Kevin Clarke Reporting From Fantastic Fest

fanfest belladonna

by Kevin Clarke

We sent intrepid part-time entertainment journalist and Scarecrow employee/loyalist Kevin Clarke to Austin’s Fantastic Fest to report on the goings on. Well, technically he sent himself. Either way, these movies look awesome.    

Green Room (2015)
Fanfest greenroom
Jeremy Saulnier’s (Murder Party, Blue Ruin) genius, sadistic take on the siege movie. Best movie of the fest. Punk band. Neo-Nazis. Patrick Stewart. That’s all I’m gonna say.
Oh, and Springsteen is my desert island pick. It’ll make sense when you see the movie.

The Boy And The Beast (2015) 
fanfest boy and best
No other filmmaker working today mixes the fantastic with the mundane as well as Mamoru Hosoda (Wolf Children, Summer Wars).

The Assassin (2015)
Beautiful, frustrating and confounding. So, in other words, a Hou Hsiao-hsien martial arts picture.

The Witch (2015)
Best horror movie of the year. Best horror movie of the decade maybe.

Too Late (2015)
fanfest too late
Told in bold twenty-minute takes. Plays as the best Tarantino”knock-off” ever made and as a throwback to John Dahl’s neo-noirs Red Rock West and The Last Seduction. Which is not to say it’s merely derivative–it isn’t–it just wears its inspirations loud and proud and adds its own layer of melancholy to the mix. And John Hawkes continues his streak of being America’s best, most underrated actor. My favorite discovery of the fest.

Anomalisa (2015)
fanfest ano 2
This reminded me of a Brad Bird interview I read when The Incredibles was released. He spoke at length about animation being a medium, not a genre. How you could make a Bergman film in animation and it would still be valid as a movie, not just a cartoon. He cited the scene in The Incredibles where Mr Incredible and Frozone shoot the shit in a car, and how rare it is for animation to allow itself to calm down for a bit. Anomalisa has fulfilled that promise. Kaufman is the closest thing we have to Bergman’s soul-searching cinema. Another masterpiece.

Remix, Remake, Rip-Off: About Copy Culture & Turkish Pop Cinema (2014)
A zany, melancholy look at an overlooked pocket of world cinema, censorship and the drive to make art, whatever the cost.

Tarkan Vs. The Vikings (1971)
Any movie about a Turkish dude getting revenge for his murdered dog named Kurt is my kinda movie. (Readily available for rental at Scarecrow Video from the fine folks at Mondo Macabro.)

Belladonna of Sadness (1973)
The least pornographic Belladonna movie ever. But seriously, one of the most gorgeous, painterly animated films I’ve seen. Hypnotic and devastating.

February (2015)
Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men‘s Sally Draper) and Emma Roberts are great in this cold, tense, twisty horror movie.

Evilspeak (1981)
fanfest evil
I’m not defending bullying, because that would be fucked up. But sometimes, like Clint Howard in this movie, someone is such a wad that you kinda understand where the bullies are coming from. That said, as soon as those bullies murder a puppy, they deserve all the satanic retribution they get. Frankly this movie lets them off easy, if you ask me. Readily available for rental at Scarecrow Video.
[This was presented by some of the authors of the upcoming book Satanic Panic, which details the devil worship hysteria of the 80s and 90s. They screened a reel of news clips from the era including 20/20 buying into the whole thing and the infamous Geraldo Rivera special kon devil worship. Fascinating, scary modern day witch hunts.]

April And The Twisted World (2015)
april and the twisted
In an alternate steampunk past, Napoleon’s heirs rule France, scientific progress has stalled, a cat talks and then there’s aliens and lasers. A charming, wonderfully animated film drawn in the style of comics genius Jacques Tardi.

Kevin Clarke is a Seattle-based filmmaker/comedian who loves the Police Academy movies and Howard The Duck, despite knowing better.


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