While at the 2016 Fantastic Fest last month, I had the opportunity to check out a few films that were on the fringes of horror and sci-fi, so I’ve decided to recap my thoughts on a few of those movies here.

24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters: A documentary about the art form of creating movie-themed posters, first-time filmmaker Kevin Burke’s documentary, 24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters, hit all the right notes for me. It perfectly covers the rise—and subsequent fall—of the artists behind some of the most iconic movie posters in cinema, and it also offers an in-depth look at the creative process that goes into crafting images that would go on to become iconic, huge parts of pop culture.

24x36 covers a decent amount of ground history-wise (although the geek in me would have always loved more), and the way Burke delves into the current trend of screen-printed posters was interesting as well (I personally had no idea about the actual printing process, so getting to see that was pretty cool). There are some lively interviews featured throughout 24x36, particularly with Roger Kastel (the man behind Jaws and The Empire Strikes Back), iconic modern artists Laurent Durieux and “Ghoulish” Gary Pullin, cult filmmaker Joe Dante, and Andrea Alvin, the widow of John Alvin (who created the artwork for films like E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Blazing Saddles, and The Phantom of the Paradise).

The cross section of experts assembled by Burke to tell this non-fictional narrative are all engaging and interesting to listen to. I do hope if there is a home release of 24x36 that Burke includes more interview footage, because I’d love to hear more from these folks.

For those of you who are into collecting vintage movie posters, or have ever found yourself fascinated by the brilliant skill that goes into creating hand-drawn movie artwork, I highly recommend checking out 24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters whenever you have a chance. It’s a wonderful celebration of an art form that didn’t get nearly as much appreciation as it should have back in the day, and it also provides an informative examination of the current trend of collecting screen-printed movie art from great galleries and companies like Mondo, Skuzzles, Grey Matter Art, and Hero Complex Gallery.

Movie Score: 4/5

We Are the FleshYou know that feeling when you’re really looking forward to something and it turns out to be an utter disappointment in almost every conceivable way? Yeah, that was me after seeing We Are the Flesh. Granted, the version of the film I saw was a burned Blu-ray, not a DCP file, so about 20% of the movie was utterly indistinguishable for me (especially since I was seated in the front row), but there’s a part of me that realizes that, picture quality aside, We Are the Flesh was just not the movie for me. It’s probably made for someone, but it sure as hell wasn’t made for me.

With shades of Michel Gondry and Alejandro Jodorowsky embedded throughout, Emiliano Rocha Minter’s We Are the Flesh brings together a homeless man (played by the endlessly fascinating Noé Hernández) and a brother and sister (Diego Gamaliel and María Evoli) in a post-apocalyptic setting, where apparently the only things left to do in the world are eat, build a cavern out of cardboard and packing tape, and have sex—and in the case of We Are the Flesh, that often means having sex with your sibling. Yup. Apparently things get pretty icky when the world ends.

There’s no doubt that there are some intriguing commentaries being made with We Are the Flesh, but the film’s weirdly sporadic (“sporadic” might be an understatement) nature makes it hard to tell just what exactly Rocha Minter had on his mind when he created this visual story (and I don’t even know if “story” is the right word). We Are the Flesh defies any sort of traditional definition—and explanation—and while I’m never one to shy away from ambiguity, I just found Rocha Minter’s perverse cinematic exploration to be all shock value and very little substance.

Movie Score: 2/5

The CrewA sleek and cold-as-ice heist thriller from French filmmaker Julien Leclercq, The Crew (aka Braqueurs) was my wild card film at the fest, where I went in knowing absolutely nothing and was just there for the ride. And I must say, I’m pretty happy with my pick, because I thought it was absolutely stunning, a lean and mean actioner without an ounce of fat to it. Leclercq directed the hell out of this. In fact, because of my experience with The Crew, I’ve decided to track down a few of his previous films just to get myself up to speed on Leclercq’s work.

But back to The Crew—the film’s story follows Yanis (Sami Bouajila), an expert thief working alongside his tight-knit crew of fellow master criminals. There’s no job they can’t execute perfectly, that is until Yanis’ younger brother Amine (Redouane Behache) makes one fatal mistake that puts their whole team on the wrong side of a powerful drug lord, raising the stakes of their already dangerous profession in unimaginable and horrific ways.

For as much as it is an admirable and ambitiously made heist flick, The Crew is also a fascinating character study, with Leclercq giving his entire ensemble a chance to shine in their respective roles. Bouajila is the clear standout of The Crew, but Behache is also pretty great as his bumbling screw-up of a brother, and Guillaume Gouix (who plays Amine’s pal from prison) does exceptional work here as well. I’m not really sure about how this one is getting released, but for those of you who enjoy action thrillers that aim a bit higher than most other films of its ilk, you’d probably have a great time with The Crew. I was absolutely riveted from start to finish.

Movie Score: 4/5

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.