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[Fantasia 2019] It’s Not Quite Endless Love w/ White Snake

27 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Distributed by GKIDS

The latest animated film from China about the Legend of the White Snake is making its rounds at film festivals, like Fantasia 2019. As a prequel, the setup is simplified. White Snake (白蛇) defines Xiao Bai as the main character. Her story is familiar, and is no different in scope when compared to William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or even Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.

This computer animated work is very Disney-esque–complete with the prerequisite sidekick comic relief. When a medicine-man (not wanting to be a snake catcher) Xuan (Tianxiang Yang) rescues Bai (Zhang Zhe), her anmesia results in her having to figure out who she is. The story begins with us knowing that she is a spirit from the mountains–a white snake–attempting to attain that higher level of harmony (immortality, according to the subtitles–which makes little sense when spirits are technically very long-lived). However, a memory is holding her back and what she learns which makes up the film is one of sorrow and sacrifice.

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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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Reminded of Times Gone By with Toy Story 4

3 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

* Spoiler Alert

In Toy Story 4, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the gang find life with a new playmate generally good. It’s been a few years now, and these days, it’s Jessie (Joan Cusack) whom Bonnie plays with more. The sheriff knows his purpose is to keep the new owner safe. After witnessing her reluctance to go to preschool, he has a new mission.

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Franchise Based AR Games to Play or not…

23 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

More tablet/smartphone-based Augmented Reality (AR) games based on intellectual property (franchise) are available to play. While the technology is still at its infancy (i.e. requiring you to stare at a screen than the world), smart glasses is still not a thing and neuro interfaces are not likely to arrive soon. They are fun diversions to pass the time with. Unless noted, these games are available for both iOS and Android.

In no particular order:

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