Superhero Saturday: ‘Batman & Bill’ (2017) touchingly chronicles the fight to get Bill Finger his proper credit (Movie review)

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atman & 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.

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‘Firefly: Generations’ is a big tease about Earth-That-Was, River’s history and the Hands of Blue (Book review)

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im 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.

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‘Bourne’ again: ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ (2007) digs into the moral cost of ‘just following orders’ without sacrificing thrills (Movie review)

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rom 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):

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Hannibal at 40: Lecter starts as supporting character in Thomas Harris’ ‘Red Dragon’ (1981) (Book review)

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o 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. First up is the “Red Dragon” novel (1981):

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Disaster flick ‘Greenland’ carries the weight of (the end of) the world (Movie review)

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oasting more adherence to how things might really happen than its forbearers such as 1998’s “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact,” “Greenland’s” (2020) strength as a rocks-from-space disaster flick is how weighty things feel. Writer Chris Sparling and director Ric Roman Waugh keep the focus on one Atlanta family – Gerard Butler’s John, Morena Baccarin’s Allison and Roger Dale Floyd’s 7-year-old Nathan – rather than cutting away to generals strategizing in control rooms with giant countdown clocks.

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Hughes Day Tuesday: ‘Career Opportunities’ (1991) has potential but slacks off on its first day on the job (Movie review)

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areer Opportunities” (1991) is an often likable but ultimately unfocused entry in writer John Hughes’ oeuvre. Like the two armed robbers being distracted by Josie McClellan (Jennifer Connelly) riding a mechanical horse while wearing a tight tank top, I sometimes forget why I’m at this Target store in the first place. In their case, it’s to rob it for supplies; in my case, it’s to watch a thoughtful coming-of-age dramedy. In both cases, we get sidetracked.

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Preston & Child flashback: ‘The Codex’ by Douglas Preston (2003) (Book review)

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efore Douglas Preston set foot in the fabled White City of Honduras, as chronicled in 2017’s “Lost City of the Monkey God,” he imagined going there in “The Codex” (2003). While it’s mildly disappointing, given the title, that the book doesn’t chronicle a code-breaking mystery, it is an adventurous trek through the jungles, rivers and mountains of Honduras. You’ll be happy to visit it in book form rather than going there yourself, as Preston paints an evocative picture of the land – and its corrupt politicians and differently cultured natives – serving up one death-trap after another.

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Sleuthing Sunday: ‘Poirot Investigates’ by Agatha Christie (1924) (Book review)

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arly in my reading of the short-story collection “Poirot Investigates” (1924), I didn’t like how Agatha Christie was unleashing various tropes and tricks within such brief yarns; I felt like she should save them (especially her really good ideas) for her novels. But a ways into this 14-story collection (the last three of which are only in the American edition), I started to look forward to each one as a mental snack. Not as fulfilling as the full-course meal of a Hercule Poirot novel (of which only two were published by this time), but tasty.

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