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January 2017
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The Virtual Human: Hellblade

I found this video amazing; it is an explanation of how they used a real person to create a game character, and in the process invented the combination of technology needed to allow that person to act in real time in the game. Which means that anyone with deep enough pockets (which would have to be very deep, at this point) could schedule time to get themselves scanned and processed, buy the gear including the head mounted camera system, and do the same thing. It allows you to be fully immersed in the 360 VR game environment as yourself, with everyone able to see and hear you, right down to your current facial expression. Of course, it will be a decade or so before the price comes down enough that the rest of us get to try this out, but its good to know it is on the way.

Robots At The Science Museum

Picturehouse teamed up with the Science Museum in the UK to give away 10 pairs of tickets to the Robots exhibition. Why is this important enough to mention, even though the odds of my stopping by before it closes are slim to zip? Because I wish I could be there, and if I mention it you might manage to actually make it. This isn’t a collection of metal boxes with faces painted on them; it is the 500-year-old story of humanoid robots and what it means to be human. The presentation is set in five different periods and places, with over 100 robots, 15 of which still work today. If you are one of the luck few that manage to attend this display, I would be grateful if you could take a few pictures and send them my way, so I could post them here. The exhibition will be running from from February 8th to the 3rd of September 2017, so you have a bit of time to catch it.

iBoy trailer

Based on the 2010 Kevin Brooks novel, Netflix’s iBoy should be a wild ride. It looks like they did it as a single movie rather than a series, and you can watch it on Friday the 27th. Yes, that does mean the end of next week.

Something to Do: Movies

The dialog-free feature animation The Red Turtle was created by teams from France Belgium, and Japan. As the trailer makes obvious, the Japanese partner on the project was Studio Ghibli, nice to know I can see a new film by them this long after the studio closed. Also this week, the Lost in London LIVE experiment, where Woody Harrelson will create a movie live and stream it into theaters in real time. That one is on Thursday the 19th, and I might have to go see it just to find out it he succeeds.

Something to Watch: Discs

The one western program I am excited about this week is 12 Monkeys: Season Two, the Syfy channel show with a great cast and story line. Roger Cormen is still making workmanlike films on shoestring budgets, and his Death Race 2050 is the latest to be released direct to disc. The animation Long Way North has been winning awards on the Film Festival circuit for the last year or better, but it never got a wide theatrical release, and also comes out direct to disc this week. And then there is Surf’s Up 2: Wave Mania, which I have also found no theatrical release for, but it might have been on TV at some point. This is a joint project between Sony Pictures and the WWE, with a number of their star wrestlers doing the voice actor work for the surfing penguins.

We don’t have much in Anime this week either. Nothing new, and just the latest box set each for two returning favorites. Naruto Shippūden Set 29 has episodes 362 through 374, while Fairy Tail: Collection 6 gives us episodes 121 through 142. Both of these long running shows are well worth following.

Phantogram

New York group Phantogram played on the first of Triple-J’s Like A Version segments for 2017 this week, and they sounded sweet so I had to share them here. If you are not already watching them every week, in Like A Version a great Alt Rock band comes into the broadcast studio at Triple-J and plays two tracks, first one of their original songs, and then a cover by someone else. This time around, Phantogram played their song Cruel World, and followed it up with a cover of Radio Head’s Weird Fishes/Arpeggi. And then a studio track from them with amazing video construction, Fall in Love. Triple-J has been my favorite alternative rock radio station out of Australia since I first heard them in 2006, if you like that musical format they would be worth adding to your streaming collection.

Kung Fu Yoga trailer

Another good Jackie Chan film coming out later this year is Kung Fu Yoga, and the trailer looks quite amusing. This Bollywood/Chinese hybrid film should be the second in a series, since Jackie previously played an archeologist running all over the place while hunting a treasure down. That was in The Myth in 2005, with Stanly Tong directing both films. He was also supposed to be an Archeologist in the Jackie Chan Adventures animated series. Bollywood has a serious hand in this release, and it looks like he gets at least one choreographed song-and-dance sequence with his beautiful archeologist costar, Amyra Dastur. Being a big fan of Bollywood films, I am keeping my fingers crossed they get multiple songs in. This will be hitting US theaters on Friday, January 27th, only two weeks from now, and I will be there to see it!

Railroad Tigers Trailer

Jackie Chan is at it again, telling a serious story by way of comedy, this time a tale of a retired railroad worker who uses his deep knowledge of the train network to steal supplies to feed his starving neighbors during World War II. This film is in the theaters now, if you are lucky enough to live by one of the ones that shows Bollywood and Chinese films, which most AMCs with more than a dozen screens do these days.

Monkey King 2 Trailer

I completely missed the release of MONKEY KING 2 on Blue Ray on January 3rd, and only found out about it when a friend called to tell me they found it in a store. Good thing this isn’t my day job. So, a bit late, but here is the trailer for this fun little movie.

New Legion teasers

FX Network has released 4 new Legion teasers to get us geared up for the premier season which starts February 8th. I am a big fan of Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, and the three on Netflix, AKA Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Daredevil. If this maintains that same level of quality, I have no doubt it will be a winner.