Topping the movie list this week is The Amazing Spider-Man, the world class reboot of the movie side of the franchise. A related documentary, With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, is also being released this week. I find that a bit confusing, because I watched the documentary several weeks ago on Netflix, usually the DVD comes first. Eleven Samurai was the 1966 martial arts masterpiece the more recent 13 Samurai got a lot of its chops from, although some have said they felt Thirteen Assassins was one of the models for Eleven Samurai itself. Whatever the relationships, this one has some amazing fight scene choreography and is a classic of the genre.
In TV, Wolf Lake is being released about a small town of Werewolves just outside of Seattle. This was made for CBS, who canceled the series 5 episodes into the first season. So while the 9 episodes in the box are the complete series, you can’t even say it was the first season, since that was supposed to have 13 episodes all together. While it isn’t exactly TV, the original movie house serials from the 30s and 40s became instant episodic programming presented on TV in the 1950s, usually on Saturday mornings to keep the kids entertained. So this would be the place to mention Dick Tracy: The Complete Serial Collection is coming out this week, a total of 4 different serials made by Republic Pictures fro 1937 to 1941, along wit a collection of special features. Why mention a cop show on this web page? He was originally a comic book character, and most of the criminals he was out to get looked just like the criminals from Batman, which is close enough for me.
We have a couple of entries in western animation this week. Arthur Christmas is from Aardman, the animation team that do Wallace and Gromit, as well as Sean the Sheep. We are also getting Red vs. Blue: Season 10, the finest Machinima Combat Comedy series ever made. If you haven’t been following this from day one, you can pick up 10 Years of Red vs. Blue and get all 10 seasons in a single box set. Since season 10 completes the story, once I get my hands on it I am going on a serious marathon, starting at the beginning of season 1 and watching the entire thing to the end. You can also watch it online at that link since it was originally Webisodes.
Kung Fu Panda: Holiday kind of falls between western and eastern animation, since it is a joint effort between the US and Chinese branches
of Dreamworks and Disney. This new short feature is 25 minutes of amazing animation and wonderful story telling. I hope they keep this production quality when they crank out the Kung Fu Panda TV series for Nick, and not hand it off to second string animation teams like the Penguins of Madagascar franchise did.
Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere starts off the Anime section for this week, with the complete first season. Humans came to Earth from the skies, and in order to return they have to follow the path in The Testament. But now only Japan is inhabitable, the other countries surviving armies have each taken over a piece of it, and the Testament ends this year and with it possibly the world. Psychic Squad – Collection 4 brings episodes 40 through 52 of the series, and more insanity from the Pre-teen psychics that have every security agency in the world scared to death.
Maria Watches Over Us continues with season 2, but while the audio is Japanese, it has an interesting set of English subtitles. One is standard English usage, the other retains all of the original Japanese honorifics, especially useful for those trying to learn polite Nihongo. Although there are some sites that claim this one will come out next week, rather than this. I should also mention Ristorante Paradiso, because even though neither of these is really genre, they are both worth checking out.
Sengoku Basara: The Last Party brings the final conclusion to the battleground series that began as a game and expanded into an Anime series. This is a historical epic full of gun-toting mechanized samurai and mystical ninja that stepped sideways through time to get to us.
There is a re-release worth noting this week: Golden Boy, in a complete series package. This started life as an OVA about a law school dropout who went to study what school couldn’t teach, and ended up being a nice little series about the various disciplines necessary to create a Manga/Anime. If you haven’t seen this one before, I think you will find it worth your time.