Cluster Map

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May 2016
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Autonomous

The short CGI film Autonomous began life as a demo for a bigger story, and was completed by two people in their free time over the course of 2 years. Aleksei Shulga did directing, modeling, shading, vfx, and compositing, while Mihhail Kohtov did riging, animation, sfx and sound design. The music they used was created by Mikhail Pridonov. I did not find an mention about who wrote it and did the storyboards, but my guess would be Aleksei.

Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters

The retro TV commercial 20th Century Fox posted for Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters was a hoot, so I had to share it here. And yes, I will be seeing Apocalypse on the big screen in 3D; the X-Men franchise has been getting better with each new outing, so I am seriously looking forward to what happens next.

Something to Do: Movies

There are two good choices this week, with X-Men: Apocalypse set to roll out the next chapter for that franchise, and Alice Through the Looking Glass bringing another Tim Burton interpretation of the classic story. I am looking forward to both, but if I can only make time for one, the X-Men will get my box office money.

Something to Watch: Discs

I couldn’t find a single new genre release in western Movies or TV, but there are a few eastern titles this week. Tokyo Ghoul √A – Season Two continues the war between Ghouls and Humans, cranking up the action and horror as old friends transform and new perils arise. Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign brings the first dozen episodes of the potential extinction of humanity as the vampires grow ever more numerous and hungry. In Shirobako: Collection 2 the five friends once in the animation club are now reunited and ready to create their first professional Anime, if only they can make it work. This was one of the most impressive Anime programs of 2015 for me, both for its recursiveness (an Anime about making an Anime, in the tradition of Golden Boy and Anime Runner Kuromi) and for its fond waves of recognition to some of the most amazing Anime creators in the industry today. I can’t say it anywhere near as well as others already have, so let me pass along links to a few of the better articles about it, from Rocket News 24, from Kotaku, and from Otaku USA. It also indirectly made public some of the sadder details, like the fact that many of the animators and voice actors that work on these projects are only paid a dollar an hour, not exactly a living wage. If you have ever wanted to create your own anime, this is a must-watch!

Qaijff

Qaijff’s second mini album Life is Wonderful was released a last week, and the first track is the first song on the disc, Wonderful Life. They started playing as a band in April of 2012 and had so much fun they have been doing it ever since. The second song is Organism from their 2015 first mini-album (which was also called Organism), and the final one is Clock Hands from a 2014 single. If you want to get a feel for what the band has been through over time, the photos on their blog will give you a pretty good idea.

Nerve trailer

On the Big Screen this July, Nerve was sci-fi until a decade or so back, and looks like a very nicely done thriller. Based on the novel of the same name by YA author Jeanne Ryan, it seems like Eagle Eye meets John Dies in the End could have been the inspiration. I will be in the theater to check this one out when the time comes.

Smithsonian Superheroes School

Stan Lee is one of the instructors at the Smithsonian class The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture, along with several others. The basic course takes 6 weeks and is free, but if you want a verified certificate that will cost $50; if you pass the class, besides the certificate itself you will get digital artwork created by comic book artist Dennis Calero (X-Factor, X-Men Noir). It was created just for this course, and is digitally signed by Stan Lee and Michael Uslan. This is the 4th time they are holding the course, and the first class took place/was posted this week, on the 17th. Since it is an online course, you can take it at any time, but it is fun having the forums to interact with your classmates and instructors as each week’s materials are posted. EdX is a massively open online educational system with some very interesting classes started by a collaboration between MIT and Harvard that quickly expanded to some of the best schools on the planet.

Buckaroo Banzai TV Show

Kevin Smith is going to be building the TV show version of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, all because he did such a good job directing some recent episodes of The Flash. Some people at MGM saw those episodes and offered him a shot at creating a TV show for them, and that is what they decided on. As he said on a podcast at the Kevin Smith Blog: Basically you just do the entire movie for season one, then season two you finally do the sequel we’ve all dreamed about, Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League. I can’t wait! No guesses who might carry it yet, but this is one TV show I have been waiting a few decades for them to make. Thanks to pretty much everyone for the heads up on this, but the first one I saw was from Cheryl Eddy at IO9, which is part of Gizmodo these days.

The BFG new trailer

Roald Dahl wrote the story, Steven Spielberg directed the movie, and Disney is distributing it; The BFG is finally coming to the big screen in July. The Big Friendly Giant has been a children’s classic since it was first published, I am looking forward to seeing how they did with this iteration of it.

Something to Do: Movies

The only interesting film this week is The Angry Birds Movie, but that’s OK. Next week we get two winners to chose between, X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass.