REVIEW: ‘The Purge 2: Anarchy’ Runs Short on Originality But Offers Thrills to Spare

- 07-18-14Featured, reviews Posted by Mel Valentin

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When it comes to the horror genre, a hit isn’t a hit unless said hit spawns a lucrative series or franchise (see, e.g., Halloween, Friday the 13th, Saw). With that in mind, Blumhouse Productions (Paranormal Activity) couldn’t help but rush The Purge: Anarchy (a/k/a The Purge: Night of the Juggalos) a sequel to last year’s surprise box-office hit, The Purge, a sci-fi-inflected, home-invasion thriller written and directed by James DeMonaco. Casting well known names with indie and/or cable cred in Ethan Hawke and Lena Headly helped to elevate an otherwise promising, if ultimately rote, thriller – disappointing given a compelling premise (inspired by an episode, “The Return of the Archons,” from Star Trek: The Original Series, no less), but recognizing the errors and missteps of his ways, DeMonaco swapped out sub-genres – from home invasion to survival horror – to significantly improved results.  (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW — ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ is the Spectacular Summer Movie 2014 Needed

- 07-10-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Jacob Knight

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is something of a miracle.

Ostensibly a remake of J. Lee Thompson’s Battles For the Planet of the Apes (the fifth film in the original series), Matt Reeves’ refashioning of that picture is nothing less than a stirring marvel of a movie, brimming with emotion and style in equal measure. Daring in ways many modern big budget franchise films would never dare, Dawn is the result of putting cinema and character first, a rarity in an age where commitment to brand is usually priority number one for studios when expanding upon previous summer cash cows. But beyond showcasing Reeves as being one of the most exciting directorial talents in mainstream American filmmaking, the second installment in this new series of Apes films yet again proves that Andy Serkis is a God working amongst mere mortals, pushing the craft of performance capture acting into uncharted qualitative territories. In short, it’s the movie of the summer and will easily end up being one of 2014′s best. (more…)

RETRO REVIEW — ‘In the Mouth of Madness’ and the Value of ‘Late Period’ John Carpenter

- 07-09-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Jacob Knight

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“Do you read Sutter Cane?” 

The 90s were a woeful decade for many a 70s horror filmmaker. Wes Craven may have changed the slasher game forever with his self-reflexive Scream series, but hasn’t made a picture worthy of his (truthfully already spotty) legacy since (unless you count the aughts’ My Soul to Keep – a film so inept it almost feels like an avant garde experiment). Dario Argento’s 90s output ranges from decent (TraumaThe Stendhal Syndrome) to unwatchable (The Phantom of the Opera). Meanwhile, George A. Romero’s sole solo directorial credit (The Dark Half) is definitely one of the more entertaining Stephen King adaptations, but that’s using both dreck like The Tommyknockers and Golden Years as well as Kubrick’s The Shining or Rob Reiner’s Misery as ends of the qualitative spectrum (meaning Romero’s movie is still hanging somewhere around Pet Sematary). Outside of Joe Dante*, whose feature track record went completely unblemished with Gremlins 2Matinee and Small Soldiers, the decade was somewhat of a nightmare for those who found their start in the gritty 70s, resulting in many horror fans closing the book on what’s viewed by some as the genre’s most auteur-driven period.

Which brings us to John Carpenter, a filmmaker whose ten year run (from 1978′s Halloween all the way up to They Live in 1988) could be considered one of the most impressive in the history of ALL cinema. Carpenter fizzled out in 1992, with the Chevy Chase-starring Memoirs of an Invisible Man marking the end of his marvelous winning streak. His anthology picture, Body Bags, was originally supposed to be a full series on Showtime (comprable to HBO’s Tales From the Crypt), until network executives suffered from cold feet and turned it into a one-off (admittedly mediocre) cable TV movie. It wouldn’t be until 1994 that Carpenter finally brushed the dust off his shoulder and produced what seemed to be, at the time, a comeback of sorts with In the Mouth of Madness, a film that could be viewed as the last true Carpenter masterpiece, as well as the beginning of the widescreen artist’s oft-decried “late period”. (more…)

REVIEW: ‘Knuckleheads: First Contact’ – IDW’s Best New Indie Comic

- 07-08-14Cool Stuff, reviews Posted by Leo Johnson

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Superhero comics are often a bit too serious these days. All these people with powers beyond imagine, and they can’t even muster a smile or enjoy all the cool things they can do with their flight, super strength, super cool gadgets, or whatever else they may have in their powerset. It’s so rare to see a super who doesn’t even worry about fighting evil, but just revels in the awesome situation they’ve been placed in. That’s where Brian Winkeler and Robert Wilson IV do something a little different with Knuckleheads(more…)

‘The Leftovers’: The Worthless Quest for Answers, Chaos and Wild Dogs

- 06-30-14Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Jason Tabrys

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“Sam!” She cries out. Once, twice, three times before the screen goes black and we hear the clutter of confused 9-1-1 calls. A moment before, this frazzled mother was bemoaning the evolution of the coin-op laundry to a child that is now nothing more than gone.

I like how the tragedy splinters out like a pebble in a windshield. The mother, a child crying out, a car crash and then a scream. 2% of the population gone in an instant as the camera almost seems to spin till we’re dizzy on this small space of land. They’re the only ones in the world that have just lost everything, but they’re not. 140 million dead.

A blue ribbon and a blurred jogger fill the screen next. The names of the “missing” or the “gone” or the “dead” or the whatever are read off one by one over the radio in a way that is instantly familiar to anyone who pays attention on the 11th of September as all the TV networks broadcast the ceremonies from Ground Zero. There are multiple moments where you feel like Tom Perrotta and Damon Lindelof are talking about 9/11 in The Leftovers. (more…)

‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ Review: The Same Old, Same Old, Just More of It

- 06-27-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

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This far into the Transformer series of films by Michael Bay you know exactly what you’re going to get, so you’re either going to see Transformers: Age of Extinction and enjoy it, see it and hate watch it, or just ignore its passing and seeing something more engaging to your personal taste at the multiplex. If I could describe Age of Extinction in two words, they would be “too much,” too much exposition, too much action, too much plot, too much Bay-hem… And although it’s not as noticeable, too much silliness mixed in with all the hardcore action. In other words, it’s everything you like, or hate, already about Transformers films, just more of it. (more…)

RECAP/REVIEW – Game of Thrones – Season 4, Episode 10: “The Children”

- 06-16-14Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Jacob Knight

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“Happy fucking Father’s Day.” — The Season Four Finale of Game of Thrones

The TV adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords has now come to a close and, at the end of it all, what is the overall lesson this tale has taught us? Really, it’s the same overarching message that the climax of nearly every slasher film ever made has attempted to hand down: don’t count your opponent as being out of the fight until you are setting fire to his breathless corpse. Though Joffrey may have fallen, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage, whose work this year has been damn near transcendent) found himself at the mercy of the cruelest members of his family. For a moment, Tyrion believed he may have discovered a sliver of hope in his trial-by-combat “champion”, until Prince Oberyn of Dorne wasted one too many seconds taunting his downed foe before he found himself on his back, Ser Gregor Clegane’s thumbs deep in his eye sockets. But tonight, Tyrion got to dole out a few teachings of his own to his tyrannical father, as the imp was once again underestimated by those who look down their nose at him. The resulting patricide is one of the most heart-wrenchingly sad moments in Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire saga, and show-runners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have translated it into the perfect capper for what may be the series’ strongest season. (more…)

TOY REVIEW: Sideshow Collectibles ‘Tonto’ 1/6th Scale Figure

- 06-13-14Cool Stuff, Featured, reviews Posted by Jason Tabrys

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A massive disappointment at the box office and in the minds of the majority of critics (the film has a 30% score on Rotten Tomatoes), The Lone Ranger carries with it a stain of failure that will likely never wash out. When we see or hear about that movie and anything connected to it, it conjures negative thoughts, but in truth, there are a lot of people who really liked Gore Verbinski’s take on the legendary Lone Ranger/Tonto mythos. I’m not one of them, but there are a lot of people. I have proof.

Going back to Rotten Tomatoes, 53% of polled viewers “liked” the film and, despite the deluge of negativity that swirled around the film following its theatrical release, The Lone Ranger actually cleared $41 million in home video sales.

My point? Though Hot Toys’ Tonto Sixth Scale figure seems like an odd choice to join a lineup that features characters from beloved Marvel projects, DC projects, Star Wars, GI Joe and the like, there is likely a group of collectors that will be interested in this figure beyond Johnny Depp obsessives (these people would have bought a playset from The Tourist if given the chance) and those who are lucky enough to be Hot Toys completists who gobble up every luxurious figure released (I hate your face and the fat wallet in your pocket).  (more…)

TOY REVIEW: Sideshow Collectibles ‘G.I. Joe’ Destro 1/6th Scale Figure

- 06-07-14Cool Stuff, Featured, reviews Posted by Luke Gallagher

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If I learned anything from G.I. Joe, it’s that heroes and villains should almost always be named in direct correlation to their stereotype (let’s call the karate guy “Quick Kick” and the sailor dude “Ship Wreck”) and that - say it with me now -  “knowing is half the battle” (Yo Joe!). 

One thing that you should know (if you don’t already) is that in the battle for collectible manufacturer superiority Sideshow Collectibles reigns supreme. Reminding us of their skill in producing super detailed and top capita statues and figurines, Sideshow was nice enough to send NerdBastards.com a sample of one of the latest additions to their 1/6th scale figure G.I. Joe line. You may know him as a Cobra’s weapons supplier. Or, as I like to refer to him, the chrome domed evil twin of Mr. Clean. I am, of course, referring to none other than the death dealer himself, head of M.A.R.S Industries (Military Armaments Research Syndicate, not the candy bar), leader of the Iron Brigadiers and Baroness’s beau – Destro.

Head on down past the break, as we have a few laughs and experience this (curiouser than expected) figure together. Big Joe/Cobra fan or not, you’ll come to want him. Badly. His shiny head is so irresistible.  (more…)

‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Delivers a Good Time Today

- 06-06-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

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It’s a rarity to be pleasantly surprised at the movie theater these days, especially in the summer when studios want to give the people what they want, and what they want is usually the same old, same old. Edge of Tomorrow is a pleasant surprise. A Hollywood blockbuster with a tried and true formula, but employed with gusto and playfulness. This is the kind of summer movie we all say we want, popcorn-munching entertainment of the highest quality that takes you in some unexpected directions and plays against type. Godzilla is fine, the X-Men were good, but summer really begins with Tomorrow. (more…)