TV REVIEW: ‘Doctor Who’ – S08E01 – “Deep Breath”

- 08-24-14Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Sarah Moran

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After last year’s exhilarating 50th Anniversary Special and then lackluster by comparison Christmas Special, Doctor Who needed a fresh start to recapture its previous momentum. One surefire way of re-energizing your property is to switch out for some new parts, but with only a change in Doctor can Series 8 continue to hold good favor? (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ Is Exactly What You Think It Is – Atmospheric, Violent & Eva Green’s Boobs

- 08-22-14Comics, Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Jason McAnelly

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After the masterpiece that was the first Sin City, it was hard to imagine that even the original team of Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller would be able to top it. And, unfortunately, they didn’t. Nope. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is not as cool as the first movie was. What it is, however, is a nice return to the Sin City world that presents us with three new stories, two of which blew me away. Read on for a more detailed report on what to expect from the movie. Warning! Some spoilers may leak through the cracks. If you’re worried about that, you might want to see the movie before you read a review. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW – ‘To Be Takei’ a Funny and Charming Looking at the ‘Star Trek’ Legend

- 08-22-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

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F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that there were no second acts in American life, and although that one line’s been continually disproved, we revisit the idea whenever someone of note begins their second act. Even their third act. I’m not sure what act George Takei is on in his play of life, but at 77 years old he’s enjoying rare universal popularity, and it’s not just because he’s one of the beloved members of the original cast of Star Trek. As an advocate for marriage equality, a living historical resource detailing the internment of Japanese-Americans, and a working actor with over 175 credits to his name (and growing), Takei’s got more to offer at 77 than some men less than half his age. Just about all of it, is touched on in some way in the documentary To Be Takei. (more…)

TOY REVIEW: Captain America (Golden Age Version) Sixth Scale Figure by Hot Toys

- 08-17-14Cool Stuff, Featured, reviews Posted by Luke Gallagher

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One cannot simply talk about Captain America and not feel compelled to sing the “America, F**k Yeah!” song. So there, I said it. In today’s case, talking about Hot Toys Captain America Golden Age 1/6th Scale Figure, I’d replace “America” with “Hot Toys”. But, that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue in the same way. That, and Hot Toys is a Hong Kong based company… so, umm, yeah. However, they’re products are sold in America and the sentiment of self pride and righteous awesomeness remains the same.

Hot Toys designs and develops highly detailed Sixth Scale collectibles featuring actual likenesses of film based characters for distributors like Sideshow Collectibles. It’s a challenge finding a selection of words that pay tribute to Hot Toys mastery in artistry, as their finesse is unbound. A search on Thesaurus.com for the word “stunning” and every synonym would apply. The same can be said for Sideshow, who too manufactures high end articulated figures (as well as busts, statues, prop replicas and more). In addition to designing and manufacturing their own products, Sideshow distributes unique offerings from notable pop culture and figure companies like Hot Toys. But I digress…

Sideshow Collectibles has been gracious enough to send Nerd Bastards a Hot Toys Captain America Golden Age 1/6th scale figure from the critically acclaimed Marvel film Captain America: The Winter Solider. While my review could be summarized in two words, “F**k Yeah”, to truly appreciate the craftsmanship and value in quality, an up-close examination is necessary. Or, you can just look at the pretty pictures.   (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Life After Beth’ A Dark Zombie Comedy That Bites”

- 08-16-14Featured, Nerd Culture, reviews Posted by Mel Valentin

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We can thank – or blame, depending on your perspective – George A. Romero for single-handedly creating (or co-creating) the zombie sub-genre. Zombies existed before Romero came along almost fifty years ago with Night of the Living Dead, of course, but pre-Romero zombies weren’t the ravenous, cannibalistic hordes he created. They were still slow, shuffling, and (more or less) brainless automatons, tied, however, to Western conceptions of voodoo culture. Romero stripped zombies of their supernatural, non- Western elements, making them the product of a plague (radiation in the first film, a virus-like contagion in subsequent films). Since then, the zombie sub-genre has gone into death-like hibernation from time to time, but never truly disappearing. New angles or takes, however, have been hard to come by, with only the occasional twist or genre mash-up like Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, or Fido to break up the not infrequent monotony.

Writer-director Jeff Baena’s (I Heart Huckabees) feature-length debut, Life After Beth, falls into the horror-comedy mash-up mold, though it leans more toward black comedy than the broader, more moviegoer-friendly comedy of Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead. Like Wright’s film, however, Life After Beth combines the horror and romantic comedy genres, but again for different purposes and effects.  (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ – Cool Turtles, Faltering Script

- 08-08-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Jason McAnelly

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I go into the argument of the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vs. the new movie as a neutral party. Yes, I grew up on the late-80s/early-90s television series and yes, I enjoyed watching it. I also remember the movie from 1990 and the rather unfortunate sequel that followed in 1991. Looking back upon these, however, I find little redeeming value other than the vague tickling of my childhood memories. I’m an original TMNT comic book kinda guy and will remain so forever. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the Michael Bay-produced and Jonathan Liebsman-directed 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and actually found myself having a good time. Wonder why? Read on for the review. (more…)

REVIEW: Steven Soderbergh’s ‘The Knick’ is 2014′s Second Triumph of Auteurist Television

- 08-08-14reviews, TV Posted by Jacob Knight

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The Knick premieres tonight August 8th at 10 pm EST on Cinemax and follows Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen), the pretentious, brilliant, drug-addicted head of surgery at New York’s Knickerbocker Hospital, as he and the rest of the staff (surgeons, nurses, and administration) navigate the challenges of healthcare in the early 1900′s. As the tagline says “Modern Medicine Had to Start Somewhere”.

It’ll be interesting to see how modern television critics respond to The Knick, Steven Soderbergh’s triumphant ten-hour return to the tube. Not easily lending itself to the Recap Industrial Complex that drives hits to its respective cogs, The Knick is a work which demands you deconstruct it from a place of mordant post-formalism and stagnancy. Yes, there is a plot that drives forward, but the constantly chameleonic director is more content with noticing how Dr. John W. Thackery (Clive Owen, reminding us all what a talent he is when challenged) remains a stoic, dilated disciple of science in the face of unending disease and death. Taking more cues from the equally clinical David Cronenberg and cribbing from the digitally anachronistic aesthetics of Michael Mann (whose Public Enemies feels like an improved upon touchstone), the retired auteur proves yet again that he’s a better artist than almost all of us, even when saddled to his rocking chair.  (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Or ‘How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gunn’

- 08-01-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Jacob Knight

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I have to admit to being completely on the fence since Guardians of the Galaxy was first announced.

For starters – I’ve never been a hardcore comics kid, nor am I particularly a fan of Marvel’s brand of popcorn plasticity. The MCU pictures are only slightly interesting from a filmic outlook, while Guardians as a property is a complete unknown entity to me. A talking raccoon and a tree in locked in cosmic battle with a horde of spaced invaders? Sounds like something more fit for the side of an 80s metal band’s tour van than a multiplex silver screen. Then James Gunn was announced as director/co-writer and my interest level was raised (though I still can’t cop to being completely conned). Slither is a damn good rehash of Fred Dekker’s Night of the Creeps and Super is so dark and personal that it’s hard to dismiss (though I still don’t know if I’ll ever be able to say I’m a “fan” of the film). Could Gunn actually retain his Troma roots? Or would the somewhat boardroom-authored MCU Universe excise what made his previous output special in favor of their factory-line assembly process. Thankfully, the answer is the former, as Guardians of the Galaxy is 110% a James Gunn joint to, to the point that it might be the only Marvel movie to retain its author’s somewhat auteurist voice, marking the first time the filmmaker was valued over the brand. (more…)

RETRO REVIEW: “Ginger Snaps” and the Thrilling Complexity of Female Fronted Horror

- 07-28-14Featured, Film, reviews 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 ninth entry is the coming-of-age Canadian werewolf nightmare, Ginger Snaps (2000)…

There’s a simple fact that needs to be stated at the front of this article: horror movies revolving around women are certainly more engaging than those centered around men. From the earliest days of my film-watching “career”, hidden beneath my parents’ bed while Halloween blared on basic cable*, I was always infinitely more interested in movies that focused on the horrors of femininity. Whether it was Michael Myers stalking Laurie Strode through the streets of Haddonfield or young mother Rosemary finding out that her baby was sold to her Satan worshipping neighbors, the tribulations women faced in my favorite genre always seemed to represent more complex societal issues (the pervasive invasion of evil, the possession and control of a woman’s body) than those of their male counterparts. Add on the fact that women are simply much more emotionally complex creatures (thus making for drama almost equal to their psychological complexity), and you have a perfectly logical argument for my favoring of female-starring terror pictures.

Unfortunately, many of the lesser cinematic shock jocks throughout history extracted the wrong lessons from their superiors. Many took John Carpenter pitting three beautiful best friends against a Shatner-masked maniac at mere face value, thinking that it was the boobs and violence that solely led to the picture becoming “the most successful independent film of all time”. At its worst, horror descends into misogynistic mayhem, utilizing female leads as nothing more than titillation lightning rods, whether they were being bedded by a jock or beheaded by some dime-store Myers knock-off (or his slow witted cousin, Jason Voorhees). However, one of the true under-seen gems of the genre not only molds two of the best female characters horror has ever seen, it uses them as universal icons for a girl’s ascension into full-blown womanhood. Nearly fifteen years after it first hit Canadian theaters, Ginger Snaps is still not only the best werewolf movie since Joe Dante’s The Howling, but also a testament to the power strong female characters bring to any cinematic endeavor, genre or otherwise.  (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW – ‘Hercules’ Isn’t Perfect, but Dwayne Johnson Gets the Job Done

- 07-25-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

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Like a lot of Canadian kids, my first encounter with Hercules was with Adventure Cartoon Productions animated series The Mighty Hercules, which Global ran ad nauseam Saturday mornings well into my high school years. They were simple enough, with Hercules as basically the Ancient Greece Batman, beating up bad guys and taking them to prison on Mount Olympus, which, as it turned out, was as pitifully easy to break out of as Arkham Asylum.

Every couple of years or so, the myth of Hercules gets re-interpreted for a new audience, and in a new way. So far, there’s been two Hercules movies in 2014, the first one came out in January and starred some Twilight beefcake as the son of Zeus, but in the case of Brett Ratner’s Hercules it has the immediate ace in the hole of having Dwayne Johnson as the titular hero. Johnson’s charm and magnetism is a definite advantage to the film, and if the movie he was in was tighter it might actually equal the assets brought by its star. Ratner’s Hercules is a solid B-effort, but it had the potential to be an A. (more…)