-- THE ECLIPSE,
Slow cooking ghost story set in the breathtakingly beautiful
coastal village of Cobh, Ireland during a literary festival.
About a widower, father of two, seeing terrifying apparitions
of his still living father-in-law who resides in a home.
Film somewhat marred by subtle inconsistencies, such as
"why does he lie?"
-- LEFT BANK
Psycholgical supernatural drama about a young sidelined athlete
who falls head over heals for a dashing young man and instantly
accepts his offer to move into his otherwise seemingly unremarkable
appartment on the Left Bank. Not long after we begin to
see notice that something is off-kilter and we are slowly
brought into a strange, bizzare and dangerous world. Well
crafted debut feature from an emerging talent.
-- GENIUS PARTY
Five more animated shorts from the same studio that brought
us last years "Genius Party." As with the original,
these are cutting edge and dream-like. And while the imagery
is colourful and sometimes strikingly beautiful, the shorts
all lacked narrative.
Conspiracy thriller recounting how 16 years earlier on an
island off the coast of Okinawa (Japan), there occurred
a disasterous spill of a lethal nerve gas, which was immediately
covered up. Two young boys escape. Now adult, each has adopted
an opposite response: one is a priest and wants to be at
peace; the other is disturbed and seeks revenge. Flagrantly
Hollywood blockbuster style lacking in credibilty; English
dialogue hard to hear.
Wildly entertaining horror-comedy following a
multitude of characters and told through four interweaving stories on
halloween. Contains all the cliches of a typical horror with a strong
-- THE DEVINE WEAPON,
Historical drama set in 15th century Korea at the height
of the Joseon dynasty and its quest to develop a weapon
of mass destruction against the threat of Ming expansionists
from the north. As with weapon itself, detailed precision
paid to set designs and costumes etc. Solid performances
2.1 -- DEAD SNOW ( DOD SNO),
Eight medical students go to a remote cabin in the mountains
of Norway for a little "r and r" during Easter break. But
this area of Norway suffered a dark and evil period in WWII
at the hands of the Nazis who tortured the locals. Thus,
amid the beautiful snow covered mountain setting, the Nazis
arise from the snow and the "carnage" begins. The performances
were lame, unengaging and not credible.
Gay comedy with an element of darkness centering
on a popular Korean bakery. Too comedic for its darkness; too dark for
-- I SELL THE
Victorian era slapstick, comedy-horror that parodies classic
Hammer horror films with nods to early Sam Raimi (Evil Dead)
and "Tales from the Crypt" (with its bookend comicbook images).
Centers on two ambitious gravediggers and their encounters
with matters of supernatural strangeness. Cleverly done,
excellent performances, entertaining and fun.
-- K-20: LEGEND OF THE
Science-fiction set in an alternate past (WWII never occured)
-- 1949 Japan. About a masked marvel undermining aristocratic
authorities. Strong social commentary on how the aristocracy
has throughout history turned a blind eye to the hardships
of the lower class. Set designs and music remaniscent of
Hollywood superhero blockbusters.
Brutal action that includes basketball that incorporates
Thai kick-boxing, thugs and bookies: and a game to the death.
Credible acting short changed by confusing plot and unclear
-- HOUSE OF THE
A sophomore student needing money to pay first month's rent
accepts a babysitter's job from a creepy odd old couple
who live in a creaky victorian house deep in the woods.
The night just happens to feature a rare lunar eclipse.
Despite good performances film suffers from predictability.
Based on director's own experience -- a journey into the
alleyways of Seoul where poverty and violence are passed
on from one generation to the next. The film is hyper violent,
the language coarse, where, by western standards, unimaginable insults hurtled back and forth. Nonetheless,
the film feels balanced because of its humour and the main
character is well played by director.
-- PRIVATE DETECTIVE,
Debut feature -- a murder mystery à la Sherlock Holmes
set in 1910 Korea. Historical recreation is superb. Good
performances enhanced with timely interventions of humour.
Music effectively recreates intended mood.
Acting or Real? An actor who thinks he is a gangster vs a
gangster who thinks he is an actor. Good performances undercut
by porous plot and choppy editing.
2.4 -- SANS DESSEIN,
Steeve Léonard (aka Dead Cat Films)
First feature length film from this collective that during
the past 10 years brought us many (20) hilarious and ingenious
shorts. In the same genre, Sans Dessein is about a man visited
by a spirit intent on turning around the former's current
dead-end existence. Promising debut but somewhat repetitive.
ENCARNACAO DO DEMONIO (EMBODIMENT
Jose Marica Marin
Out of the imagination of the master of Brazilian horror
comes the third installment of "Coffin Joe," who upon being
released from prison after 40 years picks up where he left
off, seeking to continue his bloodline in order to achieve
immortality. For that result, she must be "perfect." What
ensues is total immersion into the grotesque and surreal
that thrives on blasphemy and imagery drenched in blood
and sex. Main character played to near perfection by director,
who was handed a lifetime acheivement award after the screening.
Scenes from first two films seamlessly integrated as visionary
-- CYBORG SHE,
Romantic fantasy-comedy about relationship between stunningly
beautiful cyborg from the future and an introverted moody
student. Spectacular special effects. Good chemistry between
the two leads.
-- BATTLE LEAGUE IN
Comedy fantasy about "ordinary" university fraternities battling
each other through chubby little demons called "Oni" and
controlled by "silly" dance moves. Funny but fails to sustain
-- MY DEAR
A "road" movie involving ex-girlfriend who comes back to
reclaim $3500 she lent and will not leave until she gets
it back. What follows is a journey that traverses Seoul
as they visit the women the boyfriend has seduced to retrieve
what he owes. Subdued humour, mellow jazz score along with
cool shots of Seoul.
A family reunion over the holidays at a secluded country
house. While the adults kick back to enjoy the holidays,
the children begin to behave strangely, gradually becoming
more savage and cruel. Despite intensity and slick pace,
the film is often unclear as what has happened or is happening.
-- EDISON AND LEO,
Canada's first stop-action animation looking at Edison's
"greatest invention." Storyline a bit too conventional;
animation techniques need to be developed; not for young
Soft-porn on the death of an
old friend leading to a voyage of discovery. Decent performances,
lighting and colour. Flimsy plot where every encounter leads
-- S&M HUNTER
Soft-porn featuring an Indiana
style hero. Choppy script and editing. Sound and imagery
Danny Kuchuck, John
Jess' mother died tragically 9 years ago. She finds her old
cell phone from that fateful day, dials her old number,
her old self answers : what can she do to save her mother?
Thus begins a series of temporal dislocations where changes
in the past unpredictably (enigmatically) affect the present
and the former sanctity of dark secrets. Better executed
than "Butterfly Effect" and more intelligible than "Primer."
-- THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ISLAND,
Science fiction centering on a Raellian (belief in a scientific
basis of immortality) style religious sect. Promising
beginning, weak ending with numerous gaps and short on
-- REEL ZOMBIES,
David J. Francis
Mockumentary following the cast and crew as they set about
making Zombie Night 3 (the first two widely considered among
the worst movies ever made) with a twist -- casting real
zombies. Hilarious and self-deprecating. Cameo by Lloyd
Kaufman (Toxic Avenger, Poultrygeist, Troma Films -- considered
the King of Trash) auditioning for a part.
-- YAKUZA EIGA: A SECRET
HISTORY OF JAPANESE CINEMA,
Documentary journey into the world of Yakuza (Japanese gangster)
film genre and its close connection to actual Yakuza. Interviews
with key players -- directors, actors, gang leaders and
even the daughter of one, plus clips from classic films.
Too jumpy and talkative.
-- THE WHITE
1952 obscure gem from Finland that combines both the werewolf
and vampire legends into a tale of a woman who turns into
a white reindeer. Score and composed camera work combine
to give the effect of an atmospheric poem. Set in the far
north of Finland.
-- YOU MIGHT AS WELL
Dark comedy about a loser on a quest to be
somebody. Often hilarious but does cross the line into bad taste.
Cross Napolean Dynamite with Borat and set in the bleakest parts of
-- VAMPIRE GIRL VS
Tomomatsu, Yoshihiro Nishimura
Campy, slapstick comedy about two high school girls pining
for the same boy. No need to shower -- plenty of it -- blood
that is -- in fact so much so that the screen is often 'simply
red.' Entertaining, quirky characters a major plus.
-- TACTICAL UNIT: COMRADES
Two competative police units must work together on their
final mission: to pursue and capture a gang of dangerous
and disciplined bank robbers (shades of Public Enemies)
in the remote mountains near Hong Kong. Thet will be sorely
tested and true natures revealed. Produced by Johnny To
and spun off of his 2003 effort "PTU." Action packed thriller
with the right amount of humour.
Canary Industries is dedicated to the well being of all and
will even provide you with a new organ, but reserves the
right to reclaim it if you abuse the gift. A promising concept
that failed to deliver.
Survival thriller about a couple who clandestinely take a
donkey tour of the Grand Canyon guided by a drunken old
coot contemptuous of authority and established procedures.
Good performances within an all too predictable and formulaic
template. " Into the Wild" vastly superior.
-- 20th CENTURY BOYS,
Apocalyptic saga spanning 1969 to 2015. In 1969 a group of
young children concoct a storybook called "The Book of Prophecy."
In 1997 the book's events come to pass. Complex with engaging
themes: religious sects, biological warfare, propaganda
and terrorism. Moments of humour help to get through dark
-- 20th CENTURY BOYS:
Chapter 2 focuses on the neice of one of the boys
and is set mainly in 2015. Chapter 3 will be shown next year.
-- PORTRAIT OF A
A fictional account of 18th century painter Shin Yoon-bok
premised on the claim that said artist was a woman. Lush
shooting; lilting score; beautifully acted and engaging
GRAPHIC SEXUAL HORROR,
Barbara Bell, Anna Lorenzon
Disturbing, shocking and controversial look at Brent Scot
and his web site -- INSEX (1997 to 2005 until shut down
by US government) that specialized in bondage and sado-masochism.
Is it art or obscenity, did he abuse his models? Let the
viewer be the judge. Definately a voyage into a different
reality. I found the film offensive and exploitive. As a
documentary, wholly lacking in objectivity.
-- BLOOD RIVER,
Old Testament style thriller addressing the issue of God`s
jugdment, sin and punishment. A young expectant couple get
stuck in the Nevada desert with
a mysterious hitchhiker they had passed by earlier after
their car has a blowout. Unnervingly tense and gripping,
with intense soundtrack and arresting cinematography that
turns the Nevada into a formidable fourth character. A tour
de force that effectively asks questions and withholds answers.
Amateur student first feature zombie flic shot over a summer
break with a tip of the hat to both George A. Romero and
Sergio Leone. Made on an impossibly low production budget,
the result = QED that drive, determination and a vivid imagination
are all that is required to make an entertaining and thoughtful
Are video games a valid form of artistic expression in dealing
with important and tragic events? More of an issue for those
who are gamers or have children that are.
Supernatural drama involving a family of celebrity women
who at the age of 29 begin to turn into tortured and deformed
beasts, all of which transpires before a young girl who
doesn't age. Strong performances, weak plot.
-- LA BILLE DE PANDORE
100% Quebecois independent -- seven years in the making --
debut feature that is a complex mix of many genres: fantasy,
action, metaphysical etc. A man is suddenly seized by strange
and bizzare visions/experiences; a parallel universe or
a waking nightmare? The complexity of this film required
the viewer to put him/herself into the skin of the protagonist
(necessitates multiple viewing). Excellant score. Dialogue
a bit cliched.
-- LESBIAN VAMPIRE
British horror farce about a pair lads who travel to an obscure
remote village and come face to face with an ancient problem
-- lesbian vampires. Funny, ranks equally with Abbot and
Costello, but more raunchy.
Thriller about a methodical, vicious serial killer being
pursued by a former cop turned pimp whose girls are disappearing.
The use of typical Korean humour -- especially in the ineptitude
of the police -- did not fit the serious nature of the subject.
Sweeping Chinese war epic set in 19th century giving an account
of General Pang (Jet Li - in his return to HK cinema), who
leads a band of former bandits in victory over the rebels.
Gripping subplots involving friendship, ambition, betrayal,
lust for power and love. Excellent production values, especially
music and breathtaking cinematography; realistically staged
Japanese anime (animation) adaptation of manga series "Hells
Angels" about a girl sent through the gates of hell after
an accident. Problem is she is still alive. Not for young
children. Features arresting imagery. For hard core fans
of anime and mangas.
A wild angd engaging ride back in time to late 60s when Beatlemania
was sweeping Japan and GS (group sound) was the in-thing.
A colourful, kaleidoscopic form of bubblegum pop (recalling
the Monkees) that includes lavish costumes and zany that
offers most of the elements found in most "band movies."
A comedy that makes use of all possible styles -- absurd,
wry, obtuse and slapstick -- about a woman trying to break
out of her humdrum life. Very funny situations marred by
overacting. The plot failed to sustain interest.
2.7 -- LES LASCARS (ROUND A WAY),
Animation depicting Parisian slum life. Raunchy side spitting
out adult humour that compares to "The District".
Animation design features very effective illusion of depth
-- THE CLONE RETURNS HOME,
Science Fiction about an astronaut who leaves his genetic
blueprint in order to be clone-generated in case he dies
on a future mission. This happens, he's cloned but something
isn't quite right. Deeply reflective and cerebral (as with
Andrei Tarkovsky's "Solaris") film that addresses
the legal, ethical and spiritual questions surrounding cloning.
Exquisite cinematographic shots of outerspace and the Japanese