Highlights for the upcoming 22nd Fantasia International Film Festival
The expression “lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!” merely scratches the surface of the wildly imaginative creations that grace the annual Fantasia International Film Festival. The Montreal-based gathering celebrates its 22nd year from July 12 through August 2. Long acclaimed as one the largest and best exhibitions of genre films in North America, this year’s festival lineup has as much promise as it does fantasy and Every Movie Has a Lesson will be offering its reviews and coverage. Let’s talk about a few approaching highlights out of the over 130 feature film presentations gracing the fest.
Fantasia hosts the Canadian premiere of the film I just named my current #1 film of the year so far from all of 2018. I was lucky enough to see the dramatic cyber-thriller at the 6th Chicago Critics Film Festival. Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian’s film is better than a gimmick with its 100% screens-only shooting style meshed with excellent stakes behind its horror film marketing. This one is an absolute gem.
“THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT”
Last year in my review of The Hero, I called Sam Elliott a “goddamn national treasure” more for the resolve he puts into his roles, not just his golden gravel voice. Something tells me The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot will put both the voice and resolve to good use with off-the-wall historical fiction of the secret life of Hitler’s assassin. Bankrolled by producers John Sayle and Lucky McGee, debuting dual threat writer-director Robert D. Krzykowski employs old school visual effects from 2001: A Space Odyssey’s Douglas Trumbull to tell this tale.
“JUST A BREATH AWAY”
Daniel Roby’s Paris-set apocalyptic thriller has been tabbed as the official Opening Night Film for this 22nd event. Romain Duris (All the Money in the World) and Olga Kurylenko (Oblivion) star as family leaders that survive a massive earthquake to the City of Lights. Matters get worse as they must frantically dodge a dangerous and mysterious airborne toxic cloud that is permeating from under the city and enveloping everything at the ground level. This kind of grander and ambitious science fiction should make for a solid festival opener.
The zany presence of Nicolas Cage will perk up just about any audience. He’s gone off the reservation and we’ve reached an irreverent point where we want to see what he’s going to do next with his casting choices. Look no further than Mandy. Cage plays an unsettled man on the revenge trail against a zealous religious group for killing his family. Don’t they know not to mess with the Cage? The body count will make this film worthwhile.
“LOUDER! CAN’T HEAR WHAT YOU’RE SINGIN’, WIMP!”
The exclamations of this Japanese import announce a crazy and spirited musical comedy from director Satoshi Maki (It’s Me, It’s Me). The fireworks here from from a superhuman rockstar (Sadao Abe) who pairs with a reserved and quiet busker (Riho Yoshioka) from the other end of the musical spectrum to create new and dynamic music. Ears and minds should and will be blown. That poster shown here sells the fun clash of styles to come.
Murder and missing bodies are lathered across the best tropes and cinematic trickery of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Director Chang-hee Lee challenges the contemporary to trudge through the classic and find new spins. The premise sounds rightfully intriguing.