Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Fantasia Daily, 2013.10 (27 July 2013): Zero Charisma, Bushido Man, Machi Action, and L'autre monde

Fun day, and picture-intensive! Might have been more fun if I got out of the apartment in time for After School Midnighters rather than Zero Charisma, but after that (and a good burger marred by carmelized onions at Le Gourmet Burger), things got cool:

Bushido Man's Mitsuki Koga & Kensuke Sonomura

Two things I've missed a bit this year are martial arts movies - there is very little of that stripe from Hong Kong and Thailand this year - and the batty Japanese goofiness. When you have guests for either, there are some fun demonstrations. Apparently Sushi Typhoon isn't a thing any more, but Bushido Man fills the bill nicely, especially since star Mitsuki Koga & action choreographer Kensuke Sonomura wasted no time in jumping on stage after the movie began to show off.

Bushido Man cast & crew

After, they were joined on stage by Marc Walkow and writer/director Takanori Tsujimoto for a lively Q&A where they talked about how this was a no-budget feature shot on prosumer cameras between other projects - to the extent that there were just four people on location for the first action scene - Tsujimoto, Koga, Sonomura doing double duty as Koga's opponent, and a cameraman - which they then used as a demo to try and raise money to make the rest. For something on that sort of shoestring, it makes for a pretty darn entertaining movie, and I was glad to hear that Tsujimoto has something relatively big-budget coming up next - this is fun and Hard Revenge Milly was great; he deserves to make it to the next level.

No cell phones!

Just a bit of silliness before Machi Action, as King notices that Paul has his cell-phone out and kills him with his mind.

L'Autre Monde composer Simon Boswell

L'Autre Monde was late seating and getting started so that they could set something up for composer Simon Boswell to give a little unplugged performance of his previous work, music from Dust Devil and one of Jodorowsky's movies. Never played live before. Fun.

L'Autre Monde crew

Yay for panorama mode not doing anything funkier than cutting off a bit of director Richard Stanley's head this time! From left to right, that's editor Patrick Tremblay, cinematographer Karim Hussain, Stanley, Boswell, and producer Caroline Piras. It was such a fun Q&A that I really wished I had stayed awake through the movie, but, man, I got hit with the tired hammer about ten minutes in. I got a second wind toward the end, but I missed roughly half of it. Which sucks doubly, because the show was sold out and there's a good chance my sleeping self kept someone who likely wanted to see it much more than I from doing so.

I'll definitely try and find it once it hits VOD platforms, though. As much as I may tend to think it's a movie about very suggestible people, it's a darn well-told one.

Today's plan: Lady Assassin and "Far-East Fragments" at the Imperial, dinner, and then Vessel, See You Tomorrow, Everyone, and Doomsdays at de Seve. I'll Follow You Down is a decent movie, too.

Zero Charisma

* * (out of four)
Seen 27 July 2013 in Salle de Sève (Fantasia Festival, HD)

If I were the type of person to walk out of movies (and could have done it without disturbing the rest of the audience), I would have bolted Zero Charisma. That's not to say it's a terrible movie; it's actually perhaps too effective. Its main character is an awful person, and this movie gets across quite perfectly just what a chore it is to be in his company. You can't really fault the job writer Andrew Matthews and co-director Katie Graham do, and Sam Eidson is dead on as self-centered, obsessive game master Scott.

Still, this movie is so aggressively unpleasant that it's fair to wonder what the point of it is. With few exceptions - most notably Brock England's passive best friend - everyone seems to be nasty and disagreeable. Some of that's meant to show what sort of crap nerds take from the world at large, some's to show that it doesn't make them immune from cliques and pettiness themselves, but it adds up to an ugly scene with no promise of escape, and no time to build things back up after bottoming out.

Sure, that's in many ways honest, and it's worth puncturing some of the happy-nerd stereotypes that have been floating around for a while, but there's got to be a way to do that where the result is engrossing rather than such a turn-off.

Full review at EFC

Bushido Man

* * * (out of four)
Seen 27 July 2013 in le Cinéma Impérial (Fantasia Festival, HD)

As I said above: A ton of fun for its minuscule budget, especially during the action scenes, which skip all over Japan (and into the unreal) and all have their own style. It starts out kind of eccentrically goofy and makes that feeling even bigger as it goes along.

Plus, I squealed just a little when Miki Mizuno from Tsujimoto's Hard Revenge Milly films showed up. Fans of this kind of Japanese action are in for quite a treat.

Full review at EFC

Machi Action

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 27 July 2013 in le Cinéma Impérial (Fantasia Festival, DCP)

This movie seems like it has no business being as good as it is - it's a sweet, goofy thing that makes occasional ventures into crude adult territory, and the world of sentai action it's set in demands nostalgia from the audience but is not something I feel particular love for. And yet, here I am laughing my tail off and finding that I love everything it represents.

I've got a few guesses as to why: Writer Giddens Ko navigated similar sentimental waters with You Are the Apple of My Eye, for instance. The cast is thoroughly genuine, with even the antagnoists and grumpy ones having something likable and/or very funny underneath. And without dwelling on it, it makes a few swipes at the darkening of pop culture, pointing out that there's real value in what sophisticated palates may look down upon.

Full review at EFC

L'autre monde (The Other World)

N/A (out of four)
Seen 26 July 2013 in Salle de Sève (Fantasia Festival, HD)

Again, I am terribly sorry to all the cast and crew of this one; I just hit the wall about fifteen minutes in. I really liked what I saw and hope to catch up with the rest later.

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