Rian Johnson has created what is easily one of the most complete and well developed “Star Wars” cinematic installments since “Empire.” While it does have the occasional pitfall (Porgs), “The Last Jedi” is a masterstroke for the series so far. Johnson manages to skillfully build on this new universe while also answering a lot of the pressing questions that the fans had for “The Force Awakens.” This is the second film to usher in the new generation and ease out the originals, turning this in to a war where the underdogs are still the rebels and they’re filled with reverence for folks like Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. Johnson focuses primarily on the “How,” and “Why” questions from “The Force Awakens,” allowing fans closure on a lot of the nagging questions that left them excited and or baffled.
Each year Fantasia showcases a ton, almost a literal ton, of shorts films. Reviewing them can be a bit demanding, so it has been decided to review them in groupings. The following shorts were attached to feature films that played the fest and were viewed on the big screen.
Staci Layne Wilson is well known for her film reviews, interviews (on camera and in writing), her writing, and now producing and directing. Her interests are varied, but she clearly has a preference for horror as seen in her films such as the trippy triptych The Key to Annabel Lee, the sexy Fetish Factory, etc. Her knowledge of the genre and Hollywood’s inner workings is wide and she uses it well in her creations.
Her trivia on IMDB is rather telling: “Has worn Freddy Krueger’s hero claw, George Romero’s glasses, and the original Hannibal Lecter mask.”
The Fight (Canada) (2016)
In this super short film, a couple fights each in their own scene, or perhaps each in their own timeline. Their fight escalates and a surprise is in store for each of them and the viewer. This grim short, short for an estimated $50CAD (yes you read that right), is written Clint D’Souza, Neil Tavares and directed by D’Souza. Stars Asoya Hall and Steve Kasan sell the fight and its emotions well while escalating at a nice pace. This short is a visceral one for anyone who has ever reach a breaking point with a significant other.
A man and his new girlfriend receive a very official invitation to a fancy dinner party at his previous home and given by his ex and her new man. There he gets to see friends he’s not seen in a long time and meet a new duo. As he suspects something is not quite right, events unfold strengthening his suspicions.
In 1990, just two days after TMNT 1990 premiered in theaters, my dad took my brother and me to see it in theaters in Manhattan one afternoon. It was just the three of us in what felt like a humongous theater, draped in the dark as the Turtles my brother and I worshipped finally jumped on to the screen after saving April O’Neil from being killed by the Foot Clan.
While I don’t particularly love the current cinematic incarnations of the TMNT, I hope there are kids out there getting the same awe inducing experience with “TMNT: Out of the Shadows” as I did when I was seven. “TMNT ‘90” still holds up very well today, with some excellent action set pieces, great humor, and so many quotable moments. Here are only five of my favorite moments in a movie filled with some banner scenes.
Tig Notaro has led something of a life that would crush anyone weaker than her. She learned she had a disease that would eat her from the inside out if not treated, then her mother died, then she discovered she had breast cancer. Normally this would be the time where someone would lay down and die and moan about how unfair the world is. But Tig Notaro sought comfort in friends and her craft of comedy and prevailed until the very end. Tig Notaro is one tough SOB, a woman who doesn’t ask for pity or sympathy during the documentary “Tig.”
I’ll just come out and say it. I’m one of the five people in the world that really enjoys “Congo.” I don’t care how smug it makes me sound, but I’m genuinely shocked that it’s so reviled by many movie fans since I never thought it was terrible. I won’t lie, for years I’ve always thought of “Congo” as nothing more than a B grade adventure film about maniacal monkeys and diamonds, but I’m shocked it’s so trashed by a majority of movie buffs and critics alike. I think there are much worse movies out there. Sure, there’s a monkey drinking a martini, but come on, is “Congo” really awful? I don’t think so.