Satoshi Kon’s contribution to the animation medium was nothing short of absolutely breathtaking, as the director created films that blurred the lines of fantasy and reality and placed great emphases on the feminine energy. After the mind blowing “Perfect Blue,” Kon delivered what is arguably one of the best animated films ever conceived. Now bring granted a limited run in theaters nationwide, “Millennium Actress” is a wonderful experience you have to see for yourself, as it’s stunning, and absolutely surprising in the way Kon celebrates the adventure that is life.
Director Carolina Hellsgård wears her heart on her sleeve with “Ever After,” a movie that’s mired in the influence of femininity and women and offers up a lot of metaphysical ideas about mother Earth, nature, and our state of being. Although “Ever After” has been marketed as a zombie movie, the zombie element is mostly a background dressing for something more meditative and complex. While I adapted to what screenwriter Olivia Vieweg was leading us in to after the first half hour, “Ever After” still manages to be a mixed bag and doesn’t quite re-invent the wheel.
“The Tough Ones” is one of the pair of films that Umberto Lenzi directed that spotlighted the character Tanzi, a man almost driven mad by his need to thwart crime at every corner. Tanzi is something of a great scale anti-hero who spends a lot of his time tracking down a petty thug who is very much a creep and noting very spectacular. Tanzi inspects this crime and chases the criminals like his life depends on it. He spends a majority of the film talking through gritted teeth and shouting at just about everyone and he almost always is on the verge of hurting someone. Tanzi is not meant to be a hero or even a heroic vigilante so much as he’s the corrupt law that’s hell bent on taking down the larger criminal element including Tony Parenzo (Ivan Rassimov) and his efforts to create an underground criminal network.
As with every year, Fantasia Film Festival is also a place to showcase the talents of filmmakers that specialize in making short films of all genres. This year I tackled the “Small Gauge Trauma” block and thankfully didn’t find a single bad apple in the whole bunch. These shorts aren’t just creative, but they’re incredibly original and delivered in the realm of horror big time.
Alba, her boyfriend, and their friends head out to a country cabin of her childhood to party and hang out, as the weekend advances, Alba finds herself in a shrinking time loop where she must figure out why this is happening and how to stop it.
If you’ve ever seen Sarah Bolger act, it’s stunning how she can go from innocent to cold as ice in a second flat and make it believable. Seriously, check out the under seen “Emelie” for proof. What she does in “A Good Woman is Hard to Find” is portray the quintessence of the lengths parents are willing to go through to protect their children. Not only diving head first in to violence, but the willingness to delve in to darker corners of our own humanity, and what we’re capable of sacrificing in order to create a future for our kids.
The path to redemption is a long and arduous one that can obviously test us and our resolve to the very core. With the South Korean “No Mercy” we see the unfolding of a path of redemption for a woman who has very little in life and is about to see her only good thing be taken away by human cruelty. A mix of “Taken,” “Drive,” and “Dead Man’s Shoes,” Lim Kyoung-tack’s action thriller is a beautifully made, engrossing, and often riveting journey of a woman who is willing to go deep in to the darkness to retriever her sister, and might not have a way back once she’s fulfilled her goal.
For yet another year, Cinema Crazed will be covering the Fantasia International Film Festival, the 23rd edition running from July 11th to August 1st. 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 130 films in its slate. Among them there will be the world premieres of MYSTERY OF THE NIGHT, BLOOD ON HER NAME, STARE, 1BR, THE DEEPER YOU DIG, and HOMEWRECKER; as well there will be events like screenings of classic horror like “The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue” and the rare TV movie “What Ever Happened to Rosemary’s Baby?”
With the site covering Fantasia again, these are five film premiering that we can’t wait to check out.