posted 7 days ago on io9
Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) with their homemade Vespa in Luca.Image: PixarIf you watch Luca, the latest film from Pixar Animation Studios, the odds are you’re going to like Luca. There’s not much not to dislike; it’s bold and beautiful to look at, the characters are entertaining and complex, and the story is dramatic and emotional with just the right amount of action. On top of all that, the music and setting give the entire movie a distinct, palatable feel. All in all, Luca is very good. It’s just missing a certain cohesiveness that would’ve made it great. Directed by Enrico Casarosa (with a story by Casarosa, Jesse Andrews, and Simon Stephenson), Luca is set decades ago in the fictional town of Portorosso, a small, seaside village in 1950s/1960s Italy. On land, the people live as Italian people lived at the time; however, something is also living in under the water outside the village: colorful, intelligent sea creatures. The titular Luca (Jacob Tremblay) is a young boy who seems pretty normal besides the fact he’s a neon fish person. He soon meets another creature named Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) who shows Luca that beings like him can transform into humans when they’re dry. And so the new friends begin to explore this, eventually leading them into the heart of the village where they meet Giulia (Emma Berman), a feisty, determined young girl who has been trying to win a local race for years. This time though, with the help of Luca and Alberto, she might... as long as Luca and Albert don’t get wet and reveal they aren’t your typical boys.Most of the joy in Luca comes from Luca and Alberto discovering things—simple concepts like walking and gravity, the taste of gelato, and especially the cool factor of driving a Vespa. Thanks to Luca and Alberto being so pure, innocent, and relatable, these simple things most people take for granted are recontextualized with a newfound appreciation. When you add Giulia into the mix, who is so brave, funny, and full of life, they form a trio of characters you simply want to spend time with, watching them exploring this world. Which you do.Giulia, Luca, and Alberto enjoy some pasta.Image: PixarThe main plot revolves around the three kids trying to win this race so Luca and Alberto can buy a Vespa, all while Luca’s parents (voiced by Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan) search for him. It’s very basic and really bolstered by Luca and Alberto learning more, and the humor and drama that comes from hoping they don’t get discovered. That constant fear gives the film new life because it’s played for both big laughs and genuine tension. There’s always this chance everything could go very wrong, very quickly. Meanwhile, the brightly colorful look of the film, the incredible attention to detail in the frame, and a catchy, melodic score by Dan Romer all add to the magic as well. The thing is, while Luca is undeniably pretty to look at and comfortably whimsical, it never settles on exactly what it wants to say. All throughout there are themes of acceptance, that it’s okay to be different, conquering fear, the pleasures in life, and about a dozen other things, all of which swirl around in your head, but none really stick. The film is about too much and that lack of thematic consistency really hurts it. You certainly connect with the characters and story, but it never makes a cohesive, powerful point. As a result, it’s simply not as memorable as the film probably could have been.This is where the fact that Luca is coming directly to Disney+, and not theaters, might be a good thing. There’s no doubt the film is sumptuous, maybe to a fault, but since you don’t have to go out to a theater and pay for it, odds are people might watch it more than once. Since it’s so dense and layered, my guess is it’ll only improve, solidify and blossom with multiple viewings. Maybe the film is like Luca himself, one thing on the surface and a completely different thing underneath—a mirror on its viewer to pick and choose which of its many wonders to celebrate. I can’t say that happened to me on my viewing of Luca, but I did see the potential for it and I do want to watch it again.Luca comes to Disney+, as part of the regular subscription, on June 18.For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom. 

Read More...
posted 15 days ago on io9
Oh no, they’re cute.Screenshot: DisneyWhether it’s the classic ‘60s bop, the ‘90s heavy metal guitar wails, or the pop-rock goodness of Spectacular Spider-Man, Peter Parker’s animated adventures have always had some pretty banging theme songs. His latest animated show, aimed at younger audiences, is no exception, thanks to Fall Out Boy vocalist Patrick Stump... and honestly a theme for a kid’s show shouldn’t go this hard??Disney revealed Stump’s track for Spidey and His Amazing Friends this week, Disney Junior’s new CG animated Marvel series about, well, Spider-Man and his amazing friends. Alas, no Firestar or Iceman to be found here; instead the friends are fellow webslingers Gwen Stacy and Miles Morales, as well as a few more cutesy takes on Marvel heroes like Kamala Khan, Black Panther, and the Hulk, helping the spiders save the day from villains like Doc Ock, Green Goblin, and the Rhino.It’s all very twee, and I’m sure the show will be fun for its audience of preschoolers, a market I have long since aged out of. The market I haven’t aged out of, however, is having every Fall Out Boy album burned into my brain and ears as an adolescent with a never-ending emo phase, alongside devouring page after page of Spider-Man comics. So there’s just something very specifically delightful about Stump singing “They’re your friendly neighborhood spiders/whoa-oh, go webs, go!” as Gwen, Pete, and Miles swing around saving the day.Neither Stump nor Fall Out Boy are strangers to the pop culture theme space of course, having soundtracked the excellent “Night Begins to Shine” for Teen Titans Go!, or having done the, uh, distinctly less excellent riff on the classic Ghostbusters theme with Missy Elliot for the 2016 reboot of the franchise. Thankfully, this is much more closer in quality to the former than it is the latter, which means in spite of myself, I shall probably check in to watch a Marvel show aimed at five-year-olds when Spidey and His Amazing Friends hits Disney Channel and Disney Junior this summer, if only to bop along and do web-thwip poses like a responsible adult. For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.

Read More...
posted 15 days ago on io9
Loki’s on trial—but who will be judge, jury, and executioner on his own story?Image: Marvel StudiosLoki has become one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most beloved characters, and the God of Mischief’s arc from cackling villain to sacrificial anti-hero has endeared him to viewers over a decade of movies. His new self-titled television series on Disney+ is less interested in continuing this arc specifically, however—and more with what and who Loki is to himself.Loki is cut more from the vein of Wandavision than it is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier—exchanging grounded contemporary action for more esoteric, fantastical settings glimpsed through a faux-retro lens, this time specifically evocative of late ‘60s and ‘70s sci-fi like Doctor Who and The Avengers (no, not those ones). The series, written by Michael Waldron and directed by Kate Herron, presents itself as a time-bending adventure big on mystery and high on its own supply of weirdness. But while the kooky vibes and time-travel density make for a heady experience, at its core there’s something much more simple and personable the show is interested in asking: who is Tom Hiddleston’s ever-shifting god of tricks and lies, and who even gets to decide?Set in the wake of Avengers: Endgame’s own reality-warping twist, Loki picks up with Hiddleston’s Asgardian at an intriguing point in his personal trajectory. This is, very deliberately, not the Loki we’ve known for the best part of the MCU’s long and occasionally convoluted timeline. This is a Loki smarting from his defeat at the hands of his brother and a new age of heroes in the first Avengers film. He’s angry and lashing out at the world around him, one which refuses to acknowledge his identity, and still torn between the worlds of Asgard and Jotunheim. It provides an interesting conundrum when, one Tesseract-enabled escape from Earth’s Mightiest heroes later, Loki finds himself confronted with a new kind of power: the Time Variance Authority, a harsh, bizarre organization that sees his meddling as going against the “sacred timeline” they’ve spent generations safeguarding (and something fans haven’t heard uttered in the MCU until now), and they want him to help solve the mess.Image: Marvel StudiosPart of what makes Loki work—and lets it stand a little aside to its fellow MCU Disney+ siblings—is that it seems less interested in dragging out the big mysteries it sets up as we and our titular character are thrown into the quaint yet sprawling internal politics and structures of the TVA. Instead, it’s more focused on reveling in the suitably Loki-an chaos that comes with popping those big reveals fast, and layering them on to provide new context and intrigue. Why is Loki at the TVA? What’s he getting out of all this? What’s he up against? Does what we saw in the post-Avengers movies even matter anymore? All these questions are raised as the show sets the stage for its premise and introduces us to the strange, esoteric world of the TVA. For the most part, it provides answers quickly before presenting a wrinkle of new information that expands on those questions in surprisingly interesting ways, letting their mysteries grow and evolve (and that’s just in the first two episodes we’ve seen). But beyond just the ephemeral chase of question after question, Loki uses these moments of mystery to bring a sense of intimacy to its titular characters plight, providing Hiddleston with material that lets him dive deep into the god’s psychology, and go beyond the playfully villainous trickster mold he’d established across his MCU history.It’s also, by and large, just quite fun. There are moments of drama in the first episode, and plenty of intriguing-set up to drive the most dedicated of Marvel fans to their mental whiteboards theorizing who’s who, what’s what, and just when Mephisto could show up (sorry on the latter front, but it seems a bit unlikely). But Loki is primarily driven by a manic, buddy-cop rapport between our titular anti-hero and Owen Wilson’s mysterious Agent Mobius M. Mobius—a TVA agent who is equal parts a company diehard and also a bit of a cool vagabond. He lackadaisically strolls about the TVA’s halls like he kind of owns the place, and Wilson is in fine form, a fitting foil to Loki’s peculiar new role as a master manipulator suddenly out of control. As it pushes and pulls between Loki’s ever-present desire to bite his thumb at authority and his attempts to prove himself to this man he’s just met that he’s capable of being a... loosely good person, their partnership is electric and comical in all the right ways. It’s an energy that expands delightfully when you throw in the more no-nonsense agents of the TVA into the mix, like Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s (Doctor Who, Fast Color) mysterious Judge Ravonna Renslayer, or Wunmi Mosaku’s (Lovecraft Country) zealous and self-serious Hunter-B15, who push Loki to rely on things other than his charm and tricks simply through the sheer force of will that they have no time for his bullshit.Image: Marvel StudiosBut while part of the joy of Loki (beyond its mystery and its twee aesthetic) is watching Hiddleston and Wilson ping off each other, beneath the humorous surface their bond is vital to the show’s central thesis: in a world of time cops and fixed progression, what even is a god of chaos’ purpose? What is free will in a world of fate and determined ends? Who decides what we hold onto as the definition of our very selves, if not us? Loki, the character, has spent a decade of Marvel movies on a journey that matters, not just to the legion of fans that have come to admire him but to himself, an evolution that made his trials, tribulations, and ultimate sacrifices compelling to watch. The show, even in presenting us a twist to the god of mischief’s past, asks us importantly not to forget this. But it also invites us to recontextulatize that journey through new eyes, in such a way that brings a fresh and fascinating perspective to how we see Loki and how he sees himself. Appropriate perhaps then, that in a series for a character as shape-shifting and tricky as Loki, that we’re given the chance to add new layers to our definition of the character in such a charmingly clever manner.Loki begins streaming on Disney+ this Wednesday, July 9. Stay tuned to io9 this week for more!For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.

Read More...
posted 23 days ago on io9
A crop of the cover of Bacchnal by Veronica G. Henry.Image: 47NorthJune is upon us, which means it’s time to fill your summer reading list with all the brand-new sci-fi and fantasy books you can stuff into a beach bag. Good thing we’ve got 54 titles to choose from, with time travelers, reluctant heroes, people who can talk to the dead, and carnival stories among the highlights.Image: DAWAdrift by W. Michael GearThe fifth entry in the Donovan series finds the colonists from the Maritime Unit about to embark on their first exploration of Donovan’s offshore reef. It’s a dazzling adventure... until the children among the group begin to exhibit signs of being possessed by a violent alien intelligence. (June 1)Image: Tor BooksAlien Day by Rick WilburSet on both a near-future Earth and an alien planet, this sci-fi adventure follows unlikely heroes as they get pulled into “murderous sibling rivalries and old-school mercantile colonialism,” as well as puzzles about ancient technology mysteriously left behind. (June 1)Image: 47NorthBacchnal by Veronica G. HenryIn the Depression-era South, a traveling carnival adds a popular new act in the form of a woman with magical gifts. But she might be the key to defeating one of the troupe’s much older performers: a demon in the business of consuming human souls. (June 1)Image: Head of ZeusThe Best of World SF: Volume 1 edited by Lavie TidharSilvia Moreno-Garcia, Tade Thompson, and Zen Cho are among the authors included in this collection, which gathers 26 stories from authors hailing from 21 countries. You can read an excerpt—the story “Virtual Snapshots” by Tlotlo Tsamaasehere—here. (June 1)Image: Tor TeenA Chorus Rises by Bethany C. MorrowWhen a popular influencer has a sudden fall from grace, she plots a comeback aided by her special magic and with the help of a new online community that’s suddenly embraced her. But will she be able to direct her powers to help others, not just herself? (June 1)Image: TordotcomThe Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi VoThis Jazz Age tale puts a queer, Asian American spin on The Great Gatsby, with a dose of elemental magic for good measure. (June 1)Image: Katherine Tegen BooksThe Darkness Outside Us by Eliot SchreferA sci-fi mystery becomes a love story when two young men—one of whom who has no memory of the launch, or any idea why the ship he’s aboard has his mother’s voice as its operating system—find themselves thrown together on a mysterious deep-space rescue mission. (June 1)Image: Jo Fletcher BooksDivine Heretic by Jaime Lee Moyer This retelling of the Joan of Arc story incorporates supernatural fantasy elements into the historical figure’s real life and destiny. (June 1)Image: ArcadeFantastic Creatures of the Mountains and Seas: A Chinese Classic by Jiankun SunThe ancient Chinese fantasy text exploring the world of mythical creatures gets a new edition, complete with two-color illustrations by Siyu Chen and a new translation by Howard Goldblatt. (June 1)Image: OrbitFor the Wolf by Hannah WhittenA young woman marked from birth as a sacrifice to the Wolf in the Wood soon realizes she has a different destiny—involving her growing magic powers, the fate of the world, and the fact that the “wolf” is not what he seems. (June 1)Image: QuercusA Girl Made of Air by Nydia HetheringtonThis magical tale follows a tightrope walker as she looks back on her life growing up in the circus, with a particular fixation on finding a child whose disappearance has haunted her for decades. (June 1)Image: VintageHollow by B. CatlingMercenaries hired to deliver a new oracle to a sacred monastery undertake a dangerous mission across a landscape that’s being ravaged by an ongoing war between the living and the dead. (June 1) Image: PoppyThe In Between by Marc KleinAfter her first love tragically dies in a car accident, a teen girl tries everything she can to make contact with him in the afterlife. But if she succeeds—what then? (June 1)Image: Tor BooksThe Library of the Dead by T.L. HuchuIn this fantasy set in contemporary Edinburgh, a teenager who can communicate with ghosts turns her gift into a business—then becomes drawn into a mystery involving enchanted children that becomes spookier than she ever imagined. (June 1)Image: Houghton Mifflin HarcourtThe Ninth Metal by Ben PercyThe Comet Cycle series begins as a comet rains debris on Earth as it passes by. One particularly hard-hit small town becomes ground zero in the fight over a strange new metal the comet left behind—some want to use it as an energy source, while others believe it should be weaponized. (June 1)Image: Blackstone PublishingThe Shadows of London by Nick JonesThe second book in the Joseph Bridgeman series picks back up with the antiques dealer and occasional time traveler, as he’s drawn into a high-stakes new mission that sends him back to the scene of a murder in 1960s London. (June 1)Image: Angry RobotThe Coward by Stephen AryanTen years after his heroism made him a celebrated legend, Kell Kressia is content living life as a simple farmer. But when the evil he defeated a decade ago rises back up, he’s called upon to raise his sword again. Trouble is, well... the legend’s not entirely true (see: the book’s title). (June 8)Image: Jimmy PattersonDaughter of Sparta by Claire M. AndrewsThe myth of Daphne and Apollo inspired this tale of a teenaged girl who dreams of becoming a Spartan warrior—until she must detour on a rescue mission to save her brother, a task that involves recovering nine objects stolen from Mount Olympus. (June 8)Image: Dial BooksGirls at the Edge of the World by Laura Brooke RobsonWith an apocalyptic flood about to engulf the world, two aerial silk performers who serve the royal family pursue their own secret agendas as they struggle to be among the chosen few who’re taken to a safe place to survive. (June 8)Image: HarperThe Hidden Palace by Helene WeckerThis sequel to The Golem and the Jinni picks back up with Chava and Ahmad, magical creatures who’ve been thrown together and are now passing as humans—or, at least doing their very best to pass as humans—in 1900s Manhattan. (June 8)Image: Del ReyRabbits by Terry MilesThis new adventure set in the world of the popular Rabbits podcast dives into an alt-reality game with the ability to... alter reality. Read an excerpt here. (June 8)Image: Titan BooksTen Low by Stark HolbornDescribed as “Firefly meets Dune,” this sci-fi adventure is set on the fringes of the universe and follows an ex-con who rescues what looks like an ordinary teen from a spaceship crash—before realizing the girl is actually a super-soldier running for her life. (June 8)Image: DAWThe Wayward Mage by Sara HanoverThe author’s contemporary fantasy series continues, as Tessa begins to realize the cost of engaging with the magical world—and hopes that her sorcery skills are strong enough to protect her and her mother when they’re both targeted by assassins. (June 8)Image: Philomel BooksWhen You and I Collide by Kate NorrisIn this tale set during World War II, a teen in touch with the multiverse is able to visualize two possible outcomes from a single action. While her physicist father would like her to use her gift to change the future, she’s reluctant until a tragedy makes her accidentally leap into the wrong timeline. (June 8)Image: Harper VoyagerThe Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava ReidHungarian history and Jewish mythology help shape this story. It’s about a young outcast with hidden powers who’s marked for blood sacrifice by her fellow villagers—until she, along with a disgraced prince, survive a monster attack and must join together to fight for their country. (June 8)Image: Alien Sky PublishingThe Ship by Doug BrodeThe creator of Forbidden Science releases his first novel; it’s about an alien abductee who returns to her Oregon hometown 35 years after her sudden disappearance—and soon realizes her ordeal is far from over. (June 11)Image: DAWBeyond by Mercedes LackeyThe author returns to Valdemar for the new Founding of Valdemar series, about the country’s earliest days. This first installment focuses on Duke Kordas Valdemar, who turns to mages for magical help in protecting his rural Duchy from the tyrannical Empire. (June 15)Image: Margaret K. McElderry BooksBlood Like Magic by Liselle SamburyIn order to save her family, a young witch must sacrifice her first love. That would already be unpleasant, but she hasn’t fallen in love yet, so she’s gotta woo someone quick. The situation only gets more complicated from there. (June 15)Image: AceBoundless by Jack CampbellThe Lost Fleet military sci-fi series continues. A disillusioned Geary realizes Alliance members are trying to get him out of their hair by sending him on a dangerous mission to the very edges of space. (June 15)Image: RazorbillThe Cruelest Mercy by Natalie MaeThe sequel to The Kinder Poison finds war brewing in Orkena, where Zahru is forced to make some tricky choices in order to prevent the villainous Kasta from assuming the throne. (June 15)Image: Grand Central PublishingThe Hollywood Spiral by Paul NeilanAfter the internet collapses, a mysterious company replaces it with an augmented-reality update dubbed “the Grid.” Trouble arises when a dangerous program that can merge the Grid with actual reality goes missing, and it’s up to a technophobic private eye to track it down. (June 15)Image: DAWThe Ice Lion by Kathleen O’Neal GearExpect more “cli-fi” stories as climate change becomes a more and more urgent topic—like this novel set 1,000 years in the future, when Earth’s variously evolved species are trying to survive a new Ice Age. (June 15)Image: Tor.comInside Man by K.J. ParkerThe author revisits the world of his Prosper’s Demon with this novella that imagines one of the Devil’s lazier representatives being yanked from his deliberately boring life into a scheme that threatens to upend the concepts of good and evil. (June 15)Image: OrbitThe Jasmine Throne by Tasha SuriA princess imprisoned in exile plots her revenge, finding an unexpected ally in a priestess posing as a servant in the cliffside temple where she’s being held captive. (June 8)Image: CAEZIK SF & FantasyPower Challenges by Ben BovaThe late author’s final book finds government troubleshooter Jake Ross tasked with spearheading the space-colonization program—starting with a moon base he’s determined to complete despite all the obstacles that suddenly appear in his path. (June 15)Image: RedhookThe World Gives Way by Marissa LevienIn a dystopian, near-future world, a woman is unexpectedly freed from a 50-year work contract—brokered when she was just five years old—when the secretive family that “owns” her turns up dead. Unfortunately, freedom comes in the form of a ticking clock and life on the run. (June 15)Image: OrbitCatalyst Gate by Megan E. O’KeefeThe Philip K. Dick Award-nominated space opera concludes as humanity takes a final stand against a destructive alien intelligence and its many clones. (June 22)Image: Angry RobotFlame Riders by Sean GrigsbyThe Smoke Eaters trilogy concludes with this tale that finds the U.S. under military control and engulfed in a fiery dragon apocalypse. Members of the country’s former elite dragon-fighting force have all gone underground to avoid persecution, but they’ll soon have no choice but to emerge and reunite one more time. (June 22)Image: John Joseph Adams/Mariner BooksQuestland by Carrie VaughnWhen a disgruntled employee deploys the force shield on an eccentric billionaire’s private island—a Westworld-style resort that immerses guests in a high-tech “fantasy-world experience”—a literary professor (whose ex-boyfriend just might be the disgruntled employee) is hired to help restore order. (June 22)Image: Farrar, Straus and GirouxRising Like a Storm by Tanaz BhathenaThe Wrath of Ambar duology wraps up as romantic partners Gul and Cavas battle a tyrannical queen with their shared magic. (June 22)Image: Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersA Season of Sinister Dreams by Tracy BanghartA royal cousin with magical powers and a peasant girl who can foretell the future become reluctant allies when they realize they’re both doing everything they can to protect their kingdom. (June 22)Image: SolarisSeven Deaths of an Empire by G.R. MatthewsAs the late Emperor’s body makes its way back to the chaotic capital, an apprentice magician does his best to protect the funeral procession, while a weary general tries to keep the throne’s rightful heir safe from the schemers that surround him. (June 22)Image: TordotcomStar Eater by Kerstin HallA woman desperate to escape the Sisterhood of Aytrium—and the expected duties of carrying on its magical bloodline—agrees to become a spy for an opposing group, a move that brings her into contact with the Sisterhood’s most powerful members. (June 22)Image: Future House PublishingStuck in the Game by Christopher KeeneAfter a car accident injures teenage couple Noah and Sue, doctors hook them into virtual reality helmets that immerse them in an online fantasy game while their bodies heal. When Noah realizes Sue’s consciousness is trapped in a dangerous part of the game, he risks his life (both in and out of the game) to save hers. (June 22)Image: Keylight BooksTo Dust You Shall Return by Fred VenturiniWhen a Chicago mob enforcer follows a missing woman to a town ruled by dark magic, he discovers an adversary far more dangerous than anything he ever imagined. (June 22)Image: Tor TeenWitchshadow by Susan DennardThe Witchlands series continues as war looms, and Iseult goes on the run while trying to decide how to best use her magic powers. (June 22)Image: Tor BooksThe Witness for the Dead by Katherine AddisonThis standalone sequel to The Goblin Emperor follows one of that book’s supporting characters, Thara Celehar, who’s now living a quiet life in near-exile but still using his unique ability to speak to the recently dead. (June 22)Image: MIRACast in Conflict by Michelle SagaraAfter three wars, Dragons and Barrani don’t get along, and they certainly don’t negotiate—even when they’re forced to be roommates. But the two factions will have to work together when the tower protecting their shared realm is left vulnerable, and a common enemy threatens to strike. (June 29)Image: Forge BooksDouble Threat by F. Paul WilsonWhen a young woman starts hearing a voice in her head, she fears for her mental health. Then she realizes an actual symbiont has taken up residence inside her—and not only that, but its presence has given her healing powers. This weird new reality gets even weirder when a fringe cult targets her for death. (June 29)Image: RazorbillEat Your Heart Out by Kelly deVosThis “satirical blend of horror, body positivity, and humor” follows a group of teens who start to realize something’s very odd about the weight-loss camp they’re all reluctantly attending—and that’s before they have to fight a pack of zombies. (June 29)Image: Feiwel & FriendsGearbreakers by Zoe Hana MikutaGiant mechs have allowed Godolia to spread its empire across the globe, but as war rages on, two young woman—one a Godolia mech pilot who’s secretly trying to sabotage her country’s side, the other a rebel who specializes in dismantling giant mechs—realize their viewpoints align, and romance sparks as they plot to restore order to the world. (June 29)Image: Bloomsbury YAThis Poison Heart by Kalynn BayronBri, a girl who can make plants bloom instantly with her touch, moves to a rural estate that’s long been in the family—and soon realizes the home and the community that surrounds it are full of dark secrets involving a curse and some of the deadliest plants on Earth. (June 29)Image: Tor BooksWhen the Sparrow Falls by Neil SharpsonIn a world run by artificial intelligence where the few remaining humans are grouped together in sanctuaries, a man is tasked with chaperoning a humanoid “machine” when she arrives to collect her dead husband’s remains—and is startled to see she looks uncannily like his late wife. (June 29)Image: SubterraneanThe Return of the Sorceress by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Anxious to reclaim her throne, the former Supreme Mistress of the Guild of Sorcerers sets about trying to revive her magic, find just the right enchanted weapon, and build alliances with any friends and former enemies willing to help her achieve her goal. (June 30)For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.

Read More...
posted 27 days ago on io9
Though movie theaters are starting to allow patrons these days, the safer option remains streaming. Those who choose to stay home and stream are constantly rewarded with so much new content it’s mind-boggling. At the start of each month, most streamers—Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney+, and HBO Max—do a little shuffle,…Read more...

Read More...
posted 29 days ago on io9
Despite the fact that Black Lightning never really got a chance to fully benefit from the kind of interconnected, multiversal-hopping madcaps that the CW’s other comic book shows enjoy, it spent four seasons carving out a distinct space on the network where Black superheroes could stand front and center as the focus…Read more...

Read More...
posted 30 days ago on io9
It would have been perfectly understandable if Warner Bros. had decided not to move forward with the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel it first announced back in 2016. But the studio’s still keen on bringing the world’s second-most unsettling candy man back to the big screen with a new story.Read more...

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on io9
When you think of Snake Eyes you think of the mask, the swords, the unstoppable ferocity. But how did the popular G.I. Joe character become that guy we’ve seen in comics, cartoons, and toy aisles for decades? We’re about to find out, in a whole new way. The first trailer for Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is finally…Read more...

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on io9
When Darren Lynn Bousman heard the news that Chris Rock wanted to make a new Saw movie, he had the same reaction many of us. “I paused and I was just like ‘Chris who?’ Because, of course, in my mind, never in a million years would that Chris Rock want to meet with me,” the director of Spiral: From the Book of Saw told…Read more...

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on io9
Do you have information about something going on in the genre (sci-fi, horror, fantasy) entertainment industry? We want to know! Email us at [email protected]—not just with info, but if you’ve made art or a cool fan film that you’d like us to showcase, or anything else, you can send that too! Don’t forget you can follow…Read more...

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on io9
Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Bad Batch animated series is nearly upon us. It’s time to see a new take on one of the most explored periods of the galaxy far, far away in Disney’s stewardship of the franchise: the downfall of the Republic and the Rise of the Empire. But for the team behind the new Disney+ Clone Wars…Read more...

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on io9
Iron Man might be gone from the Marvel Cinematic Universe but he’s bringing a whole new world to Netflix. Robert Downey Jr., along with his wife Susan Downey, are executive producers on a new dark, family, fantasy show called Sweet Tooth, based on the 2009 DC Comic series written and drawn by Jeff Lemire. The first …Read more...

Read More...
posted 2 months ago on io9
The possibility of a new movie based on Disney’s Haunted Mansion continues to rise from the grave. Last summer, Disney hired Katie Dippold to pen a script and now it’s in talks to bring director Justin Simien aboard the Doom Buggy.Read more...

Read More...
posted 2 months ago on io9
One of the most impressive things about Mortal Kombat is how each fight means something. When things get cooking in the second half of the film, everything that’s happened before gives each one of the various showdowns some sort of personal stakes—that’s what makes those fights shine even beyond special effects and…Read more...

Read More...
posted 2 months ago on io9
There’s something strange in the neighborhood grocery store’s cereal aisle. Something. And by “strange,” I mean bad.Read more...

Read More...
posted 2 months ago on io9
How big is Marvel Studios these days? It can get Oscar-winning actors to appear not just in its movies, but on its streaming shows. Case in point: Olivia Colman, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2019, is joining up with Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn for Secret Invasion, one of several upcoming Disney+…Read more...

Read More...
posted 2 months ago on io9
Though Mortal Kombat is an action-packed adaptation of a hit video game, releasing it right now may wind up meaning a little something extra. The film is filled with actors from all walks of life, but many of are of Asian descent. In a time when violence against AAPI community is at the forefront of public discussion…Read more...

Read More...
posted 2 months ago on io9
Netflix’s wild sci-fi animated anthology Love, Death, and Robots returns next month with tales of post-apocalypses, children in haunted houses, and flying techno-whales. But it’s the AI pooper-scooper in this new trailer for the show that has me the most intrigued.Read more...

Read More...
posted 2 months ago on io9
Marvel has finally, finally released the first look at its upcoming martial arts epic Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings—and if you were hoping for some stellar kicking and punching action, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. But it’s the family drama that really makes the movie look so compelling.Read more...

Read More...
posted 2 months ago on io9
The original Predator screenwriters are trying to get the rights back from Disney. Get a look at Legends of Tomorrow’s return. Plus, what’s to come on Batwoman and Fear the Walking Dead. Spoilers now!Read more...

Read More...
posted 2 months ago on io9
Seems like Friends actress Courtney Cox has taken a liking to the horror genre as she’s set to star in the horror series Shining Vale for Starz. As one of the mains of the Scream franchise as Gail Weathers, Cox is no stranger to the genre. However, this new show is about possession, not a slasher.Read more...

Read More...
posted 2 months ago on io9
Showtime’s original Penny Dreadful series—not to be confused with the more recent installment with Natalie Dormer—had a three-season run from 2016-2018. It borrowed its premise from the Alan Moore graphic novel League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, wherein characters from famous English literature serve as protagonists…Read more...

Read More...
posted 2 months ago on io9
HBO Max is bringing the Batman heat with a spinoff series, Gotham PD, which will focus on police commissioner James “Jim” Gordon. Gotham PD is a prequel to Matt Reeves’ 2022 Batman film, which is itself sort of a prequel since it’s set during the first year of the superhero’s career as a crime fighter. Reeves is…Read more...

Read More...
posted 2 months ago on io9
Master horror mangaka Junji Ito’s most popular books and stories, Uzumaki, Tomie, and The Hanging Balloon, contain some of the most disturbing imagery ever to burrow deep into your brain. Recently, he sat down with manga distributor Viz Media to talk about monsters he didn’t create, but probably inspired, that’ve been…Read more...

Read More...
posted 2 months ago on io9
It’s almost been ten years since “Welcome to Republic City,” the first episode of the Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko show, Legend of Korra, which aired on Nickelodeon in 2012. The show came four years after the success of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I know most fans favor The Last Airbender, but I wanted to…Read more...

Read More...