The virtual Fantasia Festival 2020 is in the full swing of things, with on-demand and live premiere titles becoming available to Canadian audiences. Here are reviews of three films playing the fest, The Oak Room, PVT Chat, and Hunted.
Guillermo del Toro, with his latest The Shape of Water, weaves, in effect, a fairy tale monster movie. Imbued with the shadowy lighting and terse patriotism of the Cold War 1950s, in which nationalistic patsies are led by men in trench coats who speak in passwords, the film sets itself in an industrial government building that hides away U.S. military secrets.
Working in this industrial warehouse, underneath the shadowy government officials and their shills and patsies, is the mute Elisa (Sally Hawkins). With the camaraderie of Zelda (Octavia Spencer), who fills the space where Elisa’s words cannot reach, they clean the facility. This includes cleaning up the blood after a new arrival to the facility causes Continue reading The Shape of Water (2017) Movie Review
In The Big Sick, comedian Kumail Nanjiani plays comedian Kumail Nanjiani. He works the Chicago comedy club scene despite his parents’ wishes for him to become a lawyer or a doctor. Kumail has his own path to follow, differing with his parents’ Pakistani cultural beliefs on arranged marriages and Muslim prayer practices.
However, he still lies to them in order to keep them happy, knowing that the possibility of being disowned from the family is all too real if he chooses to Continue reading The Big Sick (2017) Movie Review
Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver. He works under Kevin Spacey’s Doc, a heist mastermind who never works with the same crew twice but who considers Baby his lucky charm. A lucky charm that he has under his thumb thanks to a juvenile mistake that Baby pulled on him at a young age.
Baby is the eccentric protagonist and your archetypal “mysterious quiet type” character. After an accident left him both orphaned and ailed by tinnitus, Baby lives Continue reading Baby Driver (2017) Movie Review
Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut as a feature director came in the form of the genre-bending vampire romance film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. The film, shot in supple black and white over a soundtrack of trance-inducing electronica and angsty punk, was a beautiful piece about maintaining relationships in an environment rife with isolation.
On paper, Amirpour’s second film The Bad Batch exists in a similar world. Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is released from “Bad Batch” prison into the desert wilderness of the Texas-Mexico border.
A dystopian world in which cannibalism is a viable form of survivable (viable to the point of being morally questionable as opposed to morally intolerable), isolation is all Arlen has. Especially after she is captured by a family of cannibals and Continue reading The Bad Batch (2017) Movie Review
Let me get the positives of Fifty Shades Darker out of the way so we can start making jokes. 1) Star lighting showcases our “steamy” talent quite adequately. 2) As with its predecessor, the production design is well-conceived. 3) Academy Award-winner Kim Basinger appears, and should be in a better movie than this.
BDSM is still viewed in this film as a Continue reading Fifty Shades Darker (2017) Movie Review