The Austin Chronicle

Robert De Niro Versus Tony Jaa?

By Richard Whittaker, August 27, 2010, 1:43pm, Picture in Picture

First there were the 13: Then there were the gala premieres; Now Fantastic Fest had released the second wave of its gore-drenched, mind-bending, high-kicking 2010 line-up.

The big news was the double-gala opening night at the Parmount on Sept. 23 of Let Me In and Buried. Now the latest: The following night sees a return visit to Austin from Edward Norton (last here with Leaves of Grass during SXSW.) He and director John Curran will be in attendance for the US premiere of Stone, co-starring Machete star Robert De Niro and the reigning queen of action-horror Milla Jovovich in a straight-ahead dramatic role.

That's not the only film getting some kind of premiere. It's the regional first screenings for Argentinian crime drama Carancho and sci-fi comedy Drones, co-directed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer co-stars Amber Benson and Adam Busch, while Spanish thriller Kidnapped makes its North American bow. Among the big US premieres? Cross-border horror Undocumented and 30 Days of Night: Dark Days, the sequel to 2007's adaptation of Steve Niles' great Alaskan vampire comic.

Fantastic Fest has already got a strong reputation for bringing the best of Asian cinema to town. That continues this year with Hong Kong crime drama Fire of Conscience and Andrew Lau's Legend of the Fist, set during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai. Japanese animators Madhouse Studios (best known in the US for Ninja Scroll and Animatrix) bring Redline to the US and there'll also be a newly restored print of 1960 South Korean classic The Housemaid, paired with the regional premiere of its 2010 remake/re-imagining. However, we'll be reserving our place in line for the North American premiere of one of the most eagerly awaited martial arts movies of recent years, as Tony Jaa returns for Ong Bak 3.

And, of course, what's FF without a little bit of gore? The sequel to underground modern slasher classic Hatchet, entitled Hatchet 2, natch, makes its North American bow, while the remake of the massively controversial 1978 shocker I Spit on Your Grave is bound to stir debate. There's more vampires on the loose and the economy has collapsed in Stake Land, plus color us blood-red and excited by Mexican urban cannibal drama We Are What We Are (Somos Lo Que Hay).

And finally, a quick public safety announcement for Thomas Haden Church, whose new show for FEARnet, Zombie Roadkill, also debuts at FF 2010.

Fantastic Fest runs Sept. 23-30. Check back at our FF 2010 blog for more coverage.

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