Fantastic Fest Continues to Delight in Day 2

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The world’s largest genre film festival, Fantastic Fest, was in full swing by the start of day two. As more attendees poured in from across the globe, the theaters, hallways, and lobbies were filled with both fans and filmmakers. For me, day two included the a colorful, impressionistic take on teenage angst, a documentary about the once-lost art of movie poster illustration, and a horror film that excelled at building tension as well as good, old-fashioned gore. Here’s a look at how day two stacked up.

24X36: A Movie About Movie Posters

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Just before the screening started, director Kevin Burke came out with his cellphone in hand to get a photo of the nearly sold-out theater — which was one of a few. Starting back with the earliest days of screenprint, and going through until the modern-day resurgence, Burke has crafted both a history lesson and a love letter to the often-unappreciated craft of illustrated movie posters. Brimming with interviews from both artists and collectors, 24X36 is a crisp, focused, and at times heartbreaking look about these iconic images that have played such an influential part of all our lives.

The Autopsy Of Jane Doe

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In 2010, Norwegian filmmaker André Øvredal nervously premiered his first movie, Trollhunter, at Fantastic Fest. Now, six years later, he’s come back with a cinematic about-face in The Autopsy of Jane Doe, a tense and claustrophobic horror movie that will challenge even the most iron-willed viewer to not squirm when watching it. Starring Brian Cox (Morgan) and Emile Hirsch (Vincent N Roxxy) as a small-town, father-son mortician team who have to try and decipher an increasingly complex puzzle buried within the corpse of a young woman.

While the film relies on long, lingering camera shots to slowly build a sense of unease, it’s Øvredal’s ability to make the lifeless body of a young woman equally empathetic and terrifying that gives the film such a unique quality. That and the fact that they’re promoting the film with a mock cadaver in the lobby.

My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea

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Part teen-angst drama, part over-the-top adventure, writer/director Dash Shaw manages to compliment the layers of the film’s story with its layered, overtly stylized animation. Featuring the voices of Jason Schwartzman (A Very Murray Christmas), Maya Rudolph (Popstar), Lena Dunham (Girls), Reggie Watts (Comedy Bang Bang), and Susan Sarandon (The Meddler), almost all of whom are unrecognizable in their roles and give a dimension to the film’s plainly-drawn characters with a decidedly deadpan delivery. It’s the juxtaposition of their inane conversations that play out during life-threatening moments that’s is at the core of Shaw’s first feature-length animation, which manages to carve out a distinct style that combines impressionism, melodrama, pop-art, and swashbuckling adventure.

The Meltdown with Jonah And Kumail 

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There’s nothing quite like capping off a day filled with diligent movie-watching than the scathing comedy routine of The Meltdown. A widely-acclaimed standup act starring Jonah Ray (the host of the upcoming reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000) and Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley), the two delivered an effortlessly insightful, agitated look at their own lives and the world around them. Without a doubt, the perfect way to end the day.

For more Fantastic Fest coverage, click here.

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