FANTASIA15 REVIEW: 奇人密碼: 古羅布之謎 [The Arti: The Adventure Begins] [2015]

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“Where the heart is lies eternity” You can’t watch 奇人密碼: 古羅布之謎 [The Arti: The Adventure Begins] without finding yourself in awe of the amazing puppet work on display. While told it was only “enhanced” by CGI, it looks as though a lot more was computer-generated than such a verb would infer. For one the smoothness […]

FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Observance [2015]

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“Just watch and report back” You know you’ve seen something special when your only thought upon completion is whether to watch again or scour the internet for possible interpretations. This is what Joseph Sims-Dennett‘s Observance did for me. A horror/suspense filled to the brim with atmosphere and mood, its tension gradually rises like the dark […]

FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Hwasangorae [Crimson Whale] [2014]

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“It is an offense to feed the apes” A product of the Korean Academy of Film Arts’ Advanced Program, writer/director Park Hye-mi‘s Hwasangorae [Crimson Whale] is a fascinating little sci-fi adventure. The hand-drawn character design is cutesy with young faces and oversized clothing dwarfing stature, but the 2070 Busan in which they reside is brutally […]

FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Ludo [2015]

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“Do you want to talk or play?” Called the national game of India by some, Pacisi has evolved throughout the centuries into multiple iterations. One of the most popular versions patented in England around 1896 is Ludo. Pretty much two to four players have four tokens each that they must race around the board in […]

INTERVIEW: Olivier Nakache, cowriter/codirector of Samba

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Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano‘s (shown above at middle and right with Omar Sy) Intouchables was France’s Oscar hopeful in 2012 and did make the January shortlist. An infectious crowd-pleaser based on a true story, it vaulted Sy into stardom with a César win over The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin and ultimately co-staring roles in Hollywood […]

INTERVIEW: Debra Granik, director of Stray Dog

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If you don’t think someone fresh off an Oscar nomination would spend five years to follow her critically acclaimed fictional narrative with the first feature-length documentary of her career, you don’t know Debra Granik. When I interviewed her back in 2010 in support of Winter’s Bone, she was already talking about documentary observation as being […]

INTERVIEW: Jalmari Helander, writer/director of Big Game

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After finding success from his debut feature Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale—an expansion of a world he created through two previous shorts all released together by Oscilloscope—Finnish writer/director Jalmari Helander did what many European filmmakers do and went English-language for his sophomore effort. But he did so on his terms by once again writing his […]

INTERVIEW: Kris Swanberg, director/cowriter of Unexpected

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A hit at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival now getting a limited release from The Film Arcade, Unexpected proves a welcome breath of fresh air for stories dealing with pregnancy against the usual romantic comedy fare usurping the plot point for cheap laughs. Director/cowriter Kris Swanberg utilized her own experiences as a mom and from […]

INTERVIEW: David Gordon Green, director of Manglehorn

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In the six years between Snow Angels and Prince Avalanche, writer/director David Gordon Green became a collaborator on a string of comedies of which he was not credited as a writer. In the two years since he’s utilized that process with drama Joe and now Manglehorn. He’s said in other interviews that it’s a way […]

INTERVIEW: Alex Winter, director of Deep Web

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While you may know him as Bill S. Preston, ESQ, Alex Winter the actor has effortlessly become Alex Winter the director. Hot on the heels of his successful Napster documentary Downloaded comes Deep Web: a look behind the curtain at the 96% of the internet we don’t see. But while the film began as an […]

TFF15 REVIEW: Jackrabbit [2015]

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“Rebuilding Our Future Today” Dystopian sci-fi is trendy. Anyone who has any knowledge of today’s pop culture could tell you that and it’s no surprise Hollywood has jumped on its collective consciousness with The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner. I enjoy them all, don’t get me wrong, but the reality of their monumental […]