A Bride for Rip Van Winkle – review @ Fantasia 2016

bride-rip-van-winkleA Bride for Rip Van Winkle / リップヴァンウィンクルの花嫁 / Rip Van Winkle no Hanayome (2016)
Director: Shunji Iwai
Screenplay: Shunji Iwai
Cast: Haru Kuroki, Gou Ayano, Cocco, Hideko Hara, Go Jibiki

This film will screen on August 1.

At three hours long, you may wonder whether a seemingly mundane drama like this one merits the running time. It focuses on a shy, soft-spoken part-time teacher, Nanami (Haru Kuroki), who marries a man that she met over the internet. But when he questions why she can only think of two people besides her parents to attend the wedding, he becomes concerned. Nanami seeks help from some online friends and is referred to Amuro (Gou Ayano) who helps hire fake friends and relatives to attend her wedding. But the deception can only be hidden for so long.

Continue reading A Bride for Rip Van Winkle – review @ Fantasia 2016

If Cats Disappeared From the World – review @ Fantasia 2016

If_Cats_Disappeared_From_the_World_posterIf Cats Disappeared From the World / 世界から猫が消えたなら / Sekai kara Neko ga Kieta nara (2016)
Director: Akira Nagai
Screenplay: Yoshikazu Okada
Cast: Takeru Sato, Aoi Miyazaki, Gaku Hamada, Eiji Okuda, Eita Okuno

The title pretty much describes what happens at one point in the movie but there are other things that are removed from the world before cats starting with phones and then movies. The setup for this is purely fantasy. A 30 something year old mailman who lives alone is told by his doctor that he will die very soon. After hearing this diagnosis he returns home where he is confronted by his evil double who proposes giving him another day to live in exchange for removing something from the world. But it’s the evil double who gets to choose what to remove.

Continue reading If Cats Disappeared From the World – review @ Fantasia 2016

Seoul Station – review @ Fantasia 2016 [Recommended]

Seoul-StationSeoul Station / 서울역 / Seoulyeok (2016)
Director: Yeon Sang-ho
Screenplay: Yeon Sang-ho
Cast: Ryu Seung-ryong, Shim Eun-kyung, Lee Joon

Next screening on July 27.

I’m not really a fan of the zombie genre but I’ve enjoyed this director’s previous animated works so gave this animated movie a shot. It was a pretty good time with the Fantasia audience. Lots of people die and the ending isn’t a happy one but the movie is a crowd-pleaser for sure with lots of moments which you will cheer for.

Continue reading Seoul Station – review @ Fantasia 2016 [Recommended]

Creepy – review @ Fantasia 2016

creepyCreepy / クリーピー 偽りの隣人 / Kuripi Itsuwari no Rinjin (2016)
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Screenplay: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Chihiro Ikeda, Yutaka Maekawa
Cast: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Yuko Takeuchi, Teruyuki Kagawa, Haruna Kawaguchi, Masahiro Higashide

The screening of this film will be on July 26.

The title for this movie is very appropriate. A married couple moves into a new neighborhood only to quickly find out that the neighbors are not friendly. One neighbor, Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa), is particularly odd. The wife, Yasuko (Yuko Takeuchi), is initially creeped out by him but warms up to him eventually when she meets his daughter, Mio (Ryoko Fujino). The husband, Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijima), who used to be a detective, doesn’t like Nishino at all. Takakura initially doesn’t pay much attention to Nishino because he is approached by a former colleague to investigate an unsolved case from six years ago. It was about the mysterious disappearance of three family members who seemingly abandoned their daughter (Haruna Kawaguchi) whose memories of the incident are hazy.

Continue reading Creepy – review @ Fantasia 2016

Fourth Place – review @ Fantasia 2016

Fourth_Place-p02Fourth Place / 4등 / 4Deung (2015)
Director: Jung Ji-woo
Screenplay: Jung Ji-woo, Kim Min-ah
Cast: Park Hae-jun, Yoo Jae-sang, Lee Hang-na, Jung Ga-ram, Choi Moo-sung

Next screening on July 23.

This is a drama centered around a talented young swimmer, Joon-ho (Yoo Jae-sang), and an abusive coach, Gwang-soo (Park Hae-jun), who was a former Olympic swimmer. Joon-ho likes swimming but always finishes 4th place which frustrates his mother (Lee Hang-na) to her wits end. She wants Joon-ho to win medals so he can get into college on a swimming scholarship and she resorts to hiring coach Gwang-soo. Initially, she does not know that his training method involves hitting Joon-ho but she easily accepts it. But when Joon-ho’s father (Choi Moo-sung) finds out, he is not pleased at all.

Continue reading Fourth Place – review @ Fantasia 2016

The Bacchus Lady – review @ Fantasia 2016

BacchusLadyThe Bacchus Lady / 죽여주는 여자 / JukyeojuNeun Yeoja (2016)
Director: E J-yong
Screenplay: E J-yong
Cast: Youn Yuh-jung, Chon Moo-song, Yoon Kye-sang, An A-zu

The next screening of this film will be on July 25.

This a very interesting portrait of an elderly prostitute, So-Young (Youn Yuh-jung), who takes in a half Korean/half Filipino kid while making money soliciting elderly men in the park with a particular brand of energy drink (Bacchus). Her landlady (An A-zu) and neighbor, Do-Hoon (Yoon Kye-sang), also help with babysitting the kid. However, her clients aren’t getting any younger and when one asks her to help him commit suicide, it leads So-Young down a path that she does not want to follow.

Continue reading The Bacchus Lady – review @ Fantasia 2016

Kill Zone 2 – review @ Fantasia 2016 [Recommended]

SPL2Kill Zone 2 / 殺破狼2 / Saat3 Po3 Long4 Ji6 (2015)
aka SPL 2 : A Time For Consequences
Director: Soi Cheang
Screenplay: Jill Lai Yin Leung, Wong Ying
Cast: Tony Jaa, Wu Jing, Simon Yam, Zhang Jin, Louis Koo

The original SPL / Kill Zone (from now on I’ll only refer to SPL as its name) helped reinvigorate the martial arts genre in Hong Kong. It ended up taking a longer time than usual to bring this sequel and in the end it’s not even a real sequel story-wise. Supposedly it follows the same theme but I couldn’t really tell. The SPL music theme, which is pretty cool, does play again here but other than that there’s not much that ties this movie to the original. In fact, based on the quality of this film, it didn’t need to piggy-back off the SPL name at all.

Continue reading Kill Zone 2 – review @ Fantasia 2016 [Recommended]

Asian American / East Asian Film Reviews & Announcements in Montreal

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