FANTASIA22 REVIEW: さがす [Sagasu] [Missing] [2022]

They deserve to be delivered. Santoshi Harada (Jirô Satô) has a plan. It concerns a three-million-yen reward for helping to capture the infamous serial killer known as “No-Name” (Hiroya Shimizu). Santoshi says he saw him on the train to work. The man who’s been all over the news is inexplicably here in town right now and he’s pretty sure he knows where he can find him. Except, of course, that Santoshi is in no shape to “find” anyone. He’s been clinically depressed and unable to hold a full-time job since…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: Inu-ô [Inu-oh] [2022]

Here we are. Director Masaaki Yuasa and screenwriter Akiko Nogi‘s adaptation of Hideo Furukawa‘s novel The Tale of the Heike: The Inu-oh Chapters finishes with a couple screens of text describing its titular Noh performer’s final years of success despite his name being all but forgotten in comparison to the shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu’s personal favorite. It’s why these three have brought the story of Inu-ô [Inu-oh] to life to ensure his name, and that of his friend Tomona from Dan-no-ura, a blind biwa-playing priest, won’t disappear again. What better way…

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REVIEW: Resurrection [2022]

Do you think you could kill someone? It starts with a hair. Both a blemish ruining an otherwise immaculate office and a remnant of someone no longer present. Then there comes a tooth implausibly found within the change pouch of a wallet, escalating those aspects while moving beyond innocuous to menacing. Because a hair isn’t a threat—not on its surface. Neither is a tooth except for it being found somewhere much less readily available to strangers than an entire room. Taken together they demand we stop and pause, though. What…

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REVIEW: A Love Song [2022]

Fair point. It’s not every day that you get a PG film for adults, but that’s exactly what writer/director Max Walker-Silverman delivers with his bittersweetly joyous feature debut A Love Song. Captured on campsite seven along Turquoise Lake with Mount Elbert as a backdrop, the story concerns a widow named Faye (Dale Dickey) waiting on an old friend from yesteryear. She wrote to Lito (Wes Studi) seven years after the death of her husband (he’s a widower himself) despite not having seen each other in decades. He wrote back saying…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: 搜神傳 [Su Huan-Jen] [Demigod: The Legend Begins] [2022]

Many things could happen in a minute. The Huang family and Pili International Multimedia are back on the big screen, two decades since their feature debut Legend of the Sacred Stone, and, if the end credits of Chris Huang‘s Demigod: The Legend Begins are to be believed, they have many more chapters in-store for their hero Su Hua-Jen. Utilizing the Taiwanese technique of budaixi (operatic glove puppetry), expert cinematography to hide the puppeteers, and impressive computer augmentation for special effects, this tale of leadership strife in the Wu Lin mountains’…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: Chorokbam [2022]

Why do I have to do all your dirty work? This is not a happy family. Dad (Tae-hoon Lee) works a night security guard shift that makes it so he arrives home as Mom (Min-Kyung Kim) leaves to dry peppers in the sun the next morning. He wants quiet. She wants support. They ultimately sit in silence while eating. Their son (Kang Gil-woo) works as an aide for the disabled, driving around and taking care of patients on the way to their appointments. He doesn’t make much—at least not enough…

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REVIEW: Not Okay [2022]

Can’t offensive be, like, a brand? I’m not saying you couldn’t want to pivot careers from photo-compositor to writer, but to make it seem like A) the former is just a matter of loosely using the lasso tool in Photoshop to make a perfect mask that’s good enough to fool the world and B) that it’s a stepping-stone job shunted to the corner and treated like an internship because “anyone can do it” put me in a bad mood right away. I get it, though. Writer/director Quinn Shephard needs her…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: The Artifice Girl [2022]

Forever and always with pride. Amidst all the high concept computer programming speak and moral/ethical implications surrounding the creation of artificial life, the smartest line of dialogue in Franklin Ritch‘s The Artifice Girl is when Gareth (Ritch) admits, “I honestly don’t know how I did it.” Not only does it absolve the filmmaker of having to make something up to justify the complex progression of his sci-fi premise, but it also speaks to the reality that technological innovation often occurs accidentally. We can’t therefore know what we don’t know or…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: Sissy [2022]

Be there or die. There’s some delicate subject matter at the heart of Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes‘ Sissy. It’s unavoidable when you’re spring-boarding off an objectively tragic event that occurred during childhood. Because, while young Sissy may have been the one who physically assaulted Alex when they were age twelve, that isolated and impulsive act of violence was ignited by months or years of psychological torment inflicted by the injured. Does the event make Sissy a monster regardless of those circumstances? Or can society look beyond the visual aftermath…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: Glorious [2022]

You might actually be a bathroom talker. The universe has a favor to ask. Well, it’s the universe’s would-be destroyer who’s asking on its behalf. After an eternity hidden in the ether watching the life that sprang from a wound inflicted by his brothers and sisters evolve, this ancient titan (J.K. Simmons‘ Ghat) realizes his role as his father’s (the creator of existence) reset button isn’t something he looks forward to fulfilling. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much of a say in the matter. If Dad escapes his prison and finds…

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REVIEW: My Old School [2022]

Who touched my Chardonnay? When you have a story as wild as the one surrounding the sixteen-year-old Canadian student “Brandon Lee” enrolling in Glasgow’s Bearsden Academy, it truly is impossible to believe a movie hasn’t already been made. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, though. Alan Cumming was attached to play the lead role twenty-five years ago only to see the project evaporate. So, it’s fitting that writer/director Jono McLeod (a former classmate of “Lee’s” who witnessed the whole ordeal himself) would enlist the actor to play him now—this…

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