The winner for this week has to be Inception, one of the most recursive movies of all time. It was amazing on the big screen, convoluted and beautiful and breathtaking in ways never before seen, and with tension ratcheted so high I kept expecting to see random audience members run screaming out of the theater as their nerves snapped. Word has it the extras on this DVD are many and very well done, but I could care less. I just want to watch it once a week for about two months until I have pulled the last bit of meaning out of it, and then come back every few months to savor it again.
A rather silly looking film that has been getting good buzz and a few awards on the film festival circuit is also being released: Missy and the Maxinator. This family friendly flic is about a boy who gains some superpowers, and about his evil teachers plot to take over the world. On a much more serious note, Dark Metropolis tells the story of the genetically engineered slaves who revolted and took over the world; 500 years in the future they hunt human beings in retaliation.
This weeks TV entry is a bit different: Trek Stars Go West is a series of classic 50s and 60s TV Westerns with appearances by William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan and Deforest Kelley. It is a unique idea, and I have to mention it in the interests of completion here, but even though Roddenberry billed Star Trek as Wagon Train in the Stars while trying to sell it to the networks, I can not imagine any hard core Trek fan actually wanting to watch any of these. If they had compiled their Twilight Zone and Man From Uncle kind of appearances, sure, but cowboy shows that depicted killing Native Americans, Hispanics, and pretty much anybody that didn’t own land and/or live in the local town as a good thing, not so much.
The top American animation pick this week is Shrek Forever After, the fourth and final episode in this wonderful franchise. This series has done more strange things to classic fairy tale characters than anyone since Walt Disney himself, and brought full tilt wacky humor to the screen while doing it. You can also get it in a two-pack with a direct to DVD piece called Donkey’s Christmas, or in a series box sets with the other movies called “The Whole Story”.
For Anime, Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor & Other Fantastic Films by Koji Yamamura is the one to have on your must-have list. The 2007 title story won seven Grand Prize awards at animation festivals worldwide, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, the story Mt. Head was nominated for an Oscar in 2003, won 6 Grand Prize awards at various film festivals, and another double dozen lesser prizes. There are over a dozen animations here, totaling just over two hours of runtime, every one of them an experimental masterpiece showcasing Koji’s unique approach to art, life, and animation. The video at the end of this post is the shortest one of his I could find to embed, but it packs a lot of heart into a tiny slice of time.
The other new release this week is the box set of The Third: Girl With Blue Eye, in which Bogie (an AI wearing a tank for a body) and his lovely human Honoka freelance their way across a post-apocalyptic desert planet over run by giant insects. There are also a few re-releases, with Cowboy Bebop: The Movie Special Edition having a number of extra features, which are not usually enough to make me re-buy something I already own, but this time there are Music Videos involved. Also, both Gad Guard – The Complete Series [S.A.V.E. Edition] and Ikki Tousen – The Complete Series [Viridian Collection] are coming out in more cost effective versions.