What with the extra day that’s been added, there are three days left to this year’s festival, but still a few films on the docket. Most everything I’ve seen this year has been very, very good, and more than a few have been excellent, but like everyone else, I’m looking forward to a home cooked meal and a proper night’s rest…
Guardians of the Galaxy Bigger nerds than me have weighed in more eloquently on this record breaking blockbuster since it went wide last weekend, but all I can say is that I was happy to watch it a few days early with an enthusiastic Fantasia crowd. I enjoyed the adventures of this merry band of misfits, but I especially loved Groot, and really, couldn’t Chris Pratt’s abs have gotten just a leeetle more screen time? All that work for so few seconds…
Ju-On: The Beginning of the End There is nothing remarkably different or new about this film, so if you know J-horror, you know the basic tropes: creepy kids, people with hair hanging in front of their faces walking or crawling with stilted movements, and jump scares… so many jump scares. This was just alright, but I took a little nap in the middle so maybe I’m no longer qualified to say.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre I had never seen this classic, but I now know why it’s so highly regarded. Compared to today’s relentless slashers, there is something charming about the low kill count and relatively swift deaths, but it’s the film’s construction that makes it such a special entry into the genre. The beautifully composed shots, creepy set pieces, and skillful build up of tension kept me riveted, and it was interesting to see that, 40 years on, this film still has an incredible visceral thrill.
DJ XL5’s Helluva Zappin’ Party
Another excellent DJ XL5 romp, which collects short films into a high energy program intercut with old ads, snippets of weird films and tv shows and other filmic oddities, my favorite short of the night was, without a doubt, Supervenus
, which I’ve already mentioned here
, and I greatly enjoyed the La bûche de noël
(a clip of which you can watch here
), part of the Panique au village
claymation series, despite it dragging a bit at times.
Dys- The first feature from my friend Maude Michaud, this is a very dark, and deeply disturbing film that weaves many controversial elements into claustrophobic tale of dysphoria and dysfunction. I interpreted this film as a deeply feminist parable about government and religious control over women’s bodies, but it works equally well as a brutally shocking tale of what can go wrong within closed doors when the shit hits the fan.
Bros Before Hos The team behind New Kids Turbo and New Kids Nitro are back, and no surprises here, this film makes The Hangover look like a genteel Jane Austen adaptation. Between the gross out moments and unrelenting misogyny and homophobia, there are some oddly endearing underlying messages about the rights of the physically and intellectually disabled and the perserverance of true love. These films can be enjoyed, but proceed with caution.
From Vegas To Macau Saved mostly by the dapper and charming Chow Yun-fat (channeling a Kyle McLachlan vibe here, somehow), this is a messy, confusing film with a lot of competing elements. Don’t go in expecting an Ocean’s Eleven style heist film, like I did, or you’ll be disappointed, but there are some laughs, some nifty fighting scenes, and plenty of WTF? moments to keep you entertained.
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Another delightful Scandinavian surprise, similar in some ways to In Order of Disappearance
(previously reviewed here
), but with a far more lighthearted comedic touch, I loved this film’s arch take on political history, and the glorious amorality of the titular character. There are lots of laughs to be had, and you will likely be charmed by the quirky cast of characters.
Here’s a quick lesson in film marketing: if your film is a clever, funny, scary and violent, and your original trailer is just someone brushing their teeth for two minutes, you’re doing it wrong. I hope people didn’t miss out on this film because of it, because then they were cheated out of a really enjoyable twist on a haunted house tale, which shines especially bright because of a full cast’s worth of excellent performances. Catch this one if you can, and maybe flip on the subtitles, because parsing the Kiwi accent might make you bust a gut
Metalhead Abounding in Nordic sparseness, this is a deeply understated film about mourning and identity, all set to a soundtrack of classic metal. I feel like I should end this review here, to do this film’s restraint justice, but I will add that I think metal fans will identify with the issues of alienation and community that this film portrays so eloquently and so minimally.
It might be a bit of a gross mess, but I still loved this movie so so much. Definitely not for the prudish or faint of heart, there’s nonetheless a level of earnestness to the utterly stomach turning events of this film that rescues it from the typically gross out fare. High levels of erotic awkwardness abound (so if you’re susceptible fremdscham
, you may want to tread carefully), but Carla Juri as Helen is impossibly charming and carries the film with charm and aplomb. A quick shout out here also to Rat Pack Rat
, from the team behind The Catechism Cataclysm
(which I previously reviewed here
), which echoes the discomfort and off the wall humor of the 2011 Fantasia favorite!
Missed my other reviews? Click through for Part 1 and Part 2.