Wow. Just as I'm gearing up to start posting some of the Toronto coverage we've already been working on here at HitFix for you, this shows up in my inbox. I can't believe I'm going to enjoy the lunacy of Fantastic Fest this month... that it's already been a year since the last one.
And with every single announcement, it sounds like this year's Fantastic Fest just keeps getting more and more... well... fantastic. Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren and "RED"? The ActionFest award-winning film "14 Blades"? The Bill Pullman events alone sound so geektastic that they just became a can't-miss, and that Indian film sounds... well, I'll let you read it for yourself.
Check this out:
"Fantastic Fest, the largest genre festival in the U.S., is excited to announce additional films to its mind-blowing roster of features & shorts. Highlights of this announcement are the US premiere of the hyper-stylized action film Bunraku, a sneak preview of Darren Bousman’s terrifying new horror-thriller film, Mother’s Day (featuring a bravura performance by Rebecca DeMornay), and the world premiere of Agnosia, the latest film from Fantastic Fest 2005 Alumnus Eugenio Mira.
Additionally, Fantastic Fest will play host to a sneak preview of the highly anticipated action-comedy RED, starring pretty much the best cast assembled for a comic book adaptation…ever. And if you’re not excited to see Helen Mirren at the helm of a .50 caliber machine gun, we don’t want to know you.
Bill Pullman, one of our all-time favorite Fantastic Fest guests is returning to the festival this year. Pullman will join the hecklers of Master Pancake Theater for a special screening of Independence Day and will make an appearance as Lone Star for the Spaceballs Quote-Along.
In celebration of the upcoming book “DESTROY ALL MOVIES!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film”, written by Alamo Drafthouse’s own , Zack Carlson, Fantastic Fest will hold a screening of cult classic Class of 1984. Carlson will introduce the film and will sign copies of the book, a massive A-to-Z guide of punks and new wavers on the big screen, featuring 1100 reviews, hundreds of color stills and countless exclusive interviews with filmmakers and musicians!
Lastly, we are announcing a special encore performance of Jason Neulander's critically-acclaimed Intergalactic Nemesis.
Director: Eugenio Mira, Spain, World Premiere
The producers of Pan’s Labyrinth and The Orphanage present a truly unique romantic thriller from Fantastic Fest veteran Eugenio Mira (The Birthday). “I’ve read few screenplays in my life that have impressed me as much as Agnosia,” said director Guillermo del Toro. Director Eugenio Mira will be live in person.
Director: Guy Moshe, USA, US Premiere
In a world with no guns, a mysterious drifter (Josh Hartnett), a young samurai and a bartender (Woody Harrelson) plot revenge against a ruthless leader (Ron Perlman) and his army of thugs, headed by nine diverse and deadly assassins. This visually stunning film is filled with uniquely choreographed action sequences of a new style that melds east with west and old school with new. Director Guy Moshe will be live in person.
Mother’s Day (2010)
Director Darren Bousman, USA, Sneak Preview
After a botched robbery, three brothers, one severely injured, burst into their mother’s house, only to find that she lost it months earlier in a foreclosure. The new owners (Jaime King and Frank Grillo) and their guests, gathered for an ill-timed birthday party, become the brothers' unwitting hostages. With the situation quickly devolving, the brothers have only one choice: call Mother (Rebecca De Mornay) to mastermind their escape. Director Darren Bousman, Rebecca DeMornay & Jaime King will be live in person.
Director: Robert Schwentke, USA, Sneak Preview
Based on the cult D.C. Comics graphic novels RED is an explosive action-comedy starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren. Frank, Joe, Marvin and Victoria used to be the CIA’s top agents – but the secrets they know just made them the Agency’s top targets. Now framed for assassination, they must use all of their collective cunning, experience and teamwork to stay one step ahead of their deadly pursuers and stay alive. To stop the operation, the team embarks on an impossible, cross-country mission to break into the top-secret CIA headquarters, where they will uncover one of the biggest conspiracies and cover-ups in government history. Karl Urban (Star Trek, Lord of the Rings) will be live in person.
SPECIAL EVENT SCREENINGS
Class of 1984
Special screening to celebrate the debut of new book “DESTROY ALL MOVIES!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film” edited by Zack Carlson & Bryan Connolly. More info on the book here
The year is 1984. A rabid pack of rampaging punk teens run our schools, our drugs and our prostitutes. Brutality and decadence are everywhere. Enter first-year teacher Andrew Norris (Perry King), who’s forced to violently turn the tables on the bloodthirsty gang before their trashwave swallows the town alive. Writer/director Mark L. Lester’s reckless masterpiece debuted at Cannes Film Festival to severely divided reviews.
What detractors and many thrill-seeking fans both sadly overlooked was the fact that the movie had been done exactly right. Each actor turns in a memorable, convincing performance amid knifings and punk slam pits. Beloved ham Roddy McDowall pulls off what may have been his best scene of the decade. The film moves constantly forward at full speed, with humor and intelligent dialogue balancing out the horrors perpetrated by the vicious teens. Class of 1984 is a perfect exploitation film. It’s relentlessly seedy, overflowing with assault, suicide, racism, drug use and crime crime crime, all of which is perpetrated by minors! The tension of victimization and vengeance create some of the most stirring scenes of violent retribution on record. But beyond all this, there’s a bitterly absorbing air of human helplessness and leather-clad heartlessness that makes this movie the flat-out best in its genre.
Master Pancake Theater – Independence Day
During Fantastic Fest 6, the boys of Master pancake will be skewering the It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World of sci-fi disaster flicks. Featuring a massive cast of pretty good A-listers (Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum) and awesome B-listers (Judd Hirsch, Harry Connick Jr., and Brent "Data" Spiner) in the fight of their lives against a horde of invading aliens. Marc Savlov of the Austin Chronicle called ID4: "A gasping, bloated roller-coaster ride that veers from scenes of truly awesome destruction to stretches of numbingly bad melodrama and back again." The president himself, Bill Pullman, will be joining the Pancake team to mock the hell out of this bloated rollercoaster.
Mel Brooks' Star Wars parody is soooo much more than just a parody film, bursting with the sorts of jokes that the writers of all the recently-made and vastly inferior "spoof films" only wish they could dream up. If your Schwartz is as big as mine, you're probably uncomfortably excited with just the prospect of this show happening. Somewhere in space, Dot Matrix's virgin alarm is ringing loudly. For this special voyage of the Eagle V, Lone Star himself (Bill Pullman) will be live in person to kick off the fun.
The year is 1933. Pulitzer-winner Molly Sloan and her assistant Timmy Mendez are on the trail of a story so big, it's impossible to believe. The Intergalactic Nemesis is a truly unique live show. Imagine a modern spin on the radio serial that combines projections of 1250 hand-drawn comic illustrations, 3 voice actors performing a wide array of characters, a foley artist performing 100s of sound effects and an award winning pianist performing a riveting live score. You've never experienced anything like it!
ADDITIONAL FEATURE FILM OFFICIAL SELECTIONS
14 Blades (2010)
Director Daniel Lee, Hong Kong, Regional Premiere
Betrayed by his fellow Imperial bodyguard soldiers, Qinglong (Donny Yen) must seek out and rally the loyalists to rise and restore the Emperor to power. In his way are the deadliest assassins in the land, his former brethren, the Jinyiwei.
Bibliotheque Pascal (2010)
Director Szabolcs Hajdu, Hungary/France, Regional Premiere
In order to regain custody of her daughter, Mona sets off on a surreal journey that will take her to the shadowy world of sexual slavery in Bibliotheque Pascal, the strangest brothel you could ever conceive.
Cold Fish (2010)
Director: Sion Sono, Japan, Regional Premiere
Equal parts black humor and bloody dementia in this true crime portrait of a Japanese tropical fish dealer responsible for over forty murders.
A Horrible Way To Die (2010)
Director: Adam Wingard, USA, US Premiere
When a serial killer escapes from prison, the dangerous past of a young woman dealing with alcoholic rehab quickly begins to catch up with her. Director Adam Wingard will be live in person.
In the Attic (2009)
Director: Jiri Barta, Czech Republic, Regional Premiere
Courageous toys from an old suitcase undertake a dangerous journey through a forsaken attic to rescue their friend, Buttercup a beautiful doll who finds herself in the clutches of the all-powerful plaster Head, ruler of the Empire of Evil.
Director: Álex de la Iglesia, Spain, US Premiere
Álex de la Iglesia's genius for dark humor is at its most eloquent in his latest parody about the Spanish Civil War. Two clowns attack and disfigure one another in jealous rages over a beautiful dancer. In the name of love, they destroy the very object of their affection. Director Álex de la Iglesia will be live in person.
Mutant Girl Squad (2010)
Directors: Tak Sakaguchi, Noburu Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Japan, Regional Premiere
In 2009, Tak Sakaguchi (Be A Man! Samurai School), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) and Noboru Iguchi (Robogeisha), got drunk and vowed to make a movie together. One year later, here it is. This splatter-ific, fetishy, hyperactive take on the X-Men is going to shock, horrify and delight you. Director Yoshihiro Nishimura live in person.
Director: Bala, India, North American Premiere
Naan Kadavul is like an Alejandro Jodorowsky version of a Bollywood movie. A long haired Vedic ubermensch burns corpses, lives in graveyards, smokes dope, beats up people, and proclaims himself to be God before eventually become the savior to a collective of severely deformed beggars. Do not miss this film.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
Director: Jalmari Helander, Finland, US Premiere
Santa Claus is somewhat less than jolly - in fact, he's the stuff nightmares are made of - in Jalmari Helander's Rare Exports, an atmospheric and witty re-working of a cherished folk tale. Co-writer and co-creator Juuso Helander will be live in person. (Was missing caps)
Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission (2010)
Director: Mike Woolf, USA, Encore screening
Last year Richard Garriott became the first son of an astronaut to go to space, but this is no millionaire’s joy ride, he pioneered private space travel to make his dream come true: from his training in Russia to his launch in Kazahkstan to the dramatic, never before seen footage inside the capsule during fiery re-entry, this is a historic moment in human space travel. Richard Garriott live in person.
Summer Wars (2009)
Director: Mamoru Hosoda, Japan, Austin Premiere
When an online social networking community gets attacked by a piece of sentient malware that threatens to deliver a denial of service attack to the entire world, one girl and her massive extended family unites to restore peace to cyberspace. Gorgeously animated with tons of heart and soul to boot, SUMMER WARS is one of our favorite anime titles in recent years.
Director: Damir Lukacevic, France, North American Premiere
Herman and Anna, a wealthy aging couple decides to extend their lives by leasing the bodies of two young Africans. For one million euros, the Africans signed away their lives for 20 hours a day, but in the 4 hours a day they have back in their own bodies, they begin to regret the arrangement."
I'm leaving for Austin on the 21st of this month, and even if it's going to be another marathon crazy blur of work, it'll be one of those only-in-Austin amazing events that make this job worth waking up for every single day.
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