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What The Avengers can teach you about writing

May 4, 2012 1 comment

Facing a writer’s block the size of Galactus? Flummoxed by a project as tricky as Loki? Perhaps my new piece for Ragan.com, excerpted below, can help:

As a writer, you probably think your job doesn’t share too much in common with the work of a team of spandex-clad super-beings who protect the world against megalomaniacal trickster fiends. And most likely, you’re 90 percent right (give or take your comfort with spandex).

Believe it or not, we can all learn a few things from “The Avengers.” With Marvel Comics’ premier supergroup hitting American movie theaters on May 4, those lessons are front and center. Here are a few nuggets of professional advice courtesy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

To discover these world-and-prose-saving tips from Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, and more, continue reading at Ragan’s PR Daily.

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The shared M.O. of The Cabin In The Woods and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

Having experienced them both for the first time recently, I can confidently say that My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an awful lot like Cabin In The Woods.

Stay with me on this.

(WARNING: Spoilers after the jump for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Also for the cabin thing.)

Cabin In The Wood / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

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Après The Raven, le déluge

Feeding moviegoers’ insatiable desire to see 19th century American icons become gothic-horror action heroes (no, really, that’s apparently a thing now), next weekend sees the opening of The Raven. If you haven’t scratched your heads at/laughed yourself silly over the ads yetThe Raven stars John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe. In it, the author who’s often credited with helping to invent the detective story must match wits with a serial killer who bases his crimes on Poe’s canon.

If The Raven is a smash hit at the box office—just…okay, come on guys, stop laughing, I’m trying to make a point—if it’s a hit,you can be certain Hollywood will crank it through the Idea Replicate-O-Tron 8000 and “reimagine” other famous authors grappling with their creations. Before they do, a few humble suggestions/predictions.

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Why you’d rather be killed by a Mayan prophecy than a French psychopath

August 20, 2011 1 comment

In the latest installment of  The New Cult Canon (a feature you should be reading regularly at The A.V. Club), Scott Tobias examines the grisly French horror film Inside, and questions how viewers gauge what is “too far” when it comes to representations of violence and death in movies. He notes how often people are repelled by the visceral depiction of individual deaths in horror films, but shrug off the far greater lethality implicit in end-of-the-world blockbusters from the Michael Bay or Roald Emmerich mold. Writes Scott:

As a rule, I’m reluctant to draw any hard lines on what horrors are beyond representation, because I recognize how subjective that can be. For example, I find the trailer for 2012 far sicker in its bloodless apocalypse fetishization than anything I’ve ever seen in “torture porn” genre, but clearly that opinion isn’t shared by the legions who gave a pass to the former while routinely turning up their noses at the latter.

Which is completely logical, when you stop and think about it for half a minute. The combined body count of the Saw franchise is but a minute fraction of the death toll claimed in just one sequence of Independence Day, a lighthearted popcorn flick better remembered for Bill Pullman’s bad-ass quasi-Patton moment than for gleefully positing the obliteration of dozens of major cities—and, along with them, tens of millions of human lives. It brings to mind the infamous quip attributed to Josef Stalin: “One death is a tragedy. One million deaths is a statistic.”

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Categories: Commentary, Film, Pop Culture

From Gapers Block – Chicago Rot: Embracing the City’s Dark Side

 

In a sparsely-furnished office in the Merchandise Mart, five recent graduates of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy are striving to write the next chapter in Chicago’s film history. With their independent movie Chicago Rot, currently in pre-production, they’re determined to change the perception of their hometown among film-goers and filmmakers alike. And by partially funding the project via the crowd-sourcing website Kickstarter, they’re inviting Second Citizens who share that vision to chip in.

 

Continue reading at Gapers Block