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Changing Destinies In Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans

22 Jul

Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans (2021) - IMDbBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

On Netflix
Spoiler Alert

The finale to the Tales of Arcadia has all the key players–Jim Lake, Tobias, Claire, Binky, AAARRRGGHH, Crown Princess Aja, Prince Krel, Douxie and Archie–not ready to take on the Arcane Order. They’re the next threat in a long line of villains who want to restore the world to its old ways, a time before gods walked the Earth, and magic was pure. However, to do so means convincing one of their own, Nari, that their ways are true. 

This movie is very crowded and needs that prologue to explain everything that’s happened prior–including why Armageddon must happen. The concept is very much taken from Nordic design (Ragnorak); everything must be destroyed before the world can be remade and this theme plays out anyways, much to my chagrin. This introduction could’ve been trimmed out in favour of new material, but not everyone will know Trollhunters, 3Below and Wizards inside and out. It’s terrific to see all the supporting characters return for even a few minutes, but that finale–a good portion of the fans for this series are angry. Spoilers follow:

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Barely Scratching the Surface on the “Skinwalker”

18 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

October Coast
Now Available on VOD & DVD

It’s rare to get a movie about the Weird West these days. When it concerns Skinwalkers, also the title, I couldn’t help but want to look at Robert Conway’s film. His take in what the Indian legends of these shapeshifters are about is easier to understand, but it has nothing to do with recent investigations of a certain highly secure ranch. I secretly wanted his work to connect to the latest folklore, but alas no signs of aliens from Mars are spotted here.

Instead, we have a very traditional horror tale set in the yesteryears of American colonization. Two cowboys disturb a grave and the chaos that erupts is true to form. The items they stole are haunted, and are a beacon for the spirit to follow. This director also tosses in a few moments in how locals treat the indigenous tribes. And when the dead want justice, there’s certainly hell to pay. If only a voice for the tribal children lost in the residential schools in Canada also existed….

The film begins by showing two cowboys (Nathaniel Burns and Conway) not knowing any better about the stuff they found. Instead of a creature completely ethereal trying to be reasonable with these grave-robbers, it’s simply out for blood. Real-life interpretations of the Skinwalker say it can take on the shape of anyone. So why couldn’t it become someone these robbers know and try to be reasonable? Ghosts are rarely that in entertainment, but when considering the human mind can’t comprehend the paranormal, their flight instead of fight response is normal.

I like the setup and there’s an air of trying to be authentic, but there are times the dialogue doesn’t always measure up. In what is basically a zombie film, anything that’s authentically characteristic about the folklore of the Skinwalkers is not there. Maybe this filmmaker should’ve spent more time reading Louis L’amour than going for a Wild Wild West (the TV series) meets Evil Dead.

3 Stars out of 5

Porco Rosso & From Up on Poppy Hill Coming to SteelBook!

16 Jul

Studio Ghibli Announces First Fully CGI Film | Game RantRelease Date:
September 21, 2021 

Anyone who have been collecting the SteelBook™ releases of GKIDS’ Studio Ghibli collection will be happy to know two new titles have been added! These companies and Shout! Factory (the distributor) are working together to release Porco Rosso and From Up On Poppy Hill next. This limited edition series offers a sharp looking way to proudly show off a fan’s love for this animation house’s works!

These two films are now part of the library of works which also includes Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, The Cat Returns, Whisper of the Heart, The Secret World of Arrietty, The Wind Rises, and Earwig & the Witch.

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A Commentary and Review on How to Be A Black Widow

16 Jul

Black Widow (2021 film) poster.jpgBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Now Playing in Theatres and Disney Plus

Spoiler Alert

The long wait to understand why Black Widow is who she is gets muddled on the big screen. I’ve known about her origins by reading the graphic novel collections and consulting the Internet. To finally see her solo adventure in cinema is more of a let’s stick to the MCU tradition: Every hero needs his or her solo adventure, and let’s try not to riff off of Captain America: Civil War too much.

We’ve seen snippets of this superspy’s training from past films. To know how these past scenes and other bits play to her psychology isn’t examined. I was hoping part of the tale would flashback to specific moments of her life and lead up to how she died in Avengers Endgame. Sadly, this would mean viewers would have to know those past movies. There’s no guarantee everyone would understand when the film ends with her broken body, and the last words from her lips muttering, “No regrets…” It can work had it started as an intro, and reference those movies so some fans can go rewatch them again. Movies that are built through flashbacks can be done.

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The Passion is in the “Pig”

14 Jul

By Ed Sum 
(The Vintage Tempest)

Playing at select theatres in Canada beginning July 16, 2021

Edmonton, Metro Cinema
Vancouver, Rio Theatre
Waterloo, Princess Twin
Hamilton, Playhouse Cinema
Ottawa,  Mayfair Theatre
Saskatoon, Roxy Theatre
Regina, Rainbow Golden Mile
Montréal, Cinema Du Parc

I can’t help but think of the song “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” by Pink Floyd after watching the film Pig. The passing similarities in what the narrative arc means between the concept album and the movie are almost similar.

Nicolas Cage played many types of characters over the years and not all of them are as multi-faceted as Robin, a once famous chef in the Portland food scene, but now some hermit. There’s no easy way to categorize him but as a B-Movie God (credit to No Film School for giving him this title). His latest work has a bit of connective tissue with past works he’s starred in, namely Mandy and Colour Out of Space. The only difference is that we don’t see him go John Wick on the person who kidnaps his beloved swine and nor do we witness his sanity going down the pits. Plus, the small bits of unintentional humour is a sweet touch.

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