Ah new online ticketing systems are always such tricky things, luckily the power of mobile computing saved me and allowed me to take in the following on day one of Fantastic Fest. The films are listed in the order in which I saw them in effort to illustrate the kind of programing Fantastic Fest has to offer and potentially my mind set as it could be ravaged by the likes of some films, though seeing as I have watched Serbian Film 1.5 times now, it takes quite a bit to throw me off course.
Transfer 2010 Dir Damir Lukacevic Germany
This was an interesting Sci-Fi moral meditation the likes of which I hadn’t seen since Moon. Age, race, financial and social status Transfer throws the moral kitchen sink at the viewer. It was an interesting, quite thought provoking choice as a kick off to Fantastic Fest. Transfer takes place in a world that allows one to buy a finely tuned young body in which to transfer their mind thus allowing a longer lease on life. This is tricky as the young, beautiful and destitute are willing to sign their lives away to help their families back home to the rich willing to pay the price to continue life in a new shell.
This has been presented before but Transfer takes a slightly different route as those that sell their bodies are still allowed to have four hours of freedom at night while the new, “owners” for lack of a better word sleep. This leads to both sides questioning their choices once the transfer is complete as both sides struggle to accept their choice.
While Transfer didn’t contain any surprises, it’s a Sci-Fi contemplative character study the likes of which you don’t find all that often in today’s world of Sci-Fi which usually equates to an aliens from space type scenario.
I give Transfer 4 daily doses out of 5
US Premiere: Let Me In 2010 Dir Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) United States
Interesting how things come full circle. The Swedish film and now genre and instant cult classic/favorite Let the Right One In was brought to American shores right here at Fantastic Fest a couple of years ago where it took home the Best Horror award. Flash forward a few years later and the American remake is the Fantastic Fest opening night premiere.
Let Me In isn’t a total shot for shot remake but isn’t far off. I thought of it more as an outstanding cover version of an already great song. About the only complaint I have is the usage of some obvious CGI to make the American Eli- known as Abby (Chloe Moretz) in this version more aggressive when she feeds or is running away to hide. This, however, made the famous scene at the end make a bit more sense and it’s pay off worked in tandem with those. There were a couple of enhancements over the original which were welcome, no spoilers but the shot in question is quite amazing. The only other minor complaint is that the love story is a bit more obvious, maybe dumbed down than the subtle nature of the one found in the original. Those that haven’t yet seen Let The Right One In will likely enjoy the heck out of it however I advise them to also seek it out as these two in my mind can easily peacefully co-exist.
I give Let Me In 3.5 Rubiks cubes out of 5
Buried is a simple enough setup. Guy, in this case Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) an independent truck contractor in Iraq gets buried alive. It’s as claustrophobic and intense as it sounds as the entire 95 minute run time is spent in the box as Reynolds puts on a performance that pulls you into it with him.
Buried is evenly paced enough that it never quite wears out it’s welcome. Though I did find the second act to be a bit dull as I found myself nodding off. I suspect that this being my fourth and final film of a long day not helping my viewing. Regardless, by the third act the film had my full attention as the last thirty minutes of the film are arguably the most intense I’ve seen this year.
I give Buried 4 “snakes in pants” out of 5
By John Coovert