Posted in Fantasia 2012, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals

Fantasia 2012 festival in review

Fantasia 2012, total films seen: 21

This was a really good year (certainly better than last year) but there were also quite a few films that I wanted to watch but couldn’t because of my schedule. Honestly, I felt like there were just way too many films and it was a bit overwhelming trying to pick a reasonable number of them to watch.

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.

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. In the animation department, A Letter to Momo was quite good with lovely visuals and a fun, lighthearted story for the family.

Other recommended movies included, Vulgaria (a hysterical HK comedy), A Boy and his Samurai (funny and touching), Dead Sushi (a total riot enhanced 10x by watching it with the Fantasia audience). Although Dead Sushi and in a close second Vulgaria were the most fun screenings.

As for romantic comedies of the non-generic variety, 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 its 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. It was good enough that I’m curious to see its predecessor.

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. The way it ends though is great.

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 I heard it was pretty good. Blood Letter was a pretty decent historical sword fighting feature from Vietnam. It had some nice scenery, the fighting was nothing new with some amateurish parts but overall entertaining. The Sword Identity was something very different with little actual swords fights and mostly psychology which garnered a rather indifferent reaction from me. Inevitably 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 even if her dubbed voice was painfully obvious and too young sounding. I did not see Dragon aka Wu Xia, Painted Skin: The Resurrection, The Sorcerer and the White Snake, Fist of the White Lotus, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, The Viral Factor. I was interested in Space Battleship Yamoto but didn’t see it either.

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

I missed For Love’s Sake and Mitsuko Delivers which I wanted to see. There were a ton of Japanese films that I couldn’t imagine anybody having enough time to see like 11/25 The Day Mishima Chose His Own Fate, Ace Attorney, Les Aventures de Chatran, Asura, Gyo Fish Attack, Blood-C: The Last Dark, Isn’t Anyone Alive?, Henge, Let’s-Make-The-Teacher-Have-A-Miscarriage-Club, Massacre Gun, Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend – the Movie, Nakedness Which Wants to Die Too Much, The Profound Desires of the Gods, Postman Blues, Schoolgirl Apocalypse, Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter, Tokyo Drifter, The Warped Forest, Zombie Ass. Other films I didn’t see included The Cat, White: The Melody of the Curse, Honey Pupu, Zombie 108, Inseparable.

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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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