Damage January 21, 2015 Damage David D. Levine Concerning a spaceship's conscience. And the Burned Moths Remain January 14, 2015 And the Burned Moths Remain Benjanun Sriduangkaew Treason is a trunk of thorns. A Beautiful Accident January 7, 2015 A Beautiful Accident Peter Orullian A Sheason story. Kia and Gio January 6, 2015 Kia and Gio Daniel José Older Seven years ago, they went on a secret mission.
From The Blog
January 21, 2015
Don’t Touch That Dial: Midseason SFF
Alex Brown
January 21, 2015
Agent Carter, I Think I’m in Love
Liz Bourke
January 21, 2015
The Illogic of Fairy Tales
Genevieve Cogman
January 16, 2015
Birdman is Actually Just a Muppet Movie
Max Gladstone
January 15, 2015
What Are Your Favorite Non-Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Shows?
Stubby the Rocket
Mon
Jan 5 2015 11:00am

Tangled, Brave, and Frozen All Made the Same Critical Mistake

Tangled, Frozen, Brave

It’s been over a year since the family hit Frozen graced screens, although you wouldn't know it considering how widespread its popularity has become. The popularity isn’t all that mysterious once you break it down; it has some seriously catchy tunes, and seems to be the flag-bearing standard for what Disney’s current line up is trying to accomplish, namely, producing stories about feisty, tougher princesses who don’t necessarily need a man (though that might be nice); stories about the relationships between women in all of their complexities.

But there’s a gaping hole in these newer films that will likely not be addressed in coming attractions. Can you guess what it is?

[They’re all a bit of a fixer-upper...]

Sun
Jan 4 2015 12:00pm

Why Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Beats All Other Indy Films

Why Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Beats All Other Indy Films

This is one of those opinions that is probably going to get me hauled out to face some sort of tribunal under charges of blasphemy. See, when it comes to Indiana Jones, most hardcore fans will say it’s Raiders, obviously. Raiders of the Lost Ark is the best Indiana Jones film, the only one that matters, and for the most part, I completely understand why. It’s our introduction to a beloved pop culture hero, Harrison Ford is a handsome dog in it, the fedora, the whip, Karen Allen being awesome, plus America has only recently gotten over its love affair with beating up Nazis in every WWII-era film it puts out. (Although considering last year's Inglorious Bastards, it might appear that we haven’t gotten over it at all.)

But I’m going to say it: I don’t think it’s the best Indiana Jones film. I think that award goes to The Last Crusade.

[Does anyone here speak English? Or even Ancient Greek…]

Thu
Jan 1 2015 12:00pm

Feral Ewoks and Other Disturbing Things That Star Wars Slides Right By Us

Star Wars, Han Solo, Return of the Jedi, Ewok food

Because the Star Wars films are largely thought of in the “pure entertainment” department, we tend to gloss over little scraps of information that fill out the galaxy and make it seem lived-in. Which is just fine for daily viewing, but what happens when you take a closer look at certain scraps? It’s not exactly pretty. Sure, the Empire Strikes Back features torture and dueling and epic defeat all over the place, but that, as they say—

Well, it ain’t the half of it.

[“It appears that you are to be the main course of a banquet in my honor.”]

Wed
Dec 31 2014 12:00pm

7 Credible Ways The Incredibles 2 Could Work

Earlier this year, news broke that Brad Bird and Pixar will develop a sequel to the beloved Pixar superhero/super family movie, The Incredibles. Despite its popularity and genuine heart, this Pixar film never got a sequel, owing largely to creator/director Brad Bird’s fear of not being able to live up to the quality of the first story.

So, it’s been 10 years since we’ve seen the family Parr and their super-friends (like Frozone!) in action. But was it better to leave a good thing alone? No! The Parrs are the best Pixar thing ever and a sequel would be amazing. Here’s seven totally reasonable directions a sequel could take.

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 29 2014 4:00pm

Joy, Sorrow, Regret, and Reassurance: The Singular Beauty of The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, while sometimes categorized as YA, is generally hailed as a story for all ages. As much as I love the book, I didn’t read it until I was in college, so my initial introduction into Beagle’s world (like many fans my age, I suspect) came courtesy of the 1982 Rankin/Bass animated movie of the same name.

While I can’t speak to the experience of reading the novel as a child, I certainly believe that a story as beautifully crafted and enduring as this one will resonate with readers of various ages and experience. I’d argue that the movie also has plenty to recommend it to adult fantasy fans, and is far more advanced in its themes than the vast majority of animated children’s entertainment. And while it stays very true to the book in many ways, the film manages to foreground certain elements of the original story that give it a very powerful, very unique appeal for children. Don’t get me wrong: it’s kind of a strange film, but therein lies its magic. It speaks to younger viewers in a manner that very few films ever do.

[“They passed down all the roads long ago, and the Red Bull ran close behind them and covered their footprints…”]

Mon
Dec 29 2014 2:00pm

Thor and Loki are Probably Naked Onscreen Most of the Time

Thor Loki Tom Hiddleston Chris Hemsworth The Avengers

There’s a deleted scene from Thor where the big guy and his brother have a chat right before he goes into the grand hall to be coronated. (We all remember how well that works out for him.) He’s got the jitters and Loki is engaging in a good old game of brotherly banter to get Thor’s mind out of Lake Anxiety. The teasing eventually falls back onto their associative animals, drawing attention to Loki’s glorious, horned helm.

But… where’d he get that thing anyhow?

[It was probably a birthday present.]

Fri
Dec 26 2014 3:30pm

Defanged, but Not Declawed: Into the Woods

Into the Woods, Little Red Riding Hood

Into the Woods has been a point of concern to everyone who knows the show since the Disney and Rob Marshall set out to make it happen as a film. Why? Let’s just say there are many aspects to the tale that are not exactly Disney-friendly, particularly in regard to how Disney does fairy tales. And while it’s good to find they didn’t abandon the ugliness of that world altogether, they do pull enough punches to make it irritating.

[I wish…]

Tue
Dec 23 2014 1:43pm

Fast & Furious Director Justin Lin to Direct Star Trek 3

Justin Lin Star Trek 3 director Roberto Orci

After the game of musical chairs that has been securing a director for Star Trek 3, Deadline reports that Paramount Pictures has nailed down Justin Lin to helm the third rebooted Trek film.

Roberto Orci stepped down from the project earlier this month amid rumors that studio executives didn’t like his script. Lin’s was one of the five names that cropped up after Orci’s exit; so far, the response in the blogosphere has been tepid, as Lin is best known for the Fast and Furious movies, and because he isn't Edgar Wright.

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 22 2014 2:00pm

The Hobbit Reread: Concluding with The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit Battle of Five Armies

Welcome back to the chapter-by-chapter reread of The Hobbit, which is now concluded with this discussion of The Battle of the Five Armies, a.k.a. the adaptation of the last seven chapters.

Previously: we reread The Hobbit chapter-by-chapter (and The Lord of the Rings before it). I liked An Unexpected Journey more than I expected, but found The Desolation of Smaug to be like butter that has been scraped over too much bread—which is apparently the reverse of the general critical consensus.

What about this movie, the last adapting The Hobbit and the last Tolkien movie we can expect for the foreseeable future? (Before someone makes the inevitable Silmarillion-in-fifty-parts joke: it would have to be literally over the dead bodies of both Christopher Tolkien and his son, and even then I wouldn’t count on it.) Behind the jump, I’ll discuss what I thought the movie was trying to do, how well it achieved that, and a bit of what might have been. As always, spoilers for the movies and everything Tolkien (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and various posthumous tidbits).

[Read more…]

Mon
Dec 22 2014 12:00pm

Have Yourself a Dark and Terrifying Christmas

Dark Santa

Are you tired of It’s a Wonderful Life? Has the Elf plummeted from the Shelf? I’ve gathered some darker Christmas fare—from Krampus tales to explorations of addiction, from Hideous Laughing Reindeer to machine guns—so allow me to fill your stocking with some twisted holiday classics!

[Ho-Ho-Ho.]

Mon
Dec 22 2014 10:00am

Getting Into Into the Woods

Into the Woods

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, are chronically late to the theater and always miss the previews, or are deathly allergic to the smell of popcorn and artificial butter and so haven’t been to movies full stop, then you are almost certain to be aware that Disney’s cinematic retelling of Steven Sondheim’s classic musical Into the Woods is being released in a few weeks as a Christmas present to lovers of fairy tales and/or Johnny Depp everywhere. As a long time fan of Sondheim and of Into the Woods in particular my initial reaction was, ‘Really? Disney?’

This is NOT because I am a Disney hater. I live fifteen minutes from the park and got a report this week from Disney’s passholder services, who were ever so gently reminding me to renew, that I’ve visited the park no less than sixty or so times in the past couple of years. No, the reason for my reaction was that Sondheim’s musical is anything but your typical Disney faire. Very adult themes are addressed in the musical including rape, infidelity, child abandonment, stealing, lying, murder, and so on. None of the characters are classic heroes, many of the main characters die horribly, and the final song is basically the moral counterpoint to ole Jiminy Cricket’s suggestion that when you wish upon a star, “anything your heart desires will come to you.”

I realize that the musical Into the Woods is now over a quarter of a century old, having made its way onto Broadway in 1987, so many readers and moviegoers may not be familiar with the story. So, let us then dive into this steamy plot so you can get a sense of the many challenges that Disney faced in making a film for general audiences from Sondheim’s original work.

[Read More]

Fri
Dec 19 2014 10:00am

Global Franchises, Particle Physics, and Manhattan as a Hell Dimension: The Ghostbusters 3 Movies That Could Have Been

Ghostbusters 3 alternate plots

The latest treasures from the Sony email hack include Ivan Reitman’s proposal for a Ghostbusters 3 that would reunite the original Ghostbusters as well as pave the way for the next generation. In a 2013 email to Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal, Reitman laid out the plot for what he called Ghostbusters: Alive Again. However, with Harold Ramis’ passing in 2014, this version was scrapped.

While it sounds like the strongest idea for a third installment, it’s definitely not the first. Ghostbusters 3 has stopped and started so many times since the 1990s, with at least five different versions rumored over the past 20 years. Read on for Dan Aykroyd’s multiple drafts, Reitman’s pitch, and what Ghostbusters 3 director Paul Feig is actually planning to do.

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 2:00pm

What of the King Under the Mountain? The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Thorin, Bilbo

It was a cue that the overall tone of the final Hobbit film had been altered when it’s subtitle was changed from There and Back Again to The Battle of the Five Armies. And while the film has its fair share of dazzling moments, it does prove what many fans had bemoaned from the very start of this enterprise: it should have been two films, not three.

Minor spoilers for the film (and book) below.

[Tea is at four. Don’t bother knocking.]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 11:10am

It’s a Good Thing Neil Gaiman Was Kidding About Tom Hiddleston Playing Morpheus in Sandman

Neil Gaiman Morpheus casting Sandman Benedict Cumberbatch Tom Hiddleston

In a recent interview with Radio Times, Neil Gaiman threw out potential candidates to play Morpheus in the upcoming adaptation of his Sandman graphic novel series. Some suggestions were legitimate, as he talked about one-time candidates now too old for the role; but once he started joking about Englishmen and their cheekbones, we should have known not to take him seriously.

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 10:00am

‘Twas the Dark Knight Before Christmas: Batman Returns

Batman Returns Christmas

This year marked the 75th anniversary of Batman, so it seems only fitting to close out the year with Tim Burton’s classic Christmas movie, Batman Returns.

When it was released back in the summer of 1992, the movie was greeted as an oddball failure. Sure, it made enough money to warrant another sequel, but it suffered a sharp drop off at the box office after a big opening weekend and it faced a backlash from audiences who found it too dark, too sexual, and too weird. One can hardly blame the good people of ’92, though. Batman Returns is indeed one the strangest blockbusters ever made.

[It’s also one of the most interesting.]

Tue
Dec 16 2014 4:23pm

The 2014 Black List Features Artificial Intelligence Thrillers, Space Angst, and Apocalyptic Family Dramas

The Black List 2014 genre movies sci-fi fantasy superheroes supernaturalSince 2004, every December has seen the publication of The Black List, a survey of Hollywood executives’ favorite unproduced screenplays of the past year. What started as a fun exercise has gained traction as a development tool for aspiring screenwriters; several movies that have appeared on The Black List have gone on to be produced, including 2014 films Transcendence and The Imitation Game.

Of the 70 screenplays featured on The Black List 2014, about one-quarter were genre stories. Read on to see which under-the-radar scripts—featuring moon colony murders, pill-popping superheroes, alien baby showers, and possessed newlyweds—might end up on the silver screen one day soon.

[Read more]

Tue
Dec 16 2014 12:00pm

How Do We Categorize The Nightmare Before Christmas?

Nightmare Before Christmas

Is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween movie, or a Christmas movie? In terms of worldbuilding, it’s obviously both—it’s about a bunch of Halloween-town residents taking over Christmas from Santa Claus.

But worldbuilding elements don’t suffice as genre classifiers, or else black comedies wouldn’t exist. Creators deliberately apply worldbuilding elements from one genre to another for pure frission’s sake. Consider Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (speaking of Christmas movies), which takes a New York noir character, a down-on-his-luck con, and drops him into an LA noir scenario of movie glitz and private eyes; or Rian Johnson’s amazing Brick, a noir story engine driving high school characters. Fantasy literature is rife with this sort of behavior—consider Steven Brust’s use of crime drama story in the Vlad Taltos books, or for that matter the tug of war between detective fiction and fantasy that propels considerable swaths of urban fantasy. If we classify stories solely by the worldbuilding elements they contain, we’re engaging in the same fallacy as the Certain Kind of Book Review that blithely dismisses all science fiction as “those books with rockets.”

[Read More]

Fri
Dec 12 2014 12:00pm

5 More Crossovers that Make as Much Sense as Jump Street/MIB

Pacific Rim Night at the Museum mash-up

Everyone’s very excited about the leaked Sony e-mails featuring foul language, cinematic events that never were, and occasionally the bagel preferences of Andrew Garfield. Aside from the brutal news that you’ll likely not see Spider-Man in Captain America 3 (but we can still hope!) the most bizarre news is that Sony has plans for a possible crossover between the so-wacky-you-can’t-handle-them-oops-they’re-cops franchise Jump Street and the aging who-cares-nobody-anymore-that’s-who ’90s alien-hunter franchise, Men in Black.

What you didn’t know is that there are (probably) even more comedy films mashed-up with beloved genre films that totally make just as much sense.  

[Read more]

Thu
Dec 11 2014 2:50pm

Trailer for Song of the Sea, From the Same Team that Brought Us The Secret of Kells

Song of the Sea

The Secret of Kells was pretty much the greatest in feature length animation in the 21st Century. (I know! Fighting words for Miyazaki and Pixar fans...) So I really can’t tell you how excited I am to see that the same team is bringing us Song of the Sea, a selkie story, later this month. It’s a limited release but judging from this trailer and the screen shots below, it’ll be well worth seeking out!

[Watch the Trailer]

Wed
Dec 10 2014 1:10pm

Pixar’s New Trailer for Inside Out Gives Us The Parents’ Perspective!

Inside Out

Most movies aimed at kids stay squarely in the kid’s point-of-view, but Pixar has always defied this trope by giving us well-rounded adults, too. (Has there been a more dedicated cinematic Dad than Marlin? A more realistic married couple than Bob and Helen Parr?) This UK trailer for Inside Out is no exception, taking us into the minds of main character Riley’s parents, as well as giving us a glimpse of Riley’s own purple-hued mind! There is also a Brazilian helicopter pilot.

[Check out the full trailer below!]