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Fantasia Review: Award-Winning South Korean Indie 'Han Gong-Ju' Is Damaged And Beautiful

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • July 28, 2014 3:43 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Han Gong-ju
Looking over the Fantasia Film Festival guide, one quote in the “Han Gong-ju” section is conspicuous. Martin Scorsese calls the film “outstanding,” noting its "mise-en-scene, image, sound, and performance.” Last December, in his capacity as Jury President of the Marrakech Film Festival, presiding over a group including Marion Cotillard, Fatih Akin, and Park Chan-wook among others, Scorsese awarded Su-jin Lee’s debut feature film the top prize, and has been championing it ever since. When arguably the biggest cinema geek of all time (no offense to Quentin Tarantino) backs a movie with such praise, one tends to pay attention. But we find ourselves in the peculiar position where we disagree with one of the greatest living filmmakers regarding just how outstanding this film really is.

Fantasia Exclusive: The 'Dealer' Gets An Order In Clip From French Crime Thriller

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 28, 2014 10:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Dealer
Drug dealers, lowlifes and the gritty streets they operate on have been the backdrop to many crime thrillers, but filmmaker Jean Luc Herbulot puts his own mark on the genre with "Dealer." An independent film shot outside the studio system in France, it's inspired by the real life of lead actor Dan Bronchinson, bringing a level of authenticity to the movie that makes its World Premiere this week at the Fantasia Film Festival.

Fantasia Review: ‘Open Windows’ Starring Elijah Wood & Sasha Grey

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • July 23, 2014 2:04 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Open Windows
When he burst onto the scene in 2007 with his Spanish debut feature “Timecrimes,” everyone saw a potential new big name from a nation with a knack for churning out directors who really know how (and really, really want) to thrill you. But Nacho Vigalondo’s follow up “Extraterrestrial” in 2011 was more of a whimper compared to the bang he started off with. This year, the hope is that his English language debut puts him back in gear. After a six year absence from the festival, Nacho Vigalondo is back at Fantasia to spook you into never looking at your computer screen the same way again, especially if there’s one too many windows open at the same time. To help him get an even bigger international boost, he’s got the support of an ex-porn star and an ex-hobbit. Unfortunately it feels like the rise keeps getting stunted because those who criticized "Timecrimes" for being a little muddled in its narrative, and "Extraterrestrial" all over the place in tone, will most likely feel carsick by the time “Open Windows” comes to a close.

Fantasia Review: Takashi Miike's Enjoyably Wacky 'The Mole Song – Undercover Agent Reiji'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 19, 2014 9:50 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The Mole Song – Undercover Agent Reiji
Takashi Miike works at a rate that is as prolific as it is uneven, usually directing multiple movies per year, in a wide range of styles from comedies to family films to straight ahead police procedurals (like the dreadful Cannes Competition entry "Shield Of Straw"). And so, it's never quite certain which Miike you'll get with each film — the committed genre filmmaker ripping pages from the rulebook or the workmanlike director doing a gig to pay next month's mortgage. The manga adaptation "The Mole Song – Undercover Agent Reiji" finds Miikie in a third mode, not quite reinventing the wheel, but simply having a blast with the material, mixing styles and creating something so outlandish it's much easier to roll with it than put up any kind of resistance.

Fantasia Exclusive: Horror Goes Online In Trailer For 'Cybernatural' Produced By Timur Bekmambetov

  • By Edward Davis
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  • July 18, 2014 11:41 AM
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Cybernatural
With far too many headlines of late showing the tragic consequences of online bullying and the perils of social media, it hasn't taken long for the film world to respond with movies like "Disconnect" and "uwantme2killhim?" exploring the consequences of a mouse click. But in the forthcoming "Cybernatural" that theme gets a horrific twist and we have the exclusive trailer to share with you today in advance of the film's World Premiere this weekend at the Fantasia Film Festival.

Fantasia Exclusive: Watch The Trailer For Sci-Fi Thriller 'Reconstruction Of William Zero' With Conal Byrne & Amy Seimetz

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 14, 2014 11:00 AM
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  • 3 Comments
The Reconstruction Of William Zero
Each summer, Montreal rolls out the red carpet for the weird, wild, ambitious, surreal, original and wonderful efforts that cinema has to offer at the Fantasia Film Festival, and this year's line-up is packed with movies ranging from Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" to James Gunn's "Guardians Of The Galaxy." But between the buzzier, bigger movies are lots of smaller films, with a distinct voice and something truly unique of their own put to display. One to keep an eye on is "The Reconstruction Of William Zero," which will make its World Premiere at the fest, and today we have the exclusive trailer for the sci-fi thriller.

Fantasia Film Festival Reviews: 'Sweetwater,' 'The Battery' & 'Ritual: A Psychomagic Story'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • August 27, 2013 9:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Logan Miller’s “Sweetwater” (titled “Sweet Vengeance” in the credits, though it carries the first title at Fantasia) is an idiosyncratic western with a decidedly contemporary sensibility, merging a stoic approach to violence with an off-kilter, nearly Monty Python sensibility. It’s an unusual fit, but an intriguing one, and despite the silence of the film’s leisurely-paced scenes of dialogue, there’s never truly a dull moment. Miller has a fantastic cast to thank for that luxury.

Fantasia Film Festival Reviews: 'Return To Nuke 'Em High Vol. 1,' 'Antisocial' & 'Discopath'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • August 20, 2013 8:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
“Return To Nuke ‘Em High Vol.1” begins with narration that establishes the latest Troma effort as a sequel as well as a remake, showcasing the madcap lunacy of the unhinged first picture while tipping a cap to its sequels. The explanation now, which sort of renders the title irrelevant, revolves around a high school contaminated not by nuclear power, but by over-processed junk food, showing that Troma’s transgressive-but-progressive spirit still lives in the twenty first century. This is all covered by narration provided by Stan Lee, who has no involvement in the production or the story, and whom introduces the film with glowing-green radioactive eyes. If you can get past the arbitrariness of such a gesture, then you’re probably not a Troma rookie.

Fantasia Film Festival Review: Unflinching & Impressive 'Metro Manila'

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • August 8, 2013 7:05 PM
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  • 2 Comments
If you're not into niche genre stuff like indie slasher films, Asian action flicks and ridiculously over-the-top monster movies then it's likely that you haven't even heard of the Fantasia Film Festival. For close to three full weeks this international festival descends upon the city of Montreal like a tidal wave of cinematic weirdness. The titles alone speak a thousand words: "Big Ass Spider!," "Zombie Hunter," "Curse of Chucky," "Drug War" etc. So when a movie like Sean Ellis' "Metro Manila" parachutes its way into the program, it almost feels like taking the first breaths of oxygen after a plastic bag's been lifted. Maybe it's the festival widening its range to include the sub-genres of drama, or it could be that they've succumbed to the temptation of premiering the 2013 Sundance Audience Award winner in Canada. Whatever the reason is, bless them for it.

Fantasia Film Festival Review: 'Go Down Death' A Unique, Strange & Unforgettable Directorial Debut

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • August 5, 2013 10:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Jonathan Mallory Sinus is credited as the “folklorist” responsible for the vignettes that follow at the beginning of “Go Down Death,” the closing film at the Fantasia Film Festival. What follows is a beautiful woman applying makeup and a man on guitar. Some of the world’s greatest filmmakers would argue that these are the only elements one needs to make a great film. The picture continues through its opening credits, introducing us to a doctor that overshares to a kind-eyed boy, and a double-amputee emphasizing liberation from his own legs as if his body were originally a vessel for a lie. Director Aaron Schimberg’s credit appears over the screams of a woman trapped inside a car, fighting for her life. This is a filmmaker with a very specific sensibility in regards to mortality.

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