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Forces of Geek: we like pop culture.

Published: Apr 16, 2014 1:55:23 PM
Forces of Geek features columns and commentary on all aspects of geek culture including pop culture, technology, art, television, comics, music, fashion, film, literature and video games. The premiere Geek Culture community online, forcesofgeek.com wants you to discover and embrace the unknown, the forgotten, and the beloved.
  • Apr 16, 2014 1:00:02 PM
    Review by Benn Robbins
    Writer: Ron Randall
    Artist: Ron Randall, Karl Kesel
    Colorist: Jeremy Colwell
    Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
    Price: $9.99
    Release Date: April 16, 2014

    Ron Randall’s Trekker: The Train To Avalon Bay is an fantastic read.  An all-new story (collecting installments from Dark Horse Presents #24–#29) featuring Randall’s character, Mercy St. Clair, who made her debut during the height of the indie comic boon of the late 80’s in the pages of the original Dark Horse Presents.

    Known as a Trekker, she is a strong willed, tough-as-nails, bounty hunter and is pretty much everything you could ever want from a sci-fi heroine.

    A stand out comic back in the day and a breath of relief for those looking for a comic story where the female main character doesn’t rely on skimpy costumes and her feminine wiles to get what she wants.

    It still rings true today, more than ever.

    That isn’t to say she isn’t sexy or succeeds in her missions. She is highly trained and as deadly as she is beautiful.

    Read more »
  • Apr 16, 2014 11:00:03 AM

    Engaging young 'uns in the area of science can be difficult, especially when you are knee deep in areas that involve scary things like the Permian Extinction.

    But thanks to Tom McFadden, science doesn't have to be weird and overwhelming if you put these concepts to music, or, more specifically, rap or parody covers of songs like Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO.

    Yep, its a whole lot easier to learn about fossils when you can picture this in your head:

    God you young people get everything.

    Awesome video after the break.

    Read more »
  • Apr 16, 2014 9:00:07 AM
    WTF Did I Just See?

    I guess I shouldn't be too surprised by the existence of a Save-the-Date video which encompasses everything that is wrong with society. After-all, we are living in a world where scripted "Reality" TV shows are consumed in such great quantities that I'm pretty sure our souls have shrivelled down to the size of prunes in retaliation for feeding it pure, uncut bullshit and can no longer function as a compass toward personally defined morality.

    But all the Duck Dynasty and Dance Moms in the world can't compete with the cinematic wedding announcement of Bambo Obaro and Janice Jentz.

    To say that their Save-the-Date video is filled with an overwhelming degree of self-absorbed imagery is an understatement. In fact, there's a chance that even Kanye West and whole of the Kardashian clan would be repulsed by the blatant megalomania featured within it and feel the need to cleanse themselves of narcissism through various acts of altruistic charity that would lead them into practical sainthood. 

    Seriously, we are all so completely and utterly doomed as a species.

    Video after the break.

    Read more »
  • Apr 16, 2014 7:00:07 AM

    Good morning class, today we will be discussing the Futility of Existence. You know, that overwhelming feeling that sometimes kicks in at three in the morning in which you reach a moment of clarity that this whole journey we call life boils down to the fact that nothing you do means anything and there's nothing you can do about it.

    I know, it's kind of a deeply metaphysical concept that is not easily defined in a way that we can understand, but luckily we can grasp this philosophical realization of futility through a moving educational film that not only exemplifies this transmigration of belief into reality, but also promises to teach us all that perhaps we should slow down on the cosmic vodka consumption and stop climbing impenetrable fences...and I mean that both literally and figuratively.

    Video after the break.

    And yes, this will be on the test.

    Read more »
  • Apr 15, 2014 7:00:01 PM
    Nick and Tesla are bright 11-year-old siblings with a knack for science, electronics, and getting into trouble. When their parents mysteriously vanish, they’re sent to live with their Uncle Newt, a brilliant inventor who engineers top-secret gadgets for a classified government agency. It’s not long before Nick and Tesla are embarking on adventures of their own—engineering all kinds of outrageous MacGyverish contraptions to save their skin: 9-volt burglar alarms, electromagnets, mobile tracking devices, and more. Readers are invited to join in the fun as each story contains instructions and blueprints for five different projects.

    They include:

    Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab

    Nick and Tesla are bright 11-year-old siblings with a knack for science, electronics, and getting into trouble. When their parents mysteriously vanish, they’re sent to live with their Uncle Newt, a brilliant inventor who engineers top-secret gadgets for a classified government agency. It’s not long before Nick and Tesla are embarking on adventures of their own—engineering all kinds of outrageous MacGyverish contraptions to save their skin: 9-volt burglar alarms, electromagnets, mobile tracking devices, and more. Readers are invited to join in the fun as each story contains instructions and blueprints for five different projects.

    In Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab, we meet the characters and learn how to make everything from rocket launchers to soda-powered vehicles. Learning about science has never been so dangerous—or so much fun!

    Nick and Tesla’s Robot Army Rampage

    When a rash of robberies hits the town of Half Moon Bay, 11-year-old sleuths Nick and Tesla are determined to catch the criminals—but to do so, they'll have to build a host of new gadgets and gizmos! In this robot-themed follow-up to Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab, the brother-and-sister duo build four different droids out of ordinary household objects—and illustrated instructions are included throughout the story, so you can build them, too! Make bristlebots that buzz, hoverbots that float above the ground, battlebots that duke it out, and more! Can Nick and Tesla catch the criminal mastermind—and foil his army of rampaging robots—before it's too late?

    Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle

    After foiling a gang of kidnappers and fending off an army of robots, 11-year-old siblings Nick and Tesla Holt could use a little rest! But as their third mystery opens, they discover there’s a spy in their midst, searching for secrets in the home of their beloved (and slightly crazy) Uncle Newt. Is it the new laboratory assistant? The exterminator? The housekeepers? Or someone completely unexpected? To expose the mystery agent, Nick and Tesla must engineer all kinds of outrageous contraptions, from code wheels and fingerprint powder to spy cameras and burglar detectors. Best of all, instructions are included throughout the story, so you can build the projects, too!

    And thanks to our friends at Quirk Books, we're giving away a set of all three books!

    Read more »
  • Apr 15, 2014 5:00:06 PM
    If you missed the first season of Orphan Black, there's still time to catch up before season two premieres on April 19.

    Trust me, it's a show any fan of sci-fi and great plotting and acting can appreciate.

    Here's 6 reasons you should join Clone Club:

    Read more »
  • Apr 15, 2014 3:00:04 PM
    By Todd Sokolove
    Produced by Jeremy Thomas, Reinhard Brundig
    Written and Directed by Jim Jarmusch
    Starring Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton,  
    Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin

    Jim Jarmusch might be the only director left alive that could make vampires cool again, and in his latest film, Only Lovers Left Alive, he resurrects and recreates their mythos with giddy delight.

    The story revolves around a married undead couple known as Adam and Eve.  In fact the film brilliantly establishes a world that, quite literally, revolves around them.

    Eve, inspired by the universe's endless beauty watches the stars turn to a circular blur, while Adam, inspired by music, is represented by a classic Rock 45.

    You couldn't come up with a better opening to this poetic, beautiful, lonely, ironic and often comical achievement.

    Like any of Jarmusch's films, it's a work unclassifiable by genre, featuring characters and situations that defy previous depictions on camera.  It is a vampire film without the horror, and a zombie film with true impending apocalypse by man's inevitable doing.

    Read more »
  • Apr 15, 2014 1:00:04 PM

    Interested in being a part of Video Game History in two weeks? Then road trip your way to the Alamogordo Landfill (4276 Highway 54 S Alamogordo, NM 88310- Near First Street and White Sands Boulevard) on April 26th from 9:30am-7:30 pm to watch as (supposedly) millions of E.T. Atari game cartridges (as well as some rumored Ms. Pac Man, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Bezerk games) will be dug from the earth and presented to the heavens as an offering to the Gaming Gods (um, that last part is conjecture).

    According to Xbox Wire:

    [Writer]/Director Zak Penn (“X-Men 2,” “Avengers,” and “Incident at Loch Ness”) will be documenting the dig and the events around it. In addition to fans and media, a variety of people tied to the dig, video game, and film will be in attendance – including “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” video game designer Howard Scott Warshaw, a team of archaeologists and representatives from Xbox Entertainment Studios, Lightbox and Fuel Entertainment. 

    So there's probably going to be a food truck or something selling refreshments (here's hoping it's filled with Doritos and Mountain Dew) if you get hungry.

    If you are unfamiliar with the urban legend it goes something like this: In 1983 Atari, embarrassed with how bad the E.T Game actually was, had their operatives creep out in the dead of night to bury all the remaining cartridges in the New Mexico desert in order to forget that it ever existed. The real story is somewhat less Men-in-Black-ish and can be read about HERE (it's Wikipedia so you know it's true) but I still prefer the darker Nerd version myself.

    If you are trying to figure out something to do with your Spring Break (or self-created Spring Break if you are over the college-age), this is a once-in-a-lifetime event that will surely be as enthralling as watching Geraldo Rivera breaking into Capone's vault..I mean, it's not like you're doing anything important anyway...and, if you're old like me, you'll probably want to go just to be reminded what a terrible let down the game was when you were bombarded with commercials like this everyday when you were a kid:

    Oh, the memories...now who's driving first shift?

  • Apr 15, 2014 11:00:04 AM

    The creepy guy who drives the Ice Cream Truck through my neighborhood did a mini run this weekend when the temperature in my neck of the woods reached the upper 70s, and before the high-pitched melody of the Treat Truck Song fully reached my ears, a stampede of children converged upon him with fists full of dollars and a craving for high fructose corn syrup.

    Upon seeing these small, but apparently well-off, kids throwing money at him, I got to thinking that investing in an ice cream truck might not be a bad idea. Of course, instead of going the molester-ish van way, peddling around the neighborhood in an old-fashioned Good Humor Ice Cream Cart from Hammacher Schlemmer ($2500) might be a more interesting way of going about selling my wares (not to mention a good way to burn some calories).

    But seeing that I'm kind of an asshole, I wouldn't keep it stocked with artisanal hand-packed locally-sourced ice cream that would make a hipster proud, nope, what I'd do would load the belly of my cart with Vodka-soaked Gummy Bear slushies, Cold Pops made with Sambuca and Midori and ice cream made from Guinness beer and sell it only to the adults of the neighborhood until someone (probably a teenager) would call the cops.

    The cart even has bells on it so that I could alert the Over-21-ers that I was coming!

    It would be a wonderful summer...until I would inevitably land in the clink for selling unlicensed alcoholic treats. I guess once I get out of jail I could always move to Washington or Colorado and sell primo bud from the cart.

    Now that might actually be a better business plan...hmmm.

    Source: Red Ferret

  • Apr 15, 2014 9:00:04 AM

    I don't know when or how it happened, but at some point in the last 20 years telling someone that something about their person bothers you (like bad breath or body odor) has become a slanderous proposition resulting in sensitivity training or public shunning, the upshot of which is that we are now forced by a societal-dictated decorum to share airspace with people who reek to the point of our eyes watering because hurting their feelings is worse then handing them some toothpaste or a bar of soap and saying "Have At It".

    But once upon a time, believe it or not, we said Fuck You to political correctness and simply alerted the offenders to their crimes against humanity and, after an awkward few minutes, all was well with the world (hell, even the people we just maligned were thankful to be told about their issue so they could rectify it). In fact, when we didn't want to get personally involved with the smelly asshole out of some misplaced fear of upsetting the person, we could just contact the corporations that created the health and beauty products and have them do it for us.


    And guess what? The world kept spinning.

    If you wanna see what it was like to live on a planet when you could handle shit without a mediator present, then check out this retro Scope ad from the 60s...it's not only eye-opening, it's practically a religious calling.

    Read more »
  • Apr 15, 2014 7:00:07 AM

    Apparently Prom is right around the corner judging by how many frakking radio commercials I keep hearing about tux and limo rentals (and yes, I still listen to the radio, I'm secretly a Luddite) and while I appreciate the beauty in which dressing up for a fancy dress party can be, there has been a lot of years between that golden age of slipping into a shimmery dress without layering my body in Spanx and now, where my idea of dressing up is a pair of bedazzled jeggings. So count me as a "Meh" when it comes to Prom season.

    But ever since I found out that Kentucky Fried Chicken is selling a limited supply of corsages created around one of their drumsticks (for just $20 + shipping), I'm sort of jealous that I'm no longer a viable candidate as a prom date (yep, I'm in it for some food surrounded by flowers).

    Now, if you're slightly freaked about a smelly chicken leg being shipped to teenagers as it slowly decomposes between the time they receive it in the mail and prom night, don't be. According to KFC's website...Each corsage kit includes a $5 KFC gift check, so you can customize your corsage with Original Recipe, Extra Crispy or Kentucky Grilled Chicken. Whichever best matches her dress. Local corsages will have fresh baby's breath and out-of-town corsages will have silk baby's breath.

    So see, there will only be a limited chance that the lucky couple will be infected with salmonella poisoning so stop worrying.

    After the break is a wonderful ad for the chicken corsage that will no doubt make a special night even tastier...God, I'm hungry.

    Read more »
  • Apr 14, 2014 7:00:01 PM
    Reality, fantasy and adventure collide in this action-fueled animated movie from comic book legend Stan Lee. When Stan stumbles upon seven aliens who have crash-landed in the desert, he soon finds himself swept up in their journey as a top-secret military force led by the ominous Mr. Cross and the evil reptilian Taegons close in on the group. He quickly moves them to his Malibu beach house, but in order to guarantee their survival, Stan must show the Mighty 7 how to develop their powers and become Earth’s newest team of superhero fighters. Featuring the impressive voice talents of Sean Astin, Jim Belushi, Mayim Bialik, Darren Criss, Flea, Armie Hammer, Teri Hatcher, Michael Ironside and Christian Slater, it’s the first installment in a fascinating trilogy.
    And we're giving away a copy!

    Read more »
  • Apr 14, 2014 5:00:03 PM

    Love is a crazy emotion that can turn you all inside out even in the best of circumstances, which makes anything you feel or think during this particular roller coaster ride suspect. Of course, when the love is all good and reciprocated it can be the best feeling in the world, fulfilling you to the point of giddiness and making all those around you nauseated to the point of dry heaving. But when it is bad (or worse, unacknowledged) it can turn a normal, well-functioning human being into a fucking lunatic who will super glue road kill to your car in retaliation.

    I've been there (and the whole gluing road kill to a car was so long ago we don't need to talk about it okay?) and yeah I've suffered, but I've learned that sometimes the best way to handle those heavy-duty emotions is not by destroying automobiles via the rotting carcasses of squirrels and opossums, but through a personal theme song that you can hum when the desire to make those who wronged you pay overtakes you.

    For some people happy songs help make that pain go away like Phil Collins' cover of Groovy Kind Of Love or Shiny Happy People by R.E.M, for others it's the deeply sad songs like I Can't Make You Love Me by Bonnie Rait or Trouble by Cat Stevens that help temper the need to kill and maim.

    For me, I turn to Mink Stole's Sometimes I Wish I Had A Gun to keep the more psycho aspects myself at bay.

    With lyrics like:

    Sometimes I wish I had a gun 
    'Cuz competition isn't fun 
    I'd point it at those other girls 
    And we'd see how fast they'd run

    It's almost impossible not to simmer down after singing them.

    And besides, the song sounds so bluesy and solid that once you're done belting it out, you're pretty much spent.

    So check out the song after the break (it's all mashed up with the 1950 movie Gun Crazy, which is really kinda nice) and maybe, I don't know, think about it before you set your beloved's house on fire next time.

    Read more »
  • Apr 14, 2014 3:00:00 PM
    graph·ic nov·el
    1.  a novel in comic-strip format.
    I read them all.  The good and the bad, so you don't have to.

    Welcome to The Pull List.

    And, as always...Spoilers ahead!

    Itty Bitty Hellboy TPB
    Writer: Art Baltazar, Franco
    Artist: Art Baltazar
    Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
    Price: $9.99
    Release Date: April 16, 2014

    I think it’s safe to say that Art Baltazar and Franco have an insane amount of fun while creating childlike caricatures of our favorite heroes.

    Their brand of humor and creative reinterpretation produces a heartwarming awesomeness that is thoroughly enjoyed by all ages. Hellboy, a property known for its paranormal characteristics really lends itself to the cute and clever style of the Eisner Award winning duo.

    I mean, a demon from hell hanging out like a kid in the neighborhood can bring a smile to anyone’s face.

    Of course, the adventures are all over the place - including heaven where God proclaims that Hellboy shall don a new name in his kingdom.

    The dialog is simple and the pacing is great but it is the “Run, run, trample, trample, jog, skip, run” lettering and facial reactions that give the book its special charm.

    Liz freaking out about touching Roger’s underwear was priceless considering how willy nilly he is about his under garment and Grigori Rasputin calling for more “duct tape reinforcements” made me long for the days when I was building cardboard forts with my friends. If I had to sum up this book in one word it would be FUN!

    Casual and hardcore Hellboy fans will thoroughly enjoy this collection because it takes a character you know and reverses how seriously you take him while poking fun at the mythos that have made this such a beloved franchise.

    After all, Lobster Johnson should have a trusty blue lobster as his sidekick.

    Score: 8/10

    Read more »
  • Apr 14, 2014 1:00:00 PM
    World Book Night is quickly approaching and Shelf Awareness gives you all the info you need as well as news about a free ebook.

    Bestselling epic fantasy author Tad Williams has announced he is writing a sequel trilogy to his groundbreaking debut trilogy, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.

    Five awesome bookstore-bars you won't want to miss.

    Read more »
  • Apr 15, 2014 8:13:13 PM

    Here at FOG! HQ lots of cool stuff comes in, giving us the opportunity to check out some merchandise, that to be completely honest, we think you should check out!

    This time out we've a bunch of t-shirts, toys and gadgets geared toward your savvy inner nerd.

    Captain America Old Fashioned 30 Single T-Shirt

    This fantastic shirt from SuperheroStuff.com features an iconic image of Captain America bursting through the center ilustrated by The King of Comics himself, Jack Kirby!

    It might not be easy to get your hands on a cup of Dr. Erksine's Super Soldier serum,  but this 100% cotton, extra-soft 30 Single thread count t-shirt is just a click away!

    Captain America Shield T-Shirt
    When Captain America throws his mighty shield,  
    All those who chose to oppose his shield must yield.  
    If he’s led to a fight and a duel is due,  
    Then the red and white and the blue’ll come through  
    When Captain America throws his mighty shield.
    This classic and iconic Captain America Shield shirt from SuperHeroStuff is a must have!

    Remember, until April 30th, all FOG! readers get 15% off at  SuperheroStuff using the code FOG15.

    Captain America Splash T-Shirt

    From the folks at Cafe Press comes this pretty neat Captain America: The Winter Soldier T-Shirt displaying the iconic hero with his shield.  The shirt is available in a variety of colors and the design is available on a number of different products.

    "Captain, in order to build a better world, sometimes means tearing the old one down... And that makes enemies." – Nick Fury

    The Winter Soldier Is Coming T-Shirt

    One of the mysterious characters in the latest Captain America film, The Winter Soldier is so important to the Star Spangled Hero's mythology they named the movie after him.

    And the shirt.  Available at Cafe Press.

    "Most of the intelligence community doesn't believe he exists. The ones that do call him the Winter Soldier. He's a ghost, you'll never find him..."  – Natasha Romanoff, The Black Widow 

    Read more »
  • Apr 14, 2014 9:00:03 AM

    I really haven't watched any late night talk shows since I got rid of regular TV a few years ago and devoted myself entirely to Netflix (it's like a religious calling), but I've been told that they have certainly become far more entertaining in the last few years, which leads me to think I might be missing something.

    Although, if the guests are anything like the one starring in Joseph Bennet's animated short Out to Lunch, it might be safer to stick with my queue of stuff in the old 'flix. Not that my selection of 80s sitcoms are any safer...seriously, people laugh tracks should be used sparingly...sheesh.

    Video after the break.

    Read more »
  • Apr 14, 2014 7:00:02 AM

    Documentaries, Dragons, Boxing, Drag Queens, Big Ensembles, Horror Sit-Coms, and Nursesploitation.  There's something for everyone this time out!

    Fire up that queue and prep that shopping cart. It's that time of the week.

    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

    Warner Bros. / Released 4/8/14
    The second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.  Extras include production videos, set visit, featurettes, trailers and music video.

    Last Word: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, is the second installment in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit series.  Highly disappointing.  It’s a long, unclear compilation of tidbit stories overridden by special effects that poorly compensate for the slow-moving and tonally inconsistent plotlines.  Peter Jackson did an excellent job with the Lord of the Rings films.  Three movies for three books, so each film was self-contained and exciting. Desolation of Smaug doesn’t have a clear story. It’s middle ground that’s murky and unfinished. The group of dwarves travels, they get into trouble, they meet some elves, orcs are ever-presently growling, and they meet Smaug, the dragon. The little backstory that’s meant to intrigue falls flat and sappy.

    In Desolation of Smaug, the elves are overly made-up drama-queens, the setting looks like just that, a set, and the movement of characters switches to full-on animation so often that it looks like you’re watching a video game segment. Similarly, the Orcs look ridiculous and completely fake. To those in charge of choreographing those claustrophobic fight-scenes, actual stuntmen and realistic movements are helpful in suspending disbelief.

    The reason Jackson’s previous series worked well was because each film told a story, each added to the next, but were still strong enough to stand alone. Desolation of Smaug cannot stand on its own. It doesn’t add anything to the previous story, the characters are forgettable and don’t inspire sympathy. I was rooting for Aragorn in Two Towers. But I couldn’t care less about Thorin Oakenshield. I know he’s supposed to be important. But he’s not lovable. Bilbo is the enjoyable character, but even still, Martin Freeman’s performance feels tired and uncreative.

    The biggest highlight was seeing Watson and Sherlock, excuse me, Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch interact as Bilbo and Smaug. And Smaug was beautiful. All of the special effects efforts must have been poured into the creation of the fantastic beast. From his dilating pupils to the sagging skin beneath his enormous jaw, the dragon was incredible. It’s just a pity that Smaug is the only memorable character in Desolation – Fili and Kili are a sad substitute for Merry, Pippin, and Samwise.   If you’ve read the book a hundred times, you’ll enjoy the show and actually appreciate the few hidden jokes that fly completely over the remaining viewers’ heads.  Otherwise, read the book, it’ll go quicker. (– Caitlyn Thompson)

    Grudge Match

    Warner Bros. / Released 4/8/14
    Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone star as old boxing rivals who come out of retirement for one final match. On their first encounter in decades, their long-festering feud erupts into an unintentionally hilarious melee that instantly goes viral. The sudden social media frenzy transforms their local grudge match into a must-see HBO event. Now, if they can just survive the training, they may actually live to fight again.

    Last Word: Somehow, Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta and Rocky Balboa are pitted against each other in a fight to end a 30 year rivalry while both are in their golden years.  Grudge Match is directed by Peter Segal and surprises audiences with funny performances by DeNiro and Stallone alongside Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin and Kim Basinger.  This film is funnier and classier than the initial pitch sounds, with family moments and longtime rivalries being at the center of the tension in the film.  An ersatz sequel to Rocky Balboa (2006), this comedy starts with a theme of that movie.

    Dante Slate, Jr. (Kevin Hart) is the son of late 70’s boxing promoter Dante Slate, and he approaches Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp to provide motion capture for a new boxing game. Also appearing in the game, Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen (DeNiro). The appeal of extra money convinces Razor to join in—as long as his rival The Kid is not at the studio. Something happened in the past that is unforgivable, and the 30 year grudge weighs on both of the older gentlemen.

    We flash over to a bar owned by ‘The Kid’, where Billy is running a comedy act with help from Jabby The Puppet. This Raging Bull reference could be lost on a younger audience, whereas the Philadelphia steel mill and working class settings of Stallone’s backdrop are very familiar to fans indeed. Razor is making art out of metal scraps and welding in his spare time, The Kid is sipping scotch, womanizing, dealing used cars and running a several successful businesses. Henry (Stallone) is laid off of his job and it is revealed at least part of the conflict is that years ago, Billy The Kid stole away with Kim Basinger’s Sally and got her pregnant. Stallone’s character takes this to heart and becomes reclusive, living below his means and potential below a bridge on the edge of town.

    A drag out fight in Green Man motion capture suits between the two boxers (If you’ll remember, Rocky Balboa also featured a video game). Promoter Dante Slate, Jr. promised the two men wouldn’t be in the same studio at once, but The Kid decided to show up early. A video of the two boxers wrecking the motion capture studio with a fracas goes viral on YouTube.  Of course, this prompts some convincing on Slate’s part to do right by his father’s legacy and get the two in the ring together. Everyone thinks it is a joke — until the press conference!

    After the announcement, Billy (DeNiro)’s son B.J. (Jon Bernthal, Mob City, Walking Dead) by way of Sally (Basinger) shows up at the ring to help train, but The Kid has other plans. After resolving some issues over The Kid’s breakfast of scotch and pancakes, the two reluctantly train together and attempt to patch up abandonment issues, but can it last?  Razor’s trainer Louis 'Lightning' Conlon is played by 79 year old Alan Arkin. The senior’s role, played for comedy with hearing aid jokes and the ‘cranky old man can’t get along with staff at the nursing home’ trope wears you out after a while, but his performance does add to the movie as Stallone’s straight man/cutman.

    Burgess Meredith’s Mickey in the original series was a badass retired boxer and crusty old man, whereas Arkin plays the trainer as a genuine grandpa, obsessed with Dancing with The Stars (though he still makes Razor drink a pint of raw eggs)! Training is of course illustrated by a series of montages (complete with pulling a tractor trailer in a junkyard), but also publicity stunts employing the two boxers to get the word out and sell tickets to the event that Philadelphia has been waiting for. There’s a skydiving scene and also the two boxers take on UFC/MMA fighter Chael Sonnen in a debate about the evolution of the two sports and the old guys get to prove a point to their fans.

    The love triangle resolves itself by Sally and Razor getting together after 30 years before the fight. Our old man Arkin breaks himself out of his Lark to be the corner man for Razor’s fight. B.J. and his young son support The Kid in his corner for the final bout. HBO Boxing announcers are ringside as well as genuine boxing judges. Fans of boxing movies will be happy with the way the fight was shot.

    Grudge Match is a fun boxing movie with classic actors, perfect for the entire family this holiday season.  Segal made this movie by playing with pop culture references but also great relationships between all of the characters. As shaky as the initial concept might seem to some, they really pulled it off.  (– Clay N. Ferno)

    Read more »
  • Apr 11, 2014 5:00:00 PM

    Back when TV was horrifically limited, an "Event" TV Movie could easily make people lose their shit, and in 1984 Star Wars fanatics got a taste of schlock in the form of Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure starring a moppet-haired girl named Cindel and her brother named Mace (who looked strangely like Mark Hamill if Mark Hamill was young and had his face slightly paralyzed from a stroke). The plot doesn't matter because it was stupid, but like I said, there wasn't a whole lot available to watch back in 1984 so this is what we had to work with and it was STAR FUCKING WARS, so whatever.

    Fast-forward a year and we got a sequel called Ewoks: The Battle For Endor, equally as stupid as the first movie and starring that moppet-haired kid again, only this time HER ENTIRE FAMILY IS KILLED in like the first ten minutes or so of the movie, so yeah, the film is a bit better.

    It also stars Wicket if that gives you a boner or something.

    So, like if you're bored at home (or at work) or something, the entire movie is available after the break (including the original ABC Sunday Night Movie intro so you can experience what it was like to try and get excited about a movie interrupted by commericals because nothing of consequence was ever fucking on).


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  • Apr 11, 2014 3:00:06 PM
    "Let the games begin!," I'm not really sure who that quote is attributed to. It could be Emperor Nero or Alex Trebek as far as I know. I'm guessing it was someone, somewhere during the centuries in between.

    My money is on Dick Clark.

    Even though my iPhone says it's officially Spring I didn't know for sure until I turned on ESPN and started seeing official Major League Baseball scores.

    The Boys of Summer are still wearing thermal underwear during the games played up north, but the first pitch of a new season means we're not too far from sunburns, heat exhaustion and air conditioning.

    Just the excitement of a new baseball season had me throw my full attention into my wife's idea of what Spring is really for - cleaning. I stuck with it just long enough to find my favorite baseball hat and beer cooler, and then played Artful Dodger by telling her I had some real work to do.

    It was time to play Classic Rocker. Let the games begin!

    My first thought was to open the season by naming the top three classic rock songs that reminded us of baseball. But that would've been like me trying out for the New York Yankees - too easy for the coach to make a decision.

    After three fast balls thrown past me without the bat ever leaving my shoulder his easy decision would've had me spring cleaning my stuff permanently out of the stadium.

    But as a classic rocker coach, the first three pitches I would've thrown in that category were:

    3.  Mrs. Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel (what other No. 1 song ever mentioned Joe DiMaggio? Goo goo g'joob, sport!)

    2. Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen ("I had a friend was a big baseball player")

    1. Centerfield by John Fogarty (no brainer and already on everyone else's list)

    There was no real strategy - or fun - involved in making any of the above decisions.

    Naming those three songs was about as difficult as putting a keg of beer on second base to prevent an opposing softball team from hitting too many inside the park home runs. It's time for a real challenge.

    In my usual roundabout way, that brings us back to the true Emperor of Games; Dick Clark.

    Like baseball, he was a National Treasure as America's Oldest Teenager. Not only did he bring us American Bandstand, but just like Abner Doubleday invented baseball, Dick invented New Year's Eve. And during his free time, he hosted television's $10,000 Pyramid.

    That's a game just about anyone can play without a sanctioned uniform, bat or glove. And like softball, a keg of beer can be beneficial for both sides during the play at home version.

    The $10,000 Pyramid, which, similar to baseball salaries, eventually inflated to $25,000 Pyramid was a team sport based on word association. A player would pitch one word hints until his teammate hit on the correct word that would light up the pyramid scoreboard.

    Looking for a challenge without making it too difficult to be fun, I've decided to sanction myself as America's Newest Oldest Teenager by inventing a game combining baseball, classic rock and $25,000 Pyramid. It also gives me a decent excuse for missing my wife's opening day of spring cleaning season by pretending I'm working.

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  • Apr 11, 2014 1:00:01 PM

    Horse Yoga...so, um, yeah, there's this school in San Luis, Argentina called the Doma India School where a father and son team do handstands and other weird shit to horses in order to "break" them and make riding the horses easier. It supposedly helps to turn their fear into happy calmness or something...I don't know...it just looks weird.

    Frankly, I never went through the whole "Horse" thing as a young girl. To me, horses had their lives and I had mine and I'm pretty sure that's the way it's supposed to be.

    So, yeah...Horse Yoga...video after the break.

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  • Apr 11, 2014 11:00:05 AM

    I think it's only appropriate to plan a mixtape (or playlist as the case may be) for almost any kind of situation since you never know when you want to create an auditory memory to mark the occasion. And personally, I don't think the apocalypse should be left out. I mean if I'm going to be torn to pieces by an infected member of my family, it seems only right that it should be done while CCR's Bad Moon Rising is playing in the background.

    I'm kind of a classicist I guess.

    But I do have to give it up to Mister Modo and Ugly Mac Beer's musical contribution to the End Times with their technobeat horror show Invasion. While I prefer a calmer line up of songs, I can see where this hard-driving thunk thunk stuff could get you pumped up to run or fight back.

    Of course, it doesn't really matter in the end what songs grace your I'mGonnaFuckingDieAndDieBad soundtrack as long as you like them.

    Video after the break, oh, and, just so you know, it borders on animated torture porn so NSFW.

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  • Apr 11, 2014 9:00:05 AM
    Review by Elizabeth Robbins
    Produced by David Gordon Green, Lisa Muskat, 
    Derrick Tseng, Christopher Woodrow
    Screenplay by Gary Hawkins
    Based on Joe by Larry Brown
    Directed by David Gordon Green
    Starring Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, 
    Heather Kafka, Ronnie Gene Blevins, 
    Sue Rock, Adriene Mishler, 
    Gary Poulter, Dana Freitag

    After watching Joe, you wonder why Nicholas Cage ever became a serious action star.

    He began his career as an indie darling, and it is where he excels. Cage slips into this indie film with ease, looking like he truly belongs.

    Cage is the glue that ties the stories of people in this small, rural town together. His flawed character is the kind of man who would die for his friend, and kick your teeth in if you cross him.

    Based on a novel by Larry Brown, Joe is the story of Joe Ransom (Cage), an ex-con who is trying to stay on the straight and narrow path.

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  • Apr 11, 2014 7:00:00 AM
    Review by Ben Robbins
    Produced by Marc D. Evans, Trevor Macy
    Written by Jeff Howard
    Directed by Mike Flanagan
    Starring Katee Sackhoff, Karen Gillan, 
    Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane, James Lafferty, 
    Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan, 
    Miguel Sandoval, Katie Parker, Kate Siegel

    I am not really sure what I exactly watched in the theater during the screening of Oculus, but it sure was not what I had hoped for.

    This film, was neither horror film or psychological thriller. It was kind of a mish-mosh of kinda scary ideas thrown together with a pretty good cast about a haunted mirror and a creepy, lady spirit.

    It neither scared me nor made me think.

    Based on his short film of the same name, writer director, Mike Flannagan, probably should have left this a half hour film instead of trying to pad it with nonsense and make it a feature.

    The story is a cobbled together, loose fitting, group of different ideas, none of which cohesively make a single film.
    From what I gleaned, an obsessed woman is convinced that a mirror, her dad bought when she was a kid, is responsible for him going crazy and killing their mother. In the aftermath her brother kills their father, is sent to a mental institution, and she is put in foster care.

    All of this is shown through a series of poorly conceived flashbacks.

    The movie is supposed to take place in present day, a decade or so after the events took place. Through really poor plot devices and ill explained means, the girl, now played by Doctor Who alum Karen Gillan gets ahold of the mirror through her work at her fiancee’s auction house.

    Her brother, played by Australian soap star, Brenton Thwaites is now released from the mental institute and ready to get on with his life, seemingly over the insane events of his past. Too bad his sister never got the treatment he got because she has come up with this overly elaborate and totally non-evidentially supported plan to prove the mirror is haunted and makes people kill.

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  • Apr 11, 2014 5:00:04 AM
    Review by Elizabeth Robbins
    Produced by James Wilson, Nick Wechsler
    Screenplay by Walter Campbell, Jonathan Glazer
    Based on Under the Skin by Michel Faber
    Directed by Jonathan Glazer
    Starring Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, 
    Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell, 
    Kevin McAlinden

    I have to admit I was not jazzed about going to see Under the Skin.

    The description I had been given before the press viewing I found laughable:

    "A voluptuous woman of unknown origin (Scarlett Johansson) combs the highways in search of isolated or forsaken men, luring a succession of lost souls into an otherworldly lair. "

    I can already see the male fan base lining up for the chance at seeing Black Widow naked.

    I got myself ready for another sexy alien movie à la Species.

    Cue my eye rolling.

    What I got treated to was an amazing, thoughtful science fiction film that counts on the audience being intelligent not only to follow along, but to enjoy.

    It has been a long time since I have seen a sci-fi film that has left me thinking about it days after viewing it.   

    Under the Skin harkens back to the science fiction films of the late sixties and early seventies, films like Kuberick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, George Lucas' THX-1138, or even Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth.  Sparse dialog and the use of documentary-style location shooting or minimalistic sets paint an everyday world with something sinister hunting in the background noise of our lives.

    This is the kind of film that reminds us that there is more to science fiction than spaceships, laser blasts, and digital effects aliens.

    Scarlett Johansson (The Girl with the Pearl Earring, The Avengers) is memorizing as the hunter.  It shows her skill as an actress the way she is able to portray an other-worldly being passing as human where a lesser actress would just be robotic or wooden. The seduction scenes are subtle, gracefully turning effortlessly into an unnerving capture which has no escape. With each capture/seduction, you feel the shift in Johansson's character, becoming something more human, making it understandable when she abandons her post.

    This is no Species.  It is sci-fi at it's gritty best.

    Director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast) crafts a starkly, beautiful film where the sound and music is as vivid a character as any of the actors.  The motivation of the Johansson's alien is never spelled out, and leaves room for your own interpretation.

    And that, in a nutshell, is what I liked most about the movie.  I left the theater not knowing what I had just seen, and at the same time knowing exactly what I had seen. It's one of those films that just when you think you have it figured out, it slips from your grasp, causing you to think about it some more.

    It's the kind of film that after I left the theater, I wanted to talk to people about it.  It's the kind of film that I wanted to turn around, go right back in the theater and see again.