Friday, September 25, 2009

Fantastic Fest: Five Films You Shouldn't Miss

Yes, Fantastic Fest 2009 has now begun, and we’re all buzzing about what films we want to see and what films might be the sleepers of the fest. Well, having seen more than a few Fantastic Fest titles already (part of the job), let me tell you that this is as strong a year as we’ve ever had, and some of the best films are (as usual) the ones that are flying under most people’s radar. They don’t come from major studios or big-name directors and aren’t adapted from comic books or graphic novels, but they’re all pretty awesome and damn well worth your time.

Sunday, September 27 @ 2pm
Monday, September 28 @ 1:45pm

Sion Sono’s LOVE EXPOSURE is still my favorite film of the year, and unquestionably one of the most unique, distinctive films of the decade. The first thing everyone mentions is the film’s four hour running time, like that’s a bad thing; all that really means is that you are in for a cinematic journey that’s going to take a lot out of you, but it also means that you’re going to get a hell of a lot more out of it. This epic tale of true love, religious fervor and upskirt photography is a true work of geek art that you’re never going to forget.

Sunday, September 27 @ 6:55pm
Wednesday, September 30 @ 9:15pm

Some may think that a small domestic drama like Ben Wheatley’s DOWN TERRACE would be out of place at a genre fest Fantastic Fest, and we would like to remind you that the “fantastic” in the title doesn’t just mean fantasy but also films that are downright fantastic in quality. DOWN TERRACE certainly is that. Produced by the Mondo Macabro DVD label, DOWN TERRACE is the kind of dark-as-night, pitch-black comedy/dramas that most film festivals or distributors don’t know what to do with, but genre cinema fans will easily understand and quickly embrace. Fantastic Fest is honored to host the world premiere of DOWN TERRACE, and we strongly encourage you to see this one and spread the word about one of the major finds of this year’s fest.

Saturday, September 26 @ 11:59pm
Wednesday, September 30 @ 11:55pm

Fans of bizarre cinematic sleaze (and make no mistake, this is certainly that) should make a bee line for Tom Six’s HUMAN CENTEPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE), easily one of the most whacked-out movies at Fantastic Fest this year, and we mean that in a good way. This is one that works best going in blind, because it really goes all over the map into some pretty sick and extreme places; but it’s also pretty damn hilarious and audacious to the hilt, anchored by a wonderfully strange performance by Dieter Laser as a mad scientist whose God complex has gone into overdrive. Outrageous doesn’t begin to describe this one, but fucked up beyond belief certainly comes pretty damn close. And again, we mean that in a good way.

Friday, September 25 @ 10:30pm
Sunday, September 27 @ 11:45am

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar’s A TOWN CALLED PANIC is definitely weird, but it’s also squeaky clean and ideal even for kids, albeit hip kids who dig watching movies with subtitles. Based on the Beligian TV sensation, it’s like a feature-length version of playtime with your action figures when you were six years old and your imagination and sense of fun were limitless. It’s also full of wonderfully unsophisticated stop motion animation and anarchic humor that never lets up.

Tuesday, September 29 @ 1:10pm
Wednesday, September 30 @ 6:30pm

South Korean cinema has provided some of the best commercial cinema over the last decade, a tradition that continues with Dae-min Park’s PRIVATE EYE, which is part of our Next Wave competition. It’s one of the freshest takes on the private eye tale I’ve seen in a while, set in 1910 Korea, a time when private investigators were relatively new to the Korean landscape, with a mystery that goes deep into the heart of the Korean government and crime world. The setting certainly makes it unique, but PRIVATE EYE is also a fresh piece of commercial filmmaking, energetically directed by Dae-min, with delightful performances from Jeon-Min Hwang as the private eye of the title and Ryu Deok-hwan as the med school nebbish who desperately needs his help. It’s a lot of fun.

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