Just a reminder that season 3 of Being Human, the original Brit version, kicks off on the 19th on BBC America. While not the same day as the UK treatment they are giving Doctor Who, it is still only a few weeks behind, instead of the 6 months to a year behind we used to get. Also, tonight they are running the BAFTA Awards coverage, which is kind of the Brit version of the Emmy’s and the Oscars combined. I will be watching and cheering on Inception, which got nominated in a number of categories, including Best Film.
In live action movies we have a few lesser known but amusing films. The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu is the tale of a man in a dead end job who is told he is the only surviving descendant of H.P.Lovecraft, and given an ancient artifact with which he must defend the world. The other selection this week, equally erudite, is Oppai Chanbara: Striptease Samurai Squad, in which a collage girl learns on the death of her mother that she has inherited a sword and a deadly legacy with which she must protect the oppressed. Besides their other similarities, both of these are just a bit silly, so should be fun. The more serious movie out this week has the return of Cloud and Wind in The Storm Warriors. Based on the manga series Fung Wan, this is an indirect sequel to 1998’s The Storm Riders, but in between we have seen Wind and Cloud in the Zu Warriors series of movies, played by the same actors. It is also worth noting this Hong Kong film is the first big budget Chinese language movie shot almost entirely in bluescreen.
For TV, the winner has to be Dr. Who: A Christmas Carol, the Who Christmas special from this past December. This is one of the best kind of Who episodes, sad and poignant and also full of forgiveness and redemption. The other TV program worth mentioning is the 1989 miniseries version of Around the World in 80 Days, finally available on DVD. The cast for this version was amazing, and included Pierce Brosnan, Eric Idle, Peter Ustinov, Jack Klugman, Roddy McDowell, Darren McGavin, Lee Remick, Jill St. John, and Robert Wagner along with many more.
In Anime, the clear and overwhelming winner is Summer Wars, in fact it is the best program of any kind being released on DVD this week. Among the multiple awards this film has is the Japan Academy Prize for the Best Animated Film 2010, won in previous years by The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Paprika, Tekkonkin Kreet, and Ghost in the Shell. A high school math genius and systems analyst is hired by his secret crush for a summer job, which turns out to be posing as her fiance to her family. Since until then he spent most of his time living in the powerful online VR community known as OZ, he is quite out of his element. Then he gets an unusual mathematical puzzle on his cell, and when he solves it, it unleashes a dangerous AI that takes over OZ with the goal of using it as the platform to launch an attack on real reality to bring about the destruction of us all. After that, it gets very interesting (in the Chinese curse meaning of the word, May you live in interesting times). This project is visually amazing and highly entertaining, and if you only add one DVD to your collection this week, this should be it.
Also out this week, Needless Collection 1 is the story of mutants with special powers who came into being in the aftermath of WWIII. They run into conflicts among themselves and when interacting with normal humans. I haven’t had a chance to see this yet, so I can’t speak to its quality.