by     Posted 133 days ago


I picked up writer/director/editor Gareth EvansThe Raid 2 on Blu-ray this week and damn if it wasn’t worth every penny. The quote on the box from our own Matt Goldberg calls the film “one of the greatest action movies ever made” and, after watching it, I can’t say that I disagree. Evans takes everything that made The Raid great and augments it to create an unforgettable action spectacle that is bigger in every conceivable way. It goes without saying that the stunt work and fight choreography is top notch, but work that strong shouldn’t be taken for granted so I’m mentioning it anyway. Additionally, DP’s Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono use of color and contrast manage to make the film’s extreme violence look and feel more artful than a hammer ripping someone’s throat out has any right to be. I’m cramped for space here, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the film’s lead, Iko Uwais, delivers an absolute powerhouse performance that is both physically impossible and emotionally deft. All told, The Raid 2 is a masterful piece of technical action work that should be appreciated and analyzed for years to come. For even more, check out our Blu-ray review here.

Begrudgingly moving away from The Raid 2, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Warner Bros. bumping up the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the first trailer for Focus Features’ The Theory of Everything, an introductory look at the films of Andrew Dominik, and the Alamo Drafthouse announcing the first wave of programming for its annual Fantastic Fest. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

FANTASTIC FEST 2014: First Wave Announced; Includes ABCs OF DEATH 2, THE BABADOOK, V/H/S VIRAL, and More

by     Posted 137 days ago


Although the fall festival season is packed with awards contenders pretending to be indies, the Alamo Drafthouse’s annual Fantastic Fest is where the true indies come to play.  There are always a handful of more mainstream movies floating around, but the festival is dominated by unknowns, which makes it refreshing.  More importantly, the selections are top-notch, so even if you haven’t heard of a movie, it will at the very least be interesting.  But if you’re looking for something with a bit more name recognition, Fantastic Fest’s first wave of announcements has you covered: The ABCs of Death 2, V/H/S Viral, The Babadook (my review from Sundance), and Kevin Smith‘s Tusk.  But reading over the brief synopses, I’m definitely interested in Danger 5 – Series 2, Kung Fu Elliot, and Tombville.

Hit the jump for the full list of first wave announcements along with Geof Darrow‘s official poster for this year’s festival.  Fantastic Fest runs from September 18 – 25th in Austin, Texas, and it will also serve as the grand reopening of the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar and The Highball.

Fantastic Fest 2013 Announces Award Winners; Audience Award Goes to JODOROWSKY’S DUNE

by     Posted 1 year, 88 days ago

fantastic fest 2013

Fantastic Fest 2013 announced this year’s award winners.  Jodorowky’s Dune won the audience award as well as Best Documentary.  In the “Fantastic Features” category, Ari Folman‘s The Congress won Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress (Robin Wright).  Afflicted owned the horror category, winning Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.  Why Don’t You Play In Hell picked up Best Picture and Best Director in the comedy category.

Hit the jump for the full list of winners.

Final Wave of Fantastic Fest 2013 Lineup Includes THE ZERO THEOREM, ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW, METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER 3D and Many More

by     Posted 1 year, 106 days ago


We brought you the initial lineup for Austin’s Fantastic Fest 2013 about a month ago, and now the final wave of films has been released.  Terry Gilliam will close the festival with his new film, The Zero Theorem, but before that bittersweet moment, audiences will enjoy many more anticipated films.  These include a special screening of Jonathan Levine’s 2006 feature directorial debut All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, starring Amber Heard and Anson Mount; the controversial guerilla film Escape from Tomorrow, shot without permission inside Disney World and Epcot; and the metal-movie mash-up Metallica Through the Never 3D, starring Dane DeHaan and the members of Metallica.

Fantastic Fest 2013 runs from September 19-26 in Austin, Texas.  Hit the jump for the full line-up of the festival’s final wave of films.

Initial Fantastic Fest 2013 Lineup Includes Premiere of MAN OF TAI CHI; New Images Released

by     Posted 1 year, 149 days ago


Fantastic Fest has announced the initial lineup for this year’s festival, which includes the US premiere of Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut Man of Tai Chi.  The pic follows the journey of a young martial artist (Tiger Hu Chen) who’s lured into an underground tournament run by an unsavory chap (Reeves) dead set on corrupting him.  Reeves will appear in person at Fantastic Fest to introduce the film, but the initial lineup includes plenty of other great genre pics.  Among this year’s Fantastic Fest films are a movie about crime fighters that have been dosed with anti-aging gas called Kid’s Police, an erotic thriller called She Wolf, the story of a murdered man reincarnated as a fly called Eega, and plenty more.  As previously announced, Robert Rodriguez’s sequel Machete Kills will also premiere at the festival.

Hit the jump to check out some new images from Man of Tai Chi and to get a look at the initial festival lineup.  Fantastic Fest 2013 runs from September 19-26 in Austin, Texas.

MACHETE KILLS to Premiere at Fantastic Fest 2013; New Image Released

by     Posted 1 year, 163 days ago


Fantastic Fest 2013 has announced its opening night film, and it will be the World Premiere of director Robert Rodriguez’s sequel Machete Kills.  For those unfamiliar, the film centers on Machete’s (Danny Trejo) quest to stop an eccentric billionaire arms dealer who has plans to spread war and anarchy across the planet.  Fantastic Fest celebrates the best in genre filmmaking, so Machete Kills seems like a swell fit for this year’s opening film.  The festival will take place in Austin, Texas from September 19th – 26th.

Hit the jump to check out a new image from Machete Kills along with the official Fantastic Fest 2013 poster.  The film also stars Sofia VergaraMichelle RodriguezAmber Heard, Charlie SheenLady GagaAntonio BanderasJessica AlbaDemian BichirAlex VegaVanessa HudgensCuba Gooding Jr.William SadlerMarko Zaror, and Mel Gibson and opens in theaters on October 4th.


by     Posted 2 years, 81 days ago


For the first time, I’m writing from the comfort of my newly remodeled “mancave” or, as my wife likes to lovingly refer to it, the “nerdcave”. For a space that used to be an attached garage/dungeon, I have to say that the end result is pretty cozy. I guess there really are no living quarters that a substantial amount of time, money, and framed movie prints can’t fix. Now, if only I could find a way to fit and/or afford a mini-fridge, classic stand-up arcade games (i.e. The Simpsons, and X-Men), theater-style seating, and a projection screen that comes down from the ceiling via hand-clap command, I may finally be able to fulfill my dream of never leaving home again.

All praises of my new space aside, this week’s incarnation of the Top 5 brings a look back at our Fantastic Fest 2012 coverage, Looper interviews with writer/director Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, The Avengers Blu-ray interviews with members of the pic’s visual effects team, The Perks of Being a Wallflower interviews with Emma Watson, writer/director Stephen Chbosky and more, and Hotel Transylvania interviews with Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez just to name a few. As you might expect, a brief recap and link to each is holding down the fort after the jump.

My Year of Film Festivals: Looking Back at Sundance, SXSW, TIFF, and Fantastic Fest

by     Posted 2 years, 83 days ago


I went to more film festivals this year than I ever had before.  I went to Sundance in January, SXSW in March, and TIFF and Fantastic Fest this month.  It’s exhausting, but it’s fun.  I see it as a nice break from the grind of delivering news stories.  It’s not that news is bad, or that it doesn’t have value, but it’s nice seeing the final product of the smaller films we’ve reported on since we probably only heard of them from a casting story as opposed to an onslaught of trailers and posters.  Obviously, there are film festivals where there are marquee titles making their last big push before opening in wide release (Sundance is the only festival where the biggest films—those filled with recognizable actors—might not even have distributors let alone a release date).  But it’s always a nice variety, and each festival has its own flavor.

After the jump hit the jump for my impressions of each festival.

Limited Paper: Tom Whalen Tells Us About His 80’S DAZE Gallery Show; Mondo FANTASTIC FEST Posters for DREDD 3D, LOOPER & ROOM 237

by     Posted 2 years, 84 days ago

We’ve got quite a bit to get to in today’s Limited Paper, folks, and with Fantastic Fest 2012 still in full-swing, we don’t have a lot of time to get through it.  In today’s writeup, we chat with frequent Mondo artist Tom Whalen (who has a brand-new, 80’s-themed gallery show co-headlined by Dave Perillo opening this Friday);  we tell you when you can expect to learn and see more of Tyler Stout’s line of Mondo t-shirts (yup:  incoming Stout interview!);  and we take a look at all the Fantastic Fest posters Mondo is preparing to drop online tomorrow afternoon.

Yes, today’s Limited Paper is a spring-loaded, jam-packed, all-singing, all-dancing, primed-to-explode-directly-into-your-terrified-face  extravaganza of awesome.  See it all after the jump, folks.

FANTASTIC FEST Awards Announced; VANISHING WAVES Wins 4 Awards, HERE COMES THE DEVIL Sweeps Horror Category

by     Posted 2 years, 85 days ago


Fantastic Fest has announced this year’s awards winners.  Vanishing Waves was the big non-horror, non-comedy winner by picking up four awards including Best Feature, Best Director (Kristina Buozyte), Best Screenplay (Bruno Samper, Buozyte), and Best Actress (Jurga Jutaite).  On the horror side, Here Comes the Devil pulled a sweep by winning Best Picture, Best Director (Adrián García Bogliano), Best Screenplay (Bogliano), Best Actor (Francisco Barreiro), and Best Actress (Laura Caro).  It’s worth noting that special mentions in the horror category went to Hajime Ohata (Best Screenplay) and Katherine Isabel (Best Actress).  Finally, the Audience Award went to I Declare War (a film I found quite charming), the well-directed and funny Flicker won the “New Wave” Spotlight competition, The American Scream won Best Documentary, and New Kids Nitro won Best Comedy.

Hit the jump for a full list of winners, and click here for all of our Fantastic Fest 2012 coverage.

Fantastic Fest 2012: FLICKER Review

by     Posted 2 years, 87 days ago


Patrik Eklund‘s Flicker may not add up to a rewarding conclusion, but it certainly adds up to a colorful, adorable movie where Eklund’s strong direction manages to keep a strong hold over five different storylines each with its own emotional vibe.  The film moves between guilt, absurdity, pity, back around to absurdity, fear, frustration, and then meets up with our old friend absurdity.  Flicker never comes off as a surreal experience, nor does it seem to have much of a point, but it shows off a delightfully off-kilter world held together by sweet characters and steady, confident direction.

Fantastic Fest 2012: I DECLARE WAR Review

by     Posted 2 years, 87 days ago


Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson‘s I Declare War is riddled with glaring, grating flaws.  The performances from the young actors are inconsistent.  The cinematography and effects look cheap.  Character arcs and plotlines lose their energy and focus.  And yet I Declare War is incredibly charming.  It’s fun watching kids be kids in a game adults have become too self-conscious to play.  It has the vibe of a big, backyard movie that kids would make with their friends if they had a little more money and time.  The picture also makes the worthwhile argument that coming-of-age means betrayal and jealousy, and that the kids games are about to vanish.

Fantastic Fest 2012: COME OUT AND PLAY Review

by     Posted 2 years, 88 days ago


Evil children make shitty antagonists.  It’s a lazy dichotomy to say, “Look!  The faces of the innocent and pure are doing horrible acts of violence!  HOW CAN THIS BE?”  But they shouldn’t be threatening to any adult.  You can’t be scared of anything you can dropkick.  Come Out and Play (a remake of the 1976 Spanish horror film Who Can Kill a Child?) tries to up the fear by having the children be a tiny, angry mob rather than a solo threat, but the film’s true potential lies in trying to provide a set of conditions where we can condone, and perhaps even enjoy, killing bad seeds.  Sadly, writer/director/shameless-self-promoter Makinov never wants to put in the hard work to meet this challenge.  Instead, he spins his wheels, makes half-hearted attempts at various subtexts, and is left with a wasted opportunity to do anything beyond The Birds but with kids.

Limited Paper Exclusive: Mondo Talks Universal Monsters Show, Quentin Tarantino, and What Else to Expect in 2012

by     Posted 2 years, 88 days ago


You probably don’t need to be told that Mondo—the collectible-art-producing arm of Tim League’s Alamo Drafthouse empire—is the reigning champ of kickass, screenprinted movie posters.  Oh, sure:  many may have attempted to challenge the Mondo crew at their own game, but the Austin-based company’s ever-expanding stable of brilliant artists, their consistent quality, and the geek-friendly collection of licenses in the Mondo arsenal have ensured cemented their status.  But even for a company known for casually leapfrogging each new high-watermark it establishes, 2012 has been a notable year.

I sat down with Mondo’s three head honchos—creative directors Justin Ishmael, Mitch Putnam, and (and Grammy-winner!) Rob Jones—to find out what Mondo’s learned in 2012, what we should expect from next month’s Universal Monsters gallery show, and what may lie beyond (prepare for non-committal responses!).  It’s all after the jump in an exclusive video interview, folks:  meet me there.

Fantastic Fest 2012: BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO Review

by     Posted 2 years, 88 days ago


Peter Strickland‘s Berberian Sound Studio feels desperate to convince the audience that something is happening.  Events appear secondary to one man’s descendant into madness despite not having a compelling reason to descend into madness.  It’s a movie where the greatest conflict involves travel reimbursement.  Fans of giallo cinema might find a fun correlation between the plot and the setting, but for outsiders, it’s a film where the striking direction attempts to give voice a feeble character and story by screaming.

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