Day 6: Tuesday 9/23
On the sixth day of Fantastic Fest, the never-ending string of movies and fun events finally caught up with me and I found myself dozing off midway through the third film of the day. Joe Lynch’s shoot-em-up action vehicle Everly starring Salma Hayek certainly wasn’t boring, I was just exhausted from going hard for five days on minimal sleep.
I hate trying (unsuccessfully) to stay awake in the movies and as a passionate film enthusiast I didn’t want to skip any of the screenings. I resorted to power napping in the car between movies. It was effective for the most part, though I also nodded off during Horns on Wednesday. I suppose that will happen when you cram several months of releases into a week of viewing.
Continuing where Monday left off, Tuesday was another fine day at the Drafthouse with five (err, four and a half) enjoyable movies. Short reviews:
Film 15- Spring
Directors- Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
Starring- Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker, Vanessa Bednar
Spring blends genres and has been compared to movies as varied as Linklater’s “Before” Trilogy and the Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In for it’s interesting mix of romance and horror. The story follows Evan (Pucci) as he leaves his troubles behind in Southern California and flees to Italy, where he (too conveniently) finds a job/place to stay, and gets involved with a beautiful/mysterious woman who possesses a dark secret.
Spring has it’s gory moments, but there isn’t a huge body count or a lot of action. For the most part that’s a good thing, but it does drag a little before wrapping things up with a satisfying ending. Lou Taylor Pucci won Best Actor in the “Next Wave” Spotlight category at the Fantastic Awards for his performance and the movie was picked up by Drafthouse Films. It should be released in 2015.
3.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls
Film 16- Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau
Director- David Gregory
Starring- Fairuza Balk, Hugh Dickson, Oli Dickson
Lost Soul chronicles enigmatic director Richard Stanley’s experience on the 1996 remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau. A documentary is only as good as it’s subject/story and much like Alejandro Jodorowsky in Jodorowsky’s Dune, Stanley is a fascinating subject with an equally compelling story. Like that doc, Lost Soul features concept sketches, character designs, storyboards, and insightful interviews with the principle folks involved with the project.
Richard Stanley and director David Gregory were in attendance and Stanley pulled no punches during the Q&A. There was no hiding his disdain for Val Kilmer who was difficult on set and had a big ego. Their clashes led to Stanley’s dismissal in favor of John Frankenheimer. Stanley talked about sneaking back on set disguised as an extra once he was off of the project. He was funny and charming, and the entertaining documentary was a hit with the audience.
4 out of 5 Nerdskulls
Film 17- Everly
Director- Joe Lynch
Starring- Salma Hayek, Jennifer Blanc, Togo Igawa
Here’s a look at the notes I jotted down during Everly:
Hayek badass- good acting
shootout, shootout, shootout
sleepy- fading in and out
As mentioned above, my sleepiness is not a slight on Joe Lynch’s film -which appeared to be a violent good time- but a result of a week’s worth of long days and late nights fueled by Live Oak Hefeweizen.
Not enough data for a Nerdskull rating.
Film 18- Bros Before Hos
Director- Steffen Haars, Flip Van der Kuil
Starring- Sylvia Hoeks, Tim Haars, Daniël Arends
Max (Tim Haars) and Jules (Daniël Arends) are brothers from other mothers that, as youngsters, promise to never let a woman come between them. Years later, sexy Anna (Sylvia Hoeks) tests their friendship in this offensive comedy from the Netherlands.
Bros Before Hos is silly and fun with some jamming Foreign hip-hop music on the soundtrack. It is also crude, predictable, and totally forgettable. Sylvia Hoeks is the standout and her performance was rewarded at the Fantastic Awards as Best Actress in the Gutbuster Comedy Features category.
3 out of 5 Nerdskulls
Film 19- The Guest
Director- Adam Wingard
Starring- Dan Stevens, Sheila Kelley, Maika Monroe
The last screening of the day played the best. The audience ate up director Adam Wingard’s (You’re Next) latest offering, a cool movie with a killer industrial goth electro-synth soundtrack and loads of style. The story feels like a modern update of films like Night of the Hunter and Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt and the direction is like a cross of John Carpenter and Nicolas Winding Refn.
Dan Stevens does a terrific job as David, a soldier that drops in on the Peterson family claiming to be a friend of their son that died in action. He seems to have good intentions until people keep turning up dead around him. Maika Monroe made her presence felt by appearing in two popular movies at Fantastic Fest (the other being It Follows). I expect to see plenty more from her and Stevens.
The Guest was released in the UK and the US in September with disappointing results despite critical acclaim. I expect it to gain traction and eventually have a cult following once it’s available on DVD and streaming.
4 out of 5 Nerdskulls
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