Geek in the City

Mixing pop culture news, reviews, and socially biting commentary with mildly amusing entertainment.

Issue 259 – X-Men Days of Future Past Review

Greetings Programs! In this Hybrid Best-Of II: The Wrath of Pods, Dan opens the show with a fantastic spoiler-free review of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Then, the time machine takes us back to Christmas as Ensign Chekhov and Lt. Sulu pop in. Followed by a way, way back trip as Bill Oakley has a chat about being a show runner and working on The Simpsons and Portlandia. Thanks for listening!

Brought to you by Guardian Games – Asylum
– Bridge City ComicsStar Pilot’s Revenge –  Geek in the City Comics

Can’t stream? Direct download Issue 259 HERE.

Issue 256 – Amzing Spider-Man 2 & Best Interviews

Greetings Programs! In this hybrid issue, Aaron starts with a spoiler free review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Then, three fantastic interviews from the past. Scott chats with Neil Gaiman. Aaron has a talk with Mike Mignola. And Kielen and the crew have a great conversation with Azie Dungey, creator and talent behind Ask A Slave. Thanks for listening. Next week… Ketchup Challenge!

Brought to you by Guardian Games – Asylum
– Bridge City ComicsStar Pilot’s Revenge –  Geek in the City Comics

Can’t stream? Direct download Issue 256 HERE.

Geek in the City Radio Issue 138

What happens when the crew takes a week off? You get a 2-hour show, that’s what happens. So much awesome, I’m not even going to try and be pithy. Instead, just a list. 1 – Mikey Neilson & Leia Weathington from Chronicles of the Nerds – 2 – Kaebel Hashitani & 1st Thursday – 3 – Interview with artist Norm Breyfogle – 4 – Thanksgiving Pain – 5 – Fun with Race – 6 – Birthing Dally – 7 – Straight from the Bottle – 8 – Football Fail – 9 – Bit ‘o Drinking. As always, our deepest thanks to you, the greatest listeners in the world!

Brought to you by La Brujeria #2at comics.geekinthecity.com

Download Issue 138 HERE

The Muppets

What would happen if we fans were given the keys to revive and drive a franchise back to the glory that was once was? What if George Lucas gave the keys to the Star Wars prequels to the fans and allowed us to create the clone wars and the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker?

The Muppets is a prime example of the ultimate fan film. Jason Segel takes a dying franchise and revives it back to glorious life.
When I say “dying” franchise, I am referring to how the Muppets were slowly losing the charm and fun that made them great all those years ago when “The Muppet Show” was on television every week back when I was a lad.

When the TV show finished, Jim Henson and crew made The Muppet Movie at the right time; the very height of the Muppets popularity. The innocence and joy that was The Muppet Show translated perfectly to the big screen with all the great cameos and each of the Muppet characters staying true to themselves.
As the years progressed each Muppet movie and TV special just seemed to lose me. Perhaps I was getting older and lost what boyhood love I had for the Muppets. Finally, on the sad day that Jim Hensen passed away, I was sure the Muppets would pass along with him. After the diminishing films such like Muppets From Space and Muppet Treasure Island I was all but certain tit was over

Now 22 years after the passing of Jim Hensen, and well into Disney owning the rights; I am so happy to say that the Muppets are back baby.
The Muppets is such a welcome return to the days of The Muppet Show and all the joy and entertainment that the Muppets brought to us all those many years ago. Jason Segel, who wrote and stars in “The Muppets”, takes what we all remember about the Muppets and brings it all to life on the big screen once again.

Mary (Amy Adams) and Gary (Jason Segel) are the most perfect cute little couple living in Smalltown USA, smack dab in the middle of America; they have been courting each other for ten years and for their ten year anniversary Gary wants to take Mary to Los Angeles for a fancy dinner.

Gary has a little brother, Walter. Walter is obsessed with The Muppets, he knows all the old “Muppet Show” episodes by heart, his room is covered in Muppet paraphernalia, and his dream is to one day see the Muppet Theatre. Gary and Walter are very close, so Gary surprises Walter with an opportunity to go with him and Mary to LA so his dream can come true.

Oh I forgot to mention…Walter is a Muppet.

Now I am not going to get too deep into spoiler territory here; I am just laying down the basic plot line.

Once in LA Walter, Mary and Gary find the old Muppet Theatre dilapidated and condemned. It’s a sad little tour down memory lane as Walter looks at Kermit’s old desk covered in cobwebs, pictures of past hosts such as Steve Martin and Bob Hope also covered in cobwebs adoring the walls.

Walter happens to be in the theatre when an oil tycoon named Tex Richman (dastardly portrayed by Chris Cooper) moseys on in to sign a contract to purchase and tear down the theatre so he can drill for oil underneath the theatre.

Walter pleads with Gary and Mary to help him find Kermit the Frog to make a desperate plea to get the band back together and put on a “Muppet Show Telethon” to raise enough money to save the theatre from Richman.

The rest of The Muppets is a journey to find the old gang and once again bring some much needed life back to the theatre but more importantly some much needed life into what once made the Muppets great.

And that is exactly what The Muppets does. I am not going to lie my fellow readers. I had a grin on my face a mile wide throughout this amazing movie. The singing (yes I know, I don’t like musicals), the hilarious cameos (I will give none away here, that’s part of the fun), Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo and his Chickens, and even Sweetums. I loved loved loved every part of this movie.

I even was able to (finally) get over the fact that Kermit’s (and others) voices were not quite the same; and that’s taken me a long time to get over. I learned that the voices do not make the characters. It’s the love of these Muppets, it’s the message of nothing but pure entertainment. That is what I love about the Muppets; and that is what I love about this film.

The Muppets is full of surprises, I could go on and on about them all. But, that would take away from your experience, and that just wouldn’t be right.

So I leave you with this; get to the theatre cause it’s time to get things started on the most inspirational – celebrational – Muppetational this is what we call The Muppets.
Welcome back gang!

And Jason Segel; thank you for being a fan of the Muppets. And, thank you for bringing back what made the Muppets so great to all generations.

-Scott Dally

Conan the Barbarian (2011) – Movie Review

Let’s try and kick this review off with a positive word. Conan the Barbarian is Marcus Nispel’s best film to date. I know, when your pedigree includes the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and Pathfinder, that isn’t the highest of praise. However, you could argue that Marcus improves his craft with each film. See, that’s two positive things right out the gate! One of the biggest mistakes this Conan makes (that isn’t casting Rose McGowan) revolves around the very premise of the film. Conan seeks revenge against the slayer of his father, played wonderfully by Ron Perlman, and if he happens to save the world and bed a hot she-monk in the process. Fine. As explained by those that are far greater fans of Robert E Howard’s creation than I, Conan isn’t about revenge or what is right. He’s about what is right now. He’s about surviving in a very harsh and deadly world. If that means being a thief, a pirate, a killer, or an assassin so be it. Sure, if you skewer one of his few friends, he’s gonna’ come and bash the every loving Crom out of you. He’ll even take some pleasure in killing the man that took out daddy all those years ago. But, go out of his way and take the time to save the girl in the process? Nope. Not how the last Cimmerian rolls. Still, this is a film for American tastes and we need him to right wrongs and get justice. Just know, that right off the bat this movie misses the core being of Conan the Barbarian. But, so have all the other films and television shows about him. Whether or not we will ever get a true cinematic adaptation of Howard’s work is an argument for another time.

Jason Momoa. He isn’t bad. This is nowhere near the performance we saw from him as Khal Drogo, but the potential is there. I think maybe Jason does best when he doesn’t have to speak any English. His decrees in Dothraki carried far more emotional impact than when he gives a line or two in the common tongue. There are a few instances when we see the Conan we all want, but it has more to do with the tone of the moment and less so about the actor. I mean, when Conan commands “Woman. Come here.” it just works. Although I’m pretty sure anyone could grunt that out effectively when covered in the gore of your vanquished foes. He’s still a little too pretty for my taste, but I think that’s more attributed to modern filmmaking than the actor. Next time (and I think there will be a next time) let Jason get a little dirty and scruffy. He’s playing THE barbarian, not a runway model version.

Momoa and Perlman are really the only actors trying to sell their roles. Momoa, because his hungry and this is the perfect time for him to make a run at being an honest movie star. Perlman because, well, he’s freaking Ron Perlman and even when he phones it in, you love the guy. (Side note, after taking an informal post screener poll. Other Conan fans, fellow critics, and I would watch a King Conan flick starring an aged Perlman in a heartbeat. Get on that). Stephen Lang as the villainous Khalar “Don’t Call Me Thulsa” Zym is just your baddy of the week stuff. He’s still leaps and bounds better than his wanna-be incestuous daughter Marique played by Rose McGowan. I might get that tingly feeling when I see her in Charmed reruns, but to say she can act is a stretch. Rachel Nichols rounds out the main cast as the pure-chosen-holy-strong-victim-love-goal-monk chick that everyone wants to bed in one way or another. She’s just there to drive the plot and give Conan a reason to, well, I say kill or lay, but he doesn’t really need a reason for that. He’s Conan. I’ll give Rachel this, I didn’t want to poke out my ears every time she spoke. You listening Rose? If you can’t do an accent, don’t.

Okay, so I’m really harping on the flick. Truth be told, there were quite a few times when I found myself whopping and hollering at the screen. During the first half of the flick, Nispel really embraced the full-frontal carnage and violence inherent in Conan. He set the camera back a few extra feet, ramped up the gore, and let the fight scenes play. The first half of this movie has some really great moments. Hell, the damn thing opens with a sword literally birthing Conan from his mother’s womb… That we see from inside dear old mom! I mean, come on, when you set the stage with that bit of insanity, you better keep up the pace. Alas, something happens right about the time Conan launches a henchman with a Trebuchet into the battleship drawn by elephants that everything goes to cinematic hell.

Yes. You read that line correctly. Conan shoots a man into the sky with a Trebuchet to deliver a message. A message to a man riding inside a freaking wooden battleship carried by ever-loving’ elephants!

Baby sliced out of mom on the field of battle! Elephants carrying battleships!! Ron Perlman!!! Everything we’d ever want.

Until they ran out of money and realized they still had 40 minutes of movie to make. And that pesky end boss battle. From there the fun just goes away. Sure, there is still plenty of killing. Most of which isn’t even necessary for the story, other than watching Conan kill. (Which is a legitimate reason in a Conan flick, I’ll give you that). But, the fight scenes go from open and free-flowing to a couple of folks flaying about. All while the camera crew zooms in tight and shakes the crap out of the lens as if 5-Hour Energy flows through their veins instead of blood. The movie just gets lazy. Scenes you know where meant to involve massive beasts, turn into 2nd unit dueling shots from Pirates of the Caribbean.

In all honesty, this Conan the Barbarian really wants to be a good movie. Alas, wanting and doing are two wholly different things. The seed of potential is sitting there. It just got lost under a mountain of dismembered bodies and CGI blood.

Oh yeah…

Morgan Freeman?!