Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Disney Kiboshes 3D Star Wars Prequels

Waaaaay back here I first mentioned the then-upcoming re-issue of Star Wars: Episode I in swanky new 3D, and how I couldn't be arsed to care about it -- and what a far cry that was from the excitement I felt in '97 when the original trilogy was reissued in "Special Edition" form. Well, the rest of the country apparently felt the exact same way I did, as the Phantom Menace re-release last Feb netted a relatively paltry $45 mil.

While that's nothing to sneeze at for a thirteen-year old movie, it's less impressive when compared with the $100-plus mil that A New Hope's re-release got fifteen years earlier, and it's especially unimpressive when you consider that the plan was for Team Lucas to roll out the remaining Star Wars films in number order at a clip of

Monday, January 28, 2013

The MovieFilm Podcast: Episode 14

Sean, Brian, and I are joined once more by News Editor Paul Shirey for this week's MovieFilm show as we discuss the trifecta of fail that is Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand, Lindsay Lohan's The Canyons, and the underwhelming Oscar nominations. Speaking of fail, I also interview comedian Hasan Minhaj about Failosophy, the new show he's hosting for MTV. In addition to all that, we also unpack the trailers for RED 2, the remake of horror classic The Evil Dead, and political thriller Olympus Has Fallen, and we close out with a celebration of Inauguration Day with a quiz administered by Yours Truly testing the guys' knowledge of presidential movies. This one is packed-to-the-gills and plenty of fun, so make sure to give it a listen! You can stream it below or download at the link. Like always, make sure you write a review or rank us on iTunes, and be sure to hit "like" on our official Facebook page.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nostalgia Theater: RoboCop Action Figures -- Part Man, Part Machine, All Inappropriate!

Longtime readers know that one of my all-time favorite movies remains the first RoboCop from 1987. As directed by Paul Verhoeven, the film brilliantly juxtaposes the hoary stereotypes of the usual action movie scenarios with a very sharp, very pointy critique of American consumerism and commercialism, all the while weaving in a surprisingly emotional through line about identity and loss. The result is a filmic experience that feels as fresh and insightful today as it did twenty-six years ago when it first played in theaters.

The irony, of course, is in how the success of that first flick spawned exactly the kind of crass commercialization-run-amuck that it was deliberately throwing darts at. As we already discussed in a previous entry, there was the RoboCop cartoon in 1988, and that same year Kenner launched a launched a line of action figures which teamed the titular titanium hero with various other tricked-out law enforcement-types ("Wheels" Wilson! "Birdman" Barnes! Who the hell?) under the unintentionally hilarious title RoboCop and the Ultra Police:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

With JJ Off to Wars, Whither Trek?

Yesterday Disney put out a press release making official the news that stormed the web Thursday, that JJ Abrams had signed on to bring "Episode VII" of the Star Wars saga to the screen, setting the tone for all Wars to come. Some relevant bits: Longtime cohort Bryan Burk will be co-producing through the Bad Robot shingle, and Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan is onboard in some nebulous "consulting" capacity. Good news (Mr. & Mrs. Smith writer Simon Kinberg is also consulting. I'm neutral on that one).

The biggest question, of course, was what this means for that other space-based franchise whose destiny Abrams has been tasked with guiding. With Star Trek Into Darkness due to hit theaters in just over three months, I'm sure the folks at Paramount weren't the happiest campers when this news hit, virtually ensuring that most of the questions the director received during press tours would be some variation of, "Yeah, yeah, Star Trek is great and all, but tell us some more about Star Wars..."

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Senate's Filibuster Fail

Welp, so much for that.

If you were seeking any further proof that both of our political parties have just as much of an investment in perpetuating the stagnant swamp that is our state of governance, look no further than what happened yesterday. One of the ongoing themes I come back to again and again on this site is how the frequent deployment of the filibuster in the Senate has far exceeded not only its usefulness, but also its appropriateness.

The tactic, which sets a 60-vote "supermajority" threshold for even the most non-controversial business to get an up-or-down vote, was used a record number of times during this past congressional term (most comically late last year when Republican leader Mitch McConnell filibustered himself). While many Democrats in the Senate loudly grumped and harrumphed at the tyranny of the Republican minority, and talked a big game about implementing reforms when a peculiarity of rules at the dawn of a new term allowed the opportunity, when that moment arrived they folded like lawn chairs.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Force of One: Abrams Helms New Star Wars

Well, I'm pretty sure this is a first. 

JJ Abrams, whose recent stewardship of Paramount's Star Trek and Mission: Impossible franchises has led both brands back to a place of pop culture prominence, is now set to become one of the biggest kids in the schoolyard with today's news that the Alias and Lost creator will be the first point man in Disney's post-George Lucas Star Wars universe as director of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII. Although Abrams issued about as definitive a denial as one could get when asked about his potentially taking on a Star Wars flick, either the pull of the Force was simply too great, or Abrams was doing a little "Phantom Menace" action while the dealmakers did their work behind-the-scenes.

As someone who's enjoyed, to some degree or another, all of Abrams' directorial efforts, this is very exciting news, and I have to give it up to my Mr. Boy chums, Brian Hall and Sean Coyle, who both picked Abrams as the most likely guy to step into the Bearded One's flannel shirt. No idea what this means for the ongoing Star Trek franchise, which the director has gone to great lengths to say he was never a fan of before taking the reins of the '09 reboot and which has its first sequel due out this summer, but if his Bad Robot Productions retains creative control of Trek's future, that puts him in the center seat for the two biggest brands in sci-fi. To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, if he develops a sudden interest in Doctor Who, there'll be no stopping him!

(Source: The Wrap)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ex-Congressman's Islamophobia Backfires

One of the best things to happen in this last election was the shuttling out of some of the Tea Partiers who swept into the House in 2010, and whose "Our way or the country gets it" model of governance nearly torpedoes the economy several times in the last congressional term. One of the biggest nutters of that bunch was Florida congressman Allen West, the rabid Islamophobe who spent more than any congressional candidate in the country ($18 mil plus) to defend his seat, but still lost his seat when the extent of his dogmatism became clear. Mind you, that's not to say West's career in politics or as a far-right blowhard is over-and-done, but it does offer hope that sometimes common sense can kick in with voters. Even in Florida.

Just to give a sense of West's crackpottery, the FL chapter of CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations), a nationwide civil rights group, had not too long ago asked West to repudiate some of his most vocal anti-Muslim supporters, to which the typically erudite West (who was discharged from the military after using excessive force on a detainee) responded with a letter bearing a single word: "NUTS!" Yeah, whatever the heck that means. Anyway, in an instance of making some delicious lemonade out of those lemons, the CAIR folks decided to cash out on West's notoriety (infamy?) by putting said letter up for auction on eBay. The result? $2,625 toward increasing Islamic awareness and interfaith efforts, all by way of Allen West's raging Islamophobia. I love this story.

(Source: Miami Herald)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tweeting While Stupid

I don't know why, but there's something about social media that makes folks bypass the circuit-breaker in their heads to prevent them from making insipid/moronic/racist comments in actual person-to-person interactions. You know, the little lever that locks in before you make broad generalization based on someone's race/age/gender, or before you compliment your significant other for looking less fat than they normally do. 

Thanks to the free rein of forums like Twitter and Facebook to editorialize with little in the way of oversight, a big chunk of the populace seems to think that if they type their thoughts, no matter how socially unacceptable, rather than say them, no one

From The Onion...

Guess they cut him out of the highlight reels from yesterday...
Romney Makes Desperate, Last-Ditch Bid For Presidency  
WASHINGTON—With hundreds of thousands of onlookers assembled on the National Mall to celebrate Monday's inauguration, defeated Republican candidate Mitt Romney reportedly rushed out onto the stage to make one last frantic bid for the presidency. "My fellow Americans, I come to you at this late hour to plead with you to reconsider my candidacy for president of this great nation," a panting Romney said as multiple Secret Service agents attempted to physically drag the former Massachusetts governor away from the podium. "Please, if you'll just give me a second chance—Wait! No! Get your hands off me! IdosolemnlyswearthatIwillfaithfn—" At press time, sources confirmed that a weeping Romney was repeating phrases from the first presidential debate to himself as authorities escorted him into a waiting police vehicle.

About That Zombieland Series...

Just a brief follow-up to my post from last Friday about development on a TV version of 2009's horror-comedy Zombieland. I voiced some skepticism there about how well the concept would translate under the constraints of network television, but it looks like those concerns are at least partly being addressed with word that, rather than air on a network, the show would likely be made available as an original offering from online video service Amazon Prime.

The move by online providers to generate original content (just as Netflix commissioned a new, fourth season of cancelled Fox sitcom Arrested Development) marks a new frontier for production and distribution. While there's a ways yet before we have something tangible to review, at least initially it has the promise of offering content we wouldn't likely see through traditional venues, and without the interference that comes from network notes and Standards & Practices. This story continues to develop, so let's see where it goes.

(Source: Broadcast Now)

Yep, That About Covers It...

Note: Alien Obama isn't on there
Even with President Obama have been decisively re-elected last November and sworn in for his second term yesterday, we still have folks out there clinging to all manner of crackpot theories about who he is and his "secret" plans for the country. From old standbys like "born in Kenya" and "secretly Muslim" to "pals around with terrorists" and "He's comin' for yer gold!", it's a real cottage industry of (very profitable) conspiratorial paranoia that's sprung up over the last few years. To help keep it all straight, Mother Jones has helpfully done the job of compiling (almost) every single anti-Obama conspiracy floating out there in the ether into one handy-dandy Venn diagram. After all, you can't tell the players without a scorecard! Click on through and bask in the crazy.

(Source: Mother Jones)

Marvel Honcho Talks Up Iron Man 3

I talked briefly last week about Marvel Studios' ambitious plans to expand their palette of big screen heroes beyond the core Avengers characters, but that shouldn't be taken to mean that they're neglecting the character who launched the whole enchilada: Iron Man. Talking to MTV, Marvel prexy Kevin Feige, the man tasked with making sure all the trains run on time with the Marvel Movie-verse, spoke at length about the upcoming Iron Man 3 (debuting the first weekend of May), which brings star Robert Downey Jr. back for his fourth turn in the metal suit, and how it will up the stakes for the tech'd-out billionaire in the wake of last summer's Avengers throwdown. Click past the jump for some highlights:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Nostalgia Theater: Buck Rogers -- The 25th Century By Way of the 1970s

Gil Gerard as Captain William "Buck" Rogers
In the wake of Star Wars' sustained box office and merchandising success beginning in May 1977 and continuing through the remainder of the decade, all manner of imitators and pretenders tried their best to wrest the crown from sci-fi's new number one. TV's Battlestar Galactica, in 1978, was one such example, and 1979's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was yet another. As it happens, both shows were created by Nostalgia Theater mainstay Glen A. Larson, whose trademark lowest-common-denominator approach ensured that neither had a long shelf-life.

In particular, the Larson take on Buck Rogers is so chintzy and hapless when viewed through a 21st century prism that it's either completely unwatchable or, depending on your point-of-view, totally must-watchable. The premise of the show, based on a famous sci-fi newspaper strip character from the 1930s, is nicely explicated in the opening title sequence from the show's first season, as narrated to us by Larson's go-to Voice of God William Conrad:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

About That NRA Ad...

Turns out, beyond being vile and inappropriate, it's also just a flat-out lie. The NRA has sure done an outstanding job of marginalizing itself during this whole thing, no?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Zombieland Comes To TV

Don't expect stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin in the Zombieland TV show.
Hmm. Not sure how I feel about this. I really enjoyed director Ruben Fleischer's 2009 horror-comedy Zombieland, both as a fan of the zombie genre and just a fan of movies (although my bro-in-law was so put-off by all the gore that he walked out before the opening credits stopped rolling -- something I still give him a hard time about). While I'd hoped to see a big screen sequel to Woody Harrelson starrer (which also featured Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone), the likelihood of that happening dwindled to almost nil with word that the property's owners were taking it to TV, with casting already underway for the planned series (to possibly air on CBS). I guess this isn't all that surprising, what with the continued, sustained success of AMC's The Walking Dead three seasons in, but I do worry that it risks watering down a fun and fairly unique take on a hoary concept and turning it into...television.

Willis & Co. Return For RED 2

I thought that 2010's RED, starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren, was a very pleasant surprise. Based very loosely on a DC Comics' graphic novel created by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, the flick was a textbook example of low-risk, low-reward. A fun, throwaway movie that didn't try too hard, but did its thing with little muss and little fuss. So when they announced a sequel, I wouldn't say I was hugely excited, but neither was I dreading it.

There was certainly enough meat in the concept, about a group of over-the-hill spies who reunite for another adventure, that I could see the thread playing out over another movie or movies. And as we see in the new trailer for RED 2 (the "RED" in the title, by the way, is an acronym for "Retired, Extremely Dangerous), directed by Galaxy Quest's Dean Parisot (replacing Robert Schwentke from the original), we pretty much get what we'd expect from a sequel to RED. I'm totally okay with that. Catch the vid below, and look for the movie in theaters this August.

New Terminator Sets New Writers

We talked yesterday about Universal's planned resuscitation of the Conan the Barbarian property with Arnold Schwarzenegger attached. Another old franchise that's eying new life with the same original star is The Terminator, which we last saw short-circuiting with 2009's wholly unexceptional Terminator Salvation. That film, the fourth in the long-lived series, was meant to launch a whole new trilogy centered around star Christian Bale, but its lack of box office punch doomed those plans and led to yet another attempt being planned, this time with Big Arnie back in leathers.

The last time we talked about that take, to be directed by Fast & Furious helmer Justin Lin, was waaaaay back here, and there hasn't been much movement on it since, with the project looking pretty much dead as of last fall. Well, there may still be some life left in it yet if yesterday's news is anything to go by. Per Deadline,

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"False Flag Operation Run By Michael Moore"

While we're on the subject, here's Jon Stewart from last night's Daily Show, taking a hacksaw to the very same NRA ad I talked about just one post ago. Props to Stewart for really going deep-and-wide with this one. Enjoy!

NRA: Live in Fear!

A few days ago, the NRA released an idiotic attack aimed at President Obama's kids that was so out-there and fringe-y that the org's ideological opponents couldn't have done a better job of discrediting them than they did all by themselves. Check out their nutty ad here, then catch the response vid put together by the "Funny or Die" folks below:

Arnold Still Game For Conan Return

Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his return to full-time action hero duties with this Friday's The Last Stand after spending the better part of the 2000s in the Sacramento State House mowing down the California economy. I'll have more to say about The Last Stand in the next ep of the MovieFilm Podcast (we previously talked about the trailer here), but Ah-nuld is out there talking up several other potential projects he has in the pipeline, including a return to his iconic Conan the Barbarian role that I discussed here. Here's what he said to SpinOff when queried about picking up the Cimmerian's broadsword again after a thirty-year layover:

Russell Crowe On Being Superman's Dad

Jor-El (Crowe) and Lara (Ayelet Zurer) bid farewell to baby Kal-El
One of the biggest pieces of early casting news for director Zack Snyder's upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel was when word hit that Russell Crowe had signed on to play the legendary hero's Kryptonian father Jor-El. The inclusion of the Gladiator Oscar winner in the cast immediately cemented the project's credibility precisely the same way Marlon Brando did when he playing the same role in Richard Donner's 1978 Superman.

The Snyder film, godfathered along by executive producer Christopher Nolan, has its work cut out for it. It's tasked with not only resurrecting the big screen prospects for the Superman brand following the unspectacular reception to Superman Returns seven years ago, but also with potentially setting the stage for the Justice League movie). While it doesn't hit screens for another six months, Crowe is fielding some Superman questions while making the rounds for his upcoming Broken City. Here's some of what he had to say about the film's tone and approach:

New Gremlins On The Way?

This news is rather timely, as I just happened to catch the original Gremlins flick from 1984 on cable a few days ago. That film, directed by Joe Dante, was packed with enough gross-out moments that scarred enough wee ones that it was instrumental in the creation of the PG-13 rating. It also made enough of a mark financially to spawn a 1990 sequel, also directed by Dante. Things have been quiet on the Gremlins front in the twenty-plus years since the titular creatures last stalked the cinema, though home studio Warner Bros. has periodically tried to do something with the property, but it looks like the WB is ready to give it a go again, based on a report from Vulture.

The fact that Warners wants to resurrect the property -- chock-a-block full of marketable characters like adorable Mogwai Gizmo (above) and evil Gremlin Spike -- shouldn't come as too big a surprise. I remember very well the merchandising onslaught that accompanied the original films during their releases, with toys, storybooks, and all kinds of other gewgaws and tchotchkes lining store aisles. Heck, you can walk into a Toys 'R' Us right now and buy this and this and this -- all without any new movie ventures in the pipeline. At present, it's all about negotiations between the studio and Steven Spielberg (who exec-produced the previous films through his Amblin shingle), but I wouldn't be surprised to see some kind of deal come together before too long.

(Source: Vulture)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sweet Christmas! Marvel Moves Beyond Avengers

As we all know, last summer's The Avengers marked the culmination of Marvel Productions' "Phase 1," which began its rollout in 2008 with the first Iron Man. With the record-breaking success of the team-up opus, the comic giant-turned-Disney subsidiary is now planning to expand the roster of the Marvel Cinematic Universe beyond the core Avengers-related titles (though those are continuing apace, with Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 due later this year, and Captain America 2 and Avengers 2 due in 2014 and 2015 respectively).

While the studio already announced the space-based Guardians of the Galaxy, spinning out of the post-credits sequence in Avengers, for fall of 2014 (with director James Gunn already ensconced in the casting phase), the Marvel powers-that-be are also apparently casting their gaze a bit more street-level for the next phase, with rumors trickling out yesterday via Bleeding Cool that a big screen version of Power Man & Iron First, otherwise known as the "Heroes for Hire," is in the development pipeline.

Nolan's Knight: Three Acts in Three Minutes

Even now, nearly six months after its release, I remain stubbornly ambivalent toward The Dark Knight Rises. While there's no doubt that it's stylistically distinctive and emotionally ambitious, I still can't help but view the Christopher Nolan trilogy-capper as a flawed end to what had until then been an exceptional cinematic endeavor. Regardless, with the close of the Nolan era, a new take on the celluloid Bat will shortly become a reality, most likely through Warners' planned Justice League flick.

And regardless of how that effort turns out, it'll be impossible not to measure against the high bar set by Nolan (who's next project was also just announced). That accomplishment is nicely represented in this three minute vid edited by Chris Molinaro at ScreenRant, which sums up the narrative scope of the trilogy so efficiently that you sort of wish Nolan had Molinaro with him in the edit bay to trim some of the fat from The Dark Knight Rises. Check it out after the jump:

Reacher Return Looking Like A Reach

I thought that this past December's Jack Reacher was a classic example of low-risk, low-reward entertainment. It was a perfectly serviceable little thriller that did its thing with little muss and little fuss, and was an enjoyable enough way to spend a couple of hours. While I didn't feel any great need to necessarily re-watch it or buy the blu-ray, I was still looking forward to seeing the next installment of the series, which cast Tom Cruise as author Lee Childs' popular literary hero. After all, with sixteen extant Reacher novels to choose from, it's not like there was any shortage of new adventures for home studio Paramount pull from. 

Sadly, it doesn't look like a return to Reacher is in the cards for Cruise, if yesterday's news from The Hollywood Reporter is anything to go by. It appears that the film simply got washed out in the tide of new Holiday releases, The Hobbit and Les Miserables primarily, and topped out with a good-but-not-great $85 mil, which covers the production budget but doesn't come come close to matching the marketing costs to launch the would-be franchise. At this point, any future trips to the cinematic Reacher well are dependent on Cruise's pull with international auds, which would need to work its mojo to the tune of nearly double its domestic haul. Let's see how this plays out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Zero Sum Games

I talked through my reaction to Zero Dark Thirty in the latest MovieFilm Podcast, but just to sum up, I would ultimately give it a thumbs up. While I recognize the issues some are citing with what it depicts vis-a-vis geopolitics and torture I honestly don't see an overarching "yea" or "nay" on the efficacy of so-called "enhanced interrogation" to extract information. I dunno, maybe I'm just being willfully ignorant, but for me, simply pretending it didn't happen would be far worse, and some of the reactions I've seen in the media do seem overblown when compared with what's actually depicted.

For me, based on how things play(ed) out, it almost seems like a statement against torture, but I'm perfectly willing to chalk that up to my reading and mine alone. The film is studiously nebulous on the question of torture -- in turn prompting nebulous reactions.As I said on the show, I don't think it'll change your mind on the issue one way or another, but that very nebulousness should, in theory, prompt those in the audience to do their own research and make up their own minds. In that vein, here's a piece by my friend Paul Shirey over at JoBlo prompted by a protest against the film by Academy member David Clennon. A key takeaway:

Today's Bad Idea: MGM Reboots Ben-Hur

Stephen Boyd (L) and Charlton Heston (R) make goo-goo eyes at each other
For all the time I spent chronicling MGM's financial travails over the past several years, with the fates of both the James Bond and Hobbit franchises hanging in the balance as the once-mighty Lion got its fiscal house in order, it's amazing what a difference a few months makes. The unquestionable, multi-billion dollar successes of 007's latest, Skyfall, and Peter Jackson's first Hobbit flick in the last quarter of 2012 infused the studio with some much-needed green and allowed for the development of new brands of the non-Bond, non-Tolkien variety. 

An indication of just how high they're setting their sights came via yesterday's announcement of a big budget redo of quintessential Biblical epic Ben-Hur, based on the best-selling book (subtitled "A Tale of the Christ") by General Lew Wallace, the 1959 film version of which won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for William Wyler, and Best Actor for star Charlton Heston. For me, Wyler's Ben-Hur remains the very definition of "they don't make 'em like that anymore," so the fact that they're even trying doesn't exactly fill me with confidence. 

A Full Day to Die Hard

Believe it or not, 2013 marks twenty-five years since John McClane first quipped and clobbered his way through hordes of terrorists in Die Hard. Next month, Twentieth Century Fox celebrates McClane's silver screen silver anniversary with A Good Day to Die Hard, teaming him with grown-up son John Jr. on a madcap dash through Russia. We've sure come a long way from one man in a wife-beater holding off terrorists in a high-rise, but there's no doubting McClane's resilience as one of the most indelible action heroes of all time, and much of the credit for that rests on the shoulders of series star Bruce Willis.

In anticipation of A Good Day's Valentine's Day debut, Fox is teaming with select theaters across the country for a day-long marathon of all four extant Die Hard flicks one day early, on February 13, all culminating in a 10 PM debut for movie five. I'd love to be able to re-watch the series on the big screen (I love 'em all unabashedly), but sadly I have a feeling family and job commitments make this a non-starter for me. If you're able to spare the time, though, and especially if you've never seen any of 'em, you should definitely make time for this. No idea which theaters will be doing the daylong Die Hard thing as of yet, but keep checking your local theaters' websites for details as the date gets closer.

(Source: Bleeding Cool)

G.I. Joe Producer Denies Duke Rumors

"I'm not dead yet, y'alls!"
We're now just under three months out from G.I. Joe: Retaliation hitting theaters after it's extended delay to ostensibly add some post-produced 3D (and, supposedly, rescue Channing Tatum's character of Duke from an early offing). Brian Hall and I even got into this a bit two episodes ago on the MovieFilm Podcast. Well, we now have word from producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (who shepherds the big screen Transformers franchise in addition to Joe) via an interview with Crave Online, and he's ready to throw cold water on the whole "more Channing" conspiracy theory. Per the producer:

Monday, January 14, 2013

The MovieFilm Podcast: Episode 13

Welcome to the first MovieFilm episode of 2013! This week the gang's all here and with plenty to discuss, including Sean's surprising okay-ness with acapella comedy Pitch Perfect, our take on Samuel L. Jackson's take on Spielberg's Lincoln, and a discussion about whether or not an arsenal of sequels can help or hurt a film series. We also weigh in on Zero Dark Thirty and Gangster Squad, all leading to our look back at their standout films of 2012.

As always, stream it below, or download at this link. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, send them along to, or to our official Facebook page. And be sure to write up a review at iTunes!

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nostalgia Theater: Oh Boy, Quantum Leap!

Quantum Leap is a show that really shouldn't have worked nearly as well as it did -- and certainly not for as long as it did. Nonetheless, the fact that it managed to eke out five seasons and nearly one hundred episodes during its '89-'93 run despite being shuffled across multiple timeslots by home network NBC says something not only about the unique appeal of its deceptively simple concept, but of the likable leads inhabiting it, Scott Bakula (in his star-making role) and Dean Stockwell.

Created by Donald P. Bellisario, of Magnum, P.I., Airwolf, and JAG fame, Quantum Leap was the tale of Dr. Sam Beckett (Bakula), a scientist at the goverment's secret Quantum Leap Project in the late '90s (a.k.a. "The World of Tomorrow!"), working under the theory that time travel is possible if attempted during traveler's own lifetime, but then...well, watch the saga sell from the fourth season's extended opening sequence, which should tell you everything you need to know, and then some:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Recommended Reading

With all the talk about firearm legislation lately, one of the most readily proffered memes from the Alex Jones crowd is the Godwinian chestnut that Hitler took people's guns away, and that's why, y'know, Hitler. However, per Salon's Alex Seitz-Wald, the Hitler v. Gun Control contention is mostly fabricated. Read on for the whys-and-wherefores.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Obama to America: No Death Star For You

A few weeks ago a petition went viral asking the Obama Administration to consider building a Death Star (yes, Death Star as in Star Wars). After crossing a threshold of "x" number of signatures, said petition garnered an official response from the White House, which you can read here. In case you're wondering, it's most definitely a "no," but you still have to give it up not only for their willingness to role with the joke, but also their deeply-ingrained nerdery. My favorite part of the official response, penned by Paul Shawcross, chief of the White House Budget Office's Science & Space branch:
Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?
If you'll allow me to mix my sci-fi metaphors for moment: Logical. Flawlessly logical.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Stewart on Guns: "The Rise of Imaginary Hitler"

Jon Stewart and the Daily Show team were off for the year when the Sandy Hook killings occurred, but the days and weeks since have only served to illustrate and exacerbate the idiocy that sets the poles of the gun control conversation in this country. I just don't get it. As someone who's not opposed to private gun ownership, it sure seems that are reasonable ways of discussing sensible gun laws if what we're truly concerned with is public safety. But based on the the tenor of the debate, it seems like some of the most staunch gun advocates are worried about something else entirely. Here's Jon from last night's show:

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

From The Onion...

As so often with The Onion, this one is barely satire given the way this issue seems to be calcifying..
Frustrated Wayne LaPierre Thought Murder Of 20 Children By Crazed Gunman Would Have Blown Over By Now
From the piece:
“I get that this horrible thing happened and all these kids are dead now, but honestly, how long are we going to keep talking about this?” the gun advocate said as he scanned a recent editorial on weapons permits, adding that “enough’s enough, you know?” “Everywhere I go it’s Newtown this, Newtown that. Meanwhile, it’s 2013, and we’re still talking about some shooting that happened last year. Seriously, move on already.”
Read the rest here.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Nostalgia Theater: Jackson, Jordan, and Gretzky are ProStars -- "It's All About Helping Kids"

For a brief spell in the late '80s and early '90s, there was a rash of Saturday Morning cartoons based on real life personalities. For awhile there, you could tune in on any given weekend and see Rick Moranis, John Candy, Macauley Culkin, MC Hammer, and even the New Kids on the Block all given the animated treatment. Pretty much without exception, these shows put their celeb stars into off-kilter situations and let the stories (such as they were) go from there. Back in 1991, sports stars Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, and Bo Jackson were practically superheroes to kids everywhere anyway, so why not re-imagine them as superheroes? Thus was born NBC's ProStars. Here, watch the intro: