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.
In an alternate 1985 where former superheroes exist, the murder of a colleague sends active vigilante Rorschach into his own sprawling investigation, uncovering something that could completely change the course of history as we know it.
Jackie Earle Haley,
A young girl (Baby Doll) is locked away in a mental asylum by her abusive stepfather where she will undergo a lobotomy in five days' time. Faced with unimaginable odds, she retreats to a fantastical world in her imagination where she and four other female inmates at the asylum, plot to escape the facility. The lines between reality and fantasy blur as Baby Doll and her four companions, as well as a mysterious guide, fight to retrieve the five items they need that will allow them to break free from their captors before it's too late... Written by
A man grabs an old-style metal canister fire extinguisher and immediately begins spraying the fire with it. These extinguishers had to be inverted and the charging pin on top banged on the floor to activate the chemicals and create spraying pressure. See more »
Everyone has an Angel. A Guardian who watches over us. We can't know what form they'll take. One day, old man. Next day, little girl. But don't let appearances fool you, they can be as fierce as any dragon. Yet they're not here to fight our battles, but to whisper from our heart. Reminding that it's us. Its everyone of us who holds power over the world we create.
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The Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures logos appear on a stage curtain, with the curtain rising to reveal each logo. A brief narrative precedes the Warner Bros logo appearing. See more »
An action-extravaganza that is haunting, beautiful, polarizing, and brilliant.
After absorbing myself in the world of Zach Snyder's "Sucker Punch" for a while, including one viewing at IMAX, one in my local theater, and multiple listens to the soundtrack, I felt the unusual calling to dump my thoughts out regarding this haunting, beautiful, polarizing, and brilliant film.
From the first trailer I saw, I'd been anticipating the release. Usually this is bad, as it means my expectations are built up and it will take an outstanding performance to meet those expectations. Turns out, Sucker Punch is everything I'd hoped it would be, and more. Some would say that in art we see what we want to see, though maybe it's true also that we see what we are prepared to see. Here's what I saw and felt about the film, why it resonated with me and why many people didn't like it: Within the first five minutes, I knew I was in for a treat. The film opens with an excellent cover of "Sweet Dreams" by the film's lead actress. The initial scenes are otherwise silent and the storytelling is all visual. Yes, you're about to experience a film that is basically a 120-minute music video. But that's not all. It's also an action extravaganza AND it's cerebral to boot.
Right out the gate, from as early as the opening sequence (where we enter through a state and later rain on a car window forms the movie's title), this film announces that you should shut off your disbelief. It's fantasy at all levels and doesn't have to make sense to entertain or ask provocative questions, both out loud and suggested.
Thank goodness for the fantasy elements as had this been a movie about an escape attempt from an abuse-steeped asylum, it would have been immeasurably depressing. Snyder's vision protects the audience from what Baby Doll, Sweet Pea, and the rest were experiencing in the "reality" of the film probably more effectively than Baby Doll's fantasies protected her from those horrible experiences. As it is, the film is sad enough in its portrayal and suggestion of certain negative themes like incarceration, lobotomies, aggression, rape, corruption, and betrayal. On the other hand, it's also a film that is both empowering and moving.
In contrast to the dark themes, we also have several positive themes like the individual's search for freedom, teamwork, giving, love, forgiveness, risk, and courage. This film likely upsets many viewers because it doesn't exactly have a happy ending. (An approach which tends to spell failure at the American box office.) I enjoy the apparent contradictions it presents to the audience. One popular debate is whether the film is empowering to women. I think this debate in particular misses the point of the film, and takes too much at face value, but it does show how polarizing the movie is.
The conversation, both internal with yourself and external with others, about what is portrayed in the film can be difficult for one to consider, which is likely why it's a turn-off for so many. The critics may be upset by the questions it provokes about themselves. Cognitive dissonance encourages them to just forget all the issues, label the film a piece of garbage, and move on. Other viewers were likely upset by the film's darkness - it certainly made me uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean the movie was bad. For those of us looking deeper, there are all manner of important questions provoked.
People are being abused. What are you doing about it? Is reality a prison? If reality is a prison, as the trailer for the film states, what does that make you? Why are you here? Are you here to be "corrected" or to escape? Do you want to be free, or should you just shut up and let the guards continue to take advantage of you and the other prisoners? What will it take to escape? Are you willing to risk your life in the quest for freedom? Is Sucker Punch really just a action-extravaganza with no plot (as many critics would suggest), or is it a subtly and cleverly presented art film about your evolution and self-empowerment? The film even asks a series of provocative questions out loud in the final narration. I'm a panentheist, and I don't claim to know what Zack and Deborah Snyder believe, but my interpretation of the final narration is that it is reminding people of the divine dichotomy. We are individuals, but we're all connected to all-that-is. The world's horrors and beauty were created by us, collectively. What we see around us is a reflection of our collective beliefs. The contrast exists so you can continue to choose what you want. Will you consciously choose to evolve, expand, and therefore grow all-that-is? The film explains this by announcing that you have all the weapons you need and encourages you to "fight". Leave the realm of living life by default, and begin working towards freedom. Gather your tools (map, fire, knife, key) and don't forget the fifth element - love. Prepare yourself to lose everything and gain the perfect victory.
The fight is not with swords and guns against horrible monsters outside you, but inside yourself. It's your task to vanquish your fear. That will set you free internally, which eventually will help free you (and the rest of us) externally. You may not make it out alive, but all-that-is will benefit from your efforts.
Sucker Punch wasn't a mind-blower like The Matrix, but it was an entertaining, well-made action film with an intellectual layer and depth, for those who were prepared to receive it. I left the theater with conflicting feelings about what I'd seen. I liked that. It's a stunningly beautiful and poignant film. It was exactly what the trailer promised and more. Oh, and the soundtrack is pretty great, too! Consider me a fan.
4.5/5 for the theatrical version. I'm looking forward to the director's cut.
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