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Notes from Fantastic Fest’s Opening Night

Notes from Fantastic Fest’s Opening Night (photo)

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If there was a more rousing way to kick off Fantastic Fest than bringing in the Texas Boy Choir to set the ominous mood for the opening night film “Let Me In,” Tim League will figure it out for next year. The choir only came out after the P.T. Barnum-esque Fantastic Fest co-founder stripped down from a suit and tie to viking wear to celebrate the festival’s Norwegian sidebar, brought out “Agnosia” director Eugenio Mira to serenade with Happy Birthday (It’s his 33rd, just like Jesus, League noted, to which Mira got on his knee and said “I love you”) and got the audience to down a test tube of “green blood” while taking an oath from a schlocky 1970s trailer.

09232010_TexasBoysChoir.jpgStill, it was the choir that brought down the house, singing Michael Giacchino’s brilliant score before raising the curtain on “Let Me In,” which proved equally triumphant. (Matt Singer’s review is here.) And to think, it was a score Giacchino was leery of writing, as he told the audience during the post-premiere Q & A, simply because he’s afraid of blood. “It was terrifying because I’m not good with horror films,” said Giacchino, adding that he usually looked away when watching the gory bits of the film, but wanted to do it because of the challenge as well as his friendship with Reeves.

As it turns out, the “Lost” composer was an easier musical get for Reeves than the jingle for Now & Laters, the candy that plays a key role in “Let Me In,” serving as part of the bond between Kodi Smit-McPhee’s lonely latchkey kid Owen and Chloe Moretz’s vampire Abby. “It’s kind of a rogue candy,” said Reeves of the hardened sweets and their rights holders, which he tracked down only a day before shooting to use the catchy tune.

09232010_ReevesKoteasGiacchino.jpgReeves wouldn’t reveal how he filmed “Let Me In”‘s car crash scene, which in fact is far more harrowing than the original film’s, not using a single cut. But when asked by someone in the audience why you never see Owen’s mother, he made the intriguing reference to Wong Kar Wai’s “In the Mood for Love” (one that went over well with the discerning cinephiles in Austin as Reeves described the fleeting glances of the film’s two lovers) as showing the emotional distance between Owen and his divorced parents.

League, who moderated the Q & A as well as introducing the film, refused to let the audience go until someone asked a question of Elias Koteas, who plays the local cop investigating the recent murders around town. It turned out to be of little use — it was Koteas’ first time seeing the film and after acknowledging that he wanted to do the film after identifying with Owen’s childhood, with a lump in his throat, he admitted he was blown away by what he’d just seen. “I’m standing here just trying to keep it all together.”

[Additional photos: The Texas Boys Choir with S. Bryan Priddy; Matt Reeves, Elias Koteas and Michael Giacchino on the Paramount stage; Stephen Saito/]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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