In Memoriam: The 10 Greatest Sci-fi and Fantasy Scores of James Horner

By Jason Helton in Daily Lists, Movies, Music
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 5:00 am

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James Horner Film Music

As an ├╝ber band geek, I had quite the obsession with the music of film, particularly that of science fiction and fantasy films. The plan was that I would study music education in college, but my heart was in performing, and I dreamed of being a studio musician, recording scores to television and movies. It was the music of composers like John Williams, Michael Kamen and others that inspired me, but as a brass player, it was the music of James Horner that drove me to want to play professionally.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension Trailer - Finally See the Ghosts, Get Closure in 3D

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 12:48 am

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I admit I got burned out a bit on the Paranormal Activity series around part 4, which I skipped altogether - but The Marked Ones injected a bit of new life into things by changing up the setting, and now this latest installment promises to end the saga while finally, FINALLY letting you see the ghosts - in 3D.

While it doesn't look like it's going to follow up on the cliffhanger that ended The Marked Ones, The Ghost Dimension does look like it's going to go to crazier places, and kick in with the spookiness a lot sooner than the usual slow-burn. Please let this deliver, and not be the Freddy's Dead of the series.

Buy Bookends Made From Ray Bradbury's House, to Help Fund His Legacy

By Luke Y. Thompson in Books, Merchandise
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 6:05 pm

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Ray Bradbury would want you to keep books around your house, if for no other reason then as penance for the wall-sized TV he predicted would one day keep you transfixed all day, in a permanent state of not caring about wars or the increasing stupidity of the world. So while it's appropriate to buy holders for them made with salvaged lumber from his demolished house, there are other good reasons too:

Sets are accompanied by a thank-you letter from The ReUse People (TRP), the company responsible for salvaging the material, and a certificate of authenticity signed by Alexandra Bradbury, the late author's daughter, and TRP President Ted Reiff.

Each set is $88.50, which includes shipping and handling. Sales tax will be added for California residents during checkout.

A portion of the sale proceeds will be donated to the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University to help fund the re-creation of Bradbury's home office, a major milestone in the Center's ongoing efforts to preserve his works and legacy.

The bookends are made in a limited run of - what else? - 451. So catch them before the mechanical hounds do.

h/t Adam Jahnke

My Wife Rejoices as J.K. Rowling Reveals Harry Potter's Dursleys' Origins

By Luke Y. Thompson in Books
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 1:48 pm

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Dear J.K. Rowling - just go ahead and write more Harry Potter stories. You clearly want to.

In honor of what would be cousin Dudley's 35th birthday, Rowling has revealed new details about his grotesque parents - how they met (at a boring office job), why they attracted one another (as the sister of a witch, she longed to meet somebody less interesting), what they did on one of their dates (decide for yourself if "dropped his battered sausage" is literal, a metaphor, or both), and why they resent Harry.

I'm not going to spoil it all here, as that would save you the time of creating a Pottermore membership (free) and futzing around with the Closet Under the Stairs area to figure out how to unlock the new material, which also reveals how the author picked out the characters' names. Suffice it to say that if you like creating erotic fan fiction centered on repulsive characters, this is essential canon.

EXCLUSIVE REVEAL: Oni Press' Invader Zim #1 Newbury Comics Variant Cover

By Luke Y. Thompson in Cartoons, Comics
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 11:25 am

[Jim Dandeneau contributed to this post]

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click to enlarge

The new Invader Zim comic from Jhonen Vasquez and Oni Press is coming on July 8th, and they've given TR an exclusive first look at the Newbury Comics variant cover to issue 1.

The comic picks up years after the end of the fan-favorite cartoon. Dib, the paranoid young conspiracy theorist who regularly stopped Zim's plans to take over Earth for his native Irk Empire, has been preparing for Zim's return since he disappeared. Written by Vasquez with art from Aaron Alexovich, the new series will have all the characters from the show back, especially GIR, Zim's pet robot and probably the best character from that entire era of Nick cartoons.

This variant cover is exclusive to Newbury Comics, but anyone can get Invader Zim #1 in shops or on ComiXology on July 8th.

New Spider-Man Director and Star Set: Tom Holland and Jon Watts

By Luke Y. Thompson in Comics
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 9:39 am

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Maybe Saoirse can be the new Gwen?

Dammit, I was really hoping for Asa Butterfield, but he probably commands too high a price now (Heroic Hollywood speculates that his being taller than Robert Downey Jr. didn't help, which sounds semi-plausible). And if you were casually reading the headline, I bet you were hoping for Child's Play's Tom Holland to be the director. No such luck. This Holland, who was often talked about in the same breath as Butterfield for the Peter Parker role, is perhaps best known stateside for his role in the World War III drama How I Live Now, while Watts, who has directed TV segments for The Onion and the Eli Roth-produced horror Clown, is a surprise choice to helm.

Both are such unknown quantities to me that it's tough to have an insta-opinion, so I'll just make one up: ARRRRGGGHHHLLEBLARRGGLE! THEY SUCK! THIS IS WORSE THAN HAVING MY EYEBALLS STABBED OUT BY ADAM SANDLER!

Or, you know, maybe not. Also, thank God the rumors of Jared Hess weren't true.

The Rock to Fight Kaiju in the Movie Version of Rampage

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies, Video Games
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 9:22 am

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Not to be confused with the nihilistic mini-franchise Uwe Boll thinks he's been making, the classic Rampage game lets you trash major cities as George the giant gorilla, Lizzie the lizard or Ralph the wolf. Dwayne Johnson would make a great George or Ralph, though Deadline is reporting that he'll be opposing the monsters. I hope that's just a guess, as the whole point of Rampage was to make you identify with the creatures and triumph over the puny humans. And frankly, the Rock needs to do some more bad-guy stuff onscreen - his public persona is getting painfully close to Rocky Maivia levels, as the legacy dude who just smiles all the time. We need a heel turn.

Cast Rocky as George, Ronda Rousey as Lizzie and Kevin Durand as Ralph. I'd be down for a ticket.

YOU Can Help Choose the Next 6-Inch Star Wars Black Series Figure!

By Luke Y. Thompson in Toys
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 8:00 am

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It is a great honor to be involved for the first time in selecting the next Fan's Choice Star Wars figure by Hasbro - and this time, it's a 6-inch Black Series character!

Want even better news? Read on...

Blu-ray Today: Terry Gilliam Fishin' for Compliments, Miyazaki for Completists

By Luke Y. Thompson in Anime, DVDs
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 6:30 am

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The Fisher King (The Criterion Collection) - Terry Gilliam gained popular acclaim with his dark hybrids of fantasy and satire, but he had to do a movie explicitly clarifying the fantasy elements as schizophrenic hallucination in a realistic universe before he would be taken ultra-seriously - and win an Oscar for one of his cast members, Mercedes Ruehl. Jeff Bridges plays a Howard Stern-ish shock jock who quits after inadvertently inspiring a crazed listener to kill; Robin Williams is a seemingly crazy man in search of the Holy Grail who somehow persuades Bridges' character to come along for the ride. You could call it a brilliant deconstruction of both Williams' and Gilliam's usual shtick as childish delusions that are actually dangerous, or you could see it as making both a lot less fun. It's fascinating regardless.

The Criterion edition includes new interviews with Gilliam; producer Lynda Obst; screenwriter Richard La Gravenese; and actors Jeff Bridges, Amanda Plummer, and Mercedes Ruehl, as well as a newly shown interview with Williams and Criterion-exclusive commentary by Gilliam. Deleted scenes with optional commentary are also included, as are new featurettes on Bridges, all the trailers, and much more.

The 9 Greatest Years in the Life of Studio Ghibli

By Steven Kelliher in Anime, Cartoons, Daily Lists, Movies
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 5:00 am

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For all of the admittedly deserved praise Pixar has received for their stellar work on Inside Out (incidentally coming on the heels of Spirited Away's long-awaited Blu-ray release), we thought it was pertinent to delve into the other truly great animation power in the world. Where Disney and Pixar have long dominated the West, Studio Ghibli is undoubtedly held up as the pinnacle of eastern animation - at least when it comes to breaking out into the Western world with stories that don't include bodacious and anatomically impossible heroines and colorful heroes.

With the recent limited release of the twentieth - and possibly final - Studio Ghibli film When Marnie Was There and renowned director and animator Hayao Miyazaki's stated intention to retire, there is no better time than now to take a look back at some of the most pivotal years in the storied history of this unique and ambitious creator-controlled art house.

Helping me along this journey into Studio Ghibli's past (re: bolstering or undoing my ramblings) are renowned anime experts and the authors of Studio Ghibli: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, Michelle Le Blanc and Colin Odell.