Welcome to my annual Fantasia review. As always I will be giving straight-up "last paragraph-only" reviews of the movies I see at Fantasia. Only 11 movies this year, down from last year's 26. My butt just can't handle the Hall's seats anymore, for any extended periods of time anyway. So I went with a reasonable 11. I will still put in my butt-factor, which is the penalty given based on the pain in my butt. For example, if a movie score 6/10 with a butt-factor of 1, it means the actual score of the movie probably would've been 7/10 if I hadn't been distracted by the pain.
I usually attend the opening night movie, but this year I was on vacation, so for me Fantasia opened with the Finnish/Chinese movie Jade Warrior. Jade Warrior's premise is interesting, to say the least. An ancient artifact from feudal China is discovered in Finland by Finnish researchers. The movie switches back and from between modern-day Finland and ancient China. Much less action than I anticipated and a rather slow pace made this a rather average movie, despite the original premise. The cast is good, the cinematography is good but nothing special. It is much more about characters and their internal struggles, than about kung-fu. Although you do get some form of white-dudes kung-fu action. 6/10 with a butt-factor of 1.
Moving on to EXTE : Hair Extension with the stunning Chiaki Kuriyama. This one is both hilarious and scary as only the Japanese can do. Treated with the utmost seriousness at times, and extreme silliness at others, it is bound to left most westerners scratching their heads. Fortunately for the director, who was present for the screening, the Fantasia crowd got it, and laughed their asses out at all the right parts. The finale had me practically in tears. Did I mention the presence of the ever-gorgeous Chiaki Kuriyama? The bad guy is also awesome/ridiculous. 8 out of 10 with a butt-factor of 1.
Moving on to the End of the Line for the End of this Entry. When a film is a Canadian production, I will always be more prone to go see it, even if it looks and feels like somewhat generic. I was very pleased at last year's The Descendant, but I enjoyed End of the Line even more. It's effective, scary, and has an unusually attractive cast that are also better than the genre's standards, performance-wise. Thumbs up for on-hand director
Maurice Devereaux and everyone involved. A few cheap scares that takes away some points, but real ones and a great story that puts this score up to 7.5, with a butt-factor of 1.