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Fantasia 2010: Ten Selections

Posted by Christine / July 7, 2010


The rather shabby, yet undeniably glorious, photo accompanying this article is of George Hardy (Troll II) and myself at last year's Fantasia screening of Troll II.

Another year of Montreal's renowned Fantasia Film Festival is upon us. Oh, inducer of merciless chortles and pained winces! Bearer of gut-wrenching gore and outrageous aerial assaults, we hail thee! All glory to Fantasia!

Now, you may have noticed from that rather celebratory introduction, I've devotedly attended this particular film festival for several years now. Throughout that time I've fallen in love with several movies I patiently waited in twirls of lines for, and viewed amongst the darkened walls of Concordia's all too familiar auditoriums. Among them: Wristcutters, Love Exposure, Memories of Matsuko, Dead Snow and Time. Conversely, there have been a few films that have been painful to sit through, and not in the fun, challenging-the-limits-of-my-gag-reflex kind of way. Once, I even walked out on a movie. But that's what Fantasia is all about; an unapologetic mixed bag of artful direction, powerfully moving scenes, bland storytelling and tasteless shock value.

Without further ado, I here present, in no particular order, this humble author's ten-pack picks, along with some additional must-sees.

1. A Serbian Film

July 16th. 9:10 p.m. Hall Theatre.
July 19th. 4:40 p.m. Hall Theatre.

There seems to be a fairly dominant Serbian (as well as Korean) presence at Fantasia this year! Huzzah! A Serbian Film's first Fantasia showing will also be its Canadian premiere, and will be hosted by director/producer/co-screenwriter Srdjan Spasojevic, co-screenwriter Aleksandar Radivojevic and executive producer Nikola Pantelic.

Be warned, this film is not for the faint of heart; I'm looking at you endearingly sensitive viewer. Yes, you. Critics have been calling it one of the most disturbing movies of all time, citing comparisons to Irreversible, Salo and Martyrs. The trailer opens with a man's hand clutching a gun, as a woman's hand tenderly glides over his. This appears to be what A Serbian Film is about; a compelling and subversive exploration of sex and death wrapped and coated in a horrific veneer.

2. Heartless

July 14th. 7:20 p.m. Hall Theatre.

This is a film that has received mix reviews, but by golly I just can't seem to resist a good old Mephistophelean villain! In Heartless, a young photographer hides his disfigured face behind his camera's lens, photographing the ugliness of the city around him. The alienated and lonely protagonist is taken advantage of by a mysterious man who offers him something tempting in exchange for a gruesome toll.

3. Le Grand Chef 2: Kimchi Battle.

July 13th. 7:20 p.m. Hall Theatre.

I had the delight of seeing Le Grand Chef at Fantasia last year and could barely keep a smile off my face. It was a charming, light-hearted story of an underdog chef battling his way through the cutthroat culinary world to restore his reputation.

Le Grand Chef 2 follows up with another story of family honour hashed out over the cutting board with dashes of whimsy to soften the competitive intensity. In short, this is likely to make the perfect date movie, but that won't stop me from going alone!

4. Lemmy

July 15th. 10:00 p.m. Hall Theatre.

Listen, this is a totally biased choice, well actually, all of my ten films are, but this one especially. I love metal music. So much. So much. So much so (fed up with me yet?) that to me, Lemmy is something of a wunderkammer, a collection of curious and epic stories all wrapped up in one glorious raven-haired man.

This one time, I discretely dropped an ace of spades card into a friend's jean pocket. I waited the entire day, and as we were saying goodbye, I asked, "(Friend), what's your favorite Motörhead song?" Of course, his arguably uninspired answer was, "Ace of Spades." To which I promptly declared, "Well then, check your back pocket." You see, sometimes I create elaborate gags, humourous to no one but myself. I'm kind of like Ashton Kutcher, but minus the production value and the whole 'Punked!' thing. Kutcher-lite.

Lemmy features an impressive array of friends and fans of the legend: Henry Rollins (Yes, please!), Mick Jones, Slash, Joan Jett, Ozzy, Alice Cooper, Metallica, The Damned, Hawkwind, Jarvis Cocker, Nikki Sixx and Scott Ian. Yowza!

5. Nevermore: An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe

July 17th. 8:00 p.m. Rialto Theatre.
July 18th. 8:00 p.m. Rialto Theatre.

This live theatre event is truly a unique addition to this year's festival. The show's content is taken directly from Poe's letters and essays, as well as reports of his appearances as a means to create an accurate portrayal of the famous author and poet.

Edgar Allen Poe is, undeniably, one of the most profoundly talented horror writers to come along. So without further ado, one of my favorite Poe quotes, just because.

"It was well said of a certain German book that "er lasst sich nicht lesen"-it does not permit itself to be read. There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told. Men die nightly in their beds, wringing the hands of ghostly confessors, and looking them piteously in the eyes-die with despair of heart and convulsion of throat, on account of the hideousness of mysteries which will not suffer themselves to be revealed. Now and then, alas, the conscience of man takes up a burden so heavy in horror that it can be thrown down only into the grave. And thus the essence of all crime is undivulged."

6. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

July 27th. 7:00 p.m. Hall Theatre.

Here's the thing, I get if you knock this choice. But, ever since a friend of mine lent me the first book from the Scott Pilgrim comic book series, I've been unable to stop myself from watching trailers, reading articles and yes, even creating a Scott Pilgrim avatar (do it, do it now: http://www.scottpilgrimthemovie.com/avatarCreator/). You can upload it as your picture on the Book of Faces, you know, if you want.

Scott Pilgrim is stylized in an outrageously comic manner, complete with animated "WHUDS" and "SMACKS," and dramatic slow-motion punches fitting for a movie about a character who has to fight his new girlfriend's seven evil ex-boyfriends. Obviously, this is another perfect date movie, so bring your cuddle buddies.

7. The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

July 24th. 12:15 a.m. Hall Theatre.

Again, I get it if you knock this choice. There's no way around the fact that this film is gross, which makes anyone who wants to see it a little gross, myself included.

In a classic, horror movie scenario, two American women get a flat tire and are stranded somewhere in the German countryside. Seeking help and refuge, they venture to a house in the woods, whose owner is, in essence, a mad scientist. Unfortunately, the two women fall victim to Dr. Heiter's intricate, biological experiments. With a film whose title is 'The Human Centipede' you can well imagine what he has in store for them.

Despite the obvious shock value and extreme ick factor this film offers, The Human Centipede has had much critical success, winning Best Actor in last year's Fantastic Fest, as well as Screamfest's Best Film. It was also an official selection for the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of 2009.

8. The Revenant

July 12th. 10:00 p.m. Hall Theatre.

This is another selection with quite a barrel full of win. The Revenant won CineVegas'Audience Award for Best Feature, Fantastic Fest's Best Director, Best Make-up at Screamfest and Best Independent Feature at Toronto's After Dark Film Festival.

This is the debut from writer and director Kerry Prior, who has been a special effects technician for quite some time now. He's got such films as Phantasm II, Lost Boys, The Abyss and Nightmare on Elm Street 3 slapped on his CV, so much respect to him. Fun fact, he also did additional cinematography and some effects on Bubba Ho-Tep!

The Revenant is about an undead vigilante, framed within a bromance, buddy comedy context. It just sounds like a lot of fun.

9. [Rec] 2

July 20th, 10:05 p.m. Hall Theatre.
July 22nd, 3:00 p.m. Hall Theatre.

This is a sequel to Rec, a veritable darling of 2008's Fantasia Film Festival installment. Spanish directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza are back to deliver a new batch of zombie mayhem, with a few twists.

10. Secret Reunion

July 9th. 7:25 p.m. Hall Theatre.
July 13th. 3:00 p.m. J.A. de Seve Theatre.

This film is famous for knocking Avatar from the top of the Korean box office. Criticisms for Avatar aside, this is a feat not to be scoffed at, especially when considering the Cameron film's enormous mainstream success.

Secret Reunion's Agent Lee contains multitudes; he is at once surly and kind-hearted. He also belongs to a government agency whose aim is to capture North Korean spies. Lee and his team are about to take down a major communist asset, the notoriously merciless assassin known as Shadow, when all Hell breaks loose.

But that's not all folks, I absolutely need to mention two selections that did not make my top ten, partially because my list was tight to begin with and partially because I have seen both these films before. If you haven't seen them, or if you, understandably, want to experience them on the big screen, I strongly suggest you pick yourself up some tickets vite vite.

Metropolis -Restored Original Cut

July 28th. 7:30 p.m. Salle Wilfrid Pelletier (Place des Arts)


July 16th. Midnight. Hall Theatre.

Tickets went on sale yesterday and are being sold at the Concordia Hall Theatre. It is a standard eight dollars per ticket, but if you score the ten-pack deal, you save ten dollars. Special screenings and events, like Nevermore and Metropolis differ in price, with tickets being sold at their respective venues.

More information at: http://www.fantasiafestival.com



Luc / July 7, 2010 at 10:55 am
Seems that Scott Pilgrim screening is sold out...Or the tickets aren't available online. I wanna see how great/how awful is it before everyone else does!!
Guillaume / July 7, 2010 at 12:09 pm
that picture is pretty rad. makes me want to do extremely shitty films for the sole purpose of getting to meet attractive bloggers.

do we know if there's anything similar to 'genius party beyond' this year at fantasia?
Guillaume / July 7, 2010 at 12:09 pm
that picture is pretty rad. makes me want to do extremely shitty films for the sole purpose of getting to meet attractive bloggers.

do we know if there's anything similar to 'genius party beyond' this year at fantasia?
Guillaume / July 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm
that picture is pretty rad. makes me want to do funny/shitty films for the sole purpose of getting to meet attractive bloggers.

do we know if there's anything similar to 'genius party beyond' being shown this year at fantasia?
Christine / July 7, 2010 at 11:08 pm
Scott Pilgrim sold out the very first day. Dang!

I don't think I'll be able to see it either. I wonder if Michael Cera as Michael Cer- I mean, Scott Pilgrim, will work well in this film.
Christine / July 7, 2010 at 11:14 pm
Hmmm, nothing as epic in terms of a collection of shorts.
There is King of Thorns if you like Japanese animation. The director, Kazuyoshi Katayama, also had a hand in Appleseed and Nausicaa. Those two are both brilliant and beautiful movies, so I'm hoping this one will follow suit.
Christine / July 7, 2010 at 11:20 pm
Also, a friend of mine saw Summer Wars and he said it was amazing.
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