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After sitting through Dwayne “No Longer The Rock” Johnson’s third film in less than a year, Skyscraper, you won’t believe a man can fly – Christopher Reeve as Superman/Kal-El/Clark Kent got there first forty years ago and he was wearing spandex and a cape – but you’ll believe Johnson’s one-legged character, Will Sawyer, can leap tall buildings (not leap over, however) to save his family from a burning mega-skyscraper and the rando, vaguely European terrorists who started the fire to steal an ultra-high value MacGuffin. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before from one of the hardest working performers in Hollywood (three films in seven months, with another half-dozen on the way over the next two or three years), but for Johnson’s super-fans, it’ll be more than enough to overlook Skyscraper’s paper-thin, second-rate plot – a mash-up of Die Hard, The Towering Inferno and every action-film cliché in between – forgettable, throwaway villains, a plot and setting deliberately geared toward Asian-Pacific audiences, and mediocre action scenes lathered in CGI spectacle.

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Profiles in Nerdage: Helen Mirren

In a fifty year career that spans stage, film and television, Dame Helen Mirren (DBE) has played many famous people from the likes of Ayn Rand to Queen Elizabeth II.  She has won what is referred to as the triple crown of acting (an Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, a Tony for The Audience where she also played Elizabeth and 4 Emmys).

As modern Hollywood began to deal with the inherent sexism and misogynistic culture, an interview from 1975 with Michael Parkinson resurfaced where he labelled her “the sex queen of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)” while she showed her intelligence and class.  She stood her ground well even though it was her first TV interview ever.

In her long and varied career it would be unusual if she hadn’t played in a part related to nerd culture.  Luckily for us, she has been part of many sci-fi, fantasy, and comic related properties.  Here is a rundown of the best movies and shows that gave her nerd street cred.

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Ant-Man and the Wasp premiered this weekend to excited fans. While not as gut-wrenching as Avengers: Infinity War, the film had a humor and heart to it that Marvel lovers might need right about now.

Even more importantly, though, it now marks us being only one film away from Avengers 4.

In wait of the heart-stopping, intense film, let’s look at some of the Ant-Man facts that might mean intriguing things for the future of the MCU.  (more…)

Fake Feminist Sci-Fi Films of the Fifties

Before the recent advances in Hollywood due to the #metoo and #timesup movements, there were science fiction films that showed strong women.  Characters like Ripley in Alien and Sarah Conner from the Terminator franchise showed women that were smart and capable without turning into damsels in distress at the sign of the first man who could help them.  While women in sci-fi films of the past were often just eye candy, some films are so misogynistic that it is either painful or hilarious to watch them (often both).

In the 1950s, as the feminist movement gained traction, some films seemed intent in showing strong women that were only waiting for a man to come along and melt their cold hearts.  Others showed that when women had power they became either crazy, violent, or both.

These movies all felt feminist to viewers when they were released but to the modern eye they really support the patriarchy of the times.  Here are the most egregious examples.

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Luke Cage season 2 rocked the Netflix when it dropped over a week ago. People scrambled to watch it, and quickly people were enamored with it. One thing people loved the most? The music.

Today, we’re going to do a comprehensive collection of the music, and give a few notes on why they were so good. The main focus will be on the live performances, as they lasted the longest and meant the most to the episodes. However, a few honorable exceptions will pop up.

Only episodes with confirmed music will be listed. There also will be spoilers, so turn back now if that turns you off.

Otherwise, sit back, relax, and learn even more about the fantastic music of Luke Cage season 2.  (more…)

RIP Steve Ditko – 7 Unsung Characters

 

This weekend we mourn the loss of one of the comic book industries greats. Steve Ditko died at the age of 90. Working on both Marvel and DC throughout the years, Ditko partnered up to co-create some of histories greatest characters that almost everyone has heard of. Heroes like Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, villains like Green Goblin and Dormammu. He even gave us supporting characters that would go on to take some of the spotlights like Wong, Clea, Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson. But are there others that don’t get as much limelight? Here’s a list of 7 great Ditko created characters that don’t get enough recognition.

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Toxicity in fandom isn’t limited to Star Wars. Every franchise has its trolls that people don’t like to talk about. Don’t feed them, don’t give them attention, and they’ll eventually go away. Unfortunately, even a bit of bad attention is enough for folks to thrive on. Fans are passionate, and when fans are passionate in equal but different ways, the fandom splits and near-war breaks out. Arguing is fine, it’s one of the things we as nerds do. A healthy debate helps drive things forward. If we didn’t cuss and discuss how things work, why they work, motives and histories, our fandoms wouldn’t grow to be as big as they are. But when does our passion get taken too far? When the drama around the fandom almost overshadows the hype around the things we love.

 

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Social media sites are the bridges between us and the rest of the world on the internet. And like any good bridge… they each have their share of trolls. But fandoms, parts of the nerd community that should bring people together to use our nerdy powers for good, are also bringing toxic nostalgia zealots together to use their powers for evil. No other fandom encapsulates that as well as Star Wars. The vitriol around the new movies is spawning some of the worst campaigns in the history of nerddom, driving cast and crew away from social media, disrupting the hype for other movies, and causing drama and turmoil throughout the fandom. These factions dividing us are unclear to some. But is there a correct, constructive way to discuss and air our grievances with our entertainment? Should we? How are lives being affected? Who is being caught in the crossfire? How does it affect other fandoms? And how do we move forward?

 

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