We’ve already shared the astounding lineup for Fantastic Fest 2015 here, and now that the initial excitement has subsided comes the panic of “how the fuck do I get to see all of them?” Well obviously you can’t; through a combination of scheduling, ticket allocation, and the limits of the human body, choices must be made. Read on to see the Cinapse attendees’ picks that we’re making priority viewing.
But the film I’m most excited for is Anomalisa, the long-awaited next film from the greatest living screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman (sorry, Coen brothers). I know almost nothing about his stop-motion animated opus, but the early word from its other festival stops is rapturous, and I’m incredibly excited to see what heart-wrenching absurdity Kaufman’s got in store for us.
Also worth checking out is Too Late, which I reviewed at LA Film Fest. This debut feature from writer/director Dennis Hauck is wildly ambitious, taking place in five dynamic sequences, each of which unfold in a single shot. John Hawkes shines as a private detective searching for a missing girl, but the real star is Hauck, whose witty script and fluid visual style make Too Late a can’t-miss film at this year’s fest.
Victoria: Having watched the trailer for this film (which I had previously never heard of at all), it quickly jumped to the top of the pack. A crime thriller captured entirely in a single take with a standout lead female performance? You’ll find me in line for Victoria ASAP.
Hard To Get: I have no idea if this will be good or not, but the trailer got me stoked. I don’t see much in the way of African cinema. Ever. And here you’ve got an amped up, sexy-looking, True Romance-style African crime romance, and I’m counting myself curious.
The Keeping Room: It’s possible this is my most anticipated movie of the fest. I’ve been a huge Brit Marling fan since discovering The Sound Of My Voice at SXSW a few years back. And when you put the three words “revisionist, feminist, and western” all together, combined with that cast… not to mention that Drafthouse Films is distributing? This is about as close as it gets to a sure fire hit for me.
The Martian: Sure, this is a hugely mainstream pick. But it also seems like all the right components are there for this to be a potentially great piece of science fiction. The premise is compelling, the cast is fantastic, and I’d like to believe Ridley Scott still has greatness in him.
The Witch: Last year’s Fantastic Fest offered two of the greatest horror films of my lifetime in The Babadook and It Follows. The advance buzz on The Witch didn’t escape me, even with my aforementioned “line in the sand.” This just looks absolutely horrifying, and I hope someone will hold me closely as I brave viewing this film.
Green Room: While I considered Blue Ruin, director Jeremy Saulnier’s previous feature, to be rock solid… it didn’t change my life or blow me away like it did so many other film fans I respect. That said, I have no reason to believe Green Room will NOT blow me away. Between the concept, the cast, and the strength of Blue Ruin as a stepping stone, Green Room will be heavily discussed throughout the festival and I won’t want to miss out on any of that.
Love and Peace, ’cause Sion Sono. No other explanation required for this one; last year’s Tokyo Tribe was one of the most enjoyable screenings of the Fest.
Speaking of previous Fests, Blue Ruin was and remains one of the best revenge thrillers in recent years, so I’m beyond excited to see what Jeremy Saulnier has in store for us with his new film Green Room. How much do I want to see it? Well, I’m skipping one of the famous Fantastic Fest secret screenings Friday to see it instead.
Other standouts include The Witch (duh) and The Keeping Room which, if Drafthouse Pictures’ track record is anything to go by, will be amazing.
Follow the team’s initial thoughts during the fest via their Twitter handles (above) and @CinapseNews. Expect full reviews throughout the week about our most anticipated picks, and no doubt all the surprises Fantastic Fest has in store from September 24th.