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[Fantasia 2019] Akane’s in Wonderland, A Movie Review

17 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Akane’s (Mayu Matsuoka) life may seem boring, if not downright depressing in Keiichi Hara‘s The Wonderland (バースデー・ワンダーランド). Her birthday is coming up and she should be happy. When she’s asked to visit Aunt Chii (Anne Watanabe) on the other side of town just to pick up her own celebratory gift, it’s a safe bet her world is going to be turned upside down. The tones this film borrows from Lewis Carroll’s work cannot go unnoticed.

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The Vintage Tempest’s Picks of the Fantasia International Film Festival 2019

15 Jul

Image result for fantasia film festival 2019Runs: July 11 – August 1st
Montreal, Quebec

The Fantasia International Film Festival is in full swing, taking place in Montreal, Quebec with plenty of works to view and a wonderful look into all things fantastic. The genres also include horror, science-fiction and drama. In this show, the focus is on the extraordinary, hence the name. I encourage anyone who loves these genres to come to this show and see the world premieres that take place here.

Of particular note is a premiere screening of Shelagh McLeod’s Astronaut (review coming) starring Richard Dreyfuss. Arielle Dombasle’s Crystal Palace is a French production which only some can describe–a hallucinatory experience, a kitsch and camp kaleidoscope with surrealist dialogue and cardboard costumes (literally), all with a dash of meta-cinema. I’m particularly excited for the release of Takahiro Umehara’s The Moon in the Hidden Woods which blends steampunk, Korean folk styles and otherworldly fantasy into a tale of a world bereft of a lunar guardian. Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s Night God is said to be a waking nightmare, an unknowable maze of gigantic moving paintings, reminding one at times of the painter Carel Willink.

But it’s not the movies that defines a show. The huge list of shorts showcase the imagination of many a new filmmaker. Swiss animator Nils Hedinger’s Kuap looks like it may borrow from Hayao Miyazaki in narrative, Simon Beaupré’s Evil James Bond vs World War Z is a must for those who love crazy crossover ideas. Those who love Chinese folklore should look at Wan Jinyue and Du Jinzhi‘s The Girl and the Serpent.

The list does not end here. From the press release:

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There’s No Need to Be Afraid of The Big Bad Fox

15 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Release Date: July 16, 2019
GKIDS and Shout! Factory

The Big Bad Fox (Le Grand Méchant Renard et autres contes…) is a delightful, hilarious children’s book by Benjamin Renner and it’s animated counterpart is just as whimsical. The breezy watercolours featured in this hand-drawn work was very meditative. The poke at simple life was just as illustrious to the work I also recall in the printed Winnie the Pooh books.

The film released two years after the publication (2015) and what it offers are three shorts within a variety show format featuring Pig (Justin Edwards), Rabbit (Adrian Edmonson), Duck (Bill Bailey) and the titular Fox (Giles New, Pirates of the Carribean movies). More barnyard creatures pepper the background and this parable has a lot to offer to keep the kid in me entertained for years to come. This work is all ages friendly!

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Guess Who’s Coming to Scooby-Doo?

11 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available on Boomerang
Broadcasting on Cartoon Network beginning July 8, 2019

Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? is out and about! This new Cartoon Network series has two episodes available and I am hooked! I’m glad the experiment known as Be Cool Scooby-Doo is finished. The stories were okay but to reimagine the gang Calarts style was not for me. I’d rather rewatch A Pup Named Scooby-Doo instead. I can hear and appreciate the voices, but it did not flow well with the visuals.

The character designs and work by Iwao Takamoto defined everything I adored throughout the decades. I believe nostalgia plays an important factor in this franchise otherwise why bother? In what’s enjoyable with the new series is that it not only is it a  light reimagining of the main characters Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy, and Scooby, but also the dynamics that defined many a show get a nudge too. That is, we see them react much like they did in What’s New Scooby-Doo?

 

Plus, this series is bringing the catalogue of past Hanna Barbera properties and celebrity friends they know, like Batman! The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972-4) was the most memorable and Guess Who? borrows from this run.

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