Film

Joss Whedon 101: Cabin in the Woods

Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's Cabin in the Woods has been as star-crossed as a show can be. Although Goddard and Whedon had finished principle filming, MGM requested a year delay to convert the film to 3D, and then promptly went bankrupt.

Cabin in the Woods is the Joss Whedon project that we currently know the least about. Originally set for release in February of 2010, MGM Studios pulled the movie back in the wake of Avatar's massive success in order to do a 3D makeover. The new date was scheduled for January 14, 2011. Over the course of 2010, though, MGM ran into major cash flow problems. The studio basically went bankrupt and remained up for sale for months without a buyer. Their entire slate of upcoming movies was put on indefinite hold, including the James Bond franchise. Now that MGM has finally been refinanced, things are starting to get back on track for the studio.

This has yet to result in a re-revised release date for Cabin in the Woods, however. Although 2010 was huge for Avatar, the glut of 3-D movies in the marketplace showed that just slapping the words "3-D" on a film wasn't a guarantee of success. On top of that, so-called "post-conversion" 3-D movies generated a huge amount of negative word of mouth and bad publicity. Movies like Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender made money, but they weren't shot in 3-D, and the after-the-fact addition of the technology became more unpopular as the year went on. It's not known at this time if Cabin in the Woods is going to come out in the standard two dimensions in which it was originally conceived or if the reorganized MGM is going to stick with the plan to go with 3-D.

Whedon is credited as a producer and co-writer on the project. His longtime collaborator Drew Goddard is the director and co-writer of the film. Goddard got his start in the Whedonverse in Season Seven of Buffy, and wrote or co-wrote some of that lackluster season's most lively episodes, including “Conversations with Dead People” and “Dirty Girls.” After Buffy concluded Goddard went on to several other genre shows, scripting excellent episodes in Season Five of Angel as well as jumping over to the J. J. Abrams camp to work on Alias and eventually Lost. Goddard also wrote the screenplay for Cloverfield, infusing that movie with more wit than the standard horror film...

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Joss Whedon’s importance in contemporary pop culture can hardly be overstated, but there has never been a book providing a comprehensive survey and analysis of his career as a whole -- until now. Published to coincide with Whedon’s blockbuster movie The Avengers, Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion by PopMatters (May 2012) covers every aspect of his work, through insightful essays and in-depth interviews with key figures in the ‘Whedonverse’. This article, along with previously unpublished material, can be read in its entirety in this book.

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Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
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-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

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-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

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