Tag Archives: DVD Review

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

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.

Continue reading

Finding The Legend of Hei is Like Coaxing a Cat out of Hiding

11 May

The Legend Of HeiBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Shout Factory

Available to order (when back in stock) at Amazon USA

No feline can be contained in the release of The Legend of Hei (罗小黑战记). Those adorable big eyes of the woodland sprite will win over many cat lover’s heart. Also, this movie about Luo Xiaohei (an elfin) has a unique charm to it which makes me wonder if there’s any merchandise to buy. There’s plenty to choose from on eBay, and the licensing potential is huge. When he’s competing against Kuroneko Sama (from Trigun), the challenge will be in brand recognition in North American markets.

This movie was released in China during the Summer of 2019 and made limited circuits at film festivals the following year before a pandemic halted those plans. This prequel to the lesser known web series is at least more accessible and my hope is for Shout Factory to get the rights to the web series so both are globally available. This title quickly sold out at the shops I checked out today, and even Amazon had trouble keeping up. There’s a book which covers the online tale. When this cat is proving hard to contain, I’m hoping Hei has that forever home in place. (Thankfully I was able to view this title digitally)

Continue reading

News of the World Makes It’s Call on Home Video

24 Mar

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Universal Studios Entertainment
Spoiler Alert

Sometimes no news is better than fake news in the one subplot featured in Paul Greengrass‘s movie, News of the World. The film is imbued with a subtle reminder of race relations while life in the wild west was hard. The Civil War is over, and people are still trying to figure out what side they are truly with. The collision between the cowboys, indians, and immigrants makes up one layer of this movie adaptation of Paulette Jiles‘ novel of the same name. Another is about the journey of one very lonely individual.

Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) is a Confederate veteran of the US Civil War, and after losing this battle, he has no reason to fully live. To make ends meet, he travels from town to town to offer his services as a town crier of sorts. He reads the local paper out aloud in town halls, to deliver the news to those who can’t read. Plus, he hasn’t seen his wife in years. Hanks’ performance makes me wonder if Kidd is kidding himself about his occupation. He sees home as a disease. Johanna (played by Helena Zengel), to whom he has to deliver to her next of kin, proves to be more of a boon than a bane of his life.

Continue reading

On-Gaku Our Sound and the Post Punk Movement?

6 Mar

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Shout! Factory
Release Date: March 9, 2021

Defining On-Gaku: Our Sound will not be easy. We hear a cacophony of musical genres, and not all of them are mainstream. Perhaps it’s because Writer/Director Kenji Iwaisawa was very DIY in his approach. He went old school (hand-drawn) to craft this unique film, and his art style is very non-traditional. We don’t get the wide-eyed manga work. Instead, it’s a mix of Constructivism, Minimalism and maybe Dada. The way he draws his character’s eyes tells all here, and the fisheye look gives his character designs a quality which is very hypnotic.

I particularly like the fluidity found when rotoscoping frames of a film camera onto paper. I’m fairly certain Dire Straits music video “Money for Nothing” is an influence and instead of being very artsy, the technique is more earthy and subdued.

The home video release has a great selection of featurettes which not only goes behind the scenes but also gets you in the mood to see the film again! Even better are the live performances of nearly half the soundtrack!

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: