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Life on the Penguin Highway is Never Sane

4 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Distributor: Shout! Factory
Release Date: August 6, 2019

The anime adaptation of Tomohiko Morimi’s novel, Penguin Highway, is coming to home video! Those who have not seen this anime last year at Fantasia 2018 either had to wait for a local (film festival) screening or this Tuesday. Life is certainly a highway for young Aoyama (Kana Kita), a 4th grader with an IQ of about 105. He aspires to be a scientist, and hopes to visit the moon one day. But first, he has to answer the question of why penguins–who typically prefer cold arctic conditions–are in a sleepy suburb of humid Japan.

He meets a young woman whom he calls Lady (Yuu Aoi) who works at his dentist’s office, and they form an unlikely friendship. Life at school is rough. He’s rather stuffy since everyone identifies him as a nerd. As a result, he’s constantly teased and bullied. He can stand up for himself but he is stronger when his two friends are there to help. Ultimately, the narrative does not differ from, for example, Trollhunters. His just-as-nerdy pal, Uchida (Rie Kugimiya) tries but Hamamoto (Megumi Han) ends up being more handy. The threesome eventually even has the bully team up to deal with a mysterious orb found in a meadow nestled deep in a forest. Just what it is, nobody knows.

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Keeping the Faith with Divine Fury at Fantasia 2019 & its Aug 16th Theatrical Debut

2 Aug

nullBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Distributor:
Well GO USA

Screening at select theatres (for list, please visit the official website), beginning August 16th, 2019

  • Mild Spoiler Alert

Marvel Comic’s Blade and Shang-Chi will never hold a candle to the Divine Fury (사자), a South Korean film which looks like it can upend any supernatural mixed martial art blockbuster any time of this and the next decade. The reason is that it has a solid grounding in creating a hero and it does not waste a whole ton of time (a whole film) doing so. Yong-hu (Park Seo-Joon) lost his father, a police officer who got injured on duty. As a child, he prayed hard to God; he didn’t want papa to die. Sadly, reality bites and he lost his faith.

Twenty years have passed and this young man channelled his anger in his rise to become a champion fighter. He has everything, but he’s still feeling empty inside. When a stigmata forms, he doesn’t know what it means or what to do; he hopes Father Ahn (Sung-Ki Ahn) can provide answers. Instead, what he stumbles into leads into discovering an evil force wants to make a foothold in our reality.

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[Fantasia 2019] Making that Steampunk Connection with the Everyday

2 Aug

steampunkBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

To find upcoming showtimes, please visit the official website here.

Steampunk may simply be characterized as Victorian age sensibilities with technology powered by steam, but there’s more to it than just that. The literary worlds of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells are just one example of what this genre represents. Another is in how it invites the imagination to ponder alternate possibilities if western civilization went a different way.

The documentary, Steampunk Connection, made its world premiere at Fantasia Fest 2019 on August 1st, 2019 and it describes this genre as a fictitious, futuristic trope that gives us the means to question today’s technological revolution by comparing it to an obsolete technology of a bygone era.

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[Fantasia 2019] The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale. When Bites Are Not Free!

31 Jul

Image result for The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale posterBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

South Korea certainly has a handle on the zombie epidemic. Whether that’s with a period movie with Rampant (see review here) or the crowd-pleasing Train to Busan, the latest titled The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale (기묘한 가족) is a zom-com that’s basically a Looney Tunes style cartoon with Shaun of the Dead as the hook. Director Lee Min-jae makes his debut and I feel this movie has cult-favourite written all over it! He knows which films from zombie culture to take inspiration from and crank it up a notch.

The action takes place in Poongsan, a remote South Korean village, where the folks there do not even know what a zombie is. Man-Deok (Park In-hwan) is simply wanting to take a vacation. His son Joon-Gul (Jung Jae-young, Castaway on the Moon) and his pregnant daughter-in-law, Nam-Joo (Uhm Ji-won) are a handful. When middle-son Min-Gul (Kim Nam-gil) comes home because he has nowhere else to stay (he lost his job), life is a touch more problematic. Nobody realizes a straggler into town (Jung Ga-ram) is a member of the walking dead and the bites Man-Deok!

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