Adapted from a popular novel by Yuan Taiji instead of Batman, Daniel Lee‘s movie Code of Assassins (aka Song of Assassins, 青面修罗) has the feel of the latter because a young assassin is out for more than just vengeance. Blue Asura Qi Jun Yuan (William Feng) offers quite the fitting introduction to this world, and as for his role–it’s more than to be a masked avenger!
I wouldn’t know that he’s a tortured soul until his backstory unfolds. To watch how he got indoctrinated into a multigenerational clan of assassins at a young age is one element I enjoyed following. Another concerns how he lost an arm in a fight, and later, feeling loss as his entire clan gets wiped out. They were his family. They were the heroes and protectors of Ghost Valley. However, now that they’re gone, he’s turned renegade. The only way he can find peace is to eliminate everyone involved and if that story beat sounds familiar, I’m sure Lee is a John Wick fan too!
But to enact swift revenge won’t be easy in this multi-genre work which is still a wuxia film at its core.
New Gods Yang Jian not only ups the ante in what Light Chaser Animation can do with the animation medium but also update a traditional tale to the science fiction medium.
Playing at Select Theatres Beginning Jan 20
Coming to Digital on April 11 and Home Video April 25th, 2023.
Light Chaser Animation‘s New Gods cinematic universe has another hero, and his name is Yang Jian (voiced by Wang Kai). He’s also known as Erlang Shen, a god with a truth-seeing eye, but in this film it has even greater power which can’t be defined.
Thankfully, no prior knowledge of who he is or the prior film are needed (Nezha Reborn) is on Netflix and my review can be read here), but it’ll help explain the surprise bits found in this tale. In this second film to this franchise, titled New Gods Yang Jian, he gave up his godhood to become a mortal, a bounty hunter, and for much of the tale, he has no regrets over this decision.
Despite everything we know about how the Divine World fell apart, nobody in this new utopia is truly at peace. The introduction talks about an averted civil war, but all is not well. In Penglai, a futuristic neo-feudal tech city located upon a mountaintop, the people live in relative peace. But this home of the gods may well become a target should a boy assemble the pieces of a destructive lamp. The beauty this location represents is just one of many places this film visits. The look of Ancient China juxtaposed with the industrial age looks wonderful. When the adventure moves to the countryside, the landscapes look like they’re straight from a bamboo tapestry. The softer use of colours is not always pronounced, and that helps with giving this movie a better richness than those highly saturated works other CGI films, like Kung Fu Panda, prefer to emphasise.
Stacey Tenenbaum believes losing a lot of our history and cultural memory when things in our lives are simply scrapped rather than being preserved in her documentary.
Rio Theatre Vancouver, BC Saturday Oct. 22 3:15pm
Stacey Tenenbaum has been touring Canada during Waste Reduction Week, and attending special screenings of her documentary, Scrap, to answer those questions about what it means to not only recycle, but also explain humanity’s relationship with the objects made long ago. It’s not about reusing what’s found in a scrapyard for a movie, like Mad Max: Fury Road, or finding new uses of smaller industrial objects, like steampunk cosplay. I’m sure people scour the junkyards for those antiques needed when a film or tv show requires something from a bygone age when it can’t be found in an antique store.
But there’s more to this movie than meets the eye in terms of how old junk is reused. They have longetivity to them, and that’s one key thing to remember. Also, some of these items do more than bring out feelings of nostalgia. Also, there’s an intrinsic beauty not everyone can recognise. Whether it’s to be used in installation art or for residing in, I adored every careful possibility that’s been put into this work.
I feel what this filmmaker offers is very meditative, and I had an opportunity to correspond with her about this work:
Poupelle in Chimney Town’s adventures are far from over, and this home video release reveals plans on where it can go! Worth picking up for those enamoured with this world.
Shout Factory Release Date: May 31, 2022
Poupelle in Chimney Town (映画 えんとつ町のプペル) will soon be available on home video, and if the bonus material is any indication, his adventures are far from over. This highly anticipated release is available to stream (Amazon Prime), but my money is on the physical release. It has everything for fans to fawn over and it comes with a nice mini booklet to introduce and explain what this story is all about–a young man daring to dream.
There might be plans for a 4K release down the road, but there’s no official news yet. I can see this film shine with a higher resolution release. There’s a lot of detail to appreciate, and when it’s been wholly animated in CGI, I like to know who those figures are in the background. In what’s offered in this blu-ray version is crisp. The original 5.1 sonic presentation is perfect.
I read more into this movie and expressed it in my article, “From Book to Film and Beyond Poupelle in Chimney Town!” and in what I understood, it’s also about not letting the past get the better of you. The tale is also comparable to the themes explored in the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from Wizard of Oz after I finished watching the bonus material.
Based on a popular Japanese picture book by celebrated author and creator Akihiro Nishino, the fantastical tale of Lubicchi and Poupelle leaps from pages to the screen. Poupelle of Chimney Town will certainly delight fans of all ages.
Directed by Yusuke Hirota and produced at Tokyo’s famed STUDIO4ºC, this movie brings to life a unique and inspiring tale about friendship, courage, hope, and perseverance to reach for the stars through an awe-inspiring adventure filled with whimsical characters, stunning animation, and unforgettable performances. The film boasts the stellar English-language voice cast of Tony Hale (Being the Ricardos, Veep), Antonio Raul Corbo (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Stephen Root (Finding Nemo, King of the Hill), Misty Lee (Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Ultimate Spider-Man), and Hasan Minhaj (The Daily Show, The Morning Show).