October is always a fun month so let’s celebrate it with a long overdue “Trailer Tuesday.” The Criterion Collection has a 2022 October slate that is more horror-centric than it has been in years with releases of Kasi Lemmons’ Eve’s Bayou (1997), Jayro Bustamante’s La Llorona (2019), Frank Capra’s Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), and a 4K UHD edition of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968). MMC! loves its Japanese cinema and so it’s only natural that we pay particular attention to the chilling Janus Films trailer for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure (1997) which brilliantly captures the frightening banality and emptiness of the film’s insidious psychopathy. Criterion’s hard media library welcomes Cure on October 18.
The 2021 edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival is just around the corner and MMC! is happy to report that it will be covering this year’s FIFF once again! Fantasia’s full slate of films and special events are now lined up and its merch store is online and ready to take your money. MMC! will provide round-ups of the Festival like last year as well as find some worthy titles for potential spine-numbering, but ongoing coverage can be found at my Letterboxd list for the Fest. (I’ll try to set up a separate list for short films but there’s sooooo many short films being shown at Fantasia…)
In the meantime, let’s check out a few trailers from FIFF’s various programs that have piqued MMC!’s interest!
“The titan Takashi Miike takes us back to the magical world of the Yokai as a war threatens to destroy Tokyo. An irreverent fairytale!”
Fantasia’s “Cheval Noir” section is its flagship, juried competition and MMC! can’t help but be drawn to Takashi Miike’s The Great Yokai War – Guardians. The film returns Miike to the wacky world of his 2005 movie The Great Yokai War and features a pair of boys who discover they are the last descendants of a legendary fighter and the only hope to save some gentle demons and the city of Tokyo. And in an elegant bit of programming, Fantasia has slotted Miike’s latest to close the 2021 Festival, book-ending it against the director’s earlier film that opened the 2006 Festival.
It’s Tuesday and MMC! is aiming its spotlight at La Casa (2019), Jorge Olguin’s latest which drops on VOD today! Tired of his recent forays in big film productions and having seen a five year project fall apart, Olguin’s latest is a lean 75-minute effort that he calls “a full-on, classic haunted house movie.” He served as his own writer, director, cinematographer, sound designer, composer, and editor on the project and his mere three-night shoot took Olguin a year to assemble in post-production. Olguin’s reward for his effort was a premiere of La Casa at the 2020 edition of the prestigious Sitges Film Festival.
La Casa is set in 1986, amid the brutal and repressive regime of Augusto Pinochet, and is based on accounts of the Casona Dubois, an infamous Santiago residence associated with various urban legends of unnatural mysticism and paranormal activity. Officer Arriagada (played by acclaimed Chilean actor Gabriel Cañas) is on duty one night patrolling the empty streets and enforcing the government-imposed curfew. Already troubled and distraught, Arriagada is sent to investigate complaints about noises emanating from a nearby home and he is drawn into the building by screams of a woman. Once inside, Arriagada in confronted with horrors connected to personal and national traumas that threaten him both physically and psychically. La Casa resembles contemporary found-footage horror cinema with its single-camera perspective, its concealed edits, and its progression in real-time, and Olguin’s technique is commendable, masking what is likely a limited budget and modest effects with a constrained point of view, evocative lighting, and an electronic score that would easily be overbearing were it not proceeding in such tight lockstep with the film’s visuals. The result is intensely impressionistic, making La Casa almost feel more like a walkthrough than a film, more like a ride than a story. It’s a highly affecting experience which is hardly subtle but thoroughly engrossing if you acquiesce to being pulled into its dark undertow. This trailer precisely expresses the experience of viewing La Casa and so, if you wish this minute and forty-second audio-visual experience could last another 73 minutes, Olguin’s film won’t disappoint.
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.”
For every MMC! proposal that turns into an actual spine numbered release, there are numerous other films that get swanky editions before this blog ever gets to imagine one. These films are unfortunately struck from MMC!‘s list of potential titles with no fanfare, never achieving the glory of stepping into our fantasized spotlight. Today’s “Trailer Tuesday” post celebrates a few of these films recently denied the chance to shine MMC!, but first we’ll celebrate an overdue title proposed for a spine number 6½ years ago!
As a longstanding favourite of MMC!, we’re naturally overjoyed with news that Severin Films is debuting a new 4K restoration of Álex de la Iglesia’s Perdita Durango (1997) at the 2019 Fantasia Film Festival and that a Blu-ray release is expected to be announced later this year! Personally, I can’t wait to decommission my two bootleg copies of the film and finally get to discuss with others the genius that is Rosie Pérez and the further proof that the quality of a film is directly proportional to the craziness of Javier Bardem’s hair. Thank you Severin! Better late than never!
Let’s kick off this “Trailer Tuesday” with the Janus Films trailer for Jackie Chan’s two Police Story films. This sizzle reel for every wild stunt and action sequence in the two movies is as thrilling as they come. I had never really imagined that a future Criterion release would boast “NEW ASS-KICKING 4K RESTORATIONS” but here we are and I’m grateful for it. These films arrive to the Collection on April 30 so start hydrating now!