The Circle

“The Circle”: A Modern Dystopia that Hits Too Close to Home

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I don’t do a lot of movie reviews, but this film flew under the radar, so it’s worth the examination now that it’s out on DVD and streaming. The Circle is a film that feels relevant in its questions with a strong cast full of fandom favorites.

In the film, we meet our main character Mae, a quiet and impoverished but well-connected millennial who lives in a slummy suburb of San Francisco. When her friend Annie grants her an interview at the Facebook-esque social media company The Circle, Mae’s Cinderella story begins. When her choices simultaneously raise her to internet fame and alienate her from her family and childhood friend Mercer, Mae starts to lose faith in the world she’s become so connected to.

Mae gets sucked into the “Circle.”

Based on the titular book by David Eggers, the film presents a cast of complex characters played by remarkable actors. It’s a fandom potpourri with star Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame, John Boyega from Star Wars Episode VII, and Karen Gillan, a certain Time Lord’s companion. Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt round out the big names with plenty of excellent non-A-list actors.

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Disney Announces Immersive Experiences for Fans

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This weekend’s D23 convention unveiled a whole lot of geek love.

It’s hard to imagine a better fan experience than an immersive world built for your enjoyment.  Stepping into the Star Wars galaxy to pilot the Millennium Falcon or order some blue milk from the local cantina, yeah, that sounds amazing.  Adventuring with the Avengers? Sign me up. Disney execs spilled a mind-melding amount of info this weekend about the future of fandom in their parks.  And geek culture was at the center of it all.

I’ve said it before in a blog a long time ago in an internet far, far away — we are living in a geek singularity — an unprecedented burgeoning of fandom culture that’s gone mainstream. When Disney announces a Star Wars hotel complete with cosplay, you know your dreams are really going to come true in full out Cinderella-style.  This blog post can hardly contain geek love of this magnitude, but I’m going to try.  Here’s a recap of the biggest reveals from the Disney fan expo.

One of the best things about Disney buying out some fan favorite franchises is their ability to world build — literally. 

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Lucasfilm Fires Co-Directors of New Han Solo Movie, Hires Ron Howard

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When the news broke that the directors of a yet untitled young Han Solo movie had been fired, a collective gasp resounded from the interwebs. As far as we knew, a tantalizing spin-off was in the works. With the success of Rogue One built on an unknown cast of characters, the excitement of a return to the storyline of everyone’s favorite rogue was tangible.

Everything seemed okay until it wasn’t.

Chris Miller and Phil Lord

From what I’ve rooted out, it seems likely that the culture clash came from the co-director Phil Lord and Chris Miller‘s desire to play up the comedic aspects of the film and work in their known improvisational style.  Lawrence Kasdan, the writer and executive producer, swore by Lord and Miller, pitching them to Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm, as the only ones who could do the film justice.

Apparently, he began to feel uneasy after viewing some of the dailies.  Kasdan is said to be a slave to the script, while Lord and Miller prefer ad-libbed creativity. How in the world did these two polar opposites of the film world coincide?

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Why DC Comics is Peaking at the Right Time

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With the explosive release of Wonder Woman this weekend, it seems DC is finally off and running in the comic book movie battle. They’re a bit late to the party—Marvel successfully launched their movie empire in 2008 with Iron Man, but this is a good thing for us geeks. Why? Competition drives innovation.

Since they’ve been on the movie train for the past ten years, Marvel is in danger of becoming like the hare in the old folktale.  Instead of keeping a good pace ahead of the turtle (DC), they could decide to sit back, sip from their Avengers coffee mugs, put their feet up, and get complacent with their win.  Scripts filled with weak plots, overstuffed cast lists, etc…could leave the old rabbit (Marvel) caught scrambling to get back on track.  Instead, with DC pacing at last and forced to keep that pace, we should see comic book filmmaking at its best for another ten years as the two studios duke it out for the almighty geek dollar. And since geek has gone mainstream, there’s a lot more dollar to be found.

Whatever side you favor, or if you just want to see good translations from book to screen, this is a win.

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  • I agree that Marvel has had some weak plots and overstuffed casts. That is my main complaint with the Avengers movies. I just don’t enjoy them that much because there’s so little storyline or character development. Action and special effects are not enough!

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An Open Letter to Star Wars from a Fan

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Dear Star Wars,

Forty years is a long time to be relevant in our culture.  In the age of trending videos, instant streaming, and direct to viewer original movies and television shows, it’s rare to find a story we return to, not just because it’s familiar, but because it’s deeply rooted in our collective memory.  This is you, Star Wars.

Photo from IGN.com

What keeps us coming back to you after forays into universes with strange Doctors, super soldiers, and bold new worlds?  Your own Emperor, Ian McDiarmid said it best.  “It’s the story.  It’s always the story that gets you,” he told crowds at your celebration in Orlando.

Now, when we say story, we mean the central thread of your narrative that connects an entire sweep of films, spin-offs, fan creations, and books-and the EU both before and after the Disney reboot.  At your core is light versus dark, and the inner struggle between both.  This is everyone’s struggle in our fallen world, but you wrap it in an adventurous package.

Because of you, any given day we can choose to be Jedi, Sith or something in between. 

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