Sunday, July 22, 2012

Finally, Fantasia

So I'm back in Montreal.  Got back last Sunday and it took me a couple of days to get my sea legs back.  During that time, Fantasia launched and I wasn't quite prepared.  I think I've finally gotten my shit together, though my lateness has already created a significant casualty.  I'm going for a low participation this year, though definitely a step-up from the last two years.

First, though, I have some bones to pick with Fantasia 2012:

  1. Why is it so hard to get programs in the Plateau?  Club Videotron on St-Laurent doesn't carry them anymore, neither does Boîte Noire. What the hell?  This is probably the choice of these outlets, but I spoke to the guy at L'Échange (used bookstore on Mont-Royal where they do carry the programs) and he said that it didn't cost the store any money to have them.  What's the deal here?  Anybody got any answers?  Who do I complain to?
  2. The DVD of trailers is all lo-res.  I'm pretty sure previous year's trailers had only some lo-res but most were at least watchable on a flat screen.  These look like they were all downloaded directly from the internet.  Hey, Fantasia, what's the point of a DVD if you are going to only give us web-quality trailers?  I can just watch them on my computer anyways.  I don't care if you can't fit all the movies in.  Give us fewer with better quality. It makes a major difference in attracting me to a movie.
  3. Why no google calendar or iCal links this year?  In year's past, they had the entire schedule that you could import into the online calendar of your choice.  You could also add movies individually with a click of a button. This was a huge help in organizing one's festival.  Why did it go away?  I asked that in a comment, got no response.  I sent an email to Fantasia and to Plank the design team on Saturday so I hope I get a response during the week.
  4. Why only one real kung fu movie this year?  Now I admit that I am bitter that Fist of the White Lotus sold out ("Accupuncture versus Pugilism!" oh my tears are bitter indeed), but those old restored Shaw Brothers used to never sell out.  It did this time because IT'S THE ONLY KUNG FU MOVIE.  This festival was built on kung fu.  Yes, there are a bunch of Wu Xia films, but those all look hyper-produced with wirework and special effects replacing real kung fu choreography.  Yes, I know that is what the industry is producing now, but maybe we get rid of some of these teen romances and throw a few more classic kung fu movies.
  5. Finally, what is up with the programming in general?  I swear it seemed like every other trailer was a sappy Asian teen love drama.  I get that that is a sub-genre and we should have a few, but this year it seems like they are dominating the festival.  Do we really need more than one movie about an awkward/cute/goofy Korean guys who meet loner/cute/quirky Japanese girl and then there is a love song for the last minute of the trailer.  What gives?  Can we please get back to some good old-fashioned ass-kicking?

On the positive front, I am really glad to see an excellent selection of midnight movies, with midnight showings on both Friday and Saturday of the entire fest.  

Despite almost killing myself during the first two hours of insipid, schmaltzy teen romance trailers, I did manage to find a decent list of movies I want to see.    [Movies in brackets are maybes due to scheduling issues.]
There were at least a good 10 other films that I wanted to see but that I've already missed or they conflicted with something else.  So once you clear away the anime-teenybopper stuff (can't they just ship all those films to Otakuthon?), there is still an impressive number of interesting and potentially entertaining films at Fantasia this year. 

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