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2010 FrightFest Kick-Off

Posted by: Matthew Turner 27/08/2010 @ 15:24
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 308
Films seen this week: The Last Seven, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, My Afternoons With Margueritte, Grown Ups, Avatar: Special Edition, The Other Guys, Hatchet II, Primal, Burning Bright

FrightFest: Bannings, Cuttings and Tigers and it's only Day Two
Last night was the opening of the 2010 FrightFest film festival, which is five (well, four and a half) glorious days of back-to-back horror movies spread over the wet and miserable August bank holiday weekend.
The festival kicked off in fine style with the premiere of FrightFest favourite Adam Green's Hatchet II (with Green and stars Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris and Tony 'Candyman' Todd all in attendance for an entertaining Q&A afterwards) and entertaining Ozploitation shlocker Primal, which mixed weird prehistoric infections, bitey campers, living caves and what appeared to be a giant rapey leech monster to entertaining effect. And then this morning I saw Burning Bright, which it's safe to say gave me everything I could possibly have wanted from a film about Step Up 2's Briana Evigan being chased around a house by a tiger in her underwear. (How the tiger got in her underwear, I'll never know! Etc).

However, the opening was also hit hard by the last-minute cancellation of the festival's most controversial inclusion, A Serbian Film (for Christ's sake, don't Google it) and the announcement of cuts to the remake of video nasty classic I Spit On Your Grave. The full story has yet to be clarified, but there are rumours of involvement by Westminster council, who had previously been threatening to ban the film anyway. At any rate, it's fair to say that the FrightFest audience (perhaps the one audience in the country who were actively looking forward to A Serbian Film) wouldn't be interested in seeing a version trimmed by nearly 4 minutes (49 cuts in all), so the organisers did the right thing in pulling it. Still, at least now we have feverish speculation over what's going to replace it. All the same, it's a pretty poor show when a festival dedicated to showing horror films isn't allowed to show an unrated, uncut version of a film, especially when that film has already played uncut at other festivals around the world. Poor show, BBFC. Poor show.

Films I'm Dying To See: The Town
The Town is yet another film that I wasn't aware of at all until I saw the trailer at Moviecon two weeks ago. Directed by Ben Affleck, it features a terrific cast (and Ben Affleck – ha ha!) that includes Jon Hamm (aka Mad Men's Don Draper), Blake Lively (aka Gossip Girl's Serena Van Der Woodsen), Britain's own Rebecca Hall (delivering yet another note-perfect American accent), The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner (as I may have mentioned before, I've been a fan since Neo Ned and Twelve and Holding), Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper. Affleck stars as the leader of a group of audacious Boston bank robbers (with an apparent thing for pulling jobs dressed as nuns) who falls in love with the bank teller / hostage (Hall) from their latest job.

The trailer seems to give away quite a lot, so it's safe to say that their relationship makes him want to get out of the bank robbery game, which doesn't sit too well with either his career criminal jailbird father (Cooper) or his fellow robbers (Renner). Moreover, Renner becomes increasingly paranoid that Hall knows too much and hints that she made need to be silenced. There's an interesting shot in the trailer where Affleck pulls off his mask as Hall is bound and gagged in the van next to him, so I'm curious to see if the film is told from her point of view (so that it's meant to be a surprise to the non-trailer-viewing audience when the nice man she meets turns out to be the guy who took her hostage) or his. Or maybe both? I was mean about Affleck as an actor above, because while he can be a terrific supporting actor (Good Will Hunting, Shakespeare In Love, Hollywoodland), he never really works for me as a romantic lead (or any kind of lead, come to that). Still, at least he's reprising his native Boston accent from Good Will Hunting. The film opens here on September 24th and I can't wait to see it.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Three new entries this week, with Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs the World (an epic flop in the States but sure to do better over here), the Special Edition of James Cameron's Avatar (featuring 8 extra minutes, my favourite bit of which is a glimpse of a Doctor Seuss book in the school scene – it's nice to know alien kids are reading The Lorax in 2154) and borstal drama Dog Pound, which is essentially a remake of Alan Clarke's Scum. I've dropped Heartbreaker from the list as it's entered its second run but it's well worth seeking out. The same goes for The Expendables, The Human Centipede and new releases The Maid and Wah Do Dem. Elsewhere you can read our press conference interviews with Scott Pilgrim stars Michael Cera, Jason Schwartzman and Superman himself, Brandon Routh, as well as our press conference interviews with Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham.

1. Toy Story 3
2. Inception
3. Scott Pilgrim vs the World
4. Mother
5. The Secret in Their Eyes
6. The Illusionist
7. Salt
8. Avatar: Special Edition (3D)
9. Piranha 3D
10. Dog Pound

Short Film Of The Week: Ataque de Pánico! (Panic Attack!)
No DVD of the Week this week, so here's another Short Film Of The Week instead. Directed and animated by Fede Alvarez, Ataque de Pánico! (Panic Attack!, original language fans) features giant robots attacking Montevideo. That's actually all there is to it, but it's very well made, the music is good (the name of the track is driving me mad, but I can't place it) and it has a homemade Independence Day feel that works well – I like the shot of the fleet of planes mounting an attack on the robots. I also like the start, with the little boy playing with toy robots before the giant robots arrive. Let's face it, who doesn't like to see big giant robots blowing stuff up? (Unless those big giant robots are Transformers, in which case, meh.) I suspect the film gains a little something if you're familiar with Montevideo, judging by the distinctive-looking buildings that get blown to bits. I'd like to see a London version...


by  cheekieblondie  28/08/2010 @ 08:53
that short has the same theme tune as 28 days later x
by  Matthew Turner  13/02/2011 @ 16:19
Good spot! I hadn't realised that. It wouldn't surprise me though.
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