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[From the Archives] From Baseline to Big in Japan – Tennis Pro, The Interview

17 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Originally published in 2015 on Vivascene
This interview I conducted has since disappeared.
Revised edition June 2019

Ask any musician, and you will hear that breaking into the music scene is tough. To get the recognition that matters is even harder. Seattle-based band, Tennis Pro, found that they had to take their act to another country because in the good ol’ United States of America, their local music scene was quite stagnant.

“I think that Seattle, after the 90’s explosion [with grunge music], has struggled to find its identity musically,” said drummer Sean Lowry. In his opinion, the city had fallen into a melancholy folk-rock wasteland.

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Tracing the Blues with ReMastered: Devil at the Crossroads

30 May

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Documentaries or biopics about musicians have really taken off since the release of Bohemian Rhapsody. Whether that’s on the big screen or small, Netflix is ripe with ’em. They have Dirt and ReMastered: Devil at the Crossroads–to name a few–and I’m sure there’s more. Rocketman is due in theatres May 30th.

Fictionalized takes of these musicians are not always accurate, and I found the look at Robert Johnson‘s life not only the most concise in uncovering his legacy but also intoxicatingly beautiful with the style of artwork used. The drawings are sublime, using charcoal sketches and watercolours to convey a sense of mystery. The beauty in this work is comparable to the animated sequence in the movie, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.

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Is Garmadon the Oni One in Season 10 of LEGO Ninjago?

24 May

By Ed Sum

(The Vintage Tempest)

It’s an end of an era for LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu Videos. March of the Oni, the latest season, is essentially a movie split into four episodes. It brings the Oni arc (which started in Sons of, season eight) to an end. In what keeps me coming back, despite a retcon of this villain is in how the good guys value brotherhood above all else. Bad guys rarely give their fellow warriors their due and, as a result, consistently fail in a fight.

Jay, Zane, Nya, Cole, and Lloyd have seen how brothers can turn upon brothers in season four, Tournament of the Elements. With season six, Skybound, the pirates whom the Djinn Nadakhan enslaved were not truly honour bound. Even the serpents, skeletons and ghosts they faced had snide remarks amongst the ranks. Even when Lloyd was trying to do bad things, the Serpentine clan recognised problems and did little because of a misfired attempt by the leader to hypnotise the tyke.

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The Pulps, Russell Mulcahy and In Like Flynn on VOD

22 May

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available on Amazon PRIME
Released by Blue Fox Entertainment

Amongst Gen Xers, Russell Mulcahy is a very recognizable name. He’s the directorial talent who brought Highlander (1985) and The Shadow (1994) to life. With works like Tale of the Mummy (1998), Mysterious Island (2005) and The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior (2008), fans can surmise he has a love for the pulps. The visual narrative he offers in this genre makes him the ideal choice to direct In Like Flynn, a biopic about the life of Errol Flynn before he went to Hollywood and became world famous. When he got the call, he was on a jet to Australia faster than this miscreant can down a shot of old whiskey.

Although many actors played Robin Hood over the years, the big question is which actor was the most memorable? Everyone agrees it’s Erroll, hands down. His life story made him perfect for not only this role–like Robert Downey Jr did with Iron Man–but also as Captain Blood. According to Mulcahy, he came to define more than one generation of the action hero status quo; he stuck to playing swashbuckling roles for most of the early part of his career. Also, Warner Brothers gave him no choice when he expressed interest in other kinds of roles later in life.

In what this director did not know about the man, the team of writers–Corey Large, Marc Furmie, Steve M. Albert and Luke Flynn (grandson)–helped explain. While this movie does not reveal everything you want to know but was afraid to ask, thankfully this actor has his memoirs (namely My Wicked, Wicked Ways) to sate those salacious appetites. To find the right person to play Errol wasn’t too hard.

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