Tag Archives: Fantasia 2009

Fantasia 09 Review: Whose Watching ‘The Children’?

27 Jul

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The Children (R) 84 min. Directed by: Tom Shankman. Written by: Paul Andrew Williams. Starring: Hannah Tointon, Eva Birthistle, Stephen Campbell Moore, Jeremy Sheffield, Rachel Shelly. Cinematography: Nanu Segal. Original Music by: Stephen Hilton.

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I’m a little conflicted about Tom Shankman’s  Brit thriller, The Children. Running only 84 minutes, the first 20 minutes are a little too sedate and clunky, and the last 20 too overtly shock-centered. Those 40-some odd minutes in the middle though, after the film has revved itself up, are nothing short of terrifying. It isn’t very often I’m unsettled by a movie, and even less often that one actually manages to scare me. But like it’s older cousin, Descent, this nasty bit of creepy kid horror intensifies to the point that even ominously structured glimpses of day-to-day life become anxiety-inducing. Forget Orphan, Joshua, The Good Son, or any of those recent milque-toast dramas about bad seed progeny chasing their unwitting parents. The Children reaches all the way back to the The Bad Seed and Ray Bradbury’s short story, The Small Assassin and draws on a deeply-buried fear of those small versions of ourselves we give our lives to trying to raise. Continue reading

Fantasia 2009 Review: ‘Queens of Langkasuka’ explores Thai fantasy world

27 Jul

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Queens of Langkasuka (NR) 2008, 133 min.Directed by: Nonzee Nimibutr. Written by: Win Lyovarin
Starring: Jarunee Suksawat, Ananda Everingham, Jesdaporn Pholdee, Dan Chupong

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Queens of Langkasuka is one big mess. Spreading palace intrigue, ancient world power struggles, naval warfare, martial arts, sorcery, sea beasties and roving pirates over a sagging 133 minutes, Langkasuka has no idea how to manage any of it. Fortunately for the audience, the high-profile Thai fantasyhappens to be an entertaining and enjoyable mess. Borrowing elements of Old Hollywood  adventures like 7th Voyage of Sinbad, and taking a cue from Pirates of the Caribbean and other big budget American popcorn pics, Langkasuka marks a step forward for Thai cinema. Recently, the scene has mostly been cluttered with raucous martial arts movies and tepid horror films. Queens is on a grander scale than anything I’ve previously seen out of the country, and for the most part it accomplishes what it sets out to do. I wasn’t bored, and thats much more than I can say for several of this summer’s big profile ‘blockbusters’. Continue reading

Fantasia 09 Review: Clive Barker’s ‘Book’ is a Yawn of the Dead

14 Jul

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 Clive Barker’s Book of Blood (R) 108 min. Directed by:  John Harrison Written by: John Harrison, adapted from the Clive Barker stories Book of Blood and On Jerusalem Street. Starring: Jonas Armstrong, Sophie Ward, Doug Bradley, Simon Bamford, Paul Blair. Cinematography:Philip Robertson   Original music by: Guy Farley.

 

The dead have highways…running through the wasteland behind our lives, bearing an endless traffic of departed souls. They can be heard in the broken places of our world, through cracks made by acts of cruelty, violence and depravity. They have signposts, these highways–and crossroads and intersections. And it is at these intersections that the dead mingle and spill over into our world…The dead have highways….only the living are lost…

cinemagrade c-The above is the entire thematic gist of Book of Blood, the newest film adaptation of the work of horror maestro Clive Barker. In fact, that little bit of exposition is repeated no less than five seperate times in Book of Blood, as if the filmmakers want to constantly remind the audience that their film is about the nature of storytelling and mortality. After the third time, I wanted to shout at the screen “stop telling us and show us already”. This was to no avail. Dabbling in the darker corners of dark fantasy(and this is far more a resident of that genre than straight horror), television director John Harrison brings the framing stories of Barker’s Books of Blood anthology faithfully to the screen but he doesn’t seem to understand that all he brought along was the binding. The pages here are empty. What he fills them with ends up amounting to one of the most notoriously boring thrillers in recent memory.   Continue reading

Fantasia 2009 reveals complete updated film schedule!

3 Jul

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July3rd, 2009–

If you are a genre fan, and if you are here at this blog you probably are, there is no bigger or better cinema event than Canada’s FanTasia Film Festival.  Since 1996( halting only once in 2002 when the fest was canceled), over 70,000 festival attendees travel every summer to FanTasia to take in the latest and greatest of independent, irreverent, and imaginative cinema from all over the world. As the title suggests, the festival’s original roots were in programming little-seen asian films, showing mostly Hong Kong actioners, martial arts pics and Japanese giant monster movies in their first year. Continue reading