Fantastic Fest 2017 Day 7

The Prince of Nothingwood

Salim Shaheen is an Afghani filmmaker who has made over a hundred movies with virtually no resources, so he calls his “studio” Nothingwood (not unlike the no-budget Ugandan Wakaliwood studio). This documentary follows Shaheen and his crew as they work on several movies at the same time, traveling across Afghanistan as needed. I’d hoped the doc would be awesome, but it seems like the movies Nothingwood makes are far more subdued than those by Wakaliwood, and the doc itself suffers from a serious lack of energy. It’s not bad, but it is underwhelming.


All You Can Eat Buddha

Mike is a big guy who has come by himself to a tropical resort of unspecified nationality. He doesn’t do much but sit around, look at the water, and eat, but he draws a lot of attention nonetheless. Especially when he’s eating. He’s diabetic but has stopped taking his medication and may have gone there to die, but he is nonetheless willing to help others. There cinematography is good, but there’s very little plot and not much else to hold your interest, so its 84-minute runtime feels pretty long.


Before We Vanish

Aliens are preparing to invade the earth. They can already take over human bodies, and they have learned our languages (or at least Japanese), but they’re having problems really understanding certain human concepts. They can’t grasp them using words alone, so they need a human to visualize the concept, and then the aliens will take that directly from their brain, leaving that human without any understanding of the concept. Once all the important concepts have been captured, the real invasion can begin. It’s an interesting concept, but the movie is too long, and it’s got a dumb cliché of an ending.


Dan Dream

Thorkil (Casper Christensen) wants to build the world’s first electric car. He teams up with a battery expert (Frank Hvam) and a couple of other guys to start his own company, promising to have the car on the road in no more than a year. But everything goes wrong, including all of the movie’s attempts at comedy. It is shockingly unfunny, usually either going for the obvious joke or opting for something racist and doesn’t even bother trying to pay off all of its setups. I might have expected more from the writers behind Klown, but then again they’re also the writers behind Klown Forever.


It’s been less than a year since the unnamed protagonist (played by Frank Grillo) got out of jail, where he incurred considerable debts paying for protection. Since he was an amateur racer before going in, he took jobs as a getaway driver to help pay that debt. But on this job, he finds himself having been set up in the middle of a gang war. The film starts off very much like Locke in that it basically all takes place inside the car and all dialogue comes in the form of phone conversations, but that fades as the film progresses. And it’s clearly a take on films like The Driver/Drive/Getaway, and while the movie is short and the action is good, it all feels just a little too easy. There aren’t any run-ins with the police, and everything is resolved a little too neatly and conveniently at the end. Still, it makes for a good bit of entertainment if you’re into this kind of thing.