Doctor Strange by … Christopher Nolan? Superheroes Aesthetics Collide

By now everyone has already seen Marvel’s Doctor Strange first teaser trailer, which debuted on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday. What I’m wondering is if anybody has thought, for a moment, if the movie’s director could be a surprise-egg Christopher Nolan. Cos’ the first thing I’ve thought upon seeing the trailer? “Wait … is this a Dark Knight/Inception crossover?” that’s the first thing I thought.

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The trailer shows us a disheveled Benedict Cumberbatch searching for a new life reason and begging for the teachings of warrior monk Tilda Swinton (a casting who raised some justified objections). The parallel with Nolan’s Batman Begins and the Chris Bale/Liam Neeson mountain training combo are quite blatant. And shall we talk about the mind games and reversed cities? That’s some 100% Inception scenery!

It’s not as silly as it sounds. Cinema is a visual art. The aesthetics and the imaginary of a movie are a fundamental part of its development and its identity, because the plastic and figurative aspects of a text are often the very first thing we pay attention to.

As superheroes movies goes, DC Comics productions and Marvel productions have always differentiated themselves via two different imaginary. We are accustomed to a brighter, bolder, more colorful look for Marvel movies, and a somber, darker look for DC movies. Considering the box office success of both the Dark Knight trilogy – which pretty much redefined Batman’s imaginary for the wider, non-comic reader audience – and the Avengers phenomenon, it’s quite strange (pun intended) to think of a Marvel movie sporting such a serious look.

Doctor Strange will hit the theaters on November 4. From the look of it, it will be another origin story, the first of Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Three. Stephen Strange sure is a moral grey character, an egoistical and brilliant surgeon who stumbles into mystical powers while searching for a way to cure his damaged hands – and thus regain his personal abilities, the protection of the world far from his thoughts at the beginning of his super hero story.

Paired with the upcoming inner struggles in Civil War, it’ll be interesting to see if this somber, more adult imagery will spreed to the whole MCU, and with which consequences in terms of world building and revenues.

WICKED LOVELY or Five Books on Fairies with More Positive Role Models than most of your Favs

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Love triangles resolving in passionate relationships. A well-developed, both heartbreaking and heartwarming queer relationship between two important characters. Positive, in-charge female characters with well-fleshed, all different personalities. Siblings love. Sensual love. Romantic love. King-to-subjects love. All kinds of love. And did I mention the awesome, awesome women?

Is this real life? Is this just fantasy?.

Nope. This is Wicked Lovely.

Continue reading “WICKED LOVELY or Five Books on Fairies with More Positive Role Models than most of your Favs”

Dirty Hills and Flashy Fires

One does not simply not marathon the whole Peter Jackson’s Tolkien-related body of works, once one does possesses all the DVDs … right? Right.

So I actually managed to marathon both The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy during this weekend. It was hot, okay? Worst heatwave we’ve had in a lot of years here in Italy. And I was with a group of friends and we were incredibly bored and incredibly sleepless.

No, don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you all with six never ending reviews. I just wanted to write down something I’be been thinking about for a while, since we finished watching.

In long time gone by – The Lord of the Ring trilogy, I binge-watched. I wasn’t old enough to go to the movies alone when it came out, and I totally hit the Tolkien Mania years later. Thus, all three movies in one go. Many, many years ago – still, I marathon them once a year at least. That’s how much I love them.

The Hobbit trilogy, I went to see to the theater, properly, once a year and all. And … it was good. Quite good, in fact. Emotional and catching and surprising, but there was something that sat wrong with me, and I couldn’t pinpoint what exactly the problem was. It took me the six movies long marathon to understand it.

It’s about cinematography.

Continue reading “Dirty Hills and Flashy Fires”

I want to start with some words that always makes me feel good

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We, the fantasy readers.

by Jacqueline Carey

Long before I was a successful fantasy writer, I was a faithful reader. With the recent release of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” a spate of reviews made it obvious that there remain pervasive dismissive attitudes not only toward the entire fantasy genre, but to those who love it. As in any genre, there’s a wide range of quality out there. I’m content to let my work and the work of my fellow authors speak for itself, but I’d like to speak on behalf of the readers, because I am one.

Critics, I’d like you to know that we’re not the monolithic group of stunted adolescents you think we are. I polled my own fans on Facebook, asking “Why do you read fantasy?” I think the array of eloquent, heartfelt responses might surprise you, and I offer the following synthesis, Breakfast Club-style.

“We read fantasy because we crave wonder, a longing no one should ever lose. We read because it is life writ large on a vast canvas, and the timeless arc of the hero’s journey resonates for us. We read for the richly drawn characters and their complex and dynamic relationships. Yes, really. We read because we yearn for adventure, for tales with themes of adversity, honor, duty, loyalty, valor, sacrifice and redemption on an unabashedly grandiose scale. We read for the poignant ache of tragedy when a beloved character perishes, and the trumpeting glory of a hard-fought victory.

In a world that doesn’t always make sense, we read fantasy for the profound catharsis of an epic plot resolved at long last. And sometimes, we read because these stories give us hope and the strength and courage to face obstacles in our own lives. Sometimes, they’re our gateway to proud self-reclamation.

We read because fantasy, unshackled from the constraints of reality, is free to explore the depth and breadth of the human condition; to tackle ethical quandaries from unexpected directions; to ask philosophical questions couched in the form of entertainment; to use allegory to hold up a mirror and make us look at ourselves anew. We read to visit worlds that aren’t, but show us the shape of a world that could be.

We read to catch a glimpse into someone else’s unfettered imagination, marveling in awe at the scope and detail of their creation; we read to spark our own imaginations as our minds transmute words on a page into visions of dragons and unicorns and castles floating in the sky, things we have never seen nor ever shall.

And yes, sometimes we read to escape. We read to escape from childhood trauma, from abuse, from physical pain, from ordinary doldrums, from grief, from the anguish of divorce, from the creeping despair of enduring joblessness, from crippling depression, from the torment of sleepless nights spent in a hospital with a critically ill child.

We read because fantasy offers a beacon of hope in an increasingly cynical and materialistic world, an unapologetic celebration of the abiding power of storytelling and the triumph of good over evil.

We are not just boys. We are girls, too. Shy girls and sexy girls, funny girls and moody girls. We are men and women. We come in every shape, size, color and creed, and we live all over the planet. We’re gay and straight, bisexual and transgendered. We’re your sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas. We’re teachers, doctors and real estate agents; soldiers, plumbers and bakers; students, housewives and lawyers; bankers, dog-walkers and cosmetologists; computer programmers, farmers and artists; scientists, marketers and massage therapists; nurses, librarians and truck drivers.

We just wanted you to know.”