Posted in Fantasia 2011, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals

Fantasia 2011 festival in review

Fantasia 2011, total films seen: 22

Looking back at this edition, there weren’t many movies that I really liked. In fact, I only tagged two films with my Recommended category label. Both of those were comedies. There were some interesting films but some were pretty generic. There were also very few Chinese films this year.

Hello Ghost and Ninja Kids!!! were my recommended comedies. They were pretty damn funny. Another comedy I enjoyed included the omnibus Quirky Guys and Gals which consisted of four shorts. Regretfully didn’t catch Milocrorze: A Love Story which I heard was pretty funny / crazy from a friend.

Surprisingly I managed to see all of the Korean films in Cine Asie’s Korean spotlight except for Foxy Festival. The first film I saw at the fest was The Unjust which was certainly exciting with lots of corrupt characters but ultimately I found the overacting to be jarring and it made it hard for me to suspend my disbelief. I remember Park Chan Wook’s Night Fishing being an intriguing short film that was shot on an iPhone.

Martial Arts films were decent but having watched so many, nothing from this year really stood out although I did not see Yakuza Weapon. I initially didn’t like 13 Assassins much since I thought it was overlong (but having watched it again on bluray, I’ve come to appreciate it a lot more). The final extremely long fight is pretty good. BKO aka Bangkok Knockout was probably the most intense but if you’ve seen other Thai martial arts movies, there wasn’t much new in this one. True Legend had some very good moments but the over-use of wire fu and computer effects compromised otherwise well choreographed action scenes. The Ip Man prequel was probably the closest to a classic Hong Kong martial arts flick but felt like more of the same with nothing remarkable to offer.

As far as animation was concerned, I only saw Redline and it had some of the best animation and artwork I’ve ever seen and it was pretty entertaining and ridiculous. I was almost tempted to tag it as Recommended but I thought the story was a bit shallow and at first hard to follow (a second watch on bluray made more sense and looked amazing as ever). I didn’t see Legend of the Millennium Dragon.

In the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, Karate-Robo Zaborgar was quite a bit of fun to watch but a bit too long. Invasion of Alien Bikini was surprising and unique. Although I enjoyed it initially I concluded that the sci-fi elements of the story were stupid, lazy and nonsensical. It was not nearly as risque as its title implied but for an independent feature a lot was accomplished with limited resources, which I can respect. Haunters was actually not a bad superhero movie which went for a more realistic take. I was not expecting much from it and it turned out better than expected. I did not see Deadball, Helldriver, Yakuza Weapon, Underwater Love.

In the romantic comedy genre, a couple enjoyable ones with decent laughs like Don’t Go Breaking My Heart and Petty Romance.

As for more serious dramas. Ocean Heaven was a pretty good drama and showed Jet Li could act and not do any martial arts. The Last Ronin was a nice historical movie which I don’t think many people were familiar with even though it covers a very well known samurai tale that most Japanese would know. I enjoyed this but it was quite slow and not for everybody.

Cold Fish was probably the most shocking and controversial. It was interesting but not necessarily enjoyable to watch but is the type of extreme cinema that Fantasia is known for. This one had lots of violence, blood, guts, sex, some nudity and misogyny.

Non-hyperlinked movies mentioned above are likely covered in Mini reviews.

I did not see Birthright, Heaven’s Story, Horny House of Horror, Love & Loathing & Lulu & Ayano, Tomie: Unlimited.

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Author:

Longtime fan of East Asian films. Former "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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