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Film

A Fix of Fantasy: Reviving the Wondrous Films of Karel Zeman

The imaginative filmmaker Karel Zeman influenced many artists including Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, fellow Czech Jan Švankmajer, the Brothers Quay, and animator Lawrence Jordan's recycling of classic 19th Century imagery.

Recent
Film

'The Rise of Skywalker' Is a Lightsaber Duel between Good and Evil, Past and Present, Authenticity and Greed

The Rise of Skywalker has been trumpeted as the last in the Skywalker saga. But with Disney's and this trilogy's annoying tendency to resurrect, it may never end.

Film

'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' Is a Let-Down

The third installment to the Star Wars trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker, has us wondering. Is this trilogy about creating memories? Or is it simply an act of remembrance?

Games

Gaming for Social Change with 'Critical Role' and 'Dungeons & Dragons'

Fans have pledged $11M to a Dungeons & Dragons group because they champion safety and inclusion. Does this have larger, real-world implications?

Books

Discovering Family, Memory, and Teleportation in Ta-Nehisi Coates' 'The Water Dancer'

Ta-Nehisi Coates' debut novel about slavery in America, The Water Dancer, dares us to dance -- and remember.

Film

'The Lighthouse' Finds Lynchian Beauty in the Terror of Pitiless Nature

In Robert Eggers' brutal but lyrical 19th century horror show, The Lighthouse, there is a lot of David Lynch in the looming soundtrack and the steam-powered, proto-industrial feel in the scenes of tending the lighthouse machinery.

Television

​Existential Musings and Indigenous Wisdom in Amazon's 'Undone'

Amazon's eight-episode animation, Undone is a poignant reflection on grief, loss, mental illness, and heritage.

Film

A Private Revolution: Jean-Luc Godard's Second Wave

Jean-Luc Godard's cinematic oddities First Name: Carmen, Détective, and Hélas pour moi, newly released on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber, embody the vast landscape of possibilities open to the director during the '80s and '90s.

Film

'Heaven Can Wait' and Lubitsch's Love of Romance's Paradoxes

Heaven Can Wait is Lubitsch's most successful film due to his ability to turn a period-piece into an enchanting story about the human condition.

Television

Jane Goldman's 'Game of Thrones' Prequel Will Be Better Than the Original

As Empress of the Fantasists, if you will, Jane Goldman's prequel to Game of Thrones promises to be far less straightforward, way messier, and much more fun -- even without the dragons.

Film

'The Dead Don't Die' Confronts Climate Change with Deadpan Whimsicality

With The Dead Don't Die, Jim Jarmusch deliberately deprives his latest film of the propulsive terrors innate to most zombie films, instead using the genre to matter-of-factly rhapsodize about consumer culture and the inevitability of the apocalypse.

Television

Never Ending Endings in 'The Avengers: Endgame' and 'Game of Thrones'

In both The Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones, the key conflicts are not between good and evil, as one might think, but between the beginnings and endings of their stories.

Books

Ted Chiang's 'Exhalation' Calmly Stares Oblivion in the Face

With his second collection of short stories, Exhalation, master of existential science fiction Ted Chiang explores AI, time travel, and alternate realities with the studious eye of an anthropologist.

Film

'The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot' Will, Like 'Donnie Darko', Surprise

The title suggests that this would be a schlocky B movie with a '70s-style grindhouse aesthetic, but The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot is, in fact, a finely crafted and emotionally charged drama about ageing, loneliness, and lost love.

Games

'Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning' Twists Videogame Tropes

Kingdoms of Amalur takes all of the principles of videogames – agency, choice, exploration, conflict – and turns them into an expansive experience of testing the conventions, and even the technical framework, of videogame fiction itself.

Film

'Isn’t It Romantic' Is Escapist Fare with a Cheeky Twist

Starring Rebel Wilson, the half rom-com, half satire Isn't It Romantic has a hypocritical message, but its self-mocking charms work well.

Books

Haruki Murakami's 'Killing Commendatore' Is Yet Another Turn Around the Tired Fantasy Carousel

Disturbing pedophilia and time-consuming repetition drag down Haruki Murakami's Killing Commendatore.

Film

Kinetic Directing Failed to Improve 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance'

Flashy directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor attempted to make Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance more exciting than its predecessor, but their style sapped the energy that fueled the flame.

Film

Disclosure, Dasein, and the Divine in Terrence Malick's 'The Tree of Life'

For Heidegger, "challenge" is a pejorative verb. But for Terrence Malick, "challenge" is a progressive verb. Malick's cinema is challenging, and we need that challenge.

Film

Our Private Prisons: Interview with 'Still' Director, Takashi Doscher

Takashi Doscher reflects on Still's emergence from a personal lifetime commitment and whether time transforms the meaning of our social constructs and relationships.

Film

Ursula K. Le Guin: Old Soul, New Worlds

Arwen Curry's documentary, Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, shows how, in Le Guin's writings, fantasy can be viewed as both a different way of seeing and understanding the past, and a new way of seeing the present -- and what the future could be.

Books

'Vita Nostra' Is a Tantalizing Fantasy That Forces Us to Question Our Own Humanity

Sergey and Marina Dyachenko's Vita Nostra is a mysterious Ukrainian sci-fi / fantasy / fairy tale whose unsettling questions will linger.

Books

Graphic Fiction 'Roaming Foliage' Digs into the Undergrowth

Patrick Kyle's graphic fiction meta-garden, Roaming Foliage, digs up the roots of the comics form.

Film

'Mary Poppins Returns' Is Practically Passable, in Every Way

Even with few truly catchy numbers and a cumbersome plot, Mary Poppins Returns has enough bright-eyed optimism to almost escape the shadow of the toe-tapping original.

Film

'Mortal Engines' Grinds Down the Post-apocalyptic Genre

Christian Rivers' directorial debut, Mortal Engines, is that lump of coal in your holiday movie stocking.

Books

The Book About Geek Triumph You Probably Don't Need

Neoliberalism offers the illusion of choice. The triumph of geek culture is an illusion of triumph; it's just another way to be bought—and to like it. A critique of A.D. Jameson's I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing.

Film

Slouching Toward Redemption: Ernst Lubitsch's 'Heaven Can Wait'

There's a rotten core at the center of Lubitsch's Heaven Can Wait. No matter how engaging I find Haskell and Sariss's enchantment with the film, I cannot accede to their critical adulation of it and of Henry.

Film

'Thor' Blasted the Comic Book Superhero Genre Away from Earth

Kenneth Branagh's Thor (2011) took the largely Earth-based, sci-fi genre into the realm of supernatural space fantasy, leading the way for a wider array of comic book superhero films.

Film

'Apostle' Director Gareth Evans on Filmmaking, Narcissism, and Intent

Director Gareth Evans reflects on wanting to once again flex the muscle of making a horror film after his unintentional hiatus from making a film.

Film

NYFF 2018: 'Diamantino' Beautifully Satirizes Ugly Politics from the Ethers

Diamantino's astounding surrealistic introduction soon unfolds into an ethereal genre-mashup.

Film

In Sneaky Afterlife Romance 'A Matter of Life and Death', There's Poetry but No God

Powell and Pressburger's witty wartime classic about a British airman who goes to court in heaven to appeal his death is a celebration of the human spirit that separates romanticism from sentimentality.

Books

Transformation, Consumption, and Confusion in the Alternate World of Mariko Ōhara's 'Hybrid Child'

Gender is fluid, children are murdered, mothers are monsters, and nobody is safe on the distant planet of Caritas, where humans have settled and the governing female AI system is insane.

Film

When Jim Jarmusch's 'Dead Man' Walks Into Your Mind, He Never Leaves

It's not enough to describe Dead Man as simply an anti-western; it's an iconoclastic deconstruction of late 19th Century American values and mores, many of which remain unabated more than a century later.

Film

Act It Out: Interview with Boots Riley of 'Sorry to Bother You'

Kill the clichés. Rebel artfully. Writer-director-musician Boots Riley talks with Cynthia Fuchs about empowering the power of Art.

Film

Fantasia 2018: 'The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot'

We got our ticket to see a zany free-for-all of monster hunting and fascist assassinating. Set aside your expectations aside, however, for a pleasant surprise.

Film

Fantasia 2018: Interview with 'Blue My Mind' Director Lisa Brühlmann

Dreams tell stories, but movies are so much more than just dreams. Brühlmann discusses her coming-of-age feature debut, Blue My Mind.

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