This week finally brings us The Age of Adaline, the story of the woman who had a strange accident and thereafter did not age. Somewhere around the time she turned 110 she fell in love again, and that changed everything. I have been waiting for this movie to get into the theaters for quite a while, and am quite pleased it is finally time. Their movie home page design is really well done, but needs a bit of work to create a proper navigation interface that you can actually find. The one it has is hidden, unless you have a 12 year old guide whose only computer has been their smart phone for all their life. Their Tumblr page is the best use of that resource to promote a movie I have seen, breaking the image set into the decades that span the timeline of the film, and telling its own story.
In movies, 300: Rise of an Empire is the latest Frank Miller production driven by his graphic novels. A bit more violent than I would prefer, they are still high quality stories about human nature. I do like the cinematic style they share with that other Frank Miller project, Sin City. Speaking of style, the 2011 version of Faust by director Alexander Sokurov finishes up a tetralogy of films who’s other protagonists were not fictional: Hitler, Stalin, and Hirohito. Finally, The Chef, the Actor and the Scoundrel might be the most interesting movie released to disc this week. It is definitely an action/comedy, treating the Second Sino-Japanese War (those of us in North America lumped it in as part of WWII) as a complex backdrop into which all of the characters and plot elements fit with precision.
In TV, the Witches of East End: The Complete First Season has a supernatural mother keeping a secret from her daughters so they can lead a normal life. But that doesn’t turn out to be an option when something evil comes to destroy them all, and their only chance for survival means they must all know who they really are. This show is from Lifetime, so it will get a different treatment than other networks would grant this premise, and I look forward to seeing where they go from here. The new season begins July 6th.
In Anime, Code:Breaker: Complete Series is about a super-powered assassin employed by a secret government organization to keep everyone else in line. Then his classmate Sakura steps in to keep HIM under control, and everything cascades from there. In Leviathan: The Last Defense, Complete Collection the fairy Syrup recruits three Dragon Clan girls to form the base of the Aquafall Defense Force, and defeat the alien invaders. Meteors impacting the earth of Aquafall are sprouting monsters bent on conquering the world.
There are two tasty choices this weekend; Kick-Ass 2 could be even more off the hook than the original. Hit Girl gets grounded, and Kick-Ass teams with a group of costumed vigilantes inspired by their original antics. Based on the trailers I have to say Jim Carrey’s character looks well and truly twisted. The other film worth checking out this time around is the docu-drama Jobs, and there is one thing I am hoping they deal with. That is their near mythical raid on Xerox PARC, where they supposedly stole the idea of the mouse and its use with clickable icons to create a graphical user interface. That GUI format was later supposedly stolen from them as Bill Gates madly played catch-up and replaced DOS with Windows in his bid to compete with the Mac. As with all such mythologies, the reality was a bit more complex than that (see the Stanford story linked above), but it made a great story.
There are a few Geek-friendly archives that have just gone online and are worth bringing to your attention here. The first is YouTube Time Machine, or YTTM. Set your category toggles and click on a year, and you will get presented with a bit of history that matches your configured interests and timeline. You can then either repeat the process, or click the Play Another Vid button to see another match from the same year. The archive is somewhat limited when you narrow down your topic and date ranges, but still manages to deliver some fascinating videos to watch. The collection begins with the 1860 entry First Sound Ever Recorded, and goes through the subsequent media milestones since then.
The other archival project just rolled out that I find fascinating is the Variety Archives, with 105 years of Variety issues to browse or search through. They include not only articles, but every other entry aspect, including classifieds and advertisements. This is a serious glimpse into the history of recorded media, and will be mined by many scholars both amateur and professional over the forthcoming years.