Saturday, August 4, 2012

Fantasia – Day 16 (Friday, August 3)

An enormously enjoyable day highlighted by the presence of Sr. Juan Martinez Moreno, the man behind Game of Werewolves, who I’ve now met up with in three different countries. Not sure who’s following who around, but I’m always thankful to spend time with the guy. Not only is he a hoot and a half, he’s made a dandy little film and is always very gracious and grateful to those who enjoy it. He also happens to be a big sushi fan, which worked out just fine for what was on the agenda.

The first day I arrived in town, my roommate Jeff informed me that there was a pretty solid sushi restaurant located near Concordia Hall called Kanda that boasted an impressive $15 all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. Now, being that I’ve been pretty much living on the cheap since my arrival ($15 is probably how much I spend on a week’s worth of lunches), I decided that today would be a good day to splurge. Matt, my cinematic traveling companion from Entertainment Maven, and I had been talking about grabbing lunch; with Juan now in town, the time seemed perfect for chowing down. Factor in the excessive number of Asian films I’ve been watching – all of them filled with scenes of characters gathered around tables, stuffing their faces with noodles, soup, dumplings, sushi, etc. – my mouth has been watering for some soy sauce-drenched goodness for over two weeks.

So it was that we gathered at Kanda, where we were joined by Neil Calderone, Adele Hartley from Dead by Dawn (where Game had won the Audience Award earlier this year), and Ariel (a dedicated Fantasia staff member) and Tom, who’s been movie pal for several screenings thus far. The next two hours were among the most enjoyable I’ve spent in Montreal thus far, with much laughter and stories surrounding a never-ending parade of delicious foodstuffs, sangria and sake. Below is a quick snap of one of probably 17 mouth-watering platters that graced our table, and I left on the perfect side of “full” – stuffed, but not queasily so. With no false modesty, we destroyed that place.

Our merry band of munchers

Neil, Matt and I waddled up to the press/media room to fill our time prior to the 5pm showing of Carre Blanc, followed by a triumphant screening of Game of Werewolves and Sr. Moreno's awesome brand of Q&A with Mitch Davis.

Afterwards, Juan graced me with a little gift package of the graphic novel version of the film, gorgeously illustrated by the team of Migoya, Ruben, Man, and Carlos, as well as the original soundtrack by Sergio Moure. How can you not love this guy?

We then proceeded to watch the first 20 minutes each of New Kids Turbo (at 10pm) and the Thai zombie film Dead Bite (at midnight), but neither film held our respective attention and we opted to head over to the dedicated Fantasia watering hole, the Irish Embassy. While Ol’ Man AC has been retreating back to the apartment to write and crash, Matt, Neil and pretty much everyone else has been closing the place down every night with much socializing and carousing. I figured, what the hey, it’s the final weekend and a chance to celebrate Juan’s success. Adele happened to be there as well as Mitch, the primary programmer for Fantasia’s horror offerings (alongside Fangoria Editor Emeritus Tony Timpone). Suffice to say, it was a grand night of geeking out, and while I could not have kept up the “crawling home at 4pm” pace my cohorts have maintained for the past two weeks, I was glad to have tasted the tap at least once.

Lloyd the Conqueror (2011) (1st viewing) d. Peterson, Michael (Canada)

A relatively harmless comedy about a group of slacker community college students roped into joining a LARPing tournament in order to save their grades. For better or worse, taking potshots at the Live Action Role Playing crowd is playing with a pretty low net, and one doesn’t feel any real affection for its participants from director Peterson and co-writer Andrew Herman depictions. Not to say there aren’t some humorous moments and interactions (Brian Posehn, as the sage white wizard Andy, has some choice deadpan moments) but Lloyd doesn’t seem to respect its subject or offer any real insight into this immersive alternate universe (like say, Role Models or The Wild Hunt). It’s just a punchline, a vehicle for goofy laffs.

Graceland (2011) (1st viewing) d. Morales, Ron (Philippines)

Leon Miguel turns in an outstanding central performance as the chauffeur of crooked politician Menggie Cobarrubias, both of whose lives are turned upside down and inside out when a kidnapping plot targets the elected official’s daughter. A superb, uncompromising thriller about complicity and class station that merits serious attention.

Carre Blanc (2011) (2nd viewing) d. Léonetti, Jean-Baptiste (France)

When I first saw this in April at BIFFF, there were no English subtitles on the print screened, so I figured I might have been missing some of the finer points of this dystopian effort about a young boy trained from an early age to be a behavioral instructor for a mysterious governmental organization. As it turns out, the cryptic approach persists even when one does understand what’s being said, as there are few answers as to who the mighty Orwellian conglomerate is, what its employees actually do, and why breeding and croquet are so important to the culture at large that reports on both regularly interrupt omnipresent music programs. Even so, writer/director Léonetti’s sober film (whose title translates to “white square”) holds the attention with tense scenes of violence and, as the adult version of the lad, Sami Bouajila’s commanding screen presence is well put to use as the inscrutable tool of the corporate machine. It’s a head scratcher and a discussion starter, which is what I think Léonetti was going for.

Game of Werewolves (aka Lobos de Arga) (2011) (3rd viewing) d. Moreno, Juan Martinez (Spain)

I’ve been fortunate enough to see this movie on three separate occasions over the past four months, all within festival settings (Brussels, Chicago Latino, Fantasia) and all with wildly enthusiastic houses. I’ve also become great pals with the genuinely good soul that is writer/director Moreno, and it pleases me to no end every time I get to enjoy his film in the company of folks likewise tickled by his special brand of horror and humor. For the official Fool’s Views review, go HERE. For an expanded article, pick up HorrorHound #36. Then drop an email to your DVD distributor of choice because for some reason Lobos is still without North American distribution as of this writing, something simply unthinkable considering the wealth of festival acclaim it has received over the past year and all the other (inferior) stuff being picked up right, left and sideways. Lycanthrope lovers, it’s up to you – lift your voices and howl.

2012 Totals to date: 363 films, 314 1st time views, 200 horror, 136 cinema

Fantasia Totals: 67 films, 63 1st time views, 32 horror, 58 cinema


  1. Number of times you have gotten to see Game of Werewolves: 3

    Number of times this werewolf fanatic has gotten to see it: 0

    This is patently unfair. What's it going to take to get me on the scoreboard, man?

    1. With the exception of Sr. Moreno and perhaps yourself, no one could be more frustrated than I at the lack of a distributor. It's such a no-brainer. I leave it to you to start ringing IFC, Magnet, DarkSky, etc. to get off their tuckuses and get some paperwork prepped because this is RIDICULOUS.