Notes from the Kraken: January

In All, Notes by DavidLeave a Comment

Welcome again to We Have Always Live 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 month’s posting schedule, but first here are some thoughts.

We made it, somehow…

Okay, now that we are finally in 2018, what have we learned? Well, it is probably best not to blindly assume the new year will be better than the last one. We all hoped that 2017 would be a more hopeful and better year after the up and down nature of 2016 (especially the end, unless you are a Cubs fan, and even that can only get you so far…), but, well, 2017 was simply not the most pleasant year, to say it as nicely as possible. So it is understandable that we want to assume 2018 will be better, and it probably will be, but let’s be a bit more measured this time. I mean, fuck you still, 2017, but I for one am not going to assume 2018 is simply going to be better without actually doing anything to make it better.

Happy 2018 everyone!


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

Look for some special editions of the Life in the Kraken Podcast.

David continues his slow burn of letting more editions of The Anticipated out of the vault he had sealed them in.

Oscarathon 2018 continues, so stay tuned for all the Oscars coverage insanity.

Matt finally returns with another edition of Hidden Levels.

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 Month.

David: Umm, I didn’t really expect this, but see Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. This movie is fun, and surprisingly deep. The cast, especially Jack Black and Karen Gillan, really get to do some solid character work, and the film figures out how to portray characters participating in a video game in clever and funny ways. This is by no means suggesting that this film is a masterpiece, but damn if it is not one of the more enjoyable film experiences I have been to in some time, and a nice reminder that blockbuster films can still really deliver when the cast, director, and script are all in sync. So if you need a break from the deluge of prestige films that must be waded through right now, give this film a try.

Kyu: I read the entire novel Bird Box in one sitting on a plane, then handed it to my father. He called me the next day to tell me he’d been up until two in the morning that night doing the same thing. Here’s a book with glue on the covers. It’s best to go into Josh Malerman’s 2014 novel knowing as little as possible–“Don’t read the back!” became the refrain as Bird Box passed around most of my family over the course of a week–because the majority of the book’s tension and interest comes from wondering what will happen next. This is true even though the book follows two parallel timelines, the general conclusion of one of which is certain from the beginning. That storyline, told in flashback, details the efforts of a group of ordinary people to survive a bizarre apocalypse while living together in a house in Detroit. The other begins in that same house, covered in old blood stains, as the surviving Malorie attempts to escape the only world her twin four-year-old children have ever known. Malerman’s clever doom for the world, Lovecraft by way of Hitchcock’s The Birds, is fascinating but really just the stage-setter for Malorie’s personal concerns. Is she right to hold out hope for the future? And especially, by raising her children to survive in this new world, is she being a good mother or merely imparting the cruelty of a situation they were merely born into? Bird Box is ultimately a story about perception, instinct, and how much to trust either. In a world where fake news dominates, can you believe your own eyes and ears? The literary equivalent of a sharp, twisty sci-fi thriller (and soon to be a Netflix original movie), Bird Box is not to be missed. Just make sure you don’t have anything else to do for a few hours.

Keskel: I recommend Devilman Crybaby. It’s a bizarre and amazing direct-to-Netflix anime where an absolutely visionary director (watch his show Ping-Pong if you haven’t already) embraces doing a direct-to-internet adaptation of a famously violent and sexual manga. It’s a kaleidoscopic nightmare of sex, violence, and satanism.

That’s it for this month. Let’s ring in the New Year with lots of cheer, and hope that the Kraken won’t decide to try and eat Italy again.

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