By Mike Shaeffer
I was totin’ my pack along the icy frontier of Hoth, when along came a wild-eyed pistol waver a-ridin’ on his tauntaun. He said, “If you’ve heard of the Millennium Falcon, with me you can ride,” then he sliced open the tauntaun, and then I settled down inside.
He said he made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. I told him that a parsec is not a unit of speed but a unit of distance equal to approximately three and a quarter light years, and then I looked right into his frostbit face and said, “Han, ol’ buddy… I’ve been everywhere, man.
“I’ve been everywhere, man. I’ve crossed the deserts bare, man. I’ve breathed the mountain air, man. Of travel I’ve had my share, man. I’ve been everywhere. Read More
By Ezra Stead
This is one of the most persistent clichés of film criticism: that the book is always better than its film adaptation. More often than not, it’s true, as the novel is generally able to provide a richer, more nuanced character study, not limited to only two senses the way films are. However, in some cases, less is more. Here are seven films that I would argue are even better than the books on which they are based.
1. THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) – Dashiell Hammet’s original 1930 detective novel is a masterpiece of stylistic economy, so faithfully adapted by director John Huston that reading the novel is almost like reading an exceptionally detailed treatment for the film. However, eight simple words improvised by Humphrey Bogart as detective Sam Spade make all the difference. When asked what the titular bird sculpture is at the end of the film, Spade says, “It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.” This classic, oft-quoted line of dialogue has become the most memorable moment of the film, a subtle commentary on filmmaking itself, especially of the Hollywood “Dream Factory” variety, of which The Maltese Falcon was itself a part. The line is nowhere to be found in the book, and that alone is enough to warrant the film’s inclusion on this list. Read More
Posted 22 Jun 2011 — by contributor
Category Anime, Essay
By Rachel Menendez
Viz is making it even easier for you to keep up with your manga reading with the latest apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod released throughout June.
VIZ Media, the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, will launch six new manga (graphic novel) series during June that will be offered for digital download within the Viz Manga App for the Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
Scheduled to make their North American digital debuts in June are the shojo dramas of BACKSTAGE PRINCE and THE STORY OF SAIUNKOKU. More shojo fun follows on June 20th with the launch of DENGEKI DAISY and AI ORE!, along with the critically acclaimed CROSS GAME.
Finally, June 27th sees the debut of the lush and contemplative CHILDREN OF THE SEA. Updates to 22 other popular VIZ Media digital manga series are also scheduled. Read More
By Scott Martin
Kung Fu Panda 2, USA, 2011
Directed by Jennifer Yuh
Perhaps the most important aspect of Kung Fu Panda 2 (and I never thought I would type this) is that the series is aging with its fans; so much so that I could expect Panda 3 to be the most adult of the series. They’ve already started exploring more personal themes than the last entry, which mostly took the themes of following your heart and believing in yourself and employed them. Here, the story deepens more than you might expect, dealing with themes of adoption, unrequited love, and acceptance of others. More importantly, the imagination of the film has grown tenfold.
Of course, there’s a bit of formula; you can’t escape the fact that it’s a kid’s movie, but it gets further away from the drama-killing formula that impeded the first film. When I sat down in the movie theater in 2008, I knew exactly what I was getting. It was going to be a film about a goofy “man-boy” (bear-cub?) panda who doesn’t quite belong, who gets a Jungian call to duty to learn kung fu and save his village. Here, that formula is side-stepped in favor of a generally engrossing and slightly depressing storyline. Po (voiced by Jack Black) finds out that he’s adopted and wants to find his biological parents, he’s in love with Tigress (voiced by Angelina Jolie), who may or may not share his feelings, and the entire country of China is under attack by a villain who has a cannon that shoots a blast so powerful it wipes out any trace of the kung fu that seems to be the nation’s bread-and-butter. So Po and his Furious Five – Tigress, Crane (voiced by David Cross), Mantis (voiced by Seth Rogen), Monkey (voiced by Jackie Chan), and Viper (voiced by Lucy Liu) – go off to defeat it; but how do you use kung fu to stop something that stops kung fu? “By finding inner peace,” Po’s mentor, Master Shinfu (voiced by Dustin Hoffman), tells him. That’s heavy. Read More
By Rachel Menendez
Viz Media seems to be on fire lately, with a number of great releases coming out of their headquarters. Next up out of the blocks is â€œThe Prince of Tennisâ€, which is available from May 18 on Amazon Instant Video.
Season one of the sports anime hit, including episodes 1-13 is available for purchase at 1.99 each. The Prince of Tennis series is based on the smash hit manga (graphic novel) series created by Takeshi Konomi that has sold more than 30 million copies in Japan, and is also published exclusively in North America by VIZ Media (Rated â€˜Aâ€™ for All Ages).
The dubbed series follows the on and off court adventures of Ryoma Echizen, the 12-year-old son of a famous tennis player and a prodigy in his own right. Looking to make a mark, he joins his junior high school tennis team, known as one of the most competitive in Japan. Read More