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New Escapist Column! On How “The Heirs of the Dragon” Places House of the Dragon in Daenerys’ Shadow…

I am doing weekly reviews of House of the Dragon at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the Game of Thrones prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next.

Part of what is so interesting about the first episode, The Heirs of the Dragon, is the way in which the show immediately positions itself in the shadow of Daenerys Targaryen, perhaps the biggest breakout character from Game of Thrones. The first three scenes of The Heirs of the Dragon place the show firmly in the context of Daenerys, fixating upon the idea of what it means to be a Targaryen Queen of Westeros. It is a bold move from the show, and a strong statement of purpose, one that immediately establishes House of the Dragon as a series in conversation with Game of Thrones.

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

 

New Escapist Video! On What the Cancellation of “Batgirl” Means for the Future of Streaming…

We’re thrilled to be launching a fortnightly video companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch every second Monday, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel. And the video will be completely separate from the written content. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, we took a look at the recent cancellation of Batgirl, following the merger of Warner Bros. and Discovery Media. There has been a lot of noise and shouting about the decision from various angry corners of the internet, but what does it actually mean? And what does that cancellation mean in the context of the larger streaming landscape, which has become an incredibly volatile space within the last six months?

301. Cool Hand Luke (#234)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

This week, Stuart Rosenberg’s Cool Hand Luke.

Lucas Jackson is a petty criminal assigned a two year sentence to a chain gang in Florida. All he needs to do is to keep his head down and his nose clean, and he’ll be back out in society in no time. However, Luke is unable and unwilling to do that. Luke bristles against the camp’s authority, and finds himself locked in a battle of wills against those in charge.

At time of recording, it was ranked 234th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On “She-Hulk” and Unnecessary Origins…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of She-Hulk, which is streaming weekly on Disney+. The first episode of the show released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

Like a lot of these streaming shows, She-Hulk suffers from an identity crisis. It is caught between the show that it clearly wants to be and its obligations to the familiar formula of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In particular, She-Hulk begins with an extended and unnecessary origin story, which the show itself doesn’t seem particularly enthused about. It’s strictly formula. Giving the first thirty-odd minutes of the show over to this generic and paint-by-numbers exercise undermines a lot of the show’s potential appeal.

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

New Escapist Column! On Letting Daredevil be Daredevil…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the upcoming release of She-Hulk, and news that the show will be responsible for folding Matt Murdock into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seemed like a good opportunity to talk about what makes Daredevil unique.

The production team on She-Hulk have talked about how the series will showcase the “lighter side” of the Man Without Fear. This is somewhat worrying, given that part of what makes Daredevil relatively unique among the major Marvel superheroes is the fact that his stories are appreciably darker in terms of tone and content. Part of the appeal of Daredevil is the way in which the character allows the publisher to explore themes that it never could with more mainstream characters. It would be a shame to lose that while transitioning the hero into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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

299. Going Overboard (-#16)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, this time with special guests Jess Dunne and Luke Dunne, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

This week, Valerie Breiman’s Going Overboard.

Shecky Moskowitz is a cruise ship waiter who dreams of being a stand-up comedian. However, he finds himself at odds with the ship’s resident comedian, Dickie Diamond. Shecky’s comedic ambitions become decidedly more complicated thanks to a series of overlapping plots involving rock band Yellow Teeth and General Noriega.

At time of recording, it was ranked 16th on the list of the worst movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On “The Sandman” and the Art of Adaptation…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist yesterday. It’s a big weekend for media releases, and one of those new releases was The Sandman from Netflix, an adaptation of the comic book series from Neil Gaiman.

The Sandman is a remarkably faithful adaptation of the source material, often lifting images and dialogue directly from the comic. However, it’s also an interesting illustration of the art of adaptation as it purtains to ten-episode seasons of streaming television shows. It’s interesting to see how the source material is tweaked and altered to make it fit that familiar template, and what the adaptational choices say about what the streaming service and the production studio want from the show.

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

New Escapist Video! On How “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is a Film with Two Authors…

We’re thrilled to be launching a fortnightly video companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch every second Monday, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel. And the video will be completely separate from the written content. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, we took a look at a specific film: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It’s a Marvel Studios production from director Sam Raimi, and it manages to strike an interesting balance between those two creative poles. The film is very obviously of a piece with the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, it is also undeniably a Sam Raimi movie. As a result, it is an interesting case study when it comes to talking about the idea of authorship within movies – in particular the idea that films can have multiple authors, and what makes Raimi so suited to working with Marvel Studios.

New Escapist Video! “The Sandman is a Reminder of What Made the Comic So Beloved”

I’m thrilled to be launching movie reviews on The Escapist. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’m honoured to contribute a three-minute television review of The Sandman, which is streaming on Netflix now.

298. The Sound of Music (#243)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, this time with special guest Síomha McQuinn, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

This week, Robert Wise’s The Sound of Music.

Maria is a young woman lacking purpose and direction in her life. Exiled from a convent, Maria is assigned to work as governess for the von Trapp family, caring for seven children who recently lost their mother and are struggling to connect with their emotionally distant father. Maria strikes up an unlikely connection with Captain von Trapp, but the family soon finds their idyllic existence threatened as historical realities come to bear on Austria.

At time of recording, it was ranked 243rd on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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