Archive | DVD Reviews RSS feed for this section

Finding The Legend of Hei is Like Coaxing a Cat out of Hiding

11 May

The Legend Of HeiBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Shout Factory

Available to order (when back in stock) at Amazon USA

No feline can be contained in the release of The Legend of Hei (罗小黑战记). Those adorable big eyes of the woodland sprite will win over many cat lover’s heart. Also, this movie about Luo Xiaohei (an elfin) has a unique charm to it which makes me wonder if there’s any merchandise to buy. There’s plenty to choose from on eBay, and the licensing potential is huge. When he’s competing against Kuroneko Sama (from Trigun), the challenge will be in brand recognition in North American markets.

This movie was released in China during the Summer of 2019 and made limited circuits at film festivals the following year before a pandemic halted those plans. This prequel to the lesser known web series is at least more accessible and my hope is for Shout Factory to get the rights to the web series so both are globally available. This title quickly sold out at the shops I checked out today, and even Amazon had trouble keeping up. There’s a book which covers the online tale. When this cat is proving hard to contain, I’m hoping Hei has that forever home in place. (Thankfully I was able to view this title digitally)

Continue reading

Is Dzhanik Fayziev’s Cosmoball a Grand Slam?

11 Apr

Amazon.com: Cosmoball [Blu-ray]: Viktoriya Agalakova, Svetlana Ivanova,  Mikhail Efremov, Dzhanik Fayzie: Movies & TVBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Well GO USA
Available to order or stream online on Amazon USA

The Russian made film, Cosmoball is out, and will it score a home run? Technically, the game is a high tech spin of rugby, and anyone familiar with the cartoon Galactik Football to which this film is based on will recognize a few ideas.

Dzhanik Fayziev, Andrey Rubanov, Drew Row and Twister Murchison are the screenwriters of this campy science fiction superhero epic, and it’s a doozy of a tale. This work crams in three different story threads. Some of it is inspired from recognizable sources: Bloodbowl (the Games Workshop miniature battle game) mixed in with Quidditch for the sport, Farscape for the world setting and the Avengers franchise for the big bad. Cherno can be related to Thanos; he drives the plot in his desire to escape prison.

Anton (Georgiy Bestaev) is this film’s protagonist and he can teleport. He realizes his abilities after an accident and he gets recruited for this intergalactic game. The fate of his home planet is at stake, and he has to learn how to play well with others.

Continue reading

News of the World Makes It’s Call on Home Video

24 Mar

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Universal Studios Entertainment
Spoiler Alert

Sometimes no news is better than fake news in the one subplot featured in Paul Greengrass‘s movie, News of the World. The film is imbued with a subtle reminder of race relations while life in the wild west was hard. The Civil War is over, and people are still trying to figure out what side they are truly with. The collision between the cowboys, indians, and immigrants makes up one layer of this movie adaptation of Paulette Jiles‘ novel of the same name. Another is about the journey of one very lonely individual.

Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) is a Confederate veteran of the US Civil War, and after losing this battle, he has no reason to fully live. To make ends meet, he travels from town to town to offer his services as a town crier of sorts. He reads the local paper out aloud in town halls, to deliver the news to those who can’t read. Plus, he hasn’t seen his wife in years. Hanks’ performance makes me wonder if Kidd is kidding himself about his occupation. He sees home as a disease. Johanna (played by Helena Zengel), to whom he has to deliver to her next of kin, proves to be more of a boon than a bane of his life.

Continue reading

Shine On, Gattaca, You Crazy Diamond! (in a Rough)

22 Mar

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Sony Entertainment

Release Date:
March 23, 2021

Andrew Nicol’s thought-provoking Gattaca is looking very shiny in its 4K upgrade. Fans of this film will find the Sony’s investment into smoothing out this classic movie–where perfection and subterfuge are central to the plot–a fitting call to the concept of cleaning up the flaws in the film stock.

This movie stands the test of time. It’s a gorgeous film which looks visually sharp on a 4K screen. The science of looking at original film negatives on a computer and the mathematical process involved to make this sleek and deadly thriller look pristine requires both machine logic and humans mutually agreeing which is better. Only the human eye can tell.

This film was shot in 35mm photochemical film stock. Any noticeable grain on the original or intentional use of soft imagery through the lens was light when looking back at my DVD. Also, it doesn’t help when my 4K television does its own upscaling to give a simulated higher resolution on the screener version I examined; a 2160p version wasn’t available at the time. Kudos must still be given to the team behind the colour grading fixes, though.

Continue reading

So What’s With the Music in Earwig and the Witch?

18 Mar

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

GKIDS & Shout! Factory
Now Available on Streaming (HBOMax)

DVD/Blu-Ray Release Date:
April 6, 2021

Spoiler Alert

Long time fans of Studio Ghibli’s works will find their decision to transition to CGI jarring. The production quality and advanced character design–the motion of the figures–is just not there. They don’t have the decades of experience other teams (like DreamWorks or PIXAR) have. It’s all new to them. Despite this setback, debuting Earwig and the Witch (アーヤと魔女) on television and the CGI quality doesn’t overshadow the tale by much.

Goro Miyazaki explains his reasoning behind the production design in one featurette offered in this home video release (it comes with a handy checklist of other Ghibli films for completionists to explore). Viewers can decide if his choice is for the better or worse. By mid-act I got accustomed to it and became more invested in the hilarious antics Erica Wigg (Kokoro Hirasawa) goes through with the help of her new pet to become a woman of the house.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: