Tag Archives: Essay

Where’s the Longevity in Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity after 10 Years?

7 Oct

Image result for paranormal activity releaseBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The Paranormal Activity franchise ended many years ago. and some fans may argue it’s been a trailblazer for the found footage genre. Anastasia Hanna of mxdwn.com thinks so, and I have the opposite opinion. It’s been 10 years since its wide theatrical release on Oct 16, 2009 (technically 12 if you count the film festivals), and the last film was about three years ago. Unless there’s a steady stream of this franchise, interest will pitter off.

The impact of this franchise faded with the passage of time. This series has always been a social experiment from the get-go. It’s designed to see how many people will react to the jump scares than to follow the trail of clues offered in all the movies made to date. Blair Witch did a better job with this particular subgenre of horror films since it felt realistic. It did not depend on sequels to make a lasting impact which gets imitated in comedy variety shows and in pop culture. After six films, there’s nothing to even truly recall other than the one ‘scary’ scene where the bedroom door swings open and the fate of Katie and Micah unwinds for all to see.

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Unmasking M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable Trilogy & Glass

14 Apr

Release Date: April 16, 2019

Although M. Night Shyamalan‘s Unbreakable trilogy took nearly twenty years to finish, the wait was certainly worth it. Ever since I saw the first film, I could not help but think of the line from Snow White, “Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?” Instead of considering the response from the Disney movie, I feel another meaning can be pulled from it. Anyone who has looked upon this reflective surface is asking to themselves, “Who am I, really?”

Not everybody will like what they see of themselves reflected back. With titles in part two and three suggestive of different mental states, I have enough theories going on in my head wanting to break down what this auteur’s films are about. The bonus material which comes in the home video release of Glass, however brief they are, offer more than a few teasing answers and confirmations in what I already believe. Upon seeing all three films again, back-to-back, I have a few theories.

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100+ years of Cinema and the Sequential Art, A Primer

22 Aug

Blondie Movie PosterBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Movies based on comic strips/books are big business, and not all of them were based on superheroes. The idea to adapt popular titles began way before Marvel and DC comics formed and this essay offers a highlight reel of these other popular works. In the early days of cinema, French journalist Georges Sadoul believed Louis Lumière‘s L’Arroseur Arrosé (1895) was an adaptation of L’Arroseur (The Gardener), a strip by artist Hermann Vogle. [1] The next work which followed was based on the British comic Ally Sloper (1867). Three films were made.

In the golden age of cinema, superheroes did not command the screen. Instead, these projections were humourous looks at everyday life. Harold Teen (1928) may well be the first to arrive on the big screen in North America. Blondie (1930) was immensely popular because of its look at middle-class suburbia. The early years followed the romance of this eponymous character to Dagwood, the comic relief, and the media buzz upon their marriage is comparable to the media hoopla when Peter Parker aka Spiderman married Mary Jane.

To be fair, certain key heroes like Batman and Superman will be explored. Also, television played an important role in popularizing this genre. Periodic looks at what happened on this front will also be offered.

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Reading Mokoto Shinkai’s “Your Name” as a Monomyth

25 Apr

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Plenty of praise and examinations have been given to Makoto Shinkai‘s Your Name since its debut last year. Although this film is essentially a romantic comedy, I was more enamoured with the mythic elements. This filmmaker took the best from other cultural traditions and wrote a Twilight Zone style story which I liked. This movie has an East clashing with the West attitude. It shows when Mitsuha Miyamizu (Mone Kamishiraishi), a young girl from a rural part of Japan, yearns for a life in modern Tokyo and makes the mistake of wishing upon a falling star.

She wanted to shirk cultural traditions and from there, I knew where this film was going. Since classical times, spotting such a fireball was often feared more than regarded as divine intervention. If a prayer is said upon seeing it, just what happens can go any which way. In this film’s case, both are considered!

Comet Tiamat is getting closer to the Earth and it is the raison d’être for how this tale comes together. She’s not always a creation goddess but is also representative of primordial chaos. This chunk of rock and ice could have been given any name, and some viewers may wonder why this Babylonian figure is used? My theory is that this name was chosen to make viewers of this anime aware that this film is a shōjo product through and through. Her essence is everywhere. From the Earth to the Heavens, in the offerings at the shrine and coming visible at twilight, a sense of omnipotence can be felt as she comes closer to Earth affecting the main character, Miyamizu-chan.

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