Where the Trains Turn November 19, 2014 Where the Trains Turn Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen His imagination runs wild. The Walk November 12, 2014 The Walk Dennis Etchison Creative differences can be brutal. Where the Lost Things Are November 5, 2014 Where the Lost Things Are Rudy Rucker and Terry Bisson Everything has to wind up somewhere. A Kiss with Teeth October 29, 2014 A Kiss with Teeth Max Gladstone Happy Halloween.
From The Blog
November 18, 2014
The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare’s Histories in the Age of Netflix
Ada Palmer
November 17, 2014
In Defense of Indiana Jones, Archaeologist
Max Gladstone
November 14, 2014
An Uncut and Non-Remastered List of Star Wars Editions!
Leah Schnelbach
November 13, 2014
Why Do We Reject Love as a Powerful Force in Interstellar?
Natalie Zutter
November 11, 2014
The Well-Lit Knight Rises: How 1960s Batman Shaped Our Bat-Thoughts Forever
Ryan Britt
Showing posts by: Thom Dunn click to see Thom Dunn's profile
Nov 18 2014 4:00pm

It’s a Hard Knock Life: Gotham, “Harvey Dent”

Gotham Harvey Dent

“Harvey Dent” is the latest in a longstanding tradition of Gotham episodes that introduce the title character but otherwise have very little to do with said character—okay so this is only the second time out of nine episodes that’s happened, but still. The show probably could have gotten away with a Two-Face-related title to offer some kind of thematic unity, as one could argue that this week’s various plots did relate in some way to a conflict of opposites.

That being said: as an episode, “Harvey Dent” was all right, offering viewers a standard case-of-the-week that tied in well with the overarching storyline, and sub-plots that were mostly contained and impactful. I’ll take it!

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Nov 17 2014 5:00pm

Constantine: A “Feast” of Burden

Constantine Feast of Friends

This week’s Constantine goes back to the well and pulls its plot straight from the pages of the very first Hellblazer storyline, in which one of Constantine’s old drug buddies bites off more than he can chew with a hunger demon named Mnemoth and a raging heroin addiction—both of which require help from our reluctant anti-hero.

(There’s also probably an ebola metaphor somewhere in there but I suspect that was entirely coincidental.)

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Nov 11 2014 2:00pm

Gotham Goes Fight Club: “The Mask”

Gotham The Mask

It goes without saying that masks are a popular motif in comic books and their derivative stories—the concealment of identity, and the expression of an inner self that is ironically freed through the art of disguise. Being that this is such well-worn territory within the genre, it can sometimes be a risk for a story to fall back on those same conventions. But after a case-free episode that I found incredibly disappointing (though I was apparently the only one), this week’s Durden-esque episode of Gotham found its footing in those familiar tropes, and used the overarching theme of “masks” to tie the central case-of-the-week and all the tangent sub-plots together into one of the most satisfying and singularly unified episodes of the season so far.

[And they didn’t even have to use any Jim Carrey jokes!]

Nov 10 2014 4:00pm

Third Time’s a Charm: Constantine, “The Devil’s Vinyl”

Constantine The Devil's Vinyl

After two attempts at a pilot episode, Constantine finally says “Screw it,” asks the drummer for a four-count on the sticks, then launches into a pulsing, distorted barrage that makes “The Devil’s Music” literal.

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Nov 5 2014 11:00am

Constantine Re-Pilot: A Miner “Darkness Beneath”

Constanting The Darkness Beneath

This week on Constantine, our titular hero travels to Western Pennsylvania to uncover the strange case of setting viewers up for the standard case-of-the-week format while also introducing us to a new feisty femme sidekick, after our previous audience-surrogate was unceremoniously removed from the end of the pilot episode. Oh, and there’s other plot stuff that happens too, but whatever.

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Nov 4 2014 11:00am

A Penguin Goes HONK! HONK! Gotham: “Penguin’s Umbrella”

Gotham Penguin's Umbrella

This week on Gotham: every lingering plot thread converges!…and yet somehow nothing actually happens, excepting the single most absurd 11th hour plot twist this show has yet seen (which is saying a lot). Oh, and Barbara Kean finally does something for once. Kind of.

SPOILERS to follow, but since nothing of consequence happens, who cares.

[Read More]

Oct 28 2014 10:30am

The Goatman Bleateth! Gotham: “Spirit of the Goat”

Gotham: Spirit of the Goat

This week on a Very Special Halloween Episode of Gotham, we explore the past, as plot threads dovetail towards the future. Oh, and Bullock finally gets his due. Kind of.

[Read more]

Oct 27 2014 9:30am

Constantine: “Non Est Asylum”

Constantine: Non Est Asylum

After a middling grab for the big screen several years back, everyone’s favorite misanthropic chain-smoking bisexual British occult detective has finally landed on NBC with his own weekly television series, just in time for Halloween spookiness. But is it enough to wipe away the memories of the movie version of Constantine? Let’s look at the first episode of the series, “Non Est Asylum.”

[Constantine premieres on the small screen]

Oct 21 2014 10:30am

Got Milk? Gotham: “Viper”

Gotham Viper

This week’s episode of Gotham was all about the good things in life: food, sex, and drugs. And also Lil’ Baby Brucy doing detective work like a real grown-up Batman, plus the kind of drug-addled super-villainy that you expect find with a real grown-up Batman. But mostly it’s about food, sex, and drugs.

[Read More]

Oct 14 2014 11:30am

Gotham: Arkham? I Hardly Know ’em!

Gotham Arkham

This week on Gotham: the personal gets political and the politics get personal as the city’s economic policies intersect with the coming turf war, and Barbara Kean (Gordon-to-be) does something I never, ever, ever, expected to see happen. SPOILERS ahoy....

[Read More]

Oct 7 2014 9:30am

Yes Father, I Shall Become... A Weather Balloon! Gotham: “The Balloonman”


This week’s Gotham brought some much-needed lightness to the series, showing us that despite all its corruption, there are still some good intentions floating through the air of Gotham City, and it’s infectious. More importantly, the episode introduced us to fan-favorite Batman character, Balloonman. What, you guys don’t remember Balloonman? He fought Bane that one time? Wait no that was...huh. That’s weird...

[Read More]

Sep 30 2014 1:30pm

Gotham: “Selina Kyle”

Gotham Selina Kyle

This week on Batman Minus Batman Gotham: self-harm! Child trafficking! Drunk driving! Lots of creepos being creepy! Metal \m/ ! And an adolescent homeless girl who insists on calling herself “Cat.”

[SPOILERS ahead]

Sep 23 2014 11:15am

Welcome to Gotham — Hope You Survive The Experience!


And yes, I realize the title of this post is an X-Men reference; no, I don’t care.

Last night was the world premiere of the highly-anticipated Gotham on the Fox network, a police-procedural-slash-superhero-origin-story about the fabled Gotham City in the days before the Batman—because what’s more populist than a cop drama and comic book show combined? The show tries to be a lot of things at the same time and for the most part succeeds, but its catch-all strengths are also its shortcoming as it can’t quite decide if it’s Dick Tracy, Batman Begins, SVU, or a Raymond Chandler novel. But if you’re a fan of camp and/or noir (which I am), you should be pleased.

Let’s head back to Crime Alley and take a look at what happened in last night’s episode

[SPOILERS to follow, obviously]

Aug 26 2014 11:00am

Who’s Your Daddy? (Star-Lord Edition)

Chris Pratt Star-Lord Guardians of the Galaxy Peter Quill

It’s the question that’s on everybody’s mind (at least after “How do I get my own Groot?”): who is the man that fathered Chris Pratt’s lovable half-human scoundrel in Guardians of the Galaxy?

The origin of 616-Comic-Book-Star-Lord is incredibly convoluted and full of retroactive changes, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe offers a new opportunity to streamline and reimagine his story. We’ll have to wait until July 28, 2017 for the definitive answer, but in the meantime, we can follow the breadcrumbs that were left behind in the film and subsequent publicity interviews around it, and they might lead us to a few rational theories about the identity of our mystery man...

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Jul 29 2014 9:00am

You Will Believe A Tree Can Steal Your Heart. Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy movie review

First of all, I would like to point out that I did in fact resist the urge to write this entire review in Grootspeak, which I think should count for something.

In case you’ve been living under a rock pile of vintage analog audio equipment, Guardians of the Galaxy is the latest offering from Marvel Studios. The movie follows the adventures of Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord and a bunch of other obscure Marvel characters that are almost too weird to be real but are in fact quite indicative of Marvel’s 70s output. Which is appropriate, considering the movie’s anachronistic soundtrack (as evidenced by the overuse of Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling”) in the advertising campaign. But if you’re anything like me, and somehow haven’t gotten sick of the ironic juxtaposition of 70s pop music set against the backdrop of a technicolor Mos Eisley, I’m here to tell you that Guardian’s of the Galaxy is the greatest remake of Footloose that you will likely ever see.

[Read more]

Jul 8 2014 1:15pm

17 Minutes of Guardians of the Galaxy Was Not Enough

On Monday July 7, Marvel hosted an exclusive preview screening of Guardians of the Galaxy at several movie theatres across the country, and I was one of the lucky few who got to attend (Pro tip: Annual Plus Membership on Marvel’s Unlimited app gets you all kinds of sweet perks). However, unlike other preview screenings I’ve attended, this was only a 17-minute sneak peek, which is something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. I know that sometimes movie studios will release a short scene for free online to promote the film, or attach it a 5-minute preview to another film in theatres, but...showing up at the movie theatres to watch 17-minutes of a movie that comes out in a month? That’s kinda weird, right?

And yet, I did it. I went, and I stood in line to watch a 17-minute “extended preview” of Guardians of the Galaxy, and I regret every second of it.

[Spoilers to follow]

Apr 24 2014 10:00am

The Light, the Heat of Joss Whedon’s In Your Eyes

In Your Eyes is a new Peter Gabriel jukebox musical magical realist romance which tells the story of star-crossed lovers who share a psychic link and can literally see the world through each others’ eyes, despite having never met. The screenplay was written several years ago by Joss Whedon who, in the wake of his Much Ado About Nothing self-production success, tapped director Brin Hill to bring the film to life under Bellweather, LLC, the new small budget production company run by Whedon and his wife, Kai Cole.

There’s been a lot of excitement about Whedon’s decision to release the film on VOD immediately following its Sunday night premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival — the man knows his niche marketing, and has had similar indie success with Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog and Mucho Ado About Nothing. The end product is an enjoyable film that, while a refreshing change from Whedon’s oeuvre, never quite transcends “generic quirky indie romance.”

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Apr 11 2014 1:00pm

This Week’s Game-Changing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Was Exactly The Problem With The Show

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. posterAs the credits rolled on Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, I turned to my friend and said, “That movie was everything that I’ve wanted Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to be.” But despite what the producers might think, it wasn’t because of the marquee names and big explosive action scenes. I was talking about the espionage, the intrigue and excitement of plainclothes heroes digging deeper and deeper into a conspiracy and trying to do what's objectively “right” in an increasingly complicated world. 

Fortunately, this week’s game-changing episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. got me pretty excited. Unfortunately, that’s also the problem with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and why I fear it’s doomed to fail. (*spoilers for the show and Captain America: The Winter Soldier* to follow, obviously)

[Read more]

Mar 7 2014 10:00am

But That Contradicts the Entire Premise of The Terminator!

Terminator Arnold SchwarzeneggerRumor has it that the upcoming Terminator: Genesis film will pull a similar hybrid-soft-reboot trick as JJ Abrams’ recent Star Trek films, in order to simultaneously exist in tandem with the rest of The Terminator franchise, while also establishing a clean slate for itself from which to launch a new series of films. Allegedly, this new Terminator film will revisit several key moments from T1 and T2. But at some point, somewhere, something will go awry and create a parallel tangent universe that enables the story to continue free of the restraints of the established continuity.

That’s all good and well, except for the part where that completely contradicts the established rules of time travel in The Terminator universe.

[Read More]

Nov 14 2013 11:00am

The Geek’s Guide to Dating Should Be Required Reading For All of Geekdom

The Geek's Guide to Dating Eric SmithThere are plenty of criticisms that can be justly leveraged against dating / self-help books as a genre. And yet, people continue write them, because people continue to buy them, because people are always looking for that one little trick to success that no one else has ever figured out—except, of course, for this author of the book, who purports to believe that his/her generic-at-best or sociopathically-manipulative-at-worst book is, in fact, that end-all-be-all answer that everyone has been looking, and that only s/he is brilliant enough to have discovered.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that, by comparison, The Geek’s Guide To Dating by Eric Smith is the worst dating/self-help book ever written because it is so genuinely delightful without being at all presumptuous. In fact, it’s so spot-on and utterly enjoyable that I think it should be up there with Dune, The Lord of the Rings, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as required reading for geekdom.

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