A Cinephile’s Journey Through the Marvel Cinematic Universe

- 04-15-14Comics, Featured, Film Posted by Jacob Knight

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*** 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 AvengersAs 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…

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RECAP/REVIEW – Game of Thrones – Season 4, Episode 2: ‘The Lion and the Rose’

- 04-14-14Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Jacob Knight

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*** 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. 

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So Long, Stephen Colbert; Welcome to Late Night, Stephen Colbert

- 04-12-14Featured, Nerd Culture Posted by Sarah Moran

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[Editor's Note: This op-ed has been republished with permission from Kabooooom!, the views expressed are solely those of the author and not Nerd Bastards.]

#CancelColbert. The absurd, innocuous hashtagavism that began in the backlash to a poorly chosen, out of context tweet by the Comedy Central-run Twitter account associated with The Colbert Report, has succeeded. Colbert has been canceled. (more…)

BastardCast vs Bill Clinton and the Perfect Stranger Danger from Mars

- 04-11-14Featured, Nerd Culture Posted by Team Bastard

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Welcome to the festival of light that is The BastardCast, unfortunately the chicken wing coupons that we sent out are expired. Sorry, but hey the #TimeChallenge continues, we sorta have have Star Wars new. Plus the finer points of the great May 6th, 2016 Sophie’s Choice of movie blockbuster weekends that DC/Marvel have set up for us and the worst audition tape ever for a late night TV talk show (but it is for basic cable, so we still have a chance!)

On the show this week we talk about the funny and informative topics, like: (more…)

INTERVIEW: John Barrowman on ‘Torchwood’ and ‘Doctor Who’

- 04-11-14Featured, Interviews Posted by JT Stevens

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It has been two and a half years since Torchwood: Miracle Day and while no one has said that the show is officially done, the show’s fans are still clamoring to know for certain that Torchwood still has a pulse. While we wait for that moment of worldwide celebration (well, nerd world. What else matters?) show star John Barrowman has kept himself busy, co-writing a novel (Hollow Earth) with his sister, touring the convention circuit (Barrowman will be at The Hollywood Show this weekend in Los Angeles), and co-starring in the CW’s Arrow (Barrowman assures us that “there’s a lot more interesting things for Malcolm Merlyn that are going to appear both in this series and next series).

But while Barrowman has stayed active, it’s clear that the actor wants to get back to Cardiff, and in our exclusive interview, we discuss continuing Jack’s story on the page, on the screen, what he thinks about the new Doctor, and his thoughts on the way Jack’s love life was handled.  (more…)

RECAP/REVIEW: ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ – Episode 17 – “Turn, Turn, Turn”

- 04-08-14Comics, Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Brent Cook

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review- 17- Turn, Turn, Turn

“Boo-yah.”

This week’s episode is a continuation of the show’s “Uprising” television event, as well as a continuation from the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As S.H.I.E.L.D. threatens to crumble beneath the feet of Coulson and his team, who can be trusted, and who is working for the enemy? (more…)

RETRO REVIEW – An Army of One: ‘Commando’ is Still Arnie’s Best Bad Movie

- 04-08-14Featured, Film Posted by Jacob Knight

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Welcome back to our newly revamped “Retro Reviews” column, where we explore both the movies you know and love, as well as the oft overlooked gems you should be spending more time with. Our second entry is the crazy, career re-defining Arnold Schwarzenegger action romp, Commando (1985)…

The restless feminist inside of me always cringes whenever I use the term “man movie”, but that is undoubtedly what Commando is. Buff, dumb and slathered in baby oil, Mark L. Lester (Class of 1984Firestarter) made the ultimate “one man army” picture; a breakneck barrage of insanity whose brief moments of tenderness are simply a ploy to get you to start fist-pumping once Arnold starts dropping dudes off of cliffs and spouting one-liners. Filled with an assortment of BAMFs* (including Vernon Wells, who seems to have stolen and kept some unused post-apocalyptic garb from The Road Warrior) and a legion of indigenous peoples (from wherever) for Arnold Schwarzenegger to mow down in a wave of righteous anger, Commando might be the greatest meat-head film the ’80s ever produced. A marvel of economy and pacing, its brisk ninety minutes feel like five once John Matrix’s daughter (Alyssa Milano) is kidnapped by dictator hopeful Arius (Dan Hedaya, in full brown-face), thus sending the titular destroyer of small nations on his quest to kill as many human beings as possible. In short – Commando is a masterpiece of masculine moviemaking; an Adonis of action craft tailor-made to satiate the blood lust of teenage boys.

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Agents of C.H.A.N.G.E.: What Will Happen on ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Post-’Winter Soldier’

- 04-07-14Comics, Featured, Film, TV Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. went from the show everyone couldn’t wait to love, to one of the most disappointing endeavours in the history of television. Indeed, instant reaction to the show was so dire that Screen Rant published an article about how the series could be improved within days of the airing of the premiere episode. Of course, no one’s saying that the show is, or was, perfect, but one thing’s for sure, the fallout from Captain America: The Winter Soldier is surely going to change what it means to be an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. from here on out. Obviously, major spoilers are below. (more…)

RECAP/REVIEW – Game of Thrones – Season 4, Episode 1: ‘Two Swords’

- 04-07-14Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Jacob Knight

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***Warning: Spoilers Be Nigh…***

All men must die.

The tag line for Game of Thrones’ fourth season doesn’t read like a warning so much as it does a maxim of inevitability. Last season saw the end of Robb Stark, along with his mother, Catelyn, his wife, Talisa, and an army of Stark banner-men, as they were slaughtered by Walder Frey and Roose Bolton (with a nice tactical assist from the Lannisters) at the now infamous “Red Wedding” (the second event, after the beheading of Ned Stark, that launched a thousand hilarious YouTube “reaction videos”). The Stark rebellion has been crushed, it seems, and there are no more imminent threats to the Iron Throne (unless you count that pesky “Mother of Dragons”, who still needs to cross a vast ocean in order to make a serious play). For once, the characters in the show (as well as the folks who root for them from their couches) can finally sit back and relax — nobody’s going to die anytime soon, it seems. The Lannisters are all in King’s Landing, settling into their domestic roles and midlife crises as their sneering boy king plans for his wedding.

But all men must die. And all peace, as well as the comfort that goes along with it, is only temporary. 

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MOVIE REVIEW – ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’: the Trials of Steve Rogers

- 04-05-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Jacob Knight

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The best thing about Captain America is that he’s a human being, protected by nothing more than a thin layer of spandex. Where Bruce Banner turns into the impenetrable beast that is the Incredible Hulk, Tony Stark is shielded by his iron suit and Thor is an otherworldly god here on Earth, Steve Rogers is just a man, driven by a relentless need to serve and protect his country. This simple fact is what ultimately helps The Winter Soldier work so well, both as a part of The Avengers series and as a stand-alone piece of cinema. Joe & Anthony Russo’s first foray into the Marvel Universe never loses sight of the fact that beneath the red, white and blue exterior is bona fide flesh and blood, with a pulsing heart that can be wounded. In many ways, The Winter Soldier is a catalogue of the lacerations that Rogers has endured, both as a solider and as a man completely out of his own time.

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