What a week! Fantastic Fest 2012 did not disappoint!

Time travel.  Murderous children.  Swedish zaniness.  Sprawling epics.  Bloody deaths.  Communicable diseases.  Conspiracies.  Drugs.  Kidnapping.  Absurdist adventures.  Check.  Check.  And check.

All this is standard fare at Fantastic Fest and this year it was no different.  I chose to watch 26 films this time around from many countries and 75% of them were awesome! It was a week full of meeting geeks like me and sharing our thoughts about film and all things geeky.  That is what makes FF so cool–everyone there is like minded and you find yourself making friends easily.

Now for the movies…most of these will not have mainstream releases but you may want to keep an eye out for release on Netflix or in small indie houses.  I graded each movie and added a link to a trailer and/or description on the Fantastic Fest website.

The ABCs of Death  C

Aftershock   C

Antiviral   B

Besties   A

Come Out and Play   C

The Conspiracy   A

Dom–A Russian Family   A

Flicker   A++

Frankenweenie  A++

Fuck Up   A+

Graceland   A+

Here Comes The Devil   B

Holy Motors   A++

I Declare War  B

The King of Pigs   B

Lee’s Adventure   A

Looper    A+++  (review coming soon)

Memory of the Dead   D

No Rest for the Wicked   A

Outrage Beyond    B

Room 237   A

Secret Screening…  Cloud Atlas  A+++   (will preview soon)

Tai Chi Zero    B

Tower Block   A+

Vanishing Waves   B+

Wrong   B

Well, that was 2012!  I am already getting excited about next year–can’t wait to see what they program for 2013!  And by then Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar will have been demolished (kind of bittersweet) and then rebuilt into a new complex…yeah…it’s going to be extra awesome!






Fantastic Fest 2012!! Woohoo!

I am about to start a week of pure AWESOMENESS!  Last year was the first time I experienced Fantastic Fest and now I can not imagine missing out…ever.  Why?  Well, this is a film geek’s dream.  More accurately, a sci-fi-action-gory-strange film geek’s dream. The tagline for the event is ” A film festival with all the boring parts cut out.”  And boy, do they live up to that promise.

From the shaky face picture for our badges (mine is lovely!)–strange foreign films–cool activities–awesome parties to the hilarious icon chart (so you can know what to expect in each film), FF is NOT your ordinary film festival.  It is way too much fun!

Last year I just did one post and listed all my favorites (I will be attempting 29 movies this year–whew!) and ones to look out for.  I am probably doing the same this year, since it is too difficult to try and post each day.  It’s tiring watching movies all day and eating delicious food at the Alamo Drafthouse.  😉

I will try to post on fb (Nereida Mercado)–so if you want to friend me there you may see some updates and pictures.

Until then!

Here is the link to my tentative schedule:


Film identification icons:


Meryl Streep continues to impress in Hope Springs!

Is it just me? Or is Meryl Streep amazing? Every role she plays is believable and she is able to disappear into the character.  As I watched Hope Springs I was again finding it hard to believe this was the same woman who played Julia Childs and Miranda Priestley.  Man, she’s good.  So subtle and nuanced.  As you may have figured, the acting is the reason to check out this movie.  Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are wonderful.

That’s not saying that the film fails in other departments, it is a bit thin and plays in familiar territory, but overall it wins you over with the fine performances and the realistic approach to the theme.

You may have guessed that I love realism in my movies (except for when there are Vampires or Superheroes involved :)) and I appreciated that writer Vanessa Taylor and director David Frankel based the couples’ problem on how real people would deal with it.  There is no easy fix or sappy realization of what needs to be done, while the music soars in the background.  It is slow, painful and difficult to change years of behavior and they did not shy from showing that process. Well done!  Add Steve Carrell as the unusually cool, laid back therapist and you have an interesting character study of this couple.

I am sure many will relate, as I did in several areas.  It is refreshing to see substance in the romance genre and for that alone it is worth a viewing.  Now, it is more drama than comedy (dramedy) so adjust your expectations and you will lose yourself in their story.


The Campaign is NOT as dumb as it looks…

I am catching up with a bunch of movies lately–been falling behind due work schedules and life stuff–and The Campaign was on my list on ones I wanted to watch.  I had heard a few positive remarks and I enjoy most Will Farrell films, so I was ready for some silly laughs.  Well, I got the laughs and a pretty smart political satire, too–how cool is that?

Now, it does all this by being over the top and not based on reality (at all), but you get the point.  It is scary how accurately it depicts the political circus we have going on in the country.  The “Rainbow Land” scene is hilarious and shockingly truthful.  And yes, I am tired of it–as most Americans are and this narrative reflects the frustration and the hope and need we have for change in that arena.

Surprisingly, Farrell and Zach Galifianakis play it straight and it works.  They are able to play spoofs of political archetypes, yet at the same time, they were able to fill in the details that lend them to be more human than caricatures.  Add a strong supporting cast (especially loved Dylan McDermott’s ruthless campaign manager) and you will find some truth in all their portrayals.

Director Jay Roach has focused on political films lately–but this one seems to present the subject in a blatantly ridiculous way.  Writers Shawn Harwell and Chris Henchy could have spent more time on character development and they could have made some really smart connections to how campaigns are truly managed, but then again…this is a comedy.  Still, it could have been a better movie if they had taken themselves a bit more seriously.

Nonetheless, The Campaign is ridiculous fun and with some smart thrown in.  That’ll do just fine.