FANTASIA21 REVIEW: Mad God [2021]

The Mad God of the film’s title is writer/director/animator Phil Tippett and the sheer audacity of him manufacturing an 80-minute opus of grotesquery sprung from a passage by Leviticus that would ultimately need thirty years to complete. His original footage went before cameras during the late 80s and early 90s—around the time he was working on Robocop 2—before he let the concept fade away once computer graphics (thanks to Jurassic Park, which he won an Oscar for) began taking over the special effects industry. It wasn’t until the 2010s that…

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FANTASIA21 REVIEW: Baby Money [2021]

Everyone’s gotta have their moment. The job is simple. Break into an old couple’s home in the middle of the night, skulk around while they sleep to procure a purple metal box, and then just wait for a 4am call on an already supplied burner phone. In, out, and thousands of dollars richer. Saying “No’ isn’t therefore an option for Minny (Danay Garcia) and Gil (Michael Drayer) considering they don’t even have to get their hands dirty as getaway driver and lookout respectively. Having a baby on the way and…

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FANTASIA21 REVIEW: Baby, Don’t Cry [2021]

You still have a chance. Baby (Zita Bai) is a seventeen-year-old Chinese immigrant surviving on the fringes of her community. She’s a voyeur—always with camera on to capture the dialogue and actions of others so that she can better mimic how it is that she should act to “fit in.” That she also photographs animal carcasses and death with excitement might make that sort of assimilation tough, but she’s not really interested in those that would dismiss such a thing without context. It’s not until she meets Fox (Vas Provatakis)…

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FANTASIA21 REVIEW: Daewoebi: Gwonryeok-ui Tansaeng [The Devil’s Deal] [2021]

Can’t we live ordinary lives? There’s no way anybody beats Jeon Hae-woong (Cho Jin-woong) in a hometown election because everyone in Haeundae loves him. Walking down the street means shaking hands and bowing to applause because the people know that he will fight for them. He is one of them, after all. Thinking as much only proves naïve if the world in which he exists is corrupt and, according to the President (who is also up for re-election at the same time as Congress), this will be the most transparently…

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FANTASIA21 REVIEW: When I Consume You [2021]

I’m taking a lot of deep breaths. Daphne (Libby Ewing) and Wilson Shaw (Evan Dumouchel) didn’t really have anyone growing up besides themselves and the same could be said now too. They cut out their parents years ago and did their best to dig out from under the trauma they endured, but it almost came crashing down five years ago courtesy of the former’s long-lasting drug addiction. They got through it, though. Together. And they have hope again thanks to Daphne’s dream of adopting a child to love like they…

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FANTASIA21 REVIEW: Sorido Eopsi [Voice of Silence] [2020]

Today’s honest sweat is tomorrow’s happiness. Chang-bok (Yoo Jae-Myung) and Tae-in (Yoo Ah-in) sell eggs out the back of the former’s truck in the country. It’s honest work, but hardly pays the bills. So rather than go home when they change their clothes afterwards, they drive to an old, abandoned warehouse instead. Now donning ponchos, they spread plastic sheets on the floor below what’s soon to be revealed as the only thing it can be hanging above: the body of a tied-up man, beaten and confused. If they’re being honest,…

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FANTASIA21 REVIEW: Sukutte goran [Love, Life and Goldfish] [2021]

It was uplifting to some extent. There are two types of people in this world. Those who find a ninety-minute romantic comedy musical with a ninety-second song serving as an intermission break twee and those who find it charming. Middle ground doesn’t exist in this equation and director Yukinori Makabe rightfully refuses to pretend otherwise. His film Sukutte goran [Love, Life and Goldfish] (adapted by Atsumi Tsuchi from Noriko Otani‘s manga of the same name) wears its idiosyncratic feel-good sentimentality on its sleeve to provide the dreamlike environment Makoto Kashiba…

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FANTASIA21 REVIEW: Hotel Poseidon [2021]

A way towards tomorrow. I’m not sure what I just saw. Was it surreal comedy in a setting that exudes sympathy puke aura? Was it a nightmarish horror sending us down a chaotic rabbit hole of insecurities, hopes, and inferiority? Perhaps a little of both? Either way, Stefan Lernous‘ Hotel Poseidon throws any semblance of a narrative out the window with an opening scene that does nothing but rotate around the lobby of this derelict establishment to supply an ingenious title-card explaining the film’s true star: its locale. The lights…

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FANTASIA21 REVIEW: The Righteous [2021]

Be careful what you wish for. But be certain what you pray for. When Frederic Mason (Henry Czerny) is asked whether God or the Devil scares him more, his response is swift. No matter how much damage Satan may inflict, only God can supply salvation and take it away to leave you knowing what you lost. It’s the shame from acknowledging your pain is the result of your own actions rather than a fallen angel that hurts most. And Frederic won’t allow himself to risk it again. He did once…

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FANTASIA21 REVIEW: Bull [2021]

Things to do, my friend. It’s been ten years since Bull’s (Neil Maskell) son Aiden was taken from him by his ex-wife (Lois Brabin-Platt‘s Gemma) and father-in-law (David Hayman‘s Norm). Ten years that have apparently progressed with little to no worries for everyone involved but him. Norm still runs the local crew of heavies putting the screws to businesses they need to help move their merchandise and said crew have all started families of their own without a thought of what occurred. That Bull’s return is unexpected shouldn’t be surprising…

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FANTASIA21 REVIEW: Indemnity [2021]

It’s not weak to ask for help. Theo Abrams (Jarrid Geduld) jumps into action with CPR upon waking to find his wife’s (Nicole Fortuin‘s Angela) dead body by his side. He then immediately clams up when a knock at the front door is accompanied by the declaration “Police!” mere minutes later. He doesn’t remember hearing anyone enter their room that night nor recalls a violent struggle. Add the fact that he just lost his job due to an inability to overcome the PTSD he’s been battling since blaming himself for…

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