Cluster Map

Revolver Map

October 2014
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Something to Do: Movies

There don’t seem to be any genre films this week, but John Wick looks like the choice if you are looking for an adrenalin rush disguised as a movie.

Something to Watch: Discs (formerly DVD’s)

When I first started posting about videos coming out in a package you could buy and take home in 1993, VHS was the format, eventually replaced by DVDs. But DVDs got replaced more-or-less by Blue Ray (augmented is a better word, since lots of folks are still perfectly happy at Standard Def), and Blue Ray by 4K, and owning a physical object was supplemented by owning something you could stream online any time you wanted to watch it. Streaming things you didn’t own a license to has also grown into a huge industry, of course, with legal payment plans ranging from advertising-supported free, through monthly subscription service payments, to Video On Demand pay per view options. And yet here we are almost half way through the 20 Teens, and a decades old habit has me still referring to the Discs as DVDs. So even though I still own a working 1964 black and white 1 inch reel to reel General Electric video recorder/play back device (my first personally owned video processing system, the size of a desk and the weight of a full-size refrigerator, with An Unearthly Child as one of those spools of tape), and I still have close to 40 VHS tapes of movies like Mutant On The Bounty and Witch Hunt which were never released in more modern formats, I think it is time I changed the title of this series of posts to reflect reality a little closer. If you are interested in the timeline about the VHS/DVD/HD evolution, check out the Wikipedia Article to find out what happened when.

We get an assortment of movies out on Disc this week in a range to appeal to most tastes. There is the family friendly upbeat story of Earth to Echo, not a remake of ET, but appealing to the same sensibilities and audience. Life After Beth is also somewhat light-hearted, but with a darker side to it in a zombie love story. Snowpiercer went to the edge of Mad Max land, with a tale of after the end of the world. This South Korean sci-fi action film is based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige and has a world-class cast; I can’t wait to see it, because it certainly never came by a theater near me! the historic epic Kundo is about the end of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea, and the group which fought to bring an end to it. It was an 800 year long part of their history most remember with both longing and horror as an age of brutal repression by a hereditary aristocracy.

The Scribbler is darker yet, with a woman wiping out her multiple personality disorder wondering if she is going to be one of the personalities that does not survive; the critics were less than kind to this one. Finally, The Purge: Anarchy is the latest tale in a franchise that they perhaps should not have started, let alone continued.

TV had nothing I could find this week, other than a confused animated Batman reference which was only the Blue Ray version of something released weeks ago on DVD.

In Anime, Ghost in the Shell Arise: Borders 1 & 2 is finally being released domestically, after months of being available only as a very pricy import. It is the first half of a 4 part OVA that is somewhere between a prequel and a re-imagining of Masamune Shirow’s classic cyberpunk story, with all new character designs, voice actor assignments, and music. In a related story, the word is that Scarlett Johansson may star in the live-action feature film version of Ghost In The Shell that is ramping up for production in Hollywood. Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is a feature length Anime that brings the video-game favorite to the small screen, in all her heavily armed glory.

Sunday Without God: Complete Collection is the story of how Humanity got along after being abandoned by god. With the dead staying on Earth and no more children being born the Gravediggers are our only hope. A Letter to Momo is about a young girl and her three Yokai friends, who are doing their best to get her into trouble. This feature length anime has won multiple awards and been compared with From Up On Poppy Hill and Children Who Chase Lost Voices.

Passepied in English

Passepied is a great little alternative band with a wonderful graphic sense and some good animation work that I have featured here before, but this is the first time I have heard an English vocal track on one of their songs. The song is Tokyo City Underground, and I posted the Japanese version back in June when it came out; I like it even more now that I know what they are singing about. If you are thinking about putting together your own short animation like the ones they create you might also want to check out their Making-Of video to get an idea of what all goes into the process. And yes, you can pick up a lot of their music at iTunes.

Moon Embrace The Stars

It is called both Moon Embrace The Stars and You Came From The Stars, depending on who is doing the translating, but this looks like it could be quite the tasty little Sci-Fi TV show out of Asia for 2015. OK, I admit I find the music for this show wimpy beyond belief and in need of being retired behind a barn somewhere with extreme prejudice, but the premise and the plot elements are both quite good. And if this only holds a partial candle up to Korean Dramadies like Spy Myung Wol, Detectives In Trouble, or Rooftop Prince, it will be in quality company and worth checking out to see just how twisted this show ends up becoming. Pretty much the best cult TV SciFi/Fantasy stories I have found seem to come out of South Korea, not because they are inherently better, but because the writers work so hard to squeeze every last twist and turn out of the plot that you can’t help but say “I never saw that coming!” at least once per TV series, and often once a week.

More Amazing Pictures: Space

This time the images are not computer generated creations, but actual photographs of space. This is an astrophotography contest held by Ciel et Espace Photos in France, and I hope they do it every year. This is their very first year, and the competition is called the Photo Nightscape Awards, or PNA for short. They had a Pro and Amature category, as well as Junior categories for several age ranges, and the images are spectacular. You can catch a glimpse in the video below, but you want to go to the Winners Page and see the full resolution versions for yourself. Many thanks to the folks at Universe Today for the heads up on this one.

E-On Software Competition Winners

I wish I had permission to post the winner’s images here, because they created some amazing places. You will have to visit E-On Stoftware’s 3D Environment Competition Winners 2014 to see them, but they are worth your time to check out. They were all created using VUE Infinite, the professional environment creation software suite from E-On. When I say professional, I am not kidding; check out their 2013 customer showcase video below to see just how many times you watched their product in a movie that year. But while their top of the line software is a bit pricy they have a full range of VUE 3D creation products including versions that range from VUE Pioneer priced at FREE up to versions priced to $500 for those of us not trying to create a feature film. And even the free version comes with full support including an active community, also priced at free.

SAOII new story arc

They have now finished the GGO (Gun Gal Online) story arc in season 2 of Sword Art Online and are about to roll out the next one, Caliber. They did the same thing in season 1, where the first story arc was a Clear-the-Levels dungeon quest, and the second one was a Save the Princess game. While I think they could have actually broken them into 4 separate segments, they chose to do them in groups of two. I am really enjoying the Anime, almost as much as I enjoyed the books by Reki Kawahara they are based on. The other set of books he created, sharing that same universe and also turned into an anime series, is Accel World, which I am also enjoying watching. If you haven’t seen them yet, take some time to check them out; I think you will enjoy them.

Something to Do: Movies

The one that looks the most interesting to me this week is The Book of Life, an animated presentation about being torn between fulfilling the expectations of your family and following your heart. I also find the animation style itself to be conductive to telling this particular story, and can’t wait to see how it all fits together. The other film worth checking out is Men, Women & Children, a story about how the internet has totally changed how we all deal with each other, and grow closer (or farther) together/apart.

Something to Watch: DVDs

In movies, X-Men: Days of Future Past was the best film of the franchise so far, and I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet. The other feature length offering is the recent Mr. Peabody and Sherman, the heartwarming story of a dog and his boy, and a rather abused time machine that may spell the end of the world.

To take full advantage of the film release, they are also making available The Complete Mr. Peabody & Sherman Collection, 450 minutes comprising all 91 of the original episodes. One of the more interesting shows to come along recently is Penny Dreadful: The Complete First Season, a rather twisted new take on some old stories and characters, including Dorian Grey, Frankenstein, and Dracula, all in a single story. If you need still more Victorian Gothic Fantasy, Dracula: Season One also comes out this week; enjoy it while you can, it didn’t get a season 2. And the final TV release for this round is Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion, bringing us back to the realm of animation.

In Anime, A Certain Magical Index II: Part One will be hitting the shelves, as will Holy Knight, a twisted tale of a Vampire Slayer and the Vampire that wants to have his baby… just before she kills him. There is also Naruto Shippūden: DVD Box20, as well as Naruto Triple Feature, which compiles the movies Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, Legend of the Stone of Gele, and Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom.

In the Strangely Entertaining category we get Kill Me Baby, a story of what may have been the most dangerous childhood ever lived, and Meganebu, a tale of the man who founded the Glasses Club, and got all the guys to join it on the promise of developing working X-Ray spectacles. Finally, there is also a S.A.V.E. version of Princess Jellyfish, making the ultimate nerd-girl a bit more affordable.

New Fungus album

This is the first new release from Fungus in 3 years, entitled Dishwasher and Punk, or Punk and Wash depending on who is doing the translating. It just came out this past week, released on Space Shower Music, and this first track sounds pretty good in a Ska kind of way. There are 13 tracks altogether on the disc, so far this is the only one that has been posted online.