The primary choice this weekend is Drive Angry, where Nick Cage escapes from Hell to protect his granddaughter after his daughter is killed. The alternate choice is Shelter, in which a forensic psychologist (Julianne Moore) discovers all of the multiple personalities in one of her patients were murder victims. They both border somewhere between thriller, a category I like, and horror, a category I don’t, at least when it approaches Slasher territory. If I do end up seeing one of these it will probably be Drive Angry, the adrenalin junky factor over ruling the actor quality factor.
Even though it is actually the Millennium Trilogy, apparently in this country it is being released as Stieg Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo Trilogy, and while not science fiction the world-class genius hacker girl at the core of this story gives it all the geek cred I will ever require of any movie series. Accept no substitutes, including the wimpy American remake; this one is the real deal.
Glenn, the Flying Robot is a movie from Belgium that is noticeably different than you think it is. Two old friends share a history and a skill set centered in their concert level piano playing, but as often happens they become rivals from the personal to the professional levels. When one looses the use of his hands due to external damage, Glenn is brought to the problem, applying mechanical digits to replace the flesh. This story goes in directions you were not at first expecting. The live action silly fun imported movie this week is Alien vs. Ninja, which is exactly what you think it is. Some of these titles lend themselves to an obvious progression, and this one fulfills its promise nicely.
This week’s TV series was never actually on TV, but rather only distributed online: The Guild: Season 4. Think about it; a TV show about playing online games together so good that Microsoft actually has sponsored them since season 2 for X-Box Live viewing.
Topping the choices for western animation this time, and in fact weighing in as the only contender, is Megamind. As usual, it is coming out as a DVD, and a Blue Ray/DVD edition. Surprisingly there does not seem to be a Digital Copy or 3D edition for this one, at least not at first. If you go with the DVD/Blue Ray edition, you can also pick it up in a 2-pack with Megamind: The Button of Doom, but be aware this is another non-Tuesday release. This one comes out Friday the 25th, and along with Despicable Me and Tangled made up the best that western animation had to offer for 2010, as far as I am concerned.
Gintama – Collection 4 continues the story of alien invaders in Edo-era Japan who enslave the population to their factories and distract them with TV and Anime, while forbidding any kind of fighting that might threaten their power or risk inciting rebellion. So Samurai and Ninja go disarmed and bored unto tears, while the world gets stranger still. Our Home’s Fox Deity Volume 2 brings the next twelve episodes of this tale of siblings to life; one pair the human brothers, Noboru and Toru, and their spiritual guardians, fox goddesses Kugen and Gyokuyo. And then there are various gods, werewolves, and clans of Oni (Demons) to continue to make life interesting for them!
The Paranormal Disaster Countermeasure Headquarters is the government organization which is supposed to protect Japan from supernatural attack, but one day things don’t go so well and a rival organization is forced to step in. Ga-Rei: Zero tells their tale. Also, becoming available in a single box set edition, the classic anime GunGrave is being re-released
There are a few classics being re-released in the US, including FLCL (pronounced Fooley Cooley), a truly insane little animation series from the folks who made Gurren Lagann and Neon Genesis Evangelion. While only six episodes long, this OVA has enough twists and turns for a full season of most other productions, and a killer soundtrack by The Pillows. The other classic title is Chrono Crusade, the story of a heavily armed nun and her demon sidekick battling the forces of evil in 1928 New York. If you missed getting either of these in your collection the first time around, now is your chance, and at a decent price if you shop around.
There s a new Thor trailer, with the movie due out on May 6th.
Yep, Firefly is about to start running on TV again. This time around, it is being hosted on the Science Channel, and the physicist behind the Science of Science Fiction, Dr Michio Kaku, will be explaining the science used inside each episode. It kicks off on Sunday, March 6th, with the pilot and first episode, and continues each Sunday after that… in order and in HD! Of course we have seen these episodes before, but according to Nathan Fillion speaking with EW, he is ready to make more episodes the moment anyone makes the offer. Or if he wins the lottery and can make them himself, whichever comes first.
I Am Number Four hasn’t gotten as much ahead of time promotion as most Michal Bey movies, but watching the trailer was all I needed to know I will be in my seat for this film come Friday. There are 9 aliens who have escaped and are hiding across the Earth, and are being killed in numeric sequence. Three are already dead, and the forth is fighting for his life to protect himself and the rest.
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.