From Page to Projector: ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’

hobbitThis is it: The last Middle-earth movie directed by Peter Jackson, who gave fans of cinema and fantasy the tremendous and epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. His trilogy take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s children’s classic “The Hobbit” ended with the release of “The Battle of the Five Armies,” which at the time of writing this post sits atop the box office.

The finale focuses on the final 90 pages or so of the book, as well as events understood to be taking place concurrently in the Tolkien universe. The dragon Smaug goes to scorch the nearby town but is brought down by Bard, the until-previously disgraced ancestor of the king of the destroyed city of Esgaroth. The dragon’s death brings several peoples to the Lonely Mountain seeking its riches, but Thorin and his dwarven company close off the mountain to all seeking aid while he searches for his lost gem and family heirloom, the Arkenstone. The nearby Men and the Elves of Mirkwood join forces to siege the mountain and are set to do battle with Thorin’s brethren, who have come from the north as reinforcements, but then an army of Orcs come down on them to claim Erebor’s riches for their own. The dwarves, elves and men join forces to fight off a common foe, and they are able to win once Thorin and his group decide to join the fray (and once the Eagles come to save the day yet again), but Thorin is killed in the battle. Our titular hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, grieves the loss of his friend before setting out with the wizard Gandalf, who had his own dealings with the Necromancer (aka an early reiteration of Sauron) to take care of before joining the fight, on his journey home to the Shire.

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Comic Book Wednesday: ‘Bodies’

bodies_cover_1_a_p“Four time periods, four detectives, four murders. Identical M.O., identical location — the twist? It’s the same body.”

This is the idea behind “Bodies” by writer Si Spencer.

We are introduced to four time periods, which are drawn by four different artists: Meghan Hetrick for 2014, Dean Ormston for 1890, Tula Lotay for 2050 and Phil Winslade for 1940.

The setting is in London, and in each story, the detective is struggling with some type of hatred in their community: Muslim persecution in 2014, homophobia in 1890, the world’s destruction in 2050 and the Mafia in 1940. Each brings their current logic to the table, the current persecutions and possible reasonings to the front of their minds.

This first issue sets up the scene in each era and gives us a slight background to the characters, but that’s about it. They all end up in the same place: Puzzled by who was killed and why.

Despite this slow start (which I normally hate), I think the overall idea behind “Bodies” is unique. It doesn’t stick to just one era; it ties in the favorite past eras, the current and an idea of a future.

The smart choice was having four different artists for the timeline, which gives each era a different flavor that goes beyond different characters and storylines. It truly separates them and makes each detective stand on his or her own.

This issue has been out since August, so Spencer has had a few more issues under his belt. I think “Bodies” is a good title to grab and catch up on while munching on leftover holiday cookies in front of the Christmas tree.

Comic Book Wednesday is a feature that will showcase a variety of visually based books that fit into this wide category, to give a taste of this other form of reading.

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Comic Book Wednesday: ‘Batman 66: The Lost Episode’

A1ik9e3fh1L._SL1500_If you are a Batman fan, you have seen or heard of the Batman TV series in the 1960s.

It was a wildly popular, campy show that starred Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Burt Ward as Dick Grayson/Robin. It was known for its witty words, over-explanations, devices called the “bat-something” and Robin usually exclaiming “Holy (insert word here), Batman!”

The show ended in 1968, but with the 75th anniversary of Batman’s creation, DC Comics have been celebrating everything about the Caped Crusader. In this one-shot, “Batman ’66: The Lost Episode,” a lost episode created by Harlan Ellison comes to life on comic book pages. Jump back into 1966 with “The Two-Way Crimes of Two Face.”

In this comic, we are introduced to Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face. We find out that he was injured when a suspect splashed his face with acid, and slowly he went crazy. He uses his two-sided coin to determine the fate of his violent acts, so he will hand robbery money back if his coin dictates so. But this time, he is determined to kill Batman.

After a constant wild-goose chase, Batman and Two-Face comes to blows — twice. Both times Batman prevails and Tw0-Face eventually faces jail.

What makes this comic so special is, the villain Two-Face was never introduced on the television show, and would have been if Ellison’s script was produced.

Behind this special one-shot comic there are two special features: the pencil sketches of distinguished comic book artist Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, who drew “Batman ’66: The Lost Episode.” Behind that is a copy of the original screenplay manuscript by Ellison. Writer Len Wein used this manuscript to create this comic.

Batman fans will thoroughly enjoy this kooky, fun comic book. It is rated E for Everyone, and it makes a perfect stocking stuffer for those comic book fans. Check it out at your local comic book store soon.

Comic Book Wednesday is a feature that will showcase a variety of visually based books that fit into this wide category, to give a taste of this other form of reading.

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From Page to Projector: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1′

mockingjayContinuing the trend of splitting the final book in a popular series into two films, “The Hunger Games” released part 1 of “Mockingjay,” the movie version of the last installment of Suzanne Collins’ dystopian teen series, last week. With the building success of the first two films, it’s no big surprise that “Mockingjay — Part 1″ raked at the box office, outpacing the No. 2 movie by $100 million.

Much like “Catching Fire,” this edition sticks very closely to the source material. It tells of heroine Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and her transitioning to life in the underground shelter of District 13 and as the symbol of the rebellion against the Capitol. The leaders of the revolution want to use her mostly as a propaganda star, but when it becomes clear that she can’t just act her way into being a firebrand, she goes into a field of combat to visit a hospital of wounded citizens, which then leads to her first taste of combat outside of the Hunger Games when a Capitol bomb squad attacks the hospital. Throughout her time there, she sees propaganda pieces aired by the Capitol that feature interviews with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), her partner in the Games and government-enforced love interest, where he looks increasingly depreciated. At Katniss’ request, the rebels send a team to extricate Peeta and a handful of other hostages from the Capitol, but when she sees him again in District 13, he tries to strangle her as a result of the psychological torture he underwent at the hands of the Capitol.

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Hearts and Minds Bookstore hosting local author

Hearts & Minds Bookstore, 234 E. Main St., Dallastown, will host a celebration of the newly released books by local United Methodist pastor, the Rev. Dr. Kenneth M. Loyer, at 7 p.m. Dec. 9.

Loyer will read excerpts of his new book, “Holy Communion: Celebrating God with Us” and discuss how he came to write it.  Books will be available for sale and there will be opportunity for him to sign them.

“Holy Communion” is the second in a series of brief books called Belief Matters. Loyer is the pastor of Otterbein United Methodist Church in Spry. For details, call Hearts & Minds, 717-246-3333

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Enter coloring contest and you might win bag of books


There’s still time to enter YDR’s Thanksgiving coloring page contest and get a chance to win this bag of books from York County Libraries and a $25 Target gift card. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7. Winner will be announced Friday, Dec. 19.

See all of the entries so far.

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Poll: Choose your weapon for The Hunger Games

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From Page to Projector: ‘The Prestige’

prestigeAcclaimed director Christopher Nolan is back in theaters with his space epic “Interstellar.” A fair amount of my favorite movies of the 21st century — “Memento,” “The Dark Knight,” “Inception” — are Nolan works. One that often gets lost in the shuffle is 2006’s “The Prestige,” an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Christopher Priest.

The novel, published in 1995, tells quite a different story as opposed to its movie namesake. The basics are all still there: two stage magicians at the turn of the 20th century, Alfred Borden and Rupert (Robert in the film) Angier, form a rivalry that systemically eat into every aspect of their lives. Borden (played by Christian Bale) creates a one-of-a-kind new trick, The Transported Man, in which he appears to teleport from one cabinet to another across the stage instantaneously. Angier (Hugh Jackman) tries to imitate the trick as best he can and has success, but he isn’t satisfied as he knows Borden’s is better. Thinking he has found the secret, he seeks out inventor Nikola Tesla to build him a machine that can do the job.


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Comic Book Wednesday: ‘Trinity’

250px-Trinity_1Despite reading and reviewing comics for a few years now, I am still a novice in the realm of comic books. So, when I stumbled upon my husband’s copies of “Trinity,” I geeked out.

This comic features Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman working together as a team. The logo at the top of the covers have Batman’s, Superman’s and Wonder Woman’s symbols on top of one another.

My inner geek is dancing around like a little child.

The first issue begins with Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent and Diana Prince meeting in a neutral, public location to discuss an issue all three are having: Each night they are haunted by a peculiar dream with an evil presence wanting to escape. After trying to formulate a plan about what to do, each go their separate ways for now. However, all three suddenly and simultaneously hear a loud cry while their are still awake, in the middle of their patrolling duties in their respective towns. Things are about to get much worse.

We suddenly jump to a new storyline, where we see a mysterious man approach Morgaine Le Fey, and the two discuss strange dreams occurring to both of them. The man, now called Enigma by Morgaine Le Fey, tells her about the “Trinity” (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman), and the two devise a plan to form their own superpower trinity, enlisting Despero.

What is this mysterious cry from the universe’s abyss and will the superheroes be able to stop the evil trinity?

Though the story hasn’t received good reviews online, I think this first issue is a good one, especially for someone unfamiliar with DC universe storylines and facts. I think for the time, writer Kurt Busiek had a great idea for an action-packed, extended storyline that could lead us in many directions and incorporates many characters.

The art was typical comic book style: sleek, action-packed and full of detail. I don’t mind this type of art from time to time, especially since comic book artists are trying to draw outside the box these days. Mark Bagley is a great artist and should be commended for his work on “Trinity.”

The now trade-paperback, volume editions would make great holiday presents, and you can get them at your local comic book shop or on

Comic Book Wednesday is a feature that will showcase a variety of visually based books that fit into this wide category, to give a taste of this other form of reading.

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From Page to Projector: ‘The Princess Bride’

princess brideFew movies pull at all emotions quite like “The Princess Bride,” a fantasy movie from 1987 that has become a cult classic for its particular sense of humor, its blending of romance and action and its enduring list of quotable material. The movie’s passionate fan base has spurred one of its stars, Cary Elwes, to write a book about the making of the film; “As You Wish” has been among the national best-sellers for the past month or so that it’s been on the shelves.

The movie was written by William Goldman, the same man who wrote the source book. There are two quirks about this fact: 1.) Goldman doesn’t call himself the story’s creator; instead, he claims, on the official title and in the text of the book itself, that he is abridging the story from one S. Morgenstern. And 2.) The movie famously frames its narrative around a grandfather reading the story to his sick grandson, played by child star Fred Savage. This concept is borrowed from the book itself, as Goldman (or at least, the character of Goldman) begins with a prologue of how his father read the book to him when he was a boy, an event that kick-started his love for adventure stories.

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