How much more physicality survivalist are men compared to women? History has shown time and time again that when wars erupt for national supremacy or resources, battles on the front are fought by the male sex, not the female one. Men’s tennis asks its contestants to win more sets than the women. Men bodybuilders look so much more imposing than their female counterparts. The list can go on and on and yet for all the qualities men claim to that denote their physical superiority, there is one, albeit one that doesn’t come in service very often, that provides women with the clear-cut advantage. Woman can lose more blood from their bodies than men before finally giving in to death, two thirds of the blood in their bodies to be exact. That is an insane bit of knowledge, one that director Kurando Mitsutake takes to an extreme level in his own insane film, Gun Woman.
There’s something painful about Dean. Cute, yes, by all means. Scruffy, also, as well as nerdy, Steve-Urkellian, and sweet — his run alone garners a continual snicker. But mostly there’s something painful about Dean, who is trying like hell to make things right with Lana.
More precisely, that cutely painful thing is a kind of teenage conviction so many shake before they move on to adulthood. It’s a familiar story, one that has the audience both cringing and laughing with and at him. Everyone’s tried really hard to undo some mistake at some unfortunate juncture. It’s an appallingly familiar sight to behold. Especially when, like many before him, he’s rolling on faith that the one that got away isthe one. And while most of us eventually learn to accept an ending and move on, Dean’s juvenility has other plans in mind. In fact, he plans everything down to the minutest detail, and he figures he can plan his biggest mistake away, too, to regain that chance of lifelong love.
For most micro budget movies, the mere fact that they could get made can be considered an accomplishment in of itself. Playing at a festival is seen as an added bonus. With limited resources comes the need to get creative in ways that, when everything comes together, can sometimes produce something fresh and new. They don’t have the luxury of spending millions of dollars on sets, actors, stunt choreographers, and special effects. As moviegoers, the one thing that should be avoided as much as possible is to give a small movie a pass simply because it tread rockier waters than studio-mandated tentpole projects. Although it is very tempting to support the little guys, sometimes a spade has to be called a spade. Herein lies the issue with The Run from Malaysian writer-director Ahmad Idham.
Like father like son is a popular expression used to describe how much the behavior and personality of the former influence and shape the latter. This proves true for a great number of father-son sets, irrespective of cultural or national heritage. Then again, a son can only intake so much philosophy handed down to him by the father. It comes as no surprise that with respect to some salient points and lifestyle choices the son diverges from the path treaded by the father. It’s what makes the son his own person as opposed to a clone of his immediate ancestor.Hwayi: A Monster Boy, the anticipated followup from director Jang-Joon-hwan after Save the Green Planet takes the concept of father-son dynamics to new extremes.
Fans of pulp fiction will get a kick out of Cold in July, a gritty – at times bloody – and darkly funny crime yarn directed by provocateur Jim Mickle (Mulberry Street, Stakeland). This rigid and enthralling Texas thriller is one the most hyperbolic and stylish crime yarns in years. Think Drive, but with a better cast – a better script – and a sense of humour as sharp as a knife.
The essence of a confidence game is as follows: the con artist describes a terrific bargain in which the mark is offered a chance in which to invest. Due to the mark’s own greed, he hands over whatever personal assets he must to the confidence man, expecting a greater return that he never receives. Though, as Joe Mantegna’s hustler points in House of Games, it is called a confidence game because they are giving their confidence to you. Not the other way around. This is why, throughout history, people have been known to lose articles of clothing and even their houses.
Made in the tradition of the New York underground, Bag Boy Lover Boyis a portrait of contemporary frustration. Albert is a pitiful hot dog vendor who soon finds himself intertwined in the bizarre world of fetish photography. Albert’s aspirations are centered on his desire to win the affections of a frequent customer at his stall, and her apparent love for art. Raw, funny and twisted, the film rips through the perceived comfort of modern living by putting focus on one of society’s outcasts. Albert is not just a sad sack, he’s more than a little slow and more than a little different.
The live-action adaptation of manga properties in Japanese cinema is just as popular and frequent as Hollywood’ s thirst to translate comic book tales originating from DC, Marvel and lesser-known publishers in North America. Both come with their share of trials and tribulations, such as what to leave in, what to leave out, and what to change in order to smoothen the transition from the page to the silver screen. TheCrows series — which began with 2007’s Crows Zero, wasfollowed by 2009’s Crows Zero 2, and continues with this year’s Crows Explode – is in a special situation considering the change in directorial talent handling each entry. The first two were guided by the crazy genius that is Takashi Miike (which is completely normal considering the premise), whereas the latest entry is shepherded by Toshiaki Toyoda.
Both the victim and perpetrator of a crime must live with the consequences of the events they were intricately involved in. For the guilty party, provided they possess an inkling of remorse in their body, the stigma carries over an extended period of time, with reminders coming in all shapes and sizes to reiterate that they did bad in the past and that society does not look kindly to them. For the victim, the situation is completely different. They committed no malicious act yet the psychological and emotional after-effects of their ordeal are sufficient enough to haunt them for weeks, months and years to come. Enter Han Gong-ju (Chun Woo-hee), the central figure in Lee Su-jin’s new drama baring the protagonist’s name.
The irony of the penniless cult and mind-control expert is not lost on us. Ansel Roth’s got the tools to get your loved ones back within your grasp, he’s written them down for all to read, but here he is selling copies of his latest book one hotel conference room at a time, living out of an AMC Gremlin, fishing meal vouchers out of the trash, and shoveling ketchup in his mouth with a fork. He used to be a big shot with a bestselling book and a TV show, but that doesn’t stop him from getting beat senseless in front of a half-full room at a regional hotel. Nor will it stop The Wire and Toys R Me’s own Lance Reddick from showing up in the parking lot afterward, smilingly vicious as ever, asking for money his boss is owed.
Twenty years ago, if someone said that ‘zombie romantic comedy’ was going to become an actual cinematic sub-genre, they’d have been called a witch and burned at the stake. And yet, they would have been right, and Fantasia 2014 has seen the unveiling of yet another film in the rapidly expanding genre, Life After Beth. Starring Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation and Dane DeHaan, recently of The Amazing Spider-Man 2,Life After Beth is best described as a zombie breakup comedy. It’s also best described as “decent, but not amazing”, a serviceable enough zom-rom-com kept afloat mostly by the supporting cast.
It feels safe to argue that the Bourne film series has had a major influence on the action-espionage genre. Granted, spy thrillers that grilled governments for nefarious cover-ups, as well as espionage escapades featuring greater doses of fisticuffs and explosions (such as the Bond franchise), existed long before 2002’s The Bourne Identityand continue till this day. That said, what directors Doug Limon and Paul Greengrass did to the genre was infuse it with a gritty realism in addition to combining stories of unbelievably well-trained spies and political conspiracies. How many action films, be they concerned with spies or otherwise, have strived for the similar documentary ‘in the moment’ visual style? Not all have succeeded, mind you (the term ‘shaky cam’ is used in derogatory fashion more often than not), but those that have deliver in often spectacular ways. Director Won Shin-yun, who hasn’t directed a film in six years, enters this field with The Suspect.
The Harvest is a modern gothic horror set in small-town America. On one hand embracing the mythology and horror of gothic sensibilities, the film also utilizes naturalism to create a sense of comfort and to help root emotions in reality. Katherine (Samantha Morton) and Richard (Michael Shannon) are a married couple caring for an ailing son, Andy. Their apparent familial bliss is disrupted by the arrival of a pre-adolescent neighbor, Maryann. While Maryann’s intentions are nothing but cordial, the couple is wary of her curiosity and tensions rise as she continually subverts their desires to stay away from their home. Maryann’s quest for truth and Andy’s friendship unravels a dark stain on the American family.
It’s common knowledge for any Fantasia Festival regular that an edition cannot go by without the inclusion of at least one film from notorious Japanese auteur Takashi Miike. Very often two films of his are added to the lineup, a testament to his workaholic nature as a filmmaker. Miike dips his toes into any and every genre, frequently adding shocking twists for effect. He is what one might describe as anenfant terrible of Japanese cinema. The 2014 edition of Fantasia commenced with a bang by playing one of Miike’s latest endeavours,The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji, the irony being that this is one of Miike’s ventures into comedy, just as the internationally renowned Just for Laughs festival is happening concurrently in Montreal.