Monday, April 27, 2009

Conspiracy Theory Theater: The Wolverine Leak

So we all know that the Wolverine workprint was leaked on the internet more than a month before it's upcoming May release date. Fox Studios has been in a major huff over the leak, waging war on pirates, yanking the print from torrent sites, and swearing revenge on the perpetrators once the FBI catches up with them.

But in this case of big Hollywood business and internet piracy, are things really as they seem? Geekanerd's resident conspiracy theorist has his own ideas about the people responsible, and their motives for the leak.

We've dramatized this theory for your edification and enjoyment. Spread it around. Trust no one.


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Panel Discussion: Classy Graphic Novel Edition!

I have just not been digging on weekly comics this month. But I have read some killer new graphic novels, which apparently have panels in them as well.

(Click for Full Res)

Most Surprising Revelation - Logan (Brian K. Vaughn & Edwardo Risso)
"I'm the best there is at a couple of things in this world....but what we just did ain't one of them." Someone better tell the fanfic writers that! I think these are some really nice drawings of Wolverine looking a little more human than usual. I like the the second panel of the unused pencils even more...
He just looks so sulky. Don't worry Wolverine, if it can happen to you, it can happen to anyone!


Best Acting - Kaspar (Diane Obomsawin)

In this true story of wild child Kaspar Hauser , author Obomsawin portrays the titular protagonist as a funny, bright, and sympathetic character. His design is simple, but it fits a character who sees things in a uniquely literal way, having been raised in isolation into his late teen years.

I love the bottom two panels of this page; his pride at being able to repeat the names of his guests comes through via the simplest of expressions.
Although he has virtually no education of experience with the outside world, Kaspar is never portrayed as stupid, and his reactions upon each new encounter gets right to the heart of the thrill and pain of discovery, such as this sequence where he plants his name in seedlings, only to have it wrecked.


The thing I love most about his facial expressions is how the first time his plants get stomped on, he cries in disappointment and heartbreak. But the second time it gets ruined (damn cat!), he's just like, "Screw this." I identify with this, possibly more than I should.

When Kaspar is eventually civilized enough to rejoin society, he still retains his acutely sensitive, tell-it-like-it-is attitude.



Most Terrifying Use of Superpowers - Freakangels
Most of the time, the Freakangels just work on building infrastructure for their little corner of post-Apocalypse London and bicker amongst themselves and look stylish and cute. But when a gang of outsiders start to threaten their town, the Freakangels break out the psychic powers and they do not mess around.

AHH! They tore his ribcage apart! That is not a responsible use of powers, you damn kids! This is what happens when there are no square adult superheroes to mentor the under 25 crowd. Vigilante justice is all well and good until you start using telekinesis to extract peoples' bone from their chests. If Superman was here he'd give them such a lecture!

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Photos: Lightsaber Battle in Washington Square Park

Newmindspace, the nutty funsters behind the recent Wall Street Pillow Fight, were the brains behind Saturday's free-for-all cardboard lightsaber battle. They provided 3,000 florescent tubes to the crowd, plus a bunch of black lights to get the glow action started.

The effect was...okay. The blacklights didn't cover much of the crowd, so you really had to use the unlimited powers of your imagination to believe the cardboard tubes were elegant Jedi weapons. I didn't hear many people making "VMM VMM KSS" sounds effects, so I'm not sure if the whole lightsaber theme really held up.

Still, it's not every day you get to hit strangers with cardboard tubes. More pix after the jump.


Some masochistic individuals (probably siths) got into cardboard boxes and allowed people to go totally apeshit on them. Good times!

Discarded lightsabers.

More pics at Geekanerd's Flickr page.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

See The Galaxy! New Posters Mix Star Wars Planets with Depression Era Advertisng

There are few things I enjoy more than mash-ups that combine old timey Americana with geekanerd iconography. First it was comic cover artists copping from Norman Rockwell, now it's WPA Posters meets Star Wars. Zazzle has produced a line of officially licensed Star Wars posters based on the WPA's "See America" poster campaign. What's that? You've never heard of the WPA, the jewel of FDR's New Deal? Here's the original poster that the Hoth version was based on...


Tatooine and Courescant after the jump....


I couldn't find the original version of Courescant...seems like it must be based on a New York poster, but no sign of it on google image search. Oh well. Why does Couruscant need a tourism campaign anyway? Ain't no recession in Courescant! If those guys want credits, they PRINT some! Or mine some. Program some? What's a credit?

UPDATE! Reader "Andrew" tipped us to yet more old timey travel posters...these set in the Firefly universe. They don't seem to be directly referencing any WPA posters, but the influence is unmistakable. Awesome stuff. You can see and purchase all five at the Quantum Mechanix store.



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Friday, April 17, 2009

The Future is Coming: Ion Engines!


Just when you start to think that space nerds are good for nothin' besides predicting our doom, they go and do something cool like this: they invented the Ion Engine! That's right! The envy of the Romulans! The workhorse of the Empire! (what, you didn't know that TIE stood for Twin-ION-Engine?!? n00b) On April 6th, NASA switched on the ion propulsion engine of their Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Explorer (or the much cuter GOCE!) and reports that it's operating normally! The ion engine is perfect for keeping this cute little guy hanging in low orbit so it can do its science thing. We here at G'Nerd are less about the science, and more about the fiction-so I won't pretend to truly understand what's going on here-but long story short, GOCE is floating in low orbit using nothing more than solar power to keep it up there. That sucker is gliding at an impressive 20 milliNewtons of thrust-that's an acceleration of less than the width of a human hair per second squared.... wait, what? Hurm... rocket car pancake this is not. But all amazing science miracles have to start somewhere. I'm sure the first lightsaber was really just a warm swiss army knife.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Very TRANSFORMING American Artwork

The Transformers movie came out two years ago, and its sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will become a part of our memories and lives on June 24.

I saw the Transformers movie (un film de Michel Be) twice, both times on tiny screens, and both times I felt a delight inside.

Reasons

1. On a small screen, you cannot tell what's going on for about half the movie.
It's like a beautiful loud moving painting; crayola-colored computer graphics made to look like space metalplastic whip around and fight each other and scramble about the Earth and her structures.

2. TRANSFORMERS appears to have been written by actual Transformers.


EVIDENCE OF THIS:

a. The dialogue.

b. As near as I can tell, the Macguffin that sets the whole plot in motion is a cube. The Autobots and Decepticons are fighting over a cube. The cube is power, it's raw power and if you put in it a transformer he dies.

Yes, a cube. There it is. Any wasteful specificity or detail (like if the cube were a secret code that could activate the Universe's Most Powerful Transformer, and the UMPT would then guarantee either eternal universal rule to the Decepticons or eternal egalitarian paxtimes via the paternal watch of the Autobots) would be the purview of weaker-willed, "realistic" Hollywood product. TRANSFORMERS DO NOT NEED YOUR BULLSHIT EMOTION-PRODUCING NATURALISTIC DETAILFLAGS, YOU PATHETIC FLESHLINGS.

(sidenote: I just spent 30 minutes on wikitransformia, it's called the All Spark)

That the new Transformers film has a title as proudly unoriginal as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen gives me hope that the sequel was also penned by Transformers. Transformer screenwriters probably transform into Macbooks. And then fold out into tiny white transformers who speed-wheel over to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and plug themselves into the espresso machine.




3.
Characterization of Transformers
For a culture with daddy issues, there's Peter Cullen's Optimus Prime. Me personally I have a father, but I just really get the sense that Optidad Pops is here to help lost Americans deal with the pain of generational change. Has there ever been a voice so dominating yet gentle/kind as that of Optimus Prime? And Peter Cullen, FYI, is the O.O.P.-Original Optimus Prime.

Jazz. Jesus Christ. I get that Transformers, cause it's a product of 1980s white people, can't have a black transformer without being tokeny, but the execution here is just ridiculous, and yet therefore hilarious. IT IS POSSEEBLE that the Transformer DiabloCodies who wrote the '07 movie see the racial divides of our young species as worthy of parody. Was the name RapstarBasketball too many syllables? Check out the awkwardly unsmooth CGI moves of Jazz as he acts like Mr. Coolguy when the Autobots meet Samuel Witwicky (random human name generator on the fritz, is it, Scriptotrons?). And of course, in realistic 80s token character style, Jazz is the only major Autobot to kick the bucket. In the final battle:

JAZZ
You wanna piece a me?! You WANNA PIEC-

MEGATRON
No! I WANT TWO!!!
(rips Jazz in fucking half)

Megatron, voiced not by Frank Welker, the original Megatron from the 80s series, but by Hugo weaving. I kinda think Hugo Weaving did an amazing job as Optimus Prime's evil Decepticon brother, Lord High Protector Megatron.

You can find a clip of the Jazz murder scene on youtube (it's been recut for horrible emphasis). Has there ever been a voice so dominating yet rageful as that of Megatron? In the final battle scene, which I found confusing and awesome, Megatron shouts STARSCREAM!! at Starscream, and that angry bassy yell has been stuck in my head for months.

SPOILER


Frank Welker will be Megatron in the TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN this summer, by the way. My ears are peeled.



END OF SPOILER


So that's basically Transformers and why it was fun to watch. I'm still not sure if I want to see the sequel in theatres. I DO want to check it out, but if I can tell what's happening, what's the point? I like my Transformers Pollock, not Vermeer. So I may wait until I can somehow watch it on my laptop or TV, but I don't want to wait too long. They're getting restless:


Except Jazz there up front. He's dead.

PS this time more Starscream (the jet) please. Look at Starscream. Look at that. He makes Optimus Prime look like a a shetland pony.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

TweenBot Proves Humans Will Be The Agents of Their Own Enslavement

In what is surely another sign of the coming Robot Apocalypse, a student at NYU's Interactive Communications Program has created a small, adorable robot that depends on the kindness of humans to fulfill its goal of getting from one place to another.

TweenBot is armed only with a forward-motor, a flag that pleads for help getting to its desired location, and a disarmingly cute cardboard face. This is all it takes to cajole humans, humans with lives and desires of their own, into doing its robotic bidding.

Behold the power of cuteness...


Learn more about this troubling experiment at the artist/mad scientist's website.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Ten Moments That Make The Spirit Worth Watching

I saw The Spirit when it came out in theaters, and I enjoyed it in all it's silly, uneven, free-wheeling splendor. I was a little surprised by the degree of vitriol leveled at the film from the online fan community, to say nothing of what most film critics thought of it. I mean, was it just me? Had my critical faculties deserted me on the day I saw Frank Miller's directorial debut?

I took a second look at The Spirit, this time in the comfort of my own living room on Blu-Ray (coming out nationwide tomorrow), and I stand by my initial assessment. I don't care that the film bares more resemblance to Diet Sin City than Eisner's original series. The lack of plot doesn't bother me - there's more to movies than plot. What I see when I watch The Spirit is a collection of distinctive images, unearthly characters (matched by some unearthly performances), and action sequences that rely on a set of physics most commonly found in cartoon and video games.

The end result is not quite a movie at all, but rather a moving collage of what Frank Miller thinks of when he thinks of the Spirit. It might bare little resemblance to what Spirit fans think of the character, but for fans of extreme and indulgent pop art, Miller's vision contains several moments that should not be missed.

And with that, I present: Ten Moments That Makes The Spirit Worth Watching....

Plot spoilers after the jump, but again, why would you watch this movie for the plot?

1. The Giant Wrench (0:13:18)
During a outlandishly cartoonish fight scene early in the film, a gigantic wrench appear out of no where and is used to hit The Spirit in the crotch, and then as a ramp for the Spirit to run up so he can achieve the height needed to kick the villainous Octopus in the face. It was at this point in the film that I suspected the next 90 minutes would have at least some entertainment value for a person who enjoys slapstick and absurdity, such as myself.

2. Wordplay (0:18:00)
The following exchange occurs between the Spirit and one of his many love interests, with complete dramatic sincerity; "The Octopus knows something!" "Why do you say that?" "Because he just told me he knows something!" This got a big laugh from the audience when I watched it, and I have to believe it is an intentionally silly bit or writing in the vein of Strangers with Candy.

3. "No Egg On My Face" (0:23:30)
I have no idea who The Octopus is in the original comics. But in the movie, he is a crazy scientist who talks a lot about eggs. He is also Samuel L. Jackson's best role since Pulp Fiction. At this moment in the film, Octopus says he refuses to have egg on his face. He then shoots an offending henchmen and screams, "NO! EGG! ON! MY! FACE!....not a globbb!".
Then, in a whisper, starring at his reflection in his gun,"...not a glob." If there is one scene you need to see in this movie, it's this one. I mean, look at this. Madness on film.

4. Elevator Silhouettes (0:43:00)
Miller uses a simple visual gimmick here to spice up a short expositionary dialogue scene - three characters travel up in an old iron cage elevator, and we only see their back-lit silhouettes as they ascend. But is this live action? Is it animation? Is it some sort of aftereffects composite? Whatever it is, the body language is pushed to cartoon-level exaggeration, and it's a blast to watch. I'd love to see an an entire short film shot like this.


5. The City Is My Weapon (0:56:20)
This is one of the few sequences in the film that works as a genuine piece of cinematic storytelling. It's an action sequence that illustrates a central part of the story; The Spirit is part of the city he inhabits. As he fights off thugs, the Spirit uses literal pieces of the city in combat; snowballs, a manhole cover, the sidewalk itself. There are a lot of things for detractors of this movie to point to to tear it down, but I tell you what; ain't nothing wrong with this scene.

6. "It smells....dental..." (01:01:10)
When the Spirit wakes up tied to a dentist's chair facing a giant swastika, his reaction is my favorite line of the movie: "Dental and Nazi....great."

7. The Death of Danny Colt (01:05:15:)
Another all around solid sequence, this one dealing with a whole lot of exposition in a sharp, visually interesting way. Highlights include a morgue evoked with only a man, a corpse, and a red panel of ceiling, and a great POV shot of Danny trying to claw his way out of being buried alive (Miller's solution to the no-light-inside-a-coffin problem? Just light it anyway!).


8. "Get me a tie, and it sure as hell better be red!" (01:19:45)
When the Spirit cheats death yet again and wakes up in a ER, he just yanks the EKG cables right off and power-walks down the hallway with his sidekicks in tow. Lead actor Gabriel Macht made a fan of me with his performance in this film, and this scene is just one shining example of how he manages to nail a swaggering walk and pulp-noir growl with just the right amount of sincerity.

9. "We are locked and loaded!" (01:21:50)
Another performer who knows exactly how to play a cartoon character is Stana Katic, who plays Detective Morgenstern, a comically earnest rookie cop with a off-the-charts Bal'mer accent. In this scene, she whips out a gigantic gun out of nowhere that looks like one of those Zorg Guns from The Fifth Element, but MORESO. And it's a perfect character moment, because nothing phases this gal, she's enthusiastically unflappable. If that makes sense. Okay so maybe I have a little crush on this character. Shut up.

10. "Let's die!" (01:28:58)
Again, just another tip of the hat to Gabriel Macht for a killer line delivery. He's in Whiteout next, you know. I'll see it.

There you have it. Ten iron-clad reasons to check out one of the most maligned comic book movies in the last decade. And if that's not enough, it's also got Scarlett Johansson giving one of the most confused performances I've ever seen on screen. You feel bad for her, you do. You get the sense she couldn't stop starring at the green screens, and thinking, "This is not why I went to acting school."

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Geekanerd Spotter: The Batmobile

There's a carwash outside Geekanerd HQ, and today some mofo pulled up in the goddamn
batmobile.
Can you believe this? My god. If it wasn't for social anxiety disorder, I would have run down and gotten the full story from the driver. Let us just assume he's a really, really big Batman fan, and is very confident in his fandom.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The New Terminator Is Two-Face's Female Doppleganger


Did you know Helena Bonham Carter is in the new Terminator movie? She is. She's not in the trailer, but that's because she's got some super-secret makeup, which is actually not a secret anymore because a photo was released of a makeup/effects test. People seem to be treating it sort of like a spoiler, so I'm putting the photo behind a cut. I bet we'll see her in the next trailer, though.

As you may have gathered from this post's concise headline, she looks a lot like everyone's second favorite villain from The Dark Knight.

Hit the jump for a picture, and some weird nonsense bordering dangerously on fanfic...



I give it a month.

via SciFi.com

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Panel Discussion: Comedy Edition! Scans From Dark Reign: Fantastic Four, Hack/Slash, Irredeemable and More!

One-Liner of the Week - Dark Reign: Fantastic 4 #2
Here we find the Fantastic Four in an alternate reality where Sue Storm holds court as a tyrannical monarch. The second panel of a monacled and dandified Thing contains the best one-liner of the week. It is perfect in it's corniness. If I had a Livejournal account, I would have just found a new icon.

Classic Gag - Deadpool: Games of Death #1
Okay this is more of an Samurai Movie Trope, but since it's in a Deadpool book it instantly BECOMES a comedy classic. I know I've seen this sort of move a million times in movies, but I couldn't think of one example. If you have one, please let me know in the comments. PS: Googling "cut in half samurai sword" returns some really unfortunate news articles.



Best Acting - Hack/Slash #21
This is another comedy classic! It's the old," dumb wimpy character freaks out and unadvisedly hits the superbadass character" bit. And everyone is like, "OH. SHIT." I particularly like Cassie's expression in the upper right hand corner. Shocked indignation, with just a tinge of homicidal rage. Love it.

Worst Superhero Names - Irredeemable #1
I sympathize with how hard it must be for writers to keep coming up with new superhero names everytime they want to invent an alternate reality to play around in. But to Scylla and Charybdis, I say if you are going to name yourself after some mythological monsters, try not to pick two that sound like STDs. And Gilgamos doesn't sound any better than Gilgamesh - let's drop the facade. Volt is fine, but I don't think citing this as parody excuses inventing yet another electricity powered black superhero.

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Oh God No

No...nonono...oh god...NO!

AH, WHY!!




"Those fools at Geek And Nerd dared to cancel my Movie Review Feature after one post! Perhaps they feel they should devote more time to Video Game Reviews...let's see how well they review video games without....THEIR FAVORITE CONSOLE! The delicate innards of the Xbox 360 are no match for my mighty mechanical arms! Hope you like Mario Tennis Party, you no talent hacks! MUAHAHAHA!"

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