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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Film Reviews - Fantastic Fest Round Up - Day 5

By Adam Ruhl

In the second half of Fantastic Fest the tone changes a little bit. There are a few secret screenings that pop up, the other films get their second showings, and the crowd migrates from industry folks to more fan based. I use the second half to pick up odd films that I missed in the first half and have good word of mouth. I also caught a secret screening so let's start with that.

The Green Inferno

After a six year hiatus Eli Roth is back with another gory feature romp, this time through the Amazon rainforest. This was a secret screening at Fantastic Fest with Eli himself in attendance. The film is beautiful with some of the best rainforest photography I’ve seen since Medicine Man. In some respects I found the story to be an extension of the earlier Hostel films. Again we have a group of young twenty-something’s that run afoul in a foreign land with bloody results. There is plenty of mayhem to watch and overall I would call this film Roth’s best since Cabin Fever.



Greatful Dead

Every year Fantastic Fest needs at least one really good, over the top, sexual, violent, funny film from Japan. This year the film with the best show of all those elements is Greatful Dead. The movie is about a young woman who is ignored throughout her whole childhood so she resorts to some rather extreme measures to get attention. The female lead has a great presence and personality that helps carry the movie. It sounds like Dead is pretty early in its festival run, it’s a small budget film that’s not even opening in Japan until next year. There may be quite a wait for a US release but it is definitely worth seeing.



Ragnarok is great fun for a couple reasons. First off it addresses a lot of Viking history and mythology. Second, the popular sentiment around the festival was that this film was reminiscent of early Spielberg films and it’s true. You can see a lot of great action-adventure elements and at times has a  Jurassic Park vibe. Finally, among the festival films it is a rare picture that is family friendly. There’s not a bunch of language or on screen violence and the story is interesting enough not to bore adults. This is a great film to watch with the kids, still have a good time, and for them to start learning Norwegian.


Septic Man

Jack (Jason David Brown) is the titular Septic man who starts out as just a regular plumber. When the town’s water becomes polluted to the point of needing to evacuate the populace; Jack is hired to find and correct the cause. When he does find the source of the problem he inadvertently becomes trapped in the city’s septic system. Thus starts the story that is correctly being described as ‘Buried’ meets ‘The Toxic Avenger’, only a lot gooier. This movie definitely requires a strong stomach as it attempts to answer what happens to a man trapped in a feces tank and what objects will accidently land in his mouth before the film is done.


 The Congress

This was an interesting little bittersweet sci-fi satire worth seeing a couple of times. Robin Wright plays a fictional version of herself who receives an offer by the studio to be scanned into a computer. The studio will make movies with her digital self and she is free to do anything but act. What follows is a spectacular and slightly terrifying vision of a future that while fantastic may hold a few accurate prophecies. This movie is so warm and the leads are amazing, both Robin Wright, Jon Hamm, and Harvey Keitel give stunning performances. The Congress is an animated wonder from Ari Folman, director of Waltz with Bashir.

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