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Breaking Down Satellite Girl and Milk Cow

20 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers could not have expressed “Breakdown” any better and South Korean animator/director/storyteller Chang Hyung-yun illustrated it when he created Satellite Girl and Milk Cow. This work debuted in 2014, and its home video release by Shout! Factory / GKIDS for international audiences this month is long overdue. Not a lot of bonus material is included, and both the original and English dub was viewed. The latter presentation is decent, and it captures some nuances from the original work to make this work accessible for younger audiences to follow.

For animation aficionados, the technical quality is on par with many a cinematic product. It ranks right up there with many a Disney movie. For folklore enthusiasts, this work is puzzling at times and is not too hard to figure out. It draws on ancient shamanism to explain why witches and warlocks are prevalent in Korea. Less is said about those mortals who suddenly get transformed into anthropomorphic creatures. When they suffer heartache, a black fog descends upon them and they become shape-shifters. When Kyeong-cheon sees Eun-jin (his girlfriend) take an interest in another boy, he’s ready to call it quits than to ask her about it. As a result, whenever he is stressed and wallows in self-pity, he transforms into a milk cow. Alternative forms include zebras and donkeys.

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How Can The Incredibles 2 Be Topped?

16 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

  • Spoiler Alert!

Brad Bird‘s The Incredibles is a perfect send-up to many a past superhero comic. Not only does it explore familial issues (the core of what this franchise is about) but also it continues to examine the public perception of what kind of purpose do these Supers serve. The subplots introduced in the first film get further analysis, and the resolutions are far from being complete.

This second chapter does not get too deep with the whole “Gods and Monsters” aspect which defines many a DC film. To stay light-hearted needed this filmmaker’s magic touch. PIXAR’s mantra focuses on matters of the heart and togetherness instead of the difficult choices heroes have to make: Is it possible to save everyone from harm?

In the first movie, Mr. Incredible aka Bob Parr (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) yearned for those bygone days of simply saving the day. He has an ego the size of his heart. To do good is tough, and he’s not out to showboat. He wants to protect the little guy, but not everyone agrees to his method. The public despises superheroes because they can potentially cause more harm than good (somebody has to clean up the mess they leave behind), and only a handful of folks support them. He gets recruited to do good deeds but little did he know the peoples involved have their own agenda. The sequel flips the situation around by having Elastigirl / Helen (Holly Hunter) getting the adventure and seeing Bob at home, dealing with raising a nuclear family. The plot is a retread and it works well enough to highlight reversed gender roles. Bob gets to clean the dishes at home and Molly gets to be Mrs. Fantastic.

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Hey Ricky, Oh Lucy! is not What You Think … A Movie Review

12 Jun

oh_lucyBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Atsuko Hirayanagi’s Oh Lucy! is an indie film which can easily evoke feelings of self-pity for those believing they are in the same boat as her. When life tears you down, you are middle-aged and have nothing great to look forward to in life, just what can you do? Some people will get a handle on it and add excitement. Others feel resigned to their fate. They stop trying. I know of a certain person like that and can only feel sorry for him. All I can hope is that one day he will wake up, and achieve happiness. In my experience, that’s not easy to do unless chances are made, and risks are taken.

In this film, I wonder if Setsuko (Shinobu Terajima) even has people she can call true friends. This actress is terrific at creating a deadpan attitude and to go into that place to convey what looks like eternal sadness. She’s simply trying to survive life in the concrete jungle known as Tokyo. After witnessing a suicide in the subway, her reaction and lack of empathy make me wonder how rough can life in the city be? I lost a good buddy decades ago. He had the pressures of living up to family expectations and the Japanese societal norm. We had good times hanging out when he was still in Canada, but when the family decided to go back to Japan, things changed.

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From Kitty to Zombie Cats From Mars & A Sequel Seeking Crowdfunding Help

10 Jun

zombiecats.pngBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The production team behind the first Zombie Cats from Mars movie wants to make a sequel. They are hoping the faithful will support the crowdfunding effort, and the curious to check out the film currently available on Amazon Prime Video.

This work is a tongue-in-cheek budget film that’s clearly a labour of love, as they learn for themselves in what makes a B-Movie memorable. With such a name like Zombie Cats, my curiosity was immediately peaked! In the past, works like Lesbian Vampire Killers, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra and Amazon Women on the Moon also tickled my fancy. They had bigger budgets and looked good. ZCfM has the production budget of a student film and it shows. This detail is not a bad thing as any new up-and-coming talents need to start somewhere. Who knows, one of them might become the next Sam Raimi.  For instance, director Montetré certainly has an impressive filmography on the IMDB which is worth investigating.

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