Tag Archives: Drama

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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[VFF2018] Defining Joy, not July, in Soulmate (七月与安生) — A Movie Review

4 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Plays at Victoria Film Festival 2018
Wed | February 7 | 9:15 PM | Capitol 6
Purchase tickets here.

In North American terms Lin (Lin “July” Qiyue in the subtitles, played by Ma Sichun) and Anshen (Ansheng, Zhou Dongyu) are BFFs. In Chinese terms, they are Soul Mates (七月与安生) — also the title of this movie. Technically, the kanji spells out their names as the title of the film. As they come of age and become adults, their bond never fell apart, and this fact highlights this drama.

However, the plot needs a conflict to show what can happen which could potentially split them apart. When Chen Jia Ming (Tobey Lee) enters into their lives, one is the hopeless romantic and the other, respecting her ‘sister,’ does not even try. There’s no cat fight as this movie is more about their personal bond than their interest in Ming. These two beautiful actresses are rising stars from Mainland China and their sisterhood shines very brightly here. I can’t wait to see Dongyu in Tsui Hark’s The Thousand Faces of Dunjia (奇門遁甲), a fantasy – science fiction film. Well Go Entertainment released this title to limited markets in December and I hope a video release is coming soon!

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The Vintage Tempest’s Top Picks on What to See at the 2018 Victoria Film Festival

11 Jan

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By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The folks behind organizing the movies at the Victoria Film Festival (taking place Feb 2 to 11th) never fails to amaze with the diversity offered. The 2018 show will not only enthuse independent film aficionados but also appease with movies not only from the land of the rising sun but also the emerald isle. The quirky documentary School Life was previewed. Anyone interested in a lesser-known version of Hogwarts life (sans magic and adventure) will find a different story here.

The opening gala promises to whisk audiences to Scotland with Waterboys. This comedy-drama will make its Canadian premiere here in Victoria, British Columbia. Not to be confused with the band of the same name, perhaps we might get surprised with the party taking place at The Bay Centre‘s Centre Court following this movie.

Special events like Sips & Cinema and the Virtual Reality Workshop are added bonuses. The special guest this year is Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City). Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones) and Cory Bowles (Trailer Park Boys) round out the initial round of announcements. Gillen can be considered to be playing himself in the film Pickups, a drama about the bizarre life of a jobbing actor suffering from insomnia. Bowles is making his feature film directorial debut with Bad Cop. (link goes to showtimes)

My picks from this year’s show include:

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Going into Detail with In This Corner of the World’s Home Video Release

22 Nov

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

A lot of research went into producing In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に). This anime is now out on home video, released by Shout! Factory on Nov 14th, and the bonus material reveals why this film deserves high marks for not only its story but also in historical accuracy. Not many productions go into exquisite detail and I was amazed.

For comparison, this release also offers a 12-page insert of the manga by Fumiyo Kōno it was based on. The three-volume set is available for purchase and it goes into greater detail for specific set pieces. I have reviewed this film when it made its rounds at theatres (it can be found here) and to watch the featurettes certainly made me appreciate this product more.

I have to agree with the points answered in the interview with Sunao Katabuchi about how this movie redefines what anime can do. Masao Maruyama says this product he helped produce is a very cultural. Although this genre has never been limiting in what tales can be explored — anyone who has watched enough product over the decades can find gems — my choice in what I love to see has been more with historical or biographical works than the usual fantastical material.

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