fantastic fest 2016 awards

You never know what you’re going to get at Fantastic Fest, the Austin-based genre film festival that takes great delight in immersing attendees in the strangest, wildest, and most unique movies from around the globe. Over the course of eight days, I saw 27 movies. I saw some of the best films I’ve seen all year. I saw oddities I will never forget. I saw some things I wish I could forget. As is always the case, I missed a few big titles, like Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, the divisive The Greasy Strangler, and the crowd-pleasing Bad Black.

But now, it’s time to put a bow on this year’s fest. Sure, the festival itself has juries on hand to recognize films in the line-up, but there’s only one awards ceremony that really matters here – the one that I create out of thin air to throw imaginary accolades at my favorite movies from the line-up.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in the best, weirdest, funniest, oddest, scariest, etc. movies to emerge from Fantastic Fest 2016.

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Everything We Saw at Fantastic Fest 2016

fantastic-fest-2016

When the smoke cleared, I ended up seeing 27 movies over eight days at Fantastic Fest 2016. The Austin-based genre film festival always has a strong line-up of odd, unusual, and unique movies from around the world, but this year was truly exceptional – I saw very few movies I wouldn’t recommend in some capacity. I even saw a handful of movies that are in serious contention for my end-of-the-year top 10.

For the sake of completeness, I have compiled all of my Fantastic Fest coverage into one place, with links to my reviews and smaller capsule reviews for everything that didn’t get their own post. If you’re looking for a something terrifying or unique or action-packed or tear-jerking or just plain unusual, there is something here for you.

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Headshot review

Iko Uwais may not be a household name in the U.S. just yet, but among fans of a certain type of action movie he’s a superstar. The Indonesian actor and martial artist burst onto the scene with Merantau and had an even bigger breakthrough in The Raid. Headshot, from directors Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel (collectively known as the Mo brothers, though they are not actual brothers), has Uwais doing what he does best — kicking ass and taking names — with spectacularly entertaining results.  Read More »

Headshot Trailer - Iko Uwais

Two of the very best action films of the past decade are undoubtedly The Raid and The Raid 2: Berandal. The films deliver some of the most fast-paced, hard-hitting, perfectly choreographed action in recent memory, and while director Gareth Evans is responsible for bringing it all together, leading man Iko Uwais deserves plenty of credit for pulling off his own fight scenes and stunts. And now he’s back in what promises to be another brutal action flick, albeit with a derivative story.

Headshot is premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, and the first trailer for the Indonesian action flick has just arrived online. If you loved the action in The Raid franchise, then you’ll definitely want to check this one out. Watch the Headshot trailer after the jump. Read More »

‘Headshot’ Trailer: An Upside-Down Thai Thriller

Head wounds are unpredictable. One person might endure grievous trauma to the noggin and display no ill effects, while a seemingly minor knock on the dome can drop someone else into a coma for years. So I don’t find it difficult at all to  accept the idea that a man who survives being shot in the head might find that he sees everything upside-down. That’s part of the basic conceit of Headshot, a cops and gangsters thriller from Thai director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang in which a cop experiences exactly that sort of shooting and aftermath, and then tries to deal with the aftermath.

I’ve been following the slow reveal of images and video from Headshot ever since the first materials premiered on Twitch. A couple of trailers showed up there over the past months, and we never ran them. The English-subtitled one is cropping up once more this week, likely thanks to the upcoming American Film Market, so we’ll present it now. Check that out below. Read More »

The film formerly called Headshot just got a shot of Slater. Christian Slater, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Holt McCallany have all joined the cast of the now-untitled movie that Walter Hill will direct based upon the graphic novel Bullet to the Head. In addition, we’ve got confirmation that Sung Kang (Fast Five) will play the sidekick role to Sylvester Stallone — i.e., the part that Thomas Jane was initially hired to play. Read More »

Thomas Jane isn’t a particularly cautious guy when acting as an interview subject, which is what makes him so much fun to talk to. (See also: Shia LaBeouf.) And he’s certainly got stuff to talk about now, because until recently he was meant to co-star in the film once called Headshot, which Walter Hill will direct with Sylvester Stallone playing the lead role. The film has lost that title, and it also lost Thomas Jane at some recent point.

The scuttlebutt was that Joel Silver had wanted to follow what he saw as the buddy-movie formula, and so cut Thomas Jane loose in favor of a non-white actor. Turns out that was exactly the case, and Thomas Jane talks about that, as well as his new werewolf movie, after the break. Read More »

Gossip Girl actor Penn Badgley has been tapped to star as Jeff Buckley in a new biopic about the singer-songwriter. No, not that one — the other one. In true Hollywood fashion, there are currently two Buckley-based projects in the works: the one Jake Scott’s making with Buckley’s mother Mary Guibert as executive producer, and this one, directed by Daniel Algrant (Naked in New York). Scott’s film will be look at Buckley’s (tragically brief) life and career arc, whereas Algrant’s will focus on Buckley’s breakthrough performance at a 1991 tribute concert for his father, the late Tim Buckley. According to The Playlist, Algrant’s will also include a romance between Buckley and a working at the concert.

I really only know Badgley from Easy A and the handful of Gossip Girl episodes I’ve seen, and I can’t say he’s ever left a strong impression on me. (Well — I hated his Gossip Girl character, but that’s probably less his fault than the writers’.) So I can’t say whether this will be a good thing or a bad thing. Either way, there’s a chance he’ll be going up against fellow teen heartthrob Robert Pattinson, who’s still rumored to be circling the corresponding role in Scott’s movie. [24 Frames]

After the jump, rising star Andrea Riseborough wins the female lead in Welcome to the Punch, and Fairly Legal‘s Sarah Shahi signs on for Walter Hill’s next project.

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The Sylvester Stallone film Headshot, which adapts the Matz and Colin Wilson graphic novel Bullet to the Head, became a bit more promising than just another action film when Walter Hill signed on to replace Wayne Kramer as director. Mr. Hill hasn’t made a great many movies in the past twenty years, but on the basis of classics like The Warriors, 48 Hrs. and The Driver, we have to be hopeful for a comeback.

Now Joel Silver‘s Dark Castle Entertainment has partnered with IM Global and After Dark Films on the project, which also means that Warner Bros. will distribute the final product. It will, however, go out with a different title. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Let’s tackle these in reverse order from the headline. Last week rumors emerged that Sylvester Stallone would direct The Expendables 2 after all. (Several months back it had been announced that he would not write or direct.) The rumor showed up via a BoxOfficeMojo tweet, and was reportedly sourced from LionsGate, which distributed the first film. I contacted the studio, which said that nothing was confirmed.

Now Deadline indirectly but definitively reports a statement from Sly that he “wants it known that despite reports to the contrary, he will not be directing the sequel to The Expendables.” So that remains that. The script is in, and now we’ll wait to see who is tapped to direct, what cast members will return, and who’ll be added. Maybe the experience of directing Sylvester Stallone in Headshot will go so well that Walter Hill will do The Expandables sequel as well? More info on Headshot, which Thomas Jane has just joined, after the break. Read More »