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November 2015
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Anomalisa trailer

Charlie Kaufman wrote the screenplay for Anomalisa, an animated film that has won a number of important awards on the film festival circuit and received an assortment of critical praise. If you don’t recognize the name, he also wrote the screenplays of a couple of other movies I really liked, Being John Malkovich and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It will be in a limited number of theaters December 30th, and pretty much everywhere come January. Which tells me Charlie is going to see if he can’t pull off a small collection of Academy Awards for his latest masterpiece.

Silly: Age of Ultron Parody

When I watched the Mocking Jay Part 2 parody trailer the other day it cracked me up, so I dug around the site some more. In the process I found this fun Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron music video parody. I like this groups attitude and style, and hope they will keep creating these. The group I am referring to is Studio C, and hopefully they will keep cranking out these silly parodies.

Where is the ISS?

The ISS, or International Space Station, is very easy to see from the surface of the Earth using just the Mark I Eyeball, providing you know where to look, and depending on whether or not you will have clear sky’s for viewing. There are a number of resources available for knowing where to look; the one embedded here is from the folks at SatFlare, who do a great job with online satellite and flare tracking. Another favorite is the one at I.S.S. Tracker, and of course Heavens-Above has a 2D tracker, the 3D tracker I linked here, and an app you can download to your phone or tablet. I rather enjoy watching the ISS hurtling overhead, knowing that someone might be looking back at us; you should try it sometime and see if you don’t agree.

Something to Do: Movies

On Wednesday we get Victor Frankenstein as told from Igor’s perspective, and The Good Dinosaur, an animated Disney/Pixar presentation. Both films are obviously taking advantage of the holiday weekend to pack in a couple of extra days worth of box office receipts to bolster their opening weekend take, but there are a few good things coming out on Friday as well. Tamasha is a Bollywood/French fantasy tale about two people wandering about an island trying to fit themselves into a society they do not belong to, while Janis: Little Girl Blue is a documentary about Janis Joplin’s rise to stardom traced through her correspondence with her family, friends, and collaborators.

Something to Watch: Discs

Movies has American Ultra, a wonderfully twisted little spy thriller comedy that everyone should watch at least once. I don’t know anything about Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow beyond the fact that it is a family friendly fantasy film made for TV and aired on the Lifetime network. But as someone who likes all things Muppet, I am looking forward to checking it out. And since I missed seeing the Shaun the Sheep Movie in the theater I am also anticipating that one.

Anime has Durarara!! x 2, and the second season is every bit as strange and wonderful as the first. Dragonar Academy: The Complete Series is obviously about a school where you learn to command Dragons, but our hot tempered protagonist ends up being paired with a dragon who will do whatever it takes to be the one in command. DRAMAtical Murder is about a sleepy town who’s main passion is an online environment where people battle to the virtual death. Z/X Ignition: Complete Series takes place on an Earth where portals to other worlds have opened up, and the aliens who come storming out of those ports are fighting each other for survival. Being caught in the middle isn’t doing the Earth much good, so it must join the combat.

A rare classic story is being re-released this week: Night on the Galactic Railroad was a fantasy novel written by Kenji Miyazawa around 1927 and was turned into an anime in 1985. It mostly takes place on a steam locomotive that travels between the stars, so may be one of the earliest examples of Steampunk, at least that I am aware of. We also get two more entries in the S.A.V.E. format with EUREKA SEVEN Ao: The Complete Series and Good Luck Girl! – The Complete Series, both worth picking up at their newly reduced price.

Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey Stirling has a great sound and a large range; if you haven’t been listening so far, now is the time to start. The first track from tonight’s collection is Roundtable Rival, a very nice Steampunk kind of song (her “Shatter Me” is also quite SteamPunk). The next is Dragon Age, which goes straight to the heart of one of my favorite MMORPGs. She follows up quite nicely with Master of Tides, another wonderful SF/F kind of track that shows off what a truly innovative technical team can do with the input from an inspired performance. Her music is quite tasty, you should check it out every chance you get.

Something to Stream: Dining with the Chef

The NHK has launched VOD online, and if you love Japanese food you have to watch Dining with the Chef. While the Video On Demand site itself only has links to the last 2 episodes of each of the shows it is carrying, if you go to the main Dining with the Chef web site you can get the final “Let’s Review” portion of the program going back much further. That is where they give you the cliff notes version of the primary recipe for each episode, sometimes including the side dishes like the soups and salads.

You can also Watch NHK Live to see all of their programming from anywhere in the world, and they have a ton of excellent shows they have not yet added to their VOD servers you might want to check out. I have a number of other programs I make sure to never miss each week, including J-Melo for the latest music and Imagine-Nation for news about Anime, Games, Manga, and Otaku Events from all over the world.

Kung Fu Panda 3 trailer

One of the most amazing animation franchises of all time, Kung Fu Panda became a classic the first day the first movie came out, and went right over the top after that. We have a bit of a wait, since it won’t be hitting the big screen until January 29th of 2016, but I am quite ready for it! If it is anything like the previous installments in the franchise, it should also have quite the range of animations styles, a different one for each segment of the story they will be telling.

Finding Dory

Because Finding Nemo just wasn’t cute enough, now Disney is rolling out Finding Dory, another tale of lost fish and their adventures trying to find their way (or at least remember) home. It does look like world class animation, and the usual excellent story telling. It will be available in theaters 17Jun2016.

American Gods coming to TV

Neil Gaiman’s excellent book American Gods is headed for TV, with screenwriter Bryan Fuller of Pushing Daisies fame heavily involved. The book won the Hugo Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the Locus Award, and the Nebula Award, which is quite a range of recognition for a single novel; I can’t wait to see what they do with the show. It is scheduled to air on Starz in 2017, and while I haven’t found a trailer yet I did find a rather interesting interview with Bryan about both it and the new Amazing Stories show over at Crave. And word is that Neil Gaiman will write some of the episodes for the new series, which puts me solidly on board with the project.