June 8, 2012 |
It is one of the great classified ads of our time, and it leads to an unexpected and endearing film that is as deliciously off-center as the words that ignite it: "WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before. " The film is"Safety Not Guaranteed,"and its success is both delightful and unlikely. As sweet as it is eccentric - and it is wildly eccentric - this is a warm movie in cynical disguise, a story that takes a handful of thoroughly modern characters, places them in a classic screwball comedy plot, and lets nature take its course.
January 22, 2012 |
Tempest A Novel Julie Cross Thomas Dunne Books: 339 pp, $17.99, ages 14 and up The dramatic potential of time travel has been exploited for decades in kid lit and in recent months has become something of a micro trend in modern young adult fiction, with books including Jay Asher's "The Future of Us" and Ian McDonald's "Planesrunner. " There's something about the vicarious thrill of watching characters alter life as they know it, the escapism of moving between realities, that's irresistibly adventurous and empowering.
July 24, 2013 |
"Futurama," the science fiction cartoon, is in the midst of its (putative) last season. (The latest episode, "Calculon's Immortal Soul," airs Wednesday on Comedy Central.) On Saturday it convened what will probably not be its final public panel at Comic-Con, San Diego's world-famous nerd-targeted trade show and fan fair, with the reading of a scene from the upcoming "Last Episode Ever. " A few weeks back I sat down with Matt Groening, who created the series and developed it with David X. Cohen, for a valedictory interview.
April 8, 2014 |
Over a decade ago, Ann Brashares wrote the first book of a series about four friends who form a sisterhood while sharing a pair of old jeans over a summer. "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" achieved international acclaim and led to the "Sisterhood" movies. In recent years, she's kept busy writing fiction for adults ("The Last Summer [of You and Me]") and young adults ("My Name Is Memory"). Her new novel, "The Here and Now" (Delacorte Press, 256 pp., $18.99, ages 12 and up)
January 15, 2012 |
In "Looper," Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a hitman in the near future whose targets have been sent back in time; one day, the man who turns up turns out to be an older version of the assassin. To bring the premise to life, Gordon-Levitt had to look (and act) like Bruce Willis, who plays the older incarnation of his character, and that meant spending three hours a day in the makeup chair. "That was really scary because you commit to that and there's no real way out of it," said "Looper" writer-director Rian Johnson of using practical prosthetics to make one actor look more like the other.
May 25, 2012 |
"Men in Black 3" has got the MIB mojo back - well, most of it anyway. With Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones once again suited up and sporting shades as agents J and K, and a casting coup in Josh Brolin playing K's younger self, the latest alien crisis is good trippy fun as the fate of Earth, and '60s retro style, hang in the balance. Director Barry Sonnenfeld, who's been onboard from the first film, has recovered some of the brashness and all of the unbridled affection for the weird, wonky otherworldly types that made the initial 1997 cosmic comedy such a kick.
July 18, 2013 |
Say you could hop into a DeLorean and travel back to when life on Earth began. Would fish migrate from water to land? Would the dinosaurs go extinct? At the end of our trip, would we still encounter life as we now know it? Some scientists don't think so. They argue that any number of chance events - storms and earthquakes, for example - would steer evolution down another course, making it impossible to predict. But a study published Tuesday in Science has found that if we know the ecology of an area, we can predict the traits a species will evolve millions of years from now, despite all the chance events that could influence the outcome.
November 21, 1990 |
What if you could go back in time and assassinate Hitler before he came to power? What if you could go back and kill Oswald before he assassinated Kennedy? What if you could go back and eliminate the CBS executives who canceled "The Twilight Zone"? These are the sorts of perennial questions that intrigue new generations of time-travel tale spinners.