“Looks like somebody wasn’t in on the joke.”
AUSTIN -- Not very many people have seen "Miami Connection," but it basically represents why people come to Fantastic Fest every year. The B-movie -- picked up by Drafthouse films for a 25th anniversary re-release -- is a clunky, hilarious and surprisingly moving film by the end. In it is an inexplicably successful band Dragon Sound, led by the film's writer, director and lead actor Y.K. Kim. This band plays only two songs, and they both are melodically alike, and one is called "Against the Ninja." This gives you some idea what you're up, er, against: the looks, feels and sounds of 1987, through the film filter of a man and his martial arts.
"Miami Connection" didn't exactly blossom in its own time, but was heralded by audiences here at the 2012 festival, an appreciation completed by Dragon Sound's electric drum-laden reunion, complete with a fist-pumping "TAE KWON DO!" chant and a little help from the Alamo Drafthouse and Fantastic Fest staff. And, yes, those t-shirts are on sale.
Other weekend highlights included a Monsters' Ball costume contest, seeded in Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie!" premiere earlier in the evening on Thursday.
Happy holidays! How about some honey-voiced industrial music?
Trent Reznor's How to Destroy Angels -- his group with wife and vocalist Mariqueen Maandig, longtime collaborator Atticus Ross and art director Rob Sheridan -- is preparing another EP release, titled "An Omen." It will be the first drop through their new label home on Columbia.
Trent Reznor's name has been among the closest-associated with "new indie" or "digital economy" or the good old-fashioned "DIY." Since his snipey break with Interscope during his Nine Inch Nails days, Reznor's been a vocal proponent of operating outside of the traditional major label system. He's sold his recordings -- including his Academy Award-winning compositions for "The Social Network" -- through his own social networks and partnerships and got to keep the royalties in-house (his own house).
Nipping it in the bud, he offered this short response via Facebook:
AUSTIN -- It's only right that Fantastic Fest's signature event is the potent combination of intellectual discourse, visual culture and blood sport. The Fantastic Fest Debates have become more prominent with each passing year and according to Carrie Matherly, Assistant Director of Fantastic Fest, 2012's crop of showdowns will be no exception.
The premise remains the same: two combatants debate on a topic, and then fight -- or "fight" -- in a boxing ring. This year's crop of four debates includes a couple new twists, in that martial arts will replace boxing in some cases, and the opening fight will feature a woman-on-woman scuffle.
As for the latter, they're siblings -- twins, actually. And both are martial arts experts. And co-directors. And they'll be dressed as Kitana and Mileena from "Mortal Kombat."
Jen and Sylvia Soska, the directors of Fest U.S. premiering "American Mary," will literally kick things off on Saturday at the Debates, on the topic of remakes. "They had a hard time coming up with a topic, because they agree on almost everything," Matherly conceded.
Is Exploding Pants Syndrome a thing?
The undead in slow-motion; gore-stained flesh; firearmed robots; foreign language throw-downs; webby animated fictions; and a documentary about penises. I'm not saying Fantastic Fest attendees can get sick of such things. I'm saying there's something more in case you want it.
Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League and his team have locked down a schedule of genre-driven extra-curriculars from seasonally appropriate hauntings to the famed Debates to having sex with air in a public formum.
And this year, I'm not only soaking in Fantatstic Fest for the first time, but attending the fest for the first time as a newly transplanted Austinite. The upshot to this is that my comfort zone isn't challenged to heartily: the various events essentially take place in the same block at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar and League's own Highball lounge and bar, the epicenter of post-film playtime in Austin.
When I spoke to Tegan Quin earlier this year about her and her sister Sara's new album, she promised it'd be more radio-friendly. Judging from "Closer," the first single from the as-yet-untitled set, she wasn't joking.
The synth-happy, sex-ready track has a blues structure at times, and without all the tears. Tegan and Sara repeat their sweet refrains twice each, concluding they'd want their lover-to-be "underneath me." "Let's make things physical / I won't treat you like you're typical," they bop over lasers, harmonies and a BPM that winds you up for... whatever.
Aguilera, Usher, Enrique and the rest may outline specifically what they want their bedroom playtime to be in the most explicit terms possible; here, the Quins keep their requests and desires simple, melodically innocent and flirtatious. And no acoustic guitars here.
“It’s me, motherf*cker, I’m knocking on the door.” These are words not entirely unexpected from the same guy who took home a Grammy and an Oscar for “The Weary Kind” nearly three years ago. But the lyrics are indicative of at least the confrontational sound coming from “Tomorrowland,” Ryan Bingham’s new record and the first for his own label Axster Bingham Records. (The quoted track’s called “Guess Who’s Knocking.” Should have started with a spoiler alert.)
The Killers’ last album “Day & Age” was marked by their further embrace of glitter and dance. New “Battle Born,” in a way, is their ignoring the day and age – that is, this current one.
“It hasn’t been easy to transition into being a mom with two kids, having a career,” Corin Tucker said in our recent interview. Sounds like a struggle that any mother with a job has, and – bless the mothers – they gotta have their outlet. Tucker’s creative outlet is her job. Tucker’s job is rock ‘n’ roll.