The only genre movie this week is a parody, The Hungover Games, making fun of The Hunger Games, The Hangover, and Ted, to name just a few. I also have to mention Lost in Thailand, which came out on DVD a week or two back, and is pretty much the Chinese version of The Hangover.
In TV, while there is no genre releases, the BBC series Vikings is a look at what was really driving the repeated Viking raids on the British Isles over the course of several centuries (800 to 1150, give or take 30 years at each end).
In Anime Accel World: Set 2, the combat continues as the Brain Burst Linker’s vie to see who gets to rule the Accelerated World. If Arita can not defeat the new menace he could lose everything and everyone that he cares about.This ox set includes the 12 episodes of the second set, plus 8 mini-episodes of associated silliness. Ikki Tousen: Xtreme Xecutor is the 4th round of battle-induced clothing malfunctions as the Dragon’s Powers determines who wins and who loses. This series gives a whole new meaning to school rivalries, as the street brawlers meet for some reincarnated mayhem.
Justice in Psycho Pass is based on the Dominator, a futuristic weapon that can read minds and assess the probability that a citizen will turn criminal. This tool is wielded by the Enforcers and Inspectors who have replaced police, judges, and jury with heavy caliber instant justice of the extreme prejudice kind. At the other end of the social spectrum, The Pet Girl of Sakurasou: Collection 2 is all about the care and feeding of the terminally unworldly.
DOLL＄BOXX is a five to seven woman rock band from Japan (some members seem to be there intermittently as other projects draw them away), formed when the band Gacharic Spin joined forces with Fuki, the lead singer from Lightbringer. Both bands continue to record and tour separately, and both are very good, but I really like the music they created together. The first track is their song Take My Chance from 2012, the second is 2013′s Ｍｅｒｒｉｌｙ Ｈｉｇｈ Ｇｏ Ｒｏｕｎｄ.
The sequel to Frank Miller’s Sin City, called A Dame To Kill For, finally has it’s first trailer. This does not look like it is going to be much more subtle than the first film of the franchise was. It should be hitting the big screen in late August or early September.
This video really is Doctor Who: Every Story 1963-2013, as compiled by the good folks at BabelColour. 13 Doctors in 13 minutes! And they don’t (he doesn’t would be more accurate, for even if his videos are group efforts, there is only one mind driving these productions) just cover the primary TV series; they also include the spinoffs, the specials, the webisodes, the games, and so much more. There is logic in the things he does not include as well; enjoy.
UPDATE: As some folks were kind enough to point out to me (see the comments), this is not a group effort, but the work of one person, named Stuart. That definitely makes this even more impressive than I thought it was when I believed there was an entire production team behind this video. The flip side of that is, I could have sworn the credits at the end of the video acknowledged other people who contributed to the production, several doing voice over work, one creating the music mix, and so forth. I suspect this may be a difference in degree, not kind, since the director always has the vision of what the final product will be, and assembles and edits the various parts of the production team’s work into that final result, after assigning them each their tasks and explaining what he/she needs from them.
And you can learn how to do that in 20 minutes, by watching this excellent TED video by Josh Kaufman. If you are not already a major TED fan, you should check the project out. This is the way to help yourself become the best version of you that you can create; by learning how to learn, and grow, and develop. This particular lesson is only the tip of the iceberg.
To everyone who did make it this year, from all of us who wish we were there: Happy Mardi Gras, New Orleans! Hope you get the Baby in your King Cake! And nothing really says Mardi Gras quite so much as a song or three from Professor Longhair; enjoy.
The one I will be in the theaters for this week is Mr. Peabody & Sherman, because I always appreciated that Rocky and Bullwinkle sense of humor. Like so many other franchises, they have been absorbed by one of the Disney studios now (Dreamworks, in this instance), most of whom have benefited from the funding and attention to detail. We also get 300: Rise of an Empire for those looking for something noticeably more serious. For those lucky enough to live in the right towns, you may also have a chance to see Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, a film about a monk who has to fight 3 demons while falling in love with the beautiful demon hunter who helps him repeatedly. Before it is all over, he also has a transformative meeting with the Monkey King. This is another quality story by combat comedian Stephen Chow, and if you don’t live in a town where it will be on the big screen, it will also be available on that date through Video On Demand and iTunes.
In movies, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire brings the second story in the series home, but not on Tuesday as is normal; this one hits the shelves on Friday. Also this week, The Grandmaster is another retelling of the life of Ip Man, who numbered among his students Bruce Lee. This one covers from 1930 to his death, with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as Ip Man this time, and it was nominated for two Academy Awards this year. The Last Days on Mars is a sci-fi thriller where the discovery of life on the Red Planet might mean the death of us all. While it tanked with the critics, the cast and special effects are both quite good.
In TV, Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor is the latest Christmas special, and the end of Matt Smith in the roll, as the Doctor regenerates into Peter Capaldi. And while it is not genre, Mr. & Mrs. Murder: Series 1 is a very quirky Australian murder mystery series bubbling over with dark humor and twisted plot lines that I thoroughly enjoy.
In Anime, Aria The Natural: Second Collection continues the girls trials on their way to becoming the top gondoliers on the canals of Mars, renamed Aqua since it’s terraforming. One Piece: Season 5 Part 6 likewise continues the adventures of the Straw Hat Gang as they battle the other pirates in an effort to gain control of the high seas.
If this J-Rock band isn’t channeling the love child of the Beatles and Chuck Berry in this song, they are coming damn close. Ulfuls got their name because back in 1992 one of the band members misread the word Soulful on his favorite album and they went with it. I find this rather ironic, since the lead guitarist’s name is Ulful Keisuke; or perhaps that was more of an inside joke. They turned out a ton of singles, albums, and videos from 1992 through 2009, at which point they retired, until the last few weeks. It looks like the band, or at least the lead guitarist, is once more cranking out music and putting together a tour, including the release of this track online earlier this week, and an appearance on Music Station to get himself back out in front of the public again.
UPDATE: There was a live version of the track recorded this week and released/posted on the 6th of March, 2014, so I appended it to this blog entry. Enjoy!
Earlier this week the audio/video production powerhouse AV Linux released it’s newest version, 6.0.3. This is a minor update, mostly focused on fixing bugs and updating software packages to the latest and greatest stable versions, but they did make one non-trivial change; they changed the default kernel to the 3.10.27-PAE low-latency build. This gives improved performance for all aspects of media capture and processing, but especially for PCI audio devices or firewire interfaces. Performance on older platforms and hardware is also enhanced by this change. Whatever type of multimedia creation and processing you were thinking of doing, this Live DVD has all the resources you need for every aspect of the production workflow. You can download the Torrent or the Image and burn it to disk to get your own free toolkit. After you have booted it from the DVD and had a chance to see just how complete the software collection included in this OpSys is, you can also install it to your hard drive if you so desire.