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With Disney making major bank off the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the better part of a decade, it was inevitable other movie studios would try to do the same. Universal tried to kickstart their so-called “Dark Universe” with The Mummy just two months ago (they failed). Just as moviegoers have begun to lose interest, Paramount hopes to turn the Transformers series into a shared universe. (Get ready for Bumblebee to have his own standalone movie next year.) Warner Bros. looked like they were best situated to match Marvel superhero for superhero, but stumbled repeatedly over the last few years, finally righting the figurative ship earlier this summer with Wonder Woman. But what’s better than one cinematic universe? Two, of course. Which brings us to Annabelle: Creation, the prequel to the prequel/spin-off of what’s being called the “Conjuring Universe.” Here’s the thing: If Annabelle: Creation, a modestly budgeted, period-set, old-school supernatural flick directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out), is any indication, Warner Bros. just might succeed and at a fraction of the comic-book/superhero price.

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Last week on Game of Thrones, Danny finally got dealt her first taste of defeat. Her allies, the Greyjoy siblings, as well as the San Snakes of Dorne, suffered a sneak attack at the hands of Euron’s crazy self. This caused the kidnapping of Dorne’s queen Ellaria and her only living daughter Tyene to be Euron’s gift Cersei. Sam played the most ruthless game of “Operation” as he attempted to heal Jorah from his Gray Scale, while Arya also reunited with her long lost direwolf Nymeria while en route North to unite with Sansa and Jon. Of course, Jon decided to head south to meet Daenerys to cop a plea for an alliance against Sansa’s wishes (will all the Stark kids ever officially reunite?), but he overruled her and made her the temporary Queen of the North in his place. With all sorts of pieces in motion, how did this week of Game of Thrones end up?

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Throughout this run of Twin Peaks it’s seemed as though its creators have enjoyed a glacial pace of storytelling, characters and plots are introduced, and sometimes they’re followed up on immediately, and sometimes they’re forgotten for entire stretches of episodes. By comparison, the twelfth episode of the series was positively A.D.D. There were some parts where David Lynch‘s tendencies to draw out a scene for all the ticks and awkward looks and pauses was still intact, but for the most part, Lynch rolled us through one scene after another, and in the process brought back an old face who’s long been amiss.  (more…)

In Twin Peaks, even an innocent looking game of catch among the boys is the set-up for something horrid, and so it was in the Fat Trout Trailer Park, a wretched hive of scum and villainy despite the fact that it’s managed by the good natured Carl, who can summon VW vans with a flute. There were some unexpected developments on the show this week, and some naturally expected weirdness. There was also some truly horrific and/or tense moments, and to balance that out, the further adventures of Dougie Jones through the Las Vegas underworld bore unexpected comedy, and cherry pie. (more…)

Welcome to episode 10 of Twin Peaks‘ revival run, and the question remains, what version of the show are we going to get this night? Is it going to be confusingly psychedelic, or are we going to take another step forward in trying to unravel some of the things that have been brewing since the beginning? It turns out that David Lynch and Mark Frost‘s approach this week was the later. The noose that Dougie Jones doesn’t know about is closing on him, the FBI goes deeper into the case, and Richard Horne gives us a couple of other reasons to hate him.  (more…)

Game of Thrones

The wait is finally over. Winter has finally come! Complete with an HBO countdown clock, Game of Thrones returned to the premiere pay channel Sunday night, and when last we left off, Daenerys was on her way to Westeros and had teamed up with the Greyjoy siblings, the Tyrells, and the Sands to take the fight to Cersei and claim the throne.

Cersei had not only defeated the High Sparrow, but after unleashing Wildfire like the Mad King did before her, she now has assumed the throne (thanks to her son’s suicide), and her brother-lover Jaime doesn’t look too happy about it.

Arya started to enact her vengeance and killed Walder Frey after serving him his own sons as part of a meat pie! Sam has made it to the Citadel to learn from the Maesters on how to stop the White Walkers. Jon Snow has been crowned King of the North by the Northern families, oh yeah, and he’s also Lyanna Stark’s bastard child, not Ned’s, which means Jon’s really a Targaryen! With so many running stories, Season 7 promises to be exciting!

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If we, in fact, live in the darkest timeline, we’d be faced with not one, not two, but maybe three or four sequels to Tim Burton’s ill-conceived, poorly-received Planet of the Apes remake. But 20th Century Fox – or rather the executives who ran Fox 16 years ago – decided against continuing the series and went for a new, fresh start that took the better part of a decade to realize.  But when Rise of the Planet of the Apes arrived in multiplexes seven years ago, it was not just the exception to the Hollywood rule (all remakes are bad, all reboots are questionable, at best), but it was truly exceptional too. (more…)

It’s nice when everything comes together. Earlier in the day on Sunday, I was talking with someone about Twin Peaks and where we left things off two weeks ago. After the journey through symbolism and 1950s New Mexico in episode 8, this person I was talking to theorized that episode 9 would be more direct, and dig back into the main story, whatever it is. I’m through trying to guess what David Lynch is going to do, but it turns out my friend was correct. In part 9, Lynch was going to try and start unravelling these mysteries he’s laid out. For this week anyway.  (more…)

It would be inappropriate for a site called “Nerd Bastards” to allow for the tenth season of Doctor Who to come to an end and pass without commenting, and the season finale Saturday night left a pretty definitive end for the Time Lord, his friends, and his enemies while opening an intriguing door to the Twelfth Doctor’s last stand coming this Christmas. In the meantime, Twelve’s second last adventure probably epitomized all the things we love and hate about the Steven Moffat era of Who: big ideas, touching camaraderie, and more than a little timey-whimey sleight of hand to get to the end game.  (more…)

To reboot or not to reboot. That was the question facing Sony Studios just three years ago. After The Amazing Spider-Man 2 left almost no one excited for a third go-round with Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield’s bumming brooder, Sony had little choice except to continue down the same road, with diminishing returns and eventually reboot the series with a new director and actor or reboot now (or rather then), teaming up, superhero style, with Marvel, bringing everyone’s favorite web slinger to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), where Spider-Man has belonged since Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created him more than five decades ago. There was a risk too, of course, of miscasting, of hiring the wrong director or writers, of playing up too much fan service, both to Spider-Man’s comic-book roots, or too story-dragging world building to connect the new, latest, and greatest Spider-Man to the ongoing MCU and its increasingly complex mythology. All those risks? More than worth taking, especially when the result, Spider-Man: Homecoming, doesn’t just succeed in making moviegoers forget about the last two, disappointing missteps, but delivers arguably the best, true-to-his-comic-book roots Spider-Man on film.  (more…)