FANTASIA22 REVIEW: 大怪獣のあとしまつ [Daikaijyu no Atoshimatsu] What to Do with the Dead Kaiju?] [2022]

We’re protecting people’s right not to know. The easiest way to describe the tone of Satoshi Miki‘s realization of an objectively ingenious concept (What happens to the rotting carcass of a defeated kaiju?), is to mention the question to which every journalist demands an answer after a blister filled with the gaseous byproduct of the monster’s decomposition bursts: Does it smell like poo or puke? If that sounds like your idea of a good time for two hours, Daikaijū no Atoshimatsu [What to do with the Dead Kaiju?] is for…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: Da-eum-so-hee [Next Sohee] [2022]

 Let’s do this. And here I thought capitalism’s hold on the American education system by way of unpaid internships was bad. As documented in July Jung‘s extern drama Da-eum-so-hee [Next Sohee], what’s happening in South Korea is even worse. It all comes down to incentives—not for the children, but the institutions profiting off their labor. When big companies with huge executive payrolls (since managers need managers who also need managers while hourly employees become statistical cogs in the slave machine) need cheap and naïve workers to fill call center desks…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: Incroyable mais vrai [Incredible But True] [2022]

There’s a jewel? We all get older. It’s a part of life. Some do so gracefully. Others racked with fear. What’s interesting, and a major component of Quentin Dupieux‘s latest absurdist comedy Incroyable mais vrai [Incredible But True], is that few know which they are until they confront a potential avenue to cheat aging altogether. That’s the case with Alain (Alain Chabat) and Marie Duval (Léa Drucker). If we asked them how they felt about the subject at the start of the film, they’d probably say they hadn’t really thought…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: Country Gold [2022]

I make nothing but hit records and baby boys. The cost of fame sits in the living room wondering aloud whether dad will be home for Christmas. Why these two young boys’ voices have been deepened to sound like they’re forty-year-old drunks slurring through a bender is beyond me (an assumption of it being a dream or game is squashed once mom enters without the effect being called out), but their words have meaning. Troyal’s (Mickey Reece channeling Garth Brooks) star has risen to unimaginable heights, and he’s embraced it…

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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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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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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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