Fantastic Fest 2013 Day 2

Ti West

Ti West, director of The Sacrament.

I’ll be keeping these short, because I’m writing on my iPhone. Hooray for having a broken laptop!

Dirs. S.S. Rajamouli, J.V.V. Sathyanarayana

I’m a sucker for crazy-ass Bollywood movies, and Eega is definitely a crazy-ass Bollywood movie. It’s the tale if a murdered man who returns to life as a fly with a vendetta. Yes, there is a musical number. Yes, there is a training montage. At some points, I laughed myself to tears. Your mileage may vary, but I loved it.

Dir. Ken Russell

The Drafthouse had no idea which cut of this film they had, but it was on 35mm, so I was onboard no matter what. It turned out to be the butchered American version, which means I still haven’t seen a full cut of this film, but at least I got to see something other than the pan-n-scan VHS at the local video store.

So, I still haven’t seen the most offensive sections of this Ken Russel insanity, but at least I got to see Oliver Reed chew scenery in glorious 35mm widescreen.

Dir. Ben Wheatley

I honestly don’t know what was going on in this film. I like the concept far better than the result — a black & white piece set during pre-Enlightenment England, featuring war deserters and witch hunters. It’s a painstaking and high-minded effort, but I couldn’t follow it for the life of me. Also, can we call a moratorium on digital video B&W? Every shot was gorgeously framed, but the image quality was muddy and soft. Argh.

I think the film pisses me off because it would be amazing if it were pulled off properly.

Dir. Ti West

This movie, by Fantastic Fest darling Ti West, follows a Vice film crew into a modern update of Jonestown. West’s directorial skills are stellar here, and the film survives the fact that you already know the story by the time it enters the third act.

Kudos to The Drafthouse for serving us free Kool-Aid during the film’s climax.

I also learned that Ti is a nice guy, as he pleasantly endured my intensely pedantic questions after the film is over.

Dir. Álex de la Iglesia

This Spanish horror comedy is delicious madness, as long as you look past its core theme, which involves an us-vs-them battle of the sexes, wherein every female character is evil and/or insane. The male protagonists (who pull off a gold buyer heist while dressed as Jesus and a plastic army man) go on the lam with a child and a taxi driver. Soon, they find themselves dealing with a witches’ coven.

The film shares a lot of DNA with the 1990s film The Witches, in that the tone is both silly and paced like a machine gun. I was impressed that the whole thing ramped up to a Level Boss monster that I will never, ever be able to unsee. Yet for all the film’s good qualities as an entertaining and zesty narrative, the overriding theme left a very bad aftertaste.

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