Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and just plain fantastic movies from all around the world. This unique film festival is taking place from September 19th-26th at the Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline location.
Film: Monsoon Shootout
Synopsis: When a rookie cop corners a suspected murderer, he must make a choice with far-reaching effects in this violent Indian thriller.
Thoughts: Adi (Vijay Varma) is one overzealous rookie. He might be inept in his fieldwork according to his superiors, but he makes up for that defect it with heart. He fully understands the consequences of his actions, he just is not aware of some of the results.
The film’s structure is more déjà vu than disorienting. With scenes being repeated I found myself zoning out until a new ending was brought into the sequence. It’s always raining at night, never during the day. Are monsoons nocturnal? Ooo...Nocturnal Monsoon is a good name for a band.
Monsoon Shootout - ★★1/2
Film: Narco Cultura
Synopsis: NARCO CULTURA is a graphically disturbing documentary that examines the parallels between the Mexican drug war and the increasingly popular musical style of narcocorridos (drug ballads).
Thoughts: Doesn’t mess about with your time, immediately tugging on your heart strings with a young Juarez boy saying his dream is no more killings in his city. Narco Cultura is rich in the wake of violence; I’m talking up close and personal imagery. Right on the front lines of the drug war. A crime scene investigator, fearing the cartel at every turn, humbly informs you that of the thousands of murders a year only 3% make it in front of a judge and jury. There are other statistics that come about as the doc progresses, as well as bone-chilling statements from civilians. Small business owners are subjected to extortion from the cartels, a shop owner tells the camera. While it seems to be small-scale money laundering, there is no definitive answer.
The lyrics of narcocorrido musician’s may be a little graphic at first before it dawns on you that there is very little difference between them and hip-hop. Both celebrate drugs, violence and flash. Rappers use samples-narcocorrido bands use tubas. Their glorification is not to be despised for the allure of riches & power is an inescapable desire. This is a must watch documentary for residents of border states, and for those that think this material should be on the lexicon of citizens nationwide.
This is a brave (or stupid) film to make, considering how the cartel feels about journalists. It would be interesting to know if any of the crew of this endeavor received any threats during the process of filming.
Narco Cultura - ★★★1/2
Film: A Field in England
Synopsis: During the British Civil War, when magic was science, an alchemist forces a group of deserters to help him locate buried treasure, and sends them all straight into the mouth of madness.
Thoughts: Let me give you some buzzwords about this art house endeavor: surrealist…hallucinatory…uh perplexing? Not every film will be liked or understood by everyone, and this one fought to try to keep my attention. The stroboscopic sequences were strikingly cool (but pointless) seeing as the initial “hooking” from this film evaded me. A Field in England reminded me of Valhalla Rising-albeit with less Vikings and more Cromwell runaways. Both films show the slide of man into darkness in ancient times.
A Field in England - ★★
Synopsis: Though Beto’s life may technically be over, he allows himself to experience it one last time before his body completely falls apart in this unique and contemplative horror film.
Thoughts: Hard to feel any compassion for Alberto or his medical abnormality-because the guy is just a boring stiff. Those passing by share my opinion. The slow pacing of this movie dredged on, the ending shots did not help. They felt added just to beef up the running time. Pay attention during the morgue scene if watching this title.
Halley - ★★
Film: Tales from the Organ Trade
Synopsis: David Cronenberg narrates this fascinating documentary about the secret world of international organ trafficking.
Thoughts: I learned a lot of new things today! You can struggle through kidney dialysis at home thanks to a Baxter machine. I’ve got more news. A kidney can go for $100,000 (some donors getting as low as 1% of the black market price). Finally, like any good criminal enterprise, multiple levels of employees are needed in the network to make a buck. In other words lots of hands are in the illegal kidney surgery industry.
Tales from the Organ Trade - ★★★