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    To Better Know a Team: Fantastic Four

    The Fantastic Four are the first family of Marvel Comics. Created in 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (apocryphally, the result of an edict by Marvel publisher Martin Goodman to tryout a superhero team, a la rival DC Comic’s super-successful Justice League) and heavily inspired by the monster comics Marvel was publishing at the time, their tremendous popularity and success is responsible for launching Marvel’s Silver Age superhero renaissance, transforming a middling publisher of romance and sci-fi comics into one of the “Big Two” publishers of superhero adventure stories, leading to the creation of some of pop culture’s most enduring and beloved characters. Without the Fantastic Four, there would arguably be no Spider-Man, no Hulk, no X-Men or Avengers. Fantastic Four #1 is, simply, the Big Bang of Marvel Comics. More

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    Watch Chris Hardwick try to audition to be the new member of the ‘Fantastic Four’

    Chris Hardwick, once best known as the host of MTV dating show Singled Out alongside Jenny McCarthy, has in recent years seen his profile grow significantly, starting the Nerdist podcast and growing it into a brand that now includes multiple podcasts, a website, and a movie distribution arm, among numerous other things. Hardwick himself has […] More

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    The Fantastic Four are back in first rebooted trailer

    In the long cavalcade of superheroes making another appearance in 2015, the Fantastic Four have the biggest hill climb, having been rebooted after two dismal films in the mid 2000s. Josh Trank (Chronicle) has taken the task of rebooting Marvel’s franchise, casting Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell as the eponymous […] More

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    The Hype Cycle: Contenders Arrive in Theaters

    Excuse the absence in this column for the last few weeks. I’ve been covering the Chicago International Film Festival, catching up with a few of the Foreign Language Oscar contenders while there. Now however, many of these movies are finally making their ways into theaters, providing an extra wrinkle into the race as both critics […] More

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    NYFF 2014: ‘Whiplash’ phenomenally explores the line between perfection and sociopathy

    Originally birthed as an 18-minute short, premiering at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Whiplash went on to garner enough attention to become a feature full-length film. Thank God it did. The feature-length version of Whiplash masterfully showcases the pressures of perfection in a tightly plotted, beautifully shot, soberly performed package. From the creative genius of sophomore director Damien Chazelle comes a semi-autobiographical experience just as exhilarating as it is shocking. Whiplash tells the story of Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller), a promising young drummer who enrolls at an elite music conservatory, where his dreams of greatness are mentored by Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), a ruthless music conductor who will stop at nothing to realize his student’s potential talent. With the audience on the edge of their seats, the question constantly being taunted is thus: how far is too far for pushing a student towards greatness? More

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    NYFF 2014: ‘Whiplash’ makes music thrilling like no other film

    Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, now conquering New York after wowing audiences at film festivals all the way back to Sundance last winter, opens with a title card over black while a few taps on a snare drum build into a furious drum roll. It’s a fine way to symbolize the conflict at the center of the film, which accelerates to “furious” so quickly and easily that it’s barely perceptible. Tension builds slowly in an empathic crescendo, before snapping over and over again like the repeated pounding of a cymbal. Whatever arguments this film may inspire, it’s clear that there is no other film in existence which makes music so thrilling. More

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