Au poste! [Keep an Eye Out] (2018)

Au poste!
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Writer: Quentin Dupieux
Cast: Benoît Poelvoorde, Grégoire Ludig, Marc Fraize, Anaïs Demoustier, Orelsan, Philippe Duquesne, Jacky Lambert, Jeanne Rosa, Vincent Grass
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.9.2018
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Plot:
Police officer Buron (Benoît Poelvoorde) has a murder to solve. And his witness Louis Fugain (Grégoire Ludig) has a story to tell. But as the officer tries to trip up Fugain, believing him to be a suspect in the death, Fugain starts to fumble in his account and the interview situation becomes ever stranger and more tense.

Au Poste! may be a little subdued compared to Dupieux’s earlier films, but that didn’t take away from its entertainment factor at all. It’s a beautiful exercise in absurdity.

The film poster showing a police officer and a man in handcuffs.
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Blood Fest (2018)

Blood Fest
Director: Owen Egerton
Writer: Owen Egerton
Cast: Robbie Kay, Jacob Batalon, Seychelle Gabriel, Barbara Dunkelman, Chris Doubek, Nicholas Rutherford, Tate Donovan, Rebecca Lynne Wagner, Owen Egerton, Gavin Free, Zachary Levi
Part of: the Secret Society Screening at the /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.9.2018
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Plot:
Dax (Robbie Kay), Krill (Jacob Batalon) and Sam (Seychelle Gabriel) are absolutely excited: Blood Fest – the mega fun fair slash fan convention about all things horror is coming to their town. And they know that they have to be there. But Dax’ father (Tate Donovan) is dead-set against it, as he is against everything horror-related since Dax’ mother was killed. Dax manages to go anyway, but once there, it turns out that something sinister is going on at Blood Fest.

Blood Fest is no masterpiece, but it’s fun and entertaining. Horror movie fans will feel a little like watching a bobble head with all the nods the film throws at them and that makes most of its charm. I enjoyed it.

The film poster showing a group of teens in front of a mostly red background with scary figures.
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Gatta Cenerentola [Cinderella the Cat] (2017)

Gatta Cenerentola
Director: Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri, Alessandro Rak, Dario Sansone
Writer: Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri, Alessandro Rak, Dario Sansone, Marianna Garofalo, Corrado Morra, Italo Scialdone
Based on: Cenerentola, Giambattista Basile‘s take on Cinderella
Cast: Mariacarla Norall, Massimiliano Gallo, Maria Pia Calzone, Alessandro Gassmann
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.9.2018
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Content Note: sexualized violence, sexism, homomisia and racism

Plot:
Mia’s father was an engineer and he designed and built the Megaride, a huge ship with the most novel of technologies that lies in the port of Naples. But he was killed, leaving Mia (Mariacarla Norall) to grow up with her evil stepmother (Maria Pia Calzone) and her daughters. Growing up mostly ignored by everybody but her father’s bodyguard (Alessandro Gassmann), now that Mia is a teenager, her stepmother’s lover and the boss of Megaride Salvatore (Massimiliano Gallo) starts to take more of an interest in her.

Cinderella the Cat is an animation film for adults. And it appears that to make it perfectly clear that this isn’t a film for children, despite being animated and based on a fairy tale, the filmmakers decided that it should definitely have sexualized violence, sexism, homomisia and racism. No, thank you.

The film poster showing a young woman in a ball gown with a gun in her hands and the much bigger image of a man in sunglasses with a cigarette in his mouth.
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Gräns [Border] (2018)

Gräns
Director: Ali Abbasi
Writer: Ali Abbasi, Isabella Eklöf, John Ajvide Lindqvist
Based on: Lindqvist‘s short story
Cast: Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Jörgen Thorsson, Ann Petrén, Sten Ljunggren
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 29.9.2018
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Plot:
Tina (Eva Melander) works for customs at the airport, a singular skill making her incredibly suited for the job: she can smell when somebody is trying to hide something. But when Vore (Eero Milonoff) passes through, his smell confuses her a lot. She feels drawn to him in a way she really can’t explain and that makes her question her entire life, especially her life with her boyfriend Roland (Jörgen Thorsson). As Tina gets roped in to help with a police investigation, she also has to figure out what it is about Vore that has thrown her for a loop.

For a long time, Gräns was interesting and engaging, but when it starts peeling back the layers of the mystery, it completely falls apart, leaving us with a gender(ed) mess that had me rolling my eyes.

The film poster showing two people swimming in a lake.

[SPOILERS]

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Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält [Mark of the Devil] (1970)

Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält
Director: Michael Armstrong, Adrian Hoven
Writer: Michael Armstrong, Adrian Hoven
Cast: Herbert Lom, Udo Kier, Olivera Katarina, Reggie Nalder, Herbert Fux, Johannes Buzalski, Michael Maien, Gaby Fuchs, Ingeborg Schöner, Adrian Hoven
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 29.9.2018
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Plot:
Christian von Meruh (Udo Kier) is the apprentice of witch hunter Lord Cumberland (Herbert Lom). Christian believes in the cause and the justice of the process with all of his heart. After the tavern girl Vanessa (Olivera Katarina) is accused of witchcraft and he sees the virtriol and violence of the local witch hunter (Reggie Nalder), Christian does find that he has doubts after all.

I was surprised by Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält. I expected an exploitative, gory B-movie. But instead I got a political, critical and pretty serious film – which is an absolutely positive turn of events for me.

The film poster showing with a drawn women whose hair is made of fire, with stills from the film that mostly depict women in pain as a collage in front of the hair.
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Boar (2017)

Boar
Director: Chris Sun
Writer: Kirsty Dallas, Chris Sun
Cast: Nathan Jones, Bill Moseley, John Jarratt, Steve Bisley, Roger Ward, Hugh Sheridan, Chris Haywood, Ernie Dingo, Simone Buchanan, Christie-Lee Britten, Madeleine Kennedy, Chris Bridgewater, Melissa Tkautz
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 29.9.2018
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Plot:
A small town in Australia has been having some trouble with wild animals. Fences torn down, livestock going missing. But they don’t know that they don’t actually have problems with animals, plural, but instead one big animal, one fucker of a boar. As the boar starts attacking anybody who dares come into its outback, people start dying in big numbers.

Boar is everything you could want in a creature feature: it has a good sense of humor, nice characters and a good creature design. I mostly enjoyed it, even though there were some pacing issues in the second half.

The film poster showing a boar head with an open mouth and massive fangs in profile.
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Nightmare Cinema (2018)

Nightmare Cinema
Framing: The Projectionist
Director: Mick Garris
Writer: Mick Garris
Cast: Mickey Rourke
Segment 1: The Thing in the Woods
Director: Alejandro Brugués
Writer: Alejandro Brugués
Cast: Sarah Elizabeth Withers, Eric Nelsen, Chris Warren, Kevin Fonteyne
Segment 2: Mirare
Director: Joe Dante
Writer: Richard Christian Matheson
Cast: Zarah Mahler, Mark Grossman, Richard Chamberlain
Segment 3: Mashit
Director: Ryûhei Kitamura
Writer: Sandra Becerril
Cast: Maurice Benard
Segment 4: This Way to Egress
Director: David Slade
Writer: David Slade, Lawrence C. Connolly
Cast: Elizabeth Reaser, Adam Godley
Segment 5: Dead
Director: Mick Garris
Writer: Mick Garris
Cast: Faly Rakotohavana, Annabeth Gish, Daryl C. Brown, Orson Chaplin
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2018
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Nightmare Cinema is a nice, but not outstanding anthology. I enjoyed watching it, but most of the segments are a little too straightforward to really made me love them. That being said, if you’re looking for something along classic lines, Nightmare Cinema will satisfy your itch.

The film poster showing a demon with a film strip in its claws.

Read more about each of the segments after the jump.

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Luz (2018)

Luz
Director: Tilman Singer
Writer: Tilman Singer
Cast: Luana Velis, Johannes Benecke, Jan Bluthardt, Lilli Lorenz, Julia Riedler, Nadja Stübiger
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2018
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Plot:
Luz (Luana Velis) is a cab driver who has obviously had a bad night. She comes to a police station, bleeding and in bad shape. Police psychiatrist Dr. Rossini (Jan Bluthardt) conducts the interview with her. But Rossini isn’t quite himself – he is possessed by something that has its own plans with Luz.

Luz is a short film that feels much longer than it has any right feeling. It does have interesting and strong moments, but I couldn’t get into it.

The film poster showing a woman's face with rips in the poster paper showing different faces beneath.
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Outlaws (2017)

Outlaws aka 1%
Director: Stephen McCallum
Writer: Matt Nable
Cast: Ryan Corr, Abbey Lee, Simone Kessell, Josh McConville, Matt Nable, Aaron Pedersen, Sam Parsonson, Eddie Baroo, Aaron Fa’aoso, Jacqui Williams, Adam T Perkins
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2018
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Content Note: ableism, sexism, homomisia

Plot:
Paddo (Ryan Corr) is the second-in-command of the biker club Copperheads. With their leader Knuck (Matt Nable) in prison, he is running things, trying to keep everything as smooth as possible until Knuck returns. With Paddo’s girlfriend Katrina (Abbey Lee) pushing him to grab for power in the Copperheads, while Knuck’s wife Hayley (Simone Kessell) jealously guards his position it’s easier said than done. But it’s his disabled brother Skink (Josh McConville) who throws the biggest wrench in his attempts at balance when he gets involved with Sugar (Aaron Pedersen) in a drug deal that goes badly.

1% isn’t exactly a revolutionary film, tackling a generally well-known conflict. But despite that and the fact that nothing much actually happens, it is engaging throughout and I enjoyed it, though I didn’t love it.

The film poster showing the main characters leaning around a huge "1%".
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Lowlife (2017)

Lowlife
Director: Ryan Prows
Writer: Tim Cairo, Jake Gibson, Shaye Ogbonna, Ryan Prows, Maxwell Michael Towson
Cast: Nicki Micheaux, Ricardo Adam Zarate, Jon Oswald, Shaye Ogbonna, Santana Dempsey, Mark Burnham, Jose Rosete, Jearnest Corchado, Clayton Cardenas
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 27.9.2018
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Plot:
El Monstruo (Ricardo Adam Zarate) is a full-time luchador who never takes off his mask. Not even when he’s at home with his girlfriend Kaylee (Santana Dempsey), who is expecting their child. Kaylee’s adoptive father Teddy (Mark Burnham) is the local crime lord. He is ruthless and El Monstruo is his enforcer, desperately ignoring the extent of Teddy’s crimes. Crystal (Nicki Micheaux), on the other hand, desperately needs Teddy’s help: her husband needs a kidney and Teddy may be the only one able to get her one that fits. Meanwhile Teddy’s accountant Keith (Shaye Ogbonna) picks up his friend Randy (Jon Oswald) from prison, where he spent the last decade, taking the fall for Keith, and he finds Randy a changed man indeed. In a rather explosive fashion, their stories come together at the motel Crystal runs.

For some reason, I expected Lowlife to be a comedy. It is not. In fact, it’s pretty hard and very dark, despite a couple of funny moments. Once I had adjusted my expectations accordingly, I was very impressed by the film.

The film poster showing the main characters of the film.
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