Fantasia Festival Review: Raging Fire

Year: 2021 Runtime:  126 minutes Director: Benny Chan Writer: Benny Chan, Ryan Ling, Tong Yiu-ling Cast: Donnie Yen, Nicholas Tse, Qin Lan, Ray Lui, Ben Yuen, Ben Lam, Ken Lo, Carlos Chan, Patrick Tam, Jeana Ho, Kenny Wong, Deep Ng, Simon Yam By Harris Dang Set-in modern-day Hong Kong, “Raging Fire” (2021) tells the story of police detective Bong (Donnie Yen), a resilient man who … Continue reading Fantasia Festival Review: Raging Fire

Fantasia Festival Review: It’s A Summer Film!

Year: 2020 Runtime: 97 minutes Director: Soushi Matsumoto Writer: Soushi Matsumoto Cast: Marika Ito, Daichi Kaneko, Yuumi Kawai, Kilala Inori By Harris Dang Set in present day Japan, “It’s a Summer Film“(2020) tells the story of Barefoot (Marika Ito), an overeager cineaste who loves jidaigeki (period dramas) and chambara (samurai stories) pictures. She becomes tired by the oversaturation of the romantic comedy genre — as made … Continue reading Fantasia Festival Review: It’s A Summer Film!

Fantasia Festival Review: The Dark and the Wicked

Bertino goes into uncharted waters with his latest horror effort, “The Dark and the Wicked”. Bertino had made the film in his own farm and it promises something more psychological; exploring other levels of fear he has not worked on in his prior work.

The film stars Marin Ireland and Michael Abbott Jr. as Louise and Michael; siblings whom have just heard that their father is fatally ill. The two put their lives on hold and visit his farm to be with their father for his final hours as well as their mother for emotional support. While the time spent together brings up closeted skeletons in their past; the two begin to realize that their estrangement towards their parents seem to be the least of their problems as the farm shows signs of something sinister. Continue reading Fantasia Festival Review: The Dark and the Wicked

Fantasia Festival Review: The Paper Tigers

Films like “The Karate Kid” are becoming more uncommon as they lack the slice-of-life sensibility and often rely on aggression and blatancy to appeal to the martial arts crowd. When I heard the news about the martial arts comedy/drama “The Paper Tigers” (2020) by Vietnamese-American filmmaker Tran Quoc Bao was premiering at Fantasia Film Festival this year, it piqued my interest. It promised all the things I had hope for in martial arts films while showcasing Asian-American talent. Will “The Paper Tigers” live up to its promise? Continue reading Fantasia Festival Review: The Paper Tigers

Fantasia Festival Review: Shakespeare’s Shitstorm

Kaufman stars as Prospero, a talented yet increasingly unhinged scientist, who is exiled away to Tromaville, New Jersey with his blind daughter Miranda (Kate McGarrigle) thanks to his carelessness in cultural appropriation, his double-crossing sister (also played by Kaufman) and greedy pharmaceutical execs headed by Big Al (Abraham Spencer). Despite his humongous wealth (amusingly given away as $225 million), Prospero buys a crackhouse from a bunch of prostitutes and seeks refuge there to bide his time until the opportune moment. Continue reading Fantasia Festival Review: Shakespeare’s Shitstorm

Fantasia Festival Review: For The Sake of Vicious

Three unreliable people, a house lit with shades of yellow evocative of a Roger Deakins’ film, and a pulsating score. This is what “For The Sake of Vicious”, the latest film by Gabriel Carrer and Reese Evenshen offers. Debuting at this year’s Fantasia Film Fest, this picture has all the makings of a trademark midnight movie. It wastes no time setting itself up for carnage to ensue, and ensue it does…and this is before a bloodthirsty biker gang shows up!  Continue reading Fantasia Festival Review: For The Sake of Vicious

Fantasia Festival Review: Texas Trip-A Carnival of Ghosts

“Texas Trip-Carnival of Ghosts” (2020) pays homage to the B-rated films that were shown on the big screens of drive-in movies in the 1950’s and 1960’s, specifically in Austin, Texas. The premise seems to be that those odd, low budget horror, science-fiction and exploitation films were the inspiration for this generation of performance artists who are one of the reasons the city’s motto is “Keep Austin Weird.” Like the cult classic horror film that inspired its title, “Texas Trip-Carnival of Ghosts” is an unsettling road trip that plays with the audience by occasionally having artists pose in macabre handmade masks. At one point, a quote by Hunter S. Thompson is referred to, and who better to be a spirit guide on a journey through bizarre landscapes then this icon of counterculture? Continue reading Fantasia Festival Review: Texas Trip-A Carnival of Ghosts

Fantasia Festival Review: “Wildland” (Kød & blod)

In her feature film debut, “Wildland”, Jeannette Nordahl takes audiences on a haunting rollercoaster. Ida (Sandra Guldberg Kampp) moves in with her aunt, Bodil (Sidse Babett Knudsen) after her mother (and Bodil’s sister) dies in a car accident. At first, Ida is delicately embraced by Bodil and her three sons. But as the film progresses, Ida learns that the club Bodil runs and owns is not what sustains the family. Rather, Bodil and her sons, Jonas (Joachim Fjelstrup), David (Elliott Crosset Hove), and Mads (Besir Zeciri) are loan shark debt collectors. As the matriarch, Bodil forces her sons to be the muscles of the family crime operation. As a new member of the family, Ida starts to join in on the business, but learns that the high stakes also come with real consequences. Continue reading Fantasia Festival Review: “Wildland” (Kød & blod)