Archive by Author

Who Has the Power in Hasbro & Netflix’s He-Man & The Masters of the Universe?

20 Sep

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (TV Series 2021– ) - IMDbBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Spoiler Alert

Hasbro & Netflix’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe may not appeal to all longtime fans. It’s been redesigned, and the new power of Grayskull is a trans-dimensional force of nature to perhaps contain and explain why these retellings over the years exist. Thankfully, this latest version stays true to the first series where it tries to teach young viewers the value of friendship, trust and teamwork. 

Rob David, the showrunner, is drawing from a cleaned up series bible. Hasbro and Funimation never made one during the run of the first series. After so many retellings on different fronts, namely three televised series and the comic books–this latest takes the best of and explains the complex relationships that exists in this world. The motives are much clearer. It’s also completely different from what Kevin Smith is doing in his continuation, MotU: Revelation.

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From TIFF to OIAF to ImagineNATIVE w TheNFB’s The Hidden Island of Ethics

16 Sep

Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics (2021) - Official HD TrailerBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Official Selection at
Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 9-18)
Ottawa International Animation Festival (Sept 22-Oct 3)
imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (Oct 19-24)

Please check links for showtimes

Anyone who has followed the media reports about the discovery of a mass grave on the grounds of a residential school in Kamloops, BC, may find Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics disturbing. Children from local tribes were plucked away from their families because someone thought it was best to teach them a different way of life. These places were operated by the Catholic Church, and it didn’t change hands until much later. The Canadian Government never knew what went on, and was left holding the bag.

This stop motion animated work by Terril Calder is evocative, powerful and moving. The story she constructed is an eerie look at what may have happened back then. Thankfully, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel in this tale.

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Many Myths Are Abound in Saint Narcisse

16 Sep

Saint-Narcisse (2020) Canadian movie posterBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Vancity Theatre beginning Sept 17, 2021 (please click link for showtimes)
1181 Seymour St
Vancouver, BC

Knowing who Bruce LaBruce is as a maverick storyteller can prepare those new to his world on what to expect. This avant-garde filmmaker is known for his very explicit sexually charged style and his movies are often about gays rather than the blending of pop culture genres. Not everyone will want to watch his take on zombies and vampires. His latest, Saint-Narcisse, is his spin on a well known Grecian myth with a dash of horror and delight added on top.

This film is an amusing expansion on the story of Narcissus. Dominic (Félix-Antoine Duval) is obsessed with his looks. He had enough sexual encounters with both genders, but after meeting a female Cyclops of sorts, he can’t help but feel something dreadful is coming. He doesn’t know who the phantom face he sees is. He’s haunted by it. Eventually, he’ll visit the sleepy town of Saint-Narcisse de-Beaurivage in Quebec to get answers.

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Aiming for the Top! The Witches of the Orient: Documentary Review

14 Sep

The Witches of the Orient (2021) - IMDbBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The Cinematheque
1131 Howe Street
Vancouver BC

Sept 16-19, 22
(please check link for showtimes)
Playing online: September 16–29

The Witches of the Orient is a deceptive title. Unless you are reading the plot teaser, you won’t know this sports film is about the triumphs of the 1964 Japanese Olympic volleyball team. These ladies who are still living today fondly recall their glory days, their training, and how they feel (past and present) about their achievement. Most of them were workers at a textile factory in Kaizuka, Japan, and in some ways, the title is about the magical connection they’ve formed during their training to aim for the top, Gunbuster style. Though this anime is about giant robots and excelling in the battlefield, the title is inspired from older sports cartoons. The aesthetic of a getting a group of ladies fully trained by a determined coach shows why the narrative is familiar. The real life Olympic team had to deal with the demanding Hirofumi Daimatsu.  

Technically, their competitors saw them as Oriental Witches. Instead of taking it as a derogatory statement, the Japanese team took it as a term of endearment. They weren’t upset either. I suspect they were fussing over how they’ve stayed true to themselves. As they toured the world in exhibition matches, we can see why they are a finely tuned and fierce team on the volleyball field.

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When The Light The Peony Lantern is …

12 Sep

The Peony Lantern | 牡丹燈籠 — INTREPID THEATREBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Victoria Fringe Festival

Showtimes:
Sept 10 to 16th

Streaming Online
Tickets can be bought online.

Botan Dōrō (牡丹燈籠, The Peony Lantern) is a classic Japanese ghost story that can easily deliver chills when adapted to the silver screen. It’s been made and remade since coming into publication circa 17th Century. One of its earliest incarnations was a 1910 silent film production from which I feel The Yokohama Theatre Group took inspiration from. There’s a German Expressionist design—intentional or not—which I recognize. The angles the two huge projection screens intersect are very reminiscent of how two walls in The Cabinet of Caligari bend towards Francis (with one foot bound to a chain) as though it’s laying pressure, holding him down.

The visual motifs are very clear in the theatrical adaptation. Here, the team creates a fantastic illusion of movement. One example is how the rickshaw seems to come alive when in front of a moving video. It carries a new arrival. A lone traveller, Islay Vogel (Nora Beryll), arrives by boat to Japan and he doesn’t have a place to stay until his cab gets lost, introduces a wandering spirit, and finally makes its way to a hostel. There, he encounters an attractive female, O-Tsuyu (May Sera), even though his landlady seems unaware of, and the young adults fall in love. 

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