Fantasia International Film Festival 2017 Wrap-Up [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

This year was a huge year for myself in terms of coverage I was able to do at Fantasia. Having moved back to Montreal (albeit temporarily), I was able to see a huge number of films at the fest, which led to an average of 2 films per day most days with just a few days off to recharge. 2 films per day may not seem like a lot, but when you factor in the reviews being written to publish as soon as possible and networking every night after the fest, the best festival of the year for this reviewer becomes the most exhausting. Your schedule shifts to live between 12noon and 4am most days, waking up then writing reviews, sending reviews, going to the fest in the afternoon or at night, then to the official pub to meet with filmmakers, reviewers, staff, and fans, then bed at 4am-ish most days, the schedule takes a toll. Kudos to the staff of the fest who are up all day working, then all evening and part of the night before doing it all over again the next day, this for 21 days. I know I could never do that for that long. Even with a few full days off to handle life and try to survive, it was an exhausting yet exhilarating experience to be able to be there from the programme launch the week before the fest to post fest goodness with friends.

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Blood Honey (2017)

A woman returns home after an extended absence to find that things have not changed much, yet they are not what it seems.

Written by Doug Taylor and director Jeff Kopas, the film works with themes of family, grieving, mental illness, trauma, and related ones.  As it delves into the family dynamics and relationships between daughter and father, sister and brother, and others, the film develops characters that all have a connection one way or another and whose relationships are strained to say the least.  The characters created seem a bit limited as they pretty much only exist in relation to each other, except for the lead who is a somewhat more fully fleshed character.  Her trauma and evolution are central to the story here, so she makes a decent lead.  Her story is interesting and the twists keep the attention, however, the story feels like something is missing.  But, by the end, things feel more complete in a way.

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Annabelle Creation (2017)

A prequel to the prequel to The Conjuring films, the story here is that of how the evil doll Annabelle came to be. Years following a tragic accident, a doll maker and his wife take in a group of orphans needing a new place to live with the nun who watches over them. As they are forbidden to go in a specific room, the young girls get curious and something is awakened.

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Overdrive (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

A duo of car thief brothers runs into trouble after making a deal with a local crime boss in the South of France.

Written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas and directed by Antonio Negret, Overdrive is a fun car heist film with exhilarating chases, twists, turns, and beautiful vintage cars.  It takes a few cues from The Fast and the Furious, Gone in 60 Seconds, the Transporter series, etc and makes them all its own.  The use of the car is definitely a plot device, but it works quite well here.  The characters are not particularly deep, but as the film is mostly action car porn, it doesn’t really matter in the end.  What matters is that they are believable enough to take the viewer through the story and its twists and turns while being entertaining and fun to watch.  This film is one of those that is made for the fun of it and not to pass on some kind of grand message, something that is perfectly fine and well done here.

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The Shorts of Fantasia International Film Festival 2017 – Part 3 [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

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.

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Pilgrimage (2017)

A group of monks is sent to escort a sacred relic across the land in 13th century Ireland.  Along the way enemies and friends alike try to derail their mission.

Written by Jamie Hannigan and directed by Brendan Muldowney, Pilgrimage is a period piece peppered with action sequences that make logical sense within the confines of its story.  Here the monks are working with knights and others to battle enemies and bring the sacred relic their guard to a higher Catholic Church power.  The story is simple at its based, but the characters added, including a mute stranger helping the monks, create a mystery and help the tension along with the twists that take their time to come and be revealed.  This way of developing the story works well with the time period its set in and the group of characters involved.  The characters created here have some background in terms of their archetypes, but not that much information on who they are as people and where they come from or what their goals are besides keeping the relic safe or obtaining the relic.

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The Shorts of Fantasia International Film Festival 2017 – Part 2 [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

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.

Continue reading