BNAT 7 In Brief by Harry!
Hey folks, Harry here... It's 2pm, I've just gotten home and I'm on such a buzz from BNAT - that I figured I'd do a very quick rundown of what played. Others will do a more complete rundown with fuller reviews - you know the usual suspects. From my point of view, as a programmer - everything played fucking amazing. Audiences cheering - screaming - laughing and genuinely thrilling... pretty much throughout. All at the exact right moments. An audience so primed that you could feel the electricity in the room - be it at hour 1 or 24.
Yeah yeah yeah... what played?
We kicked things off this year with a video greeting from the jungles of the Yucatan in Mexico where a shaven Mel Gibson introduced the premiere of his APOCALYPTO trailer. Which was awesome! The final show of what looked like Tikal or Palenque - not quite sure which from a first viewing in it's heyday - was just awe-inspiring. Mel didn't feature any of the native Mayan language in the trailer - but from the music to the shot selection. It just felt epic! Can not wait to see this next summer.
The first feature was THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME starring FAY WRAY. It was a nice short way to introduce people to the world that was coming - without telling the same story. But having a whole host of the original players. Love this film.
Next was a special presentation with Arnold Kunert and Marc Lougee. First was a brief look at the latest RAY HARRYHAUSEN PRESENTS animated short film. Ray had always intended to get around to doing the Edgar Allan Poe stories - and my god this looks like it's going to be awesome. The few glimpses were haunting, frightening and creepy. I'll be getting you a link to look at it later in the next couple of days.
Then Arnold and I debuted a cool announcement teaser trailer for the the first feature film project that Arnold Kunert, Ray Harryhausen and I are attempting to complete - which was the long abandoned follow-up ambitious as all hell project that Merian Cooper and Willis O'Brien attempted to get off the ground beginning in 1937 - but ran into the brick wall of WWII - which spelt the end of that production. We'll do more on that later, the title? WAR EAGLES.
Next came a feature length Documentary on AVIAN BIRD FLU pandemic - which was rudely interupted by Peter Jackson - who wanted to show some movie of his called KING KONG. This movie deserves all the money, awards and accolades it gets. I held my original 1933 KING KONG GAS BOMB throughout the film - This is truly Peter's love affair with Kong - and it is a completely entrancing experience. I need to see it again immediately with like dozen friends and my nephew.... non-stop for a day or two. Both Boys and Ladies were getting emotionally choked up, and that first artillery shell is a bitch! Oddly - I got all emotional at a totally different part. When Ann and Denham are shooting a scene on deck - and she and Driscoll lock eyes off camera. That look of longing in her eyes and his... just fucking beautiful. LOVE the film, but that's no big surprise. Still have my issues with Peter, Fran and Phil's take on the Denham character - but not Black's portrayal of it, which was fantastic. - Anyway more on that later.
Next came the Betty Boop cartoon, PARADE OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS (for the Kong theme / turning into a musical theme programming key) - which lead us to my favorit musical of all time. FOOTLIGHT PARADE from 1933. Which kept us in New York and in 1933. Only this time with a Busby Berekely Musical and James Cagney, Ruby Keeler, Joan Blondell and Dick Powell... and Guy Kibbee. And two of the greatest musical numbers of all time, and Cagney being brilliant. The dialogue is as sharp as hypos. This got a fantastic reaction. Warner Home Video should definitely put the BUSBY collection out in 2006, the world needs it.
Next came Lucky McKee's SICK GIRL starring Angela Bettis and Misty Mundae in a Lesbian monster pj bug hunt romantic comedy. It's one of the MASTERS OF HORROR hour long jobs - and we had both Angela and Lucky there to do Q&A. It's a grand old fashioned, but set modern aged screwball horror flick. And with THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME lasting just 3 minutes longer.... It got it's story and fun told very quickly. Definitely seek this out with friends.
Then came Chan Wook Park's LADY VENGEANCE - which screwed up the nightmares of everybody with a child for the next few weeks. It's good though - they'll go home and hug the kids more. I love this film. I love that you discore a bit more with every time shift and every reveal. Chan just is a breathtaking visual look, emotional performance and captivating storytelling. Hands down one of the best cinematic stories told this year. And a completely gripping story.
Next was THE PROFESSIONALS - a film that I'm dearly in love with. Jack Palance as a Mexican trading canyon banter about la revolucion with Burt Lancaster - is just one of my all time favorite scenes in film history. I just love it. And Lee Marvin, Woody Strode, Robert Ryan and Claudia Cardinale... oh and the girl that plays Chiquita Baby. Sigh... whatta woman.
After this was BANLIEUE 13 aka DISTRICT 13. Magnolia Pictures just picked up the rights for this one. A district outside Paris has so many crime problems and city decay problems, they wall it up with all the riff raff intact and - yeah it does sound like a French ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK - but imagine it crossed with ONG BAK and you're kinda close. The tattooed guy in this it a perpetual motion machine of muscle and sinew and tattoo ink. Tres Cool indeed!
Next was the special made for BNAT Teaser Trailer for 2GETHER 4EVER - which got its well deserved applause - and next we had a pair of... "screenwriters" sigh... Introduce John Carpenter's CIGARETTE BURNS - from the Masters of Horror episode. This was pretty damn good - the only really unconvincing part of the whole thing - was how badly written the "alleged" critic in the film was for an "alleged Kael student" - came off a bit like it was written by someone who desperately wishes he was a Kael student... but rather got stuck learning everything from me. giggle.
Next we had a preview of "the eyeball scene" from HOSTEL with Eli there watching the clip for the first time. Then it was time for THE DESCENT - a film Lions Gate is distributing in 2006 at some point and is the second feature film from the director of DOG SOLDIERS and holy shit is this fucking intense. How intense? My father... Father Geek. I've seen about 90% of every horror film I've seen the first time with him. He loves a good horror film, relishes in the tension. But in my 34 years of life - I've never seen my father get up and leave during a sequence of horror in a film EVER! There is... a moment of claustrophobic spelunking that is simply the most intense portrayal of paralytic fear I've seen in a film ever. It was just - a fucking nightmare. The entire audience was kinda freaking out, but Dad... when he was 20 years old, he got stuck while spelunking very deep beneath the surface of the Earth - and the film was just more than he could handle - he retreated to the lobby for a bit. I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW THRILLING IT WAS TO HAVE FOUND A FILM THAT FREAKED DAD OUT OF THE THEATER! It's like one of my happiest moments. I finally got him! And a lot of other people. The movie, before the horror element comes in is just the most tense claustrophobic spelunking story ever - but then it gets smart enough to realize - at the height of that - ratchet it up higher with not only are you trapped in the earth with no, seemingly, way out - but there's something scary that feeds on humans in there with you. AWESOME!
Next was STUNT ROCK! You know - to appreciate STUNT ROCK - one has to understand the awesome melding of stunts, rock and magic that SORCERY combined into this brilliant film of awe and wonder. I mean - learning that you should have no fear of just going to the roof of a high-rise and hanging over the edge by your fingertips... that that is "An Irrational Fear"! No, fuck you Mr. Stuntman - that's not an irrational fear, but a SANE FEAR. And Merlin vs the Master of Evil. GENIUS.
Then we screened DRUM - a Dino DeLaurentis exploitation masterpiece that's just FUCKED UP and awesome. If you go look it up on IMDB, most of the folks praising it are Afro-American, meanwhile those that "hate" on the film are the White folks that seem to have a collective guilt complex for watching it. But frankly, I agree with those Afro-American reviewers - To show the Slave experience - it isn't a noble proud piece of history - and to really do it justice - it kinda does belong in the hands of exploitation filmmakers. Because this is PURE EXPLOITATION. Language, visuals, plot - all of it. It's an incredibly powerful series of images and language. You can look at it and try to judge the filmmakers - OR you can look at it and judge the mentality of the slave era and the cruel and inhuman ways that it did what it did. Really dug this film - now I need to find a 35mm print of MANDINGO.
Then came the last film. V FOR VENDETTA - preceeded by a 35mm print of Donald Duck's Academy Award winning turn in DER FUHRER'S FACE. While everyone was going through security - we were passing out about 240 Duck Billed Duck Calls. I led everyone into a duck version of HAPPY BIRTHDAY - and then everyone duck called to DER FUHRER'S FACE - making the greatest film experience ever.
Till... V FOR VENDETTA. I was not prepared for V FOR VENDETTA. This is the most intense cinematic cry for Anarchy since A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. They made the comic. Alan Moore is a bitch for even thinking of bitching about this. It is fucking PERFECT! When you see them promoting it as UNCOMPROMISED VISION. That's absolutely right. This thing doesn't give two shakes of a pecker what the modern world is going to think. THEY NAILED IT! You never see V's face. The voice - PERFECT. Natalie Portman - BRILLIANT. Everybody PERFECT. Adrian Biddle's last film as DP is a revelation and a revolution! This was my favorite film of the festival. They finally fucking nailed ALAN MOORE! Wachowski's - do WATCHMEN! PLEASE! When this film opens - this will be a political molotov cocktail. Absolutely fucking great! It isn't the action film that the first MATRIX was - but it is easily a vastly more important and brilliant film.
Well - tis time to join BNATTERS and talk about the films! Everyone that came? Love you. Those that wanted to, but couldn't. Love you too. This was a fucking amazing 24 hours. Holy shit. So energized. This BNAT, for me, is the dream of BNAT.