It’s Fantasia time again baby! Woo-hoo! The last couple of years have been amazing for me, as I’ve had the opportunity to hit both TIFF and Sundance multiple times, but the first festival I ever covered was Fantasia, and I look forward to it rolling around each and every year.
Taking place in my hometown, Montreal, Fantasia, which is housed at my alma-mater, Concordia University (I used to write exams in the main screening room), is gargantuan. Running twenty days, and boasting 160 films for our viewing pleasure, I’ll once again be covering this sucka for Arrow in the head, and I look forward to giving all of our readers the lowdown on the most exciting new genre films to emerge from the fest.
In past years, I was able to see both IP MAN films, THE LOVED ONES, MESRINE, SCOTT PILGRIM, DOWN TERRACE, and even INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. I’ve already covered a few of the higher profile films at the fest through Sundance, including WRONG, EXCISION, and V/H/S, and each of those films is well worth seeing if you happen to find yourself in Montreal. While most of the stuff on tap is pretty “under-the-radar” for now- that won’t be the case for long, and the following films are just a few of the highlights I’m looking forward to checking out!
Formerly known as WU XIA, which I assume is a more appropriate title, DRAGON is director Peter Chan (THE WARLORDS) long-awaited tribute to the Shaw Bros., classic, THE ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN, with the Donnie Yen taking the lead here- opposite the original Swordsman, Jimmy Wang-Yu, as the villain. Apparently, this is a slower, more artful take on the genre then one would expect, but to me Chan is one of the better Chinese directors out there, and I’m really looking forward to this one. And Donnie Yen- need I say more?
THE HUMAN RACE
The log line for this one has me intrigued. Apparently, it’s about a group of handicapped people who are abducted, and forced to battle it out to the death. Sound exploitative? I would say yes, if it wasn’t for the fact that real disabled people are playing the leads here. From what I hear it’s a rollicking action flick, with a charismatic leading turn by one-legged leading man Eddie McGhee- who does all of his own stunts. Color me intrigued.
The Fantasia guide compares BLACK POND, a British horror-comedy about a group of people that attempt to dispose of a dead body, to the works of Ben Wheately. For me, that’s enough to make this a must see. I’ve yet to see a trailer, but the reviews out of the UK are pretty good, and they’ve been on a roll with genre cinema lately, so fingers crossed this will be a tight little horror-comedy.
Having played to wildly positive reviews, this Scadinavian crime thriller is produced by Nicolas Winding Refn, and if this is even half as good as his PUSHER films, we’re in for a treat. Even if he wasn’t involved, I’d still be down with this, as there’s been a lot of interesting films emerging from that part of the world lately, and I’m a sucker for a good gangster movie.
THE VIRAL FACTOR
A Hong Kong action extravaganza that looks like a thrown back to the HK action epics of the nineties, THE VIRAL FACTOR is Jay Chou’s first post-GREEN HORNET leading part. I though he was great in HORNET, and he could do a lot worse than make a film with Dante Lam, who’s recent films, FIRE OF CONSCIENCE, THE STOOL PIGEON, and BEAST STALKER have reestablished him as one of HK’s leading directors.
Fresh off their hit CORALINE, Laika studios are at it again, with this being the stop-motion animated story of a young boy who can speak with the dead. Last weekend, some PARANORMAN footage played at Comic-Con, and the reaction was wildly enthusiastic. Even if it’s only half as good as CORALINE, this should still be a lot of fun.
Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and I’m planning on writing up a ton of films, so make sure to check AITH every day for the latest reviews. And if you happen to be at Fantasia, if you see me in the press line- give me a shout. I’ll be wearing an ID badge, and I’ve love to shoot-the-shit with some AITH/JOBLO readers.