In recent years, there’s been a bit of a stigma against clowns. Rather than the traditional portrait of funny, friendly, silly caricatures whose main goal is to make us laugh, they’re most often portrayed as grotesque, evil monsters. I’ve never liked this hostility towards clowns, particularly since I used to perform as a clown myself, as did my mother. Fortunately, it would appear that I’m not alone in my views. Karen McPherson, the writer/director of the short film Pop, feels much the same way and said so during a Q&A at Dances With Films, where the film screened recently.

It’s the ultimate sci-fi love story. A man tells the woman he’s seeing that he’s from the future. Not only that, but the whole reason he came back in time is to be with her. He saw a picture or a glimpse of a woman from years ago and fell so in love with her that he gave up his life in the future and traveled back in time just to win her heart. Variations on this theme have been done in movies ranging from Terminator to the highly underrated Happy Accidents. It’s also the plot of the short film Future Boyfriend which had its west coast premiere recently at Dances With Films—only with a slightly different twist on things.

When slackers rule the Earth: an adventure 30 years in the making.

There’s something magical that happens when you find all of your responsibilities absolved for a day: the joys of summer vacations spent fritting away time with no care; a canceled class replaced with a sunny day in a park; snow blanketing the world and burying work; school and transit in a gentle, yet firm, suggestion of “nope.”  These are examples on a page, but nothing can convey that feeling save through art, and no film does it better than Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Starting with the 2014 direct-to-video animated movie Justice League War, Warner Bros. Animation has slowly, but surely, been crafting their DC Animated Universe. Each of the films since then has been introducing new elements of the Justice League and Batman continuities while utilizing the same voice actors, directors, and storyboard teams. The latest and, in my opinion, best entry to this series is Justice League vs. Teen Titans. This film ties together the stories of the newly formed Justice league as well as the continuing saga of Batman’s son and new Robin, Damian Wayne.  The film follows Damian as he joins the Teen Titans and must learn what it means to be a part of a team and a family as dark secrets of Raven’s past threaten to tear the Titans apart.

What do you do when you have a compulsive need to catalog and collect all the planets in the universe, and the slot on your alphabetized shelf between “Db” and “Ea” is woefully empty?  You head for Earth, of course.  And, if you are a super-intelligent (albeit insane) extraterrestrial android named Brainiac, you won’t expect anyone or anything to be able to stop you.

The DC Animated films have long been praised among geeks as some of the best representations of the DCU ever brought from page to screen, and their latest release, Batman: Bad Blood, is another example of the craft and care put into these high-quality adaptations and original adventures. Batman: Bad Blood is also one more rock-solid chapter in DC Animated’s episodic film installments set in a New 52-esque universe. Bringing the conflicted Nightwing front and center and expanding the Bat Family in new and exciting ways, Batman: Bad Blood is sure to please Batman fans with no only its action-packed plot, but the future potential it builds and bestows upon future releases.

Every eve, of every hallow.

From the hilariously twisted mind of James Roday (Shawn Spencer, Psych) comes Gravy, a movie about a trio of costumed misfits with very special dietary requirements who seize a Mexican cantina and force the staff to engage in a late night of gaming, food, and libations. The only caveat is what's on the menu.

It’s Halloween in Gotham, and there’s been a breakout at Arkham Asylum. I think the Gotham news agencies can just go ahead and save that headline for use every Halloween . . . and most every other day, as well. This particular breakout involves Silver Banshee and Solomon Grundy, who immediately take to the streets to wreak . . . yep, you guessed it . . . mayhem. It soon becomes clear, however, that these two have been set free with a purpose in mind, and it comes as little shock (SLIGHT SPOILER, but only if you’ve never seen any kind of Batman anything ever) that someone whose name rhymes with “The Croaker” is orchestrating things from behind the scenes.

A good LEGO movie is composed of a never-ending stream of puns, physical gags, hidden references, and fun for both kids and adults. I recently tested out all of these elements in a family viewing of Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom with my 8-year-old son and (age redacted) husband.

Dark, alternate universes are nothing new to the comic book genre, but there does always seem to be something exciting about a new, dark, alternate universe featuring your favorite superheroes. That type of Elseworlds thrill is exactly what Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) and the rest of the cast and crew have crafted with the latest DC Universe Animated Original Movie, Justice League: Gods and Monsters. Featuring an impressively talented cast and completely new takes on the iconic characters of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and many others, Gods and Monsters continues the “winning streak” of quality superhero stories that DC Animated seems destined to deliver.

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