Tag Archives: Movie 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

A Commentary and Review on How to Be A Black Widow

16 Jul

Black Widow (2021 film) poster.jpgBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Now Playing in Theatres and Disney Plus

Spoiler Alert

The long wait to understand why Black Widow is who she is gets muddled on the big screen. I’ve known about her origins by reading the graphic novel collections and consulting the Internet. To finally see her solo adventure in cinema is more of a let’s stick to the MCU tradition: Every hero needs his or her solo adventure, and let’s try not to riff off of Captain America: Civil War too much.

We’ve seen snippets of this superspy’s training from past films. To know how these past scenes and other bits play to her psychology isn’t examined. I was hoping part of the tale would flashback to specific moments of her life and lead up to how she died in Avengers Endgame. Sadly, this would mean viewers would have to know those past movies. There’s no guarantee everyone would understand when the film ends with her broken body, and the last words from her lips muttering, “No regrets…” It can work had it started as an intro, and reference those movies so some fans can go rewatch them again. Movies that are built through flashbacks can be done.

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The Mitchells vs. the Machines vs. Pleasing the Masses

4 Jun

MitchellsMachinesPoster.jpgBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available on Netflix 

The Mitchells vs. the Machines is certainly a very colourful and crazy mixed media movie about a not so normal family. Katie (voiced by Abbi Jacobson) is about to leave the nest. She’s an artist and a videographer. Her love for theatrics (aka storytelling) is something her dad doesn’t get. He refused to take challenges and was unadaptable. He’s hilariously sad since staying up to date is as foreign to him as kids of today are to punch card technology.

Even the younger brother Aaron (Mike Rianda) is odd. He loves dinosaurs, which is typical for any lad, and is obsessive as Hudson Harper from Lego Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar. Linda (Maya Rudolph), her mom, is about the only voice of reason to keep the clan together. The family dynamics are at the heart of why this film is adorable. This oddball clan is just that, and honestly, it’s Munch the dog who steals the show. This exotropia and bug eyed pug is very familiar tho’, and when I’ve seen a whole ton of animated shows, it’s easy to see what series Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and the writing crew picked from when creating this film.

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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.

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Back to the Past with Wonder Woman 1984 and the Future of the DCEU

7 Jan

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) - IMDbBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

On HBO Max and limited theatre screenings.

Wonder Woman is a heroine for all ages, and Gal Gadot is embracing the character lock, stock and barrel. In the comics, she represents the independent woman. The first film gave us hints of where she came from, and this sequel continues down a similar path.

The prologue is set back in the island paradise of Themyscira and teaches the very young Diana Prince (Lilly Aspell) an important virtue–you can’t take shortcuts to get ahead. Perhaps including being careful in what you wish for should be added too. The rest of the film attempts to explore the latter in Max Lord (Pedro Pascal), a business executive with less than stellar credentials. He wants a high life. The fact someone loved him enough, and they had a son suggests he was truly happy once. But he’s a single parent, and I’m curious why he isn’t with his kid more. The picture isn’t complete. Just why he is interested in ancient artifacts is not made clear either.

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