8 Days of Movies: ACTION/THRILLER
Greetings and salutations! I’m Jordan, a film programming apprentice with AFF. When I’m not busy acclimating my Minnesota self to this city of the South (eating tacos for breakfast, trying to work “ya’ll” into my vocabulary, etc) I’m here watching movies. Want to discover some fresh and exciting films at the festival? Be sure to check out some of these action flicks:
Thurs 10/24: The Art of the Steal at Paramount Theatre, 9:45pm
An ensemble heist movie in the vein of Ocean’s 11 and The Italian Job, this film features Matt Dillon, Terrence Stamp, Jay Baruchel and Kurt Russell, whose campy motorcycle-riding character definitely reminded me of his turn in Tarantino’s Death Proof a few years ago (although his zaniness doesn’t translate into a murderous rampage this time around). This hilarious take on the “one last score” trope features sibling rivalry, high-speed chases, and useful lessons about “the art of the steal.” For example, don’t use fishnets to cover your face during a robbery; you’ll only look like a waffle. To see if they get away with it, you’ll just have to watch and see!
Fri 10/25: The Project at State Theatre, 2:30pm
“For the last 10 years, Somalia has been…a continuously looped Mad Max movie.” If that doesn’t put a picture into your mind, I don’t know what does. THE PROJECT is an eye-opening documentary profile of the Puntland Maritime Police Force, a secret group of mercenary pirate hunters bent on curbing the reign of Somali piracy that’s been rapidly spreading throughout the past decade. It’s a disturbingly real-life thriller with mutiny, death, and political confusion. Want to understand what’s really going on with Somali piracy today? Watch this film and see for yourself.
Sat 10/26: Cold Comes the Night at Galaxy Theatre, 9:45pm
This thriller features British actress Alice Eve and Breaking Bad’s Brian Cranston, who lately can do no wrong (hey, for every Total Recall remake and Rock of Ages, he gives us an Argo and a Drive). Here Cranston is a nearly-blind Polish criminal who takes Eve, a struggling single mom, hostage to help him retrieve some loot. She fights to take matters into her own hands, but it’s tricky when you’re dealing with a desperate blind hitman, a crooked cop with a crush, and a big chunk of missing money. What’s a woman to do when she’s been dragged into a crime hellhole? Start climbing out, however she can.
Sun 10/27: Dug Up at Alamo Village, 10:30pm
Written and directed by Dustin Rikert (a busy guy – he’s been juggling several film releases), this horror-action-comedy hybrid finds an unlikely protagonist in Trevor Bo Chesney. Flanked by two sexy Southern ladies (his girlfriend Chelsea and his sister Amber), Trevor begins an ill-advised treasure hunt in the local cemetery. Naturally, it turns into a war between humans and an army of angry zombies. Think Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland but with lots of sex, drugs, and a grizzled zombie hunter named ZZ West.
Mon 10/28: Number 10 Blues/Goodbye, Saigon at State Theatre, 7:00pm
First, the incredible back-story of this feature: filmed in 1975 in the midst of Vietnam warfare, it was recently found in the vault of the National Film Centre of Japan and edited together into the feature we have now. After accidentally killing a Vietnamese, a wealthy Japanese businessman is forced to go on the run with his lover and a new young companion. He falls from being a privileged “number 1” to a destitute “number 10” at an alarming rate. The film captures the race relations and war-weary sentiments of the era. Don’t wait to see this film- it’s been a quarter century in the making!
Tues 10/29: Mystery Road at State Theatre, 9:45pm
This gritty, ambitious Australian Western shoots for the stylistic moon and makes it (take for example the brutal but beautifully shot gunfight scene at the end). Our hero is an Indigenous cop assigned the murder case of a local Indigenous girl. Aside from being a satisfying thriller with its finger on the pulse of current race relations in Australia, MYSTERY ROAD’s production story is also a sign of increasing self-reliance within country’s filmmaking industry. Ivan Sen wrote, directed, edited, AND composed this feature. On top of that, he’s distributing it himself through his own production company. If filmmakers can buck the Hollywood system and give us top-quality films like this, I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Wed 10/30: Yuma at State Theatre, 7:15pm
Come see the bad influence of Western capitalism and cowboys on young Poles in the 1990s! Communism has just fallen in Poland and across the German border lies wealth and opportunities galore. What to do? If you’re Zyga (rising young Polish actor Jakub Gierszel – look for him in years to come), you become king of the petty thieves. Unfortunately he learns that the higher you climb, the harder you fall. A stylish ode to Western films (hard to miss the 3:10 to Yuma nod in the title) YUMA is also a cautionary tale that’ll make you think twice about becoming a gun-slinging gangster.
Thurs 10/31: Blood Punch at Rollins Theatre, 9:30pm
A Groundhog Day with meth and murder, I’m betting you haven’t seen anything quite like BLOOD PUNCH. A mysterious femme fatale, a meth cooker, and a crooked cop get tangled up in a half-baked drug scheme, but nothing goes right. Loyalties are tested, lines are crossed, but each morning puts everyone back at square one. Get ready to do the time warp over and over again (or can you figure out how to make it to tomorrow?)