Tag Archives: Romance

Top Five Asian Picks to see during Vancouver’s 2019 International Film Festival

29 Sep

Image result for children of the sea movieBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The 2019 Vancouver International Film Festival is a showcase many cinephiles living in the Lower Mainland will be at. True to the city with it’s huge share of Asians, having a worthwhile selection is a must. This event is in full swing and I offer my picks from this world (links go to ticket purchase):

Children of the Sea

A loner schoolgirl befriends two boys who were raised by dugongs (manatee-like creatures), and embarks on an aquatic journey to unlock the mysteries of the boys and the sea. Based on Igarashi Daisuke’s lauded manga, director Watanabe Ayumu and Studio4°C’s bold experimental and environmental statement dazzles the eyes with stupendously beautiful animation of the underwater world, and blows the mind with dense symbolism and disorienting imagery that have drawn comparisons to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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The Miyazaki Charm is Alive in Ronja, Robber’s Daughter

20 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Released August 20, 2019
Shout! Factory & GKIDS

* Spoiler Alert

Gorō Miyazaki has big shoes to fill. As the son of Hayao, to shift from the career of garden landscaper to animation director can be viewed as extreme but I feel his skills in one world is transferable to another. He’s had plenty of education before working on Tales from Earthsea (2006) and From Up on Poppy Hill (2011). To work on a television series, Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter, shows his transition is complete. The attention to detail put in the background designs served his multi-purpose role well.

This series is based on Astrid Lindgren‘s book of the same name (Amazon link) (Ronia is the original spelling). The seminal character was born on a stormy night. Some may say great things are in store for her as she gets older. Almost like PIXAR’s Brave, this headstrong girl is looking to make her place in the world. Instead, what she finds is an innocent friendship with a young boy from a rival clan.

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[Fantasia 2019] The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale. When Bites Are Not Free!

31 Jul

Image result for The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale posterBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

South Korea certainly has a handle on the zombie epidemic. Whether that’s with a period movie with Rampant (see review here) or the crowd-pleasing Train to Busan, the latest titled The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale (기묘한 가족) is a zom-com that’s basically a Looney Tunes style cartoon with Shaun of the Dead as the hook. Director Lee Min-jae makes his debut and I feel this movie has cult-favourite written all over it! He knows which films from zombie culture to take inspiration from and crank it up a notch.

The action takes place in Poongsan, a remote South Korean village, where the folks there do not even know what a zombie is. Man-Deok (Park In-hwan) is simply wanting to take a vacation. His son Joon-Gul (Jung Jae-young, Castaway on the Moon) and his pregnant daughter-in-law, Nam-Joo (Uhm Ji-won) are a handful. When middle-son Min-Gul (Kim Nam-gil) comes home because he has nowhere else to stay (he lost his job), life is a touch more problematic. Nobody realizes a straggler into town (Jung Ga-ram) is a member of the walking dead and the bites Man-Deok!

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[Fantasia 2019] It’s Not Quite Endless Love w/ White Snake

27 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Distributed by GKIDS

The latest animated film from China about the Legend of the White Snake is making its rounds at film festivals, like Fantasia 2019. As a prequel, the setup is simplified. White Snake (白蛇) defines Xiao Bai as the main character. Her story is familiar, and is no different in scope when compared to William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or even Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.

This computer animated work is very Disney-esque–complete with the prerequisite sidekick comic relief. When a medicine-man (not wanting to be a snake catcher) Xuan (Tianxiang Yang) rescues Bai (Zhang Zhe), her anmesia results in her having to figure out who she is. The story begins with us knowing that she is a spirit from the mountains–a white snake–attempting to attain that higher level of harmony (immortality, according to the subtitles–which makes little sense when spirits are technically very long-lived). However, a memory is holding her back and what she learns which makes up the film is one of sorrow and sacrifice.

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