Days tend to blend together at a film festival. Thursdays feel like Mondays, a Saturday can feel like a Wednesday and so on. So the fact that Day Five of Fantastic Fest 2010 fell on a Monday only mattered when battling school buses in traffic. It still meant getting up early to secure tickets, a late morning nap, and then movies, movies, movies. In reality, though, Monday only brought two films: Yoshihiro Nakamura’s Golden Slumber and Jim Mickle’s Stake Land, before it was time to award the best films of the fest and feud it up. Hit the jump for all the details.
If The Fugitive was given a serious shot of nostalgia, it would be Golden Slumber. The latest film from director Yoshihiro Nakamura (who also did Fest favorite Fish Story) tells the story of a pseudo celebrity who is framed for killing the Prime Minister of Japan. When confronted with the charge, he goes on the run and ends up seeking the help of several of his college friends. At almost two and a half hours, Golden Slumber feels a bit long at times. But as the film keeps moving along, and everything keeps paying off, it’s obvious how important every little detail really is. The screenplay is only topped by the direction and the movie constantly makes you smile while sitting on the edge of your seat. Plus, the whole thing is framed around the song “Golden Slumbers” by The Beatles. So take how Beatles songs make you feel, put it into the plot of a giant conspiracy movie, and you have an idea of how good Golden Slumber really is.
As film festivals drag on, you gravitate to films you initially didn’t want to see but great buzz. Stake Land was one of those films. This blend of The Road and Zombieland, with vampires, had everyone raving. It begins in the middle of a vampire apocalypse where the whole world has been over run and a mysterious stranger called Mister saves a boy named Martin from his family being killed. Mister then takes Martin under his wing and the pair train in the ways of vampire hunting as they make their way north, battling both vamps and religious crazies, and along they way they pick up a totally unrecognizable Kelly McGinnis. But while Stake Land has a very cool premise, it really isn’t anything new. We’ve seen it all before: the rag tag group of zombie hunters, the crazy humans, the father son relationship, an America gone to hell, etc. The main difference is that those other films were populated with better actors and action. Stake Land is totally solid and hits a lot of the right beats, it just suffers from being a genre film with too much in common with its predecessors.
With two slots left in the day, I opted out of movies that I had only a peripheral interest in so I could attend both the award ceremony and Fantastic Feud. The award ceremony is exactly what you’d think, except with a Fantastic Fest twist. So whenever someone wins an award, they have to chug a beer. Plus an award was given to a short film with a man eating a tampon out of his wife. Stuff like that. Basically, it was madness. However, it was madness only topped 2 hours later at the Fantastic Feud. The feud is basically two teams manned by filmmakers and journalists who compete in several rounds of trivia and Family Feud but with horror trivia questions. And instead of Ray Combs, you get the incomparable Scott Weinberg of Cinematical. To attempt to recap the insanity that occurs when Devin Faraci, Drew McWeeney, Elijah Wood, James Rocchi, Tim League, Nacho Vigolando and others all get on the stage together with several beers in them would be pointless. Video will appear at some point. Just rest assured that America won in the end and questions got asked that no normal film fan would even know.
Finally, here is the list of award winners at Fantastic Fest. There were some great choices here and I’m excited for the next few days where I can fill in the gaps in what I have and haven’t seen.
Bedevilled (Jang Cheol-so)
Runners Up: Golden Slumber, Rubber, Ip Man 2
AMD & DELL “NEXT WAVE” SPOTLIGHT COMPETITION
Best Picture: We Are What We Are
Best Director: Thomas Cappelen Malling (Norwegian Ninja)
Best Screenplay: Jorge Michel Grau (We Are What We Are)
Best Actor: Mads Ousdal (Norwegian Ninja)
Best Actress: Seo Yeong-hee (Bedevilled)
Best Picture: Kidnapped
Best Director: Miguel Ángel Vivas (Kidnapped)
Best Screenplay: Simon Barrett (A Horrible Way to Die)
Best Actor: A J Bowen (A Horrible Way to Die)
Best Actress: Amy Seimetz (A Horrible Way to Die)
Best Picture: Sound of Noise
Best Director: Pablo Trapero (Carancho)
Best Screenplay: Shion Sono and Yoshiki Takahashi (Cold Fish)
Best Actor: Stellan Skarsgård (Somewhat Gentle Man)
Best Actress: Martina Gusman (Carancho)
Best Horror Short: Legend of Beaver Dam (Jerome Sable)
Honorable Mention – Best Potential: Deus Irae (Pedro Cristiani)
Best Fantastic Short: Sorry…I Love You (Leticia Dolera)
Best Animated Short: Teclópolis (Javier Mrad)