Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the U.S., unveiled its first wave on programming for its sixth edition, taking place in Austin, TX from September 23 - 30. The first batch of 13 films offer what the festival specializes in: action, horror, science fiction and fantasy films with a heavy lean on the bizarre. The majority of the films announced hail from Asia.
From South Korea, director Yoshihiro Nakamura's "Golden Slumber" marks his follow up to last year's "Fish Story," which was a hit at last year's Fantastic fest. Billed as thriller that serves as an ode to the human connection, the film has already shown at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the New York Asian Film Festival. It follows one day in the life of easy-going Aoyagi where he gets drugged, framed for an assassination and pursued by corrupt cops.
Fresh from an opening weekend in Hong Kong, where it beat "Iron Man 2" at the box office, the strangely similarly titled "Ip Man 2," from director Wilson Yip, will also makes its way to the festival. Acclaimed Japanese director Takeshi Kitano's ("Hana-bi") latest, "Outrage," a violent crime thriller, will also screen following a critically well received run at this year's Cannes festival.
Among the non-Asian entries, Patrick Hughes's Australian western hybrid "Red Hill," starring "True Blood"'s hunky Ryan Kwanten, has lots of buzz surrounding it, after playing in Berlinale's Panorama Lineup. "Rubber" from French director Quentin Dupieux might be the most bizarre film on of the bunch, despite having played at this year's Cannes. A tweak on the road movie, "Rubber"'s main protagonist is Robert, a disgruntled automobile tire that explodes the heads of birds, beasts and humans on a high-desert killing spree. You read that right.
Check below for the festival's full first wave of films (synopses provided by Fantastic Fest):
Director: Cheol-soo Jang, South Korea, 115 minutes
If you beat, brutalize, dehumanize and torment a country girl for her entire life, take note: when she reaches the breaking point, you'd best hide the farm implements.
Directors: Johan Lundborg & Johan Storm, Sweden, 80 min
Lonely medical student Frank is pleased with his flat, a quiet place to focus on his coming exams. But when he meets the girl upstairs, his peace and quiet, his sanity and possibly even his life become jeopardized.
"The Dead" (2010)
Directors: Howard J. Ford and Jonathan Ford South Africa, 100 min
After his plane crashes in the South African bush, Rob Freeman ("Saving Private Ryan") joins forces with Prince David Osei (a superstar actor in his native Ghana) to cross the vast desert by any means necessary. A daunting task under normal circumstances becomes particularly challenging after the zombie apocalypse.
Directors: Derek Kwok & Clement Cheng, Hong Kong, 98 minutes
The funniest, most ass-kicking, hard-rocking, pedal-to-the-metal movie of the year. It’s "Cocoon" with kung fu! (New York Asian Film Festival)
"Golden Slumber" (2010)
Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura, South Korea, 139 minutes
Last year, Yoshihiro Nakamura's "Fish Story" saved the world from certain annihilation and became the word-of-mouth hit of the festival. This year, Nakamura's back with another ode to the human connection, "Golden Slumber," a brain-melting thriller send-up that's two parts "The Big Chill," three parts "Bourne Identity" and a million parts awesome. (New York Asian Film Festival)
"Ip Man 2" (2010)
Director: Wilson Yip, Hong Kong, 108 minutes
It's a rousing Canto-fable, a Hong Kong empowerment movie, a return to old school martial arts filmmaking with "Avatar"-era production values, and on its opening weekend in Hong Kong it beat "Iron Man 2" at the box office like a redheaded stepchild. (New York Asian Film Festival)
"Life and Death of Porno Gang" (2009)
Director: Mladen Djordjevic, Serbia, 90 minutes
Adult movie director Marko steals money from his mobster producer Cane to create his masterpiece: an experimental black and white erotic horror film. When the film bombs and he can't repay his boss, he slips away with the cast and crew to produce live porno-theater in the Serbian countryside. Then it gets weird.
Director: Takeshi Kitano, Japan, 109 minutes
Takeshi Kitano is back in classic form, directing and starring in the genre God intended for him: a ruthless, bloody and very violent yakuza crime thriller.
Director: Marvin Kren, Germany, 59 minutes
Hoping to rekindle the sparks with his ex-girlfriend, Michael makes a surprise visit to her apartment in the city. Bad timing. As luck would have it, this is also the same day the zombie outbreak hits Berlin.
"Red Hill" (2010)
Director: Patrick Hughes, Australia, 95 minutes
On his first day on the job as a rural Australian constable, Shane Cooper ("True Blood" star Ryan Kwanten) has a daunting assignment: face off against an escaped-convict Aboriginal tracker whose current prey is the entire Red Hill police department.
Director: Quentin Dupieux, France/USA, 85 minutes
Quentin Dupieux (the real name of legendary DJ Mr. Ozio) has directed my hands-down favorite film of Cannes 2010. Robert, a very disgruntled psychokinetic automobile tire explodes the heads of birds, beasts and humans alike on a high-desert killing spree like no other.
"Sound of Noise" (2010)
Directors: Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stärne Nilsson, Sweden, 102 minutes
Musical terrorists have launched a full-scale musical attack using the city - its buildings, its machinery and its ceaseless noise - as their instrument. The group's leaders are the "Bonnie and Clyde of underground rock," hell-bent to dismantle the harmony of the world with their anarchic performances.
"The Violent Kind" (2010)
Directors: The Butcher Brothers, USA, 95 minutes
What starts as a biker bash gone awry first gets unfathomably bloody before finally transcending into truly bizarre territory.