Fantasia 2014

Fantasia 2014

The Weekend Watch is an open thread where you can share what you’ve recently watched, offer suggestions on movies and TV shows we should check out (or warnings about stuff to avoid) and discover queue-filling goodies from other FSR readers.

The comments section awaits. I’ll get the ball rolling with the movies/TV my eyeballs took in this weekend.

I’ve been in Montreal for the past several days attending the Fantasia Film Fest so my viewings have been limited mostly to festival titles. My ongoing coverage includes reviews of the latest from Japanese bad boy directors Takashi Miike and Noboru Iguchi, new films starring Samuel L. Jackson and Charlotte Gainsbourg, a Korean drama about a family of spies and probably the best horror comedy you’ll ever see about carnivorous undead beavers. As of this moment I’ve seen six other titles that I have yet to review.

Zombie comedies are fairly ubiquitous these days, but Life After Beth takes a pretty interesting tact by not actually being about zombies at all. Dane DeHaan stars as a young man who loses his girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza) to a deadly snake bite only to see her return from the dead a few days later. The zombie outbreak grows throughout the town, but this is far from a typical zom-com thanks to a lack of flesh-eating scenes and the entire thing being a metaphor for difficult relationships and even more difficult break-ups. It’s not a gut-buster, but there are plenty of laughs and a fantastic cast to keep things entertaining.

Some feature films seem more suited for the short form, and Animosity is one such movie. It honestly would have made a kick-ass short film, but as a feature this tale of one woman’s possible descent into madness just runs out of steam halfway through. The core mystery is actually quite cool, but the execution frequently drags and sucks the viewer’s interest with each passing minute.

One of the best festival films I saw back in 2009 was Yang Ik-joon’s Breathless. It’s a straight drama wiht no genre trappings, but its characters and intense drama left me shaken and my eyes parched. Yang’s countryman Lee Su-jin has accomplished something similar with Han Gong-ju, and while I will never watch it again I can say with certainty that it’s an incredibly powerful and sadly relevant story highlighted by a searing performance from Chun Woo-hee. It weighs on your heart and refuses to let go.

Action cinema has received a shot in the arm in recent years from places like Thailand and Indonesia, so it’s no surprise that other Asian countries are trying to join in on the fun. Malaysia’s newest attempt at making a mark in the genre is The Run, but if this is the best they have to offer… well, let’s hope it’s not the best they have to offer. It’s no surprise that the script and performances are underwhelming, but the action is equally uninspired and far from impressive.

I’m strongly considering a Kickstarter to raise funds for a film whose sole purpose will be to cast Amy Seimetz as a happy woman in a strong and loving relationship. Is it too much to ask to see her play someone who’s not constantly getting screwed over in love? The Reconstruction of William Zero is a slow-burn sci-fi mind-bender of a love story about guilt, regret and cloning, and while Seimetz isn’t the main character she’s an essential part of the tale. It’s a solid film, but the ideas often outpace the energy.

Finally, the world’s second all computer desktop horror film has arrived from producer Timur Bekmambetov. Trust me though in that it’s better than that makes it sound. Cybernatural takes place entirely on a teen’s Mac laptop screen as she and her five friends become victim to a supernatural host who forces them to stay online at the risk of death. It’s an incredibly slick production, and while it’s nowhere near as terrifying or effective as The Den it remains an engaging tale of revenge in the social media era.

What did you watch this weekend?


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