Film Festival Reviews - International, Independent, Cult

Fantasia 2015 Review: NINA FOREVER Is A Threesome With Sex, Love And Death.

I had a university professor (English literature) who was fond of saying, "Nobody walks away happy from a threeway." I wonder what he would have to say about the Blaine Brothers' Nina Forever, a dark but droll relationship drama that... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   

Fantasia 2015 Review: Time Travel Is A Bastard In SYNCHRONICITY

I never thought it would happen, but I have finally, personally, hit the wall with indie time travel flicks. Jacob Gentry's Synchronicity is not lacking in smarts or clockwork precision, but abjectly fails to convince in its core ideas of love... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   

Fantasia 2015 Review: Sono Sion's TAG, Sure There Are Lots Of Japanese Girls In It, But...

Sono Sion's Tag opens with two busloads of Japanese school girls on a trip. It's all soft focus sweetness and light until the buses are attacked by an unseen force - literally a killer wind - and shy teen Mitsuko... More »
By Andrew Mack   

Fantasia 2015 Review: DARK PLACES, An Affecting Autopsy Of The 1980s Satanic Panic

1985. In a rural community of Kansas there was a young teenager named Ben Day (Tye Sheridan channelling Ezra Miller) who was very into the punk rock outfit The Misfits. He filled his sketchbooks with black-inked antichrist art, and was accused... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   

Fantasia 2015 Review: CRUMBS Finds Ethiopia In Tarkovsky's Zone

Ethiopian post-apocalypse dystopian fairy tale Crumbs has a decaying handsomeness to match its unique vision. It has a confident and accomplished auteur unwillingness for either pandering or traditionally pleasing its audience, while simultaneously offering an archetypal hero-journey tale. If features an optimistic message... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   

Fantasia 2015 Review: SHINJUKU SWAN, Sono's Glossy Yakuza Melodrama

The famous Shinjuku District in Tokyo is Times Square, The Vegas Strip and Magnificent Mile rolled into one (and multiplied by a hundred) is ward of so much light there is not an inch of darkness on the pavement, but... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   

Fantasia 2015 Review: Much Love for Sono's LOVE & PEACE

It's fair to say my appreciation for the films of Sono Sion runs hot and cold. I was hot on Cold Fish, a near perfect blend of raw, visceral violence both emotional and physical, all told through a narrative... More »
By Jason Gorber   

Fantasia 2015 Review: TALES OF HALLOWEEN, A Pumpkin-Flavored Love Letter From Hell

Horror anthologies have made a pretty healthy comeback in the last few years; some are ok, some are regrettable, and some have awesome production values as well as good stories, such as Tales Of Halloween, which sold out its world... More »

Fantasia 2015 Review: FATAL FRAME Has No Shortage Of Beautiful Images

Oh J-Horror! It has been years since you were worth my cinematic time. From your heyday in the late 1990s -- Ringu, Dark Water, Ju-On and Pulse -- to Sono Sion putting a very sharp fork into you in the mid-aughts with Exte:... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   

Fantasia 2015 Review: THE INTERIOR Exquisitely Balances Comedy And Horror

Somewhere up there in heaven (or hell) Samuel Beckett and Henry David Thoreau are tipping their coffee cups towards Trevor Juras' The Interior. For a first feature, this film is not only fully realized and confident, but has a deep understanding... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   

Fantasia 2015 Review: THE DARK BELOW Will Make Your Blood Run Cold

Here's a new kind of chiller, for real. The Dark Below, which screened for the first time ever at Fantasia 2015, features a woman trapped in a frozen lake for nearly the whole length of the film. It was shot... More »

Fantasia 2015 Review: SHE WHO MUST BURN Scorches The Hubris of Human Behavior

The miracle of She Who Must Burn, a film perhaps most efficiently described as Red State for grown-ups, is that it offers three well worn elements - scripture quoting after committing an abhorrent act of violence (and the Ezekiel quote... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   

Fantasia 2015 Review: CHERRY TREE Yields Rotten Pits

The mantra "Death is only the beginning," is repeated throughout Irish occult horror Cherry Tree by the coven of witches who have infiltrated a small-town high school. Their sexy long tressed leader wears a guise as the girl's field hockey... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   

Fantasia 2015 Review: MISS HOKUSAI, Full Of Life And Spirit

Prolific animation house Production I.G. subtly captures the rhythms of mood of the art and publishing community in 19th century Edo, Japan. Miss Hokusai is simultaneously misleadingly quiet, and furiously idiosyncratic. Blending the magical realism sensibility of Studio Ghibli with Ozu... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   

Fantasia 2015 Review: CASH ONLY, Both Sharp And Vulnerable

What is colder, Albanian hell or Detroit in winter? Elvis Martini sits rather uncomfortably in the middle of both over the course of a few days where his world spirals out of control. He has the courts breathing down his neck... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   

Fantasia 2015 Review: 25 Years On, THE REFLECTING SKIN Remains A Wonder

Seeing The Reflecting Skin for the first time, the 1990 film by Philip Ridley, starring Viggo Mortensen and Lindsay Duncan, one can't help but wonder how the hell the thing ever got made. I'd previously never even heard of... More »
By Jason Gorber   


You ever look at the back of those discs you used to buy and wonder who'd waste their time on those special features? Well, I'm that guy, that person who delves whole hog into the making ofs, the behind-the-scenes... More »
By Jason Gorber   

Fantasia 2015 Review: MEATHEAD GOES HOG WILD Falls Off The Bone

With a title like the above, you may not know whether this is a good or bad review. But the world isn't black and white, and neither is art. Meathead Goes Hog Wild played Fantasia's 2015 edition for its world... More »

Fantasia 2015 Review: (T)ERROR Makes An Uneasy Case

Having already played Tribeca and Sundance, (T)error is part of Fantasia 2015's "Documentaries from the Edge" spotlight, which showcases real-world tales. In this case, filmmakers Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliff discover that an acquaintance is a for-hire FBI informant and operative... More »

Fantasia 2015 Review: THE ARTI: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, You Will Believe That Puppets Can Fight

The Arti: The Adventure Begins is the most impressive full length puppet feature I have seen since Strings. It also helps that it is equally a martial arts film, which is right up my alley. With its Wuxia themes of loyalty,... More »
By Andrew Mack   
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