Today kicked off not only the first day of Fantastic Fest but the first 5 film opening day they’ve had in festival history so a busy and heady day was had by all.  Seeing all your friends from other towns, hell countries; getting your tickets for the next day (this morning, God…); discussing the upcoming schedule and then the films themselves and all the good Alamo Drafthouse food and the decent breaks between most films… I am so beyond tired and chemically enhanced right now it’s almost silly.  I did, however, make it to some films today and thought I would give a small taste of what we sample during this amazing festival.

Most of the films this year are Asian films – martial arts, blow-’em-ups, crime films and generally twisted shit – and it just so happens I am a devotee so about 85% of my schedule is Asian, 10% Horror and 5% WTF and it just so happens that today was an Asian day. 

We began with Woochi, a fantasy-fu film chock full of flying around and running about and hurling magic from the air.  Woochi is an apprentice wizard who has the reputation of being an unrepentant scoundrel.  When an accident happens and some Taoist gods set some goblins free and those goblins get to modern day Japan, only Woochi and his dog/horse/man sidekick can save the day.  One hell of a fun way to begin the festival and, as my friend Robbie Sanders said, “Finally a Fantastic Fest film I can tell my wife the whole family can watch.” 

Next up was a Donnie Yen (Iron Monkey) martial arts extravaganza called 14 Blades.  Suffice to say, this was the adult kung-fu film after Woochi’s fun and thrills.  This film also has an involved plot about a stolen seal of the Emperor.  Donnie Yen’s role is to whoop everyone’s ass and he does, man.  This movie picks up and moves, slows a little for actual plot reasons, and then steamrolls right on to the end.  Sammo Hung (Mr. Vampire) also has a small role in the film, which is awesome.  The film is kind of a throwback to old martial arts films but the fighting has been updated to “damn!” levels.  It is one of three (3) Donnie Yen films at the festival and the other two have their work cut out for them, that’s for sure, but Mr. Yen never disappoints. 

Took an American break after that for the Red vs. Blue: Revelations film.  Being a Halo mark, I’ve dug these guys for a while now and this is exactly what you’d expect from these dudes.  If you’re not familiar with these dudes, Youtube it when you can.  These cats filmed hysterical stories using the Halo game engine that just have to be seen.  The PSA’s are priceless. 

Redline was up next and was a racing anime. Ok, so I don’t like racing; not games, not the sport, nothing.  I am also a pretty casual anime watcher (ie. not much).  Tron won’t dig that, right?  It’s a co-production between the Ninja Scroll dude and the Funky Forest dude.  Tron totally saw that flick and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The sense of speed and motion was so dynamic and the characters just fucked enough that this movie really appealed to me.  Just watch the trailer and imagine that for two hours.  It’s worth the view. 

Last, but certainly not least: Tetsuo: Bullet Man.  To describe Shinya Tsukamoto and his film styling(s) or to begin to give a sense of where he’s coming from would take at least a book (indeed, I own it) and to further attempt to explain Tetsuo, let alone Tetsuo II: Body Hammer and put them in context with his obvious and indelible influence on industrial music and culture would be ludicrous.  Suffice to say, everyone I went with thoroughly disliked this film (not completely true. Magnificent Bastard was in attendance and loved the film).  I gave it a 9.  Chew on the trailer linked below and see for yourself.  You need not have seen the other two films and in a lot of ways they wouldn’t help anyway (plot, motivation, in some cases sequences of events) and in a lot of ways (disturbing visual imagery, odd camera placement, situations) it totally would…

This was just the first day.  In a few hours, I have Gallants, described as Cocoon meets kung-fu; Dante Lam’s shooter Fire of Conscience; Secret Screening 1 and what looks like the best Santa movie ever, made by Scandinavians and called Rare Exports.  Youtube that while you’re at it.  The trailer alone (and RL’s relentless pressure) caused me not only to add it to my schedule but bump some stuff to accommodate it better.  This, along with Norwegian Ninja (youtube it), seems to be the sleeper to watch this year.   Well, awake comes very soon so we’ll update again soon from the U.S.’s hottest film festival: Fantastic Fest 2010!

Lady L

for the record, everyone I talked to thought Tetsuo was great, myself included!

Posted September 30, 2010 04:09 pm

I am glad so many people dug it but I heard a lot of “it’s ok,” and “of course you liked it better” kind of remarks from our group. The only thing that matters to me is that I really dug it. It’s the beauty of Shinya Tsukamoto: you either respond and get where he’s coming from or you don’t. Very little middle ground. I am gratified Lady L and the Magnificent One embraced it’s awesomeness, though.

Posted October 04, 2010 12:10 am
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