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New Escapist Column! On “Dune” and What It Means to Be Human…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Dune, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the new film.

Dune is an epic science-fiction story. It is a classic of the genre. One of the reasons that it has held up for so any decades is because its themes remain universal. Dune is essentially a story about what it means to be human. In particular, it interrogates that question through a postcolonial lens. The default logic of these sorts of narratives asks the oppressed to assert their dignity and humanity. (Even Denis Villeneuve’s last film, Blade Runner 2049, is about a synthetic human proving his humanity.) In contrast, Dune inverts this by directing challenging the humanity of those who would indulge in colonialism and imperialism.

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

New Escapist Video! On the Enduring Appeal of Michael Myers…

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 every second Monday’s 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 content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

With the release of Halloween Kills, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at the larger Halloween franchise. In particular, the enduring and lasting appeal of Michael Myers as a character. What is it that makes Michael Myers such an icon of horror cinema?

New Escapist Video! On “Venom” as a Superhero Throwback…

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 every second Monday’s 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 content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

With the release of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at Venom. It’s a bad movie, but an endlessly fascinating one. More than that, it feels like a conscious throwback to an older style of superhero movie, one that predates the modern blockbuster template.

New Escapist Column! On “Venom” as a Superhero Throwback…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the pending release of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at Venom.

Venom is not a good movie. It is a mess of a movie. It is chaotic, random, unstructured, nonsensical. However, it is interesting. What is particularly interesting about Venom is the way in which it feels like something of a throwback to an era of a different kind of superhero movie. Venom recalls the superhero movies from the turn-of-the-millennium, films that played faster and looser with their established characters without worrying about fidelity or faithfulness. There’s something interesting in looking at Venom as a superhero movie out of time.

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

New Escapist Column! On the Timelessness and Timeliness of “Foundation”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of the first two episodes of Foundation on Apple TV+, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at Isaac Asimov’s hugely influential science-fiction series.

Foundation casts a long shadow over American science-fiction, its influence felt on projects like Star Wars and Star Trek. However, while it has been adapted as a radio play, the new television show marks the first successful effort to bring the show to screen. What is it that makes Foundation so difficult to adapt? Why has it taken so long for such a foundational text to come to film or television? How is a science-fiction saga that began in the late forties and carried on into the fifties still relevant today?

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

New Escapist Video! On “Shang-Chi” and “Blade” as Homages to Hong Kong Action Cinema…

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 every second Monday’s 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 content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

With the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the latest Marvel Studios film. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is loosely adapted from the seventies title Master of Kung Fu, and so it seems interesting to discuss the film in the context of another adaptation of a cult non-superhero seventies comic book: Blade.

New Escapist Column! On the Contradictory Generational Conflicts of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the film.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is an interesting mess of contradictions. On the one hand, it is a classic story of generational conflict about a son who needs to defeat and vanquish his evil father in order to determine his place in the world – like Star Wars. However, it is also a story about a prodigal son who needs to connect with his roots and let his older relatives provide him with an identity that he cannot determine for himself. It’s a weird juxtaposition that creates an irreconciliable conflict at the heart of the movie.

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

New Escapist Column! On How “The Green Knight” Deconstructs the Hero’s Journey…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of David Lowery’s The Green Knight on streaming, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the director’s reimagining of classic Arthurian legend.

In particular, when is so fascinating about The Green Knight is the way that it takes a very classic and very conventional hero’s journey – the story of a character who embarks upon a quest that makes them better, stronger and wiser before returning home fundamentally changed by the experience – and gradually deconstructs it. Is a hero’s journey alone enough to make Gawain a great man? Can the adventure make him a different person? Is there a checklist of accomplishments that he must complete before he becomes a worthy knight? The Green Knight interrogates and explores these questions.

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

New Escapist Column! On How “Candyman” is About Art About Trauma…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Nia DaCosta’s Candyman this weekend, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the film and the larger franchise.

Much has been written in recent years about the recent explosion of African American horror, and the relationship between that horror and the very real trauma experienced by that community. What’s particularly interesting about Candyman is that the movie is very much engaged with that debate. In an era where so many movies and television shows purport to be “about trauma”, Candyman is explicitly a movie about art about horror, and the thorny questions that stem from that relationship.

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

New Escapist Column! On the Return of the Hollywood Epic…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of The Green Knight, and the upcoming releases of movies like Dune and The Last Duel, it seems like the old-fashioned Hollywood epic might be making a comeback.

This is interesting, as the genre has long been a Hollywood staple. Most people obviously think of the big biblical epics from the middle of the twentieth-century – Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, Quo Vadis? However, there was an interesting revival at the turn of the millennium with the release of Gladiator and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but Hollywood failed to really reignite the genre. However, that failure has not been for lack of trying.

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