Posted in Art & Animation, Fantasia 2013, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews

Fantasia 2013 Mini Reviews

Mini reviews of The Great Passage, When a Wolf Falls in Love with a Sheep, Bushido Man, and 009 Re: Cyborg after the jump.

The Great Passage
Director: Yuya Ishii ; Screenplay: Kensaku Watanabe, Shion Miura
Cast: Ryuhei Matsuda , Aoi Miyazaki, Jo Odagiri, Haru Kuroki, Misako Watanabe

My interest in this movie was more due to the fact that I kept missing the director’s previous movies which screened at past Fantasia festivals and were apparently well received. I might still seek out those past movies because this one turned out more like the great boredom…okay that’s not entirely true. The movie is about a socially awkward guy who joins the dictionary department and takes on the lead role to create a prestigious dictionary called the Great Passage. Yes, it’s predictably a boring topic but when the love interest is introduced about maybe 45 mins into the movie, the humour suddenly picks up and the movie becomes enjoyable. She is a chef with an astounding knowledge of knives which you will learn quite a bit about in one entertaining and informative sequence. But then in the last act it returns to the serious doldrums of working overtime to release the dictionary on time. The movie does have its merits and maybe if I wasn’t so tired before the screening I would not have dozed off at some parts but I do feel the movie is overlong and too absorbed in the “goodness” of its main character and the “importance” of teamwork and sacrifice in the workplace.

When a Wolf Falls in Love with a Sheep
Director: Hou Chi-Jan ; Screenplay: Hou Chi-Jan
Cast: Ko Chen-Tung, Jian Shu-Man, Guo Shuyao, Bryan Chang, Peggy Tseng

A cute, fluffy but insubstantial romantic comedy. The movie is not as whimsical, quirky or insightful as it thinks it is but the two main actors are likable and the characters they play have an interesting contrast in philosophies on getting over an ex who had suddenly left each of them with no warning. There are some decent laughs but not many. Their meetings are based on chance and contrivance, particularly the last scene that involves lots and lots of paper airplanes. Not worth seeking out but not a waste of time to watch either. This is also the second Asian movie I’ve seen this year that references Where’s Waldo.

Mini reviews of Bushido Man and 009 Re: Cyborg after the jump

Bushido Man
Director: Takanori Tsujimoto ; Screenplay: Takanori Tsujimoto
Cast: Mitsuki Koga, Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi, Miki Mizuno, Masanori Mimoto, Kazuki Tsujimoto

This was an alright low budget martial arts movie with a few surprises in the ending. The story is simple and efficient and gets to the fighting very quickly. There’s also some shots of food since the warrior in question always eats what his opponent eats before battle. Nothing special but considering the lack of martial arts films at this year’s edition of Fantasia, this was the lone film with non-stop martial arts action.

009 Re: Cyborg
Director: Kenji Kamiyama ; Screenplay: Kenji Kamiyama, Shotaro Ishinomori
Cast: Mamoru Miyano, Toru Okawa, Sakiko Tamagawa, Nobuyuki Katsube, Daisuke Ono

I did not like this animated feature and was glad I watched this as a screener so I could fast forward through the boring parts. There’s a lot of talk and when the action does occur and it’s not particularly original or exciting. The art style and general look of the world isn’t even interesting at all which is disappointing but then again the lower resolution of the screener likely had an adverse effect on the visual quality. The story involves “his voice” or something which is apparently telling cyborgs to blow up various buildings. There’s a team who’s trying to figure out what it is and well after a while I didn’t care why since the eventual explanation is kind of dumb and lazy in my opinion instead of smart and philosophical.

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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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