GEEK OUT! COMIC BOOK MEN

Nerds of the Square Table

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a GEEK OUT! but watching the new AMC reality series Comic Book Men has inspired a return of sorts to all things geek at Power of Pop. What’s Comic Book Men about? According to AMC, it’s an unscripted one hour series, which dives deep into fanboy culture by following the antics in and around master fanboy Kevin Smith’s New Jersey comic shop, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. The series also features features Secret Stash employees Walt, manager and de-facto leader; Mike, a comic book virtuoso; Ming, the store’s technical expert and go-to whipping boy; and Bryan, who doesn’t actually work at the Stash, yet can always be found perched on a stool behind the front counter.

Having worked at a comic book store in the mid-80s (and enjoying every minute) this is like a geek fantasy/reality show and will definitely appeal to all the hardcore geeks out there. So far four episodes have aired and the latest one where Ming pitches his idea of a Zombie-themed store promotion to Walt is probably the one I’ve enjoyed the most. The show intercuts scenes from the store and the round table discussions, which includes Smith as well. Along the way, customers will be featured either buying or selling comics or toys to/from the store. An interesting segment found Walt actually paying top dollar for rare John Buscema Silver Surfer original artwork.

It’s a lot of fun with loads of laughter and even if you’re not a comic book fan, you will appreciate the banter amongst the various characters and of course, Smith is always good for a laugh or three! Only two more episodes before the first season wraps up – hopefully there will be more to come… Check out the trailer below.

GEEK OUT! : PLINKETT’S REVIEWS

I spent most of last night’s waking hours watching Plinkett’s reviews of two of those dreadful Star Wars prequels. These are featured at Red Letter Media, a no-holds barred film reviews site which I have recently discovered. Over at the Plinkett’s reviews section, we have video reviews of the Star Trek and Star Wars movies, which believe me will have you splitting your sides in uncontrollable laughter. But seriously, it is obvious that the maker(s) of these videos has put in considerable effort to come up with such detailed analysis. But be warned once you start, you will be addicted in no time at all! Not convinced, check out the trailer below. You have been warned!

GEEK OUT! CAPTAIN AMERICA

Making a superhero movie is a fine balancing act. How to satisfy the comic book geeks without being incomprehensible to the general movie-going public? So far, I think The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and maybe Spider-Man 2, did a grand job in hitting that middle ground, the rest have been either too faithful to the comic book (Watchmen) or not faithful at all (the X-movies).

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GEEK OUT! GREEN LANTERN

It’s been a long time since a second tier DC Comics character has been given a feature film adaptation and so much has been riding on this Green Lantern movie for Warners. With the recent successes of the Marvel film adaptations, Warners need a DC comic book movie hit. And despite the critical mauling that this movie has been universally receiving, I will stick out my neck to predict that Green Lantern will be a box office hit.

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GEEK OUT! X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

Well, considering that director Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Kickass) signed on with X-Men: First Class only in May last year, it’s amazing that he has managed to put together probably the best X-Men movie so far in the franchise. In fact, I will be bold enough to declare that X-Men: First Class is probably the best superhero team movie ever! Not that that is a grand achievement in itself when you consider that the only real competitors (other than the first X-Men trilogy) are the two truly awful Fantastic Four flicks.

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GEEK OUT! GREEN LANTERN

Of all the movies slated for release this summer blockbuster season, the one which seemed to lack the necessary geek credibility was Green Lantern, starring Ryan Reynolds. The first trailer did not help this perception as it played more like a comedy (think: Batman & Robin) than a dark epic superhero drama (think: The Dark Knight). But since then, Warners has taken great pains to address that imbalance with a second trailer which has certainly raised the expectations amongst the geek community.

With the movie release coming up very soon and perhaps concerned about public perception (non-geek), a third (and final) trailer has been released – narrated by GL Toma Re (as voiced by the excellent Geoffrey Rush), this trailer gives the requisite background into the GL universe so that neophytes may also understand what Green Lantern is all about. Take a look and you will be convinced that the Green Lantern movie will be a superhero action-adventure to look forward to.

GEEK OUT! X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

This, for me, is the superhero movie of the summer, mainly because of what I have seen of Michael Fassbinder’s Magneto in the trailers. In addition, I am also putting a certain amount of faith in director Matthew Vaughn’s ability to make this work (but since his competition is the risible X-Men 3 and Wolverine movies, it will not be difficult).

Fox has issued four trailers focusing on the very subject matter of the film – the first class of mutants tutored by Professor X and Magneto viz. Banshee, Mystique, Beast and Havok. Whilst all look intriguing, it only serves to emphasize that the film deviates too much from the comic book to make it an absolute winner.

This is obviously an attempt to link this prequel with the X-Men trilogy in the eyes of movie-goers. Therefore, we get a Havok who is older than Cyclops, a different Angel, a young Banshee and a Mystique that was formerly an X-Man! Only the Beast remains from the original comic book team.

Of course, only geeks like me – who grew up loving the original X-Men – will be pissed off and bothered about this whilst watching the film.

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GEEK OUT! THOR

The best compliment I can bestow upon Thor is that I was expecting more when it ended. The two-hour duration whizzed past so quickly that it actually felt short. Kudos to director Kenneth Branagh for bringing to life a comic book super-hero story that seems almost unfilmable.

Brilliantly interweaving two stories – one, in Asgard and the other on Midgard (i.e. Earth!) – Thor is delivered almost naturally for a movie that involves Norse deities. There’s not a single moment where you begin to feel that the concept is silly or corny – in line with other Marvel stories, the believability quotient is always high. No mean feat.

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GEEK OUT! SOURCE CODE

SOURCE CODE Directed by Duncan Jones

It’s nigh impossible to escape the influence of iconoclastic sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick on modern day sci-fi movie making. Already this year, we have actually had one (subpar) Dick adaptation (The Adjustment Bureau) and one superficially Dick-inspired fantasy (Zack Synder’s critically lambasted Sucker Punch). However, it may well be Duncan Jones’ superlative Source Code that takes the prize for the most faithful Dickian film creation in 2011!

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GEEK OUT! COWBOYS AND ALIENS

Based on the comic book of the same name, Cowboys and Aliens has released its second theatrical trailer. It’s always exciting to see a sci-fi alien encounter story within other historical contexts, and that for me is the main draw (pun intended) for this Jon Favreau-helmed action thriller. And it’s got Harrison Ford in it as well. Check it out.

Opens 29th July 2011.

 

GEEK OUT! CYCLOPS

I read a lot of super-hero comic books growing up in the 60s and one of my favorite characters was the X-Man, Cyclops. You know, the guy who could shoot red laser beams from his eyes, functioned as team leader (in the absence of the crippled Professor X), hooked up with the only girl (Marvel Girl, natch aka Jean Grey) in the team and possessed all the qualities that I looked up to as a young pre-teen child.

Of course, in the subsequent years, Cyclops’ life got a whole lot more complicated and his character has been revised to such an unrecognizable extent (as with most comic book super-heroes) that I have lost all interest in him (and super-hero comic books in general).

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GEEK OUT!

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER OFFICIAL TRAILER

This is already looking like an AMAZING year for superhero movies. Based on the trailers of Thor and X-Men: First Class, it appears that directors/producers are pulling out all the stops to make superhero movies work on every level – for the geek and casual movie-goer alike. Finally, Captain America is given a proper trailer and it looks like yet another winner. Every comic book geek knows Cap’s origin story and I am hoping that the promise shown here is fulfilled and justice is done to the vision of creators Joe Simon (now in his late 90s!) and Jack “King” Kirby (rest in peace). The movie opens on 22nd July.

 

 

GEEK OUT! SUPER 8

Super 8 Trailer

First proper trailer for the Spielberg-Abrams secret project is now out! And doesn’t it look like am 80s alien/monster movie, directed by Spielberg? Not sure quite what to make of it… should be interesting in any case.

 

GEEK OUT! CONAN THE BARBARIAN

Teaser trailer

The first Conan the Barbarian, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, was significant in Singapore cuz it actually gave Singaporeans an uncensored view of bare boobies, which was incredible back in 1982! Right.

So a good 29 years later, here comes the remake which introduces Jason Momoa as the Barbarian. The teaser does not show that much (it is a teaser after all) but the voice over should elicit quite a few chuckles – “Enter the world of the Barbarian”. Okaaay….

Coming out this August.

 

GEEK OUT! ADJUSTMENT BUREAU

Directed and written by George Nolfi

Starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt

Based on iconoclastic sci-fi writer Philip K Dick’s short story, Adjustment Team, Adjustment Bureau contains star power and an interesting premise but in the end is poorly conceived and executed. In Dick’s short story, the protagonist discovers by accident that the world is not what it seems to be. Behind the scenes, white-robed men make “adjustments” to the world to correct certain anomalies to the grand design. You can read the short story (legally, it’s in the public domain) here. You probably recognize the influence of this premise in sci-fi films like Dark City and Matrix, even in the Fringe TV series.

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GEEK OUT!

V1K1 teaser trailer

Finally a Singapore sci-fi flick to geek out about. From the wild imagination of director Tzang Merwyn Tong.

GEEK OUT!

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

Initial images have been released for the upcoming Matthew Vaughn-helmed X-flick (above). The picture shows the early X-Men in costumes resembling the original comic books (although why is Mystique part of the original X-Men is beyond me). Also prominent are Jennifer Jones’ Emma Frost and Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw (as the Hellfire Club plays a key role). At front of both “sides” are Magneto (Michael Fassbinder, left) and non-bald Prof X (James McAvoy, right). Is that the Beast or Nightcrawler lurking in the middle? Frankly, I am not looking forward to this at the moment. I will need to see the first trailer to allay my fears.

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GEEK OUT!

THE GREEN HORNET

Until the latest film adaptation directed by Michel Gondry and starring Seth Rogen (!), the best known incarnation of Green Hornet (in recent memory) was of course the 60s TV series, starring Van Williams as the titular hero and the legendary Bruce Lee as sidekick Kato. But in actual fact, Green Hornet began life as a radio series back in the mid-30s (even before Superman and Batmen were created) in the heyday of pulp fiction. The success of the radio series led to adaptations of the Green Hornet into movie serials and comic books.

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GEEK OUT!

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Trailer

Jack Sparrow is back! The rock ‘n’ roll pirate, portrayed by Johnny Depp by channeling Rolling Stone Keith Richards, carried a trilogy of highly successful movies for Walt Disney Pictures. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the franchise is continuing with this fourth installment.

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GEEK OUT!

HANNA

The title character of this adventure thriller, filmed in Europe, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a teenage girl. Uniquely, she has the strength, the stamina, and the smarts of a soldier; these come from being raised by her father (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA man, in the wilds of Finland. Living a life unlike any other teenager, her upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. The turning point in her adolescence is a sharp one; sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe while eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative with secrets of her own (Cate Blanchett). As she nears her ultimate target, Hanna faces startling revelations about her existence and unexpected questions about her humanity. (from Wikipedia)

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GEEK OUT!

THOR: TEASER TRAILER

I liked the 5-minute Comicon trailer that was leaked online months ago so it was a no-brainer to also like this official teaser trailer for next year’s Marvel Studio’s blockbuster of our fave Norse God of Thunder. The trailer basically shares the same opening sequence of Thor being questioned by Agent Coulsen (of SHIELD) before moving over to Asgard wherein Odin banishes Thor. We also see Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, the Destroyer and Thor in full battle action. Those fight sequences look quite awesome, filled with Kirbyesque power! Yum.

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