Fantasia 2011 began selling tickets for this year's Festival today. The opening and closing films: Kevin Smith's Red State and the Guillermo Del Toro written and produced Don't Be Afraid of the Dark sold out very, very quickly (i.e. before I got to the box office).
Tickets are $9 or 10 for $80 so I picked 20 films. I may add on a few more as the Festival goes on.
Here is what I bought, along with the number of my ticket (indicating how many tickets for the screening by the time I bought a ticket at 5:30 PM). Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame aka Di Renjie (2010) Hong Kong imdb ***A Cerebus Suggestion*** Directed by Tsui Hark, Written by Kuo-fu Chen and Jialu Zhang, Based on a story by Lin Qianyu A film about the Chinese Sherlock Holmes (at least I assume that it is the same Judge Dee as the Van Gulik novels) investigating a plot against the Empress who threw him in prison to rot for eight years. I have never been a big fan of Tsui Hark, but I love the Judge Dee character. Ticket#259
Attack the Block (2011) United Kingdom imdb Written and Directed by Joe Cornish Nick Frost stars in what has been described as Aliens vs. Street Punks. Ticket#396
Ninja Kids!!! aka Nintama Rantarô (2011) Japan imdb Directed by Takashi Miike, Written by Yoshio Urasawa, Based on the manga by Soubee Amako Miike doing kid's films is always funinteresting insane. Since he can't use sex or violence or some twisted deviant combination of the two, Miike seems to settle for making little children's heads explode out their ears using the staples and tropes of children's literature. Ticket#101
The Unjustaka Bu-dang-geo-rae (2010) South Korea imdb Directed by Seung-wan Ryoo, Written by Hoon-jung Park The director of City of Violence tackles police corruption. Ticket#117
Another Earth (2011) USA imdb Directed by Mike Cahill, Written by Mike Cahill and Brit Marling A science fiction film that is about ideas more than explosions and the way that human relationships are affected by the universe changing. (In this case by a second Earth from a parallel dimension appearing in our solar system.) Ticket#127
The Troll Hunter aka Trolljegeren (2010) Norway imdb Directed by André Øvredal, Written by André Øvredal and Håvard S. Johansen ***A Cerebus Suggestion*** Norwegian POV horror about a documentary film crew that blunders into a story that is much bigger than they expected. Ticket#162
Hello Ghost aka Hellowoo Goseuteu (2010) South Korea imdb Written and Directed by Young-Tak Kim The film I am the most leery about of my choices. About a withdrawn loser who tries to commit suicide, fails and then finds himself haunted by four ghosts who force him to do errands for them to help them rest. Ticket#95
Super (2010) USA imdb Written and Directed by James Gunn My only regret is that this plays at the same time as a film from Halifax called The Corridor. So I was forced to choose between seeing a film by Haligonians or a film featuring a Haligonian (Ellen Page). Ticket#331
Bellflower (2011) USA imdb Written and Directed by Evan Glodell I am going to see it because of the car. Ticket#66
True Legendaka Su Qi-Er (2010) Hong Kong imdb Directed by Woo-ping Yuen, Written by Chi-long To The greatest martial arts choreographer of our time (perhaps all time) directs for the first time in years: a film about Beggar Su, the forgotten third man in the Wong Fei-Hong and Fong Sai-Yuk triptych. Ticket#187
Battle Royale aka Batoru Rowaiaru (2000) Japan imdb Directed by Kinji Fukasaku, Written by Kenta Fukasaku, Based on the novel by Koushun Takami In many ways the quintessential Fantasia film finally plays the Festival in a midnight screening in a theatre than can fit 720 ghouls. Can't wait! Ticket#128
The Whisperer in Darkness (2011) USA imdb Directed by Sean Branney, Written by Sean Branney and Andrew Leman, Based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft Described as the most successful Lovecraft adaptation ever. Financed by a group of madmen who are doing lo-fi versions of the Lovecraft stories shot in the style of the Universal Monster Movies. Ticket#94
13 Assassins (Director's Cut) aka Jûsan-nin No Shikaku (2010) Japan imdb Directed by Takashi Miike, Written by Daisuke Tengan, Based on a screenplay by Kaneo Ikegami Normally, I would be a little bit leery about Miike in gore mode because he sometimes has a tendency to let gore grind the gears of narrative, but I have been intrigued ever since Roger Ebert gave it a rave review. (The reason that I like Ebert as a reviewer is that he writes reviews that make me want to watch the films that he likes.) Ticket#399
Burke and Hare (2010) United Kingdom imdb Directed by John Landis, Written by Piers Ashworth and Nick Moorcroft John Landis directs his first film in years and it stars Simon Pegg as Burke and Andy Serkis as Hare! (Hopefully it will be better than I Sell the Dead, a 2009 Fantasia title that covered similar territory.) Ticket#333
Rabies aka Kalevet (2010) Israel imdb Written and Directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado Supposedly the first horror film from Israel and/or shot in Hebrew. I am intrigued by the description which suggests that the serial killer is the least dangerous person in the film. Ticket#73
Stake Land (2010) USA imdb Directed by Jim Mickle, Written by Jim Mickle and Nick Damici At the risk of a huge disappointment, this is the film that I am most excited to see. By the same creative team as Mulberry Street, a film that I am flat out obsessedwith. I can't wait to see their follow-up film. Ticket#122
Redline (2009) Japan imdb Directed by Takeshi Koike, Written by Katsuhito Ishii and Yoji Enokido and Yoshiki Sakurai, Based on a story by Katsuhito Ishii Every year, I try to find the next Perfect Blue. Very few anime come close to that great film, but I keep trying. This year's candidate is a futuristic tale about a group of racers who use antique technology (i.e. 20th century race cars) I am intrigued especially by the hand-drawn art esthetic. Ticket#163
The Devil's Double(2011) Belgium imdb Directed by Lee Tamahori, Written by Michael Thomas and Latif Yahia, Based on the novel by Latif Yahia Based on the true story of the body double for Sadaam Hussein's crazy son Uday. Ticket Number#143
The Devil's Rock (2011) New Zealand imdb Directed by Paul Campion, Written by Paul Finch and Paul Campion and Brett Ihaka, Based on a story by Paul Campion Paul Campion has a slew of credits working on the special effects of fantasy and science fiction films including the Lord of the Rings trilogy, two of the Narnia films, a Fantastic Four film, an X-men film and so on. What is interesting is that for his feature film debut, Campion has decided to tell a horror story that is all about atmosphere, claustrophobia and emotion - the story of a New Zealand commando in the dying days of World War II who stumbles into a Nazi occult experiment and must deal with the supernatural force they have unleashed who has taken the form of the commando's ex-wife. Ticket Number#62
Exit (2011) Australia imdb Directed by Marek Polgar, Written by Martyn Pedler Comparing this film to Stalker is not a guaranteed way to get me on board, but I do love science fiction and fantasy films that rely on good ideas rather than huge special effects budget. The synopsis (which describes a group of citizens trying to escape a city with many doors but no exits) reminds me of the great Canadian film Cube as well as the Neil Gaiman/Alec Stevens story A Tale of Two Cities, from the Sandman: World's End series of stories.
Every year, I let Cerebus pick a Fantasia film for me to go, watch and bring back a report on. Cerebus has a tendency to pick films that don't fit into neat little boxes like "good' and "bad" and then he gets confused when I report back when he can't tell if I liked the film or not. Previously he has sent me to see Embodiment of Evil and We Are What We Are.
In addition to Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame and The Troll Hunter, Cerebus suggested that I watch What Fun We Were Having: 4 Stories About Date Rape (never in a million years), Shivers (They Came From Within) (no), Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS (no), Morituris (maybe), Tomorrow Never Comes (possibly), Captain America (1990) – Director's Cut presented by the director Albert Pyun (very tempting) or The Wicker Man (except if I saw that I would have to see The Wicker Tree too)
On my own, I have been thinking of adding El Sol, Blackthorn, Wake in Fright, Bangkok Knockout and Haunters to my Fantasia list this year.
I usually try to write about at least half of the films that I see and I do take requests.
So, on my blog (www.llakor.blogspot.com) I posted basically this list (with some pics) and who should drop by and pay a visit:
Albert Pyun, the director of Captain America (1990)!
Originally posted by Albert PyunHey Michael - hope to see you at my screening of Captain America and Tales of an Ancient Empire. Think you will enjoy both. They are sort of throwbacks to the 1980's cinema and I think a lot of fun and laughs.
I am pretty sure that when the director of The Sword and the Sorcerer and Cyborg invites you to a screening, you have to go... right?
(Not quite as weird as having Russell Crowe comment on my blog but close.)
Best news I heard all day and it's ABOUT freakin' time. Here's the press release: I don't CARE what it costs - Shout! do things right when it comes to DVD releases and I will pay what they tell me it costs with a smile on my face.