Originally I was only going to list my five favourite films of the entire fourteen year history of Fantasia. Only after last night’s screening I couldn’t help but add on Scott Pilgim vs. The World. These six films are without a doubt my SIX FAVORITE FIRST RUN FEATURES to ever screen at the festival. Look out for my list next year when I plan on expanding it to 75 movies. Until than I would like to thank everyone at Fantasia for their ongoing support and generosity and more importantly for putting together the greatest genre film fest in the world.
We Are What We Are
The completed version of Jorge Michel Grau’s We Are What We Are had its North American premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival and met its considerable expectations. In the same way Let The Right One In reinvented the vampire brand and [Rec] put a clever twist on the epedemic /zombie film, We Are What We Are reinvigorates the cannibal genre with an emotional portrait of a family bound by a terrible secret and driven by monstrous appetites. It is s without question one of the finest genre films of the year and can only become a classic... (read my full review)
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Edgar Wright’s wildly innovative film adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s series of graphic novels should more than satisfy fanboys while engaging adventurous newcomers. Wright does a terrific job establishing and adhering to the tone of the book while providing a faithful adaptation of O’Malley’s six-part series. While other comic book adaptions have failed when translating to the medium, Scott Pilgrim overachieves in what it sets out to do. A bold exercise in the liberation of movie conventions, Pilgrim is a mash up of a comic-book movie that dares you to dive into its chaos. Pilgrim boats an enormous burst of imagination – a unique and totally original work of art which still finds ways to channel moments of the humanity and humour present in O’Malley’s work. Its outer shell may be a comic book/video game hybrid movie but Pilgrim is really a tender, smart and subtle coming of age flick that doesn’t focus on love but a shallow twenty-something romance. While most Hollywood teenage movies give us troubled youths and earthshaking-life changing revelations, Scott Pilgrim presents us with the everyday simplicities and interests of today’s youth, throwing it all into a blender and pouring out one audacious, compulsively watchable, irresistibly accessible piece of pure entertainment.
Directed by Sion Sono
Over its four-hour running time, Love Exposure unfolds as an extremely bizarre odyssey revolving around an unusual love triangle, advanced techniques in upskirt photography, Japanese Catholicism, perversion, guilt and obsession, not to mention another dozen or so motifs. Sion Sono (Suicide Club, Hair Extensions), proves once again that he is one of the most innovative, unique and daring filmmakers working today. It’s a cinematic oddity which never seems to drag despite its marathon running length. Accompanied by an eclectic soundtrack, slick editing and wise direction, the film leaves you feeling somewhat hypnotized. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen. Exposure is a must-see for any movie buff.
A brilliant horror / thriller which may start slow but eventually accelerates to a fever pitch of complete and utter terror and hysteria. Directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza quickly became rising stars in the Spanish horror scene with this short, stripped-down, first-person horror picture that delivers some unforgettably effective shocks while gradually building a haunting atmosphere of ever-increasing panic and despair.
Let The Right One In
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Simply the best vampire film in decades. One of the best horror films of all time – a masterpiece. Mitch Davis (program director of the Fantasia Film Festival) put it best. He called it subversive, shocking, dreamlike touching, hypnotic and horrific. I say it is all this and more. The film follows the classical rules of vampire mythology, updating each of them in startling new ways, while hitting us hard as both an outsider coming-of-age film and a mysterious love story that explores the darker side of adolescent alienation.
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Lester Bangs once described the experience of seeing Elvis Presley in person as having an erection of the heart. That is what I am sure Tarantino feels every time he steps into the director’s chair. A true distinctive piece of American art and somewhat of a transition for the director. Inglorious Basterds is Tarantino’s war film but more importantly his love letter to cinema. Tarantino’s passion comes through in every frame and love him or hate him; he makes the movies he wants to make and enjoys every minute of it. It is a film that is in love with movies and I love movies and I love Inglourious Basterds. Every great film has three great scenes. Inglourious Basterds has five.