I haven’t been to every film festival in the world, but I can’t imagine many being more fun than Fantastic Fest. For one week in Austin, TX the coolest genre films in the world screen along with some of the sickest, most inventive parties all for a passionate, excited audience. The 2012 edition takes place September 20-27 and while we knew Frankenweenie was going to open the fest, now we have the “first wave” of films.

Some of the obvious standouts are: Lionsgate’s awesome action film Dredd 3D; the amazing documentary Room 237 (playing along with The Shining, which is perfect); and Quentin Dupieux’s latest, hilarious film, Wrong. After the jump, read about all the films in the first wave, which also include movies about a sniper attacking a building, a woman resurrecting her dead husband, and killer sushi monsters. Read More »

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Is ‘The Master’ Headed to Fantastic Fest?

Now that we’ve all watched (and rewatched, and re-rewatched, if you’re me) the stunning first trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master, the big question is when we’ll actually get to see the damn thing. A theatrical release date of October 12 has already been set, but it’s bound to hit the festival circuit first.

Most cinephiles have been predicting a Venice Film Festival debut for the film, and it’s still very possible that it could happen. However, American movie lovers may be excited to hear that it looks like Anderson’s also got some interest in returning to Austin’s Fantastic Fest, where he premiered There Will Be Blood five years ago. More details after the jump.

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Now that Dark Shadows has come and gone, Tim Burton fans have another film to look forward to later this year. It’s called Frankenweenie. The 3D black and white stop motion animated film version of one of Burton’s early short films will be released October 5, right in time for Halloween. And, if you’re heading to Fantastic Fest 2012 in Austin, Texas, you can see it there as it has just been officially announced as the opening night film of the awesome festival taking place from September 20-27.

Last month, I was lucky enough to see a large selection of footage from the film and it really impressed. You can click here to read a bit about that and watch a video blog. I also had the pleasure to speak to Burton himself at the event and, along with a handful of other journalists, we discussed the making of this film, his personal connection to it, casting, various types of animation, a slew of rumored upcoming projects (Pinocchio, Beetlejuice 2, Big Eyes, etc.) and more.

With the film appearing at San DiegoComic-Con in a few weeks, a new trailer just released, and the Fantastic Fest opening night screening, now seemed like the perfect time to run our interview.  Read More »

No one grows up with hopes and dreams to be a short filmmaker. People who want to make films aspire to make features and it takes time to realize the short subject is one of the best steps to achieving that goal. However, in the case of director Kristoffer Aaron Morgan, writer Eric Vespe and their short film No Way Out, they did things backwards.

Before No Way Out was even conceived, Vespe, best known as Quint from Ain’t It Cool News, and Morgan had already sold Dimension the rights to The Home, their feature length, haunted nursing home movie. But when pre-production on that film was put on hiatus, the pair decided a short might be a good way to practice their craft and simultaneously hang with some of their Austin, Texas film friends.

Two thousand dollars later, they have No Way Out, a 10-minute short starring A.J. Bowen (The Signal, The House of the Devil, You’re Next) as a lost and frightened man stuck in a basement with something unnatural. It played Fantastic Fest in Austin last month and /Film spoke to the writer, director and star of the short about how it came about, the art of the short subject and a collective love of film in general. Read More »

NOTE: This review was originally published on September 29th 2011 from a secret screening that took place at Fantastic Fest, and is being republished for the wide release.

The second half of Paranormal Activity 3 is the most consistently intense and frightening segment so far in the popular found footage series. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (the guys behind Catfish) take their sweet time getting to it but once the scares begin, they don’t let up. That’s the good news. The bad news is for a third film in a series, it adds almost nothing to the overall Paranormal Activity mythology. (Not to mention well over half the footage in the new trailer is NOT in the movie.) Fans might also be disappointed that Katie Featherstone, the star of the first two films, only makes a brief cameo to give a bit of context to the rest of the film which is primarily about her character and her sister as little girls. And they did not have a pleasant childhood.

The world premiere of Paranormal Activity 3 was the second Secret Screening at Fantastic Fest 2011 and you can read more about it after the jump. Read More »

Another Fantastic Fest is in the books and the festival once again lived up to its name. For eight straight days I slept little, met friends, ate, drank and watched an inhuman amount of crazy genre movies. Now that it’s over, it’s time to not only rank the best films I saw at the festival, but point out a few trends that defined Fantastic Fest 2011. Read More »

Certain movies undeniably pop off the screen. Movies such as Amelie, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Waking Life and What Dreams May Come each have a visual style that is colorful, stylized and a treat for your senses. Milocrorze: A Love Story, winner of Best Fantastic Feature at Fantastic Fest 2011, is one of those movies. It’s a three-part Japanese anthology film directed by Yoshimasa Ishibashi and starring Takayuki Yamada (13 Assassins) in each part. There are very minor through lines between the segments, but the major connective idea is that each shows a different viewpoint on love. All three are visual and emotional delights. Read More »

Bullhead and Two Eyes Staring have nothing in common except their country of origin. They’re both from Belgium, two of the three films from that country playing Fantastic Fest this year, in fact. Two Eyes Staring was optioned by Charlize Theron last year for an American remake and is about a woman who inherits her childhood house after her estranged mother passes away. There, her young daughter begins to have visions that illuminate mommy’s seedy past. That’s a very female-centric film and Bullhead is the opposite. Winner of Best Picture in the AMD & Dell Next Wave Spotlight Competition and the Belgian contender for the 2012 Academy Awards, Bullhead is about a muscle-bound, hormone-peddling gangster who himself has a huge childhood secret that has affected everything he’s done since.

One is realistic and the other ethereal; one has compelling points but both have major flaws. Read More »

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