Bilbo the Billionaire: A Short History of J.R.R. Tolkien's Greed Wars

(Image: The Internet)

[An early draft of this ongoing intersection between avaricious art and life has been published over at HuffPo.]

‘Really you know,’ said Bilbo in his best business manner, ‘things are impossible. Personally I am tired of the whole affair.’

J.R.R. Tolkien legendarily wrote In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit, one [...]

Daniel Clowes + Wilson + Death Ray = Hollywood Comics Smarts

It’s been years since director Terry Zwigoff brought Daniel Clowes’ alternately poignant and smartass comics to the silver screen, giving indie cred to Scarlett Johansson, an Oscar nod to the Oaksterdram-based Clowes and more. But then came the playboys into pantsuits, armored and otherwise, and all kinds of post-traumatic stress disorder broke loose.

But at last [...]

Resurgent Lord of the Rings Rules Fantasy

Thank Gandalf! J.R.R. Tolkien’s riveting fantasy epic Lord of the Rings is once again hypnotizing Earth. As I write, Peter Jackson is booting up its cinematic prequel The Hobbit, probably with The Office and Sherlock straight man Martin Freeman in Bilbo’s furry feet. Jackson’s Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings bonanza is out on Blu-ray. I’ve [...]

Five Shamless Sci-Fi Oscar Robberies, Spearheaded By Avatar

UPDATE: This goofy roundup on Avatar‘s repurposed return has also been published by my pals at The Huffington Post and Bright Lights Film Journal. Stop by and mouth off.

Riding on the back of nine minutes of unseen footage, the special edition of James Cameron’s pioneering 3-D masterpiece Avatar returns to theaters Friday. But billions of [...]

Best Concert Films Ever? Screen These Legends

On Apr. 30, Phish 3D hit theaters in a limited engagement, taking concert films into the multiple dimensions of the post-Avatar era. But Phish’s 2D predecessors still have a serious amount of pop-cultural clout.

From Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin to Jimi Hendrix (at right) and Dave Chappelle, they carry so much star power that [...]

In Praise of Ralph Bakshi, Animation Pioneer

This was one of my favorite pieces of the year so far. I wrote it for, but I’m not sure they appreciated it as much as I did. Maybe it’s because I saw Ralph Bakshi films in the ’70s and ’80s, and they utterly blew my mind. And Peter Jackson’s. And John Kricfalusi’s. And [...]

Name That Film-Based Band!

Murder By Death is one of the most ridiculous, and ridiculously hilarious, spoofs of all time. A smoking cast, a conscienceless goof on mystery greats like Hercule Poirot and Sam Spade, Truman Capote, the list goes on. This is pretty much what the band named after it thought years ago. I chatted Murder By Death [...]

Firefly Reboots! And Other April Fool Headlines

Sigh. Do you ever wish for the return of Joss Whedon’s Firefly, a reunion of the original Pink Floyd lineup, great films made from Alan Moore’s brain-melting comics, Neuromancer the film, and a BitTorrent-based supersite where you could download anything ever made for a small fee? Yeah, me too. For Wired.

The Boba Fett Secret? Staying Power

Ever since he bedeviled The Empire Strikes Back, the small-time bounty hunter Boba Fett has nevertheless since bent the entire Star Wars multiverse to his will. But why? I asked the tough questions at Wired and got an eyeful from Star Wars fandom.

Superman, Batman = Killer Public Enemies

Now that my cold has somewhat subsided, I can catch you up on past work that perhaps passed beneath your radar. The finest of those possibilities is DC Comics and Warner Bros. comics-anime merge Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, one of the best films of the year. I reviewed it for Wired.

Michael Moore: America’s Teacher

[Naomi Klein, The Nation]
On September 17, in the midst of the publicity blitz for his cinematic takedown of the capitalist order, Moore talked with Naomi Klein by phone about Capitalism Inc., the roots of our economic crisis and the promise and peril of the present political moment.. The following is an edited transcript of their [...]