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August 2014
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C’thulhu Fun

They had an H. P. Lovecraft festival this weekend in Second Life, and there were a lot of creatures to see and become. This one towered over the trees.


C’thulhu the large

Kundo Trailer

This Korean historical epic hits theaters this Friday the 29th, about the Joseon dynasty in 1859, towards the end of its 500 year long reign. Kundo is about a resistance movement that did not appreciate being enslaved by the rulers of that government at that time, and reacted accordingly. The Joseon dynasty was also the source of all the best Cinderella stories for that culture; with a half millennium of events to choose from, there were a few good ones.

Automata trailer

Starring Antonio Banderas and Melonie Griffith, Automata looks to be on the cutting edge of the revolution that might be coming if the world evolves in the AI direction. It has a tip-of-the-hat to Asimov’s 3 Laws, and it is a pretty convincing Turing Test if the robots are more human than the people, after all. It says something interesting about the current state of the film industry that it was written and directed by a Hispanic team, filmed in English in Bulgaria, and will be released on October 10th, 2014, with a world premiere in South Africa.

Something to Do: Movies

The one choice that will be in wide release this week is 1984′s classic Ghostbusters, in a digitally remastered edition although not, sadly, in 3D. That is to celebrate its 30th anniversary. There are a few films worth noting in limited release, like Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie, an Anime favorite from Japan, and Kundo: Age of the Rampant, a Korean historical epic action film.

Something to Watch: DVDs

In Movies, the animated Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return has an amazing voice cast, if the animation and story were crafted with as much care it just might be a winner. While not exactly genre, Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlaas is a historical epic, taking place in the 16th century as a man tries to get justice for the illegal acts of a nobleman. Finally, Aftermath is 9 people trapped in a basement as the world is turned into a radioactive wasteland, and it will not be coming home with me.

In TV, Haven: The Complete Fourth Season continues the excellent and strange TV show based on Steven King’s Colorado Kid. Elementary: Season 2 brings more Sherlock Holmes goodness from this side of the Atlantic. From the other side we get the UK interpretation of The Musketeers, in which the new Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi, plays the evil Cardinal Richelieu. Remember the 1999 show Now & Again? In episode one our protagonist is killed by being hit by a train, and wakes up to discover the government has installed his brain in a perfect artificial body. Their goal is to make him a black ops super spy that no-one knows exists; his goal is to return to his wife and daughter, whom he dearly loves. After all this time they are finally releasing its single season to disc. I thought it showed a lot of promise, they should have given it a second season. The Walking Dead releases season 4 this week as well.

In Anime Heaven’s Lost Property Forte was the name they gave season 2, and it is coming out in an Anime Classics edition, meaning you can now pick it up for around $25. I haven’t been able to decide if Watamote is genre because it is fantasy, or just delusional because the protagonist is living in her own little fantasy world. But since she is both a Hikkikomori and an Otaku, I guess that makes her officially part of the genre landscape, and therefore in need of a mention here. It is actually quite an amusing twisted little anime series, in the same way that Welcome To The NHK is, and worth checking out.

Sashida Ikuya

This track is from Sashida Ikuya, who’s style seems to be buried in sappy ballads, but somehow he produced this interesting blend of Jazz and Rock, with the occasional dash of Pop. The song is called Spam, and it is the kind of tune that lodges itself in your head so you find yourself playing it over and over. To bad he can’t crank out a bunch of these; or maybe I just can’t find them with a search. It may be like Godley and Creme, who had an amazing run of killer songs with their bands 10CC and Godley and Creme, but when you search for them you only ever find two songs: I’m Not In Love by 10CC, and Cry by Godley and Creme. Songs like Rubber Bullets and Snack Attack never seem to come up.

New Hero 6 Trailer

Disney’s Big Hero 6 already has me laughing and cheering, and the movie won’t be out for months yet. I have commented on it previously from the perspective of the Marvel property it comes from, a graphic novel/manga of the first order with a lot of links to Japans Pop Culture. And that’s without even going into the whole Pixar/Miyazaki/Disney animation connection. As a single example, did you see Totoro in Toy Story 2, and recognize that high-quality animation universe crossover?

Music from Old Machines

Some of this stuff you just can’t make up. How about Eye of the Tiger played on a dot matrix printer? Or maybe you would prefer Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor? These are just two of the wonderful choices created by MIDIDesaster, a person who’s motto is Abusing old hardware to play music. I like these, and hope they will make a lot more tunes this way.

“Eye of the tiger” on dot matrix printer from MIDIDesaster on Vimeo.

Toccata and Fugue on dot matrix printer from MIDIDesaster on Vimeo.

Tinker Bell Drone

If Tinker Bell was kidnapped by a UFO and subjected to probing, this is probably how their illicit love child would turn out. This aerial toy is the brainchild of someone who is using Yiwu, China as their main commercial sales center. Thanks to the folks at Vimeo for the heads up on this.

“tinker bell drone” from savasavasava on Vimeo.

Space Station 76 trailer

This is a look at what it would have been like to live on a space station in the mid-70s. Space Station 76 is just good silly fun in the retro-future. This has been making the film festival rounds since March 8th of this year, when it premiered at SXSW, but I haven’t seen it get picked up for theatrical release in the US, nor have I heard anything yet about a DVD release. If it comes to a Film Fest near me, I will be going to check it out.