Tag Archives: South Korea

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

23 Aug

null 18By 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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Leaving Behind that Train to Busan in Peninsula

13 Aug

Peninsula poster.jpgBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Release Date:
August 7, 2020 (Canada)
August 12, 2020 (USA)

No prior knowledge is needed to enjoy Peninsula (반도) a side story set in a world of Train to Busan. All fans have to know is that most of South Asia has succumbed to the zombie pandemic and nobody is working on a cure to this mystery disease. The Walking Dead is everywhere and the premise is not too different from Robert Kirkman’s epic. Zones of infestation are declared and the timing of this release cannot be any more ironic when considering the current medical crisis happening right now.

Marine Captain Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won) could have saved Min-jung (Lee Jung-hyun) and her family who was also fleeing Incheon. However, he chose not to not because there was lack of room, but he was scared. Nobody knew how this deadly virus transmitted. It’s a dog eat dog world in this cinematic universe and it’s also rare to get second chances to right what’s wrong.

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Parasite lands Everywhere Following the Academy Awards!

13 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Congratulations to Bong Joon-ho for taking home four awards at the 92nd Academy Awards! This dark comedy deserves all the wins. The use of classical background music gives more than a change of atmosphere to the South Korean character drama. Ultimately, I feel it’s a Shakespearean play that constantly shifts genres. Just how this film ends, it’s tough not to feel for the main protagonist.

The scholars rock is a macguffin which kept me curious about when it becomes important to driving this tale forward. It can mean anything. For a moment I wondered if it’s a philosopher’s stone, a transformative device. When the last film I saw from this director includes Snowpiercer and Okja, I knew he’s not going to make this change come easy. When this story is about the lower class infiltrating the home of a wealthier clan and watching how they feed off each other, the importance is with who holds the power instead.

The Kim clan is led by Ki-taek Kim (Song Kang-ho). Nobody is really doing well, not even Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin), Ki-jung (Park So-dam) and Ki-woo (Choi Woo-Shik). When Ki-woo’s wealthy friend Min-hyuk gifts them a this stone, supposedly imbued with magical properties, just what happens next is with how they pretend to be skilled workers when they are not–just so they can work at the Park home.

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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, Theatrical Debut & DVD Specs

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

  • 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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