Fantasia : Postal

Here he was, the most hated video game to films director Uwe Boll, presenting his latest film Postal. I have been lucky enough to never have been exposed to his work, having only seen the trailer of Alone in the Dark, to which I screamed an endless array of insult at the screen for it not being a period piece. But that's another story. Postal is probably the kind of film that Uwe Boll should've been making all along, instead of films based on serious games like Alone in the Dark or Dungeon Siege.

Postal, the game, is just meant to be a provocative pointless excuse for a first person shooter. Postal, the movie, tries to be a bit more. Think of it as South Park live-action, an often made comparison. It's dirty, scat-filled, afraid of nothing, but underneath it hides a rather clever and honest political commentary.

Postal was a resounding success with the crowd, yours truly included. I wouldn't go as far as to say that "the world needs movies like that", but I will say it is one hell of a ride, and it does a good job of exposing a lot of the hypocrisy and stupidity that rules this world. And no matter show hard to shock you think you are, there will probably be a point in this movie where you will have to look away, shake your head, or just walk off.

7.5/10 with a butt-factor of 1.5 (9/10)


Fantasia : DJ XL5 Kaleidoscopic Zappin' Party

It was my first year going to XL5's party. A strange mix of locally and internationally made shorts such as Internet-available classic Dr. Tran and the world-premiere episode 13 of Tom et ses Chums. The show is preceded, and sometimes interrupted, by '70s and '80s trailers of soft-porn and violent B-movies. It's tough to describe the show except that it's like a crappy TV evening with a group of friends. The shows are uneven (from excellent to crappy) but the experience is made better by fan participation. I'm not sure I'm in love with the concept, but it was an entertaining 2 hours anyway. I should note the always awesome Daniel Walther was in some of those clips, which made them awesome. For some strange reason, I left the party wanting to smell underwear, hyped about some Asian kid's next action movie, and browsing adult sites for Poutine Anale. 6.5/10 with a butt-factor of 1.

Fantasia : Recon 2022

I will be exceptionally harsh on Recon 2022, the locally-made sci-fi epic story starring a group of elite space marines on their quest to help the fledging human race overcome their terrible enemies, the Ma'hars. Producer/Director Christian Viel was on-hand to present his movie, and in his opening speech he told the audience "Not to think about it too much", as it's just a "fucking space marine movie". Fair enough.

I can forgive a lot of things about this movie. I can forgive the fact that although their enemies are supposed to be Ma'hars and Greys, they are barely in the movie (the bad guys are mostly humans/mercenary cyborgs). I can forgive the many cheesy CG shots that are the landmark of low-budget movies. These factors are due to budget constraints. Unfortunately, director Viel seems to be unaware of very basic concepts in cinema such as “the reaction shot”. It would seem the script or storyboard of that movie must have parts like "Film people shooting randomly for 20 seconds. Then the bad guy falls for no apparent reason". This kind of filming constitutes the bulk of the action scenes. One particularly bad example of this is when an enemy cyborg is shot dead, as it falls down it fires one final missile at the good guys. Where did that missile go? We'll never know. It doesn't hit nor does it misses, it just disappears. The movie is filled with moments like this. That doesn't have anything to do with budget constraints, it's sloppy planning, and amateurish execution.

I was more lenient on the first one because I believe first shots can be given a break. But by now the cost in time and money of CG shots should be known, and it's better to have 15 well-made CG shots than 45 duck-taped inconsistent shots. However, not all is lost. Characters are generally better-defined and more interesting than in Recon 2020, and the script's quality is also better, with some funny moments and clever dialogs. But overall it's very disappointing, especially considering the insane amount of work involved in all those CG shots.

Side by side with lower-budgeted feature-length titles such as Maurice Devereaux's End of the Line and last year's The Descendant by Philippe Spurrell, this independent film is left far behind. 3/10 with a butt-factor of 1.

Fantasia : The Rug Cop

After last year's almost too-hilarious Executive Koala, one could only realistically expect something not quite as funny with the toupet-throwing antics of The Rug Cop. In that case, wrong would be one's expectations. Not only is the Rug Cop funnier than Executive Koala, but it barely contains a few moments in which I wasn't laughing out loud. It helped a lot that the crowd was really into it, cheering on our rug-throwing hero. This is the most fun I've had at Fantasia since Bubba Ho-Tep. 9.5/10 with a butt factor of only .5 (laughter helps the pain).

Fantasia : Death Note and Death Note : The Last Name

Death Note is based on a manga and anime, and it shows. Some shots feel like they were taken straight out of a comic book. The characters are over-the-top, but always interesting. One character in particular, "L" truly steals the show as a sweets-eating boy-genius. The design of the Gods of Death are awesome. The first movie is the best and ends with one of the most awesome cliffhanger I've ever seen. The second seems to loose it's footing at first, but comes back at the end with a few clever twists, although a couple of those involves the characters being much smarter than they could and knowing much more than they could. 7/10 with a butt-factor of 1 for Death Note, 6/10 with a butt-factor of 1.5 for Death Note : The Last Name.


Fantasia : Jade Warrior, EXTE : Hair Extension and End of the Line

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.