Fantasia 2012 festival in review
This was a really good year (certainly better than last year) but there were also quite a few films I didn’t watch as well. Sunny was a great retro comedy that easily got a Recommended rating from me. However, there were a lot of Korean films I missed that I wanted to see like Punch, the Kick and Quick. Poongsan, Silenced and Young Gun in the Time I missed but was not really that interested in them. Doomsday book looked intriguing but I missed that too.
Other recommended movies included, Vulgaria (a hysterical comedy), A Boy and his Samurai (funny and touching), Dead Sushi (a total riot enhanced 10x by watching it with the Fantasia audience). In the animation department, A Letter to Momo was very good. Although Dead Sushi and in a close second Vulgaria were the most fun screenings, Starry Starry Night was probably my favourite of this fest. Some might find it too sentimental or cloying but for me it was magical. It’s certainly a different type of movie that can’t be compared to the previously mentioned comedies although Starry Starry Night did have some laugh out loud moments and wasn’t totally serious.
Romantic comedies are not my thing and neither are they Fantasia’s thing but You are the Apple of my Eye almost got the Recommended category tag but like many a romcom the conflict/misunderstanding is based on a simple lack of communication. Love Strikes! was also quite great and could have gotten the Recommended label as well but it’s laughs only last for half the movie and although the more dramatic last half was fine for me, the ending to me was ultimately not believable. Still it had some insights into relationships despite the wish fulfillment of its premise. Generally, it was a fun screening to watch with an audience. Love in the Buff was surprisingly decent with a more realistic look at 30 something adult relationships although the ending was still cliched.
Graceland was gritty and shocking for a crime thriller. I could have tagged it as Recommended but I guess the unpleasant subject matter deterred me from doing so. Nameless Gangster was a pretty good Korean crime thriller with top-notch acting talent although it was a bit more talky than I expected.
I didn’t see too many action / martial arts films, Warriors of the Rainbow looked intriguing but was 4 hours longs so I skipped it although my friend said it was pretty good. Dragon aka Wu Xia, I didn’t see either but I figure it’ll be out on DVD anyway. As far as first entries are concerned, Blood Letter was a pretty decent historical sword fighting feature from Vietnam, it had some nice scenery, the fighting was nothing new but overall entertaining. The Sword Identity was something very different but I think I concluded it was too boring and cerebral. Michelle Yeoh made a nice return in Reign of Assassins which had some good fight scenes that I enjoyed.
I missed For Love’s Sake and Mitsuko Delivers which I wanted to see.