Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In the not too distant future... again! No, really!!

Subject: TV
By way of Slashdot, an announcement that's all sorts of win:




Joel Hodgson, the [Mystery Science Theater 3000] series creator, has announced that he will be launching a new venture called Cinematic Titanic. It will feature horrible movies riffed by the original cast of MST3K, including Josh Weinstein (the original Tom Servo), Trace Beaulieu (the original Crow), Frank Conniff (TV's Frank), Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl Forrester) and, of course, Joel himself. They've already got the rights to 12 movies, and will be releasing one a month starting in December for DVD purchase or download.


Win. Totally win.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Around and around the Roundup goes...

Subject: Noir
There hasn't been a lot to write about lately.

Yeah, I watched the end of "El Cazador" with subtitles, but I'm not entirely sure I have anything new to say about it that I haven't already complained/ruminated/speculated about. I'll revisit the whole series one more time soon enough, and maybe gel it a little more then. For now I'm trying not to think about it too much. *sigh*

More enjoyable, and getting into the thick of things by jumpstarting the plot again, is "Dennou Coil". All of the sub groups are way behind, but a couple of episodes showed up a little while ago, and they were quite excellent. We start getting into the deeper mystery and the suspense surrounding it. And as usual, the animation and presentation are top-notch. Can't wait to see how this plays out to the end.

Jumping out of series and into movies for a minute, I also greatly enjoyed the animation in "Tekkon Kinkreet", a full-length feature recently out on disc. The character animation is generally excellent and engaging, and the designs and art direction are quirky and fully overloaded with minute detail. However, from early on, the camera effects and manic pacing really made it hard to focus on any of that detail, which I suppose was effective as a way of evoking a bewhildering bit of confusion at the beginning, but I mostly found it a waste and wished for some focus already! Still, it evened out pretty quickly and it was possible to latch on to the characters and the storyline once it settled into it's bizarre little groove.

There were some aspects of the characters and their interactions that were bordering on annoying at times, but overall I was digging the fresh and energetic feel and how much it was finally different from everything else I'd been watching lately. A lot to like about it, and I'm looking forward to picking it up, once the HD format wars finally settle down and I jump into that game.

Another movie that I thought had great characters and a richly-detailed setting was "Junkers Come Here" -- a movie that is the exact polar opposite of "Kinkreet", of course. It's a sedate, calm slice-of-life with natural (though sometimes extra-low-framerate) animation style and accurate depictions of the surroundings and props. It seems to be a sweet portrayal of a young girl with a talking dog -- a secret talking dog, and a rather amusing one at that. However, even though it seemed to have all these nice qualities, I wound up stopping it about a third of the way through.

Because I was bored.

To be fair, I'm not the target audience (except in my role as animation technique-junkie), and I've been a bit irritable and short of attention lately. So even if the show does go on to be more dramatic, or more fanciful, or more endearing, or whatever, I really didn't have the patience to find out. Ah well.

Speaking of "bored", I'd read through the various summaries I could find of the new fall season, and wound up downloading a few just in case there might have been a "hidden gem" in there:

I was hoping maybe "Dragonaught" might give me a touch of the liveliness that was in "Romeo x Juliet" -- Nope. Cliche pile of dull.

"Rental Magica" had a bit of a Bee Train connection in the staff, but nope. Definitely nope. Don't know what I was thinking even attempting it.

"Moyashimon" (aka "Tales of Agriculture") was rather zany in the OP & ED, and the premise of these little cartoony microrganisms flitting about has the potential of interesting little bits of whimisical character animation, but I really don't think I can sit through the rest of it just for that. I might try a couple of more just to see, but otherwise...

Three that I barely got 5 minutes into were "Minami-ke", which I was checking to see if it was the next "Windy Tales" (totally nope), and "Mokke", which I was hoping might have more of a "Mushishi" vibe (also nope). Ah well, didn't hurt to check. The third was "Blue Drop", supposedly an epic shoujou-ai sci-fi, and while it did open with one of the characters by the voice of Vanessa Rene (!), the next scene betrayed it's ponderous weight, weak wooden style, and lame stiff character animation all rolled together in one introductory sequence, and I bailed out.

Still on my "I'm curious" list is "Ghost Hound". The production value and the style's okay, though it's a little bit stiffer animation than I'd prefer. A couple of characters are annoying right off the bat. And there's an unavoidable "icky" edge to what I assume is going to be the horror/suspense/mystery angle of the story. So we've kind of got a cross between "Kino's Journey", "Texchnolize", and the typical "clueless schoolkid" show. And not enough of the "Kino's Journey" part, either beyond some superficial aspects of the character design. So, we'll see.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The irresistable lure of Taco Night

Subject: Noir
So I'm in the grocery store looking for something to cook for dinner, and I notice tortillas are on sale...

...It just kind of took off from there. Cooking now, and will probably start a couple of episodes back again (puma hunting!)

More as it develops. *Heh*

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The rest of "El Cazador" is out!

Subject: Noir
I'm sure most of you who care already found out over on the 'Fan, but for those randomly searching, the final 2 eps of "El Cazador" have hit the torrents and are available to finally wrap things up.

I haven't had a chance to watch them yet, and I'm thinking that I might, just might, hold off. You see, I haven't done a good set of marathons in a while, and I'm thinking of taking next week off, and... Hmmm. *grin*

Surprisingly out there as well: another ep of "Romeo x Juliet" (under a slightly "anonymous" appelation), and another ep of "Denno Coil" as well. I'll get into those a little later with my next roundup -- which will include my judgement of the new fall season thus far.

Tee Vee nation

Subject: TV
I seem to have picked up -- or at least resumed -- a TV-watching habit, though really it's kind of small in scope.

I've been renting "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" discs for a while now, and I'm finally in that season where it 1) starts getting into more darker, better written plots, and 2) is about where I was unable to continue the show due to moving way out here outside of TV reception range and not being able to get it on the sattellite dish I was using at the time. It's good stuff, and probably the least annoying of all the Treks. I've really got to stop watching all 4 eps per disc in a row, though, and spread them out a bit over the week.

In the new season, I've decided not to bother with "Dexter", and even dropped Showtime entirely. It's quirky, sure, but it was kind of predictable and I really didn't think it could sustain it's gimmick beyond that first season. If I'm proven wrong, then I can always catch up again. No biggie.

I've picked up another quirky-and-predictable one for now -- "Pushing Daisies". A bit of an oddball show with an amusing presentation, but the dialogue seems to veer from moments of charmy wit to rough spots that seemed inserted after-the-fact to "punch it up a bit". The premise might possibly wear too thin too fast, though, and a couple of the characters will probably beat the premise to the punch in that respect. But for now, it's a good looking, quirky bit of different in the otherwise lame landscape, and it's worth giving a shot.

Speaking of "wearing thin", that seems to be the buzz about the second season of "Heroes". I don't exactly subscribe to that notion. Still, it's been kind of a jarring "reset" to have to work up building up the tension and layering the connections again. Though it's kind of beating us over the head with the sheer extraordinary ordinariness of those connections. Complete with product placement (that car in Mexico was Claire's lamely announced one, part of a dumb Nissan promotion). Supposedly this week there'll be a lot of new "twists", which was kind of the draw of the show in the first place, so hopefully they pull it off.

"Bionic Woman" is kind of hanging on by it's opening momentum right now, and that's mostly because of Katee Sackoff's totally over-the-top psychosis is keeping it interesting. The oh-so-special sisterly moments and valuable lessons and such are kind of draining the fun out of it otherwise. And, let's face it, it really is kind of a dumb thing to remake and the lack of plot depth seems to reflect that. But, like I said previously, there's a bit of ass-kicking to be had, and Katee.

Supposedly there's been a show on the BBC about Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane, but I keep forgetting to go looking for it over on the 'Bay or the 'Nova. That might round out the season for me if I find it (and it's watchable).

Friday, October 12, 2007

Roundup? Not much to round up.

Subject: Noir
I watched a tiny bit of anime that I haven't blogged, but there's not a lot to say about 'em...

Disc 2 of "009-1" was probably the highlight. It continues it's campy-retro spy-thriller fun, interjected with some really dark dramatic moments & situations that kind of surprised me by how interesting they were. Maybe I'll actually buy this one...

Disc 1 of "Divergence Eve" showed up too, and I figured I was going to use that & "009-1" for an opportunity to do a boobjoke-themed post, but really, I could barely get through 1 episode of that stinker. In two tries, having stopped it in exasperation about 4 minutes in on my first attempt. I really should have known better, but the Netflix reviews said something about it becoming a decent bit of sci-fi despite the rediculous chesty-ness of the characters. As of now I could care less if it turns out to be the most poignant observation of the human condition, there's no way I want to sit through that crap to get there.

...and, that's all?? Yeah, pretty much it since my last roundup. The last fansubs of "El Cazador", "Romeo X Juliet", and "Denno Coil" are MIA and presumed dead, now that everyone's attention is focused on the new season. BTF member Hayama posted a link to a decent summary of what to expect. I'm not entirely sure I'm interested in much of any of them at first glance, though I'll probably research a little more closely in case there's any hidden gems in there. Plus there might be some surprises lurking in my Netflix queue -- one that I'm keeping "secret" for the moment until I see it and decide if I'm going to complain bitterly about it or not...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Incomplete

Subject: Musings
I feel like I'm perpetually busy, yet I'm unable to actually finish anything.

I managed to clear out over 10 years of junk and throw it in a dumpster to have hauled away, but never got to the point of fully cleaning up my garage. I had made a lot of progress painting my bedroom, but I still need to finish the trimwork before painting the walls (and frankly, by "painting", I probably just mean "smearing paint around with a brush" -- I don't think I have the knack for it). I need to get it finished so I can get new carpet installed, and buy a new bed with a super-premium high-end mattress (in hopes of taking a step towards solving my sleep problems that leave me exhausted and over-caffinated during the day).

I'd spent the summer trying to read the classic "Don Quixote", and despite its reputation and quality -- and finding plenty to relate to -- I've found it to be a tough slog, and have only gotten less than a third of the way through it. I tried a different tack and started the very short Dostevsky story "Notes From Underground" -- it turns out my little rant on turning 40 could easily be a short summary of how it opens -- plenty to relate to there, maybe. But I could barely get a dozen pages in before I found myself re-reading sentences and unable to quite latch on to it. Couldn't focus on the page. I should have picked a lighter read.

I was only watching 3 series from the last anime season, and they're all stuck. "El Cazador" may actually have the last releases appearing sometime soon, but I stopped holding my breath a long time ago. "Dennou Coil", stuck. "Romeo X Juliet", hit with a round of C&D orders, left with only a couple of episodes to go. And so far, there's nothing in the new season to attract me, and the DVDs for "009-1" and "Black Lagoon" are slow in coming.

I tried rewatching the HDTV version of "The Triplets of Belleville" last night, and though I was really enjoying the animation, I fell asleep! Gah! Admittedly, between early mornings at work and lousy nights' sleeping, I was pretty well beat.

So, no missions accomplished, no time to relax. Bleah.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Turning 40 sucks.

Subject: Musings
...No real reason, though. I just decided that it does.







...Onward to 50 though. Let's see where that takes me.