This year’s Fantastic Fest included a return to full-blown festivities plus a virtual session that was available after the in-person portion had finished. There were also some big time World Premieres like Smile, documentaries about some of the most iconic names in cinema, and a tribute to Park Chan-wook. This year’s fest was a welcome return to form. Here are some of the best movie to screen at Fantastic Fest.
There was an odd feeling in the theater before the French remake of the much loved One Cut of the Dead began. An uncomfortable mix of apprehension and anger filled the air. It was almost as if people had shown up to see just how bad Final Cut was. As it turns out, director Michel Hazanvicius’s film was one of the best of the week. Keeping the zany fun of the source material while adding heart was a wise choice that makes the new version stand on its own while still respecting the original.
Part homage to the prime time specials of the 1970s and 80s, part frightening mindfuck, Give Me Pity! is the perfect mix of style and substance. Sophie von Haselberg is a force of nature as the oblivious Sissy St. Claire. Showing off the full range of her talents, von Haselberg sings, dances, and commands attention with some great monologues. As Sissy’s special continues, truth and fiction become increasingly blurred. Funny, scary, and sad, this was one of the most pleasant surprises of Fantastic Fest.
Full disclosure, I am a HUGE David Lynch fan and was either going to really love this or absolutely hate it. The fact that Alexandre Phillippe – whose resume includes great documentaries about The Exorcist and Alien – was behind the camera was only going to make it that much harder to be partial. Still, I am comfortable saying that this is another objectively great film from Phillippe. Broken down into chapters and narrated by filmmakers as varied as John Waters (Serial Mom) and David Lowery (The Green Knight), the documentary will have longtime fans rethinking their theories about Lynch’s films and newcomers wanting to explore it.
One of the bigger name films screening at Fantastic Fest, The Menu has an all star cast that includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, and Ralph Fiennes. The black comedy is about a young couple that have the chance to eat at an exclusive restaurant run by celebrity chef. Taking swipes at foodie culture, class, and fame, the film is hilarious with Fiennes turning in one of the most intense performances of his illustrious career.
This one is a little bit of a cheat. Released in 1977, this Jaws rip off was shown using a 33mm copy lent by Quentin Tarantino from his own collection. Tintorera is an absolute treat complete with a shark that sounds like a a perv making a creepy phone call, speedos galore, and a throuple that is more fun than it is forward thinking. There is also some unironically great underwater footage. There are tons of sharksploitation movies out there, but this one needs to be at the top of your list.
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