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Fowl Language: Winging It by Brian Gordon
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Fowl Language: Winging It by Brian Gordon

If there’s only three books of something, and you read the first two and enjoy them, you’re gonna come back and hit the third one. It’s just one of those things.

I may not have anything new to say about Winging It , the third book collecting Brian Gordon’s online comic strip Fowl Language, since I’ve already written about Welcome to Parenting  and The Struggle Is Real  since March.

Gordon’s been doing this strip about a decade, and it’s entirely about his family life: he draws a family of ducks (viewpoint father, mother, older boy and younger girl) who match, as far as the reader can tell, his actual family, although the ducks have (very sporadically) had their own names, which don’t match Gordon’s family’s names. By the point of the strips in this 2019 book, the two kids were tweens: the obnoxious, demanding, argumentative years. (They’re all obnoxious years, as parents come to learn – it’s just different kinds of obnoxious as you go along.)

This one is more structured than the first two were, organized into a dozen thematic chapters, each one of which has a short intro by Gordon, laid out in a font that looks like the lettering in the strip so it’s “handwritten.” Those chapters loosely follow the kid-development timeline – at least as far as Gordon’s own kids have gotten – starting with “Babies” and running through things like “Food” and “School” on the way to “Growing Up Too Fast.” The intros are pretty close to the standard American “kids are wonderful and horrible” line of discussion, and don’t really add much: I’m sure Gordon means all of it and is being sincere and honest, but we’ve all seen this a million times before. His strips are more distinctive and original, since they have to be quick and precise and funny.

As someone who has assembled books and planned out publication schedules, I have suspicions about this book. In particular, I would bet a medium-sized sum of money that it includes all of the usable early strips that didn’t make it into the first two books, as a semi-housecleaning measure, along with some then-newer material. It was the “we have just enough for a third book, so we’re making a third book” kind of third book, is what I think. And the intros were partially an effort to hit the sentimentalist sweet spot of the market and partially a way to generate new content for the book fairly quickly. (I would not be surprised if Gordon knocked them all out over a weekend.)

So this is the least of the three books to date, but it’s still fun and funny. If you find it next to a cashwrap, or in a pop-up in your favorite online store, as your own kids are squabbling in the background, you will likely enjoy it only incrementally less than the first two. And that’s just fine.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Charming Sweet Tooth: The Complete First Season hits disc Oct. 11
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Charming Sweet Tooth: The Complete First Season hits disc Oct. 11

BURBANK, CA (August 9, 2022) – Produced by Team Downey and writer/director Jim Mickle, and based on the comics from DC, Sweet Tooth: The Complete First Season, arrives on Blu-Ray and DVD October 11, 2022 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Sweet Tooth: The Complete First Season features all eight heartfelt episodes from the first season and will be available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Warner Archive Collection.

The end of our world is the beginning of his. Ten years ago “The Great Crumble” wreaked havoc on the world and led to the mysterious emergence of hybrids — babies born part human, part animal. Unsure if hybrids are the cause or result of the virus, many humans fear and hunt them. After a decade of living safely in his secluded forest home, a sheltered hybrid deer-boy named Gus unexpectedly befriends a wandering loner named Jepperd. Together Gus and the Big Man set out on an extraordinary adventure across what’s left of America in search of answers — about Gus’s origins, Jepperd’s past, and the true meaning of home. But their story is full of unexpected allies and enemies, and Gus quickly learns the lush, dangerous world outside the forest is more complex than he ever could have imagined.  

Sweet Tooth: The Complete First Season stars Christian Convery as Gus, Nonso Anozie as Tommy Jepperd, Adeel Akhtar as Dr. Aditya Singh, Aliza Vellani as Rani Singh, Stefania LaVie Owen as Bear, Dania Ramirez as Aimee and voice over narration by James Brolin. Based on the DC comic book series by Jeff Lemire, Sweet Tooth is executive produced by Jim Mickle, Robert Downey, Jr., Susan Downey, Amanda Burrell, and Linda Moran.

EIGHT ONE-HOUR EPISODES

  1. Out of the Deep Woods
  2. Sorry About All the Dead People
  3. Weird Deer S**t
  4. Special Sauce
  5. What’s in the Freezer?
  6. Stranger Danger on a Train
  7. When Pubba Met Birdie
  8. Big Man

BASICS

Street Date: October 11, 2022

BD and DVD Presented in 16×9 widescreen format

Running Time: Feature: Approx. 480 min

Audio: English 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH

Jurassic World Dominion Extended Edition On 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & Digital on 8/16
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Jurassic World Dominion Extended Edition On 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & Digital on 8/16

Universal City, California, August 9, 2022 – Bring home JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION boasting 14 minutes of never-before-seen footage, an alternate opening, more dinosaurs and more action on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, and Blu-ray on August 16th, 2022 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Having generated over $950 million in global ticket sales, the summer’s colossal adventure from Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures topped the box-office charts in 72 markets around the world release weekend and broke franchise records in 16, earning an “A-” CinemaScore. In addition to the Extended cut, this exclusive special edition includes captivating behind-the-scenes content chronicling the making of the movie from beginning to end, the original short film Battle at Big Rock, and much more, for the perfect movie night at home.
 
Two worlds collide as the epic saga that began with Jurassic Park comes to a grand conclusion in JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION. Directed by Colin Trevorrow and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, the director of the first two Jurassic Park films, JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION takes place four years after Isla Nublar’s destruction when dinosaurs roam the Earth again. Facing the cataclysmic consequences of a planet once again dominated by prehistoric predators, two generations of Jurassic heroes unite as doctors Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and Alan Grant (Sam Neill) return to join Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) for an incredible adventure that will determine the destiny of humans and dinosaurs once and for all.
 
With the purchase of JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION EXTENDED EDITION on digital or disc, fans are eligible to earn points towards digital movies via the Universal All-Access Rewards program. Members can redeem their points for digital movies, swag and more!  For registration and details please visit www.MyUniversalRewards.com.
 
BONUS FEATURES ON 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAYTM & DIGITAL*:

  • EXTENDED VERSION – An extended cut of the film with 14 minutes of additional footage featuring more dinosaurs, action, iconic character moments and an alternate opening
  • BATTLE AT BIG ROCK** – Directed by Colin Trevorrow, the short film takes place one year after the events of JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM in Big Rock National Park.
  • A NEW BREED OF VFX – VFX supervisor David Vickery and the magicians at ILM discuss the incredible visual effects work featured in JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION.
  • DINOSAURS AMONG US: INSIDE JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION
    • TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME – Cast and filmmakers discuss the evolution of the franchise and the special union of characters from JURASSIC PARK and JURASSIC WORLD.
    • UNDERGROUND DINO MARKET – Join filmmakers for a tour of the amazing dino market set and discover how they brought it to life.
    • MAYHEM IN MALTA – A behind-the-scenes look at the Atrociraptor rooftop chase and Owen’s harrowing motorcycle ride through the narrow streets and alleyways of Malta.
    • SCARY REAL
      • SPIT TAKE: THE RETURN OF THE DILOPHOSAURUS – Live-action dinosaurs supervisor John Nolan and his team reveal how they created the impressive Dilophosaurus animatronic.
      • INSIDE THE DIMETRODON – Learn how the filmmaking team operated the terrifying Dimetrodon animatronic and hear from Laura Dern and Sam Neill on what it was like working with it.
      • CREATING A PLAGUE – Laura Dern and Bryce Dallas Howard discuss the enormous locusts featured in JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION and the creature effects team reveals how they were created and deployed.
      • PASSING THE BATA..N- Discover the craftsmanship behind the realistic-looking Beta animatronic and hear from Chris Pratt and Isabella Sermon on why they enjoyed working with it.
      • GIGA-BITE – Go behind the scenes with the cast of JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION as they are introduced to the biggest star of the film, the Giganotosaurus, for the very first time.
    • FINAL NIGHT – Witness the emotional final night of filming with the cast and crew of JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION.

* At participating Digital retailers
** Included on all formats including DVD

FILMMAKERS:
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, BD Wong and Omar Sy 
Music by Michael Giacchino
Jurassic Park Theme by John Williams
Costume Designer: Joanna Johnston
Editor: Mark Sanger ACE, BFE
Production Designer: Kevin Jenkins
Director of Photography: John Schwartzman ASC
Executive Producers: Steven Spielberg, Alexandra Derbyshire, Colin Trevorrow
Produced by Frank Marshall p.g.a., Patrick Crowley p.g.a.
Based on Characters Created by Michael Crichton
Story by Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow
Screenplay by Emily Carmichael and Colin Trevorrow
Directed by Colin Trevorrow

TECHNICAL INFORMATION 4K UHD:
Street Date: August 16, 2022
Selection Number: 1000815028 (US) / 1000815063 (CDN)
Layers: BD 100
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 16:9 2.00:1
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action, some violence and language
Languages/Subtitles: English, French Canadian and Latin American Spanish
Sound: English (DTS: X for Feature and Dolby Digital 2.0 for Bonus Content), French Canadian (DTS-HD High Resolution Audio 7.1), Latin American Spanish (DTS-HD High Resolution Audio 7.1)
Run Time: 2 hours 26 minutes (Theatrical) 2 hours 40 minutes (Extended)

TECHNICAL INFORMATION DVD:

Street Date: August 16, 2022
Selection Number: 1000815029 (US) / 1000815064 (CDN)
Layers: BD 50
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 16:9 2.00:1
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action, some violence and language
Languages/Subtitles: English, French Canadian and Latin American Spanish
Sound: English (DTS: X for Feature and Dolby Digital 2.0 for Bonus Content), French Canadian (DTS-HD High Resolution Audio 7.1), Latin American Spanish (DTS-HD High Resolution Audio 7.1)
Run Time: 2 hours 26 minutes (Theatrical) 2 hours 40 minutes (Extended)

TECHNICAL INFORMATION BLU-RAY:
Street Date: August 16, 2022
Selection Number: 1961213953 (US) / 1000815079 (CDN)
Layers: DVD 9
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 16:9 2.00:1
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action, some violence and language
Languages/Subtitles: English, French Canadian and Latin American Spanish
Sound: English (Dolby Digital 5.1 for Feature and Dolby Digital 2.0 for Bonus Content), French Canadian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Latin American Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Run Time: 2 hours 26 minutes (Theatrical Only)


Aqua Teen Forever: Plantasm is coming to Digital, 4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray on November 8
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Aqua Teen Forever: Plantasm is coming to Digital, 4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray on November 8

BURBANK, CA (August 6, 2022) It was announced today at the Adult Swim Festival by Aqua Teen Hunger Force creators Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro that an all-new mystery-adventure with Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad is on the way! The all-new original movie titled Aqua Teen Forever: Plantasm is coming to Digital, 4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray on November 8, 2022 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. This is the second film adaptation inspired from one of Adult Swim’s longest running animated series – Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Aqua Teen Forever: Plantasm is priced to own on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack (USA $39.99 SRP; Canada $44.98 SRP) and Blu-ray (USA $29.98 SRP; Canada $39.99 SRP) as well as on Digital. Preorders will be available on August 7, 2022.

Aqua Teen Forever: Plantasm will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.

Aqua Teen Forever: Plantasm features everyone’s favorite rascals, the Aqua Teens: the brainy Frylock, the mouthy Master Shake, the loveable Meatwad, and everyone’s favorite perverted neighbor, Carl, as they split up then get back together to fight everyone’s favorite corporate overlord, Amazin, led by everyone’s favorite tech mogul, Neil (voiced by everyone’s favorite Peter Serafinowicz) and his trusty scientist sidekick, Elmer (Paul Walter Hauser, who is everyone’s favorite).

“Maiellaro and I are excited to finally bring book IIV of the Aqua Teen Plantasm series to the big screen that is little and inside your house. It’s funny and entertaining and it has colorful drawings that move about in a rapid fashion, but not so rapid as to cause seizures,” said Aqua Teen Hunger Force co-creator and executive producer Dave Willis. “Luxuriate your eyes in our updated animation! Revel in the mature themes and coherent storytelling! This is not your grandad’s Aqua Teen! Also, this movie has no superheroes in it. That is the Aqua Teen Hunger Force guarantee: no superheroes! No star war stuff either. If you’re looking for a star war or a yoda, this is probably not the movie for you. Do you doubt me? Watch the movie. And if you don’t like it, you have no taste and your “hot take” is not one to be trusted. I just trolled you, son. Now tweet @adultswim with your pointless rage. Bring the thunder!”

Aqua Teen Forever: Plantasm stars Carey Means (Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Brak Show) as Frylock, Dana Snyder (Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies) as Master Shake, and co-creator Dave Willis (Squidbillies, Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell) as Meatwad. The film also stars Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick), Paul Walter Hauser (Black Bird), Natasha Rothwell (White Lotus), Robert Smigel (Bob’s Burgers) and Tim Robinson (Detroiters). The movie was written and directed by series creators Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro and produced by Williams Street Productions. In 2023 Aqua Teen Forever: Plantasm will also be available for streaming on HBO Max and will air on Adult Swim.

BONUS FEATURES

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Commentary
  • Music Video
  • Alternate Cut
  • Behind the Scenes

BASICS

Release Date: November 8, 2022

Presented in 16×9 widescreen format

Feature Running Time: Approx. 79 min

Enhanced Content Running Time: Approx. 172 min

Rating: Rated R for language, crude sexual content and some violence

4K ULTRA HD

Price: $39.99 SRP; Canada $44.98 SRP

Audio – French-Parisian, Latin-Spanish

Subtitles – French-Parisian, Latin-Spanish

BLU-RAY

Price: $29.98 SRP; Canada $39.99 SRP

Audio – ENG, French-Parisian, Japanese, Latin-Spanish

Subtitles – ENG-SDH, French-Parisian, Japanese, Latin-Spanish, Dutch

Billionaires by Darryl Cunningham
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Billionaires by Darryl Cunningham

Billionaires  is a long, detailed book, with many more words than you’d expect for a graphic novel, and a long list of sources at the end – a well-researched and carefully-organized work of non-fiction. So my post here may be less detailed; any questions raised by the book will be best answered by the book.

Darryl Cunningham makes non-fiction comics, I think – the book I’ve previously seen by him was titled How To Fake a Moon Landing  in the US (and less puckishly in his native UK), and his bio in this book lists several other similar titles. From what I’ve seen, he’s not entirely serious – there’s a thread of humor here, mostly in commentary about events, or in how he draws things – but his purpose is essentially serious, and, in this book, mostly a warning.

This is a book, broadly, about how massive concentrations of wealth tend to degrade and destroy both democratic institutions and human lives, and, more specifically, about four very very rich men and how they have demonstrably made the world worse while they also accumulated massive amounts of money for themselves.

The four are Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul and owner of Fox News; Charles and David Koch, the oil & gas magnates, libertarian nutbars and founders/funders of most of the most corrosive institutions of the American right wing; and Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and the single most destructive influence on the American working life of the past generation.

They’re all horrible in their own ways, though I tend to think Cunningham has arranged them in order of decreasing horribleness. Murdoch is a nasty old bastard whose creation was central in the near-coup that is still resonating in American life, and which has been proven, repeatedly, to make its habitual viewers stupider, worse informed, and more prone to radical violence. The Kochs have an even longer-term corrosive effect, made worse by the intellectual sheen they put on the brute selfishness of their libertarianism, and have been important for decades in climate-change denial that may well lead directly to the deaths of millions of people worldwide. Bezos, by comparison, is just a normal unpleasant tycoon: driven, obnoxious, with stupid manias (space travel!) and the usual mix of arguable benefits to the world (get things in a day from one retailer anywhere!) that come with obvious unpleasant side effects (horrible working conditions for both white and blue-collar workers! destruction of myriad competitors who provided jobs and careers and ownership for huge numbers of people! low-key demands for government handouts for new offices!).

Cunningham also says, near the end, that he could have done a similar book about lefty billionaires, which I think is at least partially disingenuous. That book might be clearer on how any billionaires, even ones who try to support charity as they get older and mellower (see: Bill Gates) are bad for democracy and everyone poorer than they are, but it would not have the frisson of these four very horrible people doing their very horrible things. Evil billionaires make a better case than vaguely neutral ones, or even inadvertently-destructive ones. And at least three of these four are very much evil billionaires.

This book may make you want to sharpen your guillotine and start gathering cobblestones for barricades, which is no bad thing.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

REVIEW: Tales of Great Goddesses: Gaia: Goddess of Earth
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REVIEW: Tales of Great Goddesses: Gaia: Goddess of Earth

Tales of Great Goddesses: Gaia: Goddess of Earth

By Imogen and Isabel Greenberg

96 pages/Amulet Books/$14.99

Billed as being similar to the Nathan Hale historic biographies, this new series from Amulet takes a look at the goddesses throughout history. In this, the second offering from the Greenbergs, we get the Greek goddess Gaia. We have her story, including the creation of the world and its inhabitants along with her participation in the battle between the Titans and her offspring, led by her youngest, Zeus.

In a brisk 96 pages, we get her story along with a nice glossary and bibliography so enchanted readers can find more to read.

Today, adult authors have been rewriting the classic Greek tales for modern readers, starting with Madeline Miller’s brilliant Circe. It’s become quite the cottage industry and it makes me realize that despite being the mother of Gre4ek creation, Gaia is a secondary character in her own story and it makes me wish the Greenbergs focused more on her. They pick up after she exists, not at all referencing the chaos that preceded her, and they more or less gloss over the cosmic incest that resulted in other beings of great power that arrived.

We get the various beings she and her son Uranus brought to life, leading to the war between her children and Cronus.

The writing has some snark to it which younger readers will appreciate but they are also expecting her to be the focal point of the narrative and a far more active participant and here the book fails to meet that.

Isabel Greenberg’s art is crude and off-putting and does a disservice to the great beings of myth, from the cyclops to the fifty-headed Hecatonchires (a mere four heads are shown). The review copy was in black and white while the finished work will be in color which may bring more zest to the pages.

There are plenty of interesting goddesses for such a middle grade series and I hope the prominent ones from around the world, not just the more familiar Greek and Norse, get their due in subsequent volumes.

Starship Troopers Debuts on 4K with Steelbook
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Starship Troopers Debuts on 4K with Steelbook

SYNOPSIS
From the bridge of the Fleet Battlestation Ticonderoga, with its sweeping galactic views, to the desolate terrain of planet Klendathu, teeming with shrieking, fire-spitting, brain-sucking special effects creatures, acclaimed director PAUL VERHOEVEN crafts a dazzling epic based on Robert A. Heinlein’s classic sci-fi adventure. CASPER VAN DIEN, DINA MEYER, DENISE RICHARDS, JAKE BUSEY, NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, PATRICK MULDOON, and MICHAEL IRONSIDE star as the courageous soldiers who travel to the distant and desolate Klendathu system for the ultimate showdown between the species.

DISC DETAILS & BONUS MATERIALS
• 4K ULTRA HD DISC
• Feature presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision
• Dolby Atmos audio + 5.1
• Special Feature:
o NEW: Starship Troopers 25th Anniversary Reunion – an all-new virtual reunion featuring screenwriter Ed Neumeier and actors Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer, Clancy Brown, Michael Ironside, Jake Busey, Patrick Muldoon and Seth Gilliam
BLU-RAY DISC™
• Feature presented in High Definition
• Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio
• Special Features:
o Director and Cast Commentary
o Commentary with Paul Verhoeven and Ed Neumeier
o FedNet Mode Picture-in-Picture
o “Death From Above” Documentary
o “Know Your Foe” Bug Featurettes
o “The Spaceships from Starship Troopers” Featurette
o “FX Comparisons” Featurettes
o Storyboard Comparisons
o The Making of Starship Troopers
o Deleted Scenes
o Screen Tests
o Scene Deconstructions
CAST AND CREW
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
Screenplay by Ed Neumeier
Based on the book by Robert Heinlein
Produced by Alan Marshall, Jon Davison
Cast: Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards, Jake Busey, Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Muldoon and Michael Ironside

SPECS
Run Time: Approx. 129 minutes
Rating: R for graphic sci-fi violence and gore, and for some language and nudity
4K UHD Feature Picture: 2160p Ultra High Definition, 1.85:1
4K UHD Feature Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible) | English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Celestia by Manuele Fior
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Celestia by Manuele Fior

Some books tell you their background in exquisite detail, laying out all of the world-building carefully and clearly, so the reader knows exactly what has happened.

I generally prefer the other kind. I’m a grown-up; I don’t need someone to hold my hand.

Manuele Fior, I think, does entirely stories of the other kind – 5,000 km per second was a great story about people, told sideways and indirectly, and the shorter pieces in Blackbird Days  were also non-obvious. His new graphic novel Celestia  is also one of the other kind: a modern story with no thought bubbles or long explanatory speeches, set in a nearish future world that was utterly transformed by something that I doubt anyone left in the world understands.

Here’s all the background we get, before the first page of comics:

The great invasion came by sea. It spread north, up the mainland. Many fled. Others took refuge on a small island. An island of stone, built in the water over a thousand years ago. Its name is Celestia.

We never know who or what invaded. I tend to doubt it was anything human, but it never gets any clearer than that. What happened to those who “fled” is also unclear. Unless they fled the planet somehow, though, they don’t seem to be there anymore. Take that as as you wish.

I suppose it’s possible that this was relatively local: maybe just this continent, this land. But that’s not the sense I get.

Celestia, a generation later, must be self-sufficient by definition. It has no contact with the rest of the world, if there is a rest of the world. A new, post-invasion generation has grown up: this story follows two of them, Dora and Pierrot, the two characters on the cover. They both have telepathic powers, not entirely under control – and I would say that is not uncommon for this new generation. Maybe even more so as time goes on.

This is a story about humanity transformed, but that story is mostly in the background. The Great Invasion perhaps had something to do with the transformation: in the best possible scenario, it was some kind of Childhood’s End thing. The worst possible scenario? Whatever your biggest fear is. Whatever is the most horrible thing you can think of.

Pierrot’s father, Dr. Vivaldi, is one of the leaders of Celestia. At least, he has followers, so he’s leading them – it’s not clear if there’s any real government on Celestia, and the back cover describes it as “an outpost for criminals and other outcasts.” (As I’ve said before: if you’re the only people left, there’s no other government and you are not criminals, by definition.) Vivaldi has some kind of plans; I’m pretty sure they have to do with self-aggrandizement and power and likely some underlying theory of the outside world.

Pierrot is privileged, respected. He can reject his father and still come and go in his father’s circles as he pleases. And his telepathy is mostly a positive thing in his life.

Dora, on the other hand, is being chased. She’s in hiding, her telepathy lighting up unexpectedly, her mind only half her own. Vivaldi’s group wants her, for something that the reader may suspect will not be good for her.

Before long, Pierrot and Dora flee Celestia, with the threat of violence behind them. They are the first to do so, we think, though Vivaldi talks about exploring the larger world, all the time.

Pierrot and Dora find people outside Celestia. But very few. And most of them are from the new generation: even younger, and even more different than their elders than Dora and Pierrot. (More Childhood’s End, with maybe a touch of Midwich Cuckoos or creepier stories about transformed children.)

As they must, Dora and Pierrot visit a few places on the mainland, and will eventually return to Celestia for a confrontation with the people chasing them. We still don’t quite know why they are in conflict, what the factions in Vivalid’s group are, and why some of them would dare to threaten their leader’s only son. But we come to the end, even without that knowledge.

Fior tells this story mostly quietly, in soft colors on large pages. Even the scenes of violence seem frozen; his panels are each a moment in time, inherently still. He will not tell you how to think about this; will not tell you everything that you want to know. If you only like the kind of story in which everything is explained five times, with captions including everyone’s code names, this is not a book for you. But I hope more of you are grown-ups than that.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

REVIEW: The Lost City
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REVIEW: The Lost City

The rom-com was considered a dead genre when it began to consume itself, generating imitations that paled with each iteration, the predictability unable to overcome the star power. There have been a few sparks of life here and there, but as a film genre, it’s more moribund than not.

So, it’s a bit of a surprise to see one of its queens, Sandra Bullock, starring in a glossy, big budget rom-com after moving away from them for so long. Here, she’s a producer and star and at one point considered it dated given the seven years it was in development (never a good sign). She was right, it is dated and somewhat tired and still as predictable as one would imagine. Still, The Lost City is the first of its kind in a while and when it arrived in March, we could all have used something light and dairy.

The film features Bullock as Loretta Sage, a best-selling writer of romances who feels a little bothered that the readers seem to be buying the books not for her prose but for the cover art, featuring model hunk Alan Caprison (Channing Tatum). She is coerced by her publisher Beth Hatten (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) to take Caprison on her latest book tour, something she hasn’t done since her husband died.

While on tour, she is taken by an eccentric billionaire, and criminal, Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), who believes her historic research used for the new bool can help him locate an actual lost city where the fabled Crown of Fire is located.

It’s Caprison to rescue but he’s just smart enough to know he can’t go on his own so he recruits a human tracker, Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt) to help find her. The action and mild hilarity ensue.

Clearly, writers Oren Uziel, Dana Fox, Adam Nee, and Aaron Nee (from a story by Seth Gordon) aspire to be as fresh and quirky, and fun as Romancing the Stone. The Nees also direct and it is certainly visually lush, but they fall short on the freshness. Bullock is fine, Tatum is solid, and Radcliffe is chewing the scenery with a laugh but it’s not marking any new territory in the genre. With so few rom-coms these days, and with Bullock still a crowd-pleasing performer, this is winds up as a slight diversion, a fine popcorn film where only the scenery deserves the big screen. This works just as fine at home.

The film is streaming and available on 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital HD combo pack from Paramount Home Entertainment. Given the lush settings and high gloss the story and cast deserve, the 2160p/Doby Vision UHD disc is superb on every level. It glistens on a home screen so every blade of grass and drop of water is pristine. This is a case where the 4K is markedly improved over the fine Blu-ray. We should be thankful that the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is equal to the challenge.

We have the usual assortment of special features, all in 1080p, none of which are extraordinary. We start with Dynamic Duo (10:42), focusing on Bullock and Tatum; Location Profile (7:09); Jungle Rescue (6:25); The Jumpsuit (3:41); Charcuterie (3:32); The Villains of The Lost City (5:29); Building The Lost City (7:23); Deleted Scenes (8:52 total); and, of course, Bloopers (5:33).

REVIEW: Adventure Game Comics: Leviathan
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REVIEW: Adventure Game Comics: Leviathan

Adventure Game Comics: Leviathan
By Jason Shiga
144 pages/Amulet Books/14.99

Jason Shiga has been keeping readers guessing since his first Choose Your Own Adventure book, 2001’s The Last Supper. He’s gone on to produce similar works, including a wonderful maze for the cover of McSweeney’s. He’s back with a new one, Leviathan, aimed for 8-12-year-olds.

This time we’re taken on an odyssey across the Cobalt Isles as you attempt to defeat the dreaded Leviathan. These types of stories are hard enough to do as prose, made more complicated by making these graphics. Each page offers two to four options, keying you to go to the appropriate page. It’s cleverly constructed although you find yourself doing more page flipping than actual reading. This being a hardcover helps with the wear and tear. You may find yourself going back to the same page one once so familiarity can quickly occur.

The two-tone artwork is simple and easy to follow, with just enough detail to differentiate characters and settings. You are certainly not reading this for in-depth characterization and deep lessons on the human condition but it is a fun story with some nice twists and turn, seasoned with some humor.