There are many aspects to a SIGGRAPH convention, but one of my favorites has always been the Computer Animation Festival, and the SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 con coming up next month looks to have a good collection. The gathering takes place in Shenzhen, China, from December 3rd to the 6th, and as always will feature the cutting edge in what is being created in the world of computer graphics.
PCMag dropped in on the House of Imagination exhibit at the Tribeca Film Festival and put together this report. This is the second year the festival did the exhibit and competition, which they call Storyscapes; it is all about how movies may evolve and become more interactive and more immersive. There were 5 finalists, and they put forward some amazing installations. I am sure it is no surprise to anyone that Oculus Rift is at the center of a lot of these development approaches. Thanks to IGN for the heads up on this one.
The short list of nominees for the 2014 Arthur C. Clarke Award for best novel has been announced, and I am sorry to say I haven’t read any of them; time to go hit a favorite bookstore. The titles that beat the other 115 titles to actually make the final cut are:
God’s War by Kameron Hurley (Del Rey)
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
The Disestablishment of Paradise by Phillip Mann (Gollancz)
Nexus by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot)
The Adjacent by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
The Machine by James Smythe (Blue Door)
The award will be handed out as part of the SCI-FI LONDON Film Festival which runs from the 24th of April to the 4th of May this year.
Escape from Tomorrow looks to be truly surreal, a black and white excursion into the bizarre that I feel confident was NOT approved by Disney (in fact, they even say that). But even though I suspect it will be in limited release, I will absolutely have to see this one on any device I can get it on, because it just looks that interesting. another one I would like to see is CBGB, a film about the classic punk club in NYC. And speaking of NYC, that’s where you have to be this weekend if you want to see Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, specifically at the New York Comic Con
I missed Safety Not Guaranteed in the theaters, a quirky little might-be time travel film based on a real add published in a major magazine a few decades ago, so I am quite happy it is making it to DVD this week. I really don’t care if it turns out not to be Sci-Fi, the trailer is strange and enjoyable and I want to see this film. And then there is Ruby Sparks, a romantic fantasy about an author who writes the woman of his dreams into a novel, only to have her come to life a week later, where he finds her sitting on his couch. The first is from the producers of Little Miss Sunshine, the second from the directors, and it is nice to see Indi films continue to flourish outside of film fests.
Copper: Season One also comes out, a very interesting series which is the first one produced by BBC America. It takes place in 1864 New York City, complete with a lot of historical social and political details that I never expected to see. I am expecting this series to pick up some awards, and even though it is not genre it is quite an amazing show which I recommend wholeheartedly.
For western animation, Fractured Fairy Tales: The Complete Collection brings all of those wonderful twisted stories from Rocky and Bullwinkle together in a single box set. You should share these with your kids or grand-kids, they are just as funny for any age group now as they were when first made. Also out, The Penguins of Madagascar, Operation: Antarctica continues that series for the younger crowd.
In Anime, Durarara!! is coming out with a Blue Ray Complete Set with a Lunch Box, but even with the collectable packaging I don’t understand why they would charge $190 list price for a 24 episode series (OK, 26 episodes when you add in the two bonus episodes). It is an amazing story with great animation, but pretty much every incarnation of it available is way overpriced, it seems, with the lunchbox set setting a new record. I will be keeping my eye out for sale prices as we rumble through the holiday buying season, but mostly I am glad I caught it streaming over at Crunchyroll, because it would have been a shame to miss so fine a program.
Also this week, A Certain Magical Index season 1 part 1, takes place in a universe where science was used to create magic, and a student with a strange negating power (he nullifies the magic of others) teams up with a nun named Index who has an entire huge library of magical knowledge stored in her head. This dozen episodes see the two of them meet and team up to survive the teams of scientists and sorcerers who want to capture and use them. The second half of the season will be coming out in December, and yes, this is from Kamachi Kazuma, who also wrote A Certain Scientific Railgun.
Fafner: Heaven and Earth is a feature film presentation which returns us to Tatsumiya Island for what may well be the final battle between the aliens and humans. If you missed the series leading up to the feature film, now would be a great time to go back and catch up on it; you can watch the first chunk of the series streaming for free at its official Funimation site. That should let you know if this program is for you, and if you enjoy watching streaming anime on your various devices (including Roku and most tablets or smartphones), just like Crunchyroll you can get a premium subscription and watch the entire series and a lot of others.
C-Control: The Money and Soul of Possibility takes place in a future where the government was rescued from poverty by a mysterious organization, but the population was not, and we follow a scholarship student who is suddenly offered a large sum of money only to have his life change in ways he didn’t foresee. Think Paprika meets Tron. Un-Go, the complete collection is about detective Shinjurou Yuuki, who always solves the crime but never gets the credit in this rather dark near-future Tokyo. We also get another block of One Piece with season 4 part 2, with the next 11 episodes bringing us up to #229.
The 11th annual Sci-Fi London Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film kicks off on Tuesday, the 1st, with a ton of great stuff going on. They will be doing 6 world premieres including the Steampunkish Death, the claustrophobic True Love, and the rather impressive Memory Lane, said to be made for $300.