Tag Archives: History

Jesters or Trickster Spirits? These “Game Changers” Play with History!

23 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Played at Fantasia Festival 2020.
Region 3 DVD is available to order on YesAsia USA and International.


SPOILER ALERT

Newly anointed King Sejo (Hee-soon Park) is quite the pickle in Jesters: The Game Changers. He’s dethroned the former prince, his nephew Danjong, in his rise to power and in order to sully a good reputation, he recruits Deok-ho (Jin-woong Cho) and his gang of talented con artists (Jesters, in this translation) to spotlight all the good he can do.

They use strangely modern techniques to make their special effects. Honestly, it’s these moments which make this film shine. Viewers may scratch their heads at how 15th century Korea has access to electric lights but I figure what they used are smoke and mirrors inside different types of containers to make their illusions. With creative thinking, anything is possible, including projecting Buddha on a cliff side or seeing Deok-ho on an ancient treadmill.

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On Crazy Samurai Musashi and Wishing for a Video Game Adaptation

21 Aug

crazy-samurai-musashi-poster

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Playing at Fantasia Digital Film Festival 2020 On Demand till Sept 2. Buy your virtual ticket here.

Yuji Shimomura’s Crazy Samurai Musashi is—as the title suggests—an insane attempt in making a movie in one continuous shot. It has the feel of a video game since the camera is mostly focussed on our warrior as the center of attention and everyone rushes to him for a chance at delivering a fatal swing of the sword. I’m reminded of Bushido Blade for the PlayStation.

Sometimes the angle changes, and that’s usually to get in a closeup shot of Musashi (Tak Sakaguchi). Thankfully, there are a few pauses in the carnage to deliver dialogue and give viewers a chance to breathe.

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Nimue is Beguiling but Netflix’s Cursed May be Just That

20 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Netflix’s Cursed is a curious beast. It’s a retelling of a retelling (based on the novel of the same name by Tom Wheeler and Frank Miller) of the Arthurian legend from the point of view of Nimue (Katherine Langford). In most versions of the legend, she’s an enchantress–the Lady of the Lake–who gives King Arthur the mighty sword, Excalibur. She also wooed Merlin, stole his power and entombed him.

The wizard we see here is nothing like the one portrayed in literature. VikingsGustaf Skarsgård gives this interpretation a I’m without a purpose act. He’s not wise beyond his years and is more of an empty shell when we first meet him. His tale picks up closer to the end, which includes the eventual encounter with this teenage princess, but any idea of a romance is never alluded to.

Much of the tale takes place with Uther Pendragaon (Sebastian Armesto) at the throne. The young Arthur (Devon Terrell) we meet in this version has some African blood in him!

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Mark Twain’s Niagara, the Graphic Novel & Book Two Plans

30 Jan

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Mark Twain is a man of the world. To say history is alive in Niagara is an understatement and this adaptation into a graphic novel form by AH Comics has many accolades. It was published two years ago and I didn’t get a chance to discover this book until now. I am amused how book one finishes–almost as if though teasing about his future and appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Time’s Arrow.”

Honestly, I feel that’s more of an influence of the artist having seen the episode. Chapter 10, Into the Unknown, sees Samuel L. Clemens witnessing Niagara Falls getting illuminated on September 14, 1860. The beauty he conveys with watercolour on canvas of a star field is a fine way to close off book one.

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