Tag Archives: South Korea

How to Celebrate Hungry Ghost Festival Aug 15th

14 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Ghost Month will reach its perigee on August 15th. At the Hungry Ghost Festival (盂兰盆节), these once human souls are permitted to visit the living world and some may visit their descendents to see how they are doing. On this day, we venerate them with happiness and acknowledge their existence. We save the first row in any performance venue for them to sit there. Anyone who tries may well feel a chill!

This time of the year is a different sort of Halloween. As for what believers can do in preparation is to beware of certain practices lest the spirit attaches itself. This can range from avoiding wearing clothing that is red or black to not killing insects crawling around–they may be someone’s grandparents reincarnated. The best thing to do with the latter is to catch and release the critter outside.

Superstitions aside, some fans of horror cinema may opt to get into the mood. Instead of scaring ourselves silly, we may opt to look at supernatural comedies. My choices have to fit the criteria of how the spirit world interacts with reality. Instead of a top five, I have six on my list. In my culture, we consider this number lucky. Amongst my favourites that are distinctly Asian and PG-13 in tone are:

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Keeping the Faith with Divine Fury at Fantasia 2019 & its Aug 16th Theatrical Debut

2 Aug

nullBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Distributor:
Well GO USA

Screening at select theatres (for list, please visit the official website), beginning August 16th, 2019

Official DVD/Blu-ray release November 19th

  • Mild Spoiler Alert

 

Marvel Comic’s Blade and Shang-Chi will never hold a candle to the Divine Fury (사자), a South Korean film which looks like it can upend any supernatural mixed martial art blockbuster any time of this and the next decade. The reason is that it has a solid grounding in creating a hero and it does not waste a whole ton of time (a whole film) doing so. Yong-hu (Park Seo-Joon) lost his father, a police officer who got injured on duty. As a child, he prayed hard to God; he didn’t want papa to die. Sadly, reality bites and he lost his faith.

Twenty years have passed and this young man channelled his anger in his rise to become a champion fighter. He has everything, but he’s still feeling empty inside. When a stigmata forms, he doesn’t know what it means or what to do; he hopes Father Ahn (Sung-Ki Ahn) can provide answers. Instead, what he stumbles into leads into discovering an evil force wants to make a foothold in our reality.

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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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[2019 Fantasia] Beware The Gangster, The Cop and The Devil … Times TWO!

21 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Screens at Fantasia 2019
Extra showing on July 28
Auditorium des diplômés de la SGWU (Théâtre Hall)

Well Go USA

Plenty of idioms come to mind with this handsomely suave and sinister film from South Korea. The Gangster, The Cop and The Devil is a mix of a crime and thriller genre, and it’s hard boiled enough to have me guess who is worse. We have Tae-suk (Kim Moon-yul), a brutal policeman going vigilante on organized crime, Dong-soo (Dong-seok Ma), a gangster who could probably put musician Psy to shame for his sense of style, and K (Kim Sung-kyu) the serial killer who made the mistake of targeting Dong-soo. When this Al Capone wannabe’s reputation is tarnished, he has to do what’s right, and the film is a twisted cat-and-mouse game where no matter who gets whose desserts, the bloody outcome is going to be more than cherry red.

Cop and thief gang up, for lack of a better term, to go after the killer. The action is intense, and the film is all fortune for lots of glory! Plenty of action takes place in the streets, and the wry black humour is sharp. Even though the slow moments drag out the film, the wait for the next bloody conflict makes up for it.

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