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Fantastic Fest Picks and iTunes Store

September 19, 2011
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Since I’m heading down to Austin for Fantastic Fest in less than a week, I thought I would write up a post with some of my recommendations from last year’s festival. Bonus-Fantastic Fest announced over the weekend that it has opened up an official shop on iTunes, making it even easier to access some of the best offerings from past festivals.  The new shop features selections from 2005-2010, and you can rent or buy the titles. Films offerings include Sin City, Wolf Creek, Bug, The Host, Pan’s Labyrinth, There Will Be Blood,  Trick ‘R Treat, The Human Centipede, 13 Assassins, Monsters and many more. To visit the Fantastic Fest iTunes page click here.

Many of the films from last year’s festival are now available via Netflix or DVD, so you can watch them now. Keep in mind that most of these are very low budget, and I tend to give them a little more of a pass due to budget constraints. They might not look as polished as big studio releases, but I found the stories intriguing and fresh.

A Horrible Way To Die (USA, 2010).
Directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett.
Starring AJ Bowen (The House of the Devil, Hatchet 2) and Amy Seimetz (Tiny Furniture, Bitter Feast).
Synopsis: An escaped murderer is in pursuit of his ex-girlfriend, who has fled to start a new life in a small town.

This one really got under my skin. I love the idea of a woman who finds out that her boyfriend is a serial killer trying to put that nasty news behind her. Touches on the creepy underground of people who worship serial killers. Solid acting and a great twist. The camera work is a bit rough, but it didn’t bother me at all, because I was so enthralled with the movie. You can read my review here. Available on DVD, Blu-ray and on Netflix.

I Saw The Devil (South Korea 2010).
Directed by Jee-Woon Kim (A Tale of Two Sisters). Written by Hoon-jung Park. Starring Byung-hun Lee and Min-sik Choi.
Synopsis: When his pregnant fiancée becomes the latest victim of a serial killer, a secret agent blurs the line between good and evil in his pursuit of revenge.

Brutal, punishing, haunting, and beautiful all at once. Truly not for the squeamish. For God’s sake see it. My review. Available on DVD, Blu-ray and on Netflix DVD and watch instantly.

Rubber (France 2010).
Written and directed by Quentin Dupieux. Starring Stephen Spinella, Roxane Mesquida and Wings Hauser.
Synopsis: When Robert, a tire, discovers his destructive telepathic powers, he soon sets his sights on a desert town; in particular, a mysterious woman becomes his obsession.

I know, it sounds nuts. It is, and then some. Bizarre, quirky, and funny. Read Jane’s review here. Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Netflix DVD and watch instantly.

The Housemaid (South Korea 2010)
Directed by Sang-soo Im. Written by Sang-soo Im (screenplay) and Ki-young Kim (characters).
Starring Do-yeon Jeon, Jung-Jae Lee and Seo Woo.
Synopsis: A man’s affair with his family’s housemaid leads to a dark consequences.

This is a remake of a 1960 film of the same name. Lesson: don’t fuck (literally) with the housemaid. A young woman who is all kinds of crazy loses it after her employer embarks on an affair with her, right under his pregnant wife’s nose. Available on DVD and Netflix.

Kidnapped (Secuestrados) Spain 2010
Directed by Miguel Angel Vivas. Written by Miguel Angel Vivas and Javier Garcia.
Starring Guillermo Barrientos, Dritan Biba Ana Wagener, Manuela Velles and Fernando Cayo.
Synopsis: Three hooded Eastern-European criminals burst into a home in a Madrid gated community, holding the family hostage in its own home, and forcing the father to empty his credit cards.

Okay, that synopsis doesn’t exactly do the film justice. By far the most harrowing thing I sat through last year, and that is saying a lot. Absolutely bleak and relentless.  One internet commenter clearly got their panties in a wad over the movie and called it, “A movie by evil people for evil people.”

You’ll need to go watch cute kittens and puppies on YouTube and/or scrub yourself off in the shower to shake this one off.  My review. Kidnapped had a limited release in the US in June via IFC films. Although it is not currently available, you can save it in your Netflix queue.

Red White and Blue (USA 2010)
Written and directed by Simon Rumley. Starring Amanda Fuller, Marc Senter, and Noah Taylor.

Synopsis: In Austin, Texas, three people’s lives intertwine in a tragic way and head down a violent road to heart-rending oblivion.
A gritty, authentic movie that reminded me a lot of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Noah Taylor is terrifically scary as a sad sack driven to extreme and shocking violence. My review. Available on DVD and Netflix DVD and watch instantly.

*Fantastic Fest takes place in Austin, Texas September 22-29. The genre festival specializes in the best in horror, sci-fi, action, fantasy and the flat-out bizarre.

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