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Undefended: Dream Adaptations

A good adaptation is hard to find. This month, FilmFisher's writers had a different sort of prompt, which required some creativity: they were asked to pick the books they most wanted to see adapted to the screen, and to pair them with the ideal directors for the project. Take a look at the lists below, and chime in with your own pairings in the comments:…Read On

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Anatomy of an Animated Adventure: Atlantis and Treasure Planet

This article has two aims and two parts. First, I want to enumerate the many ways that Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet are uncannily similar. Released only a year apart — Atlantis in 2001 and Treasure Planet in 2002 — both are 95-minute action-adventure animated films with a steampunk aesthetic…Read On

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The End of the Clone Wars

With an apparently endless stream of Star Wars media issuing forth from Disney and Lucasfilm, it may sound melodramatic to speak about eras ending. Last December, The Rise of Skywalker brought the 40-years-in-the-making saga of the Skywalker family to a close, only for a new episode of The Mandalorian to hit Disney+ less than a…Read On

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Looking at Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tomas Alfredson’s immaculate John le Carré adaptation, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, may be the unsung masterpiece of the 2010s. After garnering a few nominations on the awards circuit and lately making a handful of best-of-the-decade lists (including FilmFisher’s), it seems destined to pass unseen from the public consciousness. This lack of fanfare is sad, though…Read On

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Saving Private Ryan: Why Upham Doesn’t Act

Perhaps the most agonizing scene in Saving Private Ryan is Corporal Upham’s (Jeremy Davies) refusal or inability to save Private Mellish (Adam Goldberg) from the soldier who kills him. While perfectly able to do so, Upham slumps in the middle of the stairs, weeping, as he hears his friend calling for help. Although painful, I’ve…Read On

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Undefended: Opening Titles

When done well, opening titles can be an invaluable device for setting up a film's mood, themes, interests. This month, the FilmFisher crew paid homage to the largely lost art of the title sequence by selecting their favorites…Read On

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Talking to Spider-Man

Though recent entries in the genre have evinced little interest in exploring it, dual identity is the common thread that unites all of the very best superhero stories, which derive their power not from colorful clashes between heroes and villains but from the tension between ordinary men and their extraordinary alter egos. This tension has…Read On

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Fear: The Original Sin of Star Wars

Lately, I attended a lecture proposing that greed, or avarice, is the central vice – the original sin, if you will – of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. Each of the books (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion) centers on a coveted treasure, and evil springs from the desire of those who lust…Read On

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Undefended: Quarantine Recommendations

For this month's Undefended, FilmFisher's writers did something a bit different. Since almost everyone is cooped up at home right now, we are offering some easily accessible viewing recommendations to help you sift through the mountains of garbage clogging every streaming service…Read On

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Film… a Medium for Memories

Lately, I asked my students which time period they would like to live in. When they pressed me for my own answer to the question, as students do, I quipped that I’d like to live in the late ‘90s or early 2000s, because “I was a child, which means I was happy then.” I found it curious that my students (who, after all, are still children to my eyes) responded with knowing laughter. Why does this sort of joke ring so true? Why do we see the past as happy? More precisely, why do we see the past as containing some inaccessible happiness that cannot be replicated in the present?Read On

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Undefended: Unloved Gems

This month – in honor of February, that veritable dumping ground of studios' cinematic refuse – FilmFisher's writers picked their favorite underrated, underseen, unknown, unappreciated, and generally unloved films…Read On

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What About Oscar? Some Thoughts on the Academy Awards

It seems to happen every year now. After the Academy Awards telecast has ended and the names of the Oscar winners cease to echo across the internet a few days later, I make a belated New Year’s resolution I only half intend to keep: I will swear off Oscar-watching this year.  By Oscar-watching, I mean…Read On

"That's where God lives."

The Top 25 Films of the 2010s

This month, FilmFisher's writers were to asked to name their choices for the 25 best films of the last decade. The resulting lists were then compiled and tallied up to create this list of the top 25 films of the 2010s, as selected by the FilmFisher team…Read On

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Can The Rise of Skywalker Bring Balance to the Force?

Tonight, the final chapter in the Star Wars saga will be released in theaters – though of course, describing The Rise of Skywalker as a “final chapter” is bound to raise a few eyebrows. On the one hand, it is evident that new Star Wars films will be flooding the market in an endless stream for…Read On

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Inside a Scene from Inside Llewyn Davis

The tragic centerpiece of the Coen Brothers’ greatest film takes place at the Gate of Horn. The Gate of Horn is a music venue run by Bud Grossman (F. Murray Abraham), but it is also the most overt of the film’s many references to the Greeks. In the Odyssey, the gate of horn separates true dreams from false, which pass through the gate of ivory instead…Read On

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Undefended: The Best Performances of the Decade

As the decade comes to a close, FilmFisher’s writers will be spending the next few months looking back at the cinema of the 2010s and compiling “Best of the Decade” lists in various categories. This month, they picked the top five performances of the decade – that is, single actors in a single film, not…Read On

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The Paradox of Pretend in Ready Player One

Ready Player One is my favorite movie of 2018. I’ve seen it eight times now, over a year since its release. It’s directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the best-selling 2011 book by Ernest Cline. I love the film, but it is not without its critics, and it gets a lot of flack for…Read On

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Notes on R2-D2 and C-3PO

In what Umberto Eco calls the medieval landscape of Star Wars – one populated by princesses, knights, farmers, and wizards – we can readily identify two holy fools. R2-D2 and C-3PO are so ubiquitous that their presence across all soon-to-be-nine episodes is easily taken for granted. How swiftly we forget that, for the first twenty…Read On

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Pinocchios of the Future

The story of Pinocchio – the story of an artificial being, a creation, becoming real – is a story in which the most childlike longing, one experienced by anyone with a favorite toy or an imaginary friend, meets the deepest theological truth. That is why it can justly be described, like the tale of Sleeping…Read On