Movies

To franchise or not to franchise. That’s the question apparently every filmmaker, producer, or studio executive has to ask him- or herself before giving a greenlight to a sci-fi or fantasy property. In the case of Jonathan and Josh Baker, brothers making their feature film debut with Kin, an ill-conceived, frustratingly executed family/crime drama mashed up with plot points and elements unashamedly borrowed from familiar sci-fi classics (and at least one non-classic), the answer should have been no (as in “hell no”) when the franchise or series question came up. Instead, Kin sets up a larger world and universe, a bigger conflict in its final moments that practically begs moviegoers to see Kin multiple times so studio executives can greenlight anther entry. Spoiler alert: They shouldn’t. The Bakers and their screenwriter, Daniel Casey (expanding their short, “Bag Man”), shouldn’t have bothered or if they had, they should concentrated all of their time, energy, and talent into telling a story that could stand on its own. (more…)

Screens. Computer screens. Phone screens. Tablet screens. Screens within screens (e.g., iChat, Messenger, etc.). We live by (and through) screens. Sometimes we even die by them. Walk onto any bus or train in a major (or minor) city. Walk down a street in a major (or minor) city. Chances are, the result will be the same: A sea of downturned, blue-lit faces, their attention fixed on a virtual space (a text, a game, a video), often listening to music or audio, closed off to the analog world, simultaneously connected and disconnected. Both a cautionary tale and anti-cautionary tale and how technology can do both bad – connect a teen girl with a potential abductor – and good – help her father find her via her social media accounts, writer-director Aneesh Chaganty’s feature-length debut, Searching, takes a shallow dive into the deep end of the social media/tech pool, but where Chaganty swipes left on the subject, he also delivers an incredibly gripping, engaging suspense thriller, a credit both to a screenplay that mines universal fears parents have about their children and the world, and John Cho’s committed, persuasive performance as an increasingly frantic father desperate to find his lost daughter. (more…)

After the firing of James Gunn for, admittedly offensive, old tweets that Gunn already apologized for 6 years ago, many have been outspoken against Disney’s knee-jerk decision. But none have been quite as outspoken as Dave Bautista, Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy. Bautista has, on frequent occasion, called Disney out for its rash and hasty decision to fire Gunn, calling for Gunn’s reinstatement and tweeting at Disney with tweets directing them to the man behind the movement to get Gunn fired, conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich.

 

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Moviegoers of a certain age and temperament will never see Silly String, the Wham-O product turned forgettable fad almost five decades ago, the same way again after Brian “Son of Jim” Henson’s (The Muppet Christmas Carol) R-rated, puppet-themed comedy, The Happytime Murders, hits an all-too-early, literal climax involving two super-enthusiastic, randy puppets engaged in sexual congress of an entirely unexpected kind. It blows past the boundaries of good taste (whatever that is) into seriously demented, shock, and awe territory. It’s subversive with a small “s,” probably worthy of applause and appreciation, but it’s also laugh out loud, “slide to the floor out of your recliner” hilarious. Unfortunately, it’s all downhill on a bike with no brakes from there, the gags become less frequent and novel, the jokes take on repetitive staleness, and the characters, human and puppet alike, go through the motions of a tired, overused neo-noir/buddy cop plot. (more…)

Quick, name an actor who has played Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, and Zorro.  Okay, the title gives the truth away but Frank Langella has played all those parts and so many more.

He is best known for his portrayal of the 37th President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in the film (and play) Frost/Nixon.  That role found him nominated for both an Oscar and a Tony.  He would go on to win four Tony awards for his roles in Frost/Nixon, The Father, Seascape, and Fortune’s Fool.

However, despite his success as a mainstream actor, Langella has gone on to perform in several nerd-centric roles.

Here are just a few of the noteworthy parts he played that brought him to the notice of nerds everywhere.

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Star Trek Films In Jeopardy: Losing Chris Pine as Kirk

Science Fiction has seen an epic resurge in pop culture popularity in recent years. From the expansion of gaming culture, to new Star Wars films, and to the trendiness of nerdy conventions, it’s truly a golden age for stories dreaming of scientific possibilities.

One of the most classic outlets of this futuristic, scientific, space wanderlust has always been Star Trek. The franchise has been a vital part of the science fiction consciousness since Captain Kirk took helm of the USS Enterprise in 1966. Like many sci-fi classics, it’s been a strong component of this resurge and its return has spawned a new slew of films and series.

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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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