To mark the 40th anniversary of author Thomas Harris’ invention of Hannibal Lecter and the 30th anniversary of “The Silence of the Lambs” – the only horror film to win Best Picture – we’re looking back at the four books and five films of the Hannibal Lecter series over nine Frightening Fridays. Next up is the “Silence of the Lambs” novel (1988):
From Jan. 6-14, we’re looking back at the five films of the “Bourne” series, so prepare to have your memory refreshed. Next up is the fifth film, “Jason Bourne” (2016):
From Jan. 6-14, we’re looking back at the five films of the “Bourne” series, so prepare to have your memory refreshed. Next up is the fourth film, “The Bourne Legacy” (2012):
Two John Hughes staples – animals and pratfalls – are on display in his original, clunky-but-likable “Beethoven” (1992) and his slick live-action adaptation of “101 Dalmatians” (1996). The latter is the better film (and it’s perhaps why Hughes uses his own name there, and the pseudonym Edmond Dantes on “Beethoven”), but out of the two, “Dalmatians” also feels more like a mass-appeal product.
Cobra Kai,” which recently dropped its 10-episode third season on Netflix (after two years on YouTube Premium), has come along at a perfect cultural intersection where storytellers give fans what they want and actors don’t hesitate over small-screen roles. What was a pipe dream of “Karate Kid” fans a scant few years ago has become not only reality, but also one of the elite must-watch shows on TV. (SPOILERS FOLLOW.)
Novels where dinosaurs roam present-day Earth were left to the late, great Michael Crichton, and that’s as it should be, but Douglas Preston crafts an outstanding book with a T-rex as the absent center: “Tyrannosaur Canyon” (2005). Italicized segments evocatively describe the way the T-rex operated like a machine, with a brain nearly the size of a human’s but entirely devoted to killing and consuming meat; no long-term memory distracts her.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” (1926) often appears on top 10 lists of Agatha Christie novels (it was even named the best crime novel of all time by a 2013 panel), and that’s well deserved. It’s armed with one of the most famous endings in mystery-novel history, and Hercule Poirot is in vintage form even though this is only his third novel. At first blush, it’s strange that Poirot acquires a new amateur assistant – King’s Abbot town doctor James Sheppard, who also serves as the narrator – and I wondered if we’re not missing out on something by not having Hastings or someone else be the regular Watson to Poirot’s Holmes.
Batman & Bill” (2017, Hulu) is about the fight to correct one of the great injustices of early comic book history – the omission of “Batman” co-creator Bill Finger’s name alongside Bob Kane’s. The documentary weaves from tragedy to fun to hopelessness to delight, avoiding that grim feeling found in most chronicles of injustice, while also contrasting the sweat-shop work process of the 1940s comic industry against this new age when writers are known and celebrated.
Tim Lebbon’s “Firefly: Generations” – the series’ fourth novel — finally came out in November long after its initial announcement, and while it’s not exactly worth the wait, at least it’s a new “Firefly” book. Lebbon, whose passion for the material also outstripped the quality on “Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi,” delivers a story where the questions are more compelling than the eventual answers.
From Jan. 6-14, we’re looking back at the five films of the “Bourne” series, so prepare to have your memory refreshed. Next up is the third film, “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007):