Fantasia Festival 2019: Shorts

Fantasia Festival 2019 is over but as per usual, there were a lot of shorts showcased whether before feature film screenings (which is where all of these two segments of shorts were seen) or as a compilation (which I missed all of due to schedule conflicts). Regardless, there’s a lot of interesting selections to say the least.

Below are six shorts that I saw as opening during screenings.

Bar Fight (World Premiere, 2019)

Bar Fight

Director (and writer): Benjamin R. Moody

Cast: Aaron D. Alexander, Donald Brooks, Hector Gonzales, Nelson Nathaniel

When a machete-wielding cult walks into a bar, one bartender is in for the longest night of his life. – IMDB

Paired with The Prey (review) as a the opening short film, Bar Fight is 5 minutes of non-stop action. The premise of the story makes it feel like the world has fallen apart due to this cult as the constant pounding on the door above ends up with three thugs come into the bar. While the bar owner seems meek at first, he quickly fights his way brutally out of the situation. From the series of moves to how the short is done, its an impressive 5 minutes that is very entertaining to watch especially because its in a closed off space resulting in close hand to hand battles with some limited choices in weapons as defense and combat.

Bedtime Story (El Cuento, 2019)

El Cuento

Director (and writer): Lucas Paulino & Angel Torres

Cast: Nerea Barros, Miguel Galbin, Ismael Palacios, Alberto Sanchez

Opening for The Wretched (review) is this Spanish horror short about a family of three being observed by a witch living in an apartment across the street. As the kids settle into to bed, their mother comes in to tell them a bedtime story except it seems very similar to their current situation and bigger brother Lucas who is sleeping on the top bunk doesn’t know whether to look or not at who is telling the story.

No doubt that Spanish horror does really well. In the case of Bedtime Story, its satisfying horror experience. How its filmed and gloomy and darkness of the nighttime setup along with the mom’s unsettling behavior gives it a nice tinge of horror that blends well together. The whole element of being watched also is done very well with a decent twist at the end. Its a fairly complete horror experience for a short film.

Le Blizzard (2019)

le blizzard

Director (and writer): Alvaro Rodriguez Areny

Cast: Aida Folch

Le Blizzard is a 2018 horror short that paired with The Father’s Shadow (review) which tells the story of a woman waking up in the middle of World War II in a blizzard and goes looking for her daughter that has separated from her in the forest. Le Blizzard is not a bad concept to start with. It just feels a bit dragged out because it turns around in a circle. Somehow, it does have a fairly bizarre turn in events and has something of a loop element to it. There is an attempt of adding in a twist in there which does give it some intrigue but its an odd one.

Right Place, Wrong Tim (2018)

Right Place Wrong Tim

Director: Eros Vlahos

Cast: Asa Butterfield, Adam Buxton, Ella Purnell

A 90’s British sitcom is taken over by clones of the lead actor and descends into chaos. – IMDB

Perfectly paired with Daniel Isn’t Real (review), Right Place Wrong Tim is a horror comedy where a on-screen . Its bloody and funny and so over the top that it just fits together in the oddest way and still works. It also lingers on the part of how much of it is reality and how much of it is part of the effects of the show so the audience is still laughing as the scene gets more and more bloody and absurd and yet that just adds to the humor. Of course, this type of humor might be very unique to its audience and might not land for everyone but perhaps its the charm and talent of Asa Butterfield that I’d always enjoyed his acting and roles that this one worked for myself.

Lone Wolf (2019)

Lone Wolf

Director (and writer): January Jones

Cast: Joanne Booth, Charlotte Cook, Karla Hillam, Mackenzie Mazur, Izabella Measham-Park, Freya Van Dyke-Goodman

Opening for Riot Girls screening (review), Lone Wolf is a 2019 Australian horror short about a 15 year old social misfit called Sam who gets invited to a classmate Willow’s party and tries to blend in with her new classmates who happen to be a bunch of mean girls who are Willow’s best friends. However, she starts to go through some kind of inexplicable change and it just starts going out of control. Without ruining anything, that’s the best that I have for this short. Its tries to make fun a little of the situation because its really odd what happens. Sam’s transformation from a little decision of being accepted changes her as well. There’s not a ton to say about this. Its fairly on rails as to how the story progresses with what she gets made fun of as well as who comes to her defense and then we get a twist which explains her transformation. Lone Wolf tackles one of the horror subgenres that I feel is still fairly underused with a lot of potential to explore further so that was a great angle.

Cliché (2018)

Cliche

Director (and writer): Miguel De Plante

Cast: Anne-Justine Guestier, Lilie-Rachel Morin, Josian Neveu

Three young friends, a dark cabin, a wandering killer… You think you’ve already seen this movie ? You’re probably right… – Fantasia Festival

Cliché was the opening short for Aquaslash (review). I’m a huge fan of any concept that can make fun of itself. There’s a lot of really absurd moments here and it feels like the goal is to be over the top in presenting all the cliché moments in horror films and diving into those horror tropes that usually serious horror films would be criticized. Its not meant to be taken seriously and because of that, it dives into a lot of fun territory. It has some ridiculous ideas but then also embraces the idea of the final girl and challenging breaking away from the cliché moment. Its pretty silly and the comedy might not work for everyone but its not a bad guilty pleasure idea and really suitable for a short film.

That’s it for these 6 Fantasia Shorts!
A bit heavy and probably should have broken into two posts, but its what it is.

Thoughts? Which appeals to you more?

Netflix A-Z: Nanny McPhee (2005) & Nanny McPhee Returns (2010)

Heading into the second half of the alphabet now, we’re going with a little double feature.  I figured if Netflix offers us the chance to watch a series of movies, I might as well take advantage of it, especially if there is only two 😉  So here we are with Nanny McPhee and its sequel, Nanny McPhee Returns (otherwise called Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang).  I’ve been avoiding this one because it feels like a rip-off of Mary Poppins.  For most of you that know me, I’m a huge Disney fanatic and Mary Poppins is among one of my all-time favorites.  I can watch it over and over and over again, know all the words of all the songs and maybe even the dialogue. So, Nanny McPhee has quite the competition if its anything like that.  Honestly, I don’t know much and they are all assumptions but assuming is not a great thing and I’m trying to not do that.

By the way, its October!! Magical nannies…kind of works, right? I keep thinking Nanny McPhee might be a witch so I guess it works that way 😉

Let’s give this a go! 🙂

Nanny McPhee (2005)

nanny mcphee

Director: Kirk Jones

Cast: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly MacDonald, Angela Lansbury, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Eliza Bennett, Imelda Staunton

Cedric Brown has lost his loving wife and now has to make his living and take care of his seven young children.  However, his children are so misbehaved that they have already scared away 17 nannies ever since.  With his Aunt Adelaide who provides him with a monthly allowance to sustain him and his family’s living, she gives him an ultimatum that he either finds himself a wife by the end of the month or she will cut her support.  Its here that Nanny McPhee arrives at his doorstep.  Magically, she offers to teach 5 lessons and her rules are simple: she will stay as long as she is needed but not wanted but when she is wanted but not needed, she has to go.

nanny mcphee

I have to admit that Nanny McPhee is a little odd.  Except, it quickly turns into a charming little movie.  I guess you can’t call a movie little when it has a ton of talented cast from Emma Thompson playing Nanny McPhee to Colin Firth being Cedric Brown and Imelda Staunton being Cook.  Not to mention, Aunt Adelaide being played by Angela Lansbury.  All that talent for this movie with kids that are practically unknown.  Well, they were unknown back then.  Thomas Brodie-Sangster, now 10 years later is rather known especially because of The Maze Runner, Nowhere Boy and before that, it had to be Love Actually. With such a solid cast, Nanny McPhee can’t help but deliver strong performanced across the board.  Plus, Emma Thompson is also responsible for the screenplay.  I’m sure that gives her a little more attachment as the main character and adds a little spark to what she’s doing.

nanny mcphee

While Nanny McPhee does have certain features very similar to Mary Poppins plot-wise and at times, feels a little like the cross-over of The Sound of Music with all those children also, it has its own little magic.  It is obvious that this movie is meant for children to teenagers perhaps and the lessons it delivers is great in terms of a family comedy.  Its a ton of fun and reinforces that a family being together means learning together.  Nanny McPhee may seem like she is teaching the children but she is also teaching the father valuable lessons on taking extra care to how he treats his role.  It may seem silly the simple things like going to bed and getting up when told in the beginning but its about discipline and respect, listening and being honest and accepting consequences.  All very relevant to children and grown-ups alike.

Nanny McPhee Returns (2010)

nanny mcphee returns

Director: Susanna White

Cast: Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Asa Butterfield, Rhys Ifans, Lil Woods, Eros Vlahos, Rosie Taylor-Ritson, Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor

Isabel is a young mother with three children living on a farm and trying to make ends meet while her husband is away at war.  Secretly having a massive debt at the casino, her brother in law wants to coax her into selling her half of the farm.  Except, she doesn’t want to despite the struggles.  When her sister sends over two cousins because of the war situation getting more serious in the big city, she ends up having to take care of two more children, and extremely spoiled rich brats on top of that.  It is at this moment that Nanny McPhee shows up and offers to help her with teaching 5 lessons (side note: not the same as last time).

nanny mcphee returns

Nanny McPhee Returns is a great addition to this series.  The cast still retains to be incredibly strong.  Emma Thompson comes back as Nanny McPhee and she just does it so perfectly.  Then we have an even younger Asa Butterfield (because he’s still pretty young right now) in the lead boy among the children.  Along with that, mom is played by Maggie Gyllenhaal and there’s ever a small role for Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes and Ewan McGregor.  Nanny McPhee definitely returns with the same charm but this time, it adds a lot more goof.  At times, it felt a little ridiculous but for the most part, I was able to not mind it too much.

nanny mcphee returns

The best part, other than the fun characters, is really that learning the 5 lessons the Nanny McPhee has to teach never feels strained.  If anything, this time, the lessons were more straightforward and even more relevant than the last time.  We in the land of courage, bravery, imagination, taking leaps of faith, and more.  Like I said, relevant with what they are dealing with and with a contrast of children from different backgrounds, the learning is even more substantial.

Nanny McPhee Returns is a very fun sequel.  With lots of lovable characters and an outstanding cast even to its supporting and cameo characters.  Its magical and adventurous even between some of the unnecessary goofiness that they add in this time around.

Its a pity that Nanny McPhee only has two movies in this series. It would be a fun one to keep going.  You can always argue that Mary Poppins is better and she is in fact irreplaceable but Nanny McPhee has her own little charm and its just so relevant no matter when you watch it.  Its a ton of family fun and very much worth your time. 🙂

Have you seen either of these Nanny McPhee movies? Any thoughts?

Netflix A-Z heads into a week of Horror before stepping aside for the Halloween Marathon.  
What O horror takes the spot? Any guesses?

Double Feature: Lockout (2012) & Ender’s Game (2013)

This last weekend, my boyfriend and I went through quite a bit of indecision as we sat around trying to figure out what to watch.

First choice went to Lockout and the second one went to a movie in my unwatched pile of movies, Ender’s Game, both have one similarity: they both have a lead by an actor that I love.

LOCKOUT (2012)

lockout 2012

Director: James Mather & Stephen St. Leger

Cast: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Lennie James, Peter Stormare

Set in the future, ex-CIA operative Snow (Guy Pearce) is wrongfully convicted of turning on his operation.  However, when maximum security prison in space, MS1 has a rogue prisoner break loose and lets out the 500 convicts while taking the facility’s personnel and also, the president’s daughter, Emilie who happened to be there conducting an interview on the stasis procedure there, Snow is asked as to go in to save Emilie and send her back home safely.

lockout 2012

Lockout is nothing great.  There’s crap CGI that doesn’t match up to what is capable of modern technology of computer graphics.  In fact, at the a certain point, it felt like I was looking at a video game cut scene or whatnot, lacking a feeling of being realistic.  But,  I love Guy Pearce and he can make a movie really good.  That man is fantastic and when you put him in the whole Netflix description suggesting that if you were looking for an entertaining movie full of one-liners. Well, I’m down.  So, with that said, one-liners also means that there is going to usually be a whole lot of cheese.

guy pearce

Before I say whether I liked this or not, you need to take into consideration that I slept about 3 hours the night before because of a late girl’s night in and then woke up at 5:30 for a sunrise shooting session with my friend.  Continuing with my first thought up there, Lockout is nothing great.  Put CGI aside now, the story is ever so flawed.  The prisoners at MS1 are a little weird because its just a bunch of them sitting around socializing while the main group is threatening the government.  Put that aside, I realized how much I am not a fan of this Emilie character because she is a pain in the ass. And some of these characters are painfully stupid, I mean, just so very frustratingly stupid. But, somehow, through all those downfalls, every time Guy Pearce was on screen, I was excited to see what happened next or just how he’d react.

No, I won’t recommend this but you know what, Guy Pearce is still an amazing presence in this one.

ENDER’S GAME (2013)

ENDER'S GAME

Director: Gavin Hood

Cast: Asa Butterfield, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld

Ender Wiggin is recruited to be part of the International Military to be trained with other chosen kids who have the ability to help fight in the war against an alien population known of Formics. The Formics nearly destroyed the human race in their last invasion however thanks to a hero leader, they survived.  Now they are preparing for the next battle that is inching closer day by day.  Will Ender become the leader that the human race needs to survive before its too late?

ender's game

 I’m a huge fan of Asa Butterfield, especially after seeing Hugo.  This kid can achieve some great things and he is amazing.  Ender’s Game is right up my alley of what I like to watch: adventure being the main thing.  I’m not so much a sci-fi person although I’m starting to think I kind of am.  Anyways, before I wanted to seeing this in theatres, I picked up the book, hoping to finish it before I went to see it, but the slow beginning made me skip through that.  I can’t believe that was a year ago, as I looked through my review again.

Ender’s Game is based on character development of Ender as he’s thrown head first into Battle School and as he learns from the mock battles he has there.  What is wildly abundant in the book is his advanced strategy because he can plan out towards the end results he needs to not let things happen again. In that sense, he can make some pretty drastic choices.  These choices shape who he becomes and the struggles he has to endure. The  movie adaptation does a good job of showing his struggles except it moves forward pretty quickly (or I wonder if I fell asleep for 10 minutes in between because I was really tired). Regardless, the movie had me pulled in from the start, which is a lot more than I could say for the book.  Maybe sci-fi for me works better adapted in movies than in books.  I don’t read enough of that genre to know. The only thing that taking a slower time to build character as in the book, gives the character a more focused thoughtfulness to it.  It gives it more growth.

ender's game

Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld: all very well-casted for their respective roles.  What I loved most was how the transposed the description of the Battle School sequences from the army battles in that zero gravity zone especially.  The design and graphics of it was absolutely beautiful to watch.  The technology that they can use for this is done perfectly to show that its set in a future that we don’t have now.  The battles set in their simulation is all touch screen and fast-paced.  Everything feels like its just so real and its full of action as Ender bounces from one training group to another.

However, what makes the book intriguing was the heavy constant focus on giving little bits of how the management level of the International Military functions and then seeing their plans play out on Ender and how he reacts.  Thats less obscure but still the ending packs a punch in the same way.  This is the first time, I felt the need to compare the source material and the movie adaptation.  I don’t really know why.  Maybe its because as much as I liked the book, I didn’t love it because it wasn’t really for me but I could see how great it would be for a movie.  And it didn’t let me down one bit.  It could’ve been better in capturing the development of Ender as a child who is thrown into an adult’s world as the responsibility of saving your race is on your back but its well worth the viewing just for the beauty of the setting itself.

These supposedly shorter reviews are getting long so here it is:

Bottomline: Lockout is going to be a forgettable action thriller with a well enough performance from Guy Pearce who tries his absolute best with he’s given.  While, Ender’s Game is visually stunning and has an outstanding cast that may not quite have the character development that the book has but it is entertaining and thrilling to watch all the same.

Now why couldn’t I have just wrote that and not said so much, right? 😉

Breaking Emotions Blogathon: Breaking Love

breaking emotions blogathon

Can you believe its already the last set of emotions for Mettel Ray’s Breaking Emotions Blogathon? I can’t! Because that also means its nearing the end of the month.  The fact that I’ve managed to get all of the previous emotions done has actually surprised me.  With all the writing and craziness right now (I’ll fill you in later), its been rather unbelievable in both a good and bad way for this November.

Canada may be done with its Thanksgiving but I heard its the American Thanksgiving so I figured I should stick with only Breaking Love.  Plus, I don’t think I can think up 3 scenes that I truly hate that much.  Maybe anything with Rob Schneider *eye twitches* and I’m not about to go there.  So yes, its Thanksgiving and I’m staying happy and trying to bring some awesomeness to your life too and breaking love.  You can check out the details of that right HERE!  Maybe you’d like to break love too (its a good thing, ok?)

I’m looking for scenes that you love and adore until the end of time, scenes that just pop up in your mind while walking to the store and are just simply awesome. What are the scenes that you love the most?- Mettel Ray

Lets do it! 🙂 I tried to do it in some form of countdown but they kept shifting in my mind so I just gave up!

breakinglove

City of Ember – Opening scene/A Way Out

City of Ember

Following the clues

City of Ember

Is this the way out?

I know that two scenes but I’m horrible at choosing.  I chose 5 movies as is.  Any of these movies, I could’ve easily pulled out 5 scenes and just use it for the blogathon.  City of Ember is fantastic.  Its fun and even though, I’ve watched it so many times I know what happens when, I always sit around mesmerized by the beauty and detail of the city, the hunt for clues and just the sweet, sweet happiness in discovering a way out.  I love the scene of when they think its just darkness outside but then they see their first sunrise.  Its about those small things in life that we take for granted.  I love it: the excitement, the adventure and staying hopeful. I actually reviewed this movie earlier today so you can check it out HERE if you’d like! 🙂

Howl’s Moving Castle – Meeting Howl

I’ve seen almost all of the Miyazaki flicks.  I had to put on something animated because that defines me: Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, especially Studio Ghibli. Thats why it won over choosing a scene I love from Disney.  Miyazaki is an amazing director and storyteller. His animation is close to flawless and to me, the first time I saw a Studio Ghibli movie on the big screen was Howl’s Moving Castle.  Sophie meeting Howl was possibly one of the best scenes when he takes her for the first time on a walk on the sky to escape.  Christian Bale has a sexy voice, ok? Made it even better.  Plus, I personally remember whispering to my best friend in the theatre that if only there was such a handsome man in real life. It was enchanting and magical, a great start for an even more awesome movie. And you thought I would pick My Neighbor Totoro, eh? 😉

Hugo – What is Your Purpose?

I’ve heard that Hugo has a lot of dispute as to how many people like it or not. I loved the movie from start to the finish.  The score was awesome, the adaptation was beautiful and Asa Butterfield is a young talented actor or carried his role really well.  Plus, it actually gives justice to the book itself that it was adapted from.  Why did I pick this scene? It was a no brainer.  I love the quote.  I love the situation that it was said and the meaning behind it all.  It brings a deeper hopeful meaning to finding the purpose of our life.  That quote pops in my head whenever I feel like my life is going nowhere.  I can’t be a spare part, right? DEFINITELY! 🙂

Step Up 3D – Moose dance sequences

I hope the videos work since there wasn’t any embed link.  Step Up franchise is awesome not because Channing Tatum and his current wife in my book.  Ok, ok, I admit that Channing does have a nice bod but then I would’ve picked Magic Mike. Just saying… The first Step Up was possibly the best in script and inspirational.  However, for me, my love and repeated viewings goes to watching Moose (Adam Sevani) on screen. His dance sequences lights up the Step Up flick (and franchise) and seeing as he is one of the main characters in Step 3D, it seems appropriate to choose it.  I have probably 4 other dance flicks I could’ve chosen but for me, this one really is awesome! Love it to bits 🙂

Pride and Prejudice – Bewitched

Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite movies. I probably watch it at least 4 times a year.  I think I’m actually due to watch it soon.  This is a super romantic scene and its set so nice with the sun blazing in and just makes me all giddy and joyful.  I’m a romantic, and a hopeless one at that. I seriously thought about doing this whole post with this movie but then I’d think, I’d just overdose you all.  So yes,  “you have bewitched me body and soul” equals my love for this scene.

There you go! Scenes I love aren’t necessarily the best movies in the world but they do merit my love for different reasons. It warms my heart, relaxes my body or charges up my energy.  Whichever it is, I’ve watched them tons of time.  These are just the ones I found came to me first but as I wrote this I have about 15 other scenes to put in. Tough choices…

What are scenes that you love? Ones that you love so much that you’d never get sick of it or those that your mind thinks about randomly?

Thank you to Mettel Ray for hosting an amazing and awesome Breaking Emotions blogathon! I loved it! 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! 🙂

Hugo (2011)

The third movie on my plane ride and I’m at a loss of words.  Hugo is a masterpiece in whole.  I had wanted to watch Hugo for a long time but never found the chance.  Now I know that I missed out.

Let’s not get ahead of myself here. Hugo Cabret is about a young boy who runs the clocks in the train station of Paris. He is searching for missing pieces to find the secret message that he believes his father left him.  This search allows him to meet the owner of a toy shop at the train station called Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley) and his goddaughter  Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz). The story is a story full of themes of finding passion, adventure and magic. Hugo has to find his purpose at the same time as he believes that if he found out this message, he would find himself in a way. Instead, in the process he changes the life of the people he meets.

Let me start with saying that I love the cast.  Ben Kingsley, Chloe Grace Moretz was stellar in this.  I have never seen the boy who plays Hugo, his name is Asa Butterfield but man, he is a great young actor.  I was impressed with him.  I have seen Ben Kingsley in a few movies and he never fails to make me love him even more. He was so charming and mysterious in this movie.  I love Jude Law to bits and he had a cameo in here as Hugo’s father.  As always, he was amazing in his little role. It also had Sacha Baron Cohen who played Monsieur Inspecteur, who is the guard of the train station and his little story plays out in a cute little thing with Lisette (Emily Mortimer).  Both did a pretty good job and gave the movie a certain dynamic and charisma.  Another character that played a supporting role was Mama Jeanne, Georges wife, played by Helen McCrory. I never knew her name before, but she is a great actress.  This was solid acting all round.

Other than the characters, this movie was visually stunning.  I loved the directing and how they shot the film.  It was beautiful from the scenes of Paris to the insides of the clock towers with the mechanical gears all around.  The background music was also a plus.  When the music had just started at the beginning, I already felt mesmerized.  This movie was great from beginning to end.

I haven’t seen a movie that I’ve praised this much in a long time.  It was simply amazing! I highly recommend it for sure!