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Monday, December 31, 2012

Lady Gaga The Born This Way Ball Jan 20-21

Lady Gaga is back in town to sing crazy songs and wear things she finds that usally aren't worn by women, man or dog dressed by rich women.

Lady Gaga The Born This Way Ball
Staples Center
Jan 20-21

Gangster Squad Wait For The Special Edition

About every few months a new movie uses LA as a major backdrop. Gangster Squad is the newest film ready to roll out Jan 11th with old school LA as it's background. The current issue of LA Mag tells how one huge gunfight taking place within the Grauman's Chinese Theater has now been replaced with a gunfight in Chinatown. It seems the producers were afraid to release the film after the Aurora Batman Shooting. Having a cowboy western style gunfight in a crowded theater might scare some. So my advice is to wait for the release of Blu-ray which should be loaded with deleted scene.The current shooting taking place in the film was a 5 day re-shoot after production was over, so it must have been a pain in the ass to do.

 No idea how much it might confuse the story or might be weird to suddenly have shootout in Chinatown. I do hope it goes something around the lines of all the cops being outside the Grauman's Chinese and then when the go inside it cut's to Chinatown. A dubbed over voice going, "Wait, weren't we in Hollywood? Oh wait, Grauman's Chinese is the entrance to Chinatown. That's why it's got the Chinese in it." Then I suggest on seeing the movie in theaters.

You can check out the cars from the film at the Peterson Car Museum til Jan 20

Laist reports on a premiere screening back in November? Little early, there.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year Super Fight! Rescue Little Tokyo! Jan 1st

Fujiyama Ichiban will be having a fight to ring in the New Year in Little Tokyo.

New Year Super Fight! Rescue Little Tokyo!
Little Tokyo/ Weller Court 123 S. Onizuka St.,Los Angeles, CA 90012
Jan 1st(Tue) Time:1:10pm

Tuesday Jan 1st will be you and your children's chance to see a Henshin hero doing battle live for free. So if you've ever seen the Power Rangers or know more about Japanese super heroes you might like to catch a Japanese hero set. I'm very enthralled by the idea of someone trying to make a Japanese super hero popular in America and LA no less. I'm not in love with the art of Fujiyama Ichiban, but I really want to learn more about this character and the people behind it.

LA Weekly Comics Issue Sucks

 LA Weekly goes out of 2012 with a terrible mess called their "Comics Issue". Instead of what I thought be articles about LA's comic industry, the people in it, local comic shops or at least some up and coming web comics with creators based in LA are instead replaced with single report on Kevin Eastman (creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). A few boring comics that are simply our of place and you have one hell of a misleading cover.

I find it so strange when LA Weekly has done some fine reporting on the best comic shops in LA for their best of issues and I think recently reported on Meltdown Comics a few issues back. Nothing from Liz Ohanesian, who I just praised for covering more nerdy subjects in LA. She has no contribution to this issue.

The cover should have simply have Kevin Eastman exclusive, but "Comics Issue" has no place when there are so many shops, people and connections LA Weekly could have written about instead of one featured article. Maybe, the staff was still coming back from the Christmas party.Not a good way to start off the new year.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The 3rd Annual Greatest Cartoons Ever

The 3rd Annual Greatest Cartoons Ever
Saturday, December 29th at 2 & 7 pm
The Alex Theatre
216 North Brand Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91203

Ten golden age era cartoons will be shown with Cartoon Brew's Jerry Beck's and Asifa-Hollywood president Frank Gladstone in attendance. " Hockey Homicide" featuring Goofy seems like a fun and painful animation to watch.

General Admission: $15 general admission; $12.50 seniors/kids & groups of 15 or more. Advance tickets are on sale now online or you can buy them before the show at the box office.

Rose Parade Jan 1 Oh, the Places You'll Go

Check out the Rose Parade on Jan 1st in Pasadena with the theme of "Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go". Starting today are sneak peaks of the floats. Check the official site for where to go and how to check out the event. The Rose Bowl Game is right after, but ticket are most likely way gone.

Last year had some more fun floats like one based on the Samurai Power Rangers, but this year it looks like it'll be less iconic and more businesess creating odd visions based on them.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Year's Eve Free Rides, Villain's Tavern, Edison

All Metro bus and rail lines will provide free services starting 9pm on Monday, December 31, 2012 until 2am on Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Note: All Metro Rail lines and the Metro Orange Line will operate all night every 20 minutes on New Year's Eve

Villain's Tavern

Boasting a giant Connect 4 Tournament

Edison Downtown

An Unparallelled Cabaret Ball featuring electrifying performances by a host of gifted Eccentriques. Step through an era of Imagination and Fantasy and allow The Edison to accompany you on a unique and unforgettable journey into the future...

Our Legendary Green Fairy has surprise treats for those who dress for the occasion.

General Admission: $100, which includes entry, our Midnight Toast, and Assorted Festivities.

For table reservations, please call 213-613-0000

8:00 pm

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Anime Los Angeles 2013 Jan 4-6

Animé Los Angeles 9 January 4-6, 2013

Start off the new year with loving anime with cosplayers and fans. One of the earliest events of the new year for all those into manga, video games and the wide spectrum of anime out there. This year the event has some Funimation help it seems with a sneak panel and more. There's plenty 18+ events for those late nights and a plethora of panels for all types of fans of all ages

This event is different from others over the year, because there isn't a show floor . There is an artist allley and areas to chill out, but not a real area to buy goods it seems.

There's going to be some big cosplay events like the Gothic Mad Tea Party

Haw! Kirby's Dream Band is playing too

I'll have some more updates on the event as it approaches

First Blood 30th Anniversary Engagement 4 screenings!

If you need some Rambo for your holiday season, don't worry, The Cinefamily provides.
Thursday, Dec. 27th: 9:45pm
Friday, Dec. 28th: 9:20pm
Saturday, Dec. 29th: 9:15pm
Sunday, Dec. 30th: 9:15pm

The Eric Andre New Year’s Eve Spooktacular

I'm not sure how "live" this will really be, but after what Eric Andre did on Attack of Show "took out his dick" I'm kind of leading to it being fake live. I don't know how weird John K from Ren and Stimpy fame will be or Kevin Sorbo from Hercules. All I know is it will be weird, really really weird.

The Eric Andre New Year’s Eve Spooktacular features hair-raising celebrity guests Demi Lovato, Sebastian Bach, Omarosa, Kevin Sorbo, John Kricfalusi, and more. Fans will be treated to a classic New Year’s countdown, musical acts, competitive eating, foreign correspondents, marching bands, and will be broadcasting LIVE in front of a studio audience!
Ring in 2013 with The Eric Andre New Year’s Eve Spooktacular, the SPOOKIEST New Year's ever,
starring Eric Andre and his co-host Hannibal Buress on Monday, December 31st at 11:30pm ET/PT on Adult Swim.

Canine Plastic Surgery Billboard

Don't be worried about these new billboards popping around LA. Head to for the full details.

New Year's Eve Balls 2012

The Great Gatsby New Year's Eve Ball

Ring in this New Year 1920's style at the Westside's biggest NYE party at Wokcano in Santa Monica. The Great Gatsby New Years Eve Ball will include prohibition-style cocktails, whiskey tastings, passed hors d'oeuvres, a live swing band and DJ Frankie spinning Top 40 mashed with 1920's electro. Guests are encouraged to parade this multi-level nightclub and giant outdoor patio in their zoot suits and flapper dresses and put on their gangster hats and pearls for a rip-roaring celebration.

Admission includes party favors and a champagne toast. General admission is $40.00 in advance, $50.00 the week of the event and $60 for VIP.

The menu includes Spicy Crabmeat Tempura Roll, Fresh Tuna with Truffle Oil on Flatbread, Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice, Glazed Walnut Shrimp and Pan-Fried Chicken Dumplings.     

Monday, December 31, 2012  Festivities begin at 8 p.m. 
Hors D'Oeuvres & Whiskey Tastings 8 -9:30 p.m.   
Live Band (playing swing, standards & current hits) 9:30 p.m.
DJ Frankie 9:30 p.m. - close

Wokcano (1413 5th Street Santa Monica, CA)

General admission tickets are $40.00 in advance, $50.00 week of and $60.00 at the door. VIP Tickets are available for $50 in advance and include front of line entry and 3rd level access

New Year’s Eve aboard the Queen Mary

Start your night with a "farewell to 2012" dinner, then stroll the decks enjoying the many live musical acts and DJs. Whether you want to dance the night away, or simply enjoy the music, there’s no shortage of entertainment aboard the Queen Mary. The evening reaches its grand conclusion with a spectacular fireworks display over the Pacific Ocean. We're expecting record crowds this year. If you haven't bought your ticket yet, what are you watiing for?

General Admission NYE Tickets - $109
Includes admission aboard the ship, all on-board entertainment, NYE party favors and best view of midnight fireworks show. Tickets are going fast. Get yours today!
Royal VIP Tickets - $249
Includes admission aboard the ship, all on-board entertainment, NYE party favors, exclusive access to VIP Decks, open beer and wine bar, hors d'oeuvres, dessert, best view of midnight fireworks show. Also includes admission to The Ice Kingdom at CHILL (good only on December 31). Don't get sold out this year! Buy your tickets today!

Universal CityWalk’s New Year’s Eve Celebrations

Starting at 9:00 p.m. PT, guests will be treated to a live feed of the iconic New York City Times Square ball drop displayed on giant outdoor screens. At midnight, as the ball drops, guests will celebrate the start of 2013 with a fireworks display and colorful confetti shower.

Live music experience will ring in the new year at the state-of-the-art “5 Towers” concert venue with performances from two standout performers from NBC’s “The Voice” –Jamar Rogers and Diego Val!—while celebrity DJ Roonie G amps up the crowd with his signature mash-up style at the park’s main entrance.

Partygoers are also invited to enjoy family-friendly entertainment at the “WaterWorld®” attraction, including balloon artists, live DJs, and fireworks. Party packages and special offers are also available at popular venues throughout CityWalk.

Universal CityWalk will be bringing patrons special pricing for the New Year’s celebrations, starting at 4:00pm on the 31st. Self-parking will be $55 per car, while valet parking will be $65 per car. Both prices include admission. Shuttle, drop-off, and walk-up admission will be $15 per person, and children under 48” are allowed free admission to CityWalk. More information is available at

 New Year's Eve Spectacular @ Groundlings Theater

Join us for an incredible evening of sketch and improv featuring Groundlings, Sunday company,  alumni, and special guests.

We will have an open bar, plenty of great food and a champagne toast at midnight!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

An Evening with Christopher Nolan Jan 4

It was a great reason to put up this Christmas video. Someone please ask the deal with Bane's voice if you attend.

7:30 pm | With a screening of Following

For writer/director Christopher Nolan, proximity to violence—literal and figurative—guarantees taint; this is evident in his films from Memento to The Dark Knight Rises. In his writing and directing debut, 1998’s Following, Nolan introduces audiences to his particular take on that theme of propinquity to criminality—a concept that forms the heart of film noir. For Nolan—who was also cinematographer and one of the editors on Following—the genre can be delivered in a fable-like flow, until the protagonist is totally sucked in by the undertow.
Here, it’s a writer (Jeremy Theobald) at a loss for income and inspiration trailing strangers for a creative spark. The writer sets his eye on the confident and charismatic Cobb (Alex Haw), which proves to be both the most fascinating and corrosive path our hero could ever have imagined for himself. Following set the template for the fractured narrative style that Nolan often employs. What’s also impressive about the filmmaking is the attention paid to sound; the aural ambience slowly deepens the level of paranoia in the film, a rarity in low budget films to the very day.
Following | 1999/b&w/70 min. | written/directed by: Christopher Nolan | starring: Jeremy Theobald, Alex Haw, Lucy Russell, John Nolan

Ticketing for An Evening With…

(Limit two tickets per membership or person)
$10 for Film Independent, LACMA Film Club, and NY Times Film Club members. Pre-sale tickets available Tuesday, December 18 at 5:00 pm | Members of these groups will be required to show proof of membership when retrieving their tickets.
$20 for general public; $14 for LACMA members, seniors (62+) & students w/valid ID. Tickets available Thursday, December 27 at 5:00 pm.

Christmas Backgrounds: Thunder Claus and Christmas Evil

 Merry Christmas all you TTDILA Readers! Here's some fun backgrounds of Thunder Claus from the mind of Haruna of Is This Zombie? anime. I have a review pending on this very oddball harem comedy. The magical garment girl Haruna calls herself a genius, but might have combined holidays creating Merr-o-ween and it's sinister mascot. Thunder Claus's art style is very reminiscent of another anime about a vampire, Hellsing.

 Here's another background from Christmas Evil.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Silent Night Quick Review

Silent Night

Malcolm McDowell must be drowning in some pretty bad gambling debt to be in this degrading B-horror movie for the holidays. He plays a unlikable Sheriff in an unlikable town filled with unlikable people. Yeah, you kind of don't feel pity for anyone when they get murdered in some Christmas time ways. This belongs on the Sy-Fy Channel along with The 12 Disasters of Christmas which itself was a disaster. You could chop down the kills for a quick YouTube best of clips, including a woodchipper feasting on a topless girl. The rest of this film is best kept out of stockings and thrown on the fire.

Mr. McDowell still got top billing even though he wasn't the star of the film, I don't think his name alone is going to get people to pick it up Anchor Bay. Try harder next holiday season Anchor Bay, maybe a Hanukkah Horror movie for once. Has no one made Death Driedel or Murder Menorah? Who doesn't want some Hanukkah Zombies wanting only kosher brains?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Japan Arcade Continue?

Japan Arcade is around ... for now. Liz Ohanesian, writer of many things I enjoy happening LA, has a great article on the stream-a-thon that took place at Family Fun Arcade a week back. You can read it in LA Weekly here

Family Fun Arcade Closes With a Video Game Marathon That Gets Shut Down in the Middle of the Night

The article reveals not only that the event got so packed it had to be shut down, but that Japan Arcade is staying open. Owner Ralph Sehnert says it will be open in the article and a twitter feed from Japan Arcade confirms it too.  I don't know if Japan Arcade's rent didn't go up like I believe Family Fun arcades did, but for right now Japan Arcade should be around after the New Year. Twitter reveals it will change up the look inside the place again.

Japan Arcade
333 S Alameda St Frnt
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Located in Little Tokyo Galleria

The League's Christmas Episode In Little Tokyo

 Watching The League last Thursday, it seemed somewhat more familiar than usual. Same kooky characters, same dirty plot, but what else? Oh, Little Tokyo Galleria located in Little Tokyo. You can see Taco get beat up by Santa in episode 12, Season 4 of The League. You might notice the malls a bit Japanese from the get go. Hey, is that bowling alley ever going to open up there? It was suppose to open in the summer.

*Just a reminder that Japan Arcade in the mall will be closing Dec 31st. So play video games in a arcade, while arcades still exist.

 Here's the fake exterior of the mall. It doesn't look anything like that.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Murder LA 000014

by James Cohen

Friday, January 17th, 1997:

Beverly Hills Ninja will be number one at the national box office this MLK holiday weekend but the Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax, just south of Melrose, isn't showing that on its single screen. No, tonight's main attraction is Murnau's Sunrise (1927), preceded by some short films.

Laurence Austin, 74, the theater's current owner, lives in an apartment above the projection room. He's been in a rocky relationship for several years with 34 year old James Van Sickle, who is the projectionist this evening.

19 year old Christian Rodriguez slips out of the auditorium into the lobby shortly before Sunrise starts, and asks the employee he finds there, Mary Giles, to speak to the manager. Upon meeting Austin, Rodriguez pulls a gun and demands money. Although cooperative, Austin is shot several times and does not survive. Ms. Giles does survive being shot once. Rodriguez flees in the ensuing chaos as the crowd evacuates.

Image of Austin, from

Saturday, March 1st:

Largo on Fairfax, which has since moved, hosts a benefit memorial for Austin. Two of them, technically, at 8 and 10:15pm. Austin is tearfully eulogized (twice?) by Van Sickle.

Tuesday, March 11th:

Van Sickle is arrested for hiring Rodriguez to kill both Austin and Ms. Giles under the guise of a robbery, in order to inherit Austin's million dollar estate.

April and May 1999:

Van Sickle and Rodriguez are sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in separate trials, both avoiding the death penalty.

  • Yes, Austin and Van Sickle were in a relationship involving a 40 year age difference. Stop thinking about it.
  • Rodriguez was not paid the $30,000 he was promised for two murders.
  • Van Sickle quickly claimed he found a handwritten will leaving everything to him. Scooby Doo villains come up with better plans.
  • Austin filed assault and robbery charges against Van Sickle in 1996 but didn't pursue them.
  • The theater was built by John and Dorothy Hampton. After John's death Austin might have taken financial advantage of Dorothy to gain control of the property. However, it's worth noting that Dorothy kept working there afterwards in apparent approval.
  • The Cinefamily now operates the theater, which still shows silent films about once a month and interesting programming the rest of the time. If you appreciate film it's definitely worth a visit and you might consider contributing to their current fundraiser -- which ends January 2nd, 2013.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Weekly What To Do: Christmas Is Not The End of the World

End of the World Events Dec 21

Griffith Observatory NOT-the-end-of-the-world Event

Winter Solstice local noon talk: 11:40 a.m.
Winter Solstice sunset talk: 4:30 p.m.

Time's Up showtimes in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium:
12:45 p.m., 1:45 p.m., 2:45 p.m.
4:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 6:15 p.m.
7:45 p.m., 8:45 p.m., 9:45 p.m., 10:45 p.m.

NOT-the-end-of-the-world brief presentation: 11:50 p.m.

Peepshow Menagerie presents Televangelesque 4


Holiday Happy Hour Culver City

Dec 19

The Other Reindeer carolers are sure to put you in a festive mood with a medley of classic Christmas tunes, and the outdoor Holiday Ice Rink will offer its Third Wednesday-only "2-for-1 Skate Special."* Make merry with free samples, discounts and a sleigh-full of beer specials at area bars and dining establishments. Stuff your stocking using Third Wednesday discounts from Downtown's one-of-a-kind specialty stores. Beat the holiday traffic by riding the rails to the new Expo Line Culver City Station. Culver City's downtown area is Southern California's best kept secret, featuring a wonderful mix of historic buildings, boutiques, theaters, galleries and unique restaurants opening on to tree-lined streets. Beat the holiday traffic by riding the rails to the new Expo Line Culver City Station.

A Very Janky Christmas Spectacular!

December 21 at 7:00pm

 Holiday Variety Show that grounds all the best holiday traditions into one wild night of Janky Jolliness.

Come share in the spirit of Christmas with Holiday spirits from the cash bar!
Be amazed when your heart expands three sizes while watching beauties dance!
Shed a tear of thanks when you hear your favorite holiday lines recited live by real actors!
Tap those toes to the enchanted tunes from a live band!

There's something for everyone so deck the halls and ring them silver bells cause this events is two nights only!!! Cash Bar!

And maybe, just maybe we will be visited by the Jolly Pink Santa!


Monday Dec 24 (8pm)
SLS Hotel Beverly Hills
465 S La Cienega Blvd

Schmooz-A-Palooza will bring the local Jewish community together on Monday, Dec. 24 at a new venue, the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. This year’s event is based on the theme of “Growing up Jewish,” which will allow guests to re-live some of their favorite cultural memories. The SLS Hotel ballroom will be set up like a classic Bar or Bat Mitzvah, with a DJ, dancing and photo booth. Party-goers will enjoy themed rooms each with specialty cocktails throughout the SLS Hotel, including Camp Corner, a throwback to Jewish summer camp; Sundae School, making Hebrew school fun with a dessert theme; and Hanukkah Hotspot.

The Tower Dec 25

Why can't this have subtitles.?This Korean thriller about a a fire taking place on Christmas eve is playing on Christmas. Why not hook up some jews who want to see a fun movie for the holiday.

First Annual Shop Walk DTLA: Holiday Edition

Welcome to our First Annual Shop Walk DTLA Holiday Edition!

When: December 20th, Thursday 7PM-10PM Special Extended Store hours

What: A Holiday block party full of libations, music, and the gift of store exclusive sales from your favorite stores to get your last minute shopping on!

Trailer War

Wednesday Dec 19 (7:30 & 10pm)
New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd

Game Hype: Family Fun Arcades Last Gasp and Glitch

Here's some Facebook photos from the Arcade Relief event that happened over the weekend for the owner of Family Fun Arcade.

The Glitch from CorridorDigital

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Level E Review

Level E: Complete Series

I have to commend Funimation right away on the voice acting choice of Jason Douglas as Captain Kraft. Captain Kraft looks very  similar to Cromartie High's Takeshi Hokuto. I assume that is the entire reasoning as why he was chosen to voice Captain Kraft in this Outer Limits like comedy about aliens.

Level E is a sci-fi comedy series created by Yoshihiro Togashi, better known for his other work YuYu Hakusho, Hunter X Hunter and marrying the lady who created Sailor Moon. The stars didn't align for his sci-fi short series and I'd tell him stick to action stories.

The series starts of with the overused premise of a lost alien making friends with an average person. Sitcom situations happen, mysterious government agents and more going on behind the scenes like you've seen dozens of times before start happening. That's what the alien Prince Baka might want you to think, but it turns out everything you thought you knew wasn't correct  and the answer to everything is just silly.

Prince Baka as it turns out is a huge jerk that's both a genius and sadly for us earthlings the eventual protector of our planet. When I was writing Prince Baka was a jerk I was being kind. He's known the universe over as one of the cruelest royals out there. No one knows this better than Captain Kraft who stood up to him once about his actions. Now Captain Kraft is forced on the worst missions possible. He is accompanied by two assistants, one whose by the book and the other a rookie to help him try and control Prince Baka. There story starts off with the Prince meeting and bothering a young human who moved recently to play high school baseball, which aliens love for some reason.

Suddenly, this concept is thrown away in future episodes and the Prince takes a backseat to what's happening for much of the series. Though, he's somewhat the puppet master of a lot going on, it's very odd how much the format changed. I believed I'd get more hi-jinks of the Prince bothering his first victim/friend, but that plot was thrown out quite fast. Instead some sci-fi stories with little relation to the main story happen. Many of these stories are self- contained arcs. Many of them are about the concept of love and how alien it can be.

One of my favorite arcs parodied sentai rangers with the Primary Color Rangers. Young boys were given the power of Power Rangers, seen countless times in other animes.  Power Ranger culture was made fun of and eventually crossed into making fun of J-rpgs. There were some great jokes about  Prince Baka's feminine look in this arc. Yes, the blonde on the cover above is actually a man. When he dressed up as a princess and a bad guy takes him to be his wife some dirty jokes are explored. The Primary Color Rangers was another fun take on the staple of Japanese pop culture.

No ranger team could save this series though. The show throws in some jokes here and there, but a lot of the time the series doesn't know what it wants to be. Sgt Frog was a sci-fi comedy anime, this series wants to be a drama sometimes. One Primary Color Rangers story has an alien kill people with her tongue and having some bad guys shot in front of the grade school heroes. This was an episode episode about friendship? A story about baseball gets very messed up when the personification of a little girl's parents look like monsters out of the film " The Thing" battle in her subconscious mind.

After these arcs we return into a short unfunny-filling arc about the Prince having to get married. It seemed tacked on really. Since it's a character you not meant to like, there wasn't much at stake for the viewer.

Level E, where the name comes from is never explained, is a show that doesn't seem to understand itself. It tried too many things at once and loses it's cohesion. The Prince played by Vic Mignogna gets carried away by doing parody voices of other sci-fi characters. In the extras, an interview that Vic Mignogna has with himself, via editing, reveals the director let him due as he pleased. When he chose to act like Captain Kirk on the spot, the director just said go with it. It was a strange choice to let him have that much power. Vic was just given to much freedom for this one. It's also an odd choice from Funimation to bring this series over. I don't think it had a fan base demanding it.

This is probably my least favorite anime from Funimation this year. I liked Mass Effect: Paragon Lost more. Wait, there was some fun moments with those Primary Color Rangers. Anyway, this one just missed it's mark, even if Jason Douglas pulls off an excellent pissed off character.

The DVD's/ Blu-ray's were provided by the publisher for review

Yelp's Annual Holiday Cookie Swap

LOCATION: Co-op 28 Handmade
DATE: Tuesday, December 18

TIME: 7pm-9pm

WHO: Anyone who loves to bake and eat cookies... or really any homemade treat in handheld form! Feel free to invite friends who love to bake. The more the merrier! Kids are welcome to attend as well!

WHAT'S A COOKIE SWAP? You bake a batch of a dozen homemade cookies and everyone swaps cookies. You'll leave the swap with a great assortment of cookies and a fun evening with new friends! Be sure to bring:
+1 dozen homemade cookies
+A container or bag for all your cookies
+Copies of your cookie recipe

Eiga Fest LA 2012: Helter Skelter and Thermae Romae

Helter Skelter had director Mika Ninagawa and actress from the film Kaori Momoi in attendance. They stayed for a Q and A afterward and explained how few female directors are in Japan. The playful  Kaori also explained how she was on set for only five day for the actual shoot, but director Mika expalined it took seven years to get the movie made. Issues such a with the rights and then getting the right cast made it take a long time to get it finished.

Helter Skelter is a beautiful film that shows a Japanese model/idol fall from grace and how strange and bitter the world of celebrity can be. The film is strikingly dark, but in no way of its color sense as the city of Tokyo and the Japanese fashion world consumes the screen with a strong bright palette.

Lilico played by Erika Sawajiri gives off a powerful performance of her character who ruins her life the more beautiful she becomes and the more press she gains. Adultery, sex, drugs, addiction and a painful process to become beautiful compliment today's standards of what is asked of being celebrity. Watching someone so big fall apart whose already empty must be a sick pleasure we keep enjoying seeing in cinema.

Director Mika Ninagawa ends this film year for LA with some of the most beautiful shots of the worst ways a person call fall. There is some disgusting moments that she made oddly beautiful. Illusory drug scenes were also a treat as the world became littered with butterflies and eyeballs is some moments.  A conversation taking place at an aquarium was stunning. A press conference in the final act will always haunt you after seeing it. The only problem was the length of the film, it could have been shortened, because three hours was just too much.

 After a short break the festival night ended with the comedy Thermae Romae. This film is about a ancient Roman transported to modern day Japan via bathtubs or bathing. Lucious, played by Hiroshi Abe is an architect who designs baths in ancient Rome and when he needs help he magically gets transported to the future via baths. In a modern day Japan bathhouse, which he first mistakes as slave quarters, he is amazed at the ingenuity of the Japanese bath. He keeps appearing in front of Mami, played by Aya Ueto, a struggling manga artist. There fate seems connected. What starts off as a simple comedy about perfecting Roman baths becomes a time travel tale that will greatly effect Roman history and the fate of Lucius.

The audience and I laughed so much at this great comedy that perfectly pulls of the concept of time travel via bathing. If you want your children to take a bath, this might be the perfect film to get them to not smell anymore. It really makes you want to take a nice hot bath afterward. Most of the jokes are universal as you see Lucious discover a toilet or a bottle of cold milk for the first time. It brings him to tears to see such innovation. The jokes are simple, but don't come off corny. There are some fun cracks at Japanese culture,but you see a great love of bathing that isn't represented here in the West.

Both of these films were also based on manga just like Rurouni Kenshin, which was also part of the festival. Based on manga each were strongly adapted by their directors to the big screen and pulled off laughs, gasps and claps throughout their premieres. Once again, I hope they get wider distribution here in the US. I'd like to thank the Eiga Fest for making it possible for fans out here in LA to enjoy such great films from Japan. I hope to see a bigger festival next year with even more movies... maybe some Sentai or Kamen Rider films.

Monday, December 17, 2012

1600 Penn Will Fail

NBC's new sitcom 1600 Penn will start failing today. Watch what is sure to be another train wreck over the last train wreck of Animal Practice. Just show Community NBC.

Executive Producer Josh Gad or the stupid fat son from the show might be remembered from the cancelled Good Vibes show of MTV. Jason Winer another producer on 1600 worked on Modern Family and directed the terrible remake of Arthur no one asked for.

Eiga Fest LA 2012: Rurouni Kenshin

The LA Eiga Fest brought big budget Japanese blockbusters to Hollywood this weekend. An early Christmas present for those into Japanese culture in our fair city. Friday night saw the premiere of the live action adaption of Rurouni Kenshin. Director Keishi Otomo and co-star Munetaka Aoki who played Sanosuke in the film were in attendance. They stood around for a Q and A after the film where it was revealed they'd be fine with having a sequel if the studio gave them a chance. Before the film even got underway, George Takei showed up and surprised the audience. He talked about the love of  Japanese film and the hope more Japanese films could make a bigger splash in the US. He was proud Eiga fest was happening in the heart of Hollywood.

After speeches and some of the oddest hosting I've seen since Pacific Media Expo Rurouni Kenshin played to a sold-out crowd. Rurouni Kenshin is a adapted live action film about a Samurai who has a reverse blade sword who vows not to kill after a bitter war. I was a fan of the anime and it does do it justice. It has a more realistic take on fights and sword play from the series.

The audience all gasped or clapped when new incarnation of beloved characters took the screen. Munetaka Aoki who played Sanosuke got some of those gasps for his street fighter role where he carried a sword  design to take out a horse. His battle with Rurouni was a great mix of martial art styles. His best fight might have been against a fellow street fighter brawler that had them beating each other up throughout a house and into a kictchen. At one point the two street fighters take a break for some food and wine, then right back into their fight.

At the Q and A afterward it was revealed that Takeru Sato, who played the star Kenshin, had suffered a collapse lung on a previous film. Concerns about his health were asked. The director told the audience Takeru was always physically fit to work on set.  Director Otomo also explained that Takeru's speed and footwork in the film were not special effects, he really trained hard to pull of his fancy foot work. Munetaka was praised for all he learned about street fighting after getting... well fat, was how the director described it while he was in America before shooting got underway.

Rurouni Kenshin is an epic action drama that seems fine for American cinema. I hope it gets a wider release here in the states. Many of the films seen don't seem to have a set release in North America or any distribution, so it may be the only chance to see some great work abroad.

The opening night of the festival also had an after party with free drinks and food for all the guests who attended the film. Kotoya, a local restaurant provided a fine meal after the film. They also spent the next two days having a ramen booth nearby where patrons could have something warm in the cold winter nights in LA. A taiko drum troupe banged in the start of the festival after the showing of Rurouni Kenshin. The big thumping beat alerting attendees to a big start of this Japanese showcase.

Munetaka took his chances with the suit he was wearing for the premiere, if anyone else wore it they be considered crazy, but after seeing him kick butt on screen you might reconsider saying it looked bad to his face.