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The National Film Board of Canada Animates Its Way From Ottawa to Vancouver

16 Sep

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) will soon be making a presence at two different celebrations across this country. New shorts will be playing at the Ottawa International Animation (OIAF, Sept 20-24, 2017) and afterward make their presence known at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF, Sept 28-Oct 13, 2017).

The variety that will be found is perfect! From dramas to virtual reality presentations (the Oscar-nominated Blind Vaysha got adapted to this new medium), this studio is embracing the new wave. In addition to Bear 71 (An interactive documentary which looks at the wildlife around Banff National Park), there’s also a retrospective from Theodore Ushev on pioneer Canadian animator, Ottawa’s own Evelyn Lambart, to be excited about.

Three titles of particular note are The Mountain of SGaana (which is also screening at Edmonton and Calgary Film festival), The Tesla World Light and Skin for Skin.
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Calling Puppet Master: It’s Axis Termination, Full Streams Ahead!

25 Aug

puppet-master-atwtBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Puppet Master: Axis Termination, the 11th film in the series, is coming! It will premiere on Full Moon’s Amazon channel (U.S., U.K and Germany) first as a three part series, and be offered next month as a full length film. No date has been set for video release, but anyone with a subscription to either streaming networks will get to see “War Toys” on September 15th, with the as yet titled episodes on the 22nd and 29th within the same month.

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Sarik Andreasyan’s Guardians to Hit Shelves Sept and Dec 5th

17 Aug

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

The Guardians are coming. No, we are not talking about the Guardians of the Galaxy. Instead, a Russian-based team of superheroes will appear at Wal-Mart on September 5, 2017! This film is landing in America courtesy of Shout! Factory and will debut as a DVD first, and a Blu-ray on December 5th. Both will feature the English dub and original audio track (Russian), but at time of press, an official trailer by this distribution company is not available yet.

No reason is given for the delay of the higher definition version. When considering some of the stylistic effects work seen in the trailer, the wait for the latter will be worthwhile.

Part of this film’s appeal is in how it makes use of all the visual tropes known to represent the symbolic history of Russia. The Guardians is Sarik Andreasyan’s (American Heist) answer to the X-men. Although this group is similar to the Winter Guard (both have feature a were-bear as part of the team), this movie is by no means a carbon copy. A few people may look at Kahn as this film’s version of the Winter Soldier (Captain America).

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Looking Closer at In This Corner of the World & Its Canadian Release

11 Aug

corner-of-world-poster

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

To my knowledge, few Japanese animated movies exist which looks at a part of history from World War II with a perspective not overdone. Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies is the granddaddy of the genre because it’s so depressingly sad, and Barefoot Gen somewhere on the vein of being positive while it looks at the aftermath. With In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に), the point of view is from innocent bystanders. The atomic destruction of Hiroshima has not happened yet. This particular fact is not dwelled upon. Nobody is aware except for the viewer. Most of the characters are blissfully unaware.

This film looks at the life of an idyllic young girl, Suzu (Rena Nōnen), living her life through a veil. She wants to be an artist and she describes herself as a daydreamer. A significant part of her life is portrayed and it has a Studio Ghibli like quality during this innocent time. This fact is of no surprise as Director Sunao Katabuchi worked on Kiki’s Delivery Service.

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