Category Archives: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

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2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Mutant Action, Dr. Lamb, Blue Sunshine

Mutant Action, Dr. Lamb and Blue Sunshine are screening as part of the Fantasia Retro series at the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival.

Acción Mutante (Mutant Action)

Álex de la Iglesia’s Mutant Action looks like it owes a debt to the works of Paul Verhoeven. The tale of a fringe terrorist group made up of “mutants” is set against the backdrop of Continue reading 2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Mutant Action, Dr. Lamb, Blue Sunshine

The Witch: Part 2. The Other One (2022) Movie Review

Park Hoon-jun’s The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion was a financial success upon its release in 2018, and it garnered some accolades in South Korea and beyond, particularly for its lead performer Kim Da-mi. It is altogether an exciting film, blending gritty action with more fantastical, comic book adjacent tropes (the medical experiments central to the premise are similar to the Weapon X program of X-Men lore). For its reported budget of US $5.5 million, the film looks slick. It’s a fun time.

The Witch: Part 2. The Other One does some typical sequel things. Namely, it expands the world of this story. The Subversion is predominantly concerned with the narrative of Ja-yoon (Kim), an adopted young woman whose past catches up to her. Her unique abilities and ailments point backwards to her origin as the victim of a medical experiment. We follow her Continue reading The Witch: Part 2. The Other One (2022) Movie Review

After Yang (2022) Movie Review

After Yang premiered as part of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

Kogonada’s After Yang is a magic trick of a film. The title refers to a “techno-sapien” sibling (Justin H. Min), an android who serves as a caretaker and mentor for Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja), the adopted child of Jake (Colin Farrell) and Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith). While Jake and Kyra are too busy in their working lives, Mika has Yang, and she has grown very attached to him. The film takes place, largely, “after” Yang, in that he malfunctions early on and Jake spends most of the film attempting to get him repaired.

The magic trick comes to fruition roughly 45 minutes in, when Jake is able to watch a series of “memories” Yang stored in a small hard drive chip. They are all-too-brief snapshots of Continue reading After Yang (2022) Movie Review

Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Glasshouse, Sweetie You Won’t Believe It, The Last Thing Mary Saw

Glasshouse; The Last Thing Mary Saw; and Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It are screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival that runs Aug. 5 to Aug. 25.

Glasshouse

Glasshouse is an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller. It explores  Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Glasshouse, Sweetie You Won’t Believe It, The Last Thing Mary Saw

NYAFF 2021 Movie Reviews — A Leg, The Prayer

A Leg and The Prayer are screening as part of the 2021 New York Asian Film Festival that runs Aug. 6 to Aug. 22.

A Leg

A Leg is a story of dance, romance, heartbreak, mourning, and a lost amputated leg. When her husband (Tony Yang) dies following surgery to amputate his foot, Qian Yu-Ying (Qwei Lun-mei) goes on a days-long search throughout the hospital to find  Continue reading NYAFF 2021 Movie Reviews — A Leg, The Prayer

Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Hotel Poseidon, Not Quite Dead Yet

Not Quite Dead Yet and Hotel Poseidon are screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival that runs Aug. 5 to Aug. 25.

Not Quite Dead Yet

In Shinji Hamasaki’s Not Quite Dead Yet, the CEO of a pharmaceutical company dies after taking an experimental drug meant to temporarily  Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Hotel Poseidon, Not Quite Dead Yet

Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — We’re All Going to The World’s Fair, Tin Can

Tin Can and We’re All Going to the World’s Fair are screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival taking place Aug. 5 to Aug. 25.

Tin Can

Tin Can sets up a vaguely intriguing premise about a pandemic which is ravaging the population and a scientist working on the treatment. It appears like it may be a Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — We’re All Going to The World’s Fair, Tin Can

Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Sexual Drive, It’s a Summer Film

Sexual Drive and It’s a Summer Film! are screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival that runs Aug. 5 to Aug. 25.

Sexual Drive

Kôta Yoshida’s Sexual Drive is a triptych film surrounding themes of anger and lust which revolve largely around a single, lecherous figure named Kurita (Tateto Serizawa). It is hard to know Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Sexual Drive, It’s a Summer Film

Review: Strawberry Mansion — Fantasia Festival 2021

James Preble (Kentucker Audley, who also co-directs) is a tax worker, but what he audits is out of the ordinary. In the near future of Strawberry Mansion, the state audits people’s dreams, taxing the objects which manifest within the sleeping unconscious. Preble finds himself working a job on a remote estate owned by an elderly artist, Bella Isadora (Penny Fuller).

Bella, an eccentric hobbyist of all things creative, has left her dreams on the outdated medium of VHS tapes, something which will take Preble many hours to sift through. With over 2,000 tapes lying around the large house, he spends multiple days Continue reading Review: Strawberry Mansion — Fantasia Festival 2021

Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Alien on Stage, Frank & Zed

Alien on Stage and Frank & Zed are screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival that runs Aug. 5 to Aug. 25.

Alien on Stage

In Alien on Stage, Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer document the unlikely rise of an amateur theater troupe in Dorset whose stage adaptation of Ridley Scott’s Alien made its way from a Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Alien on Stage, Frank & Zed