Weekend Open Thread: A (Colbert) Nation Mourns

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies, TV
Friday, December 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm

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I couldn't let the week elapse without saying something about the end of Stephen Colbert, the persona, who will shortly give way to Stephen Colbert, the person.

Nine years as, effectively, an avatar of yourself is an impressive act of nerdery, and there were many others along the way, like getting into lightsaber battles with George Lucas, interviewing Smaug, or hanging Captain America's shield above his fireplace. Though his on-camera style was meant to resemble more humorless, anger-filled pundits, the sheer joy at getting to play around with the toys that he had came through, as did a profound penchant for wordplay. He really was a nerd made good, and it'll be interesting to see how he does when he starts espousing his real passions as much as he did his fake ones.

It's political, yes, but my favorite Colbert moment was when he was invited to be the speaker at the White House correspondent's dinner by somebody who clearly did not know his persona was satire. That was comedy being dangerous at a time when everyone was playing it safe, and arguably the reverse of the later Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, which paradoxically played passionately to the middle of the road. Anyway, even if you disagreed with him politically - and I know plenty who did while still finding him funny - it is my belief that deep down he was one of us in every other way.

In other news (thanks Gallen!) Larry Flynt is making a porn parody of The Interview. I trust its main character will be named Cum Jong Un.

Now talk amongst yourselves.

Mattel's Post-Retirement Ultimate Warrior Action Figure May Be the Hardest to Get

By Luke Y. Thompson in TV, Toys
Friday, December 19, 2014 at 5:13 pm

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Part of Ultimate Warrior's deal with toy companies, subsequent to his in-ring career, was that he would sign over his likeness rights if he could be granted several super-limited variants to sell at exorbitant prices on both eBay and his own website. Now that he's gone, it remains to be seen if his wife will be as much of a hard-ass negotiator - or even interested in running an eBay store. But his estate just revealed a look at the final one-of-twenty variant figure in his current Mattel deal, and it's a beaut: Warrior as he appeared at conventions in recent years.

How the Babadook Celebrates Christmas

By Luke Y. Thompson in Cartoons, Movies
Friday, December 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm

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Mister Babadook - that child-threatening, mom-possessing inhabitant of evil pop-up books - doesn't really seem like the festive type. But he celebrates the holidays too, as it turns out.

Behold IFC's 45-second short, "How the 'Dook Stole Christmas"...

Chewbacca's Looking Good for His Age; He Also Has a Message for Sony Hackers

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies
Friday, December 19, 2014 at 2:46 pm

No, it's not the "thank you" below. That's for fans. Keep reading...

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Here's our favorite movie Wookiee (sorry, I'm just assuming Tarrful isn't your tgop pick, which is really presumptuous of me, but there ya go) on the set of The Force Awakens, roaring a thank you to fans who donated to UNICEF for a chance to be in the movie. And damn, no gray hairs at all on that furry face!

The full video's below, but really that still above is all you need to see...beyond the fact that Artoo looks like Artoo, which we already knew.

In an amusing Wookiee-related note, Peter Mayhew also took the time today to Tweet a link response to the Sony hackers...

U.S. Military Working on Robot Flies and Millipedes

By Luke Y. Thompson in Tech
Friday, December 19, 2014 at 1:53 pm

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U.S. Army

Basically, they have the technology to make tiny working wings and little crawling legs. What they don't have yet are stabilizing programs that allow the robo-bugs to right themselves if wind or other obstacles knock them off balance, nor do they have tiny weapons for them to wield yet.

But do we need them? Like, if we could just send a few millipedes to crawl up Kim Jong Un's pant legs when he's making a speech and tickle him till he pisses himself, wouldn't that be enough? I think maybe that's what The Interview could have used.

First Look at the Shadow of Trick 'r Treat Director's KRAMPUS

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies
Friday, December 19, 2014 at 12:28 pm

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Michael Dougherty's putting Halloween on hold, and bringing his horror-comedy anthology format to Christmas next year. Krampus, the Christmas demon - subject of one of TR's most popular articles of all time - is coming to town. This is not to be confused with Kevin Smith's Krampus project, originally set to star the cast of Tusk, which appears to have been replaced on his slate by Yoga Hosers.

So...wanna see the holiday hellbeast in silhouette?

Rankin-Bass' Die Hard

By Luke Y. Thompson in Cartoons, Movies
Friday, December 19, 2014 at 11:30 am

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Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, trapped in Nakatomi Tower.
And if you ever saw him, you'd think he wouldn't have much power.
All of the other sequels, weren't a guarantee just yet.
He's a moonlighting stranger, an action guy? You wouldn't bet.

Then one kick-ass Christmas eve, Gruber came to say:
"Rudolph with your nose so red, it's so hard to kill you dead."

Then how he yippie-kai-yayed
Tore the gun from off his back
Rudolph the action hero
Saved the day and grew a sack!

Here, thanks to Film Geekery, is the Die Hard trailer remade entirely with Rankin-Bass scenes and Rudolph in the lead. Enjoy...


Thanos, Hulkbuster and Other Age of Ultron Figures Revealed at Hong Kong Toy Show

By Luke Y. Thompson in Comics, Movies, Toys
Friday, December 19, 2014 at 10:00 am

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Toy-People.com

Note: before somebody yells "ZOMG Spoiler!", keep yer pants on. Or off, if they weren't on before. This appears to be the Guardians of the Galaxy version of Thanos, and is no indication he'll be in The Avengers sequel, though I think they'll have to at least mention him in the credits stinger just to remind folks he's still around.

The one figure Hot Toys hasn't spoiled yet is their large-size Ultron, whose appearance remains a secret, though we have a pretty good idea of his general look. But they have now revealed the Hulkbuster Iron Man (a thing of beauty and weight), Black Widow (now with blue costume highlights as well as red, and some nifty rooted hair with a matted look that makes her seem slightly sweaty), Hulk (in stretchier shorts), Thor (no real change), Hawkeye and Captain America (just as you've seen them in set pics).

Go check 'em all out, along with some of the upcoming Star Wars line.

I just wanna get Thanos. I assume he'll be at the gettin' place.

Sony Will Do Robert Rodriguez's Fire and Ice Remake, Because Barbarians Can't Cyber-Attack

By Luke Y. Thompson in Cartoons, Movies
Friday, December 19, 2014 at 8:00 am

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That's right, half-naked axe-wielders! What'cha gonna do if Sony offends you? Nothing, that's what. You'll be too busy getting sunburned on your nearly naked ass by the L.A. weather.

Seriously, this is one of many projects Rodriguez announced a couple of years ago that I assumed would end up going the way of his Rose McGowan Red Sonja, which at least made it to the poster stage. But it looks like Sony is betting big, and probably thinking right about now that movies based in fantasy realms are just a shit-ton safer than anything else.

According to Deadline's report, Rodriguez is finally acknowledging that this is a project he can't make himself on his computer for pennies on the dollar, and Sony wants this to be a big franchise. I guess somebody finally realized that the last time there was a reboot of a fantasy property that Ralph Bakshi did first, it made a lot of people a lot of money. Can Rodriguez handle the slower pace and studio demands? I'm not betting on it, but I'll be watching with great interest.

10 Reasons Why The 100 Is the Best Show You're (Probably) Not Watching

By Matthew Catania in Daily Lists, TV
Friday, December 19, 2014 at 6:00 am

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We live in a golden age of nerdy live-action TV shows. Every night of the current TV season offers up at least one show (some days even have a variety to choose from) to geek out over the water cooler. (Do people still discuss television with coworkers at water coolers or has everyone jumped ship to just chatting online with strangers?) And yet one geek program that doesn't seem to drum up as much chatter is The 100 on the CW. Are you turned off by the fact that The 100 is a CW series inspired by a brand new YA book series and filled with pretty young actresses and actors? Don't be. It deserves more attention because, despite what its pedigree may suggest, it's actually a damn good series.