My review of “The Story of Kullervo," an unfinsihed story by J.R.R. Tolkien based on six chapters, or “runos,” from “The Kalevala,” an epic poem compiled from Finnish oral folklore. Drafted sometime from 1912 to 1916, when Tolkien was in his 20s, his version represents the then-poet and philologist’s baby steps toward prose storytelling. Read the rest over at the Boston Globe.
So why have superhero yarns become among the most reliable of money-makers? The way I see it, the superhero genre speaks to many of our culture’s pent-up voices and internal desires. Over at WBUR's TheARTERY, I talk about why.
Excited to appear at TEDxPiscataquaRiver in Portsmouth NH on May 6 alongside illustrious fellow speakers Steve Almond, Maxine Bédat, Zand Martin, Tina Nadeau, Jeff Sharlet, Skylar Bayer, Jennifer Dunn, Robert Eckstein, Muskan Kumari, amd Sam Rosen. My talk will be (something like) “How Dungeons & Dragons Makes You a Better Person.”
In this 3-parter in The Boston Globe, I give you (almost) everything you wanted to know about Batman and Superman, in advance the new “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" movie, including: 1) a look at the new movie in the context of previous Batman and Superman films (and if Affleck is up to the task of being the Caped Crusader); 2) an overview of “Batman and Superman at the movies” and 3) a Batman/Superman fact sheet.
Why am I against online comment forums? Increasingly, I see ad hominem attacks, “you’re a loser” name-calling, and Donald Trump-style playground insults --- all of which have come to pass for grown-up debate in America. Read the rest over on WBUR's Cognoscenti.
It’s been said by more than Ken Burns that the national parks are America’s best idea. In “National Parks Adventure,” opening at the Museum of Science’s Mugar Omni Theater on Friday, narrator Robert Redford makes the same claim. But after this hokey and commercialized IMAX road trip, you’ll be thinking the best idea might have been to stay at home. Read the rest of my Boston Globe review.
Sometimes, we watch a documentary to be sucker-punched by its investigative uppercut. Other times, it’s to be awed by nerdy info and eye-candy. The IMAX science museum/aquarium movie “Galapagos 3D: Nature’s Wonderland" may not be subtle or particularly brilliant. But this science-y doc sates that second desire just fine. Read the rest of my review of “Galapagos 3D: Nature’s Wonderland" for the Boston Globe.
What it's like to run the Iditarod? In my story “1 woman, 16 dogs, and 1,000 miles of snow” for the Boston Globe, I interview Debbie Clarke Moderow about her dogsledding quest to finish the 1,000 mile race --- and write a book about it, called “Fast Into the Night: A Woman, Her Dogs, and Their Journey North on the Iditarod Trail."
How to make a mash-up: Into a cauldron, toss some historical or fictional character, dusty novel, or ancient fairy tale. The more staid or stale or out of fashion, the better. Then, stir in creatures or villains from some different genre: zombies, witches, dinosaurs, even Nazis. Pour this mixture into a script, and bake for about 120 minutes at 75 million dollars, give or take a few million. Serve with a reliable dressing — blood and gore, perhaps — that most focus groups will find to their tastes. Prepared correctly, your Hollywood masterpiece will serve the masses.
On Friday, the mash-up rises again with “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” The movie version of Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2009 novel of the same name retells Jane Austen’s 1813 tale of manners, morality, social standing, and romance, but sets it in a reimagined Regency Era beset by the undead.
Will this new concoction, equal parts Austen and zombie pandemic, deliver a much-needed shot in the arm or another box office blow to the genre? Read the rest of my story over at the Boston Globe