Tag Archives: Musicals

The Vintage Tempest’s Picks of Whistler Film Festival 2018

24 Nov

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The Whistler Film Festival is a jam-packed five-day event taking place north of Vancouver, British Columbia. Established in 2001, local talents and industry bigwigs are here not only to ski but also look at the spotlight of refreshing new talents. This show is not for star spotting. I visited this resort to marvel at the Milky Way and get back to Nature; though for others, to mingle with the likes of Kim Cattrall, Ryan Reynolds or Jason Priestley is more enticing. Even Hollywood’s elite might be here looking for the next big thing.

With no surprise, Mary: Queen of Scots is the gala film. Saoirse Ronan plays the title role, and Margot Robbie is Queen Elizabeth I. Both are rivals for the throne, and for who gets it, they can look at John Guy’s book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart, which posits the theory that Mary and Elizabeth actually met and planned how to rule. Their on-screen tête-à-tête is one to marvel at.

To revisit this mountain resort town has been on my list for a while, and this year has enough reasons for me to go. The following are my genre picks which caught my eye.

The summaries are from this event’s website:

Anna and the Apocalypse

Nov 29 8:30pm
Squamish Cultural Center

Sun, Dec 02, 9:00am
Rainbow Theatre

Okay, so you want to see something different at a film festival. How about a Scottish Christmas musical zombie movie? Yup. Shaun of the dead meets Glee. This is the wackiest premise for a film since Trey Parker’s Cannibal The Musical (1993) or Darren Lynn Bousman’s The Devil’s Carnival (2012). When a zombie apocalypse threatens the town of little haven at Christmas time, Anna and her teen friends have to slash, decapitate and sing their way through an assortment of undead snowmen, elves, Santas and Christmas shoppers just to make it across town to the safe haven of their high school. The singing and dancing are show-stoppingly good at times as if the players are auditioning for a Broadway play. And if you are a truly twisted soul, maybe this will even put you in the Christmas spirit.

[Editor’s note: This movie will play at select theatres beginning Dec 7 courtesy of Orion Pictures. Please check local listings]

Elijah and the Rock Creature

Dec 02 4:00pm
Village 8 Cinema

A delightful family film that structurally resembles E.T., but on a tiny fraction of the budget. It demonstrates what great costume design and luminescent photography can accomplish when filtered through the eyes of visual artist and painter Jennifer Walden in her first feature, shot near Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories.

Elijah and his mother are grieving a loss when they decide to see the stars in Wood Buffalo National Park, the largest dark sky preserve in the world. Elijah gets separated from his party and wanders the beautiful but marker-less landscape, frightened and lost. Along the way, he encounters a mythological rock creature “from beyond the stars”, who is also trying to find his way home. Together, they become a team. But when Elijah tries to explain the existence of his extraterrestrial guide, the folks back home assume he is suffering from hallucinations.

Using mostly local talent, with a particular nod to costume designer Adrienne Cartwright, this is proof that resonant stories can be made in any part of this country, and it marks the arrival of a major new directorial talent on the Canadian scene.

At Eternity’s Gate

Nov 28, 9:00pm
Nov 30, 12:00pm
Rainbow Theatre

Willem Dafoe is Vincent van Gogh. With his sunken cheeks and haunted eyes, it is difficult to imagine any other actor in the role. The film, directed by acclaimed artist Julian Schnabel (Basquiat, The Diving Bell & the Butterfly), focuses on Van Gogh’s final months, living hand to mouth in the south of France. He drinks too much, is extremely productive, but fails to connect with the locals, who taunt him and tease him. His artistic response to the beauty of the country around him continues to inspire him, even as his daily life and very survival become more difficult. Using lighting and natural settings, Schnabel successfully evokes the artist’s unique way of seeing the world around him. The nature of genius, and of artistic obsession is captured with deep insight in this oft-told story, but it is Dafoe’s performance as Van Gogh that will stay with you, long after the final images from the film have faded. This is the film’s first festival showing in Canada.

Treeline

Nov 30, 9:45pm
Dec 02, 9:45pm
Maury Young Arts Center

Trees are the oldest living beings humans have encountered since our time on Earth. They provide us with sustenance, shelter, fuel, and materials that we cannot live without. This year’s winter film from Patagonia takes us on a journey through the enshrined cypress groves of Japan, into the ancient bristlecones of Nevada and through British Columbia’s own towering red cedar forests. We follow skiers, snowboarders, scientists and healers as they each explore their relationship with the silent giants. Vancouver filmmaker Jordan Manley breathes life into these forests with his stunning cinematography. A unique look into the power of nature, treeline is as visually encapsulating as it is spiritually moving.

Shortwork Series

Up to nine short films make up this unique set of screenings. Beginning November 28th, each day will offer something special. Of note, Girl in the Galactic Sun (see below) and Cedar Tree of Life will certainly sate the sci-fi enthusiast and hedgewitch in me. Guy Maddin is one of three directors in Accidence (Day 2, Nov 30 12pm)

The following make up unit four, of student’s works, (playing Dec 3, 1:30pm). Of these pickings from this category, I find the shorts offered in this collection may well traverse beyond the line of what fantasy, a thriller or science fiction means. Rod Serling must be proud!

EGG – A surreal animation about a woman locked in her home with an egg, towards which she feels both attraction and fear. She eats the egg, she repents; she kills the egg; she lets the egg die of hunger. The woman controls the egg… or does the egg control the woman?

Fantasmagoria – Struggling to cope with the loss of her daughter, a grieving mother embarks on a surrealist journey filled with bizarre characters in search of peace in the realm of lucid dreams. As she gets closer to her daughter, Mara comes to realize what she needed all along.

Girl in the Galactic Sun – A genderless alien who longs for a different life decides to transform into a woman in order to reproduce and save the species. G944 arrives at the Galactic Sun Facility unaware of the risks, and its desperation to understand what it is to be a woman leads it down a dangerous path with unnerving consequences.

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The Vintage Tempest’s Favourite Forgotten Classics to Watch on Halloween

31 Oct

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Not a lot of television episodes or specials made for the Halloween season stand the test of time. Some are developed because the formula for network television requires it (especially for sit-coms). As for those unique one-offs, I ask where are they now? Only two films make this list as they were quite common when rebroadcasted. The rest make up part of what I traditionally loved seeing on either the big or small screen.

I include a complete television series since I recall key episodes taking place on All Hallow’s Eve. Instead of focussing in on one particular country, I hope to give this list an international flair with my choices:

Image result for mad monster party

Mad Monster Party (1967)

No list can be considered legit without a reference to this Rankin-Bass stop-motion classic. Along with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, both shows rerun at their respective seasons. Sadly, this is no longer the case. What makes this production such a classic is that Boris Karloff led a monster mash of comedy and music. Its longevity faded because of time, and new audiences not familiar with the all-star lineup. Ask a young person now about who Phyllis Diller is and the response is likely, “Who?”

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Will There Be More Sailor Moon Musicals after Le Mouvement Final in North America?

9 Apr

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

North American or Japanese, musicals must be seen live. When it is not possible to attend either due to location or cost, sometimes the next best thing is to see it at the movies. Whether that’s with a remote broadcast or adaptation, these shows rarely disappoint. When paired with a pop culture phenomenon, especially Sailor Moon, visions of New York Radio City’s The Rockettes style performances come to mind. Just do not tell the Sailor Senshi. They may go on a tirade. This particular series is retelling the manga by Naoko Takeuchi and they been playing in Japan for over two decades. The story arcs are expanded upon and even goes into bold new directions. Not every Japanese pop culture enthusiast may know this subgenre. To keep track of everything from Japan means having both ears to the ground. Officially, only the soundtracks exist and bootleg videos are a grey area. The first overseas performance was in 2015 in Shanghai, and the North American premiere of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Musical—Le Mouvement Final, presented as a pre-recorded performance, started late last month. Screening made its way to Cineplex Theatres Canada last week.

I am very thankful CineLife Entertainment for overseeing an international distribution; more screenings are being added, and I suspect this video tour is still rolling out.

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Ed’s Picks of the 2017 Victoria Fringe Festival

2 Aug

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

The 2017 Victoria Fringe Festival has one show where any paranormal enthusiast must not miss. Fake Ghost Tours will no doubt tickle the funny bone in its satire of an industry that I feel has gone too far. I will say more on this later. After picking up a program guide and thumbing through, I have found my picks for this year.

With no surprise, Mystical Wishes Puppet Company, has been invited back with two productions later this year, in November, with special performances of Shadow Performances and Space Hippo. Although listed as part of the Fringe show, they bear honourable mention to mark the calendar for.

But for the week of August 23 to Sept 3rd, there’s plenty of variety to enjoy. But I have to begin with a fuller reveal of my top choice:

Fake Ghost Tours
Whells Phargo Productions

This walking tour of old Victoria is set to expand your mind and open your wallet (like, who has not experienced this problem before with pay-for ghost hunts?) as amateur ghost hunters Abdul Aziz and Shawn O’Hara take you on a “100% accurate” and legitimate look at the old quarters of this city? Plenty of criticism has been made about what you see on television as potentially faked, but what you have to experience it for real?

Will this show go extreme, like with a particular fun-filled version of the Ghost Walks which take place come Halloween? Or, will we get to laugh at the absurdity of seeing how some scares are manufactured. I will be showing up with a few of the tools most modern day ghost hunters use, so audiences should be aware – a wrench may be thrown in to tell all.

Note: the meeting point for this show is in Bastion Square near the Old Maritime Museum.

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