Happy Waitangi Day, everyone. Click on over to The LAMB to check out our Waitangi Day celebration, looking at great films from New Zealand. The list is a little heavy on Peter Jackson films for my tastes, but I’m happy with the variety of films covered.
Waitangi Day (New Zealand) at The LAMB
Dream Home took me for a bit of a loop. It’s a Hong Kong horror film about a female psychopath doing anything to buy her dream home. I used this review to breakdown the discomfort I had with a traditionally male character type in horror being applied to a female character. It’s a bold film, that’s for sure. They didn’t skimp on the blood or on casting just the right actor to play this murderer.
Horror Thursday: Dream Home
Aimee Mann has a new single out. That alone should be enough to convince some of you to watch this music video. She’s an amazing singer/songwriter still producing great work over 20 years after her solo debut (which, itself, happened after years of success as the lead singer of ‘Til Tuesday).
The novelty here is that Aimee Mann has collaborated with Stephen Levinson, Rob Kutner, and Joel Moss Levinson to write a novelty song for a charity comedy album. “I’m Cured” is a love song from the perspective of the Common Cold. The Common Cold doesn’t make you sick out of malice; it acts out of love. Aimee Mann imagines a scenario where a researcher finally finds the cure for the Common Cold, which puts Common Cold on notice that it’s no longer welcome in the relationship. The whole thing is silly, catchy, and worth a watch.
Proceeds from the sale of “I’m Cured” and the upcoming comedy album 2776 will go to OneKid OneWorld, an international charity organization providing educational supplies and resources (like books, physical schools, and salaries for teachers) to children around the world.
Studio Ghibli, the anime studio behind such great films as The Secret World of Arrietty, Spirited Away, and My Neighbor Totoro, is creating a new anime series for TV. This is wonderful news as Studio Ghibli has never produced a TV series before. They’ve created short films, music videos, commercials, and one-off anime specials, but no episodic TV show.
The project will be adapted from the novel Ronia the Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren. In broad strokes, the story is about Ronia, the daughter of a robber, exploring the forest’s many secrets and beginning to question her father’s life choices. Sounds like prime Studio Ghibli material to me.
It’s back! After a longer than anticipated break to recharge my batteries and redo my production studio, Sketchy Details @YouTube has returned for Season 2.
First up is the new episode of Sketchy Details @Home: Gandalf’s Game of Thrones. I finally did ceramics on the show for you guys, the medium I’m the most trained in. Blame my mother. She started teaching before I was born and still teaches today.
The schedule for the channel is different. It’s on a monthly rotation now based on complete weeks (well, weeks containing a Tuesday and Friday).
1st & 3rd Tuesday: Sketchy Details @Home: Pop Culture Arts & Crafts
1st & 3rd Friday: Slipstream: Pulp Culture Commentary
2nd & 4th Tuesday: Play It: Great Video Games
2nd & 4th Friday: The Haunting Ground: Halloween DIY & Inspiration
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The Royal Shakespeare Company has restaged its critically acclaimed repertory run of Twelfth Night and Richard III on Broadway. Each show features the same unit set–oak walls and hallways, two sets of boxed seating onstage, six massive candelabras hung over the stage as the main lighting–and many of the same actors.
Richard III is only being performed twice a week (compared to Twelfth Night‘s six performances a week), which is a genuine shame. The Mark Rylance-led cast of Shakespeare’s wildest History play is doing phenomenal work with a radically new interpretation of the text. Richard III is played not as a ghoulish tragedy but an almost-slapstick sitcom about the rise and fall of one of the most conniving rulers England ever had.
The third review for Cannonball Read 6 is up. I really struggled to get through Lavie Tidhar’s The Violent Century. There’s a point where style actually starts to hurt the content and Tidhar reaches critical mass on the first page of his alternate history superhero novel.
The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar Review
We covered a lot of ground in January and I wanted to take the time to put in a bit of context.
I do these awards like this because my opinions are easily dismissed without explanation. If I just post my Best Actor list, for example, I’m dismissed as a loon who doesn’t watch films. My tastes are outside the norm, sure, but I know my stuff. I saw well over 100 new releases in 2013. I didn’t review all of them because I had given up on attempting to attain membership in the online critics groups that required certain formatting, scoring, and frequency of posting to even qualify for consideration. I’m no longer going to review everything I see because I can do better work writing about films and media I’m passionate about than writing about everything.
With the Sketchys, I get to define the context of the awards. I get to explain why I think films that didn’t even get enough of a theatrical release to be considered for the Academy Awards are better than films nominated all over the place. I get to include anime in TV coverage and books that would never be reviewed by the New York Times in print awards. Best of all, I get to go with my instincts, removed from critical consensus, to remind you (or even introduce you) of great media that got eclipsed by splashier campaigns right alongside the big budget productions that are really worth the hype.