Fantasia : Repo : The Genetic Opera, Sasori, Hunting Grounds and Going by the Book

This year's final movie block averages the lowest of all the movie blocks I've seen this year. In fact, before sitting through one of these films, I could have proclaimed "Best Fantasia Ever", in the sense that I had seen absolutely no dud. Oh well, here's the rundown.

Repo is very interesting film, with an awesome rock/opera soundtrack. Although musically strong, the writing was only average. The universe is very imaginative and interesting, the visuals are artsy and sharp. The cast is great. Overall a good film.

I have no doubt that porting a manga series to the big screen is a very difficult task. Some succeed, and then there's Sasori. Disconnected, trying desperately to fit too much material in the time it has, suffering from intense pacing problems, Sasori is an unfortunate example of how not to adapt a manga to the big screen. It's unfortunate though, because many of the fight scenes are spectacular and very well done. Many characters are interesting, and I would have liked to see their story better told. Sometimes '70s sexploitation, sometimes intense action flick, Sasori keeps looking for itself and just doesn't succeed.

After enduring through last year's Recon 2022, I was apprehensive of Hunting Grounds, the DIY Quebec-Science-Fiction-Post-Apocalyptic-Zombie movie. But it was just too hard to resist. Hunting Grounds is one of those DIY movie that you can be proud of for many reasons. First : the special effects including green screen effects are well executed. Second : This is a movie that doesn't pretend to be American or doesn't take the "so generic a setting that it could be american" like many indie films try to do (to maximize profits, no doubt). This one openly takes place in Quebec city and the Saguenay region, the characters are part french, part english (with reverse subtitles, a nice touch). So that's a pretty good approach. Unfortunately, it suffers from two of the greatest plagues that often strike DIY movies : Bad sound and less-than-adequate acting. Despite those flaws, the movie is still competent in direction and editing to warrant kudos.

Going by the Book, this year's last movie (for me) is one of those gems that just makes you laugh all the way through, although it has a few creepy moments. It has stylish direction, excellent casting and acting throughout. With enough clever shots to have you wonder if it will remain a comedy throughout, or if you will face a darker ending. Going by the Book has a couple of inconsistencies, but is overall hilrarious and an excellent movie. I highly recommend.

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