The Best and Worst of Fantasia 2015

  • Photo Isabelle Stephen, courtesy of Fantasia Film Festival

by Nicole Yeba and Trent Lee

The Link’s Fantasia film reviewers Trent Lee and Nicole Yeba give us their best and worst flick picks of the 2015 edition of the festival.

Major Releases

Best: Cop Car
Nicole: Kevin Bacon playing an evil police officer who gets his car stolen? I knew this movie was going to be awesome, and both screenings ended up selling out. Two preteens ride off with a car of a corrupt sheriff, and I was on the edge of my seat, especially after they make a surprising discovery. Bonus: Kevin Bacon was present for the Canadian premiere.

Worst: Dark Places
Trent: Great casting yet very hollow performances as every character’s demographic stereotypes are played up with tripe dialogue, exacerbated by cringe worthy edits and quick pace that made a grade-A budgeted film look like a D-list 90’s film. Only redemption was Christine Hendricks’ humanizing performance, -1000 points for not bringing Charlize Theron to the festival. Instead, we got Kevin Bacon.

Anime

Best: Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
N: An animation based on the famous collection of poems by Gibran and a beautiful way to share the poems to a younger audience. Many children were present at the screening. The prophet shares some of his wisdom on different subjects, which are described through interactive animation. A feel-good, enlightening movie.

Worst: Miss Hokusai
T: The family and love interest of O-Ei Hokusai’s storyline I thought was uninteresting and trivial to the film’s crux. The true draw is her father, Tetsuzo, legendary artist of The Great Wave. Too many plot fillers and a disconcerting J-rock soundtrack clashing with Edo era Japan. I think this would’ve done better if it was just the vignettes about the mythical elements behind Tetsuzo’s oeuvre.

African Film

Best: Who Killed Captain Alex?
N: The plotline made little sense, but it’s a must-watch movie in my mind anyway. The experience is all in a typical Ugandan movie viewing, which has a Video Joker (VJ) whose comments on the film have audiences roaring with laughter. In Uganda, when you rent a film you pick a VJ depending on the type of comments you want. It’s a one-of-a kind experience.

Worst: Ojuju
T: Yes! Africa deserves praise with Cpt. Alex reinvigorating FFF, Ojuju, not so much. I found the plot meandering with neither rhyme nor reason. Disappointing was the director’s absent comments about Africa’s poor infrastructure in response to the Z outbreak, to echo the mishandled Ebola epidemic. Also, the random, awkwardly drawn out ending deflated it for me. Sorry Nicole.

Horror

Best: Shrew’s Nest
N: Do you think your older sister is too maternal and a control freak? Well that’ll probably gain some perspective after seeing this Spanish film set in the 1950s. When a neighbour falls prey to the main character who falls in love with him, things start getting scary and ugly. If the sight of blood makes you weak, don’t watch this film. The revelation is even more horrifying than the violence.

Worst: The Hallow
T: The Hallow had a promising start: decent performances and well-done CGI monsters. But once you’ve seen the monsters, the build-up and terror peters out midway. What irks me still is after establishing the protagonist as this hip tree scientist, the tree aspect doesn’t really come up again until after the credits. And even then it’s just sorta thrown in as an aside.

Comedy

Best: Poison Berry in My Brain
N: This is the adult version of Pixar’s Inside Out. The movie is easily relatable, especially with the awkward moments the main character goes to. Laughs are guaranteed in this romantic comedy, which makes you question how your brain’s council works. Surprisingly, there’s a moral to the story, which will make you think twice about being in relationships.

Worst: The Master Plan
T: Originally a classic Swedish heist comedy series (think Ocean’s Eleven via The A-Team ) The Master Plan, unfortunately, as with most commercial remakes proves even the best laid plans fail. Corny dialogue, subpar acting and lacking in the veneer of classy, charm and coolness of the series. It tries too hard to look like a bad boy L4yercake but instead ended up with a Mod Squad, the remake.

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