Posts Tagged Fantasia 2015

2015 Fantasia Film Festival Wrap Up: Horror, SciFi, Martial Arts and just plain mental

(Source: Sun Entertainment Culture Ltd)

(Source: Sun Entertainment Culture Ltd)

There was a lot to watch this year, yet somehow the selection seems small. I always stray away from the clear winners, although this year I have to say I did catch a few movies that ended up in the winner’s circle. I don’t necessarily agree, but then again I believe I’m still a movie fan first and a critic later. I can’t quite give in to cynicism, so I’m still willing to be fooled by movies yet.

Tag won the Cheval Noir Award for Best Film, which is a fitting award for a film so crazy and twisted. I can’t quite give it the best in show, but it was really ranked high up there. Malik Bader won the Cheval Noir for Best Director for Cash Only. Crumbs won the New Flesh Award for Best First Feature Film. Miss Hokusai won the Satoshi Kon Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Synchronicity won Prix L’Ecran Fantastique.

The audience awards also gave a lot of nods to a few movies of my list. Robbery won Bronze for Best Asian Feature. Therapy for a Vampire won Gold for best European, North or South American Feature with Børning and Turbo Kid both getting Bronze. On Best Canadian or Quebec feature, Turbo Kid took the Gold. Miss Hokusai took Gold for Best Animated Feature. The Guru Prize for Best Action Feature went to Big Match.

You can read the full official list at IndieWire. Now my thoughts below…

In my not so humble opinion, Robbery comes really far as one of the most entertaining movies in Fantasia this year. I definitely give the best award in screenplay and directing to Jacob Gendry for Synchronicity as his amazing comeback film. Cash Only deserves praise for its lead actor and screenwriter Nikola Shreli. Surprisingly entertaining despite a wild premise film goes to the live adaptation of Assassination Classroom.

In horror and suspense, I’d put Goodnight Mommy as a movie you both recommend to the horror fiends and warn your faint of heart pals about. However, every horror fan should take a chance and watch horror/comedy/drama Nina Forever and yes, it’s fucked up but so’s life. I’d also recommend it to anybody who has had a relationship. Pure thriller and suspense with a new twist makes The Dark Below a winner in my book.

Nowhere Girl wins my quiet but with turmoil distinction. I’d also give a very human with both hope and hopelessness accolade to Port of Call. For action films, don’t miss free spirited racing film Børning. However, if we’re talking about an audience-friendly full on action that Fantasia audiences will love, I have to mention Deadman Inferno.

That will do for now.

(Sources: Fantasia International Film FestivalIndieWire)

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Fantasia Film Review: Tag

(Source: Shochiku)

(Source: Shochiku)

The first impression of Sion Sono’s Tag is that there is too much innocence and something really evil is coming down the road. The fact that literally is about to come true will probably throw off the audience for a loop because we’re just a few minutes into the film. There’s little to nothing to prepare you for the storyline, which seems to jump from one setting to the next. The transition will make you tilt your head while we’re abandoning one premise and jumping into a completely different one.

Mitsuko (Reina Triendl) plays the quiet, introvert schoolgirl who writes poems and somehow managed to dodge a massive bloodshed caused a wind so strong that it’s able to cut people in half. The complete absence of a visual representation of what pursues her makes you unable to guess what happens next. She walks away from a unexplainable mass killing into another school and learns… She’s always gone there? The fact that we learn this at the same time makes us question Mitsuko’s sanity just as she questions it herself.

Tag does have an outcome to explain most of its events, leaving it quite open to you to decide what the motive and the real conclusion was. There’s a wild element of cruelty and violence towards its characters that seems to critique society – specially male society when the reveal happens. The movie almost fetishizes the character of the Japanese girl in distress, until you realize that we’ve been watching all this storylines from the point of view of characters that actually do that. If that sounds meta and confusing, you’re halfway there to understand what the movie is telling you.

Recommended only for horror fans that don’t mind a little inception and social commentary. The movie is very gratuitous on the violence and not scared to kill characters that you care about. At the time of writing this, Tag was revealed as the winner of the Cheval Noir award for Best Film. As twisted and scary and positively weird as it is, I’d say it certainly deserves the accolade.

That will do for now.

(Sources: Fantasia International Film Festival)

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Fantasia Film Review: Lupin The Third

(Source: TBS Pictures)

(Source: TBS Pictures)

Ryuhei Kitamura directs the live action film based on the classic anime, Lupin The Third. You could call this a paint-by-numbers storyline, but there’s one element that somehow stays the same as its source: it’s fun.

Shun Oguri plays Arsene Lupin III, and I’m glad to say he hits the mark. Getting the smirk, the swagger, the careless freedom of gestures right is a challenge. I have to say he does a very good job. So does Tadanobu Asano as the crabby inspector Zenigata. Meisa Kuriko plays mysterious Fujiko Mine nailing both cute and seductive at the same time. Add to this Tetsuyi Tamayana as an almost carbon copy of Jigen and one surprise: Go Ayano shines as the stoic badass samurai Gaemon. The side characters are a bit of a hit and miss, but the core cast is very close to a perfect fit.

The storyline, if you must know it, is of course our familiar gang having to join forces to bring down someone who has betrayed. Along the road, we get some scenes taken right out of the comic. There’s a scene in which Lupin and Jigen are running away with bags that are literally bursting with cash. The moment they get into a very familiar car… well, you have to see this one with the right crowd. Also, don’t miss Gaemon going against a Humvee.

Recommended as a light action comedy movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Fans of the Lupin The Third anime will be particularly thrilled. If you are unfamiliar with the source, I’d say go check the anime first. It’s just more fun that way.

That will do for now.

(Sources: Fantasia International Film Festival)

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