Fantasia Film Festival: Magic Magic Review by Oz
The previews for this film kept showing Michael Cera in a dark and sinister role but after viewing, it was the same old with him. Awkward, funny, if slightly more vulgar and Spanish speaking then usual, still he's a saving grace. The movie itself follows a vacationing American girl in South America, reconnecting with her cousin Sarah (Emily Browning). Sarah welcomes Alicia (Juno Temple) to her new life and friends, but she quickly feels secluded and alone. After unfinished "school" business (in actuality a visit to the hospital attending to an abortion) keeps Sarah from joining her for the first few days in their rustic, middle of the woods holiday home, things spiral downwards mentally for Alicia. The atmospheric soundtrack's goal was to keep you uneasy, but it just gave me a headache. The shocking ending was really not what I was expecting but I still left disappointed. Magic Magic's message maintained to be pretty muddled and in the end, I personally just felt like Alicia's character was very whiny and unsinkable. Still even with the brain-pain, it does leave you with a feeling of discomfort, a feeling of being haunted and unnerved.
Fantasia Film Festival: Imaginaerum Review by Oz
It's a story about a man on his death bed. Surrounded by "loved ones" his own mind is reduced to that of his adolescent self and with the spectre of death disguised as a happy go lucky snowman, the adventure begins. Great visuals all around and the usage of power metal music as a medium to communicate deceit and betrayal in the mind's eye is a brilliant stroke for a movie, but still, it quickly leaves me wanting. It's an interesting look at the old "your entire life flashing before your eyes" but I feel like the message could have been communicated in a lot less time. Overall Imaginaerum is still an original piece of cinema but nothing I would really watch twice.
Fantasia Film Festival: Horror Stories Review by Oz
A South Korean horror anthology featuring 4 short stories with the purpose of soothing a maniac serial killer (Yoo Yeon-seok) into a much needed sleep. Ji-won (Kim Ji-won) is the kidnapped high school student narrating these tales of blood chilling malice. Survival instincts kicked up to 11, she comes up with some pretty intense and gory fables, each concluding in the most horrific manner possible. Lots of fun special effects and ghastly demises, still it maintains its share of regurgitated tropes.
Almost every installment has a dream sequence and other repetitive devices. And the formula becomes predictable. My favourite has to be DON'T ANSWER THE DOOR; it maintained a creepy vibe through out as the young brother and sister duo are terrorized in their upstart apartment. My second preferred anecdote is SECRET RECIPE because who doesn't love cannibalism? Set on a Cindarella-esque backdrop, it displays how far the power of envy and jealousy can go.
The main theme I noticed in all the stories was the power of cruelty, especially one displayed by men. It also maintains a subtle sense of humour through out. HORROR STORIES is engaging and manages to stay varied segment to segment, I look forward to more work from Jung Bum-Shik and co.