Fantasia 2008: Days 16 & 17

Fantasia 2008 (click to see it bigger!)Friday started off pretty quietly, with our first movie being the Korean thriller “>Our Town (review). An auspicious way to start off the day because while it wasn’t the greatest film we’d seen, it certainly had some great moments but suffered from the usual pitfalls of the Korean film: too long and way too dramatic.

While my wife went to check out Tale of the Legendary Libido, I was busy making sure we could all get into the world premiere “>Repo! The Genetic Opera (review), which was not nearly as easy as it usually is. Yes, we had our press passes, but because so many people wanted to see this movie, the Fantasia crew had to be sure everyone was taken care of. It all worked out in the end because that’s how much these guys rule.

Director Darren Bousman was on hand for the film’s premiere, of course, as was Bill Moseley, Alexa Vega, writers Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich, and many others from the film. The energy in that theater was insane, let me tell you. You really don’t know what it’s like to see a movie this highly anticipated with a crowd this reverential of all things film. And you know what? The movie fucking rocked.

Fantasia 2008 (click to see it bigger!)I have to admit I didn’t have many expectations for it going in; I just knew it was going to be something different and hoped it would entertain. And my God, does it ever. Sure, some of the songs don’t fit as well as others, and it’s just disconcerting hearing what is supposed to be dialogue being sung instead of spoken, but it was too much fun to fault it much for either of those things. Aside from being ridiculously gory in all the right places, the production design on Repo! is just flat-out amazing. The sets and costumes are so well designed, you can tell Bousman and Production Designer David Hackl, now in charge of the Saw franchise, spent many, many hours ironing out every little detail. I really hope this baby gets a bigger release than it seems like Lionsgate is planning cause it deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.

We spent the rest of the night doing the usual talking and drinking and discussing the movie. Nothing too exciting, though a friend of ours did have her first experience in a strip club. Interesting to see how people react their first time.

Fantasia 2008 (click to see it bigger!)Saturday started off with a very early (12:30 is early when you were out till 4) screening of the Vietnamese action/drama The Rebel, which featured some damn fine action but not much else. Interesting on its own since you don’t see many flicks from Vietnam.

After lunch we got the biggest surprise of the festival: the Thai film 4bia. It’s an omnibus directed by four different directors, two of whom were responsible for the original Shutter, and blew everyone away. All four segments were very different from one another, all four were very entertaining, with the final one being a minor exception, and we loved it. It’s so cool to go into a film saying “eh, I’ll give it a chance” and have it just completely defy expectations. Expect a full review very soon!

Finally, the one we were all waiting for: Ryuhei Kitamura’s “>The Midnight Meat Train (review). Kitamura was on hand to intro the film, and let me tell you the man is a badass. Taller than any other Japanese man you’re likely to find, fashionable, and very clear on his intolerance for bullshit.

Fantasia 2008 (click to see it bigger!)This translated well for the movie, of course, which was a lot of fun and really satisfyingly gory. The characters weren’t as well crafted as I would’ve liked and the story is changed pretty significantly from Barker’s original, but it all works to what Kitamura wanted to do with the film. I hope Lionsgate stops shuffling its release date all over and finally puts it out soon; this one’s going to have people talking quite a bit because I can easily see it splitting people right down the middle.

So now we’re off to see Island of Lost Souls, which isn’t horror but should be entertaining, and tonight is the world premiere of Jim Issac’s Pig Hunt, which I absolutely cannot wait for! You’ll hear more as soon as we’re home safe and sound!

Johnny Butane

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