Tag Archives: Fantastic Fest

Mister Organ — Fantastic Fest 2022 Movie Review

Journalist and documentarian David Farrier likes strangeness on the fringes. And if his films are any measure (Tickled is such an odd artifact that I can’t say if I like the film or not), Farrier can’t avoid but get in the thick of the worlds his subjects inhabit. Who knows — perhaps he enjoys being pulled into the weird. (Harmless as the act was, he did not have to take the abandoned antique store’s sign, let alone go on to make an entire feature about the eponymous Mr. Organ).

Mister Organ begins at this store — Bashford Antiques. In the middle of what Farrier calls the “Beverly Hills of New Zealand,” a man is wheel-clamping cars parked in the lot by the store and charging the owners exorbitant prices just to get their cars back. One car owner, according to Farrier, was charged Continue reading Mister Organ — Fantastic Fest 2022 Movie Review

Fantastic Fest 2022 Lineup Preview — 5 Films to Watch For

Austin’s Fantastic Fest returns for a 17th year this September, and CineFiles is happy to be covering it again (albeit virtually, but you could experience the fun in person). Fantastic Fest has a number of high profile releases on the docket this year — Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness, The Menu, Smile. I want to highlight for you, instead, a few other titles worth keeping an eye on.

 

Give Me Pity

I saw Amanda Kramer’s two new releases, Give Me Pity! and Please Baby Please, at the Fantasia Festival, and I Continue reading Fantastic Fest 2022 Lineup Preview — 5 Films to Watch For

Fantastic Fest 2021: Barbarians, Knocking, Found Footage Phenomenon — Movie Reviews

The Found Footage Phenomenon, Barbarians, and Knocking are screening as part of Fantastic Fest 2021.

The Found Footage Phenomenon

The Found Footage Phenomenon is just what it says on the tin: an overview of the phenomenon of found footage horror films that sprung into the mainstream after the massive success of The Blair Witch Project in 1999. As a primer for the uninitiated,  Continue reading Fantastic Fest 2021: Barbarians, Knocking, Found Footage Phenomenon — Movie Reviews

Fantastic Fest 2021: The Slumber Party Massacre — Movie Review

The Slumber Party Massacre (2021) is screening as part of the 2021 Fantastic Fest.

The original The Slumber Party Massacre, written by Rita Mae Brown and directed by Amy Holden Jones, holds a special place in my heart, as it does for a number of slasher fans. The 1982 cult film was delightfully subversive, coming in the midst of the glut of slashers from the 1970s-80s

Needless to say then, that there are big shoes to fill for this remake (from my perspective, at least). This said, Continue reading Fantastic Fest 2021: The Slumber Party Massacre — Movie Review

Fantastic Fest 2021: V/H/S/94 — Movie Review

V/H/S/94 is screening as part of the 2021 Fantastic Fest.
 
V/H/S/94, the fourth installment in the cult horror anthology film series, follows the franchise’s weakest entry, V/H/S: Viral, a forgettable and occasionally downright lazy film. 94 marks the return of Simon Barrett and Timo Tjahjanto, the former of which had a hand in both V/H/S and V/H/S/2 and the latter of which directed a segment in the second film. It seems evident that this film is meant to be a course correction of sorts.

 

These films garner mixed reception overall, but I’ve had fun watching the first two films with friends. They aren’t Continue reading Fantastic Fest 2021: V/H/S/94 — Movie Review

Fantastic Fest 2021: Homebound — Movie Review

Homebound is screening as part of the 2021 Fantastic Fest.

Sebastian Godwin’s debut feature, Homebound, is a lean domestic thriller with a transfixing tone and a less-than-satisfying conclusion.

Holly (Aisling Loftus) is off to meet her fiance Richard’s (Tom Goodman-Hill) ex-wife and children in the countryside. On arrival, most of the family is nowhere to be found. Eventually, Richard’s estranged children come out of the woodwork. However, they are cagey and distant. The ex-wife, Nina, is apparently not planning on showing up at all. By dinner, even Richard is acting somewhat strange, exhibiting mood swings which Holly is off-put by.

Something is amiss. Perhaps it is just collective nerves over this novel situation. Richard hasn’t seen his children in quite some time. Holly is meeting them for the very first time, and at least two of them are not providing a warm welcome. But… Continue reading Fantastic Fest 2021: Homebound — Movie Review

Fantastic Fest 2021: Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest — Movie Review

Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest is screening as part of the 2021 Fantastic Fest.

Seth Gordon’s 2007 The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters has become something of a cult doc. It depicts a classic underdog story within the arcade gaming community. An unknown family man who plays a Donkey Kong cabinet in his garage at nights goes after the world record set by video gamings biggest name at the time, Billy Mitchell. (Mitchell was later accused of cheating and falsifying his achievements. His world records were temporarily stripped from him and ultimately reinstated in 2020. There remain open legal cases on the issue which have yet to be resolved).

Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest, from director Mads Hedegaard, is something of a spiritual sequel to The King of Kong in its story of niche glory among average joes in the increasingly fading arena of the video arcade. But even more so it is an Continue reading Fantastic Fest 2021: Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest — Movie Review

Parasite (2019) Movie Review

Much has been made of Bong Joon-ho’s genre hybridity, or rather his “genre unto self” mythos—the director himself has referred to it as an ambiguity of genre. At the risk of belaboring this idea, Parasite is a perfect example of Bong’s ability to elude the walls of genre. The film has flashes of gritty horror and a pervading sense of Hithcockian suspense, as well as tropes of the family drama and social problem film (used in entirely unconventional ways). A premise hinging on gaslighting adds a psychological layer on top. And a somewhat bitter sense of humor provides a dark comedy element.

What makes the film so extraordinary (in part) is the ease by which these diverse genres intersect to create a Continue reading Parasite (2019) Movie Review

The Lighthouse (2019) Movie Review

It may be cliched to refer to beautiful-looking films with the phrase “every frame is a painting,” but in the case of Robert Eggers’ latest, The Lighthouse, many of the shots are picturesque. The introduction of our two characters, lighthouse keepers Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe), looks like a stoic portrait. The reverse shot that follows, depicting the lighthouse on the black ocean, looks like a Gothic landscape piece.

The shot compositions in The Lighthouse are the icing on the cake that is this film about the mental disintegration of the two men, who find themselves Continue reading The Lighthouse (2019) Movie Review

Review: The Platform (El Hoyo) – Fantastic Fest 2019

Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform concerns not so much the platform as it does the pit, a pit descending hundreds of stories down through a concrete prison established by “The Administration.” Two people are housed on each level of this enclosure. Some are volunteers, others are criminals, but they are all prisoners. Each day, a platform descends housing a bounty of food and drink. The people at the top can eat as much as they want; those down below get what’s left, if anything. And every month the prisoners switch floors.

Goren (Ivan Massague) wakes on his floor—47, not too shabby all things considered—not knowing what Continue reading Review: The Platform (El Hoyo) – Fantastic Fest 2019