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Full Moon Musings on Puppet Master: Axis Termination, Legacy & Laserblast

18 Oct

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By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Hardcore fans are most likely hoping Charles Band’s latest film, Puppet Master: Axis Termination is not spelling out the end of his franchise. This subset of movies brings the pulp-era adventures to completion, perhaps leading into the first movie of the series. There can be more made, as there’s an approximate gap of 40 something years before Puppet Master (it takes place 1989 while the Axis films are during WWII), as the little ones need to find their way home to Bodega Bay Inn. Only time will tell if this producer/director will feel inclined to make more, or is cutting them loose for other filmmakers tell their tale.

With this film, Blade and gang are trading masters yet again. Danny and his girlfriend are not at the helm. Instead, the nefarious Dr. Ivan (George Appleby) gets to be in charge. He needs the boys to help thwart the plans of Gerde Ernst (Tonya Kay) and Krabke (Kevin Scott Allen). These Nazi antagonists have a foothold in Southern California and the war this group of Allies and Nazis are waging is an occult one. Their mission is to discover the key to reanimation. To create a new tiny sized army is the goal, but can either do it?

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Examining the Juke Joints with Danger Boys: Punks in Osaka, a Preview

15 Aug

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Murahachibu and Zuno Keisatsu are two Japanese punk rock bands who helped form the punk rock music scene during the 70’s. Although the former shifted focus, and the other remain, to consider how their sound evolved to what is heard today, trying to discover what works and exists to music listeners interested in this part of the world has been described by some music journalists as hard to penetrate. The live music scene, according to a 2014 article in the Japan Times, is “notoriously difficult to penetrate. What’s there is said to be tucked away in the basements and upper floors of anonymous buildings, often in seedy parts of town, where the neighbours will be less likely to raise complaints against noise and loitering, with websites that update schedules only a few days before the actual events and that rarely link to any of the artists performing, live venues are like a hidden world open only to those who know the secret handshake.”

Seattle-based pseudo-punk band Tennis Pro entered this realm when they hit the road less travelled to gain recognition in their documentary Big in Japan (2014), but to penetrate Japan’s current scene within a world buried in another one is just as tough to uncover. Enter Danger Boys: Punks in Osaka, a documentary by Nick Romi (director) which is set to release December 11, 2017. This video can be pre-ordered at foreverunholystore.bigcartel.com and early birds will get a limited edition poster for a fantastic price of $10. This video will also be available on select streaming video services on the same day.

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Just One Day at A Time with Miss Hokusai, A Movie Review

28 Mar

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Exotic beauty and supernatural magic grace Production IG’s animated biopic, Miss Hokusai. Based on the manga of the same name by Hinako Sugiura, this film follows the narrative style and simply offers moments of this artist’s life in Edo-period Japan. With it now on video, I can start studying it more in-depth. My only disappointment is that the home release does not come with a lot of bonus material. A feature-length documentary about the making of this film is provided. I was craving more, especially when this anime explores an important time in Japan’s art history.

This look into the life of O-Ei (Anne Watanabe), daughter of revered painter Hokusai (Yutaka Matsushige), is very gentle and bittersweet. The plot looks at much of her life from her perspective as she shows how fiercely independent she is. Though she works as an assistant in her father’s studio, she often finishes what he can not finish when he’s being drunk (which is rare) or acting irresponsibly.

For artists wanting to look at why these Ukiyo-e works are majestic, I particularly liked the dialogue (I saw the subtitled version) explaining how the brush can invoke portals to other worlds. You have to be careful when painting a work featuring demons. At least with one work O-Ei made, real spirits came to haunt the residence. No title is offered for this work, but according to the soundtrack, it’s simply known as “The Cursed Picture of Hell.” When the work is retrieved, her father observed that because Hope was not offered, that’s why they visited. A simple detail was added and the evil left. However, there’s more to life in Edo period Japan because the Shinto life is not everywhere.

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Plenty of Martial Arts Mayhem and Nostalgia Fills Cynthia Rothrock’s Fists of Fury

18 Jan

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-2-27-02-pm-thumb-430xauto-64996By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Former World Karate Champion (1981-1985) Cynthia Rothrock certainly loves the martial arts movies from the 70’s and 80’s, and in the documentary, Fists of Fury, I’m believe she hand-picked all the forgotten B-grade classics. I recall seeing a few of these on the big screen!

Of those which I have not seen, after seeing this extensive reel of trailers and montage presentations, I’m tempted to seek them out. Thankfully, YouTube is my friend because The Lucky Seven (1986) can be found. This movie came out a year after The Goonies and I’m betting the filmmakers were inspired by Spielberg’s film. Sho Kosugi’s movies, to which Revenge of the Ninja is featured, defined part of my childhood love for the genre. This product is filled with plenty of nostalgic laughs. It will become available online Jan 20 on FullMoonStreaming.com and their Amazon channel, along with a physical copy.

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