This was my third year attending Fantastic Fest and I now look forward to this every year. Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S. and features horror, science fiction, action, fantasy, foreign , and cult or anything else that strikes Tim League’s fancy. The festival is wholly contained in Austin at the Alamo South Lamar theater (except for special events) so there are no worries about traveling to other venues to make it to a film on time. You pick the movies you’d like to see the following day online and that evening receive your schedule. You don’t always get your first choice but being forced out of your comfort zone is not a bad thing, you usually get your first or second choices and you don’t have to worry about whether you’ll get into the movie you go to.
In addition to the movies with directors, producers, and actors in attendance, there were several events and parties at the neighboring The Highball, including podcasts with Leonard Maltin and the Doug Loves Movies podcast with Doug Benson.
Here are a few that I really enjoyed (not in any specific order):
The Invisible Guest – This movie from Spain is a very good mystery/thriller with lots of plot twists and turns.
The Handmaiden – This and the next two are excellent films from South Korea.The Handmaiden is the latest from Chan-Wook Park, the director of Oldboy. This film is set in the 1930s and their are more twists and turns in this one than in the Invisible Guest above! I think this will be released in the U.S. in the next few weeks.
Age of Shadows – This one is also set in the 30s (maybe 40s) in Japan occupied Korea. A Korean police chief is ordered by his Japanese superiors to hunt down members of the Korean resistance. His allegiances are tested!
Asura: The City of Madness – The story of a corrupt cop who is caught between the corrupt mayor he works for as an enforcer and the district attorney. Very atmospheric with lots of violence. The director could have probably chosen a more subtle final act but he went for all the gusto.
Toni Erdmann – A funny and touching German movie about a man trying to reconnect with his adult daughter in unconventional ways. Very funny with some important life lessons.
The Crew – An excellent French heist thriller. This is a taut, action packed 81 minutes
Arrival – Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner star in this mystery, science fiction drama as scientist trying to communicate with aliens before an apocalypse can occur. This opens in November.