Notes from the Kraken: July 31st 2016

In All, Notes by David

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.

Yeah, I am kind of surprised you exist as well.

After a month of conventions (of both the anime and comic variety), vacations, and let ‘s be honest, a lot of Pokemon Go, I’m back! And the blog is also beginning to operate again on a more normal schedule.

My return also coincides with the beginning of August, the final stretch of the summer movie season. This summer has been full of sequels, reboots, and adaptations, as Hollywood continues to run away from having new ideas and hope that no one notices (yeah, we’ve noticed). This isn’t all bad; there always seems to be a Finding Dory for every Independence Day: Resurgence, or a Captain America: Civil War for every Warcraft, but it does make a lot of the summer movies look very similar as they are all pulled from some type of pre-existing blueprint. August, though, looks like it could be different. We are getting a comic book movie unlike most others in Suicide Squad, Laika is bringing Kubo and the Two Strings to try and make us forget about Boxtrolls, Sausage Party is looking to give an R-Rated twist to animation, and there is even going to be a new Ben-Hur. It isn’t much, but August at least seems to be a month when Hollywood is willing to get a bit more weird and try something slightly more original than what the rest of the summer has shown. And well it should, because this is the last month that movies don’t have to deal with the return of network television and football, so why not take this time to actually take a few more risks?

The radical extension of the summer movie seasons is still a fairly recent event, as what was once more or less May to July could now be argued to last from March to as late as September. So August patterns have generally been in flux, but it seems to have settled into a weird combination of a couple of tentpole movies and some riskier fare that needed to avoid the all out war of May-July. This has made August one of my favorite movie months, because it offers a perfect combination of franchise, indie films, early prestige films, and bigger budget but more risky films. It is an eclectic movie month that hopefully will continue to become more and more so as the years go on. So enjoy this month, and allow yourself to take a breath, because the pop culture deluge of the fall is coming, and there will be no respite.

David Robertson

From the depths of the Kraken, here is what we are bringing you this week.

Monday: Nothing new today. We spent the day trapped inside the Kraken’s interior swimming pool, or as we like to call it, The Drowning Chamber. Fun times.

Tuesday: So David went to Comic-Con. You may have seen his thoughts and observations on our Twitter and Instagram accounts (and even briefly on Periscope). Now after some thought and contemplation he offers up his overall reaction to this pop culture extravaganza in The Comic-Con Report.

Wednesday: Check out the Anime Season in Review, Sam’s look at what was great, what was worth watching, and what made us ashamed to be anime fans.

Thursday: Nothing new today. Sources suggest mysterious “men” in “black suits” and “sunglasses” may be responsible for the “content” that might once have been “here.” Try to not ask too many “questions,” or next you’ll be the one talked about in scare quotes.

Friday: The Anticipated returns as David takes a look at the new Ghostbusters. There was a lot of distracting chatter around this film, but now that it is out, let’s just ask the only question that actually matters–is it any good? You’ll have to read to find out.

Saturday: Baturdays makes its triumphant return with the first story of 1941, Detective Comics #47. Just like you’d expect, the Caped Crusader rings in the new year with an exciting battle against the Jok–just kidding, this one’s a family melodrama. Comics!

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.

David: I am just going to echo the chorus of the ongoing bandwagon, and recommend Netflix’s Stranger Things. This film evokes all of the best parts of 80s filmmaking with a modern spin. The production behind it is astonishing, with superb cinematography and an even better score. The acting is also top notch from both adult and child actors. This show is perfect for those that want to relive their childhood in the 80s, or for everyone else who continues to wonder why children of the 80s are so obsessed with that decade. At only eight episodes long, Stranger Things is a perfect binge show, and continues to demonstrate that Netflix has really figured out this whole original programming thing.

Keskel: This week I recommend the Fanwork collaboration of AMV Hell. It’s a series of ever longer videos that simulates the experience of flipping the channels in an alternate dimension where songs, memes, and commercials and other audio clips have been remixed with anime videos (or videogame footage, or Western cartoons). Not only is it a great introduction to fanworks (such as “animated music videos,” or AMVs, of which I am a connoisseur), but each video is a time capsule for a specific era in anime fandom (and Western pop culture). The dizzying array of references makes it one of the more demanding shibboleths I’ve ever encountered.

That’s it for this week. The Kraken would like to remind you that it is Hat Week, so remember to wear a hat or risk getting thrown into the bottomless 5th-dimensional hole.