Lionsgate Wins Bidding War for Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle

Thursday, October 1st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Patrick Rothfuss-smallAs we reported in July, several major Hollywood studios — including Warner Bros., MGM and Lionsgate — were in a pitched bidding war for the rights to Patrick Rothfuss’ bestselling fantasy series The Kingkiller Chronicle. Now The Hollywood Reporter, and Rothufuss’ blog, are ‎reporting that Lionsgate‬ has won the rights to develop the series for film, TV, and video game platforms.

Lionsgate has closed a complex multi-platform rights deal picking up The Kingkiller Chronicle, the best-selling fantasy book series by Patrick Rothfuss. The deal sets up the simultaneous development of movies, television series and video games with the goal to adapt the many stories across the mediums at the same time.

It also caps off interest and dealmaking that has gone on since mid-July, when Rothfuss met with studios such as Warner Bros., MGM and Lionsgate, among others, at Comic-Con.

Robert Lawrence, whose credits include 1990s classic Clueless as well as the Mark Wahlberg vehicle Rock Star and the drama The Last Castle, will produce. Lawrence was an early chaser of the Kingkiller series and stayed on the series even when it was temporarily set up at Fox Television.

Terms were not disclosed. Read the report at The Hollywood Reporter here, and at Rothfuss’ blog here.

The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes: Holmes on Screen

Monday, September 28th, 2015 | Posted by Bob Byrne

HoS_BarnesHolmes enthusiasts have their peculiarities. One of mine is that I enjoy just grabbing Alan Barnes’ Sherlock Holmes on Screen from the shelf and randomly reading about some past tv or film effort starring the great detective.

Almost twenty years ago, I couldn’t find a single picture of Ronald Howard’s Holmes on the internet. So I scanned one from a book and that was the basis for, which for about a decade, had more info about Holmes television and film projects than any other site on the web. With the coming of Guy Ritchie’s Holmes, I decided to shut down the site (surprisingly, I enjoyed the movie) and soon thereafter set up

But Holmes on screen has remained a major interest area for me. By my count, twenty-one The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes posts have covered that subject! Now, I’m not saying that if you read every one of the links below, you’d be a leading expert on Holmes on screen. But you’d probably know more than most folks you talk to on the subject. And hey; they’re all free!

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Goth Chick News: Kicking the Apocalypse’s Ass

Thursday, September 24th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The 5th Wave poster-smallThough she has been in the biz since she was six years old, we only really got a chance to fall in love with Chloë Grace Moretz in 2010, when she was all of thirteen and played the little purple-wigged assassin in Kick Ass.

From that point forward it sure seemed as though either someone was giving Moretz awesome advice on what roles to take on, or her own quirky tastes in characters was leading her to some juicy parts. Either way, and if the movie was a hit or not, Moretz’s performances always left an indelible impression; whether it was her reworking of blood-drenched Carrie or the vampire Abby in Let Me In.

So imagine the anticipation when last week we were gifted with the first trailer for The 5th Wave and found the now 21-year-old Miss Moretz continuing her tradition of headstrong, revenge-dishing, ass-kickery.

The 5th Wave began as a 2013 young adult science fiction novel by Rick Yancey; the first installment in a trilogy. Critics have compared the book favorably to The Hunger Games and noted that it “should do for aliens what Twilight did for vampires.”

Okay, let’s hope the heck not. But moving on…

The story follows 16-year-old Cassie Sullivan as she tries to survive in a world devastated by the waves of alien invasion that have already decimated the population and knocked humankind back to the Stone Age.

First, they wiped out the power. Then, an earthquake hit, causing worldwide devastation. Third, a massive epidemic, spreading across the globe.  And for the fourth wave, the alien invaders responsible for all this chaos finally descended to Earth — with the ability to inhabit human bodies. So the question is: What is the fifth wave going to look like?

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SEPTOBERFRIGHT 3: The Frightfully Ubiquitous Terror of… Star Wars? (And Other Horror Films Coming Your Way)

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 | Posted by Nick Ozment

star warsLast week’s absence threw me off my game plan of a new horror-themed post every week through Hallowe’en. I have a pretty good excuse! My wife twisted her ankle and had to go to the ER, and ever since then things have been a bit chaotic what with my better half wobbling around on crutches. Now I’m the only one who can carry all the laundry down to and up from the basement — and you know what could be lurking in the basement!

(There’s a whole blog post right there, just contemplating the fears associated with that space where our safe, comfortable above-ground homes intersect with the hidden depths of the subterranean unknown, lying there beneath the surface like the subconscious id of the house.)

And now for a somewhat labored segue: we also had a broken TV set, and since my wife has had to spend much of her time on the recliner with her leg propped up, I set off to alleviate that problem. Visits to Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy confirmed one thing: Star Wars has taken over retail this season almost as much as Halloween.

I swear to the Great Pumpkin, in every electronics department I heard the Star Wars theme playing. The logo is plastered everywhere; tie-in products are so ubiquitous that, were future archeologists to dig up a store preserved from September 2015, they might conclude that Darth Vader and stormtrooper masks and fuzzy wookie dolls are as much a part of this particular autumnal celebration as werewolves and jack-o-lanterns.

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Goth Chick News: You Don’t Have to Go To Hell, But You Can’t Stay Here – Ghost Sex Comes to TIFF

Thursday, September 17th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Lace Crater-smallYou can always count on interesting offerings from the Toronto International Film Festival. Founded in 1976, “TIFF” is now one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the world, considered second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity.

Screening close to 400 films each season, just a few of the notables which launched at TIFF include American Beauty, Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech, all of which went on to win Best Picture at the following Oscars.

So perhaps we should entertain such hopes for Lace Crater, an indy film which made its debut at TIFF on Tuesday.

Being billed as a lo-fi, horror-comedy, the trailer teases the story of an awkward young woman (Lindsay Burge) who gets a sexually transmitted disease from a ghost. That’s right: this woman has sex with a ghost and suffers the consequences.

And you thought your twenties sucked.

Lace Crater is the feature directorial debut of writer/director and local Chicago, Northwestern University grad Harrison Atkins. Here’s the official synopsis.

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Adventures In Commitment: To Watch Beyond the Pilot?

Monday, September 14th, 2015 | Posted by markrigney

Sleepy OneWe live in a Golden Age of television. Quality work springs up every season, clamoring for our attention. Thing of it is, the hours available in any given day have not kept pace. Days on planet earth continue to mete out a mere twenty-four hours total, and I (for one) need to be sleeping for at least seven of those.

For what, then, will I give my precious time?

With books, I have a rule. If a series remains unfinished, I refuse to delve. I call this “The Robert Jordan Rule,” and at present, I am busily applying it to George R.R. Martin. However, I’m feckless, and inconstant besides. I have not applied said rule to Patrick Rothfuss, and I beg you not to apply it to my own burgeoning series of Renner & Quist adventures, the latest of which, Bonesy, arrived September First.

The Robert Jordan Rule proves equally impossible to apply to television. Hardly any series is made with an end point in mind. Most simply peter out when audiences wane, budgets get slashed, or the makers finally admit they have no idea how to wrap things up (and possibly never did). What, then, to do? Does any criteria exist for what show next to watch?

To begin, we must invoke Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Take Me To the Pilot!

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New Treasures: The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road by Abbie Bernstein

Sunday, September 13th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Art of Mad Max Fury Road cover

Mad Max: Fury Road was a highlight of the summer for me. It was easily one of the best movies of the year, and the long-awaited return to one of the great cinematic settings of my youth, the post-apocalyptic hell of The Road Warrior. It turned both of my teenage sons into Mad Max fans. No small feat, since in general they don’t show much patience with films from the 80s.

Titan Books released a gorgeous art book to accompany the release of the film, The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road, and it’s jam-packed with behind-the-scenes photos, concept art, production stills, interviews with the cast and crew, and an insightful foreword by director George Miller. I received a copy last month, and finally had a chance to sit down with it this week. The timing is actually pretty good, as the Blu-ray was released on September 1, and we re-watched the film at home last Friday.

Below are a dozen photos and art samples from the book.

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Fantasia Diary 2015: A Coda

Monday, September 7th, 2015 | Posted by Matthew David Surridge

JeruzalemWith my Fantasia coverage done for another year, I thought I’d write a final post looking back over what I saw to try to make sense of it all. And to talk about why I’ve done what I’ve done.

I saw over sixty films at Fantasia, almost half of all the features presented. I am tremendously grateful to everyone involved; to the people at Fantasia for putting the festival together, and to John and Black Gate for allowing me to cover it. I tried to focus on fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mystery films in that order, but also did not scruple to go beyond that broad remit. Sometimes that’s because the film in question seemed to have some element that might be of interest to Black Gate readers. Sometimes it was just because it seemed to fit in a way I couldn’t explain — seeing all these movies at Fantasia makes for a kind of juxtaposition that unites them in some way I can’t easily articulate. It may just be a shared sensibility of the programmers.

So: over sixty films. And yet there were something like a dozen more I wish I could have seen. The Israeli horror film Jeruzalem. The Spanish post-apocalypse zombie movie Extinction. The animated Japanese movie The Case of Hana and Alice. Various others. The programming’s so dense that I’m physically incapable of going to all the movies I want to go to in the short time of the festival. As it was, I averaged three movies a day.

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Things Your Writing Teacher Never Told You: No TV for You

Sunday, September 6th, 2015 | Posted by Tina Jens

TV News cartoonSo you’ve got a new book out, and despite all attempts at humility, you secretly believe it is the coolest thing invented since smart phones. The whole world would love to read it – if you could only get those jaded, cynical, world-weary, keepers-of-the-gate to give you a little television air time. Forget it.

I briefly worked as a newspaper reporter, and I married a television news producer. I made a side trip through the land of promotion, working as a publicist for a couple of authors, for a few years.

So, believe me when I tell you, forget what the perky little “You can do it!” how-to promotion articles tell you – unless you are Stephen King, Anne Rice or a celebrity already – you are NOT going to get television coverage for your magnum opus of fiction.

Let me explain why you aren’t going to get television coverage, and so, should not waste your valuable and probably-limited personal publicity funds on it.

Look at the word Tele-vision. The Vision part is key – there must be something to see. No matter how pretty your cover art; there’s no movement, no action to it. And there’s no way to change that fact. Therefore, your book is of no interest to the television reporter – or to the television station’s viewers. Even if those viewers read ten books a month, when they turn on the television, they expect to see something visually entertaining.

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Fantasia Diary 2015: They Look Like People, Nina Forever, and Hostile

Sunday, September 6th, 2015 | Posted by Matthew David Surridge

They Look Like PeopleConcluding my discussion of films I saw courtesy of the Fantasia screening room, I’ll be writing today about three movies: a drama with elements of horror called They Look Like People, the horror-comedy called Nina Forever, and one of the purest horror movies I’ve ever seen, Nathan Ambrosioni’s Hostile. I’ll begin with They Look Like People, written and directed by Perry Blackshear. It’s about two men, one of whom, Wyatt (MacLeod Andrews), appears to be falling into insanity; he believes aliens are giving him messages. He happens to cross paths with his old friend Christian (Evan Dumouchel). They’ve both recently had long-term relationships fall apart — Wyatt’s fiancée in fact cheated on him and then broke up with him. Christian offers Wyatt a place to stay, and Wyatt accepts.

Much of the film is about the two men rediscovering their friendship. It’s a solid character piece, as we see how they come to mean a lot to each other. Christian isn’t mentally troubled the way Wyatt is, but lacks self-confidence, or feels he does; he listens to self-help affirmations we eventually learn were recorded by his ex-girlfriend. We also learn the affirmations aren’t necessarily having the effect he wants. They do give him the courage to ask out his boss, Mara (Margaret Ying Drake); but then Wyatt begins to fixate on her, believing she’s an ally against the evil aliens around them. As things go on, the friendship of the two men is increasingly tested.

The movie’s essentially about the friendship between Wyatt and Christian, and at its best it’s a touching depiction of male friendship, one that’s neither sophomoric nor overdetermined. These aren’t older men with shared decades, they’re acquaintances who become best buddies. They Look Like People is far from being a comedy, but there’s a warmth to the movie that’s quite effective despite the dark things happening to Wyatt.

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