Tag Archives: Family

Life on the Penguin Highway is Never Sane

4 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Distributor: Shout! Factory
Release Date: August 6, 2019

The anime adaptation of Tomohiko Morimi’s novel, Penguin Highway, is coming to home video! Those who have not seen this anime last year at Fantasia 2018 either had to wait for a local (film festival) screening or this Tuesday. Life is certainly a highway for young Aoyama (Kana Kita), a 4th grader with an IQ of about 105. He aspires to be a scientist, and hopes to visit the moon one day. But first, he has to answer the question of why penguins–who typically prefer cold arctic conditions–are in a sleepy suburb of humid Japan.

He meets a young woman whom he calls Lady (Yuu Aoi) who works at his dentist’s office, and they form an unlikely friendship. Life at school is rough. He’s rather stuffy since everyone identifies him as a nerd. As a result, he’s constantly teased and bullied. He can stand up for himself but he is stronger when his two friends are there to help. Ultimately, the narrative does not differ from, for example, Trollhunters. His just-as-nerdy pal, Uchida (Rie Kugimiya) tries but Hamamoto (Megumi Han) ends up being more handy. The threesome eventually even has the bully team up to deal with a mysterious orb found in a meadow nestled deep in a forest. Just what it is, nobody knows.

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[Fantasia 2019] Astronaut is What Dreams Are Made Of

19 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

* North American Premiere at 2019 Fantasia Film Festival.
* Opens theatrically July 26 (select cities)

Richard Dreyfuss is the Astronaut in Shelagh McLeod’s debut movie about old age, dreaming big, faith, and making it into the stars. This actor is well known for such classics, namely Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Both movies helped prepare him to take on a tale about not slowing down.

This actor deserves award recognition for his performance. Angus’ (Dreyfuss) desire to keep going is much like how Sammy Hagar inspires with Van Halen’s song, “Dreams.” Although he is in the twilight of his years, he does not want to be put in the pasture. His grandson Barney (Richie Lawrence) knows it. They also both love stargazing and enjoy talking shop. When considering the elder was a civil engineer, he knows a lot of science relatable to how the universe works, life and everything else. No, the answer is not 42. Nor should it be a marker to gauge against in achieving life’s goals.

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The Power of Myth in Mirai no Mirai & Shintoism

11 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Mamoru Hosoda‘s Mirai no Mirai (未来のミライ) will get a North American home video release on April 9th, 2019 through GKIDs, but I had to see this title on the big screen first! It was this year’s Jammies and Toons selection at the Victoria Film Festival; they often feature an anime. This part of the show is one I’m always there for, and they sometimes promote it as part of Canada’s Family Day celebrations when the dates line up. This work by Studio Chizu is certainly the perfect choice.

This movie is jovial and very reassuring in teaching attention-seeking Kun (voiced by Jaden Waldman in the dub and Moka Kamishiraishi in the original) how family matters. Every time he acts up and tries to run away, his world gets turned upside down ala Alice in Wonderland. The Lewis Carroll references are light, but Tick-Tock if the time runs out, he better get the moral of what’s being taught to him Charles Dickens style, lest he gets forgotten. His parents are generally forgiving, but sometimes they feel too exasperated.

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Dead Pigs is Not Your Typical Chinese New Year Movie

7 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Dead Pigs
may sound like an unusual title for a movie to kick off Chinese New Year on its Victoria Film Festival screening Feb 4th, but it’s a well-meaning work which looks at the idiosyncrasies behind a dysfunctional family trying to survive in a modern China. In Shanghai, Candy Wang (Vivian Wu) and her elder “Old Man Wang” brother (Yang Haoyu) do not see eye to eye over their old family home. It is destined to be torn down because everything else in the old neighbourhood is gone. The Golden Happiness Project claim to improve the lives of everyone, including the impoverished, for the better is falling on a lot of deaf ears–but at what cost? Money cannot buy everything, especially when concerning preserving memories.

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