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

Fantasia 2017: First wave announcement

Here are the East Asian films that were announced among the first wave of films that will be screened at this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival. This 21st edition will run from July 13 – August, 2017.

Opening night screenings

Jung Byung-gil’s THE VILLAINESS


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Posted in Fantasia 2016, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals

Fantasia 2016 festival in review

Fantasia 2016, total films seen: 25

This year’s lineup of movies was very promising but the ones I looked forward to the most ended up being disappointing or just okay. But there were a couple of surprises that ended up being really great. Overall though, I’d say this was a good but not great year (like last year). I’d say the number of great films this year was less than most of the previous years. My main disappointment was the lack of films that resonated with me emotionally. However, in regards to just pure entertainment, I was satisfied by a few strong entries.

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Posted in *Recommended, Fantasia 2016, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Kill Zone 2 – review @ Fantasia 2016 [Recommended]

SPL2Kill Zone 2 / 殺破狼2 / Saat3 Po3 Long4 Ji6 (2015)
aka SPL 2 : A Time For Consequences
Director: Soi Cheang
Screenplay: Jill Lai Yin Leung, Wong Ying
Cast: Tony Jaa, Wu Jing, Simon Yam, Zhang Jin, Louis Koo

The original SPL / Kill Zone (from now on I’ll only refer to SPL as its name) helped reinvigorate the martial arts genre in Hong Kong. It ended up taking a longer time than usual to bring this sequel and in the end it’s not even a real sequel story-wise. Supposedly it follows the same theme but I couldn’t really tell. The SPL music theme, which is pretty cool, does play again here but other than that there’s not much that ties this movie to the original. In fact, based on the quality of this film, it didn’t need to piggy-back off the SPL name at all.

Continue reading “Kill Zone 2 – review @ Fantasia 2016 [Recommended]”

Posted in Fantasia 2016, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Three – review @ Fantasia 2016

Three2016Three / 三人行 / Saam1 Jan4 Hang4 (2016)
Director: Johnnie To
Screenplay: Yau Nai-Hoi, Lau Ho-Leung, Mak Tin-Shu
Cast: Louis Koo, Wallace Chung, Vicki Zhao, Lam Suet

The next screening of this movie will be on July 18.

A crime thriller from one of the masters of the genre is always something to look forward to. This one was shot only in one location, a hospital, and without a script. Usually this would not sound promising on its own but Johnnie To and the acting talent give this film a good chance at being not just good but even more. The story mostly turns out coherent with a well revealed surprise and well defined characters. Although the inevitable chaos is triggered by a very fortuitous, almost unbelievable turn of events involving a key. This isn’t an action movie so don’t expect much in that department except for the final shootout.

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

My East Asian Film picks for Fantasia 2016

The Fantasia International Film Festival just released their full schedule yesterday and the whole lineup is very impressive with lots of interesting films spanning many genres. There’s almost certainly something for everyone here like mystery, thriller, horror, martial arts, historical, crime, slice of life, comedy and more. Here are some of the movies that personally interest me so far. There is no order to the list. Continue reading “My East Asian Film picks for Fantasia 2016”

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

Fantasia 2016 – Second wave of films announced!

The Fantasia International Film Festival takes place in Montreal July 14 — August 2, 2016, once again returning to the mammoth Concordia Hall Cinema as its main base.

As usual here are the Asian film related items from their press release.


Shinsuke Sato is one of the most versatile directors in Japan, excelling as the Co-Writer-Director of a family oriented animation film like OBLIVIOUS ISLAND: HARUKA AND THE MAGIC MIRROR (Special Mention at Fantasia 2010) as much as he does at the helm of thrilling gore fest like I AM A HERO. The festival will have the pleasure of welcoming Director Sato again with the Canadian Premiere of LIBRARY WARS: THE LAST MISSION, part of our Action! section, where paramilitary thrills, comical flourishes and powerful philosophical challenges pervade this sequel to the 2013 Fantasia hit.


A beloved figure on the Fantasia screen since the festival’s 1996 inception, Jackie Chan will always hold a special place here. We’re pleased to be presenting the North American premiere of his latest film, Renny Harlin’s SKIPTRACE, in which a detective from Hong Kong teams up with an American gambler (Johnny Knoxville) to battle against a notorious Chinese criminal. Also starring Fan Bingbing, Eric Tsang and Michael Wong.


A terminally-ill postman with days to live meets the Devil in the guise of his double, who offers him an extra day of life for each thing, linking him to his loved ones, that is forever removed from the surface of the Earth. A poignant Faustian tale full of both sadness and light. Make no mistake, Akira Nagai’s IF CATS DISAPPEARED FROM THE WORLD, presented in Canadian Premiere, is among the finest jewels of Fantasia’s 2016 programming and one of the most touching films you will encounter anywhere this year.

Japan — Dir. Yoshihiro Nakamura

A popular mystery writer and a young architecture student investigate a haunted apartment complex, in this clever deconstruction of J-horror tropes from prolific director Yoshihiro Nakamura (FISH STORY, THE SNOW WHITE MURDER CASE). Quebec Premiere.

THE WAILING (Opening Film: Camera Lucida)
South Korea — Dir. Na Hong-jin

A wave of gruesome murders is tearing the rural village of Goksung apart and its only weapons against these manifestations of pure evil are an incompetent cop, a shy deacon and an exuberant shaman. With the ambient horror thriller THE WAILING, the Opening Film of our Camera Lucida section and one of the most talked about films of Cannes 2016, writer/director Na Hong-jin confirms his place among the masters of Korean cinema. Quebec Premiere

Additional Second Wave Highlights: Continue reading “Fantasia 2016 – Second wave of films announced!”