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Fantastic Fest 2011 Preview: Five movies that look fantastic

Fantastic Fest 2011 Preview: Five movies that look fantastic (photo)

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We’re at T-minus two days to the magic, mystery, and movies of Fantastic Fest, the film’s world’s premiere celebration of weird, wild, and wonderful cinema. It’s also a really good place for alliteration, apparently.

With the opening night world premiere of “The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence” bearing down on us, it’s time to game plan. It’s not an easy task. There are so many good movies at Fantastic Fest and they’re all playing opposite one another. What to pick?

To make things a little easier on you (or maybe harder on you if you’d already penciled in something else), here are my selections for the five most intriguing looking movies on this year’s schedule. I didn’t pick anything I’ve already seen (like Jeff Nichols’ “Take Shelter” — which is absolutely outstanding, by the way), and I didn’t pick anything with big-name directors or talent. I did that for two reasons. One, you don’t need me to tell you to see “Melancholia.” Two, Fantastic Fest is the place to discover amazing stuff you’d never have a chance to see anywhere else. Here’s what I’m personally looking forward to discovering this week.

Title: “Aardvark”
Director: Kitao Sakurai
Country of Origin: USA
Showtimes: 9/24 at 1:25pm, 9/26 at 9:30pm
Official Festival Synopsis: “Director Kitao Sakurai live in person! Larry (‘Aardvark”s blind-since-birth protagonist) has an innate curiosity that lands him smack in the middle of a bizarre criminal underworld replete with mixed martial arts, intrigue, murder, and pillow humping.”
Why It Looks Fantastic: This one sounds like a classic Fantastic Fest film: a movie about a blind martial artist that stars a man who is, in real life, a blind martial artist. How autobiographical is it? The writer of the detailed plot synopsis on doesn’t even seem to know (“It’s hard to tell what aspects of the film are fact and/or fiction,” Rodney Perkins writes). Director Kitao Sakurai was previously the cinematographer of Ry Russo-Young’s 2009 film “You Won’t Miss Me.” I have no idea what to make of this thing. That’s why I’m dying to check it out.

Title: “Invasion of the Alien Bikini”
Director: Oh Young-doo
Country of Origin: South Korea
Showtimes: 9/23 at 3:15pm, 9/28 at 6:15pm
Official Festival Synopsis: “An ultra-stylized, super-cheap action/comedy/sci-fi/bikini flick that will be the best under $5000 film you’ll see all year.”
Why It Looks Fantastic: Fantastic Fest definitely looks favorably on movies made with no money and a lot of creativity. Based on that description, it sounds like “Invasion of the Alien Bikini” is such a movie. A sci-fi-/comedy/action flick for under five grand? I’m down. The mustaches look sweet too.

Title: “The Squad”
Director: Jaime Osorio
Country of Origin: Colombia
Showtimes: 9/22 at 8:00pm, 9/26 at 2:00pm
Official Festival Synopsis: “A feuding special ops unit is tasked to uncover the mystery of what happened at a desolate military base in this tense and claustrophobic South American thriller.”
Why It Looks Fantastic: When Fantastic Fest head honcho Tim League was asked by Entertainment Weekly what movies were going to have people talking at this year’s festival, the first movie he picked was “The Squad.” He called it “pretty creepy.” Good enough for me; the man knows what he’s talking about.

Title: “You’re Next”
Director: Adam Wingard
Country of Origin: USA
Showtimes: 9/24 at 11:40pm and 9/26 at 11:30pm
Official Festival Synopsis: “From the team behind the Fantastic Fest-award winning film ‘A Horrible Way to Die,’ ‘You’re Next’ traps a family inside a secluded mansion in the middle of nowhere. Outside the home is a group of animal-masked killers who take a stab at making sure none of them leave alive.”
Why It Looks Fantastic: I never saw “A Horrible Way to Die,” but this film got some very strong reviews out of the just-concluded Toronto Film Festival. indieWIRE called it “gory fun” and The Hollywood Reporter described the frenzied scene after its Toronto screening where indie film buyers scrambled to acquire the film (according to Deadline, Lionsgate is close to signing a deal to release the film). Sounds like I’ll have the chance to see this one in theaters at some point in the future, but I don’t want to wait that long.

Title: “You Said What?”
Director: Nini Bull Robsahm
Country of Origin: Norway
Showtimes: 9/24 at 6:50pm, 9/29 at 4:30pm
Official Festival Synopsis: “The producers of ‘Dead Snow’ reimagine Takashi Miike’s ‘Audition’ as a rom-com and make Peter Stormare ride a paper mache dragon shrieking that he is the King of Darkness.”
Why It Looks Fantastic: Because it sounds like a terrible idea until you take a look closer and realize it makes perfect, perverse sense. The plot of “Audition” — man organizes an audition for a film that doesn’t exist as a way of helping a friend meet women — could totally be the plot of a romantic comedy (I see the American version starring Tom Hanks and Jennifer Aniston). Throw in this business of Peter Stormare (“Fargo,” “Armageddon”) and the paper dragon, and there’s no way this isn’t, at the very least, a wild, fascinating mess.

What movies are you looking forward to checking out at Fantastic Fest? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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