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New Escapist Column! On “The Best of Both Worlds” as the Moment that “The Next Generation” Came of Age…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist yesterday evening. Because The Best of Both Worlds, Part II aired thirty years ago on Thursday, it seemed only right to take a look back at one of the most beloved stories in the Star Trek franchise.

The Best of Both Worlds, Part I is widely accepted as one of the best cliffhangers in television history. However, the episode is really the culmination of the growth and development of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The spin-off had a rocky first couple of seasons, but really came into its own during a much more ambitious and consistent third year. That third year built inexorably towards that cliffhanger, demonstrating the effectiveness of that approach to storytelling.

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

New Escapist Video! On Disney’s Chinese Gambit with “Mulan”…

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.

With that in mind, here is last week’s episode, covering Disney’s ambitions to bring Mulan to China and the story of how Hollywood became so fascinated with that market. You can watch the pilot video here, and read the companion article here.

New Escapist Column! On Ridley Scott’s Science-Fiction Sensibility in “Raised by Wolves”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist on Friday. With the launch of Raised by Wolves on HBO Max, I thought it was worth taking a look at the streaming science-fiction series.

The most striking thing about Raised by Wolves is the extent to which it feels like a Ridley Scott production. Scott did not write or create the show, the was Aaron Guzikowski. However, Scott directed the first two episodes, and they often feel like an extension of Scott’s work. There are obvious echoes of Scott’s iconic science-fiction work in classics like Alien and Blade Runner, but also shots and sequences that seem to have been lifted from Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.

This works rather well, as Raised by Wolves delves into some of Scott’s core thematic preoccupations. Like Prometheus, Exodus: Gods and Kings and Covenant, this is a story about religion. Like Prometheus, Gods and Kings, Covenant and All the Money in the World, it is also a story about parenthood and the responsibility of caring for a younger life. However, because Raised by Wolves is not tied to any existing intellectual property, it gives Scott a lot of space to work. More than that, it suggests that Scott is a brand unto himself.

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

New Escapist Column! On “Interstellar”, “TENET” and the Competing Visions of the Future…

I published a new piece at The Escapist earlier today. With the release of TENET, it seemed worth taking a look at some of the core themes of the film.

TENET has most frequently been discussed in the context of its relationship to Inception, but it is perhaps most interesting to discuss in relation to Interstellar. Both of those films are about the relationship between the present and the future, exploring the dynamic between mankind and a projected future version of themselves. Interstellar is a story about the hope held by the future, but TENET offers a more cynical perspective.

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

New Escapist Review! “TENET”

I have actually already reviewed TENET for this blog. However, given the state of the pandemic in the United States, The Escapist did not feel comfortable asking its writers to attend cinema screenings. As I am based in a country that is dealing with the crisis (relatively) well, I have stepped into the gap to provide written reviews for movies not receiving a streaming release.

This is unlikely to be a long-term dynamic, but I was flattered at the invitation and was happy to substitute in for this particular situation. This is a very unusual time. The review is much more conventional and concise than the reviews on this site, and even has a numerical score attached. I feel like a proper film critic. You can read the review here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! Introducing “In the Frame”…

For about a year now, I have been writing the In the Frame column twice weekly at The Escapist on Mondays and Fridays. Today, we have a very special announcement. We are looking at launching a companion video series, In the Frame. Hopefully it’ll be releasing on Mondays, but you can get a sense of what we have planned by taking a look at the teaser below or watching the video here.

New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “Its All About DC Fandome!”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and Bob Chipman for the first episode, a discussion of all things DC Fandome.

It was a packed schedule, with new footage from Wonder Woman, The Snyder Cut and The Batman, along with behind-the-scenes peaks at The Suicide Squad and a tease of what Dwayne Johnson has lined up for Black Adam. As one might expect from the DC Extended Universe, the output varied dramatically in terms of both content and tone. There was a lot to unpack.

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

New Escapist Review! “The New Mutants”…

Normally, I would review The New Mutants for this blog. However, given the state of the pandemic in the United States, The Escapist did not feel comfortable asking its writers to attend cinema screenings. As I am based in a country that is dealing with the crisis (relatively) well, I have stepped into the gap to provide written reviews for movies not receiving a streaming release.

This is unlikely to be a long-term dynamic, but I was flattered at the invitation and was happy to substitute in for this particular situation. This is a very unusual time. The review is much more conventional and concise than the reviews on this site, and even has a numerical score attached. I feel like a proper film critic. You can read the review here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On Ten Years of “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World turned ten years old this week, so it seemed an appropriate time to look back on the film.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a fascinating study of a particular type of masculinity, and a particular way that young men relate to women. The film begins as an archetypal quest narrative, as the title character works his way through a series of “bosses” in the quest to earn the love of Ramona Flowers. However, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World quickly complicates that narrative, in a way that feels like a prescient commentary on the issues of masculine entitlement. However, it’s not as a simple as a movie ahead of it’s time. It’s a snapshot of a discussion in progress.

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

New Escapist Column! On “Nightcrawler” as a Metaphorical Vampire Movie…

I published a new piece at The Escapist earlier today. Nightcrawler is streaming on Netflix, so it seemed like a nice opportunity to revisit the film.

Nightcrawler is very obviously a loving homage to seventies American cinema, and a commentary on the scrambling at the margins of the post-recession economy. However, writer and director Dan Gilroy frames his story in such a way as to evoke classic vampire movies. At its core, Nightcrawler is the tale of a bloodthirsty parasite prowling the streets of Los Angeles at night, but there’s more to it than that. Nightcrawler is a biting satire and a gritty drama, but it also understands the horror of the situation that it depicts.

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