Festivals: Fantasia Reviews

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Short Film, Short Review: AMY

At a residence Mary is caring for many sick and ailing guests, including the young Amy. Delivering refreshments to relieve her guests during the Summer heat Mary warns Amy not to venture from her room at night lest she disturb...

Fantasia 2017 Review: YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, Good Action, Middling Comedy

Federico Cueva has been working in stunts and special effects in his native Argentina and Spanish cinema for more than 20 years. His work with Santiago Segura in several of the Torrente films, and with Alex de la Iglesia in...

Fantasia 2017 Review: FASHIONISTA, A Dark Addiction Drama With No Drugs, But Lots Of Clothes

Simon Rumley makes challenging films. Not for all tastes, certainly, but for those who want their genre cinema with a finely-honed sophistication in character and drama. His latest, Fashionista, is part relationship drama and part addiction character study, and it...

Fantasia 2017 Review: International Sci-Fi Short Showcase

(The image above is a still from Swell, one of the standouts of Fantasia's sci-fi shorts block.) One thing I love about attending festivals are the shorts programs. They provide tastings of different stories from all sorts of points of...

Fantasia 2017 Review: TEIICHI: BATTLE OF SUPREME HIGH Mixes High School Politics With Hilarious Comedy

Kaitei College, once a naval academy, it now educates and trains the future leaders of the country. If you want a future in politics in the country of Japan then this is the school you must be at.    Akaba...

Fantasia 2017 Review: GEEK GIRLS, Trials and Tribulations of Women in the Nerd World

Some guys might be forgiven for thinking that things are pretty good for women in the geek world: we are clearly visible at conventions (though perhaps more as audience than behind the tables), more 'geek' films are featuring (and made...

Fantasia 2017 Short Film Short Review: Zoe Bell Gets Stabby in Action Short IMBROGLIO

Two warring gangs agree to meet and exchange prisoners, unaware that each group harbors a deadly secret.    Christopher Zatta’s action short Imbroglio works quickly to establish our two groups of characters before they are about to make the prisoner...

Fantasia 2017 Short Film Short Review: TRANSMISSION

Transmission opens with a selection of provocative, disturbing and benign images, a tip of the hat to classical conditioning or aversion therapy. The audience is being prepped for the story. Then the Radetzky March, OP 288 from Johann Strauss Sr....

Fantasia 2017 Review: DELIVER US, Exorcism in the Open

Exorcisms have been ripe fodder for horror films for decades, so much so that we might not think they actually happen (or at least anymore, in the days of scientific discovery and understanding of certain medical conditions). But on the...

Fantasia 2017 Review: MOHAWK, A Brutal Action Drama, Sadly Relevant in Our Time

New York 1814, late into the War of 1812, and a Mohawk woman, Oak, and two men, Joshua and Calvin, are hunted down by a squad of American soldiers hell-bent on revenge for an attack on their camp. The Americans...

Review: A TAXI DRIVER Rolls Up to Korean History with Grace, Humor and Tears

History and commerce combine to terrific effect in the protest drama A Taxi Driver. Song Kang-ho is remarkable in his second film with director Jang Hoon, following Secret Reunion, while German star Thomas Kretschmann delivers what is probably the best...

Fantasia 2017 Review: SPOOR, A Magic-Tinged, Intimate Thriller

Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, with more than 20 feature films and dozens of television episodes on her CV, has said that her latest film Spoor should be called 'No Country for Old Women'. While I understand the analogy, with much due...

Fantasia 2017 Review: BAD BLACK, DIY Action Thrill Ride

Bad Black came out of nowhere to win the Audience Award at Fantastic Fest 2016; but anyone who has seen the film wouldn't be surprised. The work of self-taught filmmaker Nabwana I.G.G., is a sure-fire hit for fans of genre cinema,...

Fantasia 2017 Review: MATANGTUBIG (TOWN IN A LAKE) Is The Filipino Answer To Twin Peaks

In the fine tradition of Picnic at Hanging Rock comes the gorgeously rendered and profoundly understated Matangtubig. The film's original Filipino title is actually the name of the village at the heart of the story, an anonymous little place located both...

Fantasia 2017 Review: GOOD TIME Crackles With The Energy Of An All-Night Bender

"Don't be confused, it is just going to make it worse for me." This might be the line that best sums up Good Time, a high stress ultra-stylized sprint through the nether regions and institutions of New York City at...

Fantasia 2017 Review: TIGER GIRL, Badass Ladies of Berlin

Movies love bad girls. Lashing out against the patriarchal establishment, kicking men to the curb, fighting for their right to existence. Put this in hand with youthful rebellion, and watch these women soar, sometimes (though not always) with a moral...

Fantasia 2017 Review: TOKYO IDOLS, Fever-Pitch Fandom

Teenage girl or young women solo music acts or bands (or boys, for that matter) exist in most countries in the world; some only famous in their own nation (such as the dozens of J-pop and K-pop bands), and others...

Fantasia 2017 Review: ALMOST COMING, ALMOST DYING Shreds Dignity For Laughs In Surprising Ways

In french, an orgasm is sometimes referred to as, la petite mort, or little death. The phrase can also infer, with less existential hubris, simply a nervous spasm. Kobayashi Toshimasa playfully uses the two ideas in his feature film debut Almost...

Fantasia 2017 Review: NOVEMBER, The Beautiful and The Grotesque Intertwine

Thomas Hobbes' famous saying that the life of man is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short" could have been the mantra for the life of the characters in Rainer Sarnet's November. Luckily, the film itself is fantastical, strange, beautifully shot,...

Fantasia 2017 Review: FRIENDLY BEAST, Man Is the Most Dangerous Animal

It's nearly closing time at a struggling restaurant. The waitress, Sara (Luciana Paes) and kitchen staff just want to go home, while the boss, Inácio (Murilo Benício) struggles with money troubles, a nagging wife, and a desire for power and...