UPDATE: We’re Merging! and Other Major Updates


Er…sort of.

Hello dear followers. I have left you in the dark yet again as to where I’ve been, and for that I sincerely apologize. I’ve mostly been working my ass off since the beginning of August, only barely being able to squeeze in time to work on personal projects like the blog. Needless to say, it’s time to update you fine people on the status quo.

Since my last update, my old laptop has once again wiped several articles I’d been preparing for the blog. Having your work constantly ripped out from under you isn’t exactly the biggest confidence booster, so it took some time to really get my head back in the right place and begin writing again. I’m now running a new, better machine with a seemingly stable memory backup, so hopefully my writing can continue unimpeded from now on.

Perhaps you’ve also noticed some cosmetic changes on the site. The long and short of it is, Heraldic Criticism will now fall under the umbrella of my new, under-construction website, RyanMaloney.com (title pending domain name approval), my latest effort to promote the entirety of my online work, all under one roof. Heraldic Criticism will now be Ryan Maloney’s Heraldic Criticism, one pillar of an ever-growing world of content from yours truly. It’s a way for me to rebrand the blog without changing names or going through the headache of re-uploading old posts and such.

I’m still working out the particulars, but one of the other big pillars under the RyanMaloney.com banner will be my Youtube channel, wherein I plan on aggressively developing a range of content, from the humorous to the educational. Among the latter is a brand new video show, tentatively titled Film as I Know It. Each episode will feature me, on-camera, speaking about the inner workings and rhetoric of a particular film from a scholarly, yet accessible and occasionally humorous perspective. Essentially, I hope for the show to be like my teaching a film class, sharing my knowledge with viewers and engaging them in discussion. I’m already in the process of writing scripts for the show and hope to debut the final, filmed episodes sometime around the summer of 2015. This has turned into quite the passion project for me, so I really hope you will all tune in for a true culmination of all my talents in multimedia.

Heraldic Criticism will continue to be the hub for all my writings, and I have big plans in store here as well. First the bad news – I will not be writing a Most Anticipated of 2015 post this year as I simply do not have the time. My list would’ve run as follows, in alphabetical order: Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak, Cameron Crowe’s Deep Tiki (or whatever they decide to call it), Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea, Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert, Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission Impossible 5, Ridley Scott’s The Martian, and the returning champion, Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups. Wild card picks go to Ant-Man and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, neither of which I’m confident about but remain interested in regardless.

Among my upcoming writings are reviews of Tusk and Dying of the Light, as well as my Top Ten of 2014, coming at the end of January (thank you, staggered release schedules). In addition, in order to combat the general lack of content on the blog lately, I will be periodically uploading my entire archive of articles from my old college newspaper, The Behrend Beacon, to the blog. Each article is presented in its original published format and will be posted here under the subheading, “From the Archives,” for your (potentially ironic) reading pleasure. Much of this material will read as outdated and irrelevant, but it is no less important for me to share some of my finest works over the past three years, and have personal online backups of them as well. Hope you enjoy this blast from the past until I get my shit together!

As I begin to exercise my other creative impulses, I once again hope you will all continue following me here and on RyanMaloney.com, as well as my new Facebook and Twitter accounts, as I continue to promote myself as a multi-talented entertainment persona. I cannot thank you enough for your support thus far; you are a continued inspiration for me to continue fighting for my passions and my career.

Thank you!



Beginnings and Endings: An Update from the Author

mfHello, all.

It’s been a hugely emotional roller coaster ride these past several months, consisting of a writing burnout, my computer’s hard drive dumping all my documents, graduating college, among other big changes. I even just got back from a much-needed week-long vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, wherein I visited a wide array of Southern attractions (including the wax museum pictured left). Needless to say, in all the commotion the blog has had to take a bit of a backseat.

I have always and continue to maintain Heraldic Criticism as a quality-over-quantity blog. You won’t ever see me flooding this space with trivial thoughts (mostly saved for my Twitter), or phoned-in posts simply for their own sakes. Here, I take time to think before I post, and if I don’t have the time, I don’t feel I have any business posting. In the mass sea of mindless, illiterate blogs out there, I can only hope that inspires you to keep following mine despite the irregular posting schedule.

So what have I been up to? Well for one, my career has been veering into multimedia production, primarily radio. If all goes according to plan, that is where the majority of my attention will be falling over the next several months. With that, I’m pleased to introduce one of the new directions I hope to be taking my commentary, among them a podcast-style show I’ve pitched to Channel Awesome and ThatGuywiththeGlasses.com, entitled, Cinema After Dark…In VistaVision!

Feel free to share your thoughts on Cinema After Dark here or on YouTube, and thank you for your support in this new endeavor!

That said, I have every intention of continuing to post my written work here, reviewing movies and providing commentary when I can. I’m currently writing reviews of Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past, both of which should be up within the next week. I’m 100% committed to my yearly E3 and Comic-Con coverage this summer as well, though depending on how my radio prospects pan out, the commentary for those events may take on a bit different a form than in years past. But most exciting of all since I last posted are the prospects heading our way in the movies and on TV. Who could’ve predicted we’d have three different TV shows on three different networks based on DC Comics debuting in one season?

With my life’s frontier continuing to change, I’ve been thinking back to Hero’s Journey movies especially; often times it’s the simplest films that can mean the most to us. To paraphrase Robert Redford’s character from Captain America: the Winter Soldier (a film which, though I didn’t post a full review, I quite liked), “sometimes you have to destroy the old world in order to build a better one.” Sometimes, we can’t move on with our lives if we don’t allow the natural death and rebirth that comes with life to run its course. Sometimes our past becomes such a burden, such an insurmountable obstacle, that we can’t keep living until we distance ourselves from it and move on.

That’s where I seem to be at now, and though I’m leaving some big parts of my old life behind, there will be plenty to keep me busy in the coming months. I hope you’ll continue to join me on this great new adventure I’m on, and I can’t thank you all enough for your continued support for my work.

Until the next review!


UPDATE: The Changing Face of Heraldic Criticism


Hello, all. You may have noticed a distinct lack of posts here these past several months, especially after last summer’s semi-successful string of around one post per week. Truth is, I’ve been even more frightfully busy lately with classes, work, my social life, and writing for other sources. Even this summer, when I usually have my shit together and start churning out weekly material, is looking increasingly fraught with responsibility; I have an internship coming up that I’m going to be putting my all into. That said, I will absolutely keep posting as often as I can, with a continued bare minimum of one post per month. And even then, I have several posts waiting in the wings, ready to be finalized and posted to occupy you while I go to work fulfilling my dreams.

There’s more, too. Remember those updated pages I said I’d have up nearly a year ago? Well, they’re still being perfected, but they’ll finally be arriving within the next couple weeks. In addition, I’ll be debuting the site’s brand new layout, featuring a better, more engaging presentation which I hope will attract even more readers to the blog.

So, what can you expect from the blog this summer? I still have plans to do another series of daily posts for both E3 and San Diego Comic-Con this June and July, respectively. And those posts I’ve been working on? Most of them are script reviews, films that never were that I’ve been dying to get a hold of and review for a long, long while now. I want these reviews to be what I call “legacy” posts, or posts that bring in traffic over long periods of time. So people casually searching Google for say, the Lobo movie, will come up on my post and find the definitive look at the titular anti-hero’s silver screen dalliances. With this will come an overhaul for how I will review scripts as well. I wasn’t satisfied with my reviews of Doctor Strange or Nottingham, so I will be adopting a more colorful, beat-for-beat commentary style from now on, delving into the nitty-gritty of each script and explaining exactly why and how it works or doesn’t. I’m hoping my writing will be able to do these scripts justice. Or knock them down a peg…

Finally, with the summer will come further consideration into my branching out into other mediums, including podcasts/radio and video. I will be sure to post any and all of these appearances here as they arise. I may also link to some of the work I’ll be doing for my internship, so stay tuned for even more content from me. I’m positively aching to get back to full-time writing over the next four months, and I very much hope you and many more readers will join me along the way. Thanks again for following!

The All-New Heraldic Criticism

HCLOGOHello, all! It’s been just about six months since Heraldic Criticism’s inception, and what a great run it’s been so far. Up until now, I wanted to focus more on my writing first and foremost. In that respect, I’m very pleased with how things have been going and hope I can provide even better posts in the future. For those following, I apologize for the inconsistency of my posting schedule; again, I’m just starting out and hope to have a steadier flow of articles in the near future.

In my first blog post, I shared my plan to revamp the layout of the site eventually, and now, my time has freed up enough for me to be able to completely redesign the blog. I’m also enacting some other changes to make everything look better and be generally more accessible, so I thought I’d take a moment to let you all know about some of the exciting new updates you can expect soon:

New Pages

As you can see, the pages on the site are looking a bit sparse. I’m planning on writing and pinning up several new pages detailing the blog’s mythological ties and how they apply to modern media. I’m still getting the details in order, but you can definitely expect an updated About page, further info about me, and more.

New Layout

As I mentioned, the current layout will be changed to something far less bland and far more dynamic. The above logo is a bit of a tease for what you can expect in the new site header/logo, and I hope to be able to find a matching layout soon. In the coming weeks, I’ll be experimenting with different styles and it’ll take a while before I settle on any one in particular, so don’t be alarmed if you’re visiting and the site is constantly changing.

Heraldic Criticism on Twitter

Often times, my perfectionist nature leads me to complete blog entries well after the news they’re centered on has passed out of the public conscious. With a new Twitter account linked directly to the blog, you’ll be able to get my real-time reactions to bits of news that are too small or fleeting to devote full entries to, while still getting to hear from me more than once a week. I’ll also try to post updates to the site itself on the account to keep everyone updated. The new Twitter will be up and easily viewable here on the blog shortly, so be sure to follow me!

E3 and Comic Con

Next week starts the annual E3 video game convention, which means a shitton of news and updates on all the latest video games. Following each day of the event, I’ll be posting news and reactions as I scour the internet for the latest updates and watch press conferences from giants like Nintendo and Sony firsthand. Anything that interests me, anything I have something to say about, I’ll write about it.

I’ll be doing the same for the annual San Diego Comic-Con this July, though I’ll be announcing what panels and events I’ll be following and commentating on beforehand. I look at liveblogs, videos, firsthand recaps…everything and anything to get the full experience without actually getting off my lazy ass and going there. This year is sure to be one of the biggest and best yet, with films like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and more sure to make an appearance.


That’s about it for now. As always, any feedback, comments, questions are welcome and appreciated. I want to make the new Heraldic Criticism as attractive, easy, and accessible for my readers as possible, so let me know how you guys feel about the new design in the weeks to come. Thank you all very much, and here’s to another great six months and beyond!

The Beginning

And herein begins my first ever blog. Named after the heralds, or messengers in the hero mythology who present the hero with his or her quest, I feel “Heraldic Criticism” best encapsulates my passion for the Hero’s Journey as well as my desire to educate and critique. Check out the About and rating scale pages to read more about me and what you’ll have to look forward to on my blog.

Please excuse the crudity of the logo/design for the time being. I’ll be experimenting with new themes and formats soon and I hope to finally settle on something a bit less mind-numbingly dull and slightly more attractive. In the meantime, I’ll be concentrating on the quality of my posts first and foremost.

While I’m certain a mass audience will elude me for the foreseeable future, I very much hope this blog will attract people looking for a guiding voice when deciding what movies, TV shows, etc. they care to spend their precious time and money on. With that in mind, I figured it’d be appropriate to open with a little more about me, so here are my absolute personal favorites of most of the media I’ll be blogging about.

Movie: Star Wars

It’s a bit cliched to say, but few other movies have impacted my upbringing as much as Star Wars. Though I grew up with the 1997 Special Edition, the film I’m referring to is the original, 1977, unaltered, uncut version, and lord knows I’ll be doing quite a bit of blogging on that subject alone. Star Wars actually spoiled me in several ways – I hadn’t seen many films outside of G-rated Disney fare at the time, and I made the mistake of thinking all movies were just as good, or better. There aren’t many films out there that I love every last frame of, but Star Wars is unquestionably one of them.

TV show: Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Rarely has a single show kept me laughing so hard that I am compelled to seek out and purchase the entire series. Flying Circus is the funniest show I have ever, and probably will ever see. After being introduced to the six members in their Holy Grail film, I began to start finding and recording Flying Circus episodes on PBS. The troup’s brand of bizarre, irreverent, often flat-out random British comedy just clicked with me. In the decades since its premiere, the series has influenced comedy in more ways than one can probably imagine, and I suspect there will probably never be anything like it ever again.

Unproduced film script: Green Arrow: Escape from Supermax

To be honest, I haven’t dabbled in too many scripts at present. Only over the past year or two have I taken great interest in unproduced film scripts, especially rare ones based on comic book superheroes. For months, I scoured the internet looking for a copy of Escape from Supermax, a script by Justin Marks about superhero Green Arrow getting thrown in a high-tech, maximum security prison, and breaking out a la Escape from Alcatraz with a group of C-list DC comics supervillains which he sent there in the first place. As a big fan of the character, and with Warner Bros largely ignorant of how to make a proper superhero movie, I knew I had to read what I considered the Holy Grail of unproduced superhero movie scripts. Finally I met someone who graciously sent it to me, and after reading it cover to cover, I can say without hesitation that it is incredibly awesome. Sure, the dialogue isn’t great, and some story elements don’t quite add up, but as a pulp work that does something unique and never-before-seen in the subgenre, it works.

Video Game: Super Smash Bros. Melee

There is little I can say about this game that hasn’t already been said. As a hardcore Nintendo fan, this is, in my mind, the company’s magnum opus. Bringing together the greatest Nintendo characters from most the company’s major franchises and throwing them together in probably the most hardcore game Nintendo has ever, and will ever produce is absolute genius. The original N64 classic, while good, was vastly improved upon with this installment, and I felt that Brawl, while making some improvements, was largely hampered by its more casual gamer-friendly play style, among other things. For me, Melee remains the most intense, fast-paced, almost entirely skill-based game of the series. The character designs, the stages, the bosses…it’s like Nintendo took everything great about the N64 era and turned it into the best possible game they could. Half a decade ago, people bought a Gamecube just so they could have this game, and for good reason. It’s one of Nintendo’s, and gaming in general’s greatest achievements.

Comic Book: Watchmen

Back in 2008, a day before The Dark Knight was scheduled to hit theaters, a former internet acquaintence posted a trailer for a movie called Watchmen, claiming that he was more excited for the film than Dark Knight, and that the original comic was one of the best he’d ever read. I watched the trailer and scoffed at the prospect, citing that not only did it completely baffle me, but that director Zack Snyder was anything but a “visionary” as the trailer hailed him to be. But to his and the film’s credit, I was curious enough to seek out the graphic novel from my library and give it a shot. I became absolutely hooked. In just a few days, not only had I read the comic in its entirety, I became one of its biggest fans. It completely rejuvenated my declining interest in comics, inciting me to start reading about my favorite childhood superheroes again. I’ve been semi-actively reading superhero comics ever since. Watchmen’s story of a group of retired superheroes coming together to seek out a murderer of masks put the entire comic format in a brand new context, and showed me that comics can be an incredibly poignant way of telling a story.

Book: tie – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Hobbit

I’ll admit that I haven’t read very many books since I was a young teenager. With the amount of reading I do already in my schooling, recreational reading gets to feeling like a chore. However, these are two of my all-time favorite books from when I used to read more frequently. Both of their plots are probably already well known enough, and I don’t think I need to tell you why you should certainly read them both. I will say that Douglas Adams and JRR Tolkien both create these incredibly engrossing universes, one based on humor and absurdity, the other fantasy and escapism. These are books I can pick up and jump into at any time and still be satisfied in a well-spent investment of time.

That’s about it. Now I post the question to you – what are your favorites? Let me know in the comments.