This year’s lineup of East Asian films at Fantasia is much more exciting to me than last year. This isn’t a full list of all of them but these are the ones that look the most interesting to me.
Kung Fu Killer
July 15 • 7:15 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
I’ve seen positive reviews for this latest Donnie Yen martial arts flick. It has the hard hitting martial arts you expect although more of it is done by his antagonist played by Wang Baoqiang, who gets to display his action prowess and athleticism. He plays a serial killer who targets masters and kills them with their own style.
July 18 • 12:15 PM J.A. De Seve Theatre
This old Shaw Brothers kung fu hit from 1980 looks like a crazy fantasy take on the genre.
July 18 • 2:15 PM J.A. De Seve Theatre
Korean animation appears to be growing and in this animated feature we have a woman who can communicate with whales in a world constantly experiencing natural disasters.
July 18 • 6:45 PM J.A. De Seve Theatre
A diverse group of people get held up in a convenience store in this dark crime comedy. I couldn’t find much more info on this since it has not been released in Hong Kong so Fantasia audiences get an early look.
100 Yen Love
July 18 • 8:45 PM J.A. De Seve Theatre
I’ve seen very good reviews about this Japanese indie film about a woman with no prospects who becomes a boxer. Sakura Ando stars, she was in Sion Sono’s Love Exposure.
The Arti: The Adventure Begins
July 19 • 1:00 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
This Taiwanese animated features combines real life puppetry with computer animation. It’s the work of the Huang family, the nation’s most prominent puppet family. Looks really unique and interesting.
The Case of Hana & Alice
July 19 • 5:00 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
This is a coming of age animated feature which serves as a prequal to a previously released live action movie. The animations differs from typical anime. This is from director, Shunji Iwai, who directed All About Lily Chou-Chou.
A Hard Day
July 20 • 5:15 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
Described as a Korean crime caper, it got some pretty rave reviews at Cannes. It’s got twists, dark humor and thrills galore.
La La La at Rock Bottom
July 24 • 7:45 PM J.A. De Seve Theatre
A musical youth drama about an amnesiac singer with a seedy past comes from director Nobuhiro Yamashita who also directed Linda Linda Linda.
July 25 • 12:00 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
The latest animated feature from Production I.G. looks phenomenal. Based in the Edo period, it’s about the talented daughter of real life Japanese painter, Hokusai. She is an unsung contributor who helped her father produce some of the most well known works of art but remained uncredited.
July 25 • 4:00 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
Based on a manga, this is a film for the female nerds or otaku out there. Looks wacky and funny.
Port of Call
July 25 • 5:00 PM J.A. De Seve Theatre
Another Hong Kong crime flick starring Aaron Kwok with cinematography by Christopher Doyle. I’ve also seen relatively positive reviews for this one which is supposedly based on a true story.
July 25 • 9:30 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
Ringo Lam returns from a long break to direct a film in the Hong Kong crime genre, one which he is very familiar with. This is part of a thematic trilogy that includes City on Fire and Full Alert.
Love & Peace
July 26 • 9:45 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
One of three Sion Sono films screening at the fest, this looks to be a wild mashup of all sorts of movies in Sono’s unpredictable style. Story is about a failed musician turned clerk, a pet turtle and lots of other wacky random happenings based on the trailer.
Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen
July 27 • 7:20 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
The latest film from director Takeshi Kitano is a comedy about elderly former Yakuza who become bored with retirement and decide to stir it up with the younger gangsters.
Sea Fog (Haemoo)
July 27 • 9:50 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
This Korean film is based on the true story of 25 Korean-Chinese illegal immigrants who died in fishing vessel. Bong Joon Ho was one of the writers of the screenplay.
July 29 • 6:45 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
I’ve seen some good reviews of this Korean action comedy that stars Lee Jung Jae with an appearance from kpop queen BoA. In order to find his kidnapped brother, an MMA fighter must endure an elaborate set of games, that wealthy citizens bet on.
The Golden Cane Warrior
July 31 • 7:15 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
An Indonesian martial arts flick that apparently has some nice scenery.
Battles Without Honor and Humanity
August 1 • 2:50 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
I know nothing about this but the trailer was intriguing. It’s a 1973 yakuza movie.
Poison Berry in My Brain
August 1 • 7:00 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
A Japanese rom com starring Yoko Maki, a 30 year old woman who falls for a 20 year old man (Yuki Furukawa known for being in the JDrama series Mischievous Kiss, he also grew up in Toronto Canada). Inside her head are five people who perhaps represents different facets of her personality who argue with each other and then vote on a course of action. Another work based on a manga.
The Nutcracker 3D
August 2 • 1:15 PM J.A. De Seve Theatre
This 1979 Japanese stop motion animated movie has been remastered and recolored frame by frame by Sanrio as part of celebrating 40 years of Hello Kitty. I didn’t know this myself but if you think it looks like the classic stop motion Rudolph movie, it’s because that was produced by the same Japanese team that created this animated adaptation. This will also be presented in 3D!
August 4 • 6:35 PM Concordia Hall Theatre
This is set in 1930s and has an all star cast including Ha Jung Woo, Jun Ji-hyun and Lee Jung Jae. Jun Ji Hyun is a sniper tasked to assassinate a Japanese army commander. I like to think of this as the real sequel to My Sassy Girl, where the secret ending of that movie has Jun Ji Hyun’s character time travel to the past on the UFO to become the assassin.