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Why Video Game Movies Are So Hit and Miss

The TV and movie industry is always looking for inspiration, while already written with a following are seen as the ideal to be put on screen. Sometimes they’ll turn to classic stories and modernize them. This includes any work from Shakespeare to epic poems of the Vikings, equally likely to be turned into a gritty Western as a 21st century action/romance. Sometimes they’ll just take a book and make that into a movie, with or without adaptation for modern sensibilities and politics. And, every now and then, you’ll see them try to adapt a video game.

Jazz VS. the Nazis: Esi Edugyan’s Extraordinary Half-Blood Blues

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 13: A Novel I Cannot Recommend Enough

So as our series on major Canadian writers draws to a close, it’s time to ask the big questions that hang over everything: Who or what is to blame for the current state of Canadian literature? Why the tiny clique of writers who must content themselves with being the “Canadian Twain” or the “Canadian Bronte” or the “Canadian Faulkner”? Why the over-reliance on over-hyped creations like Atwood or Boyden? Where is the counterculture pushing for change, any change?

After spending more than a decade enmeshed in Canadian politics and culture, the only conclusion I can draw is: There is no impetus for change. Canadians simply don’t care whether they have a robust culture or not. Because if they did, there would be artists and funders and a homegrown Canadian counterculture movement, just like there is in every other country.

But, as the case of Esi Edugyan proves, there is no interest in building such a counterculture movement, even when the perfect leader of that would-be movement is right there.

Making Gotham Great Again, Part 4: Mitt Romney, Man of Steel

Considering Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns as a Mirror to Today’s Politics

When doing pieces like these, it’s really easy for everything to become one giant Rorschach Test. You see some faint parallels between a book or movie you love and the current political situation, and you immediately start making these ridiculous connections between things that really have no relation at all. “Batman is Trump, so the Joker is Hillary Clinton, because they’re both the archenemies! And The Joker and Clinton both wear lipstick and… stuff…”

Thankfully, I think I’ve mainly avoided that throughout this series, but I have to admit, I started getting suspicious of myself when I got to the subject of this final article: Superman. He’s an integral part of The Dark Knight Returns, and a central part of Miller’s satire, so I couldn’t just ignore him. At the same time, any parallel I drew between Superman and a current political figure seemed to be an exercise in the “Rorschaching” that I was worried about. Is he Hillary Clinton? Robert Mueller? Pepe the frog?

See the previous installments in the “Making Gotham Great Again” series analyzing the themes of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and today’s political culture: Part 1: The MediaPart 2: Law and OrderPart 3: Ronald Reagan and the Republican Establishment

The Quiet Earth VS. The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price

It was a shock to realize that The Quiet Earth is now old enough to be a classic like The Last Man on Earth. These two low budget science fiction movies have a number of points in common, though there are understandable differences as well. Spoiler warning – we spoil everything.

Species VS. Splice

A young, not-quite female human hybrid has been created and poses a threat to all of humanity. Sound familiar? SPOILER WARNING!

Making Gotham Great Again, Part 3: Ronald Reagan and the Republican Establishment

One of the most innovative aspects of The Dark Knight Returns is that Miller very clearly places Gotham City in the real world of 1980s America, and not a hyper exaggerated comic book universe. Ronald Reagan is president, the United States is locked in an ever-escalating Cold War, and real-life celebrities like David Letterman and Dr Ruth Westheimer are murdered by the Joker. Of course, Miller never comes right out and names these people, but by the way he draws them, it is easy enough to figure out what he is up to.

Based on previous installments of this series, you may assume that Frank Miller would be very supportive of Ronald Reagan. After all, Batman is a stand in for a type of conservatism that, to paraphrase Whittaker Chambers, recognizes the reality of evil and fights it instead of smiling and waving at it (Chambers, Witness, 704). In a time when Reagan was constantly (and rightly) denouncing the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” while many on the Left did not want to hear it, a reader may easily think The Dark Knight Returns is thinly veiled pro-Reagan propaganda. When Reagan does show up approximately halfway through the book however, Miller paints him in a less than flattering light. In almost every appearance, Miller portrays Reagan as a doddering, uncaring fool, who throws American soldiers into Cold War conflicts for no particular reason.

Check out the previous installments in this series: Part 1, The Media, and Part 2, Law and Order

Akron Beacon Journal Reviews Fred Tribuzzo’s Pulse of the Goddess

Barbara McIntyre writes, “‘The world’s temporarily over,’ says Cricket Hastings, the main character in Ravenna author Fred Tribuzzo’s American Blackout series. In the first book, ‘Pulse of the Goddess,’ there has been a solar storm followed by a nuclear explosion over Kansas, and an electromagnetic pulse has wiped out all modern technology.”

The War of the Ice Age Apocalypse Movies

Back before we rebranded global warming into climate change, we were afraid the world was cooling. Actually, in the 1970s, it was cooling, bringing on fears of a global ice age. This wasn’t addressed nearly as much in Cold War movies as fear of nuclear wars; many movies actually featured worlds that arose in the aftermath of such destruction, though it might have included a nuclear winter in there. What you don’t see, though, are many movies set in a future ice age.

After watching “Snowpiercer”, I tried finding similar movies and stumbled upon “Quintet”. These two movies are almost as far apart as possible, though they end up in the same, dismal place.

Making Gotham Great Again, Part 2: Law and Order

Considering Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns as a Mirror to Today’s Politics

In an interview with Comic Book Confidential in 1988, Frank Miller remarked that 1980s America was a “very frightening, silly place… it’s often silly and frightening at the same time and [he] hope[d] [The Dark Knight Returns] is silly and frightening at the same time.”

Editor’s Note: Click here for Part 1 of this ongoing series. Warning: spoilers in this and the previous installment.

You do not have to read very far in The Dark Knight Returns to realize that Miller can indeed illicit horror and laughs on the same page, if not in the same panel. Miller’s genius at combining these two seemingly contradictory responses lead to some intriguing commentary on criminality and society’s response to it. And like Miller’s satirical attacks on the media, his observations on modern America’s inability to seriously deal with crime make interesting parallels with the Trump era.

The Greatest Conservative Films: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)  

Editor’s Note: In April of 2017 writer Eric M. Blake began a series at Western Free Press naming the “Greatest Conservative Films.” The introduction explaining the rules and indexing all films included in the series can be found here. Liberty Island featured cross-posts of select essays from the series during summer and fall 2018. This essay concludes the cross-posting series. (Click here to see the original essay on It’s A Wonderful Life. Check out the previously cross-posted entries on Jackie Brown, Captain America: The First AvengerCaptain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil WarUnforgivenHail, Caesar!, Apocalypse Now, Fight Club, Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice ULTIMATE EDITION, Wonder Woman, Kill BillGran TorinoThe Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.) If you would like join this dialogue please contact us at submissions [@] libertyislandmag.com.

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