One week isn’t enough for Fantastic Fest! No, it’s a week and a bonus day. And good thing; I saw my favorite two movies of the fest on this last day.
After a week of being in a movie theater, and often getting about 3 hours sleep between the late showing and getting in the early morning ticket line, I started to get sick. A fistful of meds kept my sinuses in line till afterwards (I’m still suffering even now…)
14 Blades (8/10) – Donnie Yen stars in this period HK martial arts movie. It’s well done and showcases some of the Mongol type areas. Nothing too new and unique, but it was solidly executed – which made it better than the higher profile movies of the fest, True Legend and Legend of the Fist. Duty! Honor! Kung fu! All that good stuff. It has light supernatural elements; occasional wire-fu and one baddie has a cool “evade death blows and leave a garment hovering behind” ninja trick kind of thing.
Red Hill (8/10) – Ryan Kwanten from True Blood stars in an Aussie film by Patrick Hughes. It’s a constable’s first day on the job in a small outback town, Red Hill, when there’s a prison break and an infamous criminal from the town gets loose. The locals freak, and are sure he’s coming back… What could have been a straightforward slasher movie instead has a big twist, and the movie keeps tension without dragging. We were all pleasantly surprised by this one – it’s not great, but it’s quite good. [Side note – my gay friends that lust after Kwanten in his Jason Stackhouse role are concerned that he is not as dumb, and therefore not as adorable, in this part. Fair warning.]
13 Assassins (9/10) – Now that’s a movie! Takashi Miike gives us a samurai movie in the vein of Seven Samurai. There’s a bad noble who has the favor of the Shogun, and a bunch of samurai are recruited to take him out before he goes and plunges the entire country into chaos. The bad guy is Caligula bad, and the 13 samurai are cool – it’s hard to take a large cast like that and make them all distinct but they did a good job of that. The entire latter part of the film is the 13 taking on like 200 guys in a town they’ve turned into a kill zone. It is awesome.
Sound of Noise (9/10) – I didn’t know what to expect from this movie, but I heard from people that really liked it so I gave it a go. It’s a Swedish film about guerrilla musicians and the tone deaf cop from a famously musical family who’s after them. That description doesn’t really do it justice, but it’s quirky, fun, musical, dramatic, and more. I hope more people get a chance to see it. It gets my nod for best of the fest.
And that’s Fantastic Fest 2010! I’ll do a recap next, but there were a lot of movies and the vast majority were very good. I’ll be there next year, and since I managed to score a VIP badge I’ll be able to get some sleep!