Golden Slumber

Writer/director Yoshihiro Nakamura is no stranger to cross genre perfection as evidenced by his last two films, Fish Story and Golden Slumber. The former puts the power of a pop song up against the impending end of the world, and the latter places a Beatles tune at the center of an assassination conspiracy. The two share more in common than simply a love of music as both are also absolutely brilliant tales that weave complicated stories into cinematic magic. His latest features a far simpler story, but Nakamura still manages to mash genres into a film that delights in its love of life, family, and companionship. The joys and hardships of a single parent family, the ubiquitous TV baking-battle shows, and a samurai struggling with his own code in an alien environment all blend together seamlessly into a creation that rivals the delicious-looking pastries on screen… which is an incredible feat. A Boy and His Samurai is an absolute pleasure to watch from beginning to end.

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Welcome to my list of the best foreign films of the year! In case you’re wondering why certain films appear to be missing there are a few factors to take into account. First, films like Mother, A Prophet, The Good the Bad the Weird, and The Secret In Their Eyes are movies that made previous lists. Second, I haven’t seen everything that was released this year. And third, your favorite foreign release from 2010 may actually have been a piece of shit. I kid. But seriously, these are my picks for the ten best foreign language movies of the year in alphabetical order. As a bonus I’ve added in the five best English language foreign films for you as well. I know. You’re welcome. (Full reviews for all of the titles below can be found via our Reviews database, and my weekly excursions into foreign films can be found here.)

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This evening, in a ceremony held at the world famous Alamo Drafthouse theater in Austin, TX and emceed by Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League (a very pink-haired Tim League, to be exact), the winners of the Fantastic Fest 2010 jury and audience awards were announced. According to the official press release, the juries were “comprised of some of the most esteemed filmmakers, critics, festival directors and show biz people in the industry. Their thoughtful deliberations provided the following acknowledgments of cinematic excellence in all things Fantastic.” One of these juries included yours truly, so esteemed might be a stretch. At least for me. Everyone else was quite esteemed. Alas, check out the award winners after the jump.

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An innocent man is accused of a heinous and high level crime and finds himself on the run from the authorities and from those who set him up. The sub-genre is fairly common with films ranging from The Fugitive to Tell No One, but the granddaddy behind them all is Alfred Hitchcock with films like North By Northwest and Frenzy. And now a new film can be added to the mix, and it’s already receiving praise and being labeled with the “Hitchcockian” superlative. Director Yoshihiro Nakamura‘s new film deserves the accolades, but I’d argue it does the rotund Brit one better… it’s Hitchcock with heart.

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With the exception of Gentlemen Broncos, we were spot on with our Must See Films of Fantastic Fest 2009 list last year. While we’d love to take the credit for it, the truth is that it’s Fantastic Fest that came through with a large slate of winners from the weird world of genre. Fantastic Fest is the movie festival for movie lovers, and as the FSR Death Squad assembles yet again, we’re gearing up to attack the event with a renewed fervor by shining the spotlight on the films we’re anticipating the most. We’re pleased to have Adam Charles, Robert Fure, Brian Salisbury, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius (led by the slightly inebriated and deep fried Neil Miller) comprise the Squad this go ’round. As for the Must See movies, this year, we’re enlisted four members of the Squad to choose 5 films each, and the result is a list full of blood, Hong Kong action, gritty Santa Claus stories, geriatric Kung Fu, Dystopian societies, ninjas from Norway, slasher follow-ups, mental trips, creepy clowns, and little girl vampires. A truly sprawling feast for the eyes and ears. Hopefully you’ll be sitting next to us, but if not, we aim to make you feel that way with our coverage. It’s time to get excited. Here are the 20 films that have got us running to the famous Alamo Drafthouse for Fantastic Fest 2010.

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Fans of Fantastic Fest (which should include all human beings and several species of extra-terrestrials) always look forward to the wanton violence and downright weird imagery on display during the festival. On the eve of Comic-Con, in a truly wise marketing move, the freaky folks at Fantastic Fest released their first fireball toward the castle of our minds. That fireball consists of 13 films that look like a collective 24 hours of awesome. Cannes favorite Rubber and martial arts follow-up Ip Man 2 are just the tip of the iceberg.

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