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New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “Tom and Jerry Could Do With Some Fine-Toonin'”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and Maggie Iken for the eighth episode of the year. We talk about the release of the trailer for Army of the Dead and the release of Tom and Jerry on HBO Max.

You can listen to back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

New Podcast! The Time is Now – Season 3, Episode 16 (“Saturn Dreaming of Mercury”)

Last year, I was thrilled to spend a lot of time on The Time is Now discussing the second season of Millennium. Since the podcast has moved on to the third season, I have taken something of a step back as a guest. That said, I was flattered to get an invitation to discuss Saturn Dreaming of Mercury with host Kurt North.

To describe Saturn Dreaming of Mercury as a “strange” episode is something of an understatement. It’s an ambitious and thematically rich meditation on the idea of parenthood, and the responsibilities and fears that come with that, but framed through a lens close to abstract surrealism. It’s one of the most distinct and unusual episodes in the larger Ten Thirteen canon, even if I am not entirely sure that I can explain what exactly happens in it.

As ever, you can listen directly to the episode here, subscribe to the podcast here, or click the link below.

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Non-Review Review: Raya and the Last Dragon

Raya and the Last Dragon offers a reminder of just how quietly and efficiently Disney have managed their animated properties.

For a while at the turn of the millennium, the company seemed to struggle to defines its place among younger and hungrier animation studios like Pixar or Dreamworks. The company responded with a push away from the princess-centric movies like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas and Mulan that had anchored their renaissance-era output, pivoting sharply: first to animated movies aimed at boys like Atlantis and Treasure Planet, and then to computer-animated adventures like Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons and Bolt.

Raya hope?

However, towards the end of the decade, the company arguably found its feet again, with a wave of somewhat traditionalist stories. The Princess and the Frog is often treated as the end of an era of hand-drawn animation, but it also marked a rejuvenation of the classic “princess” movie. It was followed by Tangled, Frozen, Moana and Frozen II, all of which were computer-animated takes on a familiar Disney archetype.

Raya and the Last Dragon is a reminder of just how sturdy that old “princess” movie template is, demonstrating the hard work that the company has put in to keep its oldest archetype both resonant and recognisable.

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New Escapist Column! On “Mad Max: Fury Road”, and the Elastic Boundaries Between “High” and “Low” Culture…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. There’s been a lot of debate recently about the boundaries between “art” and “content”, which can frequently sound like a debate about “high” and “low” culture, so I thought it was worth taking a look at how porous those boundaries can be.

On paper, Mad Max: Fury Road should be a standard franchise film. It’s the fourth film in the Mad Max franchise, serving as a vague sequel or even reboot to one of Australia’s most successful movie franchises. It cost a lot of money. It features a lot of special effects. It has very little dialogue. However, in spire of that, it is arguably as pure an expression of cinema as an artform as has every existed, and demonstrates how elastic and how illusory arguments about “high” and “low” culture truly are.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 6, Episode 12 (“One Son”)

Coinciding with The X-Files‘ move from Vancouver to Los Angeles, there has also been a shift at The X-Cast. Tony Black is no longer running the show, but it is instead now being run by Sarah Blair, Kurt North and Carl Sweeney. I was thrilled to join Carl to talk about one of the most important episodes in the show’s history: One Son.

With One Son, the show closes the book on one of the most important chapters in its history. Kind of. Sort of. A little bit. Of course, it was also about drawing down the curtain in other ways. There’s a very credible argument to be made that this mid-season two-parter marked the last time that The X-Files was truly event television. This makes One Son an interesting and complicated piece of television, a bit of ambitious storytelling that has to cover a lot of ground very ruthlessly. The result is an episode that isn’t entirely successful, but is still fascinating.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Escapist Video! “A Marvelous Escape” – Re-Runs…

With a slew of Marvel Studios productions coming to Disney+ over the next six months, The Escapist has launched a weekly show discussing these series. I’ll be joining the wonderful Jack Packard and the fantastic KC Nwosu to break down WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki as they come out.

This week, we take a look at the eighth (and penultimate) episode of WandaVision, which offers a lot of backstory and a healthy dose of retcons. It’s a mixed back as the show beds down for its endgame, combining beautiful lines and interesting images with decidedly unambitious plotting and clunky construction.

New Escapist Column! On How “Superman and Lois” Finds Superman Saving Smallville…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. Given the premiere of Superman and Lois this week, it seemed like a good time to take a look at the new show, and the new spin that it puts on the classic Superman mythos.

Smallville has always been an essential part of Superman’s backstory, even before it was named as such. When Superman was created, it made sense to bring some rural values into anonymous and hostile cities, with Superman importing many of the progressive ideas that he inherited from his adopted parents to the crime- and depression-ridden American cities. However, times have changed. Superman and Lois finds Clark returning to a version of Smallville that is at once unrecognisable and familiar. Superman and Lois shrewdly reverse’s the character’s classic journey.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Podcast! Enterprising Individuals – “More Mooney, More Problems”

I am always thrilled to get a chance to talk about Star Trek with other fans, so I was thrilled at the invitation to join the wonderful Aaron Coker on Enterprising Individuals to talk about The Immunity Syndrome. The bulk of the episode came out last week, and is well worth your time if you’re specifically interested in discussing that individual episode.

However, the initial recording session was actually much longer than the version that appeared last week. It was a more casual and free-form conversation, covering everything from the state of the modern franchise to Doctor Who and plenty of stuff beyond. It’s a bit unfocused and wild, but I really enjoyed chatting with Aaron on such a wide range of topics.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

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New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “Was Mortal Kombat a Video Game Movie Klassic?”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and KC Nwosu for the seventh episode of the year. We talk about the various permutations of Mortal Kombat and the Netflix movie Space Sweepers.

You can listen to back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

New Escapist Video! On the Multiverse is the Way of the Future…

So, as I have mentioned before, I am launching a new video series as a companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch with the Monday article, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel the following week. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film channel – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, we took a look at the emergence of the multiverse, which appears to be the future of various shared cinematic and television universe. Why is this idea suddenly so popular? What does it mean? What does it hold for the future?