Tag Archives: Chinese

12 Movies to Look Forward to in 2022

6 Jan

Advancing of ZQ (2022) - IMDbThere are plenty of movies to get excited for each year, and while most of those rescheduled films have finally hit theatres or streaming, Hollywood isn’t slowing down either for new products. Instead of reiterating what’s been pushed back again, I’m only touching on the new.

Advancing of ZQ
Feb 1 (China)

This comedy is due to hit theatres come Chinese New Year and it might get an America side screening in the weeks following. It’s a strange superhero family drama about Zheng Qian, the black sheep of the family, coming home and trying to make amends before his grandfather’s funeral.

When a meteorite strikes nearby and brings back the dead, the supernatural shenanigans don’t end there. The family has a rival out to get their fortunes and the Qians better have their act together than be splintered apart if they’re to save the day.

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The Hunt is on for Schemes in Antiques

19 Dec

Schemes In Antiques movie review (2021) | Roger EbertBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Well GO USA
Now Playing in Theatres
(Please check local listings)

Xu Yuan (Tao Guo) may well lose his head in Schemes in Antiques (古董局中局). This Chinese action-adventure flick examines the trade in artefacts, and I’m sure it’s even much worse should other nations get involved. In fact, this movie looks at the role the Japanese had when the head of Wu Zetian Mingtang (immortalised as a Buddha statue) is revealed to be a fake, and the real one must be found. 

The story picks up and moves like Tomb Raider (2018) without the blockbuster stunts and huge set design. It works because the budget is spent on getting deeply into the detail about what distinguishes a fake artefact from the real. There’s even some light humour added so that we’re getting a blend of shenanigans from the people who ally with Xu in his hunt for a lost head.

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More Powerful than Ever Before! Monkey King Reborn

7 Dec

Monkey King Reborn Blu-Ray Review: An Anime Buddhist ParableWell GO USA
Available for Purchase
on Amazon USA

Mandarin-language voice track
with English subtitles and dub.

The latest reimagining of China’s greatest savour is certainly epic. Monkey King Reborn redefines and surpasses every take I’ve seen in the past five years. I’m glad we’re not getting yet another introduction and the detail in the CGI is amazing. It’s in par with many of PIXAR’s works. Here, we see Sun Wukong (Monkey’s Chinese name) and his two friends Bajie (Zhang He) and Wujing (Lin Qiang) on that pilgrimage–on the way home from Tibet to China to return some Buddhist scriptures–with Tang Sanzang (Su Shangqing) as their leader. The English subtitle renames him as Golden Cicada or as most disciples would call him, sifu.

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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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Saving the Child in Nie Jun’s Seekers of the Aweto

13 May

Amazon.com: The Hunt Is On: Book 1 (Seekers of the Aweto) (9781728420219):  Jun, Nie, Jun, Nie: BooksBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Lerner Books
Available to Purchase on Amazon USA 

“The Hunt is On” for Nie Jun’s Seekers of the Aweto. This herb heals any ailment a human has. Rumours say it also grants immortality, but only one out of many has that celestial ability. This plant grows on the heads of a chadolo, multi-coloured earth elementals and to remove it can incurs the wrath of Buddha. Locals believe they contain the soul of the soil that makes up the land, and they will do everything they can to save them.

Xinyue is a seeker of this plant since it’s his family’s business, but he’s something of a bard. He can play the drums and insects will swarm to him to do his bidding. They help him find an Aweto, but when he sees its alive and as cute  as The Child in The Mandalorian, he can’t kill it, and nor can he see it get harmed. The adventure he has with it is as wild as the said Star Wars television show and the Asian flavour lays in how exotic this locale is.

When considering this young lad makes a promise to protect it, to dishonour this land deity can mean bad things for his afterlife. His elder brother Qiliu doesn’t care; The family trade is to locate and sell it to the highest bidder. Volume one sets up the conflict still to come–it’s him and the plant, or him and his brother. The matriarch believes he’ll do what’s right, and it’s no surprise she passes on in this tale. Nobody can dictate what he can do.

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