January 30, 2015

Honeymoon (Leigh Janiak, 2014)

Paul and Bea, a newlywed couple, vacation at the bride’s family cabin for their honeymoon. But, even though the chosen setting is remote and bucolic, strange happenings cast a shadow on the freshly minted couple.  What’s most impressive (and refreshing) with Honeymoon is the director’s perspective. Without any spoilers, the big reveal has a lot to do with the filmmaker’s […]
January 30, 2015

Live (Noboru Iguchi, 2014)

In Live, a young Japanese man is forced to participate in a murderous race to save his mother, fighting against similar victims hoping to save their loved ones, a novel relating the same premise as his only guide. Even stranger, the novel’s principal character has his name. Now I haven’t had the change to see Dead Sushi (Noboru Iguchi, 2012) […]
December 20, 2013

Fantasia 2013 bits I

Rurouni Kenshin (Keishi Ohtomo, 2012) For our readers new to the character, the film is the story of Kenshin, a samurai who, in penance for his past sins, dedicates his life to helping the innocent with a reverse-edge blade, a weapon that can never kill. I’m a huge fan of the anime series, and although it was loads of fun […]
November 6, 2013
Master Yip in Ip Man: The Final Fight

Ip Man: The Final Fight (Herman Yau, 2013)

Ip Man: The Final Fight is centred around an ensemble cast of characters including Ip Man’s first students, so we get to see the evolution of Hong Kong in this period through their eyes.
October 23, 2013
Key of Life

Key of Life (Kenji Uchida, 2012)

Key of Life’s premise is very close to Rough Cut’s (Hun Jang, 2008). It effectively mixes comedy and drama, resulting in a striking aesthetic blend.
October 22, 2013
Louis Koo in Drug War

Drug War (Johnny To, 2012)

Drug War's writing is sharp and gripping, surprising us at every turn, setting up great action scenes, brilliantly directed by Johnny To.
October 17, 2013
Shield of Straw

Shield of Straw (Takashi Miike, 2013) | Lesson of the Evil (Takashi Miike, 2012)

Shield of Straw My first film at Fantasia in 2013 was Takashi Miike’s Shield of Straw, one of the director’s contribution to the festival. Miike is a known workhorse, directing sometimes three films per year, in a myriad of genres and styles. Yet, there seems to be a connecting thread through his films, which feels harder to ascertain for me […]
October 17, 2013
My Fantasia 2013

My Fantasia 2013: Preamble

Fantasia 2013 started with a change of venue (the Concordia Hall theater is gone for now, under construction), and we were welcomed back to the Imperial theater on Bleury Street. It’s an old new home since the festival started out showing films at the Imperial way back when. On March 16th at 1PM, the tickets for the festival go on […]
September 30, 2013

The Human Race (Paul Hough, 2013)

The Human Race is an atypical survival horror film containing some sci-fi elements and archetypal characters in inventive genre-bending situations. Abducted from the same stretch of street in Los Angeles, 60+ strangers must run through an elaborate course and follow their unknown captors’ instructions to stay alive. As a small budget independent horror film, The Human Race reminded me of Night of […]
June 9, 2013
Graceland from The Philippines

Graceland (Ron Morales, 2012)

Graceland is a dark and dirty moral tale of desperation and revenge, denouncing corruption. Yet, it isn’t sophisticated enough to deal with the subject.
March 28, 2013

Sunny (Hyeong-Cheol Kang, 2011)

Sunny is at once a coming-of-age and a reunion film, with detective elements, feminine-pop aesthetics, fleshed-out characters and intricate narrative elements.   In the film, middle-aged Na-mi reunites with her high school friend, Choon-Hwa. Dying of cancer, Choon-Hwa’s last wish is to be able to see Sunny, their group of high school friends, reunited. Thus, Na-mi embarks on a search […]
March 26, 2013

Starry Starry Night (Tom Lin, 2011)

Starry Starry Night’s young love, innocence and whimsy are infectious. What it does, it does reasonably well.Based on the book by Jimmy Liao, Starry Starry Night is a coming-of-age story, depicting a summer of love and adventure. Xiao Mei’s life (our protagonist) isn’t going very well: her parents are getting divorced; she’s a pariah in her middle school and doesn’t […]