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Fantasia wrap up part 4


Embodiment Of Evil

Directed by Jose Mojica Marins

*** 1/2

José Mojica Marins’ demonically anticipated Zé do Caixão (Coffin Joe) comeback film is everything you could hope for. Embodiment cleverly explains Zé ‘s absence over the years by opening with the character being released from prison after serving decades of time for the crimes depicted in earlier films! Coffin Joe may now be in his 70s, but Zé’s lifelong obsession to locate the perfect woman to continue his bloodline with has not faded in the slightest. Too schlocky, violent,  corny, and shocking for Cannes, the 40 year long wait had audiences at Fantasia in a collective applause. Guaranteed to satisfy its fan base with stunning cinematography, special effects, and an assortment of clips from the earlier two movies; José Mojica Marins now 72 years old still commands the screen and with Coffin Joe he has crafted a true horror icon. Hopefully with the release of this film, Coffin Joe will find a new generation of fans.


Directed by Robert Masciantonio

** ½

Neighbor tries a little too hard to win its audience by pushing the envelope of the so-called “torture porn.” Relying heavily on graphic violence and gore (apparently one of the editors vomited in post), the film falls short on story and is tad weak on performances. Writer/director Robert Masciantonio does a solid job in toying with his audience, and packs the film with plenty of insider nods to horror filmdom. Taking inspiration from Miike’s Audition, Neighbor flips the gender roles of classic exploitation cinema staples by having a woman terrorize a group of men. Cinematographer Jeff Schirmer does a fabulous job with the Red camera along with makeup artist Vincent Guastino (Requiem for a Dream) who, although working on a small budget, delivers some impressive special effects. Add an appearance by John Waters vet Mink Stole, and you could be looking at a future cult classic


Trick of Treat

Directed by Michael Dougherty


Borrowing a visual style from the classic EC horror comics, Trick ‘r Treat is the latest take on the horror anthology genre that is bound to have fans of Tales From The Crypt and Creepshow feeling right at home. Unfortunately, I appear in the minority in thinking that this is simply a not good movie. Although Trick ‘r Treat tries to be something original, it fails in every frame. Treat is everything I hate about modern day studio horror films: the scares are missing, the twists are childish, and more importantly it lacks a true antagonist, a protagonist you care for and a sense of danger. Given the glowing reviews online, it may be destined to become a cult hit, but in my eyes it was the greatest disappointment at this year’s festival.

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Inglourious Basterds

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

**** ½

The film’s climax has an image worth waiting a career for as the theatre will burn to the ground – so to speak. It’s the magic and power of cinema that Tarantino addresses in Basterds, which may leave the mass audience far behind. Regardless a true distinctive piece of American pop culture and somewhat of a transition for the director. Inglourious Basterds is Tarantino’s war film but more importantly his love letter to cinema. Tarantino’s passion comes through in every frame and love him or hate him; he makes the movies he wants to make and enjoys every minute of it.


Ip Man

Directed by Wilson Yip


Ip Man is the first film and bio-pic to be based on the life of the martial artist and grandmaster of modern Wing Chun, who would end up becoming a young Bruce Lee’s master. After a first attempt to portray Ip’s life on screen resulted in the project being abandoned, producer Raymond Wong developed his own film with full consent from Ip’s sons, and had filmmakers head to Foshan to research Master Ip’s life. Winner of Best Picture prize at the 2009 Hong Kong Film Awards, Ip Man succeeds on various levels. Veteran action choreographer Sammo Hung, along with Tony Leung Siu Hung combine their talents to provide one of the most thrilling films as this year’s Fantasia Film Festival, and Donnie Yen makes the action intense with his incredible speed, confidence, and abilities. The second half of the film unfortunately is a bit of a let down but regardless the first half is exciting enough to recommend it.