VIDEO GAME REVIEW: ‘Watch Dogs’ – Breaths New Life Into “Open World” Style Adventure

- 05-29-14Featured, reviews, Videogames Posted by Luke Gallagher

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Since its unveiling at E3 2012, Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs has been one of the most anticipated games for any console, particularly this new generation of systems. The spawn of what seems to be a three-way between Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto and Infamous, Watch Dogs puts you in control of Aiden Pearce, a hacker-cum-vigilante in search of bloody retribution for the death of his niece. Delayed several times, this once launch title has finally graced American shelves. Did the delay produce a better game or simply postpone the inevitable disappointment which often accompanies a hype-beast such as this? It’s 696 miles to Chicago, we’ve got $60, a quarter tank of gas, a six pack of Red Bull, it’s night, and we’re wearing sunglasses…let’s punch it.  (more…)

RECAP/REVIEW: ‘Arrow’ – S02E23 – “Unthinkable”

- 05-15-14Comics, Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Sarah Moran

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As a whole, Arrowhas grown by leaps and bounds since its first season. The series has come to rely less on annoying “villain of the week” devices in favor of a stronger season-long arc and has surrounded its hero with a diverse and interesting cast of friends and foes. Last night’s season finale, “Unthinkable“, needed to send Season 2 out on a bang. Which it did, thanks to a solid season’s worth of build up. (more…)

RETRO REVIEW – ‘Godzilla’ (1954): A Somber Relic of Japanese Cinema

- 05-13-14Featured, 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 fifth entry acts as a brief refresher on one of the pivotal moments in Japanese cinema, Ishirō Honda’s Godzilla (1954)…

Picture Godzilla in your head. What do you see?

For most, the image is simple — men in rubbery monster suits battling one-another amidst a chintzily built model, stepping on toy cars willy-nilly in an effort to put forth the feeling of destruction on an apocalyptic scale. To the average cinema-goer Gojira – excuse me, Godzilla — is an icon of pugilistic campiness; a towering figure akin to a scaly Macho Man Randy Savage, wrestling other goofy kaiju for ninety minutes while tiny Asian people point and scream “the monster is attacking the city!” 

Like most successful franchise frontmen, the weight of Godzilla’s initial appearance has been watered down by subsequent sequels (twenty-seven, to be exact), to the point that many have forgotten the iconic monster’s original metaphorical meaning: a walking mushroom cloud, the fantastical representation of holocaust. Ishirō Honda’s monumental piece of Japanese filmmaking still stands as one of the greatest cinematic responses to the psychic trauma caused by war, ranking with Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove as a defining piece of pop art derived from the utter devastation of the nuclear bomb.

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RECAP/REVIEW – Game of Thrones – Season 4, Episode 6: “The Laws of Gods and Men”

- 05-12-14Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Jacob Knight

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“When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.”

This short excerpt from Longfellow’s equally brief “There Was a Little Girl” can be re-jiggered and re-appropriated to describe a lot of different things. In the current media landscape, no work feels more deserving of the description than HBO’s Game of Thrones. Season Four has seen its fair share of highs (the death of one sniveling Boy King) while also delivering some truly dismal lows (the rape of Cersei by her otherwise redemption-bound brother, not to mention the general mistreatment/prop-relegation of many of the show’s female characters). But this season’s sixth episode, “The Laws of Gods and Men”, is a healthy reminder of why we shouldn’t just throw out the proverbial “baby with the bathwater”. Yes, some moments might be extremely “problematic” for most viewers (a word I’m learning to despise due to its overuse by seemingly joyless cultural watchdogs), yet to discount the series as a whole because of a few (admittedly major) missteps would be doing many viewers a rather large disservice. Because the final twenty minutes of “The Laws of Gods and Men” represent televised drama at its finest.

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RETRO REVIEW – ‘Evilspeak’ is the Ultimate ‘Revenge of the Nerd’ Film

- 05-08-14Featured, 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 fourth entry is the ultimate “revenge of the nerd” film, Evilspeak (1981)…

There was no shortage of vengeful nerds in 1980s horror cinema. Movies like Vernon Zimmerman’s Fade to Black, Frank LaLoggia’s Fear No Evil, and Robert Englund’s 976-Evil provided picked-on geeks with characters they could identify with, while also simultaneously indulging in the revenge fantasies they probably harbored in the darkest regions of their soul. In a post-Columbine world, these movies are somewhat of a rarity, as Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris showed us all how ugly the vengeance of those oppressed and bullied by the jocks and the prom queens could be when it wasn’t limited to innocuous fantasy.

But before their horrifying rampage (not to mention the epidemic of terrifying school shootings that arrived in the wake of Littleton), horror films were unafraid to be completely un-PC, allowing their often sniveling-yet-sympathetic leads to lay waste to those who caused them to live in fear every day. And none were as gleefully bonkers as Eric Weston’s Evilspeak, a somewhat inept yet totally entertaining film that helped birth the cinematic career of one of the ultimate avatars for persecuted nebbishes, Clint Howard.

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RECAP/REVIEW: ‘Arrow’ – S02E22 – “Streets of Fire”

- 05-08-14Comics, Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Sarah Moran

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Starling City is in utter anarchy. The city is swimming in chaos as Mirakuru-enhanced madmen flood the streets destroying and murdering just about everything in their path. Circumstances are dire, and typically such an over-the-top premise of the city collapsing around our heroes is an all too often overused season finale device. Hell! Arrowused the same premise last season! But in Season 2 they’ve earned it, properly setting up and selling this city under siege. (more…)

RECAP/REVIEW – Game of Thrones – Season 4, Episode 5: “First of His Name”

- 05-05-14Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Jacob Knight

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A king is crowned. A queen questions her way. A true assassin is revealed.

While certainly not the most viscerally thrilling episode the series has ever seen, “First of His Name” was slyly stunning, filled with tiny moments that seemed to change everything. Whether it was Littlefinger whispering nefarious nothings into his bride-to-be’s ear or Arya Stark letting The Hound know that he’s still very much on her shit list, Episode Five of Season Four was all about the tense intimate moments that seem to bring characters together while still keeping them at arm’s length from both each other and the audience. We’re now halfway through what might be the most pivotal chapter in the HBO fantasy series’ history, and the proverbial pot seems to be just on the verge of boiling over.

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REVIEW: Star Wars 501st Trooper and Commander Wolffe Sixth Scale Figures From Sideshow Collectibles

- 05-03-14Cool Stuff, Nerd Culture, reviews Posted by Luke Gallagher

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Today is May the 4th. Which could only mean one thing. It’s Star Wars Day (May The 4th Be With You, get it? Don’t forget about Revenge of The 5th). To commemorate this auspicious day, Nerd Bastards presents unto you, for your galactic gawking pleasure, a set of Storm Trooper figurines from Sideshow Collectibles.

You may know Sideshow as the premier purveyors of plastic play things and other high end desirables. For the uninitiated –  as synonymous as Bose is to sound and fat kids are to cake, Sideshow is to collectibles. From Star Wars to Marvel, DC and many other brands, Sideshow makes with the pretty. Their ever growing assortment of statues and figurines is the stuff nerd dreams are made of. Nerd Bastards has been privileged to receive a sampling of their fine tokens to pop culture, in the way of Star Wars Clone Trooper Deluxe 501st Storm Trooper and Commander Wolffe 6th Scale Figurines. Let’s check these suckers out, shall we? Ready your eye holes and prepare to throw money at the screen.  (more…)

RECAP/REVIEW: ‘Arrow’ – S02E21 – “City of Blood”

- 05-01-14Comics, Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Sarah Moran

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ArrowSeason 2 is barreling towards its finale, and with only two more episodes left, “City of Blood” is a brief respite for our characters to mourn last episode’s sudden loss before plunging head on into Slade’s war for Starling City. (more…)

RECAP/REVIEW – Game of Thrones – Season 4, Episode 4: “Oathkeeper”

- 04-28-14reviews, TV Posted by Jacob Knight

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It had to happen eventually. After setting a near-breakneck pace for the first three episodes, Game of Thrones finally pumped the brakes and slowed it down a bit. Unfortunately, the show-runners also pulled the emergency lever, as the fourth episode came to a grinding halt, sacrificing momentum in favor of meticulously setting up the future. The good news? They tossed out the books as they went, committing a solid fifteen minutes of run-time to brand new material that was sure to throw George R.R. Martin devotees for a loop.

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