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New Escapist Column! On Uncanny Valley of “The Witcher” Between Prestige and Tradition…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine the week before last, looking at the Netflix streaming show The Witcher.

There are a lot of interesting things about the eight episode introductory season of The Witcher, which is adapted from two books of short stories and which seems to exist largely to set the table for more impressive seasons to follow. However, what is most immediately striking about The Witcher is the way in which it exists in the uncanny valley between modern prestige television and a more traditional model of episodic storytelling, looking like a hybrid of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Game of Thrones. To be clear, this is not a bad thing.

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

Luke Cage – The Creator (Review)

Luke Cage has always been engaged with The Godfather.

This was obvious even during the first season. Outside of dialogue accepting The Godfather, Part II as “the sequel better than the original” in Step in the Arena, the portrayal of the Stokes family in flashback owed a lot to Francis Ford Coppola’s generation crime saga. Indeed the sequences of the Stokes family gathered around the family table, unaware of the chaos that would rain down upon them, evokes the closing flashback of The Godfather, Part II. It is an image rich with irony, bringing the tragedy something of a full circle.

This point of comparison makes a great deal of sense. The Godfather is a story about a minority community in America, trying to exist both inside and outside the law. It is an archetypal American fairy tale, one of the great cynical meditations on the American Dream. (After all, the opening line of The Godfather is “I believe in America.”) This fits neatly with what Luke Cage is, an exploration of a particularly distinct subculture within contemporary America that explores the sometimes tumultuous relationship that this community has with the law and with political structures.

The second season of Luke Cage commits to this idea even further, its narrative borrowing liberally from The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II in crafting a generational superhero crime epic.

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The Prestige & Schrödinger’s Magician: Would the Real Robert Angier Please Stand Up?

No one cares about the man who disappears, the man who goes into the box. They care about the man who comes out the other side.

– Robert Angier

I am a big fan of Christopher Nolan. Anybody who regularly reads the blog will attest to that. I believe, genuinely, that he’s one of the best directors working today. However, my favourite Nolan film is a rather eclectic choice. I appreciate all his films, but I think that The Prestige stands as the pinnacle of the writer’s work to date. After all, in a career built around movies exploring the power of narrative, it’s hard to resist the film that compares cinema to magic. I think it’s a deftly-constructed and cerebral film, one of the few movies that still intrigues and confounds me when I stick it on. Of course, the narrative is relatively straight-forward once Nolan reveals the technique and the tricks in the final act, but I always find it rewarding to chew over the implications in the film, the story of two dueling magicians who take their rivalry as far as possible, and even beyond that.

Are you watching closely?

Note: By its nature, this post will include spoilers for the film. I have written a review of it, in case you are looking for a recommendation. It’s the most divisive of Christopher Nolan’s films, and I’d recommend seeing it at least once – love it or hate it, it’s a film that you won’t quite forget.

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My Top 50 Movies of the Decade…

Alright here it is, my top fifty films of the decade. I’ve decided to stop complaining about Donal Clarke’s list in the Irish Times and just let rip myself. There’s more than a few crazy choices down there, but – after a week in the works – I’m happy with it. I doubt that a lot of other people will be.

Like the Oscars, but... you know, better...

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Blessed are the Geek, For They Shall Inherit the Earth…

It’s a good time to be a nerd. When exactly did it happen? How did Star Trek become cool again? When did nearly half of all blockbusters find their roots in the oft-mocked comic book artform? When did Comic Con become a major event in the Hollywood calendar? When did it become truly hip to be square?

Haute culture?

Haute culture?

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