Hey team. One of my favourite things to come out of last months Montreal Fantasia Festival was the interview I conducted with filmmaker Quinn Armstrong about this film, Survival Skills. The interview is written, but it was conducted over Zoom.
As a bonus for the patrons, the video of my interview with Quinn Armstrong is now available as a patron-exclusive on Patreon.
Part of the plan moving forward is for more exclusives like this and a few other ideas that I have.
I really enjoy film blogging, but it also isn’t free. There are costs –both money and time– associated with doing it. That’s just the world we live in, so I am trying to make a bit more of a go of this.
The one question I get asked the most is, “when are you going to relaunch the podcast?” and that’s a fair question. The current answer is “when I have 25 patrons, ” so if you liked the podcast, please consider supporting it.
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Fantasia is a festival that I’ve always wanted to attend but never been able to. As much as the world is on fire right now, the festival going online and allowing me press access has been a great experience.
I was able to take in more than twenty four at the festival and of those, these six are my favourites.
Continue reading “Fantasia 2020: Favourites From the Festival”
When you think of David Arquette, you probably think of the lovable goofball from the Scream movies. I can say this with confidence because that’s what most people think of him as after he was typecast as that after the Scream movies.
“I’m just tired of being the joke“, he says while atop his horse Scooter wearing a purple cape while vaping. Arquette feels, all at once, the loveable goofball you’re already thinking of and a slightly lost soul who just wants a little respect. Introduced to the world of wrestling through the 2000 film Ready to Rumble, he found a community that seemed perfectly suited for him. A sport, a theatrical sport that appealed to his goofball nature.
But after a disastrous entry to the sport, in which he won the WCW World Championship to promote his movie, he lost the respect he so desperately needed. 18 years later, his career never having reached the heights it could have, and maybe should have, he decides to try to reclaim that respect.
This is a good movie, people.
Continue reading “Fantasia Review: ‘You Cannot Kill David Arquette’ is a sweet, silly, and entertaining documentary”
There’s something to be said for being naked. Everyone knows it, but naturalists live it. They spend all their time naked, or nearly so, while living their lives. These are normal people with normal lives; they just live in the nude when they can.
Patrick is the story of a mild-mannered handyman who lives with his parents in a nudist campground. He’s content, if unambitious, to continue fixing things and, in his spare time, build beautiful handmade wooden furniture. Patrick is a wizard in his woodworking shop, the one place he truly feels at home.
And then his father, patriarch of his family and owner of the campsite, suddenly passes away. Suddenly he has unruly tenants to deal with, a lothario rock star as a guest, a sly developer trying to bully him into selling the campground, and worst of all: his hammer is missing.
Continue reading “Fantasia Review: ‘Patrick’ is a sweet story of coming into ones own.”
Bleed With Me is the first feature from Canadian director Amelia Moses. This slow-burn psychological horror film is rife with tension and atmosphere. As I said in my review earlier this week, this film is the type that should land Moses firmly on your radar for whatever she does next.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Moses via Zoom to speak about her movie, the process of getting it made, and about making a movie looking at a darker type of female relationship.
Continue reading “Fantasia Interview: Amelia Moses on her film ‘Bleed With Me’”
I am going to come right out and say that I did not get along with Fried Barry, but I can see why it is resonating for some viewers. Grimy, greasy, seedy, and salacious, this film belongs to the cinema of excess, in which everything that happens to the lead character happens to the fullest extent that it can complete with any undue side effects and grossness that might follow.
Is it bold or just juvenile? Honestly, I can’t quite tell.
Continue reading “Fantasia Review: ‘Fried Barry’ is excessive, but is it bold or juvenile?”
There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of kaiju films: those that are laden with metaphor, meaning, and subtext like 1954s Godzilla, and those where giant monsters fight each other for the amusement of the audience like 1974s Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla. I like both varieties of these movies, but it’s clear to me that Minoru Kawasaki loves the latter.
Monster Seafood Wars is in many ways a perfect homage to the silliest of the classic kaiju movies, complete with men in suits playing the monsters, ridiculously low tech effects, and a ridiculous storyline. The only thing it’s missing is space aliens.
Continue reading “Fantasia Review: ‘Monster Seafood Wars’ is an homage to the silliest of Kaiju movies, but it’s not totally silly”
On a cold winters night during a snowstorm, a man walks into a bar. The bar is deserted but for the bartender. After a drink and some conversation, he offers to tell the bartender story that starts like this:
On a cold winters night during a snowstorm, a man walks into a bar. The bar is deserted but for the bartender.
You might be sensing the start of a pattern, and you are not wrong. The Oak Room weaves together several stories, each told between a man and a bartender and each appearing separate, right up until they are not, of course.
Continue reading “Fantasia Review: ‘The Oak Room’ weaves stories within stories to great effect”
Some b-movies go nowhere, and others become cult classics. People love this latter category of movies. People go out of their way to see them in special screenings and to collect memorabilia. What makes these films resonate is a question worth examining. Not only do they have to have a certain je ne sais quoi about them, whether that is amazing effects or the cast having a great time, or them being perfectly of their place and time, something causes them to connect with audiences profoundly.
Sam Raimi’s trilogy of Evil Dead movies are all three of them, this type of movie. The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness are all definitive cult classics with a wide fanbase. Hail to the Deadites, this new documentary about the fandom surrounding this trilogy, presents itself as an opportunity to answer the question of why and how these movies resonate.
It’s a pity then that it does not do that.
Continue reading “Fantasia Review: ‘Hail to the Deadites’ is an opportunity missed”
Sometimes I wonder if people in movies watch movies because when weird things start happening, like tons of dead fish washing up on the shore of a small, peaceful island, you’d think someone would say, “wait, I have seen this before.”
Cut to Block Island. A small, peaceful island with a year-round population of less than a thousand and tons of dead fish washing up on the beaches. A marine biologist comes to town to investigate and finds more than she bargained for.
Yes, you have seen this setup before. Yes, this goes to some probably different places.
Continue reading “Fantasia Review: ‘The Block Island Sound’ is suitably creepy”
How do you separate our dreams from reality? How much would it take for your dreams to become so real you start to wonder where they come from and if they are real?
Continue reading “Fantasia Review: ‘Sleep’ blurs the lines between dreams and reality”
Survival Skills is a film I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since I first watched it. A biting satire of police training, it frames a cold hard look at the way police are trained to interact with the people they’re sworn to protect.
I watched and reviewed the film yesterday and today had the opportunity to sit down with writer and director Quinn Armstrong via Zoom to talk about police training videos, the timeliness of this satire, and what he hopes to expose with his film.
Continue reading “Fantasia Interview: Quinn Armstrong on his film ‘Survival Skills’”
The rape-revenge story is a well-worn film story. The bad man seems nice. The bad man gets the woman alone. The bad man reveals himself as bad man. Violence ensues. Hunted attempts to take a supernatural twist on this story, following our victim deep into a forest that will eventually become her ally.
Or so the pitch goes. The problem is that the film doesn’t really follow through on the pitch.
Continue reading “Fantasia Review: ‘Hunted’ covers some well-worn revenge ground”
Unlikely couples are the hallmark of romantic comedies. People who hate each other, people from disparate backgrounds, and occasionally, a man and a mermaid.
A Mermaid in Paris is, I’m sure shockingly, from this last group. A man, Gaspar (Nicolas Duvauchelle), finds the wounded mermaid Lula (Marilyn Lima) on the banks of the Seine one night and proceeds to nurse her back to health. In the process, they fall in love.
It’s not exactly a new setup, but when you filter this story through the mind and aesthetic of Mathias Malzieu, you end up with something that looks like a cross between the classic 80s film Splash and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 classic Amélie.
Let me be clear: this is absolutely not a complaint.
Continue reading “Fantasia Review: ‘A Mermaid in Paris’ is a fun, heartfelt fantasy”
Art is a method for us to explore ourselves and our relationships. There’s a bravery required to put yourself 100% out there, make yourself vulnerable, and place your raw feelings in front of an audience to examine. PVT Chat wants you to think that it has this kind of bravery. From the first frames, which see the main character Jack furiously masturbating to cam girl Scarlet, the film wants you to know that the film will be about sex, and it isn’t going to hold back.
Where, though, are the lines between bravery and sleaze, between honest portrayal and porn, lie?
Continue reading “Fantasia Review: ‘PVT Chat’ can’t decide whether it’s honest or sleazy”