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In the movie selection section we have Resident Evil: Afterlife; the theatrical version was in 3D, but very few DVDs have been released in that format so far (my local Best Buy just set up a display with 16 titles last week for the first time ever, even though they have been selling the TVs and DVD players for months and months). Which has to be kind of rough on the sales people who are depending on a commission for selling you an entertainment system that has very little actual entertainment you can play on it. Cable 3D offerings so far are one sports channel, and the Discovery Channel which also pioneered Hi-Def over a decade ago and currently has the largest HD title library of any cable channel.

The other movie worth noting this week is Legendary Assassin, about a female cop and a martial arts drifter she befriends. Shortly after they encounter one another, all hell breaks loose as the town starts to come apart around their ears. The final film I should mention is Chrome Angels: Cyborg Conquest, a cyborg sexploitation flic that appears to have an actual logical sci-fi plot line to it that leads to a fully realized conclusion, somewhat rare for the program category it exists within.

For live action TV this week, there is a mention that Dr. Who: The Complete Davros Collection will be re-released (originally issued in 2008) several places around the web, but the only site I could find that mentioned having disks in stock or coming anytime soon was in Australia, so that is probably just a rumor as near as I can tell.

Gintama – Collection 3 starts off this week’s set of new anime releases, with the continuing story of alien invasion and takeover in 17th century Japan. Disarming the samurai and turning the majority of the population into slave labor for their factories, while distracting them from their fate by introducing health care, graphic novels, and TV, is a ploy we have seen in this world as well. Sakata Gintoki, or Gin, is a vagrant samurai addicted to Shonen Jump and Anime, who is getting by with his odd-jobs company. Animation is good but not spectacular, audio bed is good, but the main draw here is the combination of historical events in our parallel universe (you may have noticed we didn’t get the alien invasion) with the make-you-think aspects of two radically different cultures colliding who were also not even close on technology levels.

Dragonaut: The Resonance- The Complete Series compiles the two previously released seasons into the entire package for the first time. The premise is that the Earth is about to be destroyed by an incoming asteroid, and the teams of Dragons and Dragon Riders are our best hope of survival. But as usual, it isn’t really that simple. Animation is excellent even if the character designers are of the Barbie School (not even close to anatomically reasonable for the female form), music is good, and the story is about the conflict between two totally different evolutionary tracts (with life forms from each side trying to determine if they can co-exist, and working together to survive). This one is surprisingly better than you were probably expecting.

There are several titles being re-released in more economical sets this week. Baccano! – The Complete Collection is one of the better animes released in the US this year (2007 and 2009 in Asia), about immortal mafia, monsters, and alchemists (and several other groups) who hunt each other down across history, with the main body of the tale taking place in the 1920s and 30s in and around NYC. Each episode gives you slivers of stories from various characters perspectives, leaving you to assemble the mosaic in your mind as each new piece of the puzzle is revealed. The animation is excellent, the incidental music does its job to perfection supporting the mood of each scene without pulling attention away from the action, while the primary music is spot on, and most of all, the story being told grabs your attention as it unfolds.

Finally, Ragnarok The Animation is a typical quest type fantasy, and all the usual suspects are involved. The only thing I can find to recommend about this one is the discounted price, although if you prefer this genre it may be worth checking out.

I hope the holidays find you happy and with loved ones. I wanted to remind everyone that Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol will actually air in the US on Christmas day, mere hours after it airs in the UK. BBC America made that promise about Torchwood for the last miniseries, but failed to follow through with it. Hopefully this time they will do better. I should also mention they will roll out season 4 of Primeval on New Years Day, so there are good things to look forward to on TV this holiday season. In addition, I also wanted to let you know that the new Blackadder Soundboard App By BBC Worldwide is now available to install on your iDevice. With a ton of the best Blackadder quotes, including some from Blackadder’s Christmas Carol and Blackadder Rides Again, this one is just in time for some holiday fun (and at 99 cents it is not overpriced).

The new trailer for Thor finally came out this weekend, and looks quite tasty. This film gets released on May 6th 2011, and is the next movie to hit the big screen from Marvel studios in their continuing build towards The Avengers. Following that will be Captain America: The First Avenger in July of 2011, which to my mind will be the most difficult origin story to transition elegantly to modern times. I really like the way they have been building this franchise since they took the production in-house, a few of the previous works (such as Daredevil and Electra) just didn’t work the way they should have when in the hands of outsiders.

Yes, it looks like they will be doing a Burn Notice movie for the big screen (or possibly the little screen, or maybe both). This one will be a Prequel, telling the story of what lead up to the Burn, focusing on Sam’s activity (Bruce Campbell). They will film it between the 4th and 5th season, but since it takes place before season 1 it won’t matter which seasons you have or haven’t seen when you are in the theater.

The interesting film hitting the big screen on Friday is The Warriors Way, the story of a ninja assassin who refuses to murder a child. He had to flee the country with the kid, and ended up in a wild west town filled with misfits, renegades, and outlaws. But before long, his past catches up with him, and it’s Ninjas versus Cowboys for an adrenalin filled conflict. If you are looking for something bit more sedate, Dead Awake will also be out this weekend. If you would prefer your science fiction with a side of strange, Maximum Shame will be in limited release, and still looking for wider distribution.

There are actually a few good movies being released on DVD this week. In the just for fun category we have the Sorcerers Apprentice from Disney, starring Nicolas Cage. While I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this to win any awards, it has a blend of humor and adventure that makes it worth your time to watch. In a noticeably more serious vein, Valhalla Rising has won an assortment of awards at film festivals around the world. It is a story of slavery, escape, and loyalty in 1000 AD, although it seems to have something to say about religious violence as well.

Then we have a couple of silly movies related to each other. I am sure I don’t have to explain what The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is about, but the one I will be adding to my collection is its companion piece, Vampires Suck, the extended Bite Me Edition. Strangely enough, the Twilight flic doesn’t seem to be targeting Tuesday for its release.

I didn’t see much in the way of US TV releases this week, but China’s Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils appears to be worth a look. It is based on the Buddhist 8 non-human races for the make up of its cast, and the novel was serialized monthly for years before this rather complex story line was rendered for television.

There are two anime releases this week, each of which completes the season for its show. Hell Girl: Three Vessels – Collection 2 is the final 13 episodes of season 3, in which we learn Ai wasn’t as dead as she seemed to be at the end of season 2 (and just exactly where do ghosts and spirits go when they die, and how do they come back from there?). Her assistants had been having a peaceful afterlife until her return, and she has taken up possession of a schoolgirl (in the exorcist meaning of the word) to stage her Earthly operations from.

The other release is Birdy the Mighty: Decode 02, continuing the new adventures of Birdy the Mighty, a lethal interstellar federation agent who is more dangerous to innocent bystanders than the extraterrestrial terrorists who’s stolen weapon threatens to destroy all life on Earth. If you saw the OVA series from the previous century, you know what I am talking about. If you missed it, watching any episode of Dirty Pair will give you the general idea; some people just need to pay a little more attention to keep the collateral damage down to a reasonable body count.