Revisiting Sky Captain at The Solute

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It’s always nice when circumstances converge to provide an opportunity for me to write about things I wanted to write about anyway. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow opened ten years ago today, so I wrote a remembrance of it for The Solute. As with Shanghai Surprise, I was interested in revisiting it in light of my recent exploration of serials from the 1930s and ’40s, one of the major sources of Sky Captain‘s plot and visual style. My article for The Solute focuses on the film’s then-groundbreaking combination of live action and CGI backgrounds, but regular readers will recognize many of my usual preoccupations with pastiche and stock character types.

Read it here.

Shanghai Surprise at The Solute

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Today I took a look at the 1986 Madonna/Sean Penn vehicle Shanghai Surprise over at The Solute. It’s an auxiliary to Julius Kassendorf’s series examining all of Madonna’s film roles, but readers of my recent Fates Worse Than Death series will find many connections made with both the serials of the 1930s and the post-Raiders of the Lost Ark imitators that flooded theaters in the 1980s. Upon its release, Shanghai Surprise was an enormous flop and the passage of time has done little to rehabilitate it; however, I found some things to enjoy in it, which you can read about right here.

I’m excited to announce that I am contributing to a brand-new website for discussion of film and related topics, The Solute. The Solute is, in the words of founder Julius Kassendorf, “a brainchild collective emerging from the commentariat of The Dissolve,” the same website on which I posted my reassessment of Addicted to Love last spring. Right now, I’m only represented on the site as part of a roundtable discussion on the state of theatergoing in 2014, but I’ll be posting reviews and longer articles as it moves forward. I’ll have a longer post soon that addresses how that will affect Medleyana, and I’ll post links here whenever I publish an article at The Solute. In the mean time, I invite you to check it out and explore the diverse range of writers who will be sharing their thoughts; if it’s anything like the conversations at The Dissolve, I expect it to be fresh, varied, and entertaining.