The Lightest Darkness, An Exercise in Neo-Noir

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By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

To say The Lightest Darkness is inspired by film noir is an understatement. To connect it with the styling of Franz Kafka is perhaps just as surreal. Whichever the case, the neo-modernist stylings of this Russian made film make the feelings of being entrapped certainly notable. Two suspects (or is that three) are eyed; Private Investigator Musin (Rashid Aitouganov) is on a missing person case and believes all can be unveiled on a train going nowhere fast.

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Dark Horse Comics, Ed’s Picks of June and July 2016

Dark Horse LogoBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

As the month of June winds down and I need comics to read as those dog days of summer approaches, I’ve amassed enough graphic novels and comics to make my local comic shop owner give the thumbs up. A few have yet to be released, and thanks to Dark Horse Comics for providing enough of a sample to know I should start adding more titles to my comic book store’s subscription box. My picks range from all-ages (kid friendly) to ultra-violent (not so kid friendly).

Nothing against the superhero genre, but when this company does more for the independents and carries quite a few horror titles, I know where my money is going. Plus, with the Hellboy saga over, I hope an omnibus is being planned. I have lost track of the reading order and a collection can make for a perfect Halloween treat.

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[VFF ’16] Life with McDull: Me & My Mom, A Movie Review

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

mcdull-me-and-my-mum-2Unless audiences are from Hong Kong or is familiar with Chinese pop culture, the anthropomorphic pig named McDull (麥兜) may not be as well-known internationally. He’s very popular in parts of China, with plenty of merchandise to collect, and the appeal for this character is because of his perseverance to succeed. Love for this piglet is probably just as big as Japan’s Hello Kitty. Both are cute in their own way but the needs of a piglet do not outweigh the irresistible power of a cat.

At least in the latest film, McDull: Me & My Mum, a look back at this swine’s origins is in order. He is older and perhaps a bit wiser. He’s now a respected detective and is recognized by the name of Bobby Mak instead of his baby name. When he is called in to solve a death, his quick powers of observation save the day. If his deduction is true, no homicide took place. Everyone at the mansion is required to wait, and when the kids arrive, somebody has to entertain them. Mak recounts his life to them and he particularly emphasizes the closeness he had with his mother. From his days as a kid to his formative young adult years, she’s protected, given her sage advice and raised him like any mother would. She even tried to be a superhero, but an astronaut she is not. The metaphors are obvious, because the hospital she goes for that “space training” means she is ill. To a very young mind, to process certain situations can be tough.

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