Starting the movies list this week is The Raven, starring John Cusack as Edgar Alan Poe. I loved it when I saw it on the big screen, but a lot of people did not. My best guess for why is that Cusack was going in a totally different direction with his performance than he has ever previously gone, and most folk were expecting the kind of movie they were used to seeing him in. I enjoy seeing an actor go outside his comfort zone and growing with the effort, plus it was as twisty as one could have wished for, so I liked this movie a lot. Also out this week, Prometheus was an interesting little Aliens prequel. While an oldie but goodie rather than a new release, Steven Chow’s A Chinese Odyssey from 1994 may be the best pair of films out this week. Classic Wuxia Romantic Comedy/Slapstick as only Steven can do it.
I did not find any live action TV worth noting this week, which probably means it managed to escape my notice more than there wasn’t any. The same goes for western animation.
Live action movie from an Anime TV show based on the manga’s… you get the idea. Boogiepop and Others is almost at Miniseries length and a bit sillier than the thriller/horror of the anime, but still packs plenty of punch. Did you know that Jackie Chan did a live action movie from an anime? If you get the chance, check out his 1993 City Hunter, it is funny as hell. The 2011 City Hunter live action film is based on a different story from the manga, and is not a comedy.
There are several good Anime titles coming out this week. Deadman Wonderland: The Complete Series, starts with a classroom full of teens being murdered, and the only survivor gets framed for the crime. The prison they put him in hosts a gladiator style combat event for TV, where prisoners fight each other to the death while the warden rakes in some major profit. Our protagonist would have died in the first round, but he has teamed up with a mysterious female prisoner and discovered he has a rather amazing power to help him. His goal now is to stay alive long enough to prove his innocence and gain his release… and maybe his revenge. This was one of my favorite shows from 2011, one of the few I made sure to log in to watch the day a new episode became available (thank you, Crunchyroll).
Occult Academy: The Complete Series has a school full of students of the supernatural, a principle who died suddenly under mysterious circumstances, his daughter who does not believe in the paranormal, and a time traveler who has been sent back to the academy to try to prevent the alien invasion that destroyed the world. While there is quite a bit of humor in this series at its heart it is a serious tale, and I was rather surprised at the way one of the characters grew and changed between the beginning and the end of the series. This one also sucked me right in back in 2010, I even set my alarm to watch each new episode as soon as it became available.
Heaven’s Memo Pad: The Complete Collection has a NEET (Not Employed, being Educated or in Training) hacker girl/private detective who has gathered a team of strange folks with unique skills, including high school student Narumi who never expected to have his life change like this. Natsume’s Book of Friends is about a boy who can see Yokai (Ghosts/Monsters/Evil Spirits), and inherited a book from his grandmother about all the Yokai she defeated and imprisoned. It came complete with instructions about how to control the enslaved spirits, and now every monster for miles around is out to make Natsume into The Late Natsume.
Naruto Shippūden has box set 12 coming out this time, bringing us episodes 141 through 153.