Still feeling the aftershocks of “Turn, Turn, Turn”, we finally meet Coulson’s cellist ex-girlfriend—but not before she’s in imminent danger. Having been let free from captivity during Garrett and Ward’s raid of The Fridge, a powerful villain with deadly powers goes on a war path that puts Phil’s one true love at risk. (more…)
With the pulp horror graphic novel The Rattler, writer Jason McNamara (Short Hand, First Moon) and artist Greg Hinkle tell a story of loss, guilt, madness, desperation, obsession, and violence that is punctuated with surprising turns and graphic and unnerving imagery. The book feels like a Twilight Zone episode that the censors refused to make and in our exclusive interview, we talk to the creators about the personal connection to this story, the long process to finish this story, and the decision to take this completed work to Kickstarter. (more…)
Now that’ve we’ve gotten the first big death of Season Four out of the way, it’s time to move on and remember that Westeros is a big place, with seemingly every corner stuffed with stories.
‘The sprawl’ is one of the biggest attractions to Game of Thrones’ unconventional style of story-telling, and also what makes it somewhat frustratingly impossible to sum up in an easy fashion. After the longest prolonged scene in the series’ history last week (which concluded with us saying goodbye to one of its most hated characters), Benioff, Weiss & Martin’s proverbial omnipotent camera doesn’t just zoom out in Episode Four, it proceeds to pull a full-blow Don Siegel-style helicopter shot, in which we get a God’s Eye view of many goings-on. Despite resolving the cliffhanger we were left on by ‘The Lion and the Rose’ in its initial scene, ‘Breaker of Chains’ is a (possibly healthy) reminder that the world is what take precedence in Game of Thrones, not a singular, easy-to-circumscribe narrative arc.
MARGOT: They think I’m weird.
HANNIBAL: I’m much weirder than you will ever be. It’s fine to be weird.
I suppose no show can bat 1000 every episode for an entire season: I guess there’s kind of a need for “throwaway”, filler episodes that won’t totally throw the viewer off if they miss.
Thus we have “Su-Zakana”, courtesy of director Vincenzo Natali, best known for helming the teen werewolf flick Ginger Snaps. ‘”Su-zakana” isn’t bad, really–it’s just kinda unnecessary. (more…)
We both know that a man can’t swing from building to building with the power of spider-webs and his acquired radioactive spider skills, but the wizardry at play on the big screen can trick the mind for a few moments and suddenly we are 10 and anything is possible. Sadly, those moments pass quickly. The lights come up and our feet are stuck to the floor of a theater that time forgot and you’re waiting to merge into a sea of people that are trudging up a slight incline toward their sub-compact cars and the next item on their To-Do list.
If you strip the thing down to its barest truths, you just completed a financial transaction. Movies are magical but that magic is either fleeting or hollow, depending on your view. One thing is for sure, though, they sure are big business.
Back in the early to mid 90s, there was a series of films about the coming wonders and nightmares about the internet, but in hindsight they had all the finesse of George W. Bush’s description of the World Wide Web as a series of tubes, and were almost as prescient too. Watching Transcendence, one is taken back to a more innocent time when the internet was an unknown unknown, and thus capable of anything and everything because the audience didn’t know the difference. But it’s been 20 years since flicks like The Net and Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity, and the internet has become ingrained in almost every facet of our world. In 2014, even the most luddite of audience members isn’t going to buy the film’s magical portrayal of technology. And by “magic,” I mean literal magic. (more…)
Two weeks ago, Arrow dropped some serious bombshells. Not only did Slade (Manu Bennet) continue to wage war on Oliver (Stephen Amell), but he revealed to Thea (Willa Holland) her true parentage and told Laurel (Katie Cassidy) The Arrow’s secret identity. Last night’s episode mostly dealt with the repercussions of those bombshells, but the progression of events plodded along in such a way it was difficult to ever really appreciate any developments. There was simply too much going on in “The Man Under The Hood” to give any of its interesting threads the time and energy required. (more…)
“Not agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., just agents of… nothing”
With last week’s episode showing that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can hold the weight of being the MCU tie-in that we all wanted it to be, this episode asked the question of “Can they keep it up?” While the answer to that may have been obvious to most viewers, we’ve definitely got an idea of what we can expect from here on out. (more…)
*** Warning: Spoilers For Films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Follow ***
I need to get this out of the way up front: I’m not a “comic book guy”.
That’s probably weird for you to read, as this site is called “Nerd Bastards” after all; complete with a smattering of classic funny books comprising the logo alongside what appears to be a homeless man who mugged Darth Vader for his Camel Lights (doesn’t that dude have asthma?). The truth is: I’m pretty much a strict “cinephile”, my education (formal and otherwise) rooted in both classic and contemporary film history. That’s not to say I’m a complete ignoramus when it comes to comics. I collected when I was a kid, frequenting my local shop at least once a week, hooked on the books whose stories fascinated me. It’s just that this main vein habit didn’t follow me into adulthood like cinema did — a hobby that I chose to turn into a career of sorts.
I don’t bring this fact up to distance myself from the NB audience; more to illustrate that I probably view the films adapted from the stories they so love through a different prism. Where they’re looking for consistency of character and adherence to the established mythologies, I’m motly hoping to sit down with a (hopefully more than) competently constructed work of filmic language that not only brings our diligent defenders to life, but does so with a focus on pleasing more than just the established fan base. In no way is one method of evaluation better than the other — it’s just a different value system with which to rate a specific subsection of the form. To be honest, the best critics of “comic book cinema” are those who can do both, dropping knowledge about the “mis-en-scène” as easily as they can break down why this particular iteration of Captain America is the most faithful to its four-color creators. I strive to do both, but my limitations with the source material keep me from going full-blown FilmCritHulk most of the time.
To wit, I introduce to you my very own take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At this point in the sprawling franchise’s history, everybody seems to have their own personal rankings of the films leading up to and beyond Joss Whedon’s Avengers. As much as the snobbier cinema goers would like “comic book filmmaking” to evaporate completely into the ether, it’s time to start recognizing that the genre is far too profitable to disappear anytime soon. These movies need to be treated like bona fide works of art and evaluated as such, so I present my own personal, cinephilic take on the MCU, from worst to best…
*** Caution: Here There Be Spoilers… ***
Of all the visceral emotions Game of Thrones evokes in its viewers, ‘relief’ is rarely amongst them. George R.R. Matin’s dragon-filled soap opera is often cruel and treats even its biggest fans with borderline contempt. First, Ned Stark was beheaded at the behest of sniveling King Joffrey while his daughters helplessly watched. The road to avenging his death seemed like it was well paved for young Robb Stark, King of the North, until he, his mother and pregnant wife were massacred by the Lannisters at the now infamous ‘Red Wedding’. The modus operandi for both the novels and the series seems to be providing a sliver of false hope for those willing to immerse themselves in the sex and violence stuffed world to cling to; a hero that stands tall as many snakes slither in the grass at their feet. Only when those snakes strike, Martin (along with show-runners David Benioff & D.B. Weiss) seem to revel in watching your champion die a slow, painful death, knowing full well that you’re in just as much agony as the fictional character you’re mourning. It’s a mean-spirited streak not found in most mainstream media, black-hearted to the core and a big part of what makes the HBO series so special (or despicable, depending on your threshold for suffering).
But what happens when one of the villains finally gets their just desserts? Is it such a shock that the story would finally give us what we want? Or are there strings attached, as Martin & Co. just can’t help but add a caveat to our catharsis? Ladies and gentlemen, I present The Lion & The Rose, a detailed guide to how Game of Thrones doles out justice for its audience.