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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…)

When Star Trek: The Next Generation first went into production the plan was to make sure that it stood apart from the original series.  Not only would the characters be different, but the adventures of Kirk and company would barely be mentioned.  Despite 76 years passing between the days of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy and those of Data, Worf, and Picard, they still played it safe by having an irascible Admiral who resembled a well-known country doctor named McCoy on the pilot episode “Encounter at Farpoint” to show the connection to fans.

Over the years, the other members of the original cast would interact with this new crew.  Spock, Scotty, Checkov, and Kirk would all be on some part of the Next Generation adventures on TV and film.  Even Sulu would appear on Star Trek: Voyager in a very clever episode that tied into the last film for the original cast.  In fact, the only member of the original series main cast that didn’t appear on modern Trek was actress Nichelle Nichols.

But a good number of guest stars from the original series crossed over to be part of the Berman era of Star Trek.  Here are the highlights from those that made the jump.

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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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This week, Disenchantment was released on Netflix. Disenchantment is an animated series about Bean, an alcoholic, spoiled princess (literally), her personal demon Luci, and an optimistic elf, aptly named Elfo. The series follows their adventures in Bean’s kingdom, Dreamland, and the hijinks that follow them.

Disenchantment also comes from a long legacy of great shows. Its creator, Matt Groening, helped create The Simpsons, helmed Futurama, and now is putting his efforts into this comedic fantasy adventure. (more…)

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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This fall will see the beginning of Jodie Whittaker‘s tenure as the 13th Doctor.  Regardless of arguments about if 13 is the appropriate number for her Doctor (after the meta-crisis and War Doctor, etc.), there has been quite a bit of uncertainty and outright hatred from some fan circles for a female Doctor.

However, Doctor Who has long implied this was not only possible but probable.  When David Tennant regenerated into Matt Smith, Matt touches his hair and says, “I’m a girl!!!” before finding his adam’s apple.

In the episode “The Doctor’s Wife” the Doctor says,

“The mark of the Corsair. Fantastic bloke. He had that snake as a tattoo in every regeneration. Didn’t feel like himself unless he had the tattoo. Or herself, a couple of times. Ooo, she was a bad girl.”

In Peter Capaldi’s episode “Hell Bent” he shoots the General who regenerates as a woman.

So the groundwork has been laid for gender switching, but there is a more significant indicator that all will be well with a female Doctor.  The Time Ladies that preceded Jodie.

Here are a few of the beloved female “Time Lords” from the Classic and New Who runs of the show.

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