Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David." The Museum and the Music Box March 18, 2015 The Museum and the Music Box Noah Keller History is rotting away, just like the museum. The Thyme Fiend March 11, 2015 The Thyme Fiend Jeffrey Ford It's not all in his head. The Shape of My Name March 4, 2015 The Shape of My Name Nino Cipri How far can you travel to claim yourself?
From The Blog
March 24, 2015
Protecting What You Love: On the Difference Between Criticism, Rage, and Vilification
Emily Asher-Perrin
March 23, 2015
Language as Power in Shakespeare’s The Tempest
Katharine Duckett
March 16, 2015
What Changes To Expect in Game of Thrones Season Five
Bridget McGovern
March 13, 2015
Five Books with Fantastic Horses
Patricia Briggs
March 13, 2015
Is Ladyhawke the Best Fairy Tale of Them All?
Leah Schnelbach
Jan 8 2015 4:45pm

The LEGO Movie 2 Will Be Meta, But Not About Its Sequel-Ness

The LEGO Movie 2 plot hints

Screenwriting team Phil Lord and Chris Miller currently have the market cornered on hilariously self-aware movies: Last year’s The LEGO Movie was a surprise hit with all age groups for its commentary on conformity, creativity, and imagination; not to mention that 22 Jump Street skewered itself for being a sequel rehashing the laughs of the original, thus managing to become something entirely new.

Now, Miller and Lord have to find a way to write The LEGO Movie 2 without going the 22 Jump Street route, while still retaining the Specialness of the original. And they’ve given some hints as to how they’re going to do it.

[Read more]

Jan 8 2015 3:13pm

Viola Davis is Prepping to Play Suicide Squad’s Amanda Waller

Viola Davis Amanda Waller Suicide Squad casting

When the majority of Warner Bros’ Suicide Squad cast was announced last month, comic book fans wondered who would play a part just as important as the rogues gallery-turned-government black-ops force: Amanda Waller, who brings together the Joker, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Rick Flag, Boomerang, and Enchantress. Immediately there were rumors that Oprah Winfrey and Viola Davis were in the running; now, recent comments from Davis all but confirm her involvement in the movie.

[Read more]

Jan 8 2015 11:00am

All Tim Burton Movies Occur in the Same Universe

Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton, Burtonverse

Tim Burton—a director often noted for his visual vernacular, his love of the macabre, and his dedication to heroic outcasts. A director who creates worlds where the mundane and the fantastically strange collide messily, often resulting in magic or terror. There is a certain flair, a flavor to Burton films that easily set them apart from the work of other directors and the majority of mainstream cinema.

But could it be more than that? Could these films actually exist in the same world—could all of them apply? And would that finally explain why every character looks like Johnny Depp?

[Before he came it never snowed.]

Jan 6 2015 1:00pm

Journeys, Desolations, and Battles: Jackson’s Trifold Hobbit in Review

The Hobbit

Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films get a lot of flak for being overwrought and overlong. Many of the criticisms are valid enough (I have some of my own), some are a matter of taste, and some, I feel, are simply misguided. My view, as a fan of Tolkien first and Jackson second, is that the naysayers are judging the films for what they’re not. They are not a cinematic translation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel but an adaptation in the truest sense of the word. And they are specifically an adaptation of events in Middle-earth 60 years prior to Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday party which include those covered in The Hobbit and the appendices of The Lord of the Rings.

[Unlike the lost Seeing-stones, all six films are all accounted for at last. Spoilers below!]

Jan 6 2015 12:25pm

The Gambit Movie Gets a 2016 Release Date

Gambit movie release date 2016

When 20th Century Fox confirmed its Gambit standalone film starring Channing Tatum a few months ago, we wondered where it would fit within the X-Men film slate. Now that the release date has been announced, we have a better idea of how all three of 2016’s X-Men movies will link into one another. That’s right, all three.

[Read more]

Jan 5 2015 4:09pm

Snoopy Chases the Red Baron Through Paris in the First Full-Length Peanuts Trailer

Peanuts movie trailer

The first full-length trailer for the CGI Peanuts movie doesn’t tell you much about the plot, but it does help you get used to the different animation style. The comforting sight of Snoopy taking flight after the Red Baron gets even more familiar when he throws his snout in the air à la the Snoopy dance. Plus, Charlie Brown can’t even catch a break in his own movie.

[Watch the trailer]

Jan 5 2015 1:43pm

Benedict Cumberbatch Will Spend Part of Doctor Strange in the Astral Plane

Doctor Strange Astral Plane Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch has been rather busy portraying Alan Turing to properly give any intel on his casting as Marvel’s Doctor Strange. Now, the Wall Street Journal has gotten him to talk a teeny bit about getting into character to play the Supreme Sorcerer, with some hints to the movie’s more magical elements and how they play into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole.

[Read more]

Jan 5 2015 12:00pm

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...]

Jan 4 2015 1:00pm

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…]

Jan 1 2015 1:00pm

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.”]

Dec 31 2014 1:00pm

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]

Dec 29 2014 5:00pm

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…”]

Dec 29 2014 3:00pm

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.]

Dec 26 2014 4:30pm

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…]

Dec 23 2014 2:43pm

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]

Dec 22 2014 3:00pm

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…]

Dec 22 2014 1:00pm

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!


Dec 22 2014 11:00am

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]

Dec 19 2014 11:00am

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]

Dec 17 2014 3:00pm

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.]