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Who’s the Star with Netflix’s Wish Dragon?

14 Jun

Wish Dragon.pngBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Now playing on Netflix

Sadly, Wish Dragon is a very paint by numbers Disney-style product. It has elements of Aladdin, Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon all mixed in, and I’m fairly sure writer/director Chris Appelhans even drew upon the song When I Wish Upon a Star for inspiration. This blending delivers on the meaning behind the lyrics, “The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing…” but fails when considering other details. This work can’t decide if it wants to be a social commentary/comedy ala Crazy Rich Asians or a tween romance. The balancing act isn’t well done.

The introduction establishes Din (Jimmy Wong) and Li (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) as kids promising to be best friends forever, a la Lilo & Stitch. Both are troublemakers and it’s cute to see them together. Unlike this franchise, they eventually get separated. The girl becomes a model and has forgotten about her past. Her dad’s motives are good, but it turns out he has an “evil” agenda. He’s searching for that magic lamp to grant him a better life for his family. 

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The Retrospective in Biography: WWE Legends

12 Jun

downloadBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Please check local listings for a repeat schedule.

A&E Network and WWE Studios are partners in Biography: WWE Legends (formerly known as World Wrestling Federation), a new run of biographies about the legends of wrestling. The decision on who to first focus on must’ve been tough. To see true alumni, namely Hulk Hogan, interviewed about their time with the talents from the past two decades, made for a great retrospective.

There are eight specials and the last documentary about Bret Hart aired last weekend. To binge watch these two hour specials isn’t possible, but to watch them over successive days than wait reveals a lot more about the sport turned entertainment spectacle. Although each piece doesn’t get into the most guarded secrets or details that can be read from a Wikipedia styled biography, I found the series to be a terrific primer to get newcomers and the curious up to date on the talents who became Stone Cold Steve Austin, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Mick Foley and Ultimate Warrior.

Not all of these people stood out, but I did find Booker T’s charm a total gem in the spotlight about him. From those who are still living and are looking back, they’re not talking about all the demons they faced or go into huge lengths about their youth which led to them wanting to partake in wrestling as a proper sport (the part of their life I’m really curious about). Randy perhaps had the most problems to deal with. Not even The Undertaker can exorcise them.

We get a fairly good nostalgia trip and history about what this sports entertainment business is about, even before it became a crazy arena spectacle. One nice mention is in how the South East of America operated as fiefdoms, before it eventually became one huge brand. These documentaries doesn’t always reveal how much of an influence WWE is in other media (missing the boat on crossover into comic books and cartoons) and this segment can use an expansion.

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The Details on Why The Devil Made Me Do It with The Conjuring Franchise

8 Jun

The Conjuring - The Devil Made Me Do It.pngBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT

The reason The Conjuring franchise continues to endure is that the producers decided “The Devil Made Me Do It” (for the money). They want to celebrate the life and times of Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators, as one of undying love from a cinematic perspective. The devil you know is in whether James Wan wants to continue writing-producing, changing details concerning their cases around so it makes sense in the cinematic chronology and build to some crazy endgame–to which there was none in our world’s version of the Warrens.

Not everyone knows Ed passed away from natural causes. The real-life couple who love to blame hauntings on demons did more book and lecture tours in their twilight years. They’re not of that right age to go chasing after evil like they did in their prime. Ed’s health was fading. By 2006, he was hospitalized and eventually crossed over into the afterlife. Lorraine continued the family business with their son-in-law and daughter. She passed away quietly in her sleep, in 2019, and there’s no insinuating meaning with the thirteen years she couldn’t be with her beau.

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Undercover Punch & Gun Finds Its Way to Home Video June 8th

6 Jun

Blu-ray, DVD & Digital release: 'Undercover Punch and Gun' - Far East FilmsBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Well GO USA
Streaming now on Hi-YAH!, and available to pre-order on Amazon.com.

The hottest talents from Hong Kong are the highlight in Undercover Punch and Gun (潜行者), and the eye-candy this film offers is very pleasing, even for the martial arts enthusiast. This movie originally came out in 2019 as Undercover vs Undercover. I doubt the producers were intending to make a play on Mad Magazine’s Spy vs Spy even though the concept is almost similiar.

As for which title is better, I’m glad the rename is used. This bare bones release is appropriate. The standard trailers and English dub (I watched in Mandarin myself) make up this home video edition.

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The Mitchells vs. the Machines vs. Pleasing the Masses

4 Jun

MitchellsMachinesPoster.jpgBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available on Netflix 

The Mitchells vs. the Machines is certainly a very colourful and crazy mixed media movie about a not so normal family. Katie (voiced by Abbi Jacobson) is about to leave the nest. She’s an artist and a videographer. Her love for theatrics (aka storytelling) is something her dad doesn’t get. He refused to take challenges and was unadaptable. He’s hilariously sad since staying up to date is as foreign to him as kids of today are to punch card technology.

Even the younger brother Aaron (Mike Rianda) is odd. He loves dinosaurs, which is typical for any lad, and is obsessive as Hudson Harper from Lego Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar. Linda (Maya Rudolph), her mom, is about the only voice of reason to keep the clan together. The family dynamics are at the heart of why this film is adorable. This oddball clan is just that, and honestly, it’s Munch the dog who steals the show. This exotropia and bug eyed pug is very familiar tho’, and when I’ve seen a whole ton of animated shows, it’s easy to see what series Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and the writing crew picked from when creating this film.

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