Mama said there’d be days like this at a film festival. Days where you go to the movies multiple times but nothing really explodes off the screen. The three movies I caught on Saturday were all entertaining in their own way. Some even had audiences grooving to the sweet beats of the city or the sweet beatdowns of Shanghai. None of them, though, stood out from the crowd the way films on day one and day two did. But, in true Fantastic Fest 2010 fashion, day three had a you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it cherry on top that made it all worth while. Hit the jump to see a video of that moment and also read about Johannes Stärne Nilsson and Ola Simonsson’s Sound of Noise, Wai-keung Lau’s Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen and Amber Benson and Adam Busch’s Drones.
SOUND OF NOISE
Sound of Noise is the Swedish feature length version of the wildly successful short film Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers. Check it out below.
It takes the concept from that film – six drummers creating music from household objects – and expands it into a story about performance art and musical terrorism. Basically, it’s Oceans 11 where instead of robbery, the group performs music all over a city. The 6 Drummers hope to perform their latest opus, Music for One City and Six Drummers, but to do so, they’ll have to outwit a police detective with not only a particular hatred of music, but a specific reaction to it. Sound of Noise has an incredibly exciting first hour but quickly begins to lose steam as it gets towards the end. It reaches a worthy, satisfying conclusion but you couldn’t quite help feeling that after such an amazing start, the finish was anticlimactic. Still, Sound of Noise was an imperfect, yet unique and entertaining film that will almost assuredly get released at some point.
LEGEND OF THE FIST: THE RETURN OF CHEN ZHEN
Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen is a brand new Hong Kong martial arts epic set in the roaring Twenties. It stars legendary martial arts star Donnie Yen as Chen Zhen, a World War I hero who leaves his reputation in Europe by coming home and assuming the identity of a fallen comrade. Life doesn’t change much for the Chinese after the war, though, and Chen Zhen is forced to become the Masked Warrior to inspire hope in his people by beating other people up. Filled with double crosses, incredible action and an intriguing political story line, Legend of the Fist is about as good as one can hope for when sitting down for a Hong Kong action film. But that’s about it. It never falters, but after an excellent opening sequence, it never provides any moments of true awe. I mean, it ends with Chen Zhen fighting 100 guys in a dojo for crying out loud! And it’s a war movie! We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again…
In the Q&A for the alien themed office romantic comedy Drones (Yes, you read that right: “alien themed office romantic comedy”), the co-directors revealed that the entire movie, from concept to script to shooting, happened in about a month’s time. To their credit, Drones is about as funny and clever as one would possibly expect from a movie that was slapped together so quickly. Meaning it’s funny, but never REALLY funny and it’s clever, but never TOO clever. The film is about an office worker named Brian (Jonathan Woodward) who finds out his best friend in the office, played by Samm Levine, is an alien. As the story unfolds, we find out he’s not the only alien in the office and that each race has radically different ideas on what to do with our planet. Part Office Space, part E.T., Drones is going to get a release in March and it certainly provides enough office and alien themed laughs to warrant a watch, but it doesn’t have the wit or style that will keep it around like the movies it’s influenced by.
So after ten movies in three days, with five days to go, it was time for a rest so day three’s movies ended there. But, I simply had to come back and check out the Criterion “Chaos Reigns” Karaoke Party. And while Fantastic Fest is full of great parties that aren’t really worth reporting on, especially on a movie website, we have to go TMZ for a little bit here and show you this video. This happened. I saw it with my own eyes. This is director Nacho Vigalondo, director Eugenio Mira, Alamo CEO Tim League, Elijah Wood, RZA and others performing the Black Eyed Peas. Just… wow. Only at Fantastic Fest.