Fantastic Fest

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Our spotlight on Fantastic Fest short films from the past continues with an impressive animation bit from Rodrigo Blaas – an animator for Pixar films ever since Finding Nemo. Slightly creepy, slightly cheery, this movie takes us (and a child) to the toy store with wondrous results. What does it cost? Just 5 minutes of your time. Check out Alma for yourself:


The Best Short Films

Why Watch? With the destructive bliss of Fantastic Fest slamming down on us like a thousand pounds of salmon (which is why the Short Film Of The Day won’t be so quite “Of The Day” for a bit), I thought it would be fitting to feature some wonderful short films that have played this fest and lived to tell the tale. This first one is a funny (slightly philosophical) jab at what we’re all made of. Based on the short story by Terry Bisson, it features Tom Noonan (with whom you can’t go wrong) and Ben Bailey (who you may recognize as the driver of the Cash Cab). It’s quirky, light, and a lot of fun. Without further ado, two aliens walk into a diner… What does it cost? Just 7 minutes of your time. Check out They’re Made Out of Meat for yourself:


Rejec Radio Logo

This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we speak with legendary actor Ron Perlman about his white dreadlocks in Bunraku, we’ll chat with The Dark Knight Rises executive producer Michael Uslan about his incredible journey to bringing Batman to the screen, and we’ll talk with Brian Salisbury and Luke Mullen about favorite films from Fantastic Fests past to get excited for the debauchery of this week. Plus, Screenrant editors/Screenrant Underground Podcast hosts Ben Kendrick and Rob Keyes fight to the pain in our Movie News Pop Quiz. Is it any wonder we end up talking about Qwikster? Download This Episode



What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news and tidbit (that word makes it giggle) column that is back in full swing this week. A special thanks to Cole Abaius for picking up the reigns last week while usual author Neil Miller was locked away in a 3×3 ft. cell in preparation for Fantastic Fest. No, there was not a reason for it. And yes, he has emerged ready for a bare-knuckle boxing match (or two). But first, the news… We begin tonight with a shot of Christian Bale and Terrence Malick walking through the crowds of the Austin City Limits music festival this past weekend here in Austin, TX. It caused quite a commotion with the crowds, many of whom were there to see acts like Bright Eyes, Stevie Wonder and Kanye West. As a surprise, they got T. Malick in that silly hat.


Knuckle Movie Trailer

When Benji Carver hit Sundance for us earlier this year, he fell in love with Knuckle, saying it’s “a film that shares bloody punches and sardonic wit as we see various brothers and cousins fight each other the back-roads of Ireland. It plays out like a true rough and tumble version of Michael Apted’s Up series.” If I weren’t already sold on it, this trailer would do the trick. Of course, it has more up its sleeveless shirt than just violence. Director Ian Palmer promises that there will be blood, but there will also be a socially fascinating look at family, status, and honor. Check out the trailer for yourself:



What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a movie news column set to the spectacle of a John Williams score. We begin tonight with the latest in scientific discovery. NASA and SETI have discovered a planet that has two stars. Their first thought? Name it “Tatooine.” We approve, but we can’t help but think this is a giant marketing campaign for the new Star Wars Blu-ray release. We’ll know when nude pics of the planet show up online.


Human Centipede 2

When Human Centipede (First Sequence) played at Fantastic Fest in 2009, it boasted a brutally disgusting concept and failed to deliver. The idea was a brilliant one that got stretched into a feature length film with a terrible structure and a moronic plot. It’s no secret that the film didn’t thrill me, but it’s partially because of the potential of the set up being squandered by awful writing and direction from Tom Six. So, excuse me if I don’t believe the advertising-ready hype for the next installment. The campaign so far has included a trailer where people react Two Girls One Cup style to the film. It has people covering their eyes, screaming, throwing up, and flat out leaving the film. Clearly the movie is selling itself on its gross-out alone. The new teaser trailer gives a bit more insight by briefly giving us a full frontal introduction to the villain of Human Centipede II (Full Sequence).



What is Movie News After Dark? It’s out right now. Please leave a message. We begin tonight with some new concept art for The Adventures of Tintin, courtesy of the folks over at Hey U Guys. It’s yet another look at the smooth animation behind this film from Steven Spielberg, who may appear again later in tonight’s edition of Movie News After Dark.



What is Movie News After Dark? On most nights, it’s average. Tonight, it is slightly above average. We begin tonight with an image from a movie you’re not looking forward to, but only because you probably don’t know about it yet. I know about it and am very much looking forward to it. And based on the transitive property of fandom, that means you’ll want to see it, too. It’s a first image from No Way Out, a short film by Aaron Morgan that was announced as part of the Fantastic Fest 2011 Shorts Program. I was in an Aaron Morgan joint once, and I can tell you that he’s a true professional, especially when it comes to the casting couch. Though I doubt AJ Bowen had to go through the same “rigorous” “casting process.” He’s legit and I was a newcomer.



Mere hours after the announcement that Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia was hitting Fantastic Fest come September (similarly, also mere hours after I rifled through my junk drawer in hopes that it held both enough money and time to get me to Austin for the fest), the official U.S. poster for the film has been released, along with news of the film’s inevitable VOD release. The film will hit theaters on November 11 in a limited release, but it will be available on VOD come October 7. Once Magnolia picked up the Palme d’Or nominee, it was pretty clear that the film would likely hit VOD first, as the distributor has made it their modus operandi to go the VOD route pre-theatrical release. The film did have a small release last month at an out of the way theater in Los Angeles County, so it remains eligible come award season.


Fantastic Fest 2011

If you somehow aren’t aware by now, we take Fantastic Fest pretty seriously ’round these parts. America’s largest genre festival will kick the doors off the hinges for its 7th incarnation this September, and your faithful crew here at Starship Reject could not be more excited. As always, we’ll be assembling our Fantastic Fest Death Squad to attempt the insane goal of reviewing each and every film that plays this year. Take a gander at some of the titles that have jumped out at us from this latest batch. First up is Lars Von Trier‘s Melancholia. Antichrist was huge at Fantastic Fest back in 2009, and the buzz out of Cannes and from a brief run in LA has me chomping at the bit to see Von Trier’s latest as soon as possible. While certainly polarizing, Von Trier is also an extremely versatile and uncompromising filmmaker, and I can’t wait to see him put his own unique spin on a story with sci-fi elements. You can bet the Rejects will be first in line for this one come September. You also know we’re looking forward to You’re Next, the new film from the team behind last year’s A Horrible Way to Die. While their previous effort wasn’t a perfect film, the last 20 minutes in particular were chilling and showed quite a bit of promise with their fresh take on serial killer celebrity. Adam Wingard returns to direct You’re Next, and genre favorite AJ Bowen joins a cast that includes […]



What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news compendium that, with the release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, will now move on to being completely obsessed with The Dark Knight Rises. It will still carry plenty of Doctor Who news, check in regularly with Michael Bay, fill space with Monty Python clips and deliver the best editorial finds around. But for the most part, it’s all TDKR from here, so strap in. With the production of The Dark Knight Rises well under way and the release of a first photo of Tom Hardy’s Bane already on the web, the next logical step is to have fans obsess over what Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman will look like. Will she be a bondage babe like Michelle Pfiefer, or turbo-swimsuit edition Halle Berry Catwoman? Neither looks like the answer. According to a tipster for Hollywood Life, the costume will look more like the original comic version made famous by the comics of artist Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker. This goggled, 21st century Catwoman could fit the more practical world in which Christopher Nolan conducts his Batman stories. Anne Hathaway will also still look pretty hot, I imagine.



In the midst of the Cold War a Norwegian diplomat, Arne Treholt, was convicted of treason against his country for selling secrets to the Soviet Union in the early ’80s. This is true. Not necessarily that he sold secrets as his conviction and twenty year prison term suggests, but just that he was convicted.

In 1992, after serving 8 years of his prison term, Treholt was released and to this day continues to plead his innocence regarding any treasonous activity. This is true.

In 2010, Norwegian filmmaker Thomas Malling made a film depicting the events precisely as they played out back in the 1980s in which Treholt was in fact the leader of a professionally trained black-ops group of ultra-human ninjas. This is true. Not necessarily that Treholt was a ninja mastermind, just that Malling made a film about Treholt being one.



Joana Prats is the daughter of a genius in magnification technology in 19th century Spain. Her father owns a company that has just developed the world’s most powerful hand-sized sniper scope. Dr. Prats knowing the danger of releasing such technology has kept the formula a secret and vowed not to put the scope into production. When the man passes he leaves the company in monetary trouble and in the hands of his right-hand man, the same man promised his daughter’s hand in marriage. The company being without many options has to desperately attempt to attain the secret of the formula to the undeveloped scope and they believe Joana may have the key.

The only problem is that Joana has a peculiar condition called Agnosia – an affliction in which she has an inability to accurately recognize familiar faces and locations. The people in desperate need of the formula derive an elaborate scheme to use this condition to their advantage in the hopes of tricking Joana into divulging the information. That is, if she even knows it.

In the six year history of Fantastic Fest there is probably not a more well-represented country, or filmmaker community, than the Spanish. They’re consistently some of the most complex and well-made pictures each and every year. So, needless to say, Agnosia which is the latest film from first year Fantastic Fest alumnus Eugenio Mira and scripted by the co-screenwriter of The Devil’s Backbone was one of the most highly anticipated of this year’s lineup.



I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a film so in love with it’s perception of how cool it thinks it is. Bunraku really thinks it’s cool. It’s the hot high school kid in the leather jacket who lights his cigarettes under a dark shade, but when it comes to talking to girls all that comes out is, “…….I’ve got jock itch…..” Only when Bunraku says it it isn’t funny. It’s tragic.

Josh Hartnett plays a drifter (that cool kid in the leather jacket, except not wearing that. He has cigarettes though) in search of a man named Nicola (Ron Perlman), a ruthless killer who employs nine decreasingly less ruthless killers to do his bidding. His Killer number 2 (named Killer #2) is played by Kevin McKidd who may be the most fun character in the piece if not for Woody Harrelson as the bartender who isn’t written nearly as fun as a Woody Harrelson bartender should be, especially considering we know how hilarious a Woody Harrelson bartender can be. Rounding out the cast is Japanese actor Gackt (yes, real name) also on the trail of a man with a specific medallion. I won’t spoil who that is.



I would love to be able to tell you all about the story of Fire of Conscience, only I’m not sure after seeing it I’m qualified to do so. Despite sitting through the entire running time I don’t really know if I fully understand who the different people are and, in some cases, why exactly they were doing what they were doing. In this way the film is rather frustrating, because almost every other aspect is exceptional.

Regardless of my ineptitude to accurately sum things up, Fire of Conscience is pretty much a good cop vs. the unknown rat in the vein of Infernal Affairs. We know that a detective recently trying to cope with the death of his wife is partnered up with another officer who we see at the outset of the film running after his former partner who is chasing down a group of teenage thieves that stole his phone, which seems to have some valuable information saved on it. Post-partnership the two officers try to first track down the stolen phone, for different reasons, and begin to work on a case of a murdered prostitute and two cops whose connective thread is leading to something larger, but each attempt to capture the killer and mastermind seems to uncover that he’s being tipped off by an inside informant.

That sounds….right.



Fans rejoice!! Robert De Niro can still act. I know this because he’s been given his most complicated material in well over a decade.

Fans rejoice!! Edward Norton is still one of the most versatile actors we have. I know this because I never questioned his portrayal of a corn-row sporting arsonist with a colorfully street form of Detroit dialect.

Fans rejoice!! Milla Jovovich is more than a zombie killer. I know this because despite De Niro’s best work in years and Norton’s further solidification of top-tier performers Jovovich steals the camera’s attention from both with an impressively complex depiction of a conniving seductress with an innocent outer candy shell.

Stone, if you can’t already tell, is very much an actors film. Each character is given a prominent arc with each’s affective behavior causing changes, or an exposing of something already there under the surface, in each other. Jack Mabry (De Niro) is a parole officer a few weeks shy of retirement when he meets Gerald “Stone” Creeson (Edward Norton), a man serving time for setting the house of his grandparents on fire after they were murdered by one of his friends. Creeson is to be one of Mabry’s final cases before heading off into the sunset and it’s up to him to determine whether he feels Creeson has been rehabilitated and can rejoin society. Creeson, not feeling particularly confident in his relationship with Mabry decides to get his wife (Jovovich) to seduce Mabry to hopefully sway his decision to get him released. This leads to a sequence of emotional turmoil, religious enlightenment and regretful indulgences that are met with uncomfortable revelations.



Did you ever play Rock N’ Roll racing on the Super Nintendo? The outer space road-racing game with an awesome soundtrack. Did you ever play it while on paoti? Me neither, but I imagine director/animator Takeshi Koike has. Either that, or he’s just made of paoti and Redline is what Nascar looks like through his eyes.

I wish I had Takeshi Koike’s eyes.

In terms of things that are almost purely visceral I don’t recall the last time I’ve seen so much imagination and energy in a picture. It’s an onslaught of craziness and colors chunked at your face. What may be most impressive about it is that it isn’t craziness for the sake of necessarily being crazy. Much in the same way Lucas or Cameron used the endless possibilities of creating new species and planets Koike has done the same; only on paoti, or something else that uninhibits creation.


Texas State Capitol

Even though I’m no longer in the bunker of Reject HQ in Austin, I still like to keep my ear to the ground to catch the political rumblings. So far there’s been a lot of talk about how much mansions are worth, how you get 8 pounds of hair to stay put, and something about an amendment to create a committee to look into committee creation. Boring stuff, I know. Nothing was all that interesting until I hit upon an entry on the Alamo Drafthouse’s calendar for October 5th (after the mad, mad, mad, madness of Fantastic Fest is over) that claimed to be a showcase of political short films made especially for the current gubernatorial race between Rick Perry and Bill White.

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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