FantasticFest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and action movies from all around the world. Here's a list of some of our favorite movies at FantasticFest.
A comedy about a veteran NYPD cop whose rare baseball card is stolen. Since it's his only hope to pay for his daughter's upcoming wedding, he recruits his partner to track down the thief, a memorabilia-obsessed gangster.
Juan Carlos Hernández
Lifelong platonic friends Zack and Miri look to solve their respective cash-flow problems by making an adult film together. As the cameras roll, however, the duo begin to sense that they may have more feelings for each other than they previously thought.
The teenager Jarod invites his best friends Travis and Billy-Ray to have a foursome with a thirty-eight year-old woman. While driving to meet the woman, Travis hit a car parked on the road. When they meet the woman, she gives spiked beer to them and they pass out. When the three friends wake up, they find that they are trapped in the fundamentalist Five Points Trinity Church of the infamous Pastor Abin Cooper and that they will be killed. Meanwhile the church is under siege by ATF agents led by Agent Joseph Keenan that have been ordered to destroy the terrorist cell. Will the teenagers be saved by the agents of the law enforcement agency? Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Little did Kevin Smith know Michael Parks was actually a country singer early in his career who sang with the likes of Johnny Cash. Many of the country-gospel songs sung in the film were suggested by Parks during filming. Later after the film was completed Parks re-recorded the songs onto an album. See more »
(at around 1h 13 mins) At the end of Cooper's paraphrase of the opening of the seven seals, he throws his arms above his head. He then slowly lowers them- twice. First in an over-the-shoulder shot of actor John Goodman, and again in the next shot, a frontal shot of the good preacher. See more »
In the closing credits: 'Almost this entire cast will return in HIT SOMEBODY Coming over the boards in 2012.' Also: 'To take the edge off RED STATE go listen to hours of funny for free at smodcast.com "There's so many to choose from!"' See more »
So, a friend of mine won tickets to catch a screening of "Red State" followed by a Q&A session with Kevin Smith and the cast, which included Melissa Leo, John Goodman, and more. The show was at the stunning Radio City Music Hall, which felt strange considering the elegance of the venue when pitted against the griminess of the film.
The film was wonderful. In Smith's own words, "A nasty-ass little horror flick with few (if any) likable characters". Three young men encounter a cult-like church (modeled after the ever-so-famous Westboro Baptist Church), whom they discover is up to more than simply protesting funerals. That's about as much as you need to know.
This is easily Smith's best work to date. From a visual/directing standpoint, the camera is so effectively used to capture the unsettling tone. He makes an extensive use of the shaky-cam, which, but in more creative ways that I've seen in recent times. The shaking is definitely more subtle than say "the Bourne Identity", which adds just the perfect amount of tension during dialogue heavy scenes, and just the right intensity during the more violent ones. Both are which are in great quantities. The quality of the picture was also very good (shot of Red Cinema cameras).
The sound is also a high point of praise. The real charm of the movie is its unsettling tone, which pervades throughout most of it. There is no real score here, either. Every song you hear is within the film itself, mostly sung by Michael Parks, the man playing the villainous preacher. And speaking of him, I must say that his performance was Oscar worthy. Absolutely terrifying.
The writing itself might be where my few criticisms lie. The film has many twists, a few too many for my liking. These "surprises" impress a lot of people, but to me, they come off as cheap and make the film feel really inconsistent at times. Also, whereas the first half of the film is a genuinely frightening horror film, the second half feels most like an action/thriller. It was all very good, but only until the film nears its conclusion does it really feel scary again. But, the writing is also rather impressive. When I look back on it, nothing in the film feels superfluous, it all flows and connects greatly. The opening few scenes set the rest of the film up awesomely. And, of course, there's a small dose of humor in it, much of it compliments of Mr. JOHN F-ING GOODMAN. The Cast was all fantastic, but particularly Parks, Melissa Leo, and John Goodman come off as shining stars here.
The Q&A was fun, mostly because I got to see such awesome people in person, but I never got to ask my question, and some of the questions asked were so bad they got boo's all around from the rest of the audience.
All in all, when Red State hits theaters this October, you really need to see it. It's all around a wonderful piece of indie cinema, and will satisfy horror-fans, and casual movie goers alike. My rating, 8/10.
I have every intention of seeing this again when it's actually released.
P.S. Best Opening credit sequence ever!!!
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