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    Fantasia 2015: ‘100 Yen Love’ is a unique boxing drama

    In some ways, the Japanese director Masaharu Take’s 100 Yen Love feels about as old-hat as the 12/8, bluesy guitar music which makes up the bulk of the film’s score: it’s yet another boxing drama about an outcast who finds herself in the ring. There’s nothing in the story we haven’t heard before, and, like the music, its willingness to rehash cliches makes it risk self-parody. But conveying art through established traditions can have a certain nostalgic charm, and both the music and the film it provides the soundtrack for play off tropes to create a crowd-pleaser which oozes appeal. More

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    Fantasia 2015: ‘Extinction’ is a clumsy melodrama

    Some films just can’t stick to their strengths. There are some good jump scares inside Extinction, the post-apocalyptic zombie film from Spanish director Miguel Ángel Vivas, adapted from a novel by his countrymen Juan de Dios Garduño, but Vivas (who co-wrote the script with Alberto Marini) is too keen to turn his film into a melodrama to focus on the fright. The result is a plodding zombie drama with too much tonal inconsistency to succeed as either a character study or a terrifying gorefest. More

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    Fantasia 2015: ‘Deathgasm’ is the best Kiwi horror/comedy since ‘Dead Alive’

    New Zealand hasn’t produced many horror films over the years, but those it has given birth to are remarkably strong entries. The late ’80s and early ’90s witnessed the rise of Kiwi director Peter Jackson who made a name for himself with the Bad Taste (1988) and Dead Alive (1992). Jackson helped shine a spotlight on the countries genre offerings and his success no doubt opened the door for a new generation of Kiwi genre filmmakers. The latest of these films to make its way Stateside is Jason Lei Howden’s outrageous debut feature Deathgasm about a group of suburban metal heads who summon a demonic force. More

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    Fantasia 2015: ‘Ludo’ is beyond saving

    All the youthful energy in the world couldn’t save Ludo. The film opens with bombast, as an exploration of the night life of Kolkata, and two young couples who are hungry for sex. Cultural puritanicalism prevents them from finding a hotel room, but they end up finding refuge in a closed shopping mall where they are free to indulge in their baser instincts. Here they encounter an elderly couple, trapped and hungry, and are introduced to a mysterious game. From here on, the film abandons linearity and expectations, taking us on a whirlwind phantasmagorical journey into the past and the collective unconscious, where it similarly loses all sense of grounding. More

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    Fantasia 2015: ‘The Hallow’ is hollow horror

    Irish legends are rich with horrifying monsters, painful realities and a genuine sense of despair. Perhaps rooted in the Irish struggle, many of the lessons from their myths evoke inequality and injustice – it does not matter who you are, what you believe or what you do, you are not above nature’s law. What is nature’s law? It is a perverse combination of God’s will and an amoral natural world. Set in the mostly undisturbed forests of Ireland, The Hallow is about a conservationist (Joseph Mawle) and his young family. Despite many warnings from the locals, he persists in investigating the forests, eventually inspiring its wrath. More

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    Fantasia 2015: ‘Tangerine’ may just be the most important film of 2015

    Tangerine not only stars transgender folk in transgender roles, but the film isn’t only about transgender issues, a refreshing change from all the movies mentioned above. Tangerine is really a film about sex workers, that just so happens to follow a pair of MTF characters in and around West Hollywood. Tangerine has no interest in depicting these transgender characters as martyrs or victims – but rather as real people with real problems. They are complicated, fascinating, deeply flawed, vulnerable, insecure, selfish and outrageously funny. More

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    Fantasia 2015: ‘Bridgend’ is a grueling, compelling experience

    A feeling of gloom pervades every frame of Bridgend, the Danish teen drama which makes its Canadian premiere at Fantasia. Even as the kids drink and dance in ecstasy (in a scene which wouldn’t be out of place in Skins, the British soap where star Hannah Murray got her break) or skinny dip in large groups, there’s an undeniable sense of melancholy in their maniacal celebrations. Given the sadness evident in otherwise ebullient scenes such as these, the ominous shots of the countryside shrouded in darkness or mournful messages on a computer screen make life in the film’s titular Welsh town seem unbearably grim.
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    Fantasia 2015 Must See Films (Week Two)

    Considered the world’s largest genre film festival and running over three weeks long, Fantasia is celebrating its 19th edition this year and the lineup is pretty incredible. This year’s fest runs July 14 through August 4 and will see over 130 feature films including more than 20 world premieres. Legendary filmmaker Sion Sono is delivering […] More

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    Justine’s Five Must See Films at Fantasia Film Festival 2015

    I love when Fantasia gets weird. Featuring its fair share of bigger budget horrors, Asian epics and the occasional mainstream genre pic – it’s the little ones from far off places and no-name filmmakers that excite me the most. This year’s a goldmine for my particular tastes, and it’s been years since I’ve been so excited by their lineup. Most of the films I’m most eager to see are from filmmakers I’ve never heard of, or from countries I’ve nary seen a single film. More

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    Fantasia 2015 Must See Films (Week One)

    Considered the world’s largest genre film festival and running over three weeks long, Fantasia is celebrating it’s 19th edition this year and the lineup is pretty incredible. This year’s fest runs July 14 through August 4 and will see over 130 feature films including more than 20 world premieres. Legendary filmmaker Sion Sono is delivering […] More

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