Film Festival Reviews - International, Independent, Cult

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   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: DIRECTOR'S COMMENTARY: TERROR OF FRANKENSTEIN

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   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: EXTINCTION, Zombies Again

I figured if most zombie movies are going to repeat themselves I might do so as well - the genre, such as it is, is pretty tired. More so than other subgenres of the horror field, things are usually grand... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: LUDO Challenges You To A Deadly Game Of Dice

Ludo co-director Q has been a filmmaker that I've had my eye on since his brash explosion onto the international art house scene with 2010's Gandu. That film is loud, aggressive, and challenging to the viewer, in the way that... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: ANT-MAN, A Cog In The Mighty Marvel Machine

It's always a bit of a danger judging a film by why it's not, or by what it could have been, versus what it actually is. This factor is made even more manifest when a beloved, fan-fav filmmaker leaves... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Fantasia 2014 Review: THE HUNDRED YEAR OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED

For all of us who feel Robert Zemeckis's Forrest Gump is a sentimental, condescending insult to cinema audiences everywhere, and David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is not a helluvalot better, we finally have an entry into 'the man... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Fantasia 2014 Review: TIME LAPSE, A Sharply Written Indie Sci-Fi Picture

Opening with a shot of swirling red paint, which then has tiny flecks of white thrown into the mixture to disturb the surface and complicate the image, Bradley King and B.P. Cooper's Time Lapse shows just how bloody far you can... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Fantasia 2014 Review: THE DROWNSMAN, The Super Soaker Terror Gets Too Silly At Times

Madison has a fear of water. A year ago she had an accident and nearly drowned. When she was under, she was pulled into the lair of The Drownsman. Since then she will not go near water. She even misses... More »
By Andrew Mack   
  

Fantasia 2014 Review: THE CREEPING GARDEN Explores The Brave New World Of Plasmodial Slime Mould

In one of the year's most original and bizarre documentaries, Tim Grabham and Jasper Sharp dive headlong into the largely unknown world of plasmodial slime moulds, and what emerges is a pioneering and at times hypnotic crawl through a largely... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Fantasia 2014 Review: THE HARVEST, A Coming Of Age Fable Of Wicked Proportions

After a very lengthy hiatus into directing for TV, ranging from single episodes of John From Cincinnati to Masters of Horror, John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer) is back with his first feature film since the turn of the... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Fantasia 2014 Review: THE ONE I LOVE Offers Smart Couples Therapy, With Big Laughs

I doubt I will laugh out loud more at a film this year. Charlie McDowell's couples therapy session par excellence, featuring a very game cast of two, namely Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss, made me smile so hard at times my... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Fantasia 2014 Review: CYBERNATURAL

Man, I hate Facebook.Sure, it's what the cool kids have been using these days, at least until Snapchat started taking over as the dominant way of communicating without your mom seeing. While for us old people it's a great way... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  
 
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