Sunday, September 21, 2008

FANTASTIC FEST : DAY 3

I left early today because I stayed late yesterday and plan on pulling a 2:00PM - 2:00AM monster day tomorrow.

But leaving early left me with a smile. On the way to our car we passed Amy Smart. You may think I was geeked just because she's attractive, but no, I was geeked because she was IN FREAKING CRANK WITH FREAKING JASON STATHAM!!

Day 3 was far and away the best day yet: Minimal confusion, good food, friends visiting from out of town, even a short nap in between features. And I got to see Amy Smart.

We made it for the before noon features today, and we chose Estomago : A Gastronomical Story.

This Brazilian dark comedy is a character study about Nonato, a country-boy (or, "redneck white-butt" as he's referred too in jail...) who ventures into the city and, quite literally, stumbles upon the culinary arts. It's said that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and Estomago stretches that philosophy to argue that the way for a man to gain prominence is to silence the hunger pangs of those around him.


Joao Miguel -
looking like a younger, South American Roberto Benigni -plays Nonato. Miguel sports the coy expressions of an "innocent" con man while his physical subtleties project a naivete that fools you into putting your guard down while he's really sizing you up for a jam.

Estomago sputters a bit towards the end when it too frequently cuts between two existing storylines, but it ultimately ends up a winner, and a great way to start a morning. And I shouldn't exit this mini-review without mentioning a scene that should satisfy the fantasy of every chef : Nonato gets his girlfriend doggy-style while she enjoys a plate of his food. It's a new kind of double penetration, and honestly, it's done rather tastefully.


Next was a compilation of animated shorts called Fear(s) Of The Dark. I don't really know how to react to stuff like this. First of all, I'm an admitted dunce when it comes to appreciating the art of animation, and second of all, I've never been a fan of short comps.

To my untrained eye, Fear(s) just looked like a bunch of stuff I'd already seen before, from the days of Liquid Television to Persepolis. To be honest, I kinda zoned out on this one and stared at my food more than the screen. I also zonked out a bit to refuel for the remainder of the day.

Oh, and we were given a sneak tease to 10 minutes of the new Disney film Bolt. I don't know, I guess it was whatever it was supposed to be. I don't know. I thought Ratatouille was pretty dull. You people seem to like that stuff. I don't know.

The Chaser was an appropriate title to the film that followed Fear(s), because I needed something to wash that blandness out of my mouth.

I'd previously professed my excitement for this film (
as well as my love for all things Korean cinema) HERE, so you can imagine my excitement as I was about to be treated to this movie before it gets it's limited theatrical run in the near future.

The Chaser is two-hours of tightly-wound, well-made, finely-acted, tense, and humorous entertainment, and if it get the right amount of buzz, it could do a some damage in the American market. Why? Because it's a very American influenced film. From police procedural TV shows to films as far ranging as Beverly Hills Cop and Blue Steel, The Chaser is a product of genius research and reference teams.


Still, I couldn't escape the feeling that something massive was lacking. Without having had a chance yet to fully think on The Chaser, my gut tells me that it's a product of the meager fanboy criteria: slickness trumps feelings. This is why nobody really takes the Star Wars of Lord Of The Rings films seriously, and why David Fincher has yet to make a great film. Hey dude, call me when you want to be an artist instead of just a talented technician.


Before it has it even had its first screening, Let The Right One In was already the most buzzed about film of the festival. People were even pulling the old school sit-in-the-aisle thing to see this film.

Let The Right One In is a coming of age vampire movie with a European art house tone. So, think Near Dark (with preteens) meets Trouble Every Day (without the brutality). Director Tomas Alfredson has something special in the friendship between Oskar and Eli, but he makes the mistake of veering away from that center and into subplots which carry no meaning, and can't even stand on their own.

I liked Let The Right One In, but it's the kind of film that leaves you wishing that the producers had leaned on the director to cut about 10-15 minutes out. Then Let The Right One In might not have been just good, but great.

7 comments:

bill r. said...

I, too, think that David Fincher is generally overrated, but if Zodiac isn't a great movie, then I don't know what is.

And while I'm always intrigued by news of new, non-Hollywood horror films that have gotten good press (and I also like the fact that the title Let the Right One In sounds nothing like a horror movie), but good Christ am I burned out on vampires. Honestly, people, they're not that interesting. Although I did like Trouble Every Day, but that movie really was unique. It didn't go around claiming to be new and different, while all the while being the same old shit. Like Near Dark. Now that movie is overrated. Yeah, I said it.

Fox said...

Agreed with you on the vampire overload Bill. I would like to see Let The Right One In have about 10 minutes chopped from it. One storyline in particular, but I won't bring it up until it gets a release (which is SUPPOSED to be next month).

Disagreed on Near Dark though. I think that movie is underrated, though it may b/c I don't know that many people that are as crazy about it as I am.

As for Zodiac, let's meet in Vegas and fight it out in the ring!

Megan said...

"I don't know, I guess it was whatever it was supposed to be. I don't know. I thought Ratatouille was pretty dull. You people seem to like that stuff. I don't know."

Picture me giggling like crazy...

Although I don't have anything particularly interesting to say, I will just mention that I am enjoying this recap very much.

Fox said...

Thanks for the kind words, Megan.

I'm starting to feel the weight of festival-brain now. I've been separated from the world for too long now.

So then I see on MSN news, this morning, that Clay Aiken came out of the closet and I'm just floored. I don't know if I can focus at work today!

elgringo said...

I had a chance to watch Fear(s) Of The Dark at Cinequest last year but skipped it because it was on really late at night. Glad to hear it wasn't the most amazing group of shorts ever drawn. I'm a animation dunce as well so if it didn't amaze you, it probably wouldn't amaze me.

debbie said...

"I'm an admitted dunce when it comes to appreciating the art of animation,"

Animation is cinema, and follows the same rules as any other movie.
Is it interesting? Does it effectively tell a story? Does it move you? It should not get a free pass because it's animation. In film, I think the style should serve to articulate/accent the story.

Bolt was terrible.
Ratatouille was dull.
Fears of the Dark was a waste of talent.

Some of the animated shorts programmed had me so full of rage at the pointless, self-indulgent crap. Again. Animation should not get a free pass just because. I wish people would hold it to a higher standard, then we might actually see some interesting stuff come out of it.

debbie said...

And. Afterall. Gondry is an animator.

And, definitely watch Persepolis.

And, the Incredibles.

And, Roger Rabbit.

They are all on my top ten list.