Adam takes a look at the first few days of Fantastic Fest 2022 and a huge change in his coverage.
Well, I did not expect COVID to take me out of attending Fantastic Fest 2022. Here we are with me with COVID and covering what was supposed to be my first in-person Film Festival since the pandemic started. I could bore you with the anger, sadness, FOMO, and swirl of emotions I went through as I realized I would not be attending. I won’t though.
Plan B has been activated.
What’s Plan B? Coverage of Fantastic Fest 2022 VIRTUALLY. So, rather than crying – crying much that is – I got to the business of figuring out if I could cover the festival virtually. The answer was most definitely and resounding YES! Through Fantastic Fest’s own amazing Streaming Virtual Edition and many of the tireless PR Firms including the one that runs the entire enterprise FONS I am covering a slew of the festival’s films.
Without further ado let’s get to the business of taking a look at what I’ve seen so far out of Fantastic Fest 2022.
Project Wolf Hunting
If HOLY-FUCKING-SHIT was an action movie Project Wolf Hunting would be that very film. What starts off as CON AIR set aboard a shipping container boat mutates into something altogether more … Magnificent. In fact, Project Wolf Hunting is the movie that would rip CON AIR apart limb from limb then gnaw its face off all the while Project Wolf Hunting looking at CON AIR’s screaming almost dead corpse with a detached look of nonchalance as it takes on all other Prison Action films.
Ruining the genuinely lunatic shifts in genres that are in-store for an audience would be robbing one of the truly great cinematic experiences of 2022. It isn’t just the copious amounts of gore but how writer/director Kim Hong-sun has expertly staged the action and crafted a masterful thrill ride. Writer/Director Kim Hong-sun along with his talented behind-the-scenes crew have created set pieces that are always inventive, and brutal, and most importantly build story and character. This South Korean piece of badass cinema is smart enough to use practical gore and atrial spray the way that most films nowadays go for the “fix it in post” mentality.
Note this is not a film for the faint at heart. This film loves its practical FX gore and blood sprays. It may be one of the more blood-lettingly violent films this review has seen. Top Five easily. Proceed with enthusiastic caution.
The Banshees of Inisherin
I saw Martin McDonough’s latest a few weeks before Fantastic Fest as it’s going to be released in Late October. Before my full review I figured that because it played as a part of the Saturday Night Opening Weekend of the Fest, I would give you a little taste of my review.
There’s a part of me that thinks both John Ford and Billy Wilder would be tickled silly by The Banshees of Inisherin. Ford and Wilder were both formalists and both had acidic wit about humanity that would have appreciated this dark wickedly funny tale. Writer/Director McDonough is not just armed with a great script but two truly great performances.
McDonough’s film is one that strips the veneer off posturing and intelligence. Much like his debut feature In Bruges, The Banshees of Inisherin deal with men unable to communicate with one another because of intelligence. Though each is intricately tied to the other because the community that dictates it. Everyone may not understand Colm’s (Brendan Gleeson at his most quietly frustrated) decision but they agree to it. All but Pádraic (Colin Farrell in one of the truly beautifully stupid performances of recent memory) who is just too simple to understand. Pádraic even thinks it may be an April Fool’s joke. Even when Colm tells Pádraic he will take off one of his own fingers if Pádraic continues to attempt to communicate, the man is just simply flabbergasted and confused.
The places that McDonough takes these two dolts is not just funny but ingeniously dark and cynical. The Banshees of Inisherin isn’t the sort of “warm Irish folk tale” that has been rubbed in our faces for so long. This is as hopeful and optimistic a film about friendship and humanity as War of the Roses is about marriage and humanity. Cynics will find pure comedy and delight. Others could find something more morose and darker.
Documentary Alexandre O. Philippe has done it again. Like his previous work 78/52: Hitchcock, Memory: The Origins of Alien and Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist the filmmaker has taken the Subject – David Lynch and Theme – The Wizard of Oz and created an examination into an obsessive artist’s obsessions. The results are as transfixing and insightful.
The film cleverly breaks down into six chapters dissecting an aspect of Lynch’s style/themes/obsessions/motifs/films as it relates to the Wizard of Oz and more. Critics like Amy Nicholson and filmmakers like Karyn Kusama, John Waters, and others are the voices of each chapter giving their takes. What could have felt like six individual “visual essays” are artfully edited and designed by Philippe and editor David Lawrence to work as a whole and are a sum of their parts.
The film is aided by the fact that Lynch is always an enigma choosing for his art to speak for itself than define it with meaning. Lynch/Oz by design isn’t here to answer what’s the meaning of all of Lynch’s work. Rather the film adds context to the most formative piece of art – admitted by the director himself – in David Lynch’s life. Also making a case for Oz being one of the most essential pieces of American Art of the 20th Century. Philippe continues his fascinating ruminations on some of the most striking filmmakers of our time. Heady stuff.
All Jacked Up and Full Of Worms
I should have known as soon as the Juggalo showed up I wasn’t going to dig this one…
Well, not every film can be for you. This tale of some of the citizens of the lower depths of society as they deal with taking psychotronic worms loves to revel in the grime, murk, and desperation of drug culture. One hoping for something as artful and biting as Drugstore Cowboy will find none of the acute sharpness and dark wit of that film. All Jacked up and Full of Worms rather revels in the strange aberrant behavior of its cast of characters and its strange visuals.
Even its brief 72-minute runtime drags along creating a milieu that adds up to a film of questionable enjoyment. Even as a midnight cult oddity. Those that love lo-fi WTF lunacy as an aesthetic will be entertained though many will see through this exterior shell as posturing. This one feels like shock for shock’s sake and nothing truly genuine. Even after the final reveal, many will think but to what end?