Movies

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and a dozen others streaming services compete for our money and attention. And now DC Comics has thrown their hat in the ring. DC Universe offers more than the DC content already released – DC Universe plans to release original content and give fans access to their digital comics, members-only merch, all in one place. But what fans need to know is what can they expect from the DC original content, what digital items will be available and how much is going to cost? NerdBastards dives in to give fans the answers they need to decide if yet another streaming service is worth it.

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Disney is known for their squeaky clean, family-friendliness. There are parents throughout American who trust Disney with protecting their children from anything obscene or inappropriate, to the point of allowing their children to watch only Disney films exclusively. It’s this image that Disney wants to preserve, and in doing so fired James Gunn for a series of jokes that were, admittedly, off-color, black humor that wasn’t appropriate for public consumption. But when we look closer at Disney’s not-so-distant past, the company and the man it’s named for aren’t so squeaky-clean either. As fans, family, and friends clamor for Gunn to be given a second chance we look back on Disney’s own sordid past. How many chances has The House of Mouse been given?

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Pushing 50, Mark Wahlberg wants to go where Tom Cruise and the 22-year-old Mission: Impossible series have gone before: Franchise Heaven. He won’t get there, at least not with Mile 22, his fourth – and by every indication, what should be his last – collaboration with director Peter Berg (Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day, Lone Survivor). A mid-budget, Southeast Asian-set, sub-mediocre actioner, Mile 22 tries mightily to give Wahlberg a career-reinvigorating role as James Silva, a near superheroic CIA Special Branch field agent, team leader, and all-around hard-ass with major personality defects and/or undiagnosed neurological condition (shades of Ben Affleck’s title character in The Accountant), a spandex-free Captain America wannabe for our complicated, morally and ethically grey world (or something). Except Mile 22 drops the potentially intriguing Silva into a dull, formulaic, generic run-and-chase, protect-the-asset story we’ve seen countless times done better on the big and small screen (e.g., S.W.A.T., NCIS: Los Angeles, etc.). (more…)

M. Night Shamylan has had a rocky directorial career, to say the least. He stunned movie-goers with early flicks like Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. However, his stories seemed to slip into some sort of twist-obsessed cesspool that became less and less charming for fans. Those twists that initially made him famous were quickly making him infamous. Most film lovers had chalked his career up to an odd descent into ludicrousy.

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The amazing effects of recent films like Downsizing and Ant Man &The Wasp, show how far Hollywood has come in making a convincing reality that is grounded in science fiction.  Where the MCU Ant Man films have brought the idea of shrinking into modern pop culture and Downsizing gave us a new vantage point to view our culture and how mankind has mistreated the planet we call home, they were not the first films to deal with making people little.

Some of their predecessors were full on fantasy films, while others were the predictable mad scientist tale of power and control.  There were even a few that were written and intended to be funny (and many that were unintentionally funny).

Here is a brief look at the history of shrinking in the cinema up through the 1950s.

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A giant, prehistoric, man-eating shark and a perpetually unshaven, furrowed-brow Jason Statham: A premise-actor combo that practically writes itself. Except it doesn’t, unfortunately, or rather didn’t. Screenwriters were, in fact, needed.

Despite spending the better part of two decades in development, Steve Alten’s inexplicably best-selling dino-shark novel, “Meg,” probably needed another twenty years getting worked over and over by waves of screenwriting teams before it was ready for a big-screen adaptation. No such luck, though. Directed by Jon Turteltaub (Last Vegas, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, National Treasure, Cool Runnings) from a screenplay credited to Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, and Erich Hoeber, The Meg, somehow manages the unlikely feat of taking itself too seriously and not seriously enough simultaneously, leaving a tonally messy, short-on-humor, long-on-passable-CGI disappointment in its wake.

Spoilers abound…

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Is Aquaman DC’s Black Panther? Not Really.

WB/DC seems to have listened to fans after Batman v Superman about the DCEU’s dark and dour atmosphere and messages. As Man Of Steel veered away from Clark Kent and closer to Kal-El, less Man and more Super, the film turned off a lot of average movies goers, especially those who were looking for a similar vibe to the Marvel Studios movies. But are they going too far towards Marvel with their next release Aquaman? Fans see a few similarities between Aquaman and Marvel Studios’ Black Panther. Can we tell how similar the movies are before one is released? And will they be similar enough to hurt Aquaman‘s tickets sales?

 

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The genre of Cyberpunk is not a new one. The genre pulls from the Punk subculture and early Hacker culture, while usually exploring the not-so-distant dystopian future of humanity. In film, it started with Blade Runner. The pencil and paper RPG Shadowrun has found success for years. Numerous films, tv shows, video games and nearly every other medium has dipped its toes into the Cyberpunk genre. While the genre seemed to hit its peak in the 90s, there’s been a solid resurgence in the interest of the genre. What cyberpunk-y goodness lies out there for fans to consume? Jack-in, Chummer.

 

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Not all (super) heroes wear spandex, capes, or cowls. Some (super) heroes don’t even wear pants or even underwear, preferring to go au natural from the waist down and a too-short, tight-fitting sweater up top.

Their powers don’t involve flight, super-strength, or invisibility, just the seemingly endless appetite for honey and waxing philosophical just when their human counterparts need them the most (i.e., during a mid-life personal and professional crisis).

That might sound like a curious mash-up of A.A. Milne’s beloved, self-aware, ambulatory teddy bear and Steven Spielberg’s much-maligned Peter-Pan-as-an-adult misfire, Hook, but Christopher Robin, directed by Marc Forster (World War Z, Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball) from a screenplay credited to Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, and Allison Schroeder, easily one-ups Hook, delivering a poignant, moving paean to the carefree joys of childhood, the positives and negatives of nostalgia, the importance of family over work, and the value of people over profits (no, the irony isn’t lost on this writer, given mega-studio Disney’s involvement).

There are spoilers…

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There’s “derivative” with a small “d” and then there’s “derivative” with a capital “D.”

The Darkest Minds, the latest – and late by a half-decade – big-screen adaptation of a dystopian YA novel, falls into the second category. Look hard, look long, and you won’t find a single character, plot element, or theme you haven’t seen before.  Most of it shamelessly cribbed by screenwriter Chad Hodge, adapting the first book in Alexandra Bracken’s series, and director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, making her live-action debut after directing Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3, from five or six decades of X-Men stories (minus spandex, capes, and cowls), including the feature-film series credited with kick-starting the dormant superhero genre (shout out too, of course, to Blade).

Even a young, spirited cast, led by Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games), can’t lift The Darkest Minds from a story so lacking in originality, imagination, or invention that will leave the targeted teen demo bored, indifferent, or near comatose.

Spoilers abound!!!!

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