Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Local Haps: September 30th- October 5th

We're back! Thanks for putting up with us as we took a little break to be down in Austin for Fantastic Fest, and then have to get acclimated back into the real world. But now I have this week's Local Haps for you to check out with some awesome documentaries, dance parties, and a one-of-a-kind viewing experience (also the pick of the week) that you can only find in Dallas. Enjoy!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: BLIND - Javi's take

Directed by: Eskil Vogt
Written by: Eskil Vogt
Starring: Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen, and Vera Vitali
Synopsis: A recently blinded woman retreats to her paranoid mind as she adjusts to her new life.

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY - Javi's Take

Directed by: Peter Strickland
Written by: Peter Strickland
Starring: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Chiara D'Anna, and Monica Swinn
Synopsis: An intimate look at the romantic relationship between two women.

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: THE GUEST - Javi's Take

Directed by: Adam Wingard
Written by: Simon Barrett
Starring: Dan Stevens, Sheila Kelley, Maika Monroe, Brendan Meyer, and Lance Reddick
Synopsis: A strange man shows up to help a grieving family. 

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: SPRING - Javi's Take

Directed by: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
Written by: Justin Benson

Starring: Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker, Vanessa Bednar and Jeremy Gardner
Synopsis: An American in Italy meets a beautiful young grad student who is hiding a terrible secret.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Directed by Mark Hartley
Synopsis: A documentary about the rise and fall of Cannon Films during the 80s.

Netflix Instant: TV and Movie Picks- Fantastic Fest Edition!

Well Fantastic Fest 2014 is officially over for us, but that doesn't mean there still aren't movies to watch. Just because our favorite fest is over for a year, there are still chance to watch previous Fantastic Fest films! Thankfully Netflix has many of them available for your enjoyment. Here are a few for this week to get you started.

This documentary will get you ready for the Halloween season. It was one of my favorites a couple years ago. From the same director who brought us BEST WORST MOVIE, this documentary follows families as they get into the spirit of Halloween by transforming their houses into haunted houses for the neighborhood. It has tons of heart and makes me wish I lived in a quaint New England town. 

I wasn't lucky enough to catch this last year, but I did see it during this past DIFF. My cohort absolutely loved this film, and it definitely lived up to the hype. Director Ti West has broken away from his usual standard of a slow-burn plot and has created this fake documentary which is tense, well acted, and quite thrilling.

This movie we saw during our first ever Fantastic Fest. We were sad not get into the secret screening, but this film totally surprised us. It's has great action, the story is dense, and the characters are dynamic. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: THE HIVE- Jonesy's Take

Directed by David Yarovesky
Written by Will Honley and Daivd Yarovesky
Starring: Gabriel Basso, Kathryn Prescott, Jacob Zachar, and Gabrielle Walsh
Synopsis: A young man wakes covered in a black substance with no recollection of how he got there or what happened to him

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: V/H/S VIRAL- Jonesy's Take

Directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Marcel Sarmiento, Gregg Bishop, Justin Benson, and Todd Lincoln 
Synopsis: The third installment of the found footage series.

When the first V/H/S was released, it did something that no other mainstream horror film had done in recent memory. Instead of one cohesive plot line, it was a anthology of a few shorts strewn together with an interlude of a fourth story. It gave the chance for smaller, indie directors to showcase their stuff and gave the audience a new kind of horror movie for the Halloween season. The first installment had mixed reviews, while the second improved on the flaws of the first and was much more entertaining. Now, we have the third installment, aptly named V/H/S VIRAL, and unfortunately, the series has completely derailed.

There are still three shorts in VIRAL, each with its own themes. However, instead of having a storyline where characters discovery these other stories, like the first two films did, the "wrap around story" is just another short, completely independent of the others, and needlessly chopped up. The filmmakers could have made this the closing short instead of trying to use it to tie all the others together. Also, it seems that the filmmakers completely negated the found footage aspect. A couple of the shorts started off as found footage, but then halfway through, seem to drop it all together and just went with the shakey cam action instead. There was no commitment, either stick with the found footage aspect or do something completely different.

The shorts themselves were either a hit or miss. The first deals with a crazy magician with a demon possessed cloak. It was silly, boring, and the two leads looked as if they were told this was a melodrama and came off as severe overacting. The second short was made by Fantastic Fest darling, Nacho Vigalondo. This was the quirkiest of the three. A man opens up a portal into a parallel dimension. The other world, including his counterpart, look almost identical, and he decides to switch with his counterpart for 15 minutes to, of course, disastrous results. Initally, the atmosphere and mystery were great, but then the plot takes a turn into the absurd and never quite recovers. The third short was the strongest of the set, and it follows some high school boys as they go down to Mexico to party and film themselves skateboarding only to run into a cult-like, demon worshipping group. The film is almost entirely shot on Go-Pro cameras, but the editing keeps the tension high and the action moving. It was clearly the strongest of the set.

What really makes this film the worst in the series is how in cohesive it feels. The others had at least a story which tied the shorts together. The filmmakers could have easily taken the idea of teenagers wanting to make or find a video to become the next internet sensation. Just a simple story like that could have easily fixed the unevenness in the film. However, this feels like a couple of segments stuck together with no real purpose or follow through. This series has clearly worn out its welcome and should have stopped with the second film.

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: ABC's OF DEATH 2- Jonesy's Take

Directed by: a bunch of people
Written by: a bunch of other people
Starring:: So many people
Synopsis: A compilation of shorts each featuring a death starting with letters of the alphabet.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: CUB- Jonesy's Take

Directed by Jonas Govaerts
Written by Jonas Govaerts and Roel Mondelaers
Starring: Maurice Luijten, Titus De Voogdt, Stef Aerts, Evelien Bosmans, and Jan Hammenecker
Synopsis: A cub scout group encounters a violent, feral boy living in the woods. 

Everyone knows when a group of kids go camping in a film, chaos will ensue. There's always a murderous entity lurking beyond the trees ready to torture and kill the group at a moment's notice. Director Jonas Govaerts is known for his short films, but here he takes a chance on the classic terror in the woods with his first feature with marginally successful results.

Sam (Luijten) is a troubled boy who is a beacon for bullies within his scout group. He's not very confident, over imaginative, and always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Before his group leaves for their annual camping trip, the two leaders, Chris and Peter, warn the boys of Kai, a feral boy lurking in the woods killing people at will. Of course, most know this is just a campfire tale, but as Sam is quick to learn, Kai is real. The first half of the film plays well, as the characters are being established and the mystery surrounding Kai is slowly revealed. Unfortunately, the film loses traction the closer it gets to the climax.

The film almost relies completely on Luijten's performance. Through other character's interactions and conversations, we begin to learn the history and sympathize with Sam's situation. Luijten has a quiet presence, but his performance is complex and is the highlight of the film. The other characters are equally fleshed out and dynamic making the characters the most interesting part of the film.

However, as we see more of Kai and what his situation is, the anticipation of the climax of the film begins to build. However, the plot becomes convoluted during the last third where Kai's intentions seem to change on a dime, and the movie becomes a bit of a mess. It seems that the plot initially wanted us to learn more and feel sorry for Kai, but then forgot to flesh out that plot point. There were also aspects of a some great and creative horror elements used by the bad guys, such a fairly creative traps set in the woods, but those elements weren't used to their full potential.

Govaerts has the potential to become a great genre filmmaker. He has a knack for creating fleshed out protagonists, but has trouble developing interesting antagonists. Individually, the horror elements are fun and creative, but they just didn't mesh well together in the end.

THE SKELETON TWINS Review- Jonesy's Take

Directed by: Craig Johnson
Written by: Craig Johnson
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Ty Burrell, and Luke Wilson
Synopsis: Twins come back into each other's life after an almost tragic accident.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

20,000 DAYS ON EARTH Review - Javi's Take


Directed by: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
Starring: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Ray Winstone, Kylie Minouge
Synopsis:  A look at musician Nick Cave's creative process  while he ramps up a performance at the Sydney Opera House.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jonesy's Anticipated Fantastic Fest 2014 Films

Starting tomorrow, movie buffs from all over Texas, and the world, will descend upon Austin for the magnificent festival that is Fantastic Fest. It's a wonderful week of movies, beer, and more movies all in the confines of The Alamo Drafthouse. This year I will be covering the first half of the festival, while Javi will be at the second half. So, you can expect tons of coverage all over this site this week.

Now, onto my most anticipated films for Fantastic Fest 2014!

Javi's Most Anticipated Fantastic Fest 2014 Movies

This year is the 10th anniversary of the wonderful Fantastic Fest. To celebrate, they got an amazing line up of both new movies and some incredible repertory screenings as well. This year will be rad since I'll be there for the second half of the festival, and while Jonesy will be covering the 1st half.

Check out some of my most anticipated movies of the festival after the break.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Netflix Instant: TV and Movie Picks

The cold front has set in here in Dallas, and it's the perfect weather to cuddle up on the couch and watch some movies. Also, there seems to be an annoying cold running around, so even more reason to just chill, drink some hot tea, and stream away. 

It's difficult to carry a movie by yourself, but Robert Redford is in top form in this film. He plays a man whose boat begins to take on water as a storm approaches. It's a harrowing tale of survival that will leave you on the edge of your seat. 

My cohort saw this last year at Fantastic Fest, and he very much enjoyed this documentary. Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, is put under the microscope by the legendary Errol Morris. Morris attempts to retell Rumsfeld story from the time he was young to piece together the enigma of a man we all got to know during the Iraq conflict.

Yet another amazing Fantastic Fest film which has made its way to Netflix. This was my favorite movie from last year's festival. Revenge isn't easy, and if most of us tried to take revenge on someone, we would fail miserably. BLUE RUIN explores that concept as a man tries to seek revenge for the murder of his parents. It's tense, well acted, and easily one of the best movies streaming right now. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fantastic Fest 2014 Announces Final Wave of Films!

It's about the most wonderful time of the year. It's almost time for us to go down to Austin to spend some time with great movie people, drink craft beer, and watch some fantastic movies. Fantastic Fest has announced their final wave of films, which just makes the anticipation for this festival that much more palpable. 

As always, keep coming back here starting next week with our full coverage of the festival.

Now, onto the final wave of programming!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Local Haps: September 8th - September 14th

I hope everyone had a lovely and nice short week last week, and also got tons of football watching in this past weekend. I know I did. This week has so much movie goodness going on, which is great because September is usually a pretty slow month. 

Here are the Local Haps with my pick of the week happening on Tuesday!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Netflix Instant: Movie & TV Picks - Javi's Favorites

 This is a particularly rad week of Netflix releases with 3 of my favorite movies being released recently on streaming. Check them out below!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Films of Dallas VideoFest 27 Announced!

Last year, Jonesy and I attended our first Dallas VideoFest. To say that it was an interesting experience is an understatement. The vibe of the fest is unique and has some memorable movies and it's not the standard indie fare that you see in the festival circuit. This year, they seem to be trying to extend their physical reach by having screenings all over DFW during various dates. While I'm not pleased with this since it's a pain to get around. 

Either way, it's going to be interesting to see the different venues, but what's more interesting is the movies announced in this first wave of announcements. Check them out after the break. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Local Haps: September 2nd - September 7th

Yet another look at the rad film events going down around the DFW area. This'll be a rad week with lots of 35mm prints going around and repertory screenings. As always, look out for my personal Pick of the Week after the break.