Peter Lee’s “Angelfish” is a very good drama romance about two people with varying obligations and turmoil finding love with one another. Often times when it hits, it hits hard, but when it fails, it tends to ruin the momentum of the narrative and drag on for quite a while. Shocking enough, “Angelfish” can sometimes feel long in the tooth, if only because it often feels like it’s padding the narrative rather than using those opportunities to add more dimension between our characters Brendan and Eva. That said, even in its imperfections, Peter Lee’s Bronx set drama is engaging and often times emotional.
I’m all for psychologically challenging genre fare, especially in a time where most directors and actors are convinced that many modern audiences aren’t interested in that kind of entertainment anymore. With “Perfect,” Eddie Alcazar taps in to the type of dark science fiction that can be placed beside “2001” and “Waking Life” as just pure utter mind fucks that will leave your head spinning. Alcazar’s sheer visual brilliance sadly tends to mask a narrative that otherwise has no real direction or pretty much anything of real merit to say.
For yet another year and another summer, Cinema Crazed is honored to be covering the Fantasia International Film Festival, the new edition now running from August 20th to September 2nd will screen films and various cinematic features virtually with all attendees and press being able to access the vast library of films online, thanks to COVID concerns and the continuing pandemic.
The festival is famous for featuring some of the most acclaimed and highly anticipated genre films from around the world, and this year is featuring a great and vast array of films. It’s no small feat considering the festival had to switch formats and entire platforms practically overnight. Nevertheless, here are five films premiering this year that I just can’t wait to check out.
I’m glad we’re living in a time where teen movies are becoming so much more diverse and open to various audiences. Once upon a time, teen movies were basically about upper middle class Caucasian teenagers living through something bad. And while I don’t begrudge John Hughes for tapping in to the zeitgeist, seeing someone like me on screen these days is so refreshing and allows a new generation to see themselves on-screen. Representation matters. And it counts for a lot.
Before the late aughts, there were a select few teen films about minorities. One of the best of their ilk was 2003’s “Raising Victor Vargas.” It’s a movie I’m shocked doesn’t get discussed very much these days, as it’s so much in line with John Hughes’ teen drama comedies.
It’s easy to see where director Beth Dewey draws her influences from as “Erasing Eden” is very much a modern successor to “Five Easy Pieces.” Rather than the story of a well off young man, “Erasing Eden” centers on a young woman with everything who is prepared to destroy it all. For what reason? Even she doesn’t know, as she spends so much of “Erasing Eden” setting off a series of catastrophic events and reluctantly trying to reverse them in order to make it to her own wedding.
There aren’t many good movies or movies at all, for that matter, about the writing experience, and it’s a shame. There’s so much to be mined in the realm of creating and how characters can take on their own lives. “Elodie” is an indie gem that deserves to be watched by just about everyone, as it’s not just a wonderful character piece, but a superb look at the creative experience and the concept of impostor syndrome.
In 1996, John Carpenter essentially pulled a Sam Raimi with one of his key creations, Snake Plissken. While “Escape from New York” is a great scifi action film, Carpenter is this time given a bigger budget and decides to cover a wider field of his mythology, cramming in as much as he could with this sequel/remake. While I wouldn’t call “Escape from LA,” it manages to rise above the rest in Carpenter’s ouevre with some very good concepts, and Kurt Russell doing a bang up job, as always.
There are some films you can sense where everyone put their best foot forward. And then there are some films where it’s obvious people were just running out the clock to get a paycheck. With “Mondo Balordo” you can sense Boris Karloff would shamble in to the studio, record his narration for this monstrosity and then leave back to his home. The absolutely awful “Mondo Balordo” is one in a series of pseudo-documentaries that exploit their topics to a certain degree.