The Dark Tower TV show

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: the big screen adaptation of Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower.)

The Man in Black fled across the desert, and The Dark Tower movie followed. Bringing Stephen King’s fantasy-epic series to the big screen has been a highly-anticipated dream for many fans of the books. Long have they desired to see the realm of Mid-World realized on the silver screen; to see the adventures of Roland Deschain brought to life. And now that that day has finally come, the results are crushingly disappointing. Because The Dark Tower is one of the most frustrating types of films: it’s neither excellent nor atrocious – it just is. A middling, often lazy film that just sort of lays there like an old, threadbare carpet.

It’s time to travel once again around the wheel and figure out just why this film is such a misfire, and how badly it forgets not only the face of its father but also the very source material that brought it into existence.

Spoilers follow, of course.

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Twin Peaks part 13 review

(Each week, we’re going to kick off a discussion about Twin Peaks: The Return by answering one question: what was the best scene of the episode?)

If you’ve read my reviews of previous episodes of Twin Peaks, you know that I’ve largely viewed this new season as a story that wildly fluctuates in quality from one hour to the next. The aspect of the series that’s primarily kept me on board thus far has been the promise that while not every episode will be a winner, at least the show will remain captivating in the way it translates David Lynch and Mark Frost‘s vision to the screen.

But last night’s episode failed to deliver for me on practically every front, and caused me to question everything I thought I knew about Twin Peaks so far.
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mr. robot Bobby Cannavale’s character

USA Network has unleashed the first trailer for Mr. Robot season 3, revealing a Fall premiere date for the series, and our first look at Bobby Cannavale’s character Irving (seen above). Watch the Mr. Robot season 3 trailer below!

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the shining miniseries 6

(Welcome to The Unpopular Opinion, a series where a writer goes to the defense of a much-maligned film or sets their sights on a movie seemingly beloved by all. In this edition: an argument that the 1997 television adaptation of The Shining is a worthy companion to the iconic Stanley Kubrick film.)

Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation of The Shining ranks right up there with The Exorcist as one of the greatest horror films of all time. One person who has always been less than enamored with Kubrick’s film, however, is author Stephen King.

The Shining was King’s third published novel, released while he was on a hot streak in the 1970s, writing some of his most popular page-turners, like Salem’s Lot and The Stand. Over the years, King has been vocal in the press about his dissatisfaction with Kubrick’s adaptation. But in 1997, around the time of the book’s 20th anniversary, he was finally able to “correct” the problem, as Delbert Grady would say, penning and producing a much more faithful mini-series adaptation for television.

We are now about as far removed from the original airing of that mini-series as the mini-series itself was from the novel’s publication. Indeed, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the tale of the Torrances and the Overlook Hotel. And with two more high-profile King adaptations on the immediate horizon (namely, The Dark Tower and It), perhaps the time is right for a reevaluation of Stephen King’s The Shining, the 1997 TV mini-series.

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guardians of the galaxy vol. 2 concept art

James Gunn is currently hard at work crafting the third film of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, which is supposed to be the conclusion of the Guardians team as we know it. And while the script hasn’t been nailed down yet, and an official release date has yet to be announced, it certainly looks like the plan is to release Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in Summer 2020. Let’s take a look at what director James Gunn said to make me believe this.

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Your The Dark Tower Questions

After a long, winding road, The Dark Tower hits the big screen this weekend. It’s taken a lot of time and effort to bring Stephen King‘s fantasy epic to life, and the transition from page to screen has not been a smooth one. The Dark Tower contains some complex, sprawling mythology, and a lot of that mythology doesn’t transfer very well into the film. That may give you pause, but never fear – if you’ve forgotten the face of your fathers, I’m here to show you the way and answer some important questions in the process, especially if you’re a non-reader who was totally baffled by the movie.

Beware of spoilers.

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The Dark Tower Review

The Dark Tower is the most sprawling series of stories that America’s great modern horror storyteller, Stephen King, has ever told. This is, unfortunately, a difficult thought to shake while watching the 95-minute film of the same name that serves as the hopeful beginning of a film and TV franchise, because there’s far too much left on the sidelines. The Dark Tower, at its core, is a quintessential story of good and evil, but the way the conflict is represented in this film is staggeringly messy and dull. The ingredients for a great movie exist, but they never truly cohere in a satisfying manner.

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Dead Shack Review

For fans of chuckle-happy zombie schlock, I present to you Peter Ricq’s Dead Shack, a scrappy Sam-Raimi-esque vision birthed from cabin-in-the-woods campfire stories. Laughs are bloody and sentiments family-driven, but one of the more impressive aspects is a low-budget production that masks shoestring restraints (“shoestring” being relative). Gore effects are squeamish and pulpy, unblemished by budgetary shortcomings – and there’s certainly no shortage of flesh-snacking examples to choose from.

A genre film that knows how to have fun while splattering a few heads in the process? You have my attention.

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Star Wars Secrets of the Empire

We know that the future of Star Wars storytelling is going to be told using virtual reality, and now Lucasfilm has taken another step toward crafting a completely immersive experience that transports the user into a galaxy far, far away. They’ve teamed up with ILMxLAB and a company called The Void and have announced Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, a new multi-sensory, hyper-reality experience that’s set to open later this year at the Disney resorts. This sounds like it could be pretty incredible.
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Andy Casagrande filming sharks 2

When Jaws premiered in 1975, it created panic. Even for new viewers, seeing those soulless black eyes and hearing that music it changes you. Slasher movies made you weary of what could be hiding behind the shower curtain – Jaws made you afraid of any body of water. In the movies, a Great White Shark was as terrifying as any horror movie ghoul. Except this killer was real.

Sharks have always been a subject of fascination, but Jaws put them in the spotlight…for all the wrong reasons. Peter Benchley, the author of the original Jaws novel, is a lifelong shark advocate and expressed regret for ever writing the book that made him a millionaire. The fear caused by his work led to the hunting of sharks under the guise of safety for beach-goers.

A necessary part of the ecosystem, sharks are quite possibly one of the most misunderstood creatures in the world. But how do you counteract the fearsome persona perpetuated by one of the most popular films of all time? You grab that popularity and use it to feed one of the most educational and popular programs of all time, focusing on revamping the image of sharks and promoting their conservation above all else. Obviously.

The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week capitalizes on people’s morbid fascination with these mysterious creatures, luring people in with stories of shark attacks and up-close footage of real people in the water next to these beasts, and then blinding them with science! And it worked as well as a seal decoy off the coast of South Africa!

Until it didn’t. And then it did again. This is the rise and fall of Shark Week.

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