Welcome again to We Have Always Lived in the Kraken, a pop culture blog transmitted directly to you from the belly of the beast. Here in the Notes we’ll show you this week’s posting schedule, but first, a little Seafood for Thought.
The AFI Fest has come and gone, and as always I admire what it does, even if I am not able to fully take advantage of what it has to offer. The festival is always a good chance to see films that are not always easy to find, even in a movie mecca like Los Angeles. This year I was not able to see as much as I would have liked, but I did get to catch the premiere of Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa, and it was a real delight. Especially because Kaufman was there to share in the experience of watching his own movie. And seeing a film that started as a Kickstarter come so far is awesome. AFI Fest constantly offers unique opportunities like this, and more importantly, where a lot of major festivals preach exclusivity, AFI is the opposite. It seeks to be as inclusive as possible. The festival offers the opportunity to see any of its movies for free, and makes it relatively easy to do so (the website is a little wonky, so there are some glitches in the process, but still). Sure, you have to show up early, and sometimes the crowds can be a bit crazy, but I have always respected that AFI above all cares about sharing its love of movies with anyone it can. The result is always a unique experience that is hard to replicate. So thanks as always, AFI. I look forward to dealing with you again next year if I am able to.
From the depths of the Kraken, here is what we are bringing you this week.
- In a change of pace, Kyu reacts to the horrific recent events in France by talking about children’s books, in Harry Potter and the Paris Terror Attacks. We think this is just part of his emotional process.
- Now playing in The Screening Room: The Lookout. This neat little thriller features an early, excellent performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
- This week in TV Roulette I check in on one of the few breakout hits from this season, NBC’s Blindspot.
- Due to the Kraken’s recent [CENSORED], we have to [DATA EXPUNGED] the [DELETED] to government agency [REFERENCE REMOVED] or else face penalties of up to ██ years and █████ dollars, so obviously nothing will get posted today. Feel free to [REDACTED] our archives.
- Nothing But Trash continues with Keskel’s look at the rest of Gate. as Keskel felt this show was not beyond saving after his first look and thus worth some extra attention. Was Gate worth the effort, or did Keskel go on yet another fool’s errand? It may be best if he never finds out the answer to this question.
- So then the thief says, “That’s okay, a change is as good as arrest.” Hah! While we go looking for the missing set-up to this punchline, why not peruse our archives?
- Baturdays continue with Detective Comics #32. It’s the thrilling conclusion to this bizarrely supernatural two-parter about the Mad Monk. You’ll come for the werewolves, but you’ll stay to goggle at Batman using a gun. These early issues were weird, eh?
Spotlight on Blogs Past:
Today’s spotlight is rather unique. In honor of this year’s AFI Fest, we’ve posted Kyu’s coverage of the fest in 2014, featuring short reviews of 12 different films. What’s interesting is that now you can compare his initial impressions to what actually happened later on–for example, It Follows went on to be one of the best films of the year, Song of the Sea was indeed nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, and as predicted, the early buzz for A Most Violent Year didn’t amount to much in the way of awards. On the other hand, many of the films here remain undistributed or underseen gems. Check out the weird, the great, and the obscure in part 1 and part 2 of our 2014 AFI coverage. (And hopefully stay tuned for some 2015 AFI coverage.)
Catch of the Week:
Each and every week the residents here in the Kraken will offer one recommendation for the week that we think you all would enjoy. It might be a movie. It might be a book. Who knows? This is your… Catch of the Week.
Keskel: My recommendation for this week is this comic. It’s a fan translation of a Korean webcomic, dramatizing the lives of professional video game players in Korea. If, like me, you ever wonder how deep the rabbit hole of pop culture goes before it becomes an Oroborous, this is a good place to start.
David: Sometimes it is nice to sit back and read something by one of the best people writing today–so this week you should sit back, and read Craig Thompson’s Blankets, and/or Habibi. Thompson has figured out the perfect balance between writing and artistic style, creating two very unique graphic novels full of beautiful examples of both. Both works are love stories that become so much more, and go in very different directions than you would expect. These are truly masterful works that are not to be missed.
Kyu: As November rounds 2nd base with an eye on Thanksgiving (which is… 3rd base, in this ill-advised metaphor?), why not curl up with another good book? This week I’m recommending another long-time favorite, Garth Nix’s Sabriel. Before YA got all terrible and Twilight-y, Nix wrote this gorgeous, wonderfully original fantasy novel about a young woman who has to cross all sorts of boundaries, geographical and otherwise, when her father the Abhorsen (a kind of white-hat necromancer who protects the civilized world from the dead and demons beyond the Wall) is attacked by an ancient evil. That barely scratches the surface of this uncommonly well-realized novel, which features a rich, engrossing secondary world, one of the best magic systems I’ve ever encountered, and a strong female protagonist at the center of a thrilling and rewarding adventure. It’s absolutely worth checking out–and if you like Sabriel, Nix followed it up with a pair of daring sequels, Lirael and Abhorsen.
That’s it for this week. We hope you continue to find the Kraken to your liking. Please note that the Kraken is experiencing some temporal disturbances right now, so be careful of any doors you enter. They might be portals, and we are still trying to find the last batch of tourists that got lost in time and space.