The 2019 Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, announced its first wave of titles late last month and a second wave of titles earlier today. The Festival is shaping up nicely with an exciting line-up of expectedly peculiar movies. MMC! is stoked for some of these films, so let’s take a look at a dozen bonkers trailers (and read some brief Fantastic Fest summaries) before this Tuesday runs out!
(MMC! doesn’t have any plans to be around Austin during September 19 to 26, but if anyone wants to throw some press credentials at our lowly corner of the blogosphere, MMC! wouldn’t stop you!)
Opening night of Fantastic Fest kicks off with the premiere of Taika Waititi’s JoJo Rabbit (2019). This anti-hate satire apparently made Disney execs less than comfortable during a screening last week and reports state that the studio is more than a bit nervous about this inherited Fox project. That alone make JoJo Rabbit sound worth its ticket price!
“Writer-director Taika Waititi (THOR: RAGNAROK, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE), brings his signature style of humor and pathos to his latest film, JOJO RABBIT, a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis as JoJo) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.”
BEWARE OF THE DOG THAT THINKS
Jérôme Boivin’s faithful adaptation of Ken Greenhall’s novel Hell Hound takes viewers into the coldly logical mind of a bull terrier, creating a uniquely dark twist on the boy-and-his-dog story.
The inner thoughts of a brooding canine named Baxter reveal the animal’s unhappy search for an ideal master. Dissatisfaction with his elderly and afraid owners lead to the dog plotting their demise and it is not long before the ingenious Baxter finds the perfect guardian – a lonely, introverted boy with a macabre interest in Hitler’s personal life and a strategy to turn the pet into a thoroughbred killing machine.
Both chillingly satirical and bitingly terrifying, Baxter is an under-appreciated art-horror masterpiece that resembles American Psycho starring a sociopathic dog and set in a French suburb.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
- Brand-new 2K restoration from the original camera negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
- Original French mono audio (uncompressed LPCM)
- New English subtitles
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Brand-new appreciation by John Waters
- New interview with director Jérôme Boivin
- New interviews with actors Evelyne Didi, Catherine Ferran, and Sabrina Leurquin
- Theatrical trailer
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring writing on the film by Bruce Cherry
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Aniki-Bóbó.
Set in the director’s hometown of Porto, Portugal, Aniki-Bóbó features a romantic rivalry amongst a group of young, school-age children. Eduardinho, an unofficial leader and bully to a band of his classmates, has affection for Teresinha, a pretty girl who begins noticing the interest of a shy boy named Carlitos. When Carlitos steals a doll for Teresinha and is accused of pushing Eduardinho off an embankment and toward an oncoming train, the youngster must negotiate feelings of guilt, betrayal, and persecution. Manoel de Oliviera’s first feature film was a commercial failure on its initial release, but has become regarded as a classic work in Portuguese cinema, a forerunner to Italian neorealism, and an inspiration to generations of Portuguese filmmakers.
- Restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- A new piece about Manoel de Oliveira’s first career in cinema with scholar Randal Johnson
- A pair of city symphonies by de Oliveira on Porto – Labor on the Douro River (1931) and The Artist and the City (1956)
- Excerpt from Sergio Andrade’s documentary Manoel de Oliveira: His Case, featuring interviews with de Oliveira and actors Fernanda Matos and Horácio Silva
- Manoel de Oliveira and the Age of Cinema, a short documentary made for Portuguese television on the filmmaker
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Dennis Lim and a reprint of Aniki-Bóbó‘s source story, José Rodrigues de Freitas’ Millionaire Children
With weekend upon us, MMC! thought we might nose around some of the more unusual corners of the National Film Board of Canada. First up is Island Romance (Donald Ginseberg, 1957), a sweetly corny romance between a young man in Prince Edward Island and a girl visiting from Winnipeg. The short originally aired as an episode of the CBC television series Perspective, which replaced the popular On the Spot documentary series. Perspective aimed to blend documentary and fiction and was typically shown on Sunday afternoons, although the series was subject to frequent time slot changes. Perspective was a popular program, but was eventually replaced by the seminal Direct Cinema documentary series Candid Eye.
This merger of documentary and fiction makes Island Romance an unusual watch. Ginsberg’s presents an innocently saccharine tale of young love in the 1950s, but its quaintly chaste nature seems to take odd turn when local islander Danny (Daniel MacDonald) finds his efforts to woo the vacationing Jean (Iris Krangle) frustrated by her love for Canadian history and regional culture. Danny would like nothing better than a quiet moment with Jean, but seems in frequent competition with the tales of fishermen, literary landmarks like Green Gables, and historic events like Confederation and historical furniture like the chair of the country’s first Prime Minister. Viewers of Island Romance are not likely to expect a love triangle between Danny, Iris, and the Ministry of Tourism, but the film may be better for it by providing a little “WTF” in an otherwise picturesque story of G-rated summer lovin’. (And for those keeping track, Island Romance is peculiarly accurate in its details – Winnipeg’s newspaper is the Free Press and its most affluent neighbourhood is called Tuxedo.)
As per the NFB:
This short fictional film features the picturesque seaside landscape of Prince Edward Island as the setting for a summer romance between a girl from Winnipeg and a young fisherman from North Rustico, PEI. The young couple visits historic and scenic sites such as Government House in Charlottetown and Cavendish, of Green Gables fame. The film is a classic summertime romance and a nostalgic visit to the delightfully sun-soaked PEI of the past.