Festivals: Fantasia Reviews

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Fantasia 2017 Review: KING COHEN and the Art of the Steal

"Anybody will put up with anything if they think a movie is being shot." These are words of wisdom, but also kind of a guerrilla filmmaking mission statement, from filmmaker Larry Cohen. Steve Mitchell's King Cohen offers a breathless sprint through...

Fantasia 2017 Review: DEAD SHACK, Mixed Results Hamper Canadian Zom-Com From Breakout Success

Jason is joining his best friend Colin and his family on a weekend getaway to a cabin in the woods. Along for the ride is Colin’s sister Summer, their dad Roger and his girlfriend Tina. Jason and Colin could not...

Fantasia 2017 Review: JAILBREAK, An Exceptional Addition to Martial Arts Cinema Coming Out of Southeast Asia.

A group of Special Task Force Officers are escorting Playboy, a reported crime boss of the Butterfly Gang to Prei Klaa prison. Playboy though, claims that he is not the true boss and will reveal their identity when he is...

Fantasia 2017 Review: Thai Period Action Flick BROKEN SWORD HERO Introduces a New Action Talent

Joi’s childhood was plagued with teasing and bullying by the governor's son and his friends. Though his father refuses to put him in a Muay Thai school, Joi secretly trains himself.   When a confrontation with his bullies leaves the...

Fantasia 2017: Born Of Woman Shorts Programme Highlights a Trio of Haunting Standouts

For its second year at Fantasia, the theme running across the curation for the shorts programme Born Of Woman has moved away from the cerebral physical fetishes, and queer emotional landscapes of last year, towards the nature of haunting. The highlights were...

Fantasia 2017 Review: LOWLIFE Confidently Infuses Absurdity With Heart

As a snappily dressed Luchador intensely monologues his desires and legacy to the camera, we are unsure of exactly who his audience is, and the movie withholds the answer to maxim effect. A dirty Immigrations Officer and a scuzzy surgeon...

Fantasia 2017 Review: JAPANESE GIRLS NEVER DIE Speaks Locally on Subjugation, Reaches Globally

28 year old Azumi Haruko simply vanishes one night. Two aspiring graffiti artists use her image from her missing poster to build a name for themselves and they become a viral hit. And a gang of high school girls are...

Fantasia 2017 Short Film Short Review: EVEN THE DARKNESS HAS ARMS, A Two-Minute Creepfest

Chris Bavota, writer of the family reunion horror short from 2015 Never Tear Us Apart, has a new short, short film, Even The Darkness Has Arms, premiering tonight in the horror shorts program at Fantasia. Yes, it is so short...

Fantasia 2017 Short Film Short Review: THE LAST SCHNITZEL

Humankind’s time on Earth has is coming to end. As the planet dies nations prepare fleets to flee to nearby Mars. One of the last holdouts is the Grand Turkish Republic. The president refuses to okay the evacuation until he...

Fantasia 2017 Review: TILT, A Slowburn Thriller About Mental Health And The American Dream

When we first meet Joseph and Joanne, the young couple are returning from a trip to Hawaii.   Joseph is a documentary filmmaker and Joanne studies medicine. When Joanne is out, Joseph works away on a new documentary in his...

Fantasia 2016 Review: THE TOP SECRET - MURDER IN MIND, Sci-Fi Thriller Explores a Start of Something Evil

In a police department in near future Tokyo Aoki Ikko sticks out like a sore thumb among his peers. He is an astute observer, picking up details other miss. He is also very persistent and determined. His skills earn him...

Fantasia 2016 Review: SHE'S ALLERGIC TO CATS, Disturbing and Comic in Equal Measure

So, what do you want from a weird, sketchy, indie genre film? How about a cool backstory, where the director (Michael Reich) supposedly funded the film in part by being a Daft Punk body double? Or how about mixing pop...

Fantasia 2016 Review: Born of Woman Programme Offers A Fantastic Female-Driven Future

Over the years, I have learned to pay attention to the precise curation efforts that happen at Fantasia. The overall programing of the festival serves many masters, considering its three week length, and by nature can yield things both exceptional...

Fantasia 2016 Review: PSYCHONAUTS, THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN, Bleak, Dark And Unforgettable

An island in the sea is struck by a massive catastrophe. Years later its inhabitants, anthropomorphic animal characters, are making a bleak living by scrounging for copper amidst the wreckage of once powerful industrial might. Dinky and her friends, Sandra...

Fantasia 2016 Review: REALIVE Deeply Engages With Medical Morality And The Human Condition

When screenwriters turn towards directing their own features, the case is often that they can make their talkiest screenplay into a film. This is not necessary a bad thing at all, especially considering the case of Mateo Gil's new science...

Fantasia 2016 Review: SHELLEY Marries Parenthood To Horror Without Enough Consequence

A classy, atmospheric take on the hysteria of new parenthood, Ali Abbasi's Shelley wears its influences boldly on its sleeve (and right there in the title), only the Frankenstein's monster here is a baby born by way of our modern medical...

Fantasia 2016 Review: I, OLGA HEPNAROVA, A Meticulous And Confrontational Look At A Mass Murderer

At one point over the course of this haunting and difficult film, the lead character is reading the Graham Greene novel, The Quiet American. She highlights a passage from the novel that is the lynchpin to understanding the unanswerable questions left...

BiFan 2016 Review: INSANE, Kinda Lame

Released earlier this year, the surprise hit Insane is the sixth film from versatile director Lee Cheol-ha. Employing a less than original premise, this new thriller turns out to be a middle-of-the-road attempt that pales in comparison to a slew...

BiFan 2016 Review: UNDER THE SHADOW Scores with Strong Scares and Social Sting

A well-executed jump scare can deliver one of the strongest physical reactions possible in a theater, but by and large, horrors that go bump in the night rely on little more than technical scares. This leads to a parade of...

BiFan 2016 Review: THE LURE, The Polish Mermaid Horror-Musical You Never Knew You Wanted

In the crowded world of cinema, many filmmakers set out to try something different. However, it's one thing to be novel, which normally means stretching a thin gimmick over other recycled bits of past films, but another thing entirely to...