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Jun 292015
 

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I really only liked the original.

The Terminator (1984) was a game-changer in scifi genre movies, stringing together themes that have inspired countless other movies. Every succeeding sequel has failed to match the brilliance of the original, even if the first sequel (Judgment Day) is still rated very highly. But since director James Cameron left the franchise, the quality of the work has been shoddy and Genisys might be the worst. Primarily because it is such an obviously cynical attempt to appeal to the franchise faithful.

In that light, perhaps it’s no surprise that Genisys fails artistically and creatively, to justify its existence whatsoever. At least one might argue that the third (Rise of the Machines) and the fourth (Salvation) instalments were genuine attempts to continue the narrative. Genisys, however, is a complete mess – functioning as some kind of misguided collage where time travel is utilised as a device to mangle the original storyline beyond recognition.

It is not cleverly done at all – it’s just a convenient excuse to get killing machines into battle and throw issues of continuity out of the window AND above all, exploit a very recognisable brand name! The producers have indicated their confidence in the new retcon with subsequent sequels to be released in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Jun 272015
 

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Ant-Man opens on 16th July and might be a good indicator of where Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is headed. This new international trailer (from Japan) highlights a little bit of our protagonist Scott Lang’s back story and also some history regarding Hank Pym and the Ant-Man suit.

By all accounts, it appears that Ant-Man is set up to take over from Iron Man in certain ways even as Robert Downey Jr winds down his MCU involvement. This movie is looking funny, exciting and a key MCU jumping point. Expecting the post-credits scenes to be epic!

Jun 152015
 

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By now, it becomes abundantly clear that George RR Martin and the writers of Game of Thrones have no clue what to do. Instead of intriguing plot lines and character development, the TV series is a sequence of scenes with maximum shock value to incite internet buzz and cultivate some kind of false belief that Game of Thrones is one of the best TV shows ever.

It’s not.

Remember LOST? A series that began almost perfectly before getting entangled by too many convoluted plot lines that were thrown up just to keep interest at fever pitch but without any intention of resolving anything? Well, that’s happening with Game of Thrones. Too many plot lines going nowhere. Instead of character development, shock deaths, loss of limbs, blindness, rape etc are dumped on characters to generate sympathy and create the illusion of edginess.

Season 5 proves quite conclusively that the TV series is as clueless as the books in trying to tell a coherent story. The abuse of Sansa Stark, the immolation of Princess Shireen, the public shaming of Queen Cersei, the blinding of Arya Stark, the overthrow of Queen Daenerys Targaryen, the deaths of Mance Rayder, Stannis Baratheon and even Jon Snow (above) is simply shock overdrive in order to mask a lack of narrative ideas.

Remember the finale of Season 1? Daenerys turned the tragic death of Khal Drogo into an epiphany with the birth of her three dragons but even that promise proved hollow. Every subsequent season has delivered disappointment after disappointment as one by one, main protagonists are killed off until there’s hardly anyone left to root for in this abysmally, depressing story called Game of Thrones. 

Now, when is Season Six?

Jun 152015
 

Jurassic-World

You see that image above? That’s really what modern day blockbusters have done with plot, characterisation and narrative logic. Gobbled it all up in the name of box office green. Special effects rather than good writing create ‘tension’ and ‘drama’. This visual feast has audiences going ga-ga over the empty spectacle while ignoring plot holes & shallow one-dimensional characters. But it’s all okay, it’s only a movie so relax, why don’t you?

Well, remember that you reap what you sow. All the box office millions earned by movies like Jurassic World and less we forget, the Transformers franchise only leads to more similar movies. As it is, movie studios are terrified about releasing ‘genre’ films unless it’s a sequel, reboot or book/comic/TV adaptation and the mega-success of Jurassic World simply cements that opinion.

There’s little point in going into these issues in detail but suffice to say that: –

1. Bryce Dallas Howard’s character spends the entire film in high heels whilst running and battling dinosaurs.

2. The manner in which the ‘evil’ dinosaur is defeated by the ‘good’ dinosaurs is preposterous.

But why bother about making sense when you can make US$500 million in a weekend instead?

*Sigh*

Jun 042015
 

JONSNOW

With Game of Thrones well into its fifth season, the popular HBO television show is going strong and holding its audience captive every week with its unpredictable story and multi-layered characters. Considering the intricate twists and turns it takes, it is no surprise that fans have formed various theories about their favorite characters—no matter how absurd they may seem! Here are just a couple of those theories:

The Identity of Jon Snow’s Parents (The R + L = J Theory)

“R + L = J” literally translates to “Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon,” meaning that Jon Snow isn’t Ned’s son, but the product of an affair between Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. This theory gained steam during this season’s episode “Sons of the Harpy,” when Stannis commented that it was out of Ned’s character to defy his wife Catelyn. If this birth equation is true, it means Jon is the true heir to the Iron Throne.

Tyrion Lannister is Really a Targaryen

Another heated debate in the Game of Thrones realm is who the real father of Tyrion Lannister is. Some fans believe it to be King Aerys Targaryen after he forced himself on Tyrion’s mother, thus making Tyrion Lannister a Targaryen. The theory continues that Tywin, being enraged at the situation, used a drug on Joanna Lannister to abort the baby. While this attempt failed, it can explain the dwarfism in Tyrion.

Dragonglass is Actually Dragon Poop

This one reads more like a biology lesson than a fan theory, but it is still interesting to consider nonetheless. A Reddit user hypothesized that dragonglass is nothing more than dragon waste. The theory goes that dragons tunnel through the ground and eat sand. This sand then enters the dragon’s fiery stomach and heats up and forms glass. Once this molten glass exits the dragon’s body, it cools and the people forge great weapons out of it.

Jon Snow is Azor Ahai

“The Prince That Was Promised” has long been a mystery to Game of Thrones fans but some feel they know the true identity of the great Azor Ahai. Melisandre’s theory is that it is Stannis Baratheon who is the true Azor Ahai but readers have noticed that her visions of Azor Ahai are not a clear cut as she thinks. A growing faction of fans are speculating that it is actually Jon Snow who matches the red priestess’ visions. Though it is also possible that Azor Ahai is three people after Daenerys’ vision where Rhaegar claims that “the dragon shall have three heads.”

Syrio and Jaqen H’ghar Are the Same Person

Is Syrio dead? That seems to be the heart of this fan theory. When Syrio was last seen by fans, he was about to face off against Meryn. In the end, it is Meryn that walks out alone and we assume he is victorious. However, no one actually sees Syrio die, which is the fuel that perpetuates this theory. The connections between Syrio and Jaqen H’ghar may not be the end-all to the argument but take a couple factors into account: the similar phrasing when they speak, the special attention paid to Arya, and even the ease in which Jaqen figured out Arry was actually Arya Stark. It makes you think!

Game of Thrones is full of surprises, and there is no sign that it will stop anytime soon. Some of these theories may seem a little ridiculous but given the plot twists and shock factors of the past seasons, nothing seems impossible. Make sure you keep up with the show on HBO Go or DTV up until the season finale later this month for more of this excitement!

(Maria Ramos)

GEEK OUT! Ultron’s Massive $188M Debut Falls Short of Avengers Record – Box Office Mojo

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May 042015
 

According to Box Office Mojo, “Avengers: Age of Ultron ruled the box office this weekend with a huge $187.7 million, which is the second-biggest debut ever. Unfortunately, the top opening ever belongs to its predecessor, Marvel’s The Avengers ($207.4 million)” which is a great start, of course, and continues to augur well for the future of the MCU.

The site also noted that “the Avengers sequel also continues to do strong business overseas, where it’s earned $439 million before even debuting in China or Japan”. Which hopefully means that the movie will go on to outgross Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Source: Weekend Report: ‘Ultron’s Massive $188M Debut Falls Short of ‘Avengers’ Record – Box Office Mojo

GEEK OUT! TO THOSE WHO DISLIKED AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

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May 012015
 

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If you have read my spoiler-free review, you would be aware that I loved Avengers: Age of Ultron and consider it by far the best superhero movie ever so far. However, based on numerous online comments, it has become de rigueur to label the movie as a disappointing sequel to the first movie, with the common criticism being that the movie has too much going on. My first reaction to this is — have these people ever read an actual superhero comic book before? Probably not. In that regard, I believe that director Joss Whedon made Avengers: Age of Ultron for us geeks and for that I am certainly grateful!

— SPOILERS ALERT —

Continue reading »

GEEK OUT! Superman vs. Batman? DC’s Real Battle Is How to Create Its Superhero Universe – Hollywood Reporter

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Apr 302015
 

Warner Bros. is employing a different strategy than Marvel as it hires five writers for ‘Wonder Woman,’ has no clear leader and deals with new frustrations in its struggles to craft a compelling 10-movie world.

Source: Superman vs. Batman? DC’s Real Battle Is How to Create Its Superhero Universe – Hollywood Reporter

What the hell is Warners up to? They need to back off and let the editors at DC Comics determine the creative path of the DC Universe. If not, Warners and DC are headed for financial disaster.

GEEK OUT! COMIC BOOK ART ALWAYS COMES FIRST BEFORE STORY

 COMICS, FILM  Comments Off on GEEK OUT! COMIC BOOK ART ALWAYS COMES FIRST BEFORE STORY
Apr 282015
 

Avengers01

Let’s get real, shall we?

When it comes to stories presented in words and visuals, the visual aspect will always trump the word aspect. That is why movies like Transformers: Age of Extinction and Furious 7 are able to do well at the box office despite not having very good stories. This also applies in comic books, which is – like film – a graphic medium and very much dependent on the visual quality for its appeal and success.

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Of course, I am not saying that the writing does not matter in comic books but even the best work of my favourite comic book writer Alan Moore, was enhanced by the sterling work of his collaborators viz. Steve Bissette (Swamp Thing), John Totleben (Swamp Thing, Miracleman), Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), Kevin O’Neill (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) etc etc. Which made Moore’s Supreme much less than expectations due to the artwork of Rob Liefeld!

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Which is why ultimately I believe that Jack Kirby deserves more credit for the success of the Marvel Universe than Stan Lee. Moreover, Kirby had significant input in many of the classic Marvel Universe issues as plotter! It’s impossible to imagine a single modern-day Marvel film without the contribution of Jack Kirby and yet, only with Avengers: Age of Ultron, was Kirby credited as a co-creator, alongside Stan Lee. This was, of course, due to a recent settlement between Marvel and Kirby’s estate.

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However, to the layman movie goer and naive self-professed fan of the Marvel films, Stan Lee will always be thought of as the creator of the Marvel Universe, with each succeeding annoying cameo being shoved down everybody’s throat. But whilst Lee’s hokey self-aggrandisement continues to reveal the huckster that he has always been, the Kirby legacy can be seen by all – unwittingly – in every costume design and most importantly, every powerful fight scene!

Long live the King!

GEEK OUT! JARED LETO’S JOKER IS REVEALED

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Apr 252015
 

jaredletofinaljoker

Why so serious?

The Joker in Suicide Squad makes no sense to me at all. Can you imagine the Joker as a team player? So for me, that whole concept is already somewhat of a non starter.

But of course, Warners wanted a character that would conceivably sell tickets (nobody else in the Suicide Squad has that profile – Captain Boomerang?) and thus the rationale becomes crystal clear.

Remember the last time, geeks kicked up a fuss (pre-movie) about the Joker? The late Heath Ledger gave the performance of his life, which earned him a posthumous Academy Award (f0r a superhero film, no less). Therefore, as much as the tattoos seem very un-Joker-like (“Damaged”? Really?), seeing is believing and let’s watch the Suicide Squad before going ballistic.

I mean, it’s only a superhero comic book movie…

GEEK OUT! AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON IS THE BEST SUPERHERO MOVIE EVER MADE SO FAR!

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Apr 232015
 

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-Poster

So much hyped up expectation for this sequel to the billion dollar making Avengers movie but guess what? It makes good on every single expectation and more! Director Joss Whedon fills up its 2-hour plus duration with so much comic book goodness that this geek was gushing throughout.

And as good as the original Avengers was, Age of Ultron somehow trumps it in so many ways. For one thing, the group dynamic is handled so well. We can see little smaller groups forming up that suggest camaraderie, shared mistrust and even romance. This push and pull amongst the Avengers gives the story much depth and superhero realism.

The plot line of course, as has been revealed in all the trailers involves villainous robot Ultron cutting his puppet strings and threatening to destroy the world. But really folks, it is much more. This feels like a stronger movie than the original – and how often can we say that about sequels?

For the comic book fan, the movie is chock full of so many nods, winks and references that this geek was smiling like an idiot throughout its duration. For the casual movie goer, the action, the humour and the epic drama will have you coming back again and again. I sincerely hope that this movie will also break the billion dollar barrier so that more movies like this will be made!

A moment of satisfaction arrived during the main credits when Jack “The King” Kirby FINALLY gets his due as a co-creator of The Avengers. About fucking time. But those in the know would have felt the spirit of the late great Kirby running through the MCU from day one i.e. Iron Man. This time around, the battle sequence in the church was shot like the finest Kirbyesque fight scene – the power and the glory!!

Suffice to say, this movie is essential viewing and at least THREE times, at that!

Avengers: Age of Ultron is showing at the cinemas now. 

 

 

GEEK OUT! FANTASTIC FOUR OFFICIAL TRAILER

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Apr 212015
 

FFTRAILER

Well well well. The most maligned superhero project of recent times has just delivered a very promising trailer. This Fantastic Four reboot generated quite a bit of hate for its casting, story ideas, quotes from director and cast etc but when one looks at this official trailer, one cannot deny that this has the potential to be a good superhero movie.

In fact, the trailer has a very MCU feel – from the humour to the realistic tone of the characterisation. It actually looks better than X-Men: Days of Future Past to me. Of course, the proof will be in the pudding ultimately and my main concern is how Dr. Doom will be portrayed but at this point, Fantastic Four is looking pretty good.

Fantastic Four will open in Singapore on 6th August. 

GEEK OUT! BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE OFFICIAL TRAILER #1

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Apr 182015
 

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Warners have their work cut out to get ahead of Disney in the geek movie stakes. Man of Steel was the first salvo in its war effort. And it is certain that the reinvention of the DC universe in the movies is going to take quite a battering from Marvel fans, whilst it gets its act together.

The first proper look at what promises to be the beginning of a slew of Warners/DC movies – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer – demonstrates the uncompromising approach of director Zack Snyder and crew to a darker, grittier presentation of the DC characters.

Like in the Daredevil Netflix series, we are seeing the strong influence of Frank Miller’s 80s work (Dark Knight Returns) coming to bear on the DC universe. I am excited by the setup – that Superman is not accepted by the people of Earth (and after the events in Man of Steel, can you blame them?) and Batman has to confront Superman.

Of course, one cannot tell too much from a trailer but from what I have seen, this introduction to the Justice League looks very very promising.

In Snyder we trust!

… still there’s more … 

GEEK OUT! STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS TEASER TRAILER #2

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Apr 172015
 

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Yes the first teaser trailer was bewildering BUT this is the real deal right here.

With a Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamil) VO, thrilling shots of the new Star Wars universe (30 years from Return of the Jedi) and the appearance of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca, it feels like …. coming home indeed.

Beginning to feel that this will be the film of the year!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in Singapore on 17th December. 

GEEK OUT! ANT-MAN TRAILER

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Apr 132015
 

Ant-Man01

With the heightened anticipation for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man almost seems like an after-thought. After all, it does seem poorer in comparison and by all accounts appears to be a retread of the first Iron Man movie. But the first trailer does look very promising I must say, even if those accusations still hold true.

Also, Evangeline Lilly in her new short, pointy bob haircut looks appropriately like the Wasp, although I am pretty sure Hope Van Dyne never takes on that mantle in the movie. Effects look good and that entire sequence of Scott Lang running with the ants is awesome!

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Not quite sure what to make of the high level of zany humour evident in the trailer (see above) but Marvel Studio’s track record demands that a level of trust be given to Ant-Man. The trailer does fill one with a bit more confidence that Ant-Man will not turn out to be Marvel Studio’s first dud.

Ant-Man opens in Singapore on 16th July.

… still there’s more … 

GEEK OUT! NEW PICTURES FROM UPCOMING SUPERHERO MOVIES

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Apr 102015
 

Vision

The Vision gets the spotlight in this Avengers: Age of Ultron poster.

Thing

Entertainment drops a cool shot of the Thing from the Fantastic Four reboot.

Yellowjacket

First look at Yellowjacket from the Ant-Man movie.

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Ok so not a movie but this is how Daredevil‘s traditional red costume is presented in the Netflix series.

 

… still there’s more … 

GEEK OUT! SUPERHERO TV WRAP

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Mar 192015
 

Time to consolidate reviews on the weekly superhero TV fare out there. 

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FLASH Season 1 Episode 15 (CW)

By all accounts, a pretty dark instalment in the Flash’s story so far. Things go wrong for quite a few of the supporting characters : for Cisco as he discovers Dr. Well’s secret and for Joe as the new Weather Wizard seeks revenge, though the Barry-Iris relationship takes a new twist and in attempting to save Central City from destruction, the Flash goes literally faster than time. A critical point in the narrative.

Continue reading »

GEEK OUT! AGENTS OF SHIELD – INHUMAN, A MUTANT BY ANY NAME

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Mar 052015
 

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After the shocking (literally!) events of the mid-season finale, the Agents of SHIELD have to re-group and figure out how to move forward in light of Tripp’s death. Even as Skye is stuck in quarantine, Raina has been transformed into a spiky Inhuman (although she seems more like a typical Marvel Comic Mutant – Damn you, Fox) and is struggling to adapt to her new body and abilities. We are also given more information about Gordon, the teleporting Inhuman who will probably end up as Raina’s mentor.

As for Coulson, he takes lethal action against HYDRA as revenge for Tripp’s demise and it is ruthlessly effective, to say the least. Mac and Bobbi seem to have a shared secret (Are they HYDRA agents? That would be boring!) whilst Fitz helps Skye to keep her own transformation a secret from their SHIELD team mates. Interesting set ups for the conflicts to come. I do hope that more tie-ups with the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be seen in the coming episodes.

GEEK OUT! REMEMBERING LEONARD NIMOY (1931 – 2015)

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Feb 282015
 

Nimoy

I grew up in the 60s and thus Star Trek was a massive influence on my love for science fiction and space opera. Leonard Nimoy in his role as Mr. Spock was instrumental in making Star Trek the iconic series it has become almost 50 years later. Nimoy passed away on 27th February at the age of 83. One of his final memorable roles was as Dr William Bell in Fringe, where even in his latter years, he was an imposing presence. He will never be forgotten.

Found this moving tribute at Youtube from The New York Times.

Live long and prosper, Mr Nimoy…

GEEK OUT! FANTASTIC FOUR REBOOT – EMPIRE PRESENTS FIRST PICTURES!

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Feb 262015
 

Well, it’s been slim pickings regarding the Fantastic Four reboot even after the release of the teaser trailer. But Empire has first pictures and here they are!

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It’s Reed Richards (Miles Teller) in some kind of astronaut suit with Tim Blake Nelson (who is playing the Mole Man) in the background.

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Susan Storm (Kate Mara) in a black outfit with bodies on the floor.

Continue reading »

GEEK OUT! THE WALKING DEAD – IN RICK WE TRUST

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Feb 252015
 

Walking Dead 511 - 1

Possibly one of the best Walking Dead episodes in recent memory and it was achieved without having to kill a major character! All it did was examine the question of trust in the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead. After having suffered at the hands of the Governor and the cannibals of Terminus, it’s easy to understand Rick’s reluctance to trust anybody. But what if someone comes along and tells Rick and group that there is a relative paradise waiting for them? Too good to be true? When does playing safe become dangerous? For Michonne, that time to trust a stranger like Aaron is now, and finally Rick has to decide whether he can do so and put his children potentially at risk.

It’s as simple as that but of course, it isn’t simple at all and the tension and drama flows from the audience asking the same question that Rick does – can we trust these people? Well, can we?