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How to Celebrate Hungry Ghost Festival Aug 15th

14 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Ghost Month will reach its perigee on August 15th. At the Hungry Ghost Festival (盂兰盆节), these once human souls are permitted to visit the living world and some may visit their descendents to see how they are doing. On this day, we venerate them with happiness and acknowledge their existence. We save the first row in any performance venue for them to sit there. Anyone who tries may well feel a chill!

This time of the year is a different sort of Halloween. As for what believers can do in preparation is to beware of certain practices lest the spirit attaches itself. This can range from avoiding wearing clothing that is red or black to not killing insects crawling around–they may be someone’s grandparents reincarnated. The best thing to do with the latter is to catch and release the critter outside.

Superstitions aside, some fans of horror cinema may opt to get into the mood. Instead of scaring ourselves silly, we may opt to look at supernatural comedies. My choices have to fit the criteria of how the spirit world interacts with reality. Instead of a top five, I have six on my list. In my culture, we consider this number lucky. Amongst my favourites that are distinctly Asian and PG-13 in tone are:

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That Ain’t No Mummy Rebirth (2019)

12 Aug

Release Date: August 13, 2019.
DVD & Digital
Uncork’d Entertainment

When writer Justin Price teams up with director with a wicked name as Khu, good things can come from this pairing wanting to look at the legends of Ancient Egypt. Mummy Rising and Pharaohs (presumedly the sequel currently in production) may well the beginnings of a direct to DVD franchise along the lines of how the Scorpion King continued. My interest in both films simply lays with the undead coming back to life in modern times and doing what they do best: destroy all life.

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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)


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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