Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 14, No. 3, 2015
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Bernard Dubé
  Contributing Editors
David Solway
Louis René Beres
Nancy Snipper
Farzana Hassan
Daniel Charchuk
Samuel Burd
Andrée Lafontaine
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editor
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Chantal Levesque
Denis Beaumont
Marcel Dubois
Emanuel Pordes
  Film Reviews
  Bowling for Columbine
Shanghai Ghetto
Talk to Her
City of God
Magdalene Sisters
Dirty Pretty Things
Barbarian Invasions
Fog of War
Blind Shaft
The Corporation
Station Agent
The Agronomist
Maria Full of Grace
Man Without a Past
In This World
Buffalo Boy
Shake Hands with the Devil
Born into Brothels
The Edukators
Big Sugar
A Long Walk
An Inconvenient Truth
Sisters In Law
Send a Bullet
Banking on Heaven
Chinese Botanist's Daugher
Ben X
La Zona
The Legacy
Irina Palm
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
Poor Boys Game
Finn's Girl
Leaving the Fold
The Mourning Forest
Beneath the Rooftops of Paris
Before Tomorrow
Paraiso Travel
Necessities of Life
For a Moment of Freedom
Blood River
By the Will of Genghis Kahn
The Concert
Weaving Girl
Into Eternity
When We Leave
Le Havre
Presumed Guilty
A Separation
Take This Waltz
Beyond The Walls
The Place Beyond the Pines
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus




So far, A & O film critics Nancy Snipper and Andrew Hlaveck have seen the following films. Here are their ratings, always out of 4, reserving 2.5 or more for a noteworthy film, 3.5 for an exceptional film, 4 for a classic.




3.9 -- KAHIL GIBRAN'S THE PROPHET, Rogers Allers
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] Eight of the poet's poems have been integrated into the story of Mustapha who has been put under house arrest for several years. His ideas are perceived as a threat in the Arabic world. Mustapha represents Kahil Gibran, and in the film, we see how peaceful and poetic his soul is. Each of the poetic parts are thematic, and present a guide for humanity to follow during such events as work, love, death etc. All have been magnificently created through animation -- thanks to over 12 of the world's best animation artists. The music is stunning, and Liam Neeson seems to enhance it with his voice; it's perfect for the poet's part. The entire film is a magical visual tapestry of beauty in art, music as it embodies the magnificent mind of Kahil Gibran. The plot is touching and uplifting, but I doubt most children would be able to follow the excerpts from The Prophet, incorporated and appearing everywhere throughout the film.

0.0 --  LUDO, Q. Nikon                
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] Ria and her friend meet up with their boyfriends for a night out on the town. The two couples try to find a place to get it on, but no hotel will accept them; they’re under age. Breaking into a shopping mall long after closing hours, and thinking they are alone, they begin their loving antics. Two vampire-like entities that hold the key to a magic board game (Ludo is in fact a real board game, and the film obviously incorporates it) pursue them; they eat the boys and scare the guts out of the girls. Beyond amateurish, this Bengali film had its world premier screening at Fantasia; one hopes it will be its dernier – deserving to be tossed into the global pit of pathetic films.

1.3 -- HOSTILE, Nathan Ambrosioni
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] Two sisters are adopted and become possessed. Killing their loved ones, they know it's a case of “he made me do it.” It is their tutor who takes them to a couple; the pair claim they can help the girls recover. No one comes out breathing in this situation. The film is anti-adoption, anti-doctor, anti- tutor, anti reporter, and anti anything that doesn’t have to do with blood. What a silly movie. The French are great at comedy and police thrillers. Judging by this film, they are horrible at making horror flicks. Fantasia has got to start doing better.

1.4 -- OBSERVANCE, Joseph Sims-Dennett
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] When Parker holes up in a slum apartment for the purpose of spying on a blond girl in the apartment across from him, using his camera, paranoia sets in. He is going to be paid handsomely for this job, but he has no idea what he is after, but his employer never reveals himself, except by calling in to ask Parker if he has anything to report. The woman of interest has some guy who slaps her occasionally, but in the end, it is Parker who finishes her off. A dumb Australian movie fit only for a Fantasia Festival where gore suffices for no plot at a screening not worthy of any eye staring at it. I'm beginning to question if there is any merit to selecting such films and asking people to pay to see them; this film is as flat as the screen itself.

2.1 --  SYNCHRONICITY, Jacob Gentry
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] Physicist Jim Beale, played by Tom Cruise look-alike Chad McKnight, has created a time machine that penetrates worm holes, but tycoon capitalist Klaus Meisner wants to buy it, and more or less will get his hands on it by squeezing Jim out; after all he’s got the money. Jim meets Abby who seems to be playing both sides – traversing Jim’s worm hole as he also does. Great sets of Escher-like complexity still can’t save this film. The only colour in this film noir piece is a duplicated red dahlia that mirrors itself on both side of the worm hole, and everyone’s after it. I’d pass on this one except if you’re a lover of dahlias and wormholes.

1.8 -- OJUJU, C.J. "Fiery" Obasi
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] Anyone who's ever read The African Predicament by Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor -- a book comprising a series of poignant essays condemning corruption in Nigeria -- can visually see the worst of the country through this horror flick that in an indirect way makes a statement about the millions of Nigerians who die from tainted water every year. In this zombie film, a slumload of people is exploiting one another in the basest ways, but even those with a craving for lustful adventures have got to take time out to eat and drink water. Those that drink water end up coughing and getting very very sick. They turn into cannibalistic zombies who walk through the shanty lanes, attacking anyone they can find, and eating them. Part vampirish camp and mainly amusing, the film is a notable example of Nollywood nonsense at its goriest. The word,'ojuju' means an evil spirit.

2.3 --  H., Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] Troy, New York gets hit by a meteorite and two odd women – one who seems to be pregnant one moment, but not the next, and the other – a sixty-something-old woman who holds a baby doll and feeds it as if it were alive and her own, are obsessed with motherhood. Both are named Helen, but unlike Helen of Troy in the Greek story, these women have men in their lives who are not as fond of them as they are of their men. The meaning of this film may be deep but it eludes me, much in the way people feel lost after the grand explosion. A low-key art-house film with a decidedly captivating tone and premise, but no matter how hypnotic the mood, without a good story, everything suffers. Too artsy-fartsy for my taste, but the music, especially the piece by Arvo Pärt (Spiegel im Spiegel) is ethereally lovely.

3.8-- ASSASSINATION, Choi Dong-hoon
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] It has been quite a year for South Korean film at Fantasia 2015. It is therefore fitting that one of this year’s closing films is the international première of Assassination, a period masterpiece by Thieves director Choi Dong-hoon. Decades under Japanese occupation have created strange bedfellows as well as a fractured resistance that is nominally held together by a government-in-exile based in Shanghai. It is 1933, and Independence Army Captain Yem Seok-jin (Lee Jung-jae) is tasked to bring together three misfits, led by brilliant sniper Ahn Ok-yun, to carry out an important assassination in Seoul. Nothing is as it seems. The trio are betrayed by a mole within the Provisional Government and find themselves pursued by famed hit man Hawaii-Pistol (Ha Jung-woo). Assassination effortlessly fuses a technically masterful production with a superbly crafted, convincingly performed, narrative. Few niggles aside -- related to South Korean cinema’s inexplicable penchant for sentimental codas, and superfluous use of slow motion -- the film is utterly captivating and engages its audience to a rarely seen degree of empathy. Keep a lookout for Assassination at local independent theatres.

0.0 -- COSMODRAMA, Philippe Fernandez
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] There’s about as much drama in the plot of this film as there is in a dying fly. A Star Trek–like space ship’s interior is housing scientists and a monkey who ruminate (not the monkey) on Black Holes, galaxies and the meaning of nothingness. They have no idea why they are on this ship or where they are, but they still manage to be playful, have meetings, drink and walk around nude. Each talks in a monotone voice and is fascinated by the mysteries of space. These galactic guys and three girls (when not appearing in their double figurative form) decide there is life in other galaxies. Thank the stars on that point because if life were like this film, there would be no point to staying inside or outside the vessel. One would die of tedium. Only the French can create a film of pretentious philosophical banter about the origins of space and bore us to tears. Obviously, it’s a spoof but on what? The film should have adopted a Monty Python style. However, this piece of nonsense may turn out to be a cult classic – if extraterrestrials discover it floating somewhere around. Also, wouldn’t it be amazing if the doubles that appear in the film also include the appearance of two Captain Kirks inside his own vessel! Then again, his wasn’t an orange orb. What a silly film that deserves to be sent up in space without any landing gear.

[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] An original combo of martial arts mayhem and tongue in cheek verbal jabs as two incompatible police partners try to track down an enigmatic man who controls an unseen viral weapon set to destroy Habour City in China. He and his fighting minions have planned to isolate the city by blowing up all of its main entry points, and then launch a bacteriological attack that will put an end to everyone and everything so the world can start anew. It is a perverse vision that believes destruction leads to cleansing. Examples referred to are the Black Plague and influenza -- both of which wiped out millions of people. Fortunately, the misguided creep gets his day in hell; the good dudes win out and stability is assured. The film is a dashing mix of brilliant fights framed within an unpredictable plot in a classy production. The sets were fantastic. The polarized philosophical ying-yang thread of comments made by characters added an element of serious introspection in this otherwise action-packed Taiwanese film.

2.6 --  THE MASTER PLAN, Alain Darborg
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] A clever and somewhat thrilling take on busting into Sweden’s richest tycoon’s vault to steal oodles of cash. This uber-wealthy tycoon is a wicked woman who actually murdered her own family to take over the company. About to announce to her shareholders that the company will be opening offices all around the world, the truth about her character and the killing of her father suddenly comes up on the screen in front of the entire crowd. There she is angrily stating her actions to the thieves she is about to dispose of as she catches them in her huge vault. But evil has its way of turning on its perpetrator. The thieves are a group of friends with expert skills. The way they get the money is ingenious. It’s a unique film on an old theme. Sometimes confusing in its editing, nonetheless, it’s tautly woven and well acted.

1.9 --  ANTISOCIAL 2, Cody Calahan
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] A mysterious virus has infected almost everyone. Its contagious origin comes from the computer and spreads to those connected with computer chatting. In order to disinfect people, a mad man scientist -- husband to heroine Sam (played again by Michelle Mylett) captures her and submits her to horrid brain torture treatment; she is the one person along with her missing young son -- taken from her at birth and held in a solitary enclosure of protective sheets of tinsel that have the key to unlocking this mystery -- all of it in their brains.. Mother and son are connected to one another – not by computer but by birth, so wahtever she endures, he does too. Sam’s brain holds the key to immunity, and experimenting on her is gruesomely vivid. Getting infected comes at a lethal cost; a long wormy creature that can enter you through any orifice. A gory film that could have carried a great message about computer viruses and humans’ addiction to the technology, but I missed the point of this film, though it was well made. Seeing the first in the duo series may have provided more impact to just seeing this one.

2.5 -- THE DARK BELOW, Douglas Schulze
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] A woman marries her diving instructor; they both own a diving store and they are specialists in ice diving. He is completely insane and digs a hole in ice and submerges her. He keeps her there while he goes about his business. He also tries to drown their young daughter at the lake of their cottage, but in the end, we see she survives in the hospital. The mother, now dying from the effects of captivity in the frozen hole, finds a way to climb out from the ice and is able to kill her sick spouse who checks in on her from time to time. There is no dialogue in the film, and this makes it most eerie and ultimately an effective horror film. However, we never do discover why this man wants to drown her in the frigid water. He did succeed in drowning his other female students. A well crafted piece whose central scary character you would not want to go ice fishing with.

3.8 -- SCHERZO DIABOLICO, Adrián Garcia Bogliano
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] What compels a man to act out his sexual fantasies where he allows himself to be fully focused on and consumed by role playing -- to engage seriously in it but not with the one person he should be doing it with – his wife? This movie shows taboo territory that is terrifying not only for the female victim of his fantasy cruelty but also for the perpetrator: Aram. He’s Mexican, mild mannered and slight in build. He is also a sycophant assistant working in a law firm, and he deeply but quietly resents the fact he is not moving up the ladder; yet he’s doing most of the preparatory case work. While much appreciated by his boss for his hard work, his salary doesn’t change, but his thoughts do. He’s hiding seething anger that quietly begins to rattle until it shakes his civility and stability, putting his manipulative skills into action which ultimately morphs into an obsessive creepy plan. Through a skuzzy gangster he once helped, he finds out how to do the 'chimera' choke hold until the person faints. He practices the technique on unsuspecting members of his family – his father and six-year-old son. They pass out, but don’t remember it. He stalks a high school student, applies the chimera and kidnaps her. Another major character in the film is the music – in particular a piano piece he plays composed by Mozart. His boss likes this piece; he heard Aram playing it in his office, and buys the CD with the piece on it – an important moment, for Mozart ends up being the saviour of the girls’ life and the downfall of Aram’s. After Aram hides her in a warehouse and torments her as she is tied up to a pole and harnessed with a dog collar, he finally releases her. But one day, his boss -- who has now been fired for poor results and has come undone at the seams -- bumps into Aram outside a record store. The daughter comes out and this is where we are not sure she recognizes her tormentor. Her father has just purchased the CD with that piece on it, and when he plays it for his daughter at home she has a psychotic breakdown and the movie turns then turns into one of remarkable wrath and revenge. It’s a great story with an unfathomable climactic finale. The mounting tension and character development of Aram was brilliantly acted by Francisco Barreiro.

3.4 --  KUNGFU KILLER, Teddy Chan
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] A superb display of different martial arts’ techniques within a suspenseful plot pumped up with intense character intrigue makes this movie a Chinese classic. Mo Hahoo, perfectly played by the charismatic actor Donnie Yen, is a supreme master in the martial arts, but he’s in jail for murder. He’s a noble man who’s idolized by his peers, but no one is truly a match for him when it comes to his furious fist moves, and several other related fighting techniques. The trouble is, he can’t control his temper, and tackles his problems using his protean fists. Ironically, it is this very fact that actually pits him successfully against his match Fung Yu-Sau, another kung fu master who is killing every specialist in the fighting arts in order to meet his best opponent – Mo Hahoo. He gets his wish. Mo Hahoo is released from jail to assist the police in finding Yu-Sau; he claims to know what the killer’s intention and his hit list of men he’ll sneak up on and fight them until death. He believes that the martial arts is meant for killing, not for sport, and he sticks to this belief. The fighting scenes in this film are second to none – some are short and to the point; others are dramatically intense, and effectively fearsome, but there’s far more to this film than men displaying their martial arts machismo Chinese style.

3.8 -- BLACK EYES (SHORT), Rick Spears
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Screened ahead of Cop Car, Rick Spears’ wonderful Black Eyes efficiently exposes the difficult, emotional world of being a lonely kid. Cop Car star Hays Wellford plays ‘Alex,’ a geeky kid, who finds Alice (Elena Lazorishak) attempting to slit her wrists. Alex offers another path, and the two go on to revel in a highly imaginative and cinematic make-believe that makes the long summer days -- and Alice’s sadness -- quickly pass. Spears’ film short references genre films in general and speaks to anyone who has ever flirted with teenage darkness. The film’s affirmation of life and imagination -- as well as clever responses to bullying -- is not only poignant but utterly charming and should be bundled with Cop Car at every turn.

4. 0 -- COP CAR, John Watts
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Borne from director and co-writer John Watts’ recurring dream and fleshed out in screen form by writing partner Christopher D. Ford, Cop Car mixes the coming-of-age and bad cop genres to stunning effect. Ten year-olds Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) and Harrison (Hays Wellford) have had it with small-town life and decide to run away from it all. Their cross country trek under the big Colorado sky is uneventful, imaginative kid fun, that takes a serious turn when they stumble upon a police cruiser tucked away at the bottom of a little ravine. Seemingly abandoned, the two decide to investigate. One kid dare leads to another and soon the two are driving across the prairie, figuring things as they go along, living the grandest adventure of their short lives. Unbeknownst to them, the car belongs to Sheriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon), a crooked cop who needs his car back very badly indeed. As the boys become increasingly aware that something is not entirely right, Kretzer’s nightmares come true. There is no real cat in this hunt, just three mice, all determined to avoid the consequences of their actions. The film is a pleasure to behold in its every detail and particularly in its deliciously nuanced performances, led by Kevin Bacon’s magnificent portrayal of the screwed up, panicked Kretzer. Though reminiscent of the Coen brothers’ aesthetic, Watts’ film allows childhood innocence and dark adult complexity to co-exist without sentimentality or cynicism. Simple, direct, beautifully shot, Cop Car is a complete package whose magic lies not in knowing what happens, but in enjoying the ride from start to finish -- a ride that will thrill each and every time.

[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Retirement is not an option, at least, not for Ryuzo (Tatsuya Fuji) who is stiffled by the boredom of ex-yakuza existence. Everywhere he looks, he bewails the lost codes of honour with which he lived. His family is ashamed of him and his bark doesn't seem to have the bite it once used to. He laments this loss of respect to his old wingman Ichizo (Ben Hiura), and the two decide to look up their old gangmates. In doing so, they stumble upon a new wave of organized crime that shows utter contempt for anyone and everyone -- old yakuza farts above all! Twists and turns lead the new-old gang in town into a direct confrontation with younger, more ruthless, less scrupulous gangsters. Kitano's endearing offering proves, once again, that this hard-boiled gangster film director has a very deft touch. Perhaps age has forced him to ponder life away from film; regardless Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen is at heart a sentimental film, celebrating growing old with a sense of dignity, all in a context that this master of the genre knows so well.

1.8 --  RYUZO AND THE SEVEN HENCHMEN, Takeshi Kitano
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] When seven geriatric Japanese men resurrect their yakuza code of honour, they take on a food corporation while using some pretty low tactics to earn money for themselves. Ryuzo who leads this band of misfits is at loggerheads with his son who works for the food company where corruption reigns and the food is unhealthy. Sadly, the men prove they are as good at bungling things up as they are fighting with one another. It’s a case of the seven stooges taking on criminals, but they all end up in the slammer. The film is not as funny as one would hope such a premise to be, and the characters are not interesting. It’s a somewhat amusing take on lasting camaraderie, but the comedy is certainly not exceptional.

2.8 -- ROBBERY, Fire Lee
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Fire Lee's dark Hong Kong comedy ties together the pitiful fates of a group of strangers. Recently unemployed Richard wanders the empty streets and stumbles on a 24-hour convenience store looking to hire. Run by an abusive manager, Lee and a shy female co-worker, Mabel, immediately hit it off. After a first attempted robbery is foiled by a mafia kingpin, the situation becomes more and more twisted. With each new twist, Robbery forces its audience deeper into the nihilistic darkness at the core of Hong Kong life. Though violent and gory, Fire Lee is able to use Tarantino's flair for the visual, while maintaining an altogether more poignant narrative integrity.

3.0 -- EXCESS FLESH, Patrick Kennelly
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Hailed as an indie masterpiece at this year’s SXSW, director and co-writer Patrick Kennelly’s debut feature dives very deep into the twisted world of female obsession and desire, all rolled up in the context of society’s tyrannical control of the female body. This toxic cocktail is presented in a highly visceral and frequently off-putting mise-en-scène, made inescapable by the tightly framed cinematography. Bethany Orr delivers a gripping performance as ‘Jill.’ Unemployed since her arrival in L.A. some months before, Jill shares an apartment with her best friend Jennifer (Mary Loveless), who works in the fashion industry. Shy, awkward and surrounded by a cut-throat world of professional jealousy and unreal ideals of beauty, Jill becomes obsessed with her body image and the food deprivation that goes along with it. She becomes equally obsessed with Jennifer, whose dismissive promiscuity and gluttonous relationship with food further gnaw at her sanity. Early on, Kennelly pushes past the line of ordinarily stereotypical female jealousy and competition and travels on to explore, in a most grotesque manner, the darkest fringes of the female psyche. Disturbing and challenging to watch, Excess Flesh succeeds in visually representing the fractured reality of madness. As for its value as a serious commentary on how society and industry set up women for failure, it is best that viewers decide for themselves. Excess Flesh screens late on August 1st.

1.6 --  ANIMA STATE, Hammad Khan
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] A man with a totally bandaged face goes around shooting people: teenagers, a cop, a transgender, and a hospitable, happy guy who takes him into his dilapidated dwelling for a night. He convinces a TV host to put him on for an interview; he promises to commit suicide in front of the cameras, but instead shoots the hosts of the show during the program. Black and white footage of Islamic supporters, militants and student protests often intercede in the story. The film delivers a disparaging statement on Pakistan and its impoverished state of affairs in a convoluted, totally unrealistic and terribly flat manner. Apathy and depression pervaded the tone of the film and worked against the intention of the film’s significance.

3.8 --  CASH ONLY, Malik Badner
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] A gritty slice of Albanian brotherhood – gambling, smoking and partying in a slum area in Detroit. They’re good to each other, sometimes fight but on the whole, help each other out of a fix. Elvis Martini is in doubly deep trouble. He’s a landlord and everyone is avoiding paying the rent. He’s in big debt to bookies and his daughter’s school. He’s even set his own house on fire, not knowing his wife was sleeping inside. He needed the money. His surveillance camera in the complex catches one of his non-paying tenants hiding packages of cash. He steals it when she’s out, and pays off the bookie, but bad times are abrewing. That cocaine was supposed to go a brutal drug lord, and this pig wants to find it; the evicted tenant reports to the drug guy who has it, and now they’re after Elvis. His men kidnap Elvis’s daughter as collateral, but he has no idea how he’s going to find 25,000 grand by midnight to get her back. The film offers a low key tone set against a growing underbelly of violence. Nickola Shrell as Elvis was excellent. He also wrote the script. A great U.S, indie film merges the thriller genre with Albanian angst.

0.0 --  THE EDITOR, Adam Brooks
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] A film company’s director who looks just like Martin Scorsese is all part of this grade B boring flick spoof. The filmed scenes are about sex and slaughter and mayhem, and that’s exactly what happens when the lens is capped. People are getting axed and sawed in half by some psycho long after the camera is off. Talk about being caught in the act – more like cut in the act. The editor who lost four fingers in an editing accident is the culprit; the dead are always found with the fingers missing. This movie is a sham, but at best, it may find its niche in the dustbin of Canadian cult rejects.

2.5 -- SNOW GIRL AND THE DARK CRYSTAL, Peter Pau & Zhao Tianyu
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] A spellbinding epic fantasy where Heaven, Earth and Hell are about to collide, thanks to the evil Machiavellian Heavenly official god Zhang, who wishes absolute power over all three realms. He has as his protégé demon hunter Zhong Kui, who believes his mentor is a good man. Demons are about to take over earth, but as the story unfolds complications and lines blur between who the good guys really are. Getting the dark crystal means saving lives. Can a human fall in love with a beautiful demon named Snow Girl? Traversing the enchanting regions between Hell, Heaven and Earth turns into a magnificent voyage thanks to many FX special effects companies including Weta Workshop (Lord of the Rings and Planet of the Apes). The denouement recalls Romeo and Juliet, which tastefully tugs on the emotions of the viewer.

3.8 -- MARSHLAND, Alberto Rodriguez
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Without a doubt among Fantasia 2015’s best offerings, Marshland cleaned up at this year’s Spanish Goya cinema awards with no less than 10, making it one of the most awarded films in the country’s history. Alberto Rodriguez sets his procedural film in the marshlands of Andalusia, not long after the fall of Franco’s dictatorship. An odd couple of out of town cops arrive to investigate the disappearance of two local teenage girls. Soon they find themselves embroiled in a series of brutal murders that have haunted the community for some time. Leftist Pedro (Raul Alevaro) and old-school bruiser Juan (Javier Gutierrez), who has been around since the Franco days, must quickly find a way to work together as they negotiate a tense landscape of deeply ingrained corruption that may not necessarily wish to air its dirty laundry. Stunningly shot, making full use of the natural landscape, Marshland is a tour-de-force that powerfully blends a gripping crime thriller with with the political and social realities of a country coming face to face with its own demons. Don’t miss the August 3rd screening!

[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] Brilliant brilliant brilliant! Non-stop hyper kinetic gags and hilariously colourful characters are caught trying to bring down the villains who have stolen a huge steel safe from the building of the TIA, an elite investigative agency. Things spin out of control in this rich plot of ingeniously brash and dashy animation. Two bumbling agents, called Mortadelo and Filemon, are akin to the odd couple, and both undergo hair-raising dangers to retrieve the safe. Along the way, they end up getting blown up, stomped on, flattened and laughed at, but these guys have this supernatural resilence. The animation is awesomely clever and infinitely funny. The details, characters and sets invite you into an insane world where everything goes wrong. Beyond imaginative are the two words that come to mind, for the slapstick violence happens so fast and in such a funny manner, that it is hysterically pleasing. Think of Wallace Gromit in fast motion, and these two witless loveable sleuths created in a masterpiece of Spanish insanity.

3.5 --  MISS HOKUSAI, Keiichi Hara
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] In 1814, the lively city of Edo (the future Tokyo) was spilling over with audacious, free-spirited artists, such as Katsushika Hokusai – known as Tetsuzo to the people. Renown for pioneering ukiyo-e (Japnanese woodblock prints), he lived with his unmarried daughter O-Ei. Both are fine artists, but her father is a gruff fellow whose temperament works well for his art, but not so well for the family. He has a younger daughter who was born blind, and he rarely goes to visit her, for she lives with the mother. O-Ei loves that little sister to bits, but resents her father for shunning her. He is so afraid of her dying, that his solution is to paint and avoid her. Miss Hokusai is such an interesting woman, she often completes her father’s paintings, and those she herself creates reflect her fiery, independent personality. In fact, people fear her work as they think they are demonic. There is no growing plot in the film, but no matter. We follow the marvelous lives of this family and their colourful friends as each dares to plunge into his own destinies. Humourous, touching and stunningly animated, this is yet another classic masterpiece created by the Keiichi Hara and Miho Maruo (scriptwriter) team. The face of Miss Hokusai held a look of aloofness and introspection, There was no sentimentality in the characters. The revved up rock sound track added daring contemporary feel to the film. It also highlighted the genius and fierce independence of Miss Hokusai – a woman ahead of her time. The attention to architectural detail framed within dazzling edges of light and dark is a stroke of genius. Miss Hokusai garnered the Jury Award in this year’s Annecy International Film Festival.

2.0 -- FULL STRIKE, Derek Kwok
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] Despite the anticipated excitement over a first-ever badminton film of comedy to come out of Hong Kong, the unique topic divides its intention in polar plot directions that weaken the emotional impact -- other than some light-hearted, exaggerated moments coming form stereotypic characters. The plot is over-the-top as usual in many Asian comedies. Beast Ng (award-winner actor, Josie Ho) is a has-been badminton champion, but that's about to change. By chance, on a stormy night, three-ex cons who want to change their lives meet up with her in an abandoned sports centre. They decide to use badminton to change their lives and Beast Ng is the one to help them make it happen. Eventually a great tournament takes place, but trouble is not far off. The film incorporates a martial arts sceme during the tournament episode, and some high pop dazzle in frozen close-up shots of facial expressions. I found the film to be childish and overly-manipulative in using standard stock effects to get laughs.

3.0 -- COP CAR, Jon Watts
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] Travis and Harrison are 10-year-old boys who love adventure, and are wandering on the flat land of Colorado -- the perfect place to find things and use them to create games. Like many boys, they don't know where to draw the line between fantasy and reality, and call it quits. They end up stealing an abandoned cop car they see in a dirt gully. They find the keys and embark on a dangerous discovery ride of danger. Sheriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon) is the owner of that car, but unfinished business has taken him a way from it. He has just popped the trunk to drag out a dead body and dump it in an abandoned empty well of some sort just near his car. This is one bad cop; he's a sniffer of the white stuff. Half of the film comprises the suspenseful attempts of this cop trying to get back his wheels, but it ain't an easy feat. The boys discover there's a man tied up inside the trunk, and this bloody, beaten-up guy convinces the boys to untie him and let him go free. Bad mistake. The man is no good and locks the boys in the back seat with its full-proof locks and caged divider between the front and the back. The man devises a clever plan to kill the cop, but the sheriff is equally sneaky. This movie is so believable, sparse and realistic. The acting is utterly natural. It was a clever move on the director's part to not incorporate any music throughout the film. The silence of this barren area of Colorado enhanced the film's Spartan brutality. The intensity builds so brilliantly, this highly original film belongs in the sold-out box-office category.

1.2 -- ON THE WHITE PLANET, Hur Burn-Wook
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] A product of the Korean Academy of Film Arts' Advanced Program, this animation film is the director's debut foray into the genre. Judging by this particular film, the Academy's protégés are still struggling at the infancy stage of the learning curve. The premise of this excessively violent and vulgar film involves a young black boy who receives violent treatment from all the people living on this strange planet, including his white mother who eventually hangs herself. Everyone is white, so of course this boy doesn't fit in; he desperately wants to be white. He takes out his rage on all whites all the while they are beating him up. It is either a scathing indictment of North Korea's incessant obsession with uniformity and the persecution of its citizens who are different; or it is a statement about white supremacy and the victimization of those who aren't white. But this black boy is no slouch. Rather than feeling sorry for himself, he's as brutal and mean as those wicked white guys. The animation was unimaginative, the characters were stiff and repulsive to watch.

3.5 -- GOODNIGHT MOMMY, Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Another remarkable Austrian entry at this year’s Fantasia, Goodnight Mommy has become an unexpected favourite, selling out both of its two screenings. Twins Elias (Elias Schwarz) and Lukas (Lukas Schwartz) are glad to have their mother (Suzanne Wuest) home from the hospital following a difficult operation. The two are somewhat unnerved by the sight of their mother’s completely bandaged face. Something is different. They suspect that their mother is not quite the same. She sets new restrictive house rules meant to aid her convalescence, which the usually well-behaved boys feel to be not only unwarranted but entirely out of character. As the situation becomes more desperate and their mother’s attitude more violent and erratic, the boys conspire to unmask the intruder. Definitely not for the faint of heart, Goodnight Mommy is a very dark rumination on parenthood and the fickle bonds that maintain parental authority. Excellent pacing and great cinematography amplify the already eerie mood and the directors make wonderful use of light and shadow to achieve a sense of impending dread. Children’s imaginations are powerful forces not to be dismissed. Goodnight Mommy makes this point chillingly and graphically clear.

2.6 -- TURBO KID, François Simard, Anouk Whissell &Yoann-Karl Whissell
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Among the most hotly anticipated films of Fantasia 2015, Turbo Kid is a homegrown post-apocalyptic fairy tale about a young man’s discovery of his hidden strengths. Turbo Kid also seems to be a lavish gift to Gen Xers who will surely recognize the multiple references to their analog/early digital childhoods. The Kid (Munro Chambers) is a solitary scavenger living in a post-apocalyptic reality that is dominated by the scarcity of water and the murderous gang of thugs lead by Zeus (a portly Michael Ironside), a self-styled Roman emperor. The Kid spends his days scavenging for 80s paraphernalia, which has become the principal currency for barter. He is particularly obsessed with the character of Turbo Rider, from which comics he gains his much of his moral compass. One day he meets Apple who latches onto him as her new best friend and together they go on to battle the evil forces of Zeus and his terrible lieutenant, Skeletron (Edwin Wright). If Turbo Kid seems a little infantile, that's because it is. Any question of whether the film was meant for kids, however, is quickly answered when the gore begins. The film’s creators more than succeed in recreating an 80s B-movie with a little steam-punk twist, and make great use of the bleak post-industrial landscapes and architecture of Quebec’s Thetford Mines. Turbo Kid is amazingly detailed and, despite its character issues, the film rolls along in a captivating display of excellent old-school special effects -- including, unbelievably, the use of matt painting -- fantastic cinematography and exceedingly bloody humour. Yet, at film’s end, serious questions remain. Who is this film actually for, and why is it so completely uncritical of the genre it choses to recreate?

2.3 - TURBO KID, François Simard, Anouk Whissell & Yoann-Karl Whissell
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] A Mad Max genre movie set on the heels of a post-1997 apocalypse. This kid whose parents were killed by Zeus, a sadistic villain, survives in his scrap metal dwelling surrounded by Turbo Rider comic books and other1980s stuff, especially toys. He’s an astute kid who appears to be turning 15. He meets cheery Apple, a robot who looks like any other pretty girl. They become close friends. Both meet up with Frederick, famous for his great hand wrestling. But he soon loses one of his hands when Zeus captures him, and more or less tortures him. One-eyed Zeus enjoys doing that kind of thing to anyone who crosses over to where he rules. Turns out when he killed the kids’ parents , the kid was only five.. His brave mom shot the evil creep with her arrow in his eye. This movie finds 110 ways to show nasty fighting and the screen is splayed with innards. Diabolically medieval costumed thugs that look like medieval monsters take on the trio of heroes. Everyone is fighting over water; there is no pure water except that made from human insides. Zeus blends his victims and collects their water, siphoning off from his kill. Turbo kid now armed in his turbo outfit (he found the outfit inside a crash heap with the real but dead Turbo Rider slumped over) that has the power to kill people with an electric zooming blast that comes from the gadget attached to his wrist. Utter nonsense, but Fantasia fans soaked up this kind of far-fetched, surreal stuff. It was well-made, but infantile in plot. Archaic uninteresting characters with no meat to them, especially after they were all blended up in the vat -- didn’t add anything to spice up the visual feast.

1.5 -- NOWHERE GIRL, Mamuro Oshii
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Ghost in the Shell has assured its director, Mamoru Oshii, a place in the Pantheon of Japanese anime. Now, Oshii turns his talents to his first ever live action film in this Canadian Première of the much-anticipated Nowhere Girl. Ai (Nana Sano) is a gifted, sensitive teen who is plagued by some deep unexplained trauma creating a stigma about her at the elite all-girl art school she attends. Her sullen, erratic behaviour, and the free reign given her by school’s administration earn her the scorn of not only her classmates but her art teacher as well. Swathed in soft light, with a bland palette of whites, beiges and grays, the film inches along in a series of obscenely long takes and glacial tracking shots accompanied by serene classical piano. There is little or no character development; every character seems frozen in a particular cryptic attitude towards Ai -- some more sinister than others. Obviously, Oshii intends all of this to create tension. Sadly, this tension is effectively neutralized by the maddening devices deployed to create and sustain it. The few explosive scenes of conflict in the film’s first two acts are quickly aborted and further muffled with excruciatingly-stylized slow motion. By the time bodies start to pile up, it is already too late to care, making the finale laughably predictable that no amount of [admirably] masterful battle scene choreography, mayhem and destruction can ever redeem. Most insulting perhaps is how hard Oshii attempts obfuscate what feels like a re-purposed plot line from Akira. Worse still, is how the film’s unwilling heroine is handled. She has no agency; the narrative is a clockwork exercise in containing her independence or irritating her mental state to illicit a violent reaction. None of this is exclusively Oshii’s fault though. A film is only as good as its original material, in which case writers Kentaro Yamagishi and Kei Yamamura have a lot to answer for.

3.8 --  HAEMOO, Shim Sung-bo
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] It is 1998 and the Korean coastal village of Yeosu is suffering from a depletion of fish and money to fix fishing boats. One such case is Captain Kang and his beloved Junjin – his fishing boat. It’s in need of repair, and he in need of lots of cash. He agrees to smuggle 30 illegal immigrants onto his ship in the middle of the sea. They jump onto the ship and things go from bad to horrific for them and Kang’s motley crew. He holds them in the smelly fishing hole when the Coast Guard comes, but freon gas has escaped into the hiding place and everyone dies, except for one girl who has been hiding in the engine room. One of the crew falls for a girl; he hides her there, but she gets discovered. It’s one dark moment after the other. For Fantasia, this film is perfect; there’s blood, betrayal and the murderous psycho personality of Kang. In the end, he goes down with his ship and the girl and guy jump overboard into their lifeboat. Sadly, they do not end up together. The ending was a bit contrived, but it was a great film.

3.6-- A HARD DAY, Kim Seong-hun
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Any detailed synopsis of Kim Seong-hun’s masterpiece crime action-thriller would be a disservice to a production; it should be one of Fantasia 2015’s representative films. Homicide detective Ko Gun-soo (Lee Sun-kyun) is dealing with the death of his mother. He is called away on police business on the evening of her wake. On a stretch of deserted road, his life irrevocably changes and the following 24 hours will test the very limits of his being. Kim’s darkly comic thriller is narratively airtight as are the compelling performances of its two main stars, Lee Sun-kyun and Cho Jin-woong. Supporting performances round out a cast whose chemistry creates phenomenal tension and opportunity for comic relief -- which is much needed. A Hard Day’s plot twists and turns may be somewhat predictable once the viewer gets into the swing of the narrative, yet, the film is so well timed, filmed, directed -- it’s action sequences so understated and honest -- that it captivates to the very last shot. And, what a shot it is! Don’t miss it. If you miss it, keep an eye out. This film should be virtually guaranteed post-festival distribution.

4.0 --  A HARD DAY, Kim Seong-Hun
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] A highly original, nail-biting thriller reflective of Koran ingenuity with terrifying twists and unexpected moments of dark humour, emotional chaos and edgy near-death situations that are totally credible. The plot never lets up; there isn’t a filament of facile predictability in this hard luck story about a day all gone miserably wrong. Detective Ko Gun-soo (Lee Sun-kyun) is on his way to witness the last moments of his mother in her coffin before burial at the funeral parlour, when on the way, he misses hitting a dog, looks back to see it is ok and then hits a man. He is killed on the spot. Ko has had a few drinks on the day of his mother’s burial, and is called away by his buddy cops regarding an investigation of corruption of which he plays a minor part. He speeds fast in the hope of destroying some documents in his office when he is stopped by cops. By this time he’s put the dead guy in his trunk. He miraculously squeaks his way out of being arrested, and makes it to the funeral parlour. He hides the dead body in the coffin with his mother – one of the most suspenseful scenes I’ve ever witnessed. Incessant phone calls are made to Ho by an unknown man demanding to have the body returned to him. The nasty caller has witnessed the car accident. Why does he want that dead body? This is crucial to the plot and surely makes for the most unique sequence of episodes in the entire movie. Ko eventually discovers why the corpse is so valuable. He also finds out the unknown man at the other end of the line is very well known – a cop himself and the dirtiest kind to hit the Korean screen. Blackmailing, identity surprises, bullets in a body and car chases, plus excellent fight-for-your life scenes make this multi-award-winning feature a must-see. It received a standing ovation at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

3.0 -- THE ROYAL TAILOR, Lee Won-suk
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] An elegantly artistically crafted period piece stiched with wit and wonder. The head tailor hires a roguish country bunkum to help him, but this younger fellow is far more talented then he is. Still the young tailor adores his mentor and compliments him at every chance he gets. The Queen employed him to make her clothes, but soon the whole city wants him and the head tailor seethes with jealousy. The film is about betrayal and the insidious covert emotion of jealousy and its climactic manifestation of hatred. The Queen is never touched by her husband, as she was second choice for him. The King was always ignored and left as a second son -- overshadowed by his brother whom he hated. The head tailor eventually changes his feelings of fondness to hatred for the young tailor and the King's mistress is jealous of the Queen. In the end, clothes end up as tattered rags as people lives begin to shred. The young tailor meets a terrible fate, and the head tailor steals his designs and get s credit for everything long after his young protégé has left this world. There is some long drawn-out scenes and overacting, but the magnificent garments play their own role in bringing the story to its royal conclusion. Even if you are not a fan of Korean court clothes, you'll enjoy the originality of this film that takes us from mirth into sorrow.

1.9 -- MOMENTUM, Steven S. Campanelli
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] Alex Faraday (Olga Kuylenko) is a trained thief and assassin. She is part of group of thieves robbing a bank for its diamonds and special key device. The heist goes wrong, and soon Alex and her chums are running for their lives. She is up against Mr. Washington (James Purfoy of The Following fame), and he is actually working for the Senator (Morgan Freeman) to get that key to him. A completely cluttered series of confusing episodes that leaves us confounded in a frustrating way. One moment Alex is having her leg squeezed in a leg vice until her bone almost pops, is walking with crutches, and the next she is walking like an athlete. Her acting was terrible during that segment. She looked more like a sultry vixen than a woman being tortured, and during the ordeal, her vocal response was more of a purr than a screech of pain. The editing was poor, and no matter how long the first-time director worked alongside Clint Eastwood in several films as his camera man, this former Montrealer might consider returning to his former job. At the Q & A, the number of times he name dropped Mr. Eastwood's moniker was about as many times as there were car chases in the film -- and there were oodles of them. A film whose momentum should have been left off the fast track.

1.5 -- JERUZALEM, Yoav & Doron Paz
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] A campy, disappointing film. When a horror movie doesn't work, it is horrid for the wrong reason -- as in the case of this film; a shame considering its directors made Phobidila -- a terrific film of relevance and subtlety. A flimsy film flop, Jeruzalem is a remake of The Blair Witch Project, but the people aren't looking for demons; they're trying to escape them. The setting is the Old Quarter of the Holy City. Friends Sarah, Rachel and Kevin -- an anthology PhD student -- are staying in the Arab section in a hostel during Yom Kippur and it seems that the undead have come back to visit the old sacred part. When they come there is bombing from helicopters, but in trying to escape the bombs and the winged creatures, the sorry group of partying pals all 'get their wings' -- except Kevin. He knew something was afoot the first day, but when he tried to explain this, he was carted away and put in the crazy house for a time. Rachel gets him out. She wears Google Glasses (Digital Glass headset), and she's constantly commanding the Glasses or crying during the movie. The frenetic movement of her walking while tasking the Glass with commands for mapping/social media/facial recognition becomes so annoying, you wish the demons would get her already.  

2.2 -- GANGNAM BLUES, Yoo Ha
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Though at heart a sprawling gangland epic, Yoo Ha’s Gangnam Blues fictionalizes the history behind the development of one of modern Seoul’s landmark districts -- Gangnam. The year is 1970 when we meet Jong-dae (Min-ho Lee) and Yong-ki (Rae-won Kim), two hoboes squatting in a ramshackle cottage in a farming village on the Gangnam plain. One day they wake up to an excavator tearing apart their roof. Having put up a fight against the thugs hired to force people from their expropriated homes, Jong-dae and Yong-ki’s are pulled into the complex underworld whose godfathers are intimately connected to the highest levels of South Korean business and politics. The film is curiously explicit -- even before the opening titles -- in noting that events and characters depicted are purely fictional. Such a strong disclaimer seems rather emphatic, suggesting that things are far closer to fact than fiction. Given the time line and the dizzying scale of the corruption, perhaps director Yoo Ha is simply covering his rear flank lest he offend someone who might find too strong a resemblance to one of the characters. It is this historical dimension that makes an otherwise unremarkable -- albeit very well produced and action-packed -- mafia epic so thrilling. Despite the huge odds, one truly hopes that Jong-dae and Yong-ki’s elaborate schemes succeed in upending the pyramid of power that has altered their destinies, and that they do become the victors in their struggle against the Goliath that steers the course of the country.

2.1 --  THE INTERIOR, Trevor Juras
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] If your dream is to run away from it all – job, apartment, girlfriend/boyfriend -- and seek a solitary life in a dense forest living under a tent you’ve pitched in the interior of British Columbia, this movie might change your mind. James drops out of civilization. He’s an intelligent, bookish fellow with a good job but a weirdo boss. The lure of the woods beckons him, and though he completely changes his lifestyle – to say the least – his inner-self remains the same until he gets worse. An ominous series of events happens while there; a stranger keeps spying on him from afar, and this silent man removes things from James’s tent while he’s out wandering during the day scrounging for berries. Nighttime brings all kinds of fears for both men. In the end, they are doomed to run away -- not only from each other but from themselves. Patrick McFadden as James shows fear well, but it’s so exaggerated; his face looks like a Jim Carey character. The idea of becoming a hermit is universally appealing to loners, but this film takes a potentially great idea and makes it a mockery of madness. The dramatic classical piano music played for effect was an odd choice, but it worked. In the end, I was laughing, but I got the feeling I wasn’t supposed to be doing that.

2.4 --  ON THE HORIZON, Pascal Payant
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] Casey and Elissa have a toxic relationship, mainly because she is so incommunicative and requires constant attention. She’s beautiful and provocative. Casey is smitten; he admits to her his love, but when she finally does, it’s too late. They leave each other over and over again and take up with new partners – for short duration. Elissa is a bit of a lost tart and pretty much does it with anyone in pants, but ends up marrying a wealthy Swedish guy who rents a castle for her. Eventually, Casey meets someone new and is able to get Elissa out of his system, but a phone call from her from France creates a silent, cold reaction in Casey until he hangs up. Still, old partners have a way of coming back into your memory if not your life. The ending is ambiguous and incomplete. The film weaves a no-frills, yet lyrical tone of intensity between the two lovers. The acting is pretty darn good too: Sandy Leddin and Tyler Johnson. It’s a strange film that moves rather slowly, but it somehow works. Most of us have experienced first hand the film’s all-too familiar theme: can’t live with the love of your life and can’t live without -- despite the hardships. The director obviously has a thing for dark-haired women wearing leather. If you do too, you’ll want to see the film.

2.6 --  (T)ERROR, Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] A clever title indeed. The FBI is recruiting under threat of further long-term jail sentences former convicted Black Panthers and revolutionaries of the Muslim faith. Saeed was jailed 20 years ago for impersonating a transit policeman in Philadelphia, but his sentence was lightened when he became an informant, adopting the code-name Shariff. He started accusing his own Muslim brothers of crimes and the FBI moved in. His mosque was repulsed by his action, but Saeed, a chef, thought he was doing the right thing. He actually enjoyed ferreting out the supposed criminals, and he relished his position of self-importance. He is given a case to study on another Muslim whom is set up by the FBI to appear guilty. The tables turn on Saeed when he realizes he was wrong. The documentary behind-camera interviewer for the documentary changes her position from defending the FBI to revealing its guilt. Since 9/11, over 500 innocent Muslims have been convicted. Investigations are often strategized to create guilt in the Muslim community. Like Citizenfour, this unique film castigates the innocent and celebrates the perpetrators -- in this case -- the American government. It is amazing what the FBI can get away with: trumped up accusations and flawed convictions; the evidence is flimsier than a ragged string. Let’s face it. Paranoia, the seeking of American approval with misguided glory and Muslim issues make for an explosive situation in a country where hatred hides behind the torch raised over the Hudson River by Lady Liberty herself.

2. 2 -- (T)ERROR, Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] In their debut documentary, Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe set out to shed light on the FBI’s highly problematic practice of using paid informants to gather information about 'persons of interest' in the war on terror. Saeed -- or Shariff, as he is known -- is one such informant. Collaborating with the FBI for over 20 years from his early days as a Black Panther revolutionary, Saeed’s story shows how the criminal justice system uses economic status, along with sentencing incentives, to coerce people into collaboration. The film follows Saeed on a real-time operation to draw target Khalifah al-Akili -- an apparent Islamist sympathizer -- into committing acts that could warrant terrorism charges. While examining what can only be described as an ethically bankrupt system, the filmmakers find themselves in equally murky waters as they turn the tables on their own subject. The resulting publicity battle casts doubt on everyone’s intentions and suggests that the FBI is navigating without radar, without charts and without a level-headed pilot. However, it is Cabral and Sutcliffe’s inexperience that makes (T)error so difficult to swallow, as it puts the viewer into the uncomfortable position being captive to their limited viewpoint. Luckily, it is precisely this lack of experience that also exposes the only fundamental truth of the situation: everyone involved is dealing with issues far bigger than they are and no one seems to possess the experience or training to adequately deal with them. This is the truly terrifying point of (T)error.

3.4 --  THE ARTI: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, Samuel Orti Marti
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] This North American premier from Taiwan catapults puppetry with CGI brilliance into an exhilarating novel film experience that highlights classic wuxia characters (sword fighting heroes). At the centre of the story are its brave stars, Zhang Meng’s son, Mo, and daughter, Tong. Before the death of their brilliant father, he created Arti-C, an all powerful mechanical man made of wood and metal who is operated by Mo from his hand. Arti-C is Mo’s constant companion, much to the chagrin of Tong, a terrific sword-fighter who often defends her brother when trouble is brewing. However, the wooden creature’s powers are dwindling, and so the two children travel to Loulan – the place to find the Origin – the source of all power for nature, and man. Arti-C needs it. A ruse by an enemy prince subverts the pleasant peace of Loulan’s people. The goddess who oversees the Origin takes Tong on a terrific ride into beauty and nature’s glory, but a battle is on the horizon. The children get intensely involved in fighting off the foe in order to save Louolan’s people. Brother and sister discover what really matters in life, and enchantment returns but not without sacrifice. The detail and intelligence of the production is staggering. Good and Evil were never framed so wonderfully in this venerable Chinese inspired glove-puppet tradition – now perfected (gone are the gloves) by the Huang family’s company, Pili International Multimedia.

4.0 --  POSSESSED, Samuel Orti Marti
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] One of the most clever Claymation films to hit the Fantasia screen. The exciting story introduces a famous couple – she’s a flamenco dancer; he’s a bullfighter, but tragically he loses his life in an accident. It turns out their little boy named Damien is the devil incarnate. He becomes the household terror, killing most anyone in his way. Eventaully though a defrocked priest saves the day. The condemnation of the church is obvious, and is fittingly integrated into the plot. Indeed, selling your soul to the devil can get you into a bloody mess. This Spanish gem pokes non-stop fun at just about everything moveable and anyone with a self-righteous attitude.

2.3 -- THE CASE OF HANA & ALICE, Shunji Iwai
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] Despite the Japanese charming animation with many moving moments, the plot gets so diffuse with too many superfluous scenes; most probably incorporated to build the friendship between Alice and Hana. It wanders; its light but flat style combines rotoscoping and digital animation – a first for the director into animation. The oddball plot is based on a rumour that a student named Judas was killed in the school classroom where Alice now sits. The Judas story incites much bullying and trickery for the students in the class, particularly for anyone new to the classroom who happens to sit in the supposedly murdered student’s seat – as Alice does. She is somewhat of a goofy sleuth, a fast runner and great ballet dancer. She decides to visit her neighbour for the first time -- acrophobic Hana. Alice has heard Hana may have known this Judas. Together they embark on a adventure to track him down; Hana has her own hidden agenda which is revealed later in the film; she knows far more about Judas than she lets on. But a close friendship can override any secret, and a girly school crush can last a life time even if the guy’s name Judas. I was not impressed by the film whose overly long duration (110 min.) significantly weakened the story.

4.0 -- TEANA; 1000 YEARS LATER, Yi Li
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] The North American premier is an epic 3D CG! Sci-fi that powerfully polarizes evil and good. The monstrous power-monger Devil Wu -- now resurrected from prison -- put there by a great goddess -- has broken free; he's back with a vengeance and lust to control the world and all its tribes. It's déjà vu all over ago Devil-Wu style; he had tried to take over the world, and nearly did 1000 years ago. A haphazard group of creatures led by Joma, a little girl who is tasked with restoring goodness to the world, wins the day, but the group must endure great hardships and impossible obstacles laid out by dangerous supernatural creatures to finalize Devil Wu and his mighty army. They are the mayhem makers, and the battle scenes are non-stop. Many weird tribes who have defended the forces of evil are now called upon to fight, and this is where the humongous imagination and remarkable animation talents of the Chinese animators are demonstrated. The story alludes to Western philosophy and the geniuses of the Western world including the ancient Greek gods. It's a spectacular visionary film whose hybrid creatures of heroic actions feed our sense of wonder and our desire to defend peace and justice no matter the time or place. The movie is indeed about that, but unveiled in a magical manner.

3.2 -- THE SHAMER'S DAUGHTER, Kenneth Kainz
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] Set in medieval times, this Danish film unfolds like a thriller fantasy. Young Dina and her mother are able to make people see the shame in their lives by staring into their eyes which induces an hypnotic state. They are both called to the castle to determine if Nicodemus is the killer of the family of Ravenlord, once ruled by Ebenezer; he has been murdered along with his pregnant wife and son. Drakan ensures that Nicodemus appears to be the guilty one, so he calls in the girl to the castle to read into Nicodemus's eyes, however, she declares him innocent. Now the action starts for Drakan of Dragonlord who poses as a loyal royal of Rvenlord, as he knows he is the one who really murdered the Lord Ebenezer and his family. He drinks blood of a ferocious dragon that also plays a starring role. The young Dina almost gets done-in three times, but never underestimate the bravery and cleverness of a white witch. The film moves believably into a climactic dragon-face off with the accused witches -- Dina and her mother -- but the power to sway with words and sword have their final say, and the House of Ravenlord is once more restored. The narrative is gripping and there are several enchanting moments in this film, toted as Denmark's finest this year.

2.3 -- CATCH ME DADDY, Daniel Wolfe
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] The film succeeds in showing the dark depravity of poverty among immigrants and druggies living in some barren part of West Yorkshire. Laila (masterfully played by Sameena Jabeen Ahmed) and her unemployed boyfriend act like kids in the trailer they live in. He makes drugs out of pills as does most others in the film. In fact, Laila is being hunted down by two drug gangs in competition with one another to bring the poor girl back to her Pakistani father living somewhere within driving distance (there’s a lot of that in the film). Laila and her boyfriend flee in the night but it all ends in catastrophe. The film has so many cell phone scenes, drivers chasing one another, killings and moves gone wrong, that it gets confusing, even irritating. Still, the acting is brilliant and the cold bleak life of thugs living on the edge, ingesting trash food, drugs and smoking cigs makes the whole kidnapping and daily lives of everyone depressing. The ending of the movie leaves viewers hanging in the air (with emphasis on ‘hanging’); we never do find out Laila’s fate. She’s a pretty tough gal considering she never gets to drink water throughout the movie. The snake in the aquarium scene was pure and silly artsy symbolism that did not fit into the hardcore realism of the film’s mood. Is this a case of bad editing all-round?

2.1 -- BRIDGEND, Jadep Rønde
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Rønde’s eerily beautiful film fictionalizes the string of teenage suicides that befell the small south Welsh community of Bridgend between 2007-20012. Sara returns (Hannah Murray) to her childhood along with her policeman father, Dave (Steven Waddington), who is set to investigate the rash of suicides. Quiet, demure, bringing along her horse, Sara is soon pulled into the tightly knit community of teens who are bound by the inexplicable -- albeit very regular -- suicides of their friends and classmates. The film begins on a note of high tension, its moody cinematic landscape taking full advantage of the region’s stark weather patterns. Beautifully shot, with a typically haunting soundtrack, the claustrophobic, oppressive, obsessive world of teenage angst is presented in sharp relief against the incapacity of the town’s adults to form lines of communication with their children. Rønde is said to steer clear of explanations and, though the film attempts to infuse gothic horror into the mundane social realities it depicts, it fails to convince that anything other than a social tragedy is actually plaguing the community. The real horror of Bridgend appears to be the reality of decaying social structures that spur British youth to binge drinking and violence. Whatever the window dressing, this is a film about teenage angst that has found expression in a morbid cult of suicide as a means of escape. The adults are absent; when present, they act rather monstrously suggesting that the real horrors lurk not in the shadowy woods, but in the sombre interiors of the town’s dwellings. Ultimately, the high C-note of tension fails to carry through to film’s end, becoming a shadowy, flickering farce of itself.

3.0 -- THERAPY FOR A VAMPIRE, David Rühm
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] David Ruhm’s quirky, atypical vampire flick negotiates a web of relationships all of which are variously tied to the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. In 30s Vienna, Count Genza von Könzöm (Tobia Moretti) and his wife Countess Elsa (Jeanette Hain) are terribly bored. After hundreds of years together, they have had plenty of time to perfect their neuroses. Elsa, haunted by the loss of her reflection, dominates the timid Genza who in turn secretly pines after his long lost love. He seeks out Freud for therapy and stumbles upon his love reincarnated in the form of Lucy (Cornelia Ivancan), the precocious girlfriend of artist Viktor (Dominic Oley). Ironically Freud has hired the gifted young artist -- who is in turn obsessed with revamping Lucy’s tomboyish image -- to draw his patient's dreams. To complete the bizarre circle of unfulfilled desires, Elsa hires Viktor to paint her portrait and the vampire couple’s butler, Ignaz (Anatole Taubman), becomes completely smitten with Lucy. David Ruhm knows his psychoanalysis and has terribly clever fun staging scenes of delicious situational humour. Everyone’s obsessions pile one on top of the other and the mythical abomination that is 'the vampire' is thus cut down to human size. The film is both subtle in it’s intellectual humour and raucously funny in the expertly played set-pieces. Excellent cinematography and mise-en-scène provide lovely little details to obsess over for the more compulsive among us.

3.0 --  SLUMLORD, Victor Zarkov
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] Scary stuff to watch. By and large, landlords are pretty weird, but the one in this horror flick is a dangerous pervert. Gerald -- the loner landlord -- has installed cameras in every nook of the house where Claire and Ryan have just moved. He’s a stinky voyeur who eventually does unspeakable things. Ryan is having an affair with his co-worker, but that will soon end for both of them. Suspense mounts with each passing day as Gerald plots away to have his way. Actor Neville Archambault as Gerald is repulsively remarkable in the role. Fear engulfs the viewer right away as his intense, ugly face looms large in the lens the entire movie. A compelling thriller that slowly creeps into heights of terror.

3.2 --  ROAR, Noel Marshall
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] What a claw-clincher of a cult film made in 1981 with a cast of hundreds of lions mingling and mauling the director who plays Hank. He lives on a nature preserve populated by all kinds of lions, panthers, tigers and more. He gets mauled along with Tippi Hedren, his real-life wife and also on-screen wife, their daughter Melanie Griffith and sons John and Jerry. Brave are those that were in the film. When Hank is out trying to catch lion killers, his family arrives unexpectedly. Most of the movie consists of the family finding ways to escape from the invasion of the big cats entering the complex log house with its makeshift doors, windows and sizeable slots. Indeed, there are a myriad of ways the lions get in and an equal number of ways the family tries to hide from them. In the end, all is one big lion cuddle fest, but some of those mean hunters actually put a bullet through some lions who had wandered off the preserve. The shots were pretty amazing, and though no animals were harmed in the movie, the actors were. Cinematographer Jan de Bott needed 120 stitches to repair a scalp injury. It was his first feature and probably his last involving any lions. The end credits have endless pleas to stop killing lions and how to make it happen with protests and boycotts. I loved the fiim if not for the close up lens shots of amazing lion faces and fights, but because no one would dare make such a dangerous film like Roar today. The music sounds like a happy carnival-ride track and it is so campy in parts, that despite the seemingly scary scenes, you come out feeling very good – even wanting to be an extra in such a film. Were they to make such a film today, it would be a real horror film where everyone gets ripped apart. Ah, to go back to the 80s when the roar of the lion lingered as remarkable call to love nature’s beasts close up -- without some blood-thirsty Hollywood director going for the horror end of things

3.5 -- CATCH ME DADDY, Daniel Wolfe & Matthew Wolfe
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Daniel and Matthew Wolfe peer into the British-Pakistani community’s darkest corners in Catch Me Daddy. Laila (Sameena Jabeen Ahmed) has run away from home to live in a trailer with her white boyfriend Aaron (Connor McCarron) on the outskirts of a Yorkshire town. They live a marginal existence but seem, at the very least, happy in their freedom. The dream is shattered one blustery evening when Laila’s brother Zaheer (Ali Ahmad) knocks on her door and insists she return to her father, whom she has apparently disgraced. Zaheer is not alone. In tow are two groups of thugs who are being paid to find her. Things move quickly in the night. Laila and Aaron must flee for their very lives as their pursuers get angrier and more determined. The Wolfe brothers superbly depict the collision of disparate realities in Catch Me Daddy. The hard luck worlds of low level crime, the bleak British low-income reality and a community’s confused cultural mores all come into frightening focus in this unrelenting, visually stunning tour de force, whose indelible mark will not soon fade.

[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Santiago Seguro’s fifth Torrente film takes place in a not so distant future, that wreaks havoc with current political and economic realities of a Europe unified in the clutches of global capitalism. Spain has reverted to the peseta after its ejection from the Eurozone. Catalonia has separated and is in the 2018 World Cup final against Argentina. Torrente emerges from jail into a landscape of stagnating construction sites and decaying Euro-dreams. He teams up with American ex-casino security chief John Marshall (a hilarious, Spanish-speaking Alec Baldwin) to seek his revenge (and get rich) against the only functioning symbol of European corruption and greed: the Eurovegas casino! What ensues is a complex Ocean’s Eleven-style heist and an orgy of ribald, unforgiving satire during which Seguro teases and toys with the Spanish national psyche. You have been warned.

[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] This film is pure idiocy, save for the comic but caustic comments made by the lead character on the state of affairs in Spain. The year is 2018, and Torrente who has just been released from prison is disgusted with the depravity of the Spanish people. Yet his own behaviour is even worse. He’s a sex-crazed fiend who is utterly uncharismatic on the screen or in the character he plays. The slapstick gags become wearing, and the characters lack total originality. Even the plot can’t save the visual antics of the characters. Torrente recruits a bunch of misfits to rob a casino that a man named Marshal designed (Alex Baldwin). Marshall has employed them all to do his bidding to get the money. The facile plot is overly predictable and it’s been done so many times. Things turn topsy turvy when the heist goes terribly wrong due to the amateurish strategies of execution. The film is childish, silly and the bawdy sex so passé. It’s frightening to think that the film broke box office records in Spain last year. Obviously, the country is not only in drastic need of economic stability but also of a dynamic dose of artistic acumen. This is the fifth in the Torrente series and one hopes the last.

2.3 -- THE HALLOW, Corin Hardy
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Irish director Corin Hardy delves into his country’s folklore in this Canadian premiere of The Hallow. Forester Adam Hitchens (Joseph Mawle) moves his wife Clare (Bojana Novakovic) and young son to a secluded woodland house in order to begin marking trees for cutting in one of Ireland’s last vast stands of public forest. Though cutting on public land seems to be a divisive issue, there is something else motivating the locals’ animosity toward’s Adam’s presence. None are more virulent than their farmer neighbour Colm Donnelly (Michael McElhatton), who creeps around making ominous references to the malevolent forces inhabiting the forest. We learn that the locals believe in the Hallow -- vestiges of the mythical creatures that once inhabited Ireland’s woods and dales -- seek vengeance on any who trespass against them. A scientist by nature, Adam ignores the warnings. On one foray into the woods, he happens upon an extremely aggressive form of mould that attacks the central nervous system of its victims. As promised by the locals, things start to go bump in the night. While Adam is stubbornly masculine in his belief that Colm and his creepster son are behind the attacks, Clare wants to get out. When the disturbances take on an unmistakably supernatural air, the couple are forced into an all out battle for their lives. Hardy’s vision, to confound the expectations of the horror genre, is clearly represented in the way he conflates creature-feature conventions with science fiction. By film’s end, it is unclear who came first, the Hallow or the killer mould. Either way, the repercussions for Hardy’s film world are worth pondering. However, in his experiment, Hardy delivers two halves of a different film. Both are fascinating in their own respects, but together, they cheapen each other. The genuinely scary horror of the Hallow is effectively neutralized; the outbreak scenario is never fully confirmed. Moreover, no one really gets to kill any zombies.

4.0 -- UN HOMME IDÉAL, Yann Gozlan
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] The best thriller I have yet to see coming out of France. Obviously, the five-year hiatus taken by the director after making Captifs served him well. The story is captivating in its originality and it creeps up on you as each taut unpredictable twist delves deeper into mayhem for the protagonist. Sweet-faced Mathieu is an intellectual stuck in a moving job for a company his uncle owns. At home, he listens to Vivaldi and reads, but as an aspiring writer, his life is not moving as he would have it. He receives a rejection letter from a publishing company for a manuscript and actually whites out the negative words in the curt letter to make it appear as if his novel was accepted; this shows just how much he wishes to get published. He also calls the company wanting to know what is wrong with his story and he will do everything they request to revise it. The call ends with a quick hang up on the other end of the line. Life has a way of turning on itself for the better and the worse. This movie has both. Mathieu's hopes are about to be fulfilled when he discovers the memoir diary of an Algerian soldier during one of his moving jobs. The soldier is now deceased but Mathieu 'resurrects' the private diary by stealing the memoir and signing his own name to it. He submits it to a major French publishing company, and gets the best phone call of his life. The book is published under the name, "Black Sand;" life soars for him. He marries a lovely lady whose family is super rich. However, he eventually gets found out and is blackmailed by the man who knows the book was not written by him. Things spiral terribly out of control as he goes into debt, can't produce a second manuscript to meet the publisher's deadline, can't find the money to pay the man who is blackmailing him, and so he is forced to steal the antique gun collection from his wife's father during a lengthy visit to their home. Mathieu is a master at devising lethal ways to squeeze out of impossible situations; his imagination works better in real life than on the page. Murder enters the picture and he is consigned to fake his own death, but not without finally writing a manuscript he gives to his wife fittingly titled, 'Shams." If you think I've given away the story, go find out for yourself. Liars have a way of ending up in increasingly dangerous situations; with each lie the knot tightens around the neck of the liar with lethal results. Suspenseful, full of insane black humour that is totally believable, the movie makes us root for Mathieu, and that is the brilliance of this unforgettable film. Pierre Niney is extraordinary in the role of Mathieu.

2.4 --  SUNRISE, Partho-Sen-Gupta
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] Despite the title of this film, there is nothing but darkness; the obscure lighting enhances the subject matter. Close-up stills on young Indian girls’ mascara running down cheeks with rain droning on in the bleak night ‘s background moves it into theatrical overkill. Still, the plot has great merit. When Mombai’s Inspector Lakshman Joshi tries to find his young daughter Aruna who has been missing for an unknown specified time, he stumbles upon Paradise Club where there are many young girls being held captive and used as bait for brutal men who rape and beat them. Joshi suffers form insomnia using the night to drive around in his car trying to find his daughter and pursue a man he keeps seeing in the shadow. His wife has gone crazy reading ABC books to her invisible daughter and talking to invisible teachers about how smart her daughter is. The film has some impact but drags incessantly. The climax falls short and the ending is pure fantasy. Despite the awards it has garnered at several festivals and its understated film-noir mood, it lacks movement and suspense. That being said, it presents an intimate if not claustrophobic unraveling of the plight of sexual exploitation of young Indian children; 100,000 go missing every year.

3.4 -- MISS HOKUSAI, Keiichi Hara
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] Fantasia 2015 kicked off last night with the North American premiere of Keiichi Hara’s anime adaptation of Sarusuberi. Hinako Sugira’s cult manga, examines the life of Japan’s iconic wood-block painter, Hokusai, through the eyes and voice of his daughter, O-Ei. In the waning decades of Tokugawa rule, Edo is a vibrant, bustling metropolis. Tetsuzo, who paints as Hokusai, and O-Ei live in relative squalor. They are joined in their lowly station by Zenjiro, an ex-samurai who has turned his back on his privileged upbringing to pursue an artist's life. Taciturn and gruff, Tetsuzo paints when he feels like it, ignoring deadlines for commissions, often letting O-Ei -- an accomplished painter in her own right -- complete his work. Those expecting tumultuous conflict will find none. Miss Hokusai depicts a parallel world of creative obsession that has little room for drama, choosing instead an unflinchingly frank view of life and its problems. In this spirit, the film does supreme justice to female independence, with O-Ei’s experience, artistic desires and agency not in the least overshadowed by Tetsuzo’s relative fame. In this environment of freedom from subjugation, O-Ei can sincerely recognize her father’s greatness as well as learn from him without the need of sacrificing her independence or self-esteem. Hara’s direction, and Colourful writer Miho Maruo’s excellent screenplay, bring alive the bustle of late feudal Edo. The freedom of expression and experimentation, of the lack of social constraint in Tetsuzo and O-Ei’s world is remarkable to behold as well as remarkably depicted. The animated medium furthermore allows for seamless transitions between the real and imagined and several scenes playfully integrate some of Hokusai’s most famous tableaux. Understated, sincere and continually flirting with the sacred and supernatural, Miss Hokusai should not be missed. Fortunately, there is a second screening. Do not dally in purchasing tickets.

2.2 --  THERAPY FOR A VAMPIRE, David Rühm
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] A vampire Count pines for his beloved Nadila, a vampire who is now dead. Vienna 1930 and a Freudian psychotherapist hires a young painter to illustrate the dreams of his patients. Lucy is the painter’s lover who resembles Nadila. Through hypnosis and a series of bites, Lucy transforms into Nadila who can fly, and Lucy likes this, yet she sill thinks she’s Lucy. The Count’s real wife is a nasty jealous vampire who hires the painter to paint her as she no longer possesses the ability to see herself in a mirror. When it becomes obvious she is out to drain the painter not only of his talent but his blood and Lucy’s too, identities of truth and real love finally unfold. Dark subtle humour, implausible events, dreamy episodes -- all framed in morbid Austrian philosophy as it delves into death, self-reflection, vitality, longing and depression. The sophisticated understated wit and calm pace set this film further afield than any mainstream vampy flick. Still, despite its originality, not much can save this sober film whose story moves far too slowly and goes on far too long.

2.9 -- TANGERINE, Sean Baker
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] It's Christmas Eve in Santa Monica, and the seedier sides of the district are not feeling merry. Sin-Dee, brilliantly portrayed by Kitania Kiki Rodriguez and her best friend Alexandra -- smoothly played by Mya Taylor are hanging out when Sin-Dee who has just been released from her 28-day jail sentence discovers her pimp boyfriend has taken up with another girl. She wants to find her and bring her down, and she does. Sin Dee and Alexandra are transgender hookers who live in the trashy, trampy world of turning tricks. They also spend time with men who have aberrant gender-crossing proclivities. Emotional turmoil stoked by lies and betrayal climax as the characters converge into a weird triangle that also involves a taxi driver getting a taste of it all. He's supposed to be a family man, but all hell breaks loose when his mother-in-law comes looking for him and finds him in Donut Time Shop with the transgender 'bitches.' The folks in this movie are all likeable -- even loveable. The entire film was shot using an iPhone, yet the close-ups, realism and quality converge into a great production that looks like a huge Christmas Eve present that only a top Hollywood mogul could deliver. It just goes to show that glorious acting and a topnotch script sprinkled with improvisation are everything in a film.

3.2 -- TANGERINE, Sean Baker
[reviewed by Andrew Hlavacek] An L.A. story like few others, Sean Baker’s Tangerine forays deep into the seedier parts of West Hollywood. It is Christmas Eve. Transgender street girl Alexandra (Mya Taylor) unwillingly follows love-scorned friend Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodrigues) on a jealous rampage in search of pimp boyfriend Chester (James Ransone). Rumour has it that Chester cheated on Sin-Dee while she was in jail. Using three iPhone 5s, Sean Baker and cinematographer Radium Cheung squeeze amazing texture from the devices. Using the perpetual So-Cal sunlight they create a razor sharp backdrop for the dynamic melodrama that quickly turns into a bizarre love triangle. The camera moves continually to track the unfolding story and capture the hilarious, rapid fire dialogues that synch brilliantly with the excellent soundtrack. A real opening night treat. Too bad the film screens only once this festival.

[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] A totally ridiculous laugh-out loud movie because of its primitive amateurish story and over-the-top scenes underscored with the narrator making sound effects and explaining who is who and commenting as the action takes place. His remarks are so silly and humorously contrast with the serious battles between Tiger Mafia bad guys and commandos whose only common interest is the women they share, the endless bullets they can pump into each other and the blood they spill. The movie, probably headed for cult fame, pokes great fun at Uganda and the absurd behaviour of officials and bad guys. As the country’s first ever action flick, one must applaud the fact it actually moved beyond the make-shift set shanty setting and jungle where it was made into international viewing. On a budget of $200, the movie packs in a ton of machine gun exchanges whose bloody dripping results are rumored to be made of the real liquid. A modified car-jack tripod was used for the camera. Outrageous kung-fu episodes had everyone cheering in Ugandan slums while 'Wakaliwood' – home to “da best of da best movies.” makes its first crimson mark on a viral map.


2014 Fantasia Film Festival Ratings




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