Doomsday Clock (2017-2019) by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

WATCHMEN was a bona fide literary comic, a standalone deconstruction of superheroes, of masked protectors, a pulling-apart of self-appointed hierarchies and relinquished responsibilities. It challenged the reader, not just through the artistry of it all, but the ethical ambiguities and questions it raised. For decades it was left alone – while it had huge impact…

The Haunted Castle (1896)

For all its bats, skeletons, cruxifex, and, well, the titular haunted castle, I think it’d be a mistake to really consider this a horror film. The skeleton appearing out of nowhere might very well be considered a jumpscare, one of the first, but seems much more a work of dazzlement and illusion overall, in keeping…

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

The characters of the STAR WARS sequel trilogy are generally good. Kylo Ren is an interesting turn on the villain role, a fanboy needled by what legacy he wants to live up to. Rey’s set up as a stranded Skywalker-fangirl scavenger also was interesting, as was how THE LAST JEDI jettisoned the idea of her…

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

SOLO doesn’t feel like a mess of a movie, it feels dully competent, which is striking considering basically the entire film was reshot by Ron Howard after Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired for their deviances from the Disney blueprint (improvisiation, shooting scenes from specific chosen angles instead of coverage wide enough to give…

The Amber Spyglass (2000) by Philip Pullman

The first two books of HIS DARK MATERIALS were mainly told from the perspectives of the child main characters, Lyra and Will respectively. Each childhood character gets their own story and adventures told, their characters built up, and their relationships with others filled out. Nipping at the edges of their stories is a much grander…

The Aviator (2004)

A very striking film, with the filming, the visuals done so as to mimic the type of film stock of the time different periods of the film are set in. Situating the film in the legacy of Hollywood like this (it basically opens with scenes from HELL’S ANGELS) helps ground the construct of Howard Hughes…

Hell's Angels (1930)

Quite engaging, with arresting flying scenes worthy of their acclaim (and perhaps the absurd amount of work put into them too), but too dedicated to relationships and characters that grind things to a halt. A speech about profiteering and corruption, of war and ethics is a rare highlight in the ‘character’ side of the film,…