AMV of the Day: You Can Be King Again (Hotarubi no Mori e)

hotarubi no mori e

In my absence, Lisa Marie did quite a great job picking up the slack when it came time to put up a new anime music video. She had quite the eclectic choice of videos that ran the gamut from comedy, space opera, ecchi to drama.

As I continue my return back I thought it was high time to put up a new AMV and this time from an anime I haven’t even seen. It’s actually an anime that even the site expert pantsukudasai56 hasn’t seen but had heard of. The anime in question is the supernatural romance anime film Hotarubi no Mori e.

Just from researching what the anime was about I knew this was going to be one of those shoujo fares that I would need to find time to watch. It helps that the video’s creator, youlazybum, did such a great job pairing scenes from the anime with one of my favorite songs these past ten years, Lauren Aquilina’s “King.”

So, here’s my latest AMV of the Day, “You Can Be King Again.”

Anime: Hotarubi no Mori e

Song: “King” by Lauren Aquilina

Creator: youlazybum

Past AMVs of the Day

How to Get Ahead in Hollywood by REALLY, REALLY Trying!


What allows for some artists to succeed?

I have known many artists and being able to support oneself with one’s art is a rare thing, demanding respect and investigation.  A friend told me that even the piano singer at a hotel singing “Summer Winds”, if he is supporting himself solely with his art, he is a rare success in the echelon of the .0001% of artists.  It is with that understanding and respect that I bring you Gentle Reader to my discussion with Director – Guy Bee.

Guy Bee’s IMDB page reads like a TV Fan’s dream resume.

Guy came to Hollywood via Florida to California in 1987; he obtained a job working for a camera and camera equipment leasing company.  As Guy put it, “I came in early and stayed late.” He managed their books, meaning he logged the equipment that was checked in and out, he cleaned an repaired the equipment, and drove the company truck.  Guy’s diligence impressed his boss who offered to let him go to a Steadicam workshop because he wanted him to keep track of the equipment that was leant to the workshop, allowing Guy to attend a free Steadicam workshop.  As Guy leased this equipment he, would meet more and more Directors and Producers. This led to a string of short projects while he continued to work at the leasing shop, which slowly built up his reel (segments showing his camera work) on VHS TAPE.

Guy states that “You live and die by the reputation that you can handle anything without being rattled.” This philosophy set the stage for Guy’s shot at Directing.  By working diligently and establishing relationships with the cast, crew, directors, and producers of “Third Watch”, Guy was given his first professional directing opportunity, which would grow into 13 episodes of directing.  His success as a director on “Third Watch” led to “Alias” which led to one of my favorite shows of ALL TIME: “Jericho”.  “Jericho”, for the uninitiated, is the story of a Kansas town holding together in the wake of Nuclear War.  Guy described the show as – “Every scene was important and the stakes were always high. There was no ‘C Story’.”  Guy directed three episodes of this show that was gone too soon.

Protips?  Flexibility.  “If you’re behind because of lighting or someone’s late, you still have to figure out how to get it done in time”.  Why? Budgets!  Once you cross 12 hours of shooting, everyone’s rates go up.  “It takes seven days prep for eight to nine days of filming.”  These principles took him to three of my favorite shows: “Supernatural”, “Arrow”, “The Magicians”, and “iZombie”.

The question I had was how was he able to keep working and have one show feed into the next?  “[He] never turned down work.”  On “Supernatural”, he met Erik Kripke, Kim Manners, Bob Singer, and Sera Gamble and each of these producers led him to other episodes and new shows.

Where does he do the bulk of his work?  Not in Hollywood.  Why?  “New York is busy because the tax incentives have made it sexy to shoot there.”  This dates me a bit, but is there a true hiatus anymore?  “Everything has changed. Filming used to be  from July through April.  Now, with basic cable, it’s year round production.”

Protips:  I have an artsy daughter- what have I learned from Guy that I can impart to her to help her support herself in the arts?

Be versatile.  Guy has more than one skill.  If she were interested in filmmaking, I would advise her to not just be a writer.  I’m a writer and it’s fallow … A LOT. If she wanted to be a writer, I would tell her that she should also understand how to put together budgets for stories she’s writing.  Similarly, Guy has skills as a camera operator, which led to and helped him as a director- the skills were synergistic.

Build relationships. I would tell my daughter to be totally reliable and pleasant to work with (I apologize for ending with a preposition).   Guy worked on every project with diligence, never complained, and never turned down work, enabling him to continue working in the arts without a day job.

The Preacher Is About To Begin Mass


Preacher the comic book that came out in 1995 and became the title that everyone gravitated to to balance out all the superhero titles that were coming out from Marvel, DC, Image and every small publisher in-between. The book was written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Steve Dillon. It was the book that took on the institutions of the Church, government and family in the most irreverent and blasphemous way one could think of at the time.

The book had been talked of within Hollywood since it’s release as one title that producers (seems all of them at one time or another) wanted to adapt for the big-screen. It wasn’t a superhero title so there was no need to worry about trying to adapt tights-wearing heroes and villains. Yet, the book’s subject matter which tended to go into the extreme at times became something that kept the title from being adapted.

After almost two decades of futile attempts to get Preacher up onto the big-screen it took the star-power of one big-screen star (Seth Rogen) to finally get the book adapted, but not on the big-screen, but on the small-screen to become part of AMC’s stable of unique series titles (The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Into the Badlands).

So, fans of the books only have until 2016 to wait for their dreams of Preacher finally coming to live-action life and non-readers will finally see what all the hype has been all about.

Song of the Day: Carry On Wayward Son (by Kansas)


If there was ever a song that’s become synonymous with a TV series (and there’s been a lot of them) then I would say that the latest “Song of the Day” would be at the top of this particular mountain. This particular song became the signature song of the series. I am talking about that classic song from 70’s progressive rock group Kansas, “Carry On Wayward Song”.

The song was released as part of the band’s Leftoverture full-length album. The single for the song was released around 1976 and became one of the band’s biggest hits. “Carry On Wayward Son” is just one of those songs which instantly hooks you and won’t let go. From the acapella intro followed up by a prolonged progressive section that leads up to vocals accompanied by some subtle percussions and keyboards.

Then there’s lead guitarist and founding member Kerry Livgren starting, bridging then ending the song with guitar solos that were all different from each other. One usually will see two solos, but three in and in three different instances tend to be the exception to the rule.

In the long run this song will stick to your mind once it catches a hold of you and you’ll be happy to sing-along whenever it comes on. For Supernatural fans this song has become an anthem for their favorite show and definitely will send Wincest fans of the two brothers in the show into a-twitter.

Carry On Wayward Son

Carry on my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more

(guitar solo)

Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
I was soaring ever higher
But I flew too high
Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a madman
I hear the voices when I’m dreaming
I can hear them say

Carry on my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more

(guitar solo)

Masquerading as a man with a reason
My charade is the event of the season
And if I claim to be a wise man
It surely means that I don’t know
On a stormy sea of moving emotion
Tossed about I’m like a ship on the ocean
I set a course for winds of fortune
But I hear the voices say

Carry on, you will always remember
Carry on, nothing equals the splendor
Now your life’s no longer empty
Surely heaven waits for you

Carry on my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more

(guitar solo)

Great Guitar Solos Series

Duke Tries A Halloween Marathon…Part One.

So, I think it may be fair to say that of most of the posters on this great site, I am probably the one who least enjoys the horror genre…or at least is never as excited about it as everyone else. It isn’t that I do not like horror films – there are quite a few I really love – but I just expect a lot from them. Probably – unfairly – more than I expect from other films. Why? Because I honestly think that when done right, horror films can be some of the most emotionally affecting films from any genre. But when done wrong – as I think far too many of them are – it just feels cheap and manipulative – and as someone who loves film, who loves how they can generate empathy and tell interesting stories, it always just feels like a slap to the face.

This love/hate relationship usually makes me hesitant to watch most horror films, which of course is an issue come October. This month is wall to wall horror from 12:01AM on the 1st – to midnight on Halloween. With this comes the pressure to watch a ton of horror films, and although in the past I have watched a few, I’ve never taken part in any sort of marathon that so many bloggers partake in this time of year…until now. This is part one – of what I hope will be a month long series – of quick reviews for horror films I watch this month. I hope to watch at least one a day.

October 1st: ‘Thale’ (dir. Aleksander Nordaas)


A very low budget Norwegian fantasy/horror film, with a lot of interesting ideas, that sadly doesn’t execute on enough of them to reach any level of greatness…which I think was possible.

‘Thale’ is about two friends, working in a crime scene cleaning service, who stumble upon a hidden basement at one of the locations they have been hired to clean. Within they find a lab of sorts, and a beautiful young woman who is unable to speak – and is most certainly more than she appears to be. The result is a rather unique horror film with fantasy elements; one that thrives on atmosphere for the first hour or so, building a genuine level of suspense and mystery. It is an intriguing story, one that is slow to build but never boring. There is certainly a lot under the surface.

The only real issue I had was that there is narration throughout that tries a bit too hard to add depth to the story, both narratively and thematically, without much success. Mainly because the exposition within would benefit more from a ‘show don’t tell’ approach – and also because the actual narrative comes off as so simple that many of the themes expressed through the narration have nothing to do with what we have actually been shown.

This isn’t too big of an issue really, and I can’t fault it for trying to give more meaning to the story, but had it executed on some of the ideas it alludes to under the surface than maybe this wouldn’t have been an issue at all – especially if it had been a half hour longer, and explored the fantasy element in more detail.

Still, the performances are very good and – given its very low budget – so are the effects and overall production. It certainly has its flaws, but it still warrants a recommendation.

Oct. 2nd: ‘Pontypool’ (dir. Bruce McDonald)


‘Pontypool’ is a mostly lean – though often convoluted – and creative horror film that builds slowly and contains just the right dash of humor. It is at times essentially ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ in film form.

It stars Stephen McHattie as an ex-shock jock who has reached a point in his career where he is stuck doing an early morning radio gig in a small Canadian town. He is quick to try to cause a stir, but his producer reminds him that the listeners just want to know the weather. As the morning slowly passes by the station begins to get weird reports of people, herds of people, swarming the streets. Whats seems to them to initially be a joke begins to turn into a life or death emergency situation where a virus is infecting the town, keeping the workers at the studio locked indoors, trying to figure out how it all started.

This isn’t the scariest horror film you will ever see, neither is it the most suspenseful – yet the development of the story, the unraveling mystery and the urgency of the performances make it an absorbing viewing experience. Things do start to get a little convoluted as we begin to better understand how the “virus” infecting people is being spread. The film seems to be making it up as it goes, and ironically it can’t seem to think of the rights words to explain what is actually happening.

But it does managed to create an interesting subtext on how language has been simplified and diminished by gossip, social websites and the media. It would also probably benefit from multiple viewings. But for now, I recommend you at least watch it once.

Oct. 3rd: ‘Pumpkinhead’ (dir. Stan Winston)


‘Pumpkinhead’ is a creepy, cliche and cheesy as hell horror film about revenge, that manages to overcome all its faults with its brilliant creature design, a great central performance, and an emotional core that gives all the supernatural violence some resonance. The result isn’t a masterpiece – by any stretch – but it is a damn near perfect horror film for Halloween/October – especially with its eerie supernatural aesthetics.

The film stars Lance Henriksen as Ed Harley, a single father raising his son on a farm in the south. One day a group of teens (including a few blondes and a douchey “bad boy”) arrive in town. Their destination? A cabin in the woods…of course. On their way they encounter Harley at a local store he owns, which accidentally results in his son being killed by one of the teens in a dirt bike accident. The group heads for the cabin, fearing the repercussions, while Harley tracks down a creepy old lady who, according to local legend, can summon a demon-like creature to avenge the wrong doing done to a man.

From there we get a rather unoriginal creature feature – as the demon, called Pumpkinhead, hunts down the group of teens one by one. What kept this interesting, for me, was the structure of the events of the film and the development of Henriksen’s character. Henriksen is a great actor, and the bond that is built between him and his son, and the emotions he displays as he struggles with his son’s death and the revenge he seeks, manages to ground the film and gives it enough of an emotional relevancy to excuse the cheesiness of the supernatural horror elements – and some truly shitty dialogue.

On top of that are the great spooky horror aesthetics and atmosphere – moody lighting, fog…pumpkins – as well as the awesome design of the Pumpkinhead by special effects legend Stan Winston (‘Aliens’, ‘Terminator’) – who actually directed the film. It all adds up to an above average horror flick that I recommend everyone watch this October.

Scenes I Love: Drive Angry


“Gentlemen, aim for their tires.”

Drive Angry came out in early 2011 and it was one of those films which everyone thought was going to flop and flop hard. It did flop like a dying carp on a desert dune, but it was also one of the most fun flicks of the year. People just didn’t get what the film was about and trying to do. I, for one, was of the minority that got “it”.

This film starring Nicolas Cage going the subdued crazy route had so many funny and WTF sequences that it was difficult just to pick one, but pick one I shall.

I think the sequence where William Fichtner’s supernatural bounty hunter, The Accountant, chasing and assisting the undead John Milton on his vengeance ride against a Satanic cult leader, and to the tune of the KC and The Sunshine Band’s “That The Way (I Like It)” classic song was a major favorite. It emphasized just how over-the-top Drive Angry turned out to be, but in a fun and hilarious way. William Fichtner just chews the scenery in this scene. I also like how Tom Atkins, himself a veteran of grindhouse flicks, matches Fichtner chew for chew.

Horror Scenes I Love: The Exorcist III

ExorcistJEsusWilliam Peter Blatty took on the directing reins for the third film in the series. I’m going to take a huge leap of faith that he was none too happy with how the first sequel turned out.

The latest “Scenes I Love” the Horror Edition comes from Blatty’s The Exorcist III and it’s actually a very effective jump scare that truly comes out of nowhere. I chose this particular clip because of how well Blatty frames and sets up the pay off. Some may argue that this third film in the series was a mixed bag but one thing it had was genuine scares making up for not being as disturbing as the first film.

I recommend watching this particular scene in a darkened room with headphones on to better appreciate the sound.

Rozen Maiden Manga to Get More Anime, Desu

When I first returned to watching anime and reading manga a little over 4 years ago one of the series that I really enjoyed and continue to enjoy since has been the series from the art duo of Peach-Pit. This series about living dolls and one hikikomori boy named Jun Sakurada reminded me that anime wasn’t just cute and disposable entertainment with simple writing. This series wasn’t just cute to look at, but had writing that struck a balance between comedy, drama and, for a series about dolls, it was dark and melancholy.

Rozen Maiden is the name of the series.

Now comes word that the manga that is still on-going will be receiving a new series (already two seasons and two OVA’s have been released) after almost 6 years of no new anime content. There’s no word of when the new Rozen Maiden series will premiere in Japan and whether it’ll get licensed for a release in North America, but just the news that the project has been green-lit should delight fans of the series. For one thing it’ll mean more desu.

Source: Anime News Network

Horror Trailer: Carrie (by Kimberly Peirce)

We finally have the first trailer in the upcoming horror remake Carrie starring Chloe Grace Moretz and directed by Boys Don’t Cry filmmaker Kimberly Peirce.

When news came out that the classic Brian De Palma film adaptation of the Stephen King novel was being remade there wasn’t much of a positive reaction to the news. The usual grumbling about another horror remake being put into production and how Hollywood was running out of ideas was heard throughout the blog land. Then more details surface of who would play the title role which was made famous in the original film by Sissy Spacek. When it was announced that Chlie Grace Moretz would take on the Carrie role then grumbling subsided somewhat.

While there will always be detractors of the film even while it’s still in production the word coming out that the film will not be a straight out remake of the film but more of a faithful adaptation of the novel has made me cautiously optimistic. The fact that the last horror remake Moretz was involved in turned out quite well (Let Me In) is another reason to hope. Plus, Peirce as the director should help put the focus of the film’s narrative on where King originally intended it to be and that’s the social divide between the popular kids in the dangerous world of high school who end up bullying the weaker outcasts.

The teaser trailer gives a hint at how the film looks to follow the novel more than the De Palma film by showing the town in flames and not just the school. Carrie is set for a March 15, 2013 release date.

Trailer: The Road (dir. by Yam Laranas)

With each passing year we get more and more quality genre films coming out of the rest of the world. I’m not one of those people who thinks Hollywood has run out of ideas and/or rehashing the same thing over and over. For every piece of crap that Hollywood releases there’s a gem or two in the mix. I have a feeling that a small independently made film that came out of the Philippines in 2011 would get the Hollywood remake because of the buzz it’s been getting since it has made it’s way into the US.

The Road is the latest film from Filipino horror filmmaker Yam Laranas and it’s a psychological/supernatural horror film that takes one of the more well-known ghost story types (the story of the haunted stretch of road) and gives it some fresh new infusion of ideas. It’s definitely one of the better horror films to come out of the Philippines film industry (a film industry that has always done some good low-budget  and indie horror films over the decades).

The film is finally getting a release in the US market through festivals and Video-On-Demand. It’s definitely one film I plan on watching before the month is through to see what all the buzz and hype about it is all about.