Fantasy

Seeing as shooting is set to begin next month on Harald Zwart’s adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s smash-hit YA fantasy novel “City of Bones,” it’s starting to become crunch time as far as putting together a cast is concerned. When we made our last casting update, pretty much every major role had been filled other than that of Luke Garroway, the teenage protagonist’s surrogate father-figure, and Valentine Morgenstern, the primary villain of the story who has many and sometimes mysterious ties to the pasts of the protagonists. Well, worry not, fans of demon-killing Shadowhunters, because it looks like the film is going to be able to fill all of its big roles with weeks to spare. First off, Luke Garroway: he’’s the gruff, flannel shirt wearing fellow that spends a lot of time hanging around with the protagonist Clary’s (Lily Collins) mother (Lena Headey). Though I can’t find any place where this casting was actually announced, Irish actor Aidan Turner is now listed as playing the role. He’s probably best known for his role on the BBC show Being Human, which is also heavily concerned with creatures of the night, so he should feel right at home dealing with mystical and dangerous things.

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Back last summer when Robert Rodriguez was talking about the projects he was cooking up for the future, most of the focus was on his prospective Sin City and Machete sequels. And, since then, both Machete Kills and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For have been officially announced as his next two projects. Those weren’t the only movies he was expressing an interest in making back then, however; he was also into the idea of remaking the animated 1983 film Fire and Ice, which was directed by Ralph Bakshi and inspired by the artwork of Frank Frazetta, who also served as co-writer on the film. If you don’t know who Frank Frazetta is, he’s a science fiction and fantasy illustrator whose work you’ve undoubtedly seen at some point in your life. He’s done all sorts of book covers, comics, paintings, and whatnot, and usually his work involves alien landscapes, muscle-bound warriors, scantily clad women, and some sort of stabbing weapon. You know, it’s the sort of stuff that you’d get airbrushed on the side of an awesome panel van.

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It’s gotten to the point where studio period and fantasy epics are as ubiquitous as sequels, remakes, and superheroes. This of course creates a paradox in that the entire reason for the existence of these films is their flash and spectacle. If Wrath of the Titans, a sequel to a remake focusing on a mythological superhero, has taught me anything, it’s that it might be time for these movies to vanish to the ethereal plains…at least for a little while. The latest in a string of underwhelming, despite themselves, period epics, Wrath is a tedious chore as messy in its visuals as it is frustratingly poor in its construction. The story here is that Perseus (Sam Worthington), having saved the world from both Medusa and the Kraken, is called into hero service again when his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) is taken prisoner by Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez). The two conspirators plan to use Zeus’ power to release the sinister father of gods: Kronos. I use the word “story” loosely because whatever moments in the film aren’t the chapter distinctions in “How Not to Write to Write a Screenplay” are simply cribbed from Edith Hamilton’s “Mythology”; more accurately from someone reading “Baby’s First Edith Hamilton” picture book. The screenwriters flipped through it, carelessly flopping their fingers on the most eye-catching beasts, exclaiming, “this one, and this one, and this one…put them all in there.” At this point, one intelligent assistant offered, “guys, those aren’t even Perseus stories.” That […]

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #146): “I Am The Night – Color Me Black” (airdate 3/27/64) The Plot: A whole lotta racism goin’ on. The Goods: On the morning that a man called Jagger is to be hung for murder, the darkness of night never turns into day. As if to weigh in on the wrongful judgment by a bigoted town, the universe has kept the light out of their city limits. But why? What’s at the center of it all? As it turns out, it’s John F. Kennedy.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #129): “Probe 7, Over and Out” (airdate 11/29/63) The Plot: An astronaut slams his ship right into a planet, but there’s little chance for him to return home because a nuclear war is destroying everything and everyone he knows. The Goods: Even with the casual gloss of the writing, there’s a deep question that’s been stabbed into the body of this story and remains there, untended to, even as it creates a great amount of aches and pains. That question is one of attempting to put yourself into the moon boots of Colonel Cook (Richard Baseheart) who isn’t just stranded on an alien world – he’s helplessly stranded. He is literally millions of miles away while his world dies. How’s that for powerless?

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #119): “Passage on the Lady Anne” (airdate 5/9/63) The Plot: A woman believes a cruise is the ticket to saving her marriage, but it’s doubtful that her heart will go on. The Goods: Eillen Ransome (Joyce Van Patten, who most recently could be seen in Grown Ups and Marley & Me) is not having the best marriage. Her husband Allen (Lee Philips) seems to be sniping at her more and more, and she’s treating him the same way. After eight years, the magic seems to be gone. Where better to find it than the open ocean? They board a cruiser from New York to Southampton, England, and the emotional states begin ebbing and flowing with the seas themselves. It’s funny, though. All the other passengers seem to be far, far older than the Ransomes.

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Editor’s note: Since his last post was so ridiculously awesome, we’ve asked Gallery 1988 co-owner and pop culture art curator Jensen Karp back to write up another entry. You still might want to wear protection. With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #115): “The New Exhibit” (airdate 4/4/63) The Plot: A man takes the wax figures of five famous murderers back to his home despite his wife’s wishes. The Goods: Growing up with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is rather exciting…if you love being nervous all the time. Listen, it’s no fun, and I’m proud of how I’ve healed because it used to be pretty bad (I was a baseball pitcher most of my childhood, so that involved more rituals than a Catholic mass). I was able to kick “counting” with some therapy, and the only real aspect of OCD that stuck with me, even today, involves collecting. Whether it was the dozens of Startling Lineup action figures I had boxed and untouched under my bed or the pristine 12” rap LPs I hoarded throughout the birth and mainstreaming of rap music, I was VERY concerned about having every single one, and keeping them in a mint condition that just isn’t possible once human hands have touched them. Today, this horrid predisposition is still visible with my DVD and […]

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #114): “I Dream of Genie” (airdate 3/21/63) The Plot: A man finds a lazy genie in a lamp who only grants one wish. The Goods: For a second, let’s pretend that there isn’t a massive sub-genre of “Wish Fulfillment Gone Awry” episodes of this series (and of others). That includes forgetting that genies and Satan keep popping up everywhere. Thomas Gomez, Ernest Truex, and Joseph Ruskin all played the magical wish-granters, but no matter the actor behind the role – the rules are the same. You get what you want, and more than you bargained for. That’s why we’re forgetting all of those episodes exist because, despite its trite starting gun, this episode packs the kind of bullet that can make it seem like the only one in the world. It’s the trite polished up to be shiny and new.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #112): “No Time Like The Past” (airdate 3/7/63) The Plot: A man goes to the past to right some wrongs…but can he? The Goods: Stupid, crappy old time travel. It’s such a spectacular innovation, but we can never do anything good with it (except that one time I stole Hitler’s wallet). As it turns out, things are pretty much set in stone. But Paul Driscoll (Dana Andrews) doesn’t believe that. So, he sets out into the ether of things already seen to try to change history’s course.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #110): “Miniature” (airdate 2/21/63) The Plot: A man becomes obsessed with the contents of a dollhouse. The Goods: On a trip to the museum, the timid Charley Parkes (Robert Duvall) believes he sees movement inside a dollhouse. As any normal human would do, he keeps heading back to see if he can spy the same motion or find out what it is. What he finds, is a young woman with whom he falls in tiny love.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #107): “Mute” (airdate 1/31/63) The Plot: A little girl is treated like dog feces because she has a special gift. The Goods: When Ilse (Ann Jillian) was born, her parents decided to do a little experiment. Instead of talking to her like a normal child, they deprived her of language in order to exercise her natural psychic abilities. As a result, she became incredibly strong at speaking telepathically with the other children in a school where such a thing was the norm. Sadly, the school wasn’t run by a bald guy in a wheelchair, and when her parents die in a fire, she’s sent to the United States with a new set of parents. Her life is now filled with people who speak, a bunch of schoolmates who think she’s an idiot, and a teacher who also has the gift of telepathy but views it as a curse. Good times ahead!

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What can I say about Beyond the Black Rainbow that hasn’t already been said about licking toads while watching a 70s slasher flick behind your neighborhood scientific research compound? Writer/director Panos Cosmatos‘s deranged trip down the rabbit hole feels like Cronenberg and Argento furiously impregnated a robot named TARKOVSKY. It’s homage at its highest form – work born directly from the visual and storytelling tropes of iconic artists that manages to feel brand new with the presence of a fresh personality. In the 80s-set film, and stop me if you’ve heard this one, Elena (Eva Allan) is held captive in a research facility by Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers), the demented product of a cult-like program born two decades earlier that sought to merge science and religion. As he slowly deteriorates mentally, blood starts spilling, but even if Elena gets a chance to escape, she’ll have him murderously on her trail.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #99): “Young Man’s Fancy” (airdate 5/11/62) The Plot: A newly-minted husband brings his wife to his childhood home to make plans to sell it, but a powerful force is drawing him back to his late mother and the house she kept exactly as it was when he was in short pants. The Goods: This very well may be the second cruelest episode. Aside from the wicked heartlessness of Time Enough At Last, it rings out with a kind of empty meanness that doesn’t teach a lesson while it tortures an innocent bystander at her weakest point. Sometimes life can be that way, and Virginia Walker (Phyllis Thaxter) learns that the raw way. Virginia has only added Walker to her name in the last hour, marrying Alex Walker (Alex Nicol) at the courthouse and hurrying for a pit stop at his family home before heading out to a honeymoon in unnamed parts. As she tries to be brisk about getting him to pack, he continually loses his train of thought, starts fooling with an old radio and clock in a wistful attempt to reclaim what’s been lost, and finally starts playing with his old toys.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #98): “The Dummy” (airdate 5/4/62) The Plot: A ventriloquist is convinced his dummy is plotting against him, so he locks him in a trunk, but it doesn’t stop the voices. The Goods: Dummies are scary. Their cold, dead eyes staring back at you filled to the brim with the potential to move at any moment. Their perverse version of life plastered across cheap children’s clothing. The way they talk to you even when you’re not making their mouths move. Jerry (Cliff Robertson) is one of the best voice-throwers in the business, but he’s still working the second-rate clubs because he can’t get his mind straight (and probably because he’s a ventriloquist). After getting off the stage at a particularly successful night club show, he’s bitten by his dummy and continues back into his dressing room to stare shifty-eyed at the inanimate piece of wood.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #90): “The Fugitive” (airdate 3/9/62) The Plot:  An old man can do the kind of magic that no one else seems to understand, except the children he hangs around with all day. That bliss is about to be crushed by two men in suits looking for whatever that old man really is. The Goods: Rob just wrote a strong review of one of the most iconic episodes – To Serve Man – but I would argue that this story deserves the same recognition in the pantheon of the champions of the series. It’s got everything that represents The Twilight Zone: heart, sci-fi, a lesson, and the wondrous magic of belief. Old Ben (J. Pat O’Malley) enjoys playing with the neighborhood kids, especially Jenny (Susan Gordon), a little girl with a brace on her leg that still manages to boss the boys around. He enjoys the games, yes, but there’s something special about Old Ben – when they play Spaceman, he can actually transform himself into a Martian and then change back. In fact, he can turn himself into anything he wants.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #88): “The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank” (airdate 2/23/62) The Plot:  A young man wakes up in the middle of his own funeral, but instead of celebrating, his friends and neighbors believe he might be something more human than human. The Goods: For all its quaintness, this story runs a lot deeper than its gap-toothed smile pretends. It begins with Jeff Myrtlebank (James Best) being laid to rest in a country chapel, the pews filled with his family, neighbors, and bride-to-be Comfort Gatewood (Sherry Jackson). At the fever pitch of the pastor’s eulogy, Jeff sits bolt upright in his coffin and scares the potato salad out of everyone. At first, everyone is fearful, but when Doc Bolton (Edgar Buchanan) explains that this sort of thing can happen (and even has a fancy name), they calm down and fawn over the poor young man. Unfortunately, that love is crushed by suspicion, and the pitchforks and torches are soon handed out.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #86): “Kick The Can” (airdate 2/9/61) The Plot:  An old man living in a rest home thinks playing a kid game will keep him young. The Goods: While there are a ton of meaningful, challenging episodes of The Twilight Zone, this one is definitely not one of them. It’s a chore of an episode that’s silly beyond reason and more than a little preachy. The ultimate lesson is a nice enough one – that youth should be striven for by finding the magic in the world. This story was made before Viagra was invented, but the lesson is still a good one.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #80): “A Quality of Mercy” (airdate 12/29/61) The Plot:  A zealous officer is anxious to kill, kill, and then kill. The Goods: Deep in the jungles of the Pacific theater of World War II, a Lieutenant (a very, very youthful Dean Stockwell) joins a ragtag bunch that’s used to hunkering down, waiting things out, and opting for comfort over protocol. Lieutenant Katell is a fire-breather, a young gun who claims that he has experience killing, but probably doesn’t. He has an axe to grind against an enemy he knows nothing about except that they’re the enemy. Thus, instead of moving around a small encampment, he wants to cut through it and kill everyone with a Japanese uniform. That is, until The Twilight Zone intervenes.

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Why Watch? What if you found out your father was a superhero? What if he only played one in the movies? This short film has a giant heart beating beneath its emblem-covered chest, and it contains a brilliant use of Kid Logic – that pesky logic that children use which makes absolute sense but is completely untrue. Here, a young boy discovers a picture of his actor father on the cover of a magazine touting the return of a spandex-wearing hero, and he jumps to the most natural conclusion: that his father has super powers. What does it cost? Just 12 minutes of your time. Check out the trailer for The Legacy for yourself:

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #57): “The Prime Mover” (airdate 3/24/61) The Plot:  A gambling addict finds out his best friend his telekinetic powers, which, as it turns out, could be incredibly useful while gambling. The Goods: Somehow, the abomination that was yesterday’s entry (Static) was also written by the same writer as today’s playful episode. Charles Beaumont churns out a winner here that’s smart even while it’s plot stays obvious. Ace Larsen (Dane Clark) is kind of a jerk. He runs a diner, but he’s so obsessed with gambling that he can hardly keep his quarters out of the one-armed bandit he keeps near the door. When he’s not losing spare change, he’s betting the customers double or nothing on their tabs. What’s worse – he’s rude to waitress/girlfriend Kitty (Christine White) and bosses orders at the eternally sweet Jimbo Cobb (Buddy Ebsen). But there’s more to this character than meets the eye. It doesn’t take the supernatural to see that, but when Ace finds out that Jimbo can move things with his mind, he has a chance to take his obsession to its breaking point.

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