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April 01, 2005 - May 23, 2005

Monday, May 23, 2005

Tolkien Studies: Volume II - Xoanon @ 12:30 PST

Tolkien Studies: Volume II

Turgon writes: Volume two of Tolkien Studies is now out from West Virginia University Press. It's available from the publisher and from Amazon. The ISBN is 0937058998 and the price is $60.00

Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review

Contents for Volume II, 2005

"'And She Named Her Own Name': Being True to One's Word in Tolkien's
Middle-earth" by Richard C. West

"Richard C. West: A Checklist" compiled by Douglas A. Anderson

"Parallel Lives: The Sons of Denethor and the Sons of Telamon" by Miryam LibrŠn-Moreno

"The White City: The Lord of the Rings as an Early Medieval Myth of the Restoration of the Roman Empire" by Judy Ann Ford

"World Creation as Colonization: British Imperialism in 'Aldarion and Erendis'" by Elizabeth Massa Hoiem

"'Tricksy Lights': Literary and Folkloric Elements in Tolkien's Passage of the Dead Marshes" by Margaret Sinex

"Tolkien and Modernism" by Patchen Mortimer

"Tolkien, King Alfred and Boethius" by John Wm. Houghton and Neal K. Keesee

"A Definitive Identification of Tolkien's 'Borgil': An Astronomical and Literary Approach" by Kristine Larsen

"Love: 'The Gift of Death'" by Linda Greenwood

"Tolkien's Imaginary Nature: An Analysis of the Structure of Middle-earth" by Michael J. Brisbois

"Obituary: Humphrey Carpenter (1946-2005)" by Douglas A. Anderson

Notes and Documents

"The Birthplace of J. R. R. Tolkien" by Beth Russell

"J. R. R. Tolkien and W. Rhys Robert's 'Gerald of Wales on the Survival of Welsh'" by Douglas A. Anderson

"Gilraen's Linnod: Function, Genre, Prototype" by Sandra Ballif Straubhaar

"Little Nell and Frodo the Halfling" by Dale Nelson

Book Reviews, by many writers.

"Addenda and Corrigenda to the 2001-2002 Tolkien Studies Bibliography"

"The Year's Work in Tolkien Studies 2001-2002" by David Bratman

"Bibliography (in English) for 2003" compiled by Michael D. C. Drout with Melissa Smith-MacDonald

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

DVD Tuesday: Blanchett's 'Life Aquatic' - Xoanon @ 21:58 PST
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

In The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, director Wes Anderson takes his familiar stable of actors on a field trip to a fantasy aquarium, complete with stop-motion, candy-striped crabs and rainbow seahorses. And though Anderson does expand his horizons in terms of retro-special effects and a whimsical use of color, fans will otherwise find themselves in well-charted waters. As The Life Aquatic opens, Zissou (Bill Murray), a self-involved, Jacques Cousteau-like filmmaker, has just released a documentary depicting the death of his best friend Esteban, who was eaten by some sort of sea creature--possibly a jaguar shark. Zissouís troubles also include his waning popularity with the public, and a nemesis (Jeff Goldblum) who hogs up all the grant money. Hope arrives in the form of Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson), an amiable Kentuckian who may be Zissouís son. Despite his lack of enthusiasm for fatherhood, Zissou welcomes Ned--and Ned in turn saves Zissouís new documentary (in which he seeks revenge on the jaguar shark) in more ways than one.

One of Wes Andersonís greatest achievements as a director to date has been launching the autumnal melancholy phase of Bill Murrayís career, starting with Rushmore in 1998, and Murray delivers a similarly comedic yet low-key performance here. Unfortunately, Zissou is one of the few characters in this ensemble to achieve multi-dimensionality. Even co-star Wilson doesnít get to develop Ned much beyond Noble Southerner, and he ends up seeming more like a prop for illustrating Zissouís emotional development rather than his own man. The Life Aquatic probably wonít be remembered as a great film, but it is still one that no Anderson (or Murray) fan can afford to miss. [Order 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Criterion Collection' on Amazon.com Today!] [Order 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Criterion Collection (2-Disc Special Edition)' on Amazon.com Today!]

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

DVD Tuesday: Bean's 'Treasure' & JRD's 'Seas' - Xoanon @ 22:15 PST
National Treasure

Like a Hardy Boys mystery on steroids, National Treasure offers popcorn thrills and enough boyish charm to overcome its rampant silliness. Although it was roundly criticized as a poor man's rip-off of Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Da Vinci Code, it's entertaining on its own ludicrous terms, and Nicolas Cage proves once again that one actor's infectious enthusiasm can compensate for a multitude of movie sins. The contrived plot involves Cage's present-day quest for the ancient treasure of the Knights Templar, kept secret through the ages by Freemasons past and present. Finding the treasure requires the theft of the Declaration of Independence (there are crucial treasure clues on the back, of course!), so you can add "caper comedy" to this Jerry Bruckheimer production's multi-genre appeal. Nobody will ever accuse director Jon Turtletaub of artistic ambition, but you've got to admit he serves up an enjoyable dose of PG-rated entertainment, full of musty clues, skeletons, deep tunnels, and harmless adventure in the old-school tradition. It's a load of hokum, but it's fun hokum, and that makes all the difference. [Order 'National Treasure (Full Screen Edition)' on Amazon.com Today!] [Order 'National Treasure (Widescreen Edition)' on Amazon.com Today!] [Order 'National Treasure (UMD Mini For PSP)' on Amazon.com Today!]


Chupacabra Terror

Criticising this film is like shooting fish in a barrel with a howitzer. It's cheesy, it's ridiculous, it's utterly unrealistic.
But it DOES have the first genuine, bona fide man-in-a-rubber-suit monster I've seen in ages. It wasn't long ago that almost any otherworldly creature seen on the screen was a stunt man in a stifling rubber suit. Whether it was a towering Godzilla or a dinky little Saucer Man, a Creature from the Black Lagoon or the Monster of Piedras Blancas, the phoney rubber monster suit ruled the screen. Here in the age of CGI, I didn't think we'd ever see another of these old-school horrors, so I admit I got a few chuckles out of this film. And if you have fond memories of those hokey, shambling rubberized monsters of yesteryear, maybe you'll smile, too. [Order Chupacabra Terror ' on Amazon.com Today!]

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

DVD Tuesday: McKellen's 'Emile' - Xoanon @ 21:18 PST
Emile

A broad stylistic combination of cinema veritť and magic realism, the film follows Emile's life as he tries to reconnect with his last remaining relation NADA. But Emile's past is sometimes more familiar and immediate than the world before his eyes. As he tries to re-discover the family that he abandoned long ago, he is forced to confront the anxieties in his memories - the family he betrayed and abandoned at the expense of his own happiness. Now, in the twilight of his life, Emile shapes the final chapters of his mental autobiography. Will he become a grandfather, surrounded by the love and support of a family or will he retreat into his world of memories and lost opportunities? [Order 'Emile' on Amazon.com Today!]

Sunday, April 24, 2005

New Book out on Tolkien by Verlyn Flieger - Xoanon @ 10:55 PST

Interrupted Music: The Making of Tolkien's Mythology

Turgon writes: Verlyn Flieger's new book on Tolkien, Interrupted Music: The Making of Tolkien's Mythology, is just out from Kent State University Press ($18.00, trade paperback ISBN 0873388240). Here's the publisher's blurb from the back of the book:

The content of Tolkien's mythology, the Silmarillion, has been the subject of considerable exploration and analysis for many years, but the logistics of its development have been mostly ignored and deserve closer investigation.

Nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholars understood the term mythology as a gathering of song and story that derived from and described an identifiable world. Tolkien made a continuous effort over several years to construct a comprehensive mythology, to include not only the stories themselves but also the storytellers, scribes, and bards who were the offspring of his thought.

In Interrupted Music Flieger attempts to illuminate the structure of Tolkien's work, allowing the reader to appreciate its broad, overarching design and its careful, painstaking construction. She endeavors to "follow the music from its beginning as an idea in Tolkien's mind through to his final but never-implemented mechanism for realizing that idea, for bringing the voices of his story to the reading public." In addition, Flieger reviews attempts at mythmaking in the history of English literature by Spenser, Milton, and Blake as well as by Joyce and Yeats. She reflects on the important differences between Tolkien and his predecessors and even more between Tolkien and his contemporaries.

This in-depth study will fascinate those interested in Tolkien and fantasy literature.

Order 'Interrupted Music: The Making of Tolkien's Mythology' from Amazon.com Today!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Lord of the Beans - Xoanon @ 10:13 PST

The Lord of the Beans

Ringer Spy glumPuddle writes: I work at a Christian bookstore and we recently recieved this catalog from ZonderKids. One of things advertised is the VeggieTales series (a computer-animated childrens video series featuring a cast of talking vegtables). Their next video will be a parody of LOTR entitled, "The Lord of the Beans" (staring Junior the Flobbit).

Pre-Order 'Lord of the Beans' on DVD at Amazon.com Today!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Old Shirts Are New Again! - Xoanon @ 14:40 PST
MrCere writes: Is your geek wardrobe complete? At last, as promised, we have a limited number of one of our TheOneRing.net classic shirts available again! The "Don't Make Me Get My Ring" shirts are - in a limited number - on sale today. They come in traditional navy with gold printing or the unique natural shirt with gold and bronze lettering. Both styles have a ring on the back with the popular "Don't Make Me Get My Ring" phrase and a TORn logo on the front left breast. Like all of our shirts currently available, these are only available while supplies last. [Shirts]


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