The Victoria Film Festival Celebrates 25 Years! Picks of the 2019 Season

16 Jan

The Victoria Film Festival is celebrating 25 years! While I could swear this local event has gone on longer, but oh how time flies. I covered this event in some form (limited or otherwise) ever since I saw Edison and Leo back in 2008 (for a college paper) and Chef of the South Polar tickled my taste buds in 2011. This movie taught me a thing or two about how to make do with limited supplies for good food and in what defines the taste in ramen. I was a starving student back then and now I’m a starving artist. This year offers a film about the said noodle dish as my number one must see. As my eclectic tastes are as diverse as the selection, Mirai of the Future (未来のミライ) flies high. This anime is getting screenings! Curiously, no hardcore sci-fi, horror or fantasy is listed this year. The diversity is more on creative and inspirational films than always be genre-specific.

This year sees the Victoria Conference Center offer a larger space for their Opening Gala film, Sink or Swim (Le Grain Bain) on Feb 1st at 6:30pm. This French comedy technically debuted last year at Cannes and is making waves cross borders. It’s about how a group of men well past their prime in the quest to achieve self-esteem. They become a synchronized swimming team, and the teamwork involved to beat to the drum is tough, but are we here to laugh at them and perhaps reflect upon our own lives. We have all been there at some point–stuck in some quagmire until that one moment helps us realize we’re alright. This film encourages the latter and that’s entertaining enough!

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By Crom! Conan the Barbarian’s Ride Past, Present and Future

14 Jan

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The rights to who can publish illustrated stories featuring Conan the Barbarian is back in the hands of Marvel Comics. I have no problem with that and found they released issue #1 of all new adventures to ring in the New Year. My first exposure to this Cimmerian’s adventures was with this publisher before the movies. I took a time out, but always kept an eye on releases and bought adaptations of Robert E. Howard’s works (or all new tales) which interested me the most. His use of the supernatural and how he incorporated the Ancient Egyptian mythos was key.

One of my favourite villains is Thoth-Amon. Although he was referenced once in Howard’s writings, in “The Phoenix on the Sword,” he was a recurring villain in Marvel’s early Conan books. It is well known that he made up part of the makeup of the cinema villain Thulsa Doom. As for whether this mad wizard will appear in the new works depends on what this company has planned. As soon as he becomes a major figure, I will be buying these new works.

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The Lightest Darkness, An Exercise in Neo-Noir

12 Jan

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

To say The Lightest Darkness is inspired by film noir is an understatement. To connect it with the styling of Franz Kafka is perhaps just as surreal. Whichever the case, the neo-modernist stylings of this Russian made film make the feelings of being entrapped certainly notable. Two suspects (or is that three) are eyed; Private Investigator Musin (Rashid Aitouganov) is on a missing person case and believes all can be unveiled on a train going nowhere fast.

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The Holidays Isn’t Over Yet with The Grinch Coming Soon to VOD & Home Video

10 Jan

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Enjoying what the Winter Wonderland represents can soon enjoy watching how The Grinch rang in the New Year (and the holidays) with the digital release Jan 22. The home video release is Feb 5th, 2019 and the creative minds from Illumination Entertainment show no bounds, especially when the Minions are along for the ride! Yes, these miscreants from Despicable Me are back, and no they have not teamed up with this anti-hero. I can only imagine the chaos to ensure should the day this studio decide to fashion a shared universe.

This physical release has more than 60 minutes of bonus content and personally, I cannot wait. The film was a joy to lift me from the bah humbugs over the season when I saw it theatrically, and now I can see it year-round. Immediate access to the new music videos is a nice touch. Details of the physical release are as follows:

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