Fantastic Fest Live Blog: Saturday, Sept. 26

Charles Liu and Alex Pelham

Cinema lovers from across the globe are flocking to Austin for Alamo Drafthouse’s annual Fantastic Fest, which runs from Thursday to Oct. 1. The week-long film festival showcases strange and avant-garde movies, with some highlighting 19th-century cannibals, stranded astronauts and alien invasions. Film reviewers Charles Liu and Alex Pelham will post highlights of the festival here.

Update (4:50):  “Hard to Get,” directed by Zee Ntuli, presents a loud, audacious ride through the crime rings of South Africa, mixing in a romance between two criminals. Ntuli, who directed the film at the young age of 25, uses a bombastic, in-your-face style of directing that may be too much for some viewers, but can electrify others. Although the story and a few of its characters are generic, the film’s humor and its charming lead characters’ chemistry save it from becoming a brainless, action-obsessed popcorn flick. Read the full review here.

"Hard to Get"

  • Director: Zee Ntuli
  • Runtime: 94 Minutes
  • Rating: 7/10 Red Lamps

—Alex Pelham

Directed by Matteo Garrone, "Tale of Tales" loosely weaves together three classic fairytales by the Italian poet Giambattista Basile and sets them in a dark, twisted world filled with monsters and magic. The film features a long list of familiar faces, excellent cinematography and astounding production design. It is one of the few adult-oriented films of its genre — and a stellar one at that.

“Tale of Tales” is a didactic picture, and its lessons are timeless. Of all its stories, Dora’s may be the most socially relevant: it deals with obsession with youth and the lengths people will go to reclaim the years they have lost. Read the full review here.

“Tale of Tales”

  • Director:  Matteo Garrone
  • Running Time: 125 minutes
  • Score: 8/10 sea monsters

—Charles Lui

Update (5:35): A Fantastic Fest tradition, members of the filmmaking community face off in a battle of words and then fists over a series of divisive topics. Watch our video recap of the debate here.