Posted in Fantasia 2018, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Funny, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Room Laundering – film review – Fantasia 2018

roomlaunderingRoom Laundering / ルームロンダリング [Rumu Rondaringgu] (2018)

DIRECTOR & WRITER: Kenji Katagiri
WRITER: Tatsuya Umemoto
CAST: Elaiza Ikeda, Kaoru Mitsumune, Jo Odagiri, Kiyohiko Shibukawa
SOUND DESIGNER: Fumihiko Yanagiya
EDITOR: Mitsuo Nishio

Next screening: Sat July 21, 2018; 11:45 AM


When someone dies in a house or apartment, the landlord is obligated to tell prospective renters that a death occurred but luckily the law does not stipulate how many subsequent tenants need to be notified. Miko is a young reclusive woman who is paid to stay at places where deaths have occurred until a subsequent renter can be found. However, she is actually able to see the ghost of the recently deceased at each place, which proves rather irritating to her.


Okay that synopsis makes this movie sound depressing but while there are certainly sad moments and a dark opening sequence, it’s actually mostly a quirky comedy and sort of a coming of age story in the sense that Miko (Elaiza Ikeda) starts out as somebody who has shut herself away from almost all human contact but then gradually opens up and becomes more engaged with ghosts at first and then real people. Ikeda does a fine job as Miko starting out stone-faced and brooding then gradually becoming more radiant as she lets little smiles or laughs escape her until she willingly does both. Her character is given a very sad background, which feels almost too much. The story is definitely cloying and pushes the tearjerking scenes hard but for the most part it’s not too overdone (although that could be up for debate).

Continue reading “Room Laundering – film review – Fantasia 2018”

Posted in Fantasia 2018, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura – film review – Fantasia 2018

DestinyTaleKamakuraDestiny: The Tale of Kamakura / DESTINY 鎌倉ものがたり [Destiny: Kamakura Monogatari] (2017)

DIRECTOR & WRITER: Takashi Yamazaki
CAST: Masato Sakai, Mitsuki Takahata, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Sakura Ando, Min Tanaka, Jun Kunimura


A recently married writer and his wife move to the small town of Kamakura, known for having lots of spiritual energy. In fact, one can see ghosts, yokai and the occasional “god”. There is even a rather friendly local shinigami (god of death) who takes the recently departed onto a train to the after life. The presence of yokai scares the wife at first but she eventually gets used to it but then something tragic occurs.


Masakazu (Masato Sakai) and Akiko (Mitsuki Takahata) are a cute couple and its mainly their bickering and joyful conversations we see but with fantasy elements thrown in here and there, which begin to increase as the story moves forward. They clearly have a strong love for each other. We see their life in little vignettes at first but seeds of a larger plot are placed here and there. The theme of death as it relates to the spiritual world is gradually introduced. The overall tone of the film is far from sad but quite the opposite. There are numerous funny moments but a few serious ones too. The ever talented Sakura Ando plays the local shinigami in a nice supporting role. Shinichi Tsutsumi who plays Masakazu’s agent has both a funny and touching character arc.

Continue reading “Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura – film review – Fantasia 2018”

Posted in *Recommended, Documentary, Fantasia 2018, Fantasia International Film Festival, Trailers, Video

People’s Republic of Desire – film review – Fantasia 2018 [Recommended]

PeoplesrepublicofdesirePeople’s Republic of Desire (2018)

CAST: Jiang Congyong, Man Shen, Li Xianliang
COMPOSER: Michael Tuller
ANIMATOR: Eric Jordan

Next screening: Fri July 20, 2018; 1:00 PM


In recent years advances in high-speed internet and streaming video have lead to social websites/platforms where anyone can live stream to an internet audience. But in China, the scope of live streaming has become hugely popular and mainstream, where seemingly less than talented people can find fame and fortune by live streaming.


This is a fascinating documentary into a world that not many outside of China would likely be familiar with. There are people of questionable talent who live stream and make money doing it. This may seem like nothing new to people familiar with something like Twitch in North America but while live streaming is still fairly niche here, it’s apparently ubiquitous in China.

Continue reading “People’s Republic of Desire – film review – Fantasia 2018 [Recommended]”

Posted in Fantasia 2018, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Microhabitat – film review – Fantasia 2018

Microhabitat / 소공녀 [So-gong-nyeo] Lit: A Little Princess (2017)

CAST: Esom, Ahn Jae-hong, Choi Duk-moon


This slice of life drama paints a portrait a woman who makes little money but manages to get by while enjoying her two favorite things: cigarettes and whiskey. But when the price of cigarettes and the monthly rent are increased, her budget cannot handle it and she decides to sacrifice rent and moves out. Now essentially homeless she stays over at the places of various past friends, who have their own hardships.


The premise of this movie is certainly not exciting nor does it seem particularly interesting. In such cases the characters and plot have to be strong to make the movie engaging. Miso (Esom) is the main character, a woman who is poor but enjoys the simple things in life and has a stable relationship with her boyfriend. Esom from what I can tell seems to be playing against type here. She looks suitably downtrodden but with rather good skin. Her performance is convincing and her character empathizes easily with others.

Continue reading “Microhabitat – film review – Fantasia 2018”

Posted in Fantasia 2018, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Funny, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Tremble All You Want – film review – Fantasia 2018

trembleallyouwantTremble All You Want / 勝手にふるえてろ [Katte ni Furuetero] (2017)

CAST: Mayu Matsuoka, Daichi Watanabe, Anna Ishibashi, Takumi Kitamura
COMPOSER: Masaki Takano

Next screening: Tue July 17, 2018; 3:00 PM


This romantic comedy focuses on a young, introverted adult woman who has harbored a 10 year crush on classmate she barely talked to back in her high school days. Despite her lack of social skills, she manages to build up the courage to find and pursue him while she is in turn pursued by an awkward coworker who has a crush on her.


Adapted from a novel (same name as the Japanese movie title) by Risa Wataya, this is the romcom for the invisible introvert. It is shown from the viewpoint of a young adult woman, Yoshika, (Mayu Matsuoka) who goes through a kaleidoscope of emotions throughout the story as she pursues her first and only love, Ichi (Takumi Kitamura), the name of the character but also meaning the number one in Japanese. She herself is also being pursued by a coworker that she refers to as Ni (Daichi Watanabe), the Japanese word meaning the number two. This number one and number two comes up again later on the phone in a humorous moment. The film has a fair number of funny bits sprinkled which build upon previous moments throughout its running time.

Continue reading “Tremble All You Want – film review – Fantasia 2018”

Posted in Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Trailers, Video

Fantasia 2018 – Final Wave

Fantasia International Film Festival has just announced the remaining films and the full screening schedule is now posted on their website. The entries in East Asian cinema continue to be intriguing. This year’s festival runs from July 12 to August 2, 2018. Its screenings take place at Concordia University’s downtown campus.

Donnie Yen’s new movie Big Brother directed by Ka-Wai Kam (he worked on the Ip Man films with Yen) will have its world premiere at Fantasia. Yen produces, stars and is also the action director and collaborated with action choreographer Kenji Tanigaki whom he had worked with previously on movies such as Special ID and Dragon. Tanigaki was the action director on the Rurouni Kenshin films.

Another world premiere comes from Japan, The Travelling Cat Chronicles directed by  Koichiro Miki, it’s an novel adaptation starring Sota Fukushi, Mitsuki Takahata, Yuko Takeuchi, and Alice Hirose.

A couple more Japanese novel adaptations will have their North American premieres. Takashi Miikie’s Laplace’s Witch, a mystery adapted from a novel and starring Sho Sakurai, Suzu Hirose, and Sota Fukushi. Gakuryu Ishii’s Punk Samurai Slash Down starring Go Ayano, Shota Sometani, and Tadanobu Asano.

Room Laundering starring Jo Odagiri and Elaiza Ikeda in a quirky comedy by first time director Kenji Katagiri makes its North American premiere.

From Korea, comes the Microhabitat, a first feature by Jeon Go-woon.

From China, comes Da Hu Fa directed by Busifan, the rare animated film from the mainland that will be shown in 3D and looks to be a unique entry to the genre.

Back to Japan, we have more North American premieres. Kasane directed by Yuichi Sato (who also directed Poison Berry in My Brain) stars Kyoko Yoshine, Tao Tsuchiya and Tadanobu Asano in a films where two actresses swap faces. Tornado Girl is a romcom directed by Hitoshi One and starring Satoshi Tsumabuki and Kiko Mizuhara.

Bodied directed by Joseph Kahn is about a grad student who becomes battle rapper. Dumbfoundead is one of his first opponents.

More East Asian films and films from other countries are mentioned in the full press release which you can find on ScreenAnarchy.

Trailers after the jump.

Continue reading “Fantasia 2018 – Final Wave”

Posted in Art & Animation, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Trailers, Video

Fantasia 2018 – 2nd wave

Fantasia will present a 35mm print of the 1989 Hong Kong classic The Blonde Fury with star Cynthia Rothrock in attendance, who rose to stardom in the Hong Kong action scene of the 80s.

The world premiere of Satoshi Miki’s film Louder!: Can’t Hear What You’re Singin’, Wimp will take place at Fantasia. This musical comedy marks the return of the director from a five year film making hiatus.

The Canadian premiere of Searching stars John Cho in a film that uses a unique storytelling approach of computer screens and social media.

Southeast Asia is represented by two action films, the Vietnamese superhero click Loi Bao by Victor Vu from Vietnam (North American premiere) and the Filipino cops & drugs actioner Buybust by Erik Matti

Two more anime films were announced, the world premiere of the horror film, Aragne: Sign of Vermillion by Saku Sakamoto and the international premiere of Penguin Highway by Hiroyasu Ishida

The rare entry from China called People’s Republic of Desire by Hao Wu will have it’s Quebec premiere.

Other East Asian films include The Vanished by Lee Chang-Hee (North American premiere), Being Natural by Tadashi Nagayama, Amiko by Yoko Yamanaka, and One Cut of the Dead by Shunichiro Ueda.

See the full press release for all the other films.

Trailers after the jump

Continue reading “Fantasia 2018 – 2nd wave”

Posted in Art & Animation, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Trailers, Video

Fantasia 2018 – First wave

Here are some of the East Asian films that Fantasia announced as part of their first wave of films that will screen at this year’s festival.

World premieres include Buffalo Boys, a western from Indonesia directed by Mike Wiluan, and Bleach, a live action manga adaptation directed by Shinsuke Sato and starring Sota Fukushi and Miyavi featuring supernatural battles.

Inuyashiki, another live action manga adaptation but in the Sci-fi genre directed by Shinsuke Sato will have it’s Canadian premiere and stars Noritake Kinashi and Takeru Satoh. Another manga adaptation from Sato called I am a Hero featuring zombies will also screen.

Animated features making their Canadian premieres include: Maquia: When The Promised Flower Blooms, which is the directorial debut of Mari Okada; Fireworks directed by Genki Kawamura, which is an adaption of a TV drama by Shunji Iwai; and the “gekimation” Violence Voyager by Ujicha.

From South Korea: Last Child, a first feature film from director Shin Dong-seok is a drama that will have its Canadian premiere and stars Choi Moo-seong, Kim Yeo-jin and Seong Yu-bin. The Outlaws is an action comedy directed by Kang Yun-sung and starring Don Lee and Yoon Kye-sang.

Horror entries include: Japan’s Rokuroku: The Promise of the Witch by Yudai Yamaguchi and Indonesia’s Satan’s Slaves by Joko Anwar.

Other Japanese films include: Tremble All You Want by Akiko Ohku, Wilderness: Part 1 & 2 directed by Yoshiyuki Kishi and starring Masaki Suda and Yang Ik-june, and Hanagatami by Nobuhiko Obayashi.

For the full list of films, check out the press release.

Some trailers after the jump.

Continue reading “Fantasia 2018 – First wave”