Short Film Showcase #5

Two Dollar Bill (2016)
Written & Directed by Hannah Marks

Hannah Marks was born into the industry, the daughter of actors, granddaughter to a musician. She made her debut in 2006’s Accepted, a middling Justin Long vehicle. Along the way, she became interested in directing and has jumped into the deep end. After a series of successfully received shorts, she’s made a feature film with another in the pipeline.

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Comic Book Review – Promethea Volume 1

Promethea Volume 1 (2000)
Written by Alan Moore
Art by J.H. Williams

Alan Moore has always been a remixer of comics history and iconography. In 1999 he started his own imprint of Wildstorm (which was then a division of DC Comics), called America’s Best. The name was a repurposing of a defunct line of comics from the 1940s, which featured superheroes now lost to the memories of the general public like Black Terror and Fighting Yank. Moore stayed in that vein of pulpy, Golden Age stories centering this line around four core titles: Tom Strong, Top 10, Tomorrow Stories, and Promethea. Each book examined an archetype comics in typical Moore fashion, deconstructing the tropes and reinterpreting commonly accepted norms.

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My Favorite Stephen King Movies

There are a LOT of bad Stephen King movies out there. The Tommyknockers. Dreamcatcher. Maximum Overdrive. Sleepwalkers. Thinner. I’d argue there are more lousy King adaptations than good ones. But his work resonates with audiences so profoundly that I suspect the films will keep coming for far beyond his and our lifetimes. Here are my personal favorites of movies made based on his work with some thoughts about them.

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M. Night Ranked

Never before have I experience the type of drastic shift from confidence to disdain for a director as I have for M. Night Shyamalan over the last twenty years. It was twenty years ago this week, on August 6th of 1999 that his third feature film, The Sixth Sense, opened in theaters. I haven’t watched his first two films and am saving those for a later date because from all accounts The Sixth Sense was a significant sea change for the creator. It was the movie that made him into the household name he’s become, for better or worse. In honor of this twentieth anniversary, I decided to rank M. Night’s pictures.

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Comic Book Reviews – 52 Volume Four

52 Volume Four
Reprints 52 #40-52
Written by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
Art by Keith Giffen, Chris Batista, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Darick Robertson, Dan Jurgens, Eddy Barrows, Jamal Igle, Patrick Olliffe, Justiniano, Joe Bennett, and Mike McKone

Here it is, the final chapter in 52 and this summer series. Things kick-off without missing a beat as Steel has his showdown with Lex Luthor. The Everyman Project has been revealed as crooked with hundreds of people dead. The Teen Titans and what remains of Infinity Inc work alongside Steel to take down Luthor. Luthor uses Everyman and his suite of powers only to be outsmarted by Steel. Things are pretty clean and to the point which results in a reasonably satisfying conclusion to this arc. It’s a good thing because there are a lot of story beats left in the remaining eleven issues. The creator commentary in these collections lets us know that behind the scenes the writers and editors were panicking to bring all these storylines to a satisfying conclusion before the series ended.

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My Favorite Underrated Disney Movies

With the release of the CG Lion King remake, I got to thinking about which Disney movies I love that don’t get that love in return. Here are my thoughts on my favorite underrated Disney animated flicks.

The Sword in the Stone (1963, dir. Wolfgang Reitherman)
While you might think this Disney version of the legend of King Arthur is just based on general stories it is, in fact, an adaptation of T.H. White which was one volume of four in The Once and Future King series, which was in turn a more modern updating of Sir Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Not only that, Walt Disney was inspired to approve the project as the studio’s next feature after seeing the Broadway musical Camelot in 1960. Instead of a high adventure film, The Sword in the Stone is a light comedy, focusing purely on Arthur’s adolescence and the first few months of training with the wizard Merlin. The primary arc of the film is not about Arthur becoming the king but finding strength and bravery within himself. Along the way, there’s lots of great visual comedy, especially when Merlin and his rival Madam Mim start breaking out the spells.

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Comic Book Review – 52 Volume Three

52 Volume 3
Reprints 52 #27-39
Written by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
Art by Keith Giffen, Joe Bennett, Drew Johnson, Chris Batista, Patrick Olliffe, Tom Derenick, Joe Prado, Phil Jimenez, Dan Jurgens, Jamal Igle, and Andy Smith

The third volume of 52 is all about bringing our characters to those moments of darkness, showing that all hope may be lost to set up the conclusion for the fourth volume. Volume three is probably my favorite of the four collections for that reason, and it does some impressive things, like make the Lost in Space storyline enjoyable. Lobo is still there, but a new enemy is introduced that truly feels dangerous.

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