Category Archives: Film

Review: ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a fast-paced film and an improvement over its predecessor. The film doesn’t drag at all even though the running time is merely nine minutes less than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. There is action throughout including terrifying Spiders, more battles with Orcs, and an escape from captivity in empty barrels from the Wood-elves while braving raging waters and arrows. Continue reading

J.K. Rowling will write screenplay for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

From J.K. Rowling’s official website today:

Warner Bros. announced on 12th September 2013 that J.K. Rowling would be making her screenwriting debut with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first in a new film series which is part of their expanded creative partnership with J.K. Rowling.  The films will be inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook of the same name, and will feature the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander.

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The First (Annual?) Mythgard Institute Webathon

The Mythgard Institute was founded in 2011 to bring rigorous, dynamic and interactive educational experiences to students around the world through the latest online course tools while also boasting challenging and engaging classes taught by world-class teachers and leading scholars of literature and language. The Institute’s courses welcome both auditors and students working towards an M.A. degree. Now, two years after this unexpected journey began, Mythgard’s students would like to give something back to this groundbreaking organization.

On Sunday September 22nd, Tolkien Day, Mythgard will host its first-ever student led webathon to support the Mythgard Academy Indiegogo campaign. The Mythgard Academy offers free content on literature and language to everyone in the form of courses, lectures and podcasts. You know how these things work: The more they raise, the more free stuff we all get! There are great perks for the various donation levels, including votes towards what course topics will be offered.

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Sherlock Holmes: Free Online Books & Films

In celebration of Sherlock Holmes Week (July 30-August 5), here are some free online resources for reading and watching the great detective:

  • Read Sherlock! : since the original Sherlock Holmes stories have expired copyrights, they are freely available on many web sites. I like this one for ease of reading online, with eye-appealing features like clear text fonts and line lengths.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: free web books (University of Adelaide) : This site also contains all of Conan Doyle’s stories online, but you can also download the stories here for free to your Nook or Kindle!
  • Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: free audio book. If you’d like to listen to an audio book, here’s a free collection of short stories you can download and listen to in the gym, in the car, or anywhere.
  • Librivox: Arthur Conan Doyle. You can also find free audio books to download here, read by volunteers.
  • Sherlock Holmes (1954). The first and only American television series of Sherlock Holmes adventures aired in syndication in the fall of 1954. Thirty-nine (39) half-hour mostly original stories starred Ronald Howard (son of Leslie Howard) as Holmes and Howard Marion Crawford as Watson. Now with an expired copyright, the series is available to watch free online here!
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – 1927 interview. A rare television appearance by Conan Doyle discussing the creation of his fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes.

Around the Common Room: July 6, 2012

Once again, a linkfest for the ages!

Ray Bradbury’s death, some weeks back, drew quite a lot of beautiful eulogies. Among those who remembered him and his contributions to literature: Sarah A. Hoyt, Neil Gaiman, Hog’s Head regular Katherine Sas, Catholic writer Jimmy Akin, and President Obama. Also, RiaNovosti put together an infographic of Bradbury predictions that have been fulfilled.

In fantasy fiction:

In science fiction: Continue reading

“Lord of the Rings" inspired "Snow White"

Screenwriter Evan Daugherty discusses with how a passion for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films inspired his idea to reinterpret the Snow White fairy tale for 21st Century audiences in Snow White and the Huntsman, opening in theatres this weekend.

Next up for Daugherty: a script for the film adaptation of the Veronica Roth novel, Divergent, which Lionsgate/Summit is hoping will be the next Hunger Games (which was hoped to be the next Twilight, which was hoped to be the next Harry Potter).  Divergent was reviewed last year by the Hog’s Head’s Jenna St. Hilaire.

In a blockbuster weekend competing against The Avengers and Men in Black 3, the only question remaining is: will Snow White and the Huntsman be the fairest of them all?


Review: The Avengers

After the credits for the first Iron Man film, Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) approaches Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) about the “Avengers Initiative”. Ever since that exchange, the films Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America have been building up to what has been a highly anticipated film among devotees to the Marvel Universe franchise, The Avengers. And the film doesn’t disappoint.

The Avengers starts with Nick Fury and his associates at SHIELD experiencing difficulty with the Tesseract, a cube of unspeakable power. This cube opens a portal for Loki (Tom Hiddleston), adoptive brother of Thor, to Earth where he steals the Tesseract in order to summon an alien army to the planet. Fury gathers several superheroes together to form the Avengers: Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Iron Man, and Captain America (Chris Evans). They are joined by Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). The result is a humorous (and sometimes serious) exchanging of back and forth insults and retorts. Through the incessant fighting, the members of the Avengers have to put aside their differences and egos to unite against Loki and his army from taking over Manhattan and ultimately the world.

The Avengers succeeds where other superhero ensemble films failed (Fantastic Four anyone?). A good mixture of humor, action, and drama (not to mention Hulk Smash) to please both the Marvel fan as well as the regular person who just wants to see an action film; The Avengers is a fantastic film, and a good start to the summer movie season.

Around the Common Room 3/31/12

Our last Common Room post having been nearly a month ago, we’ve aggregated quite a number of links, so prepare yourselves for a full and (hopefully) satisfying websurfing experience.

We all know the Internet world has exploded with Hunger Games movie reviews. Along with those have come various spinoff posts, including’s fascinating “How Will They Make a Movie out of Mockingjay?” and’s “How YA Like ‘The Hunger Games’ Came to Rule Fantasy and Scifi Films“. For those who read The Hunger Games and want more books along the same lines, offers “Hunger No More: YA Fiction to Fill the Hunger Games Void“, and Flavorwire gives us a similar post starring mostly different books, titled “Required Reading: Dystopic Books where Kids Meet Tragic Fates“.

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