Whether you're talking about movies, TV shows, comics or books, every story needs stakes, and plenty of narrative devices are used to raise them. Perhaps the most oft employed device - the looming specter of death for our main characters - is also the most oft abused. The departure of Boromir in The Fellowship of the Ring is one of the most affecting deaths in film history, while Ned Stark's death toward the end of A Game of Thrones served to remind readers (and HBO viewers) that George R.R. Martin is not messing around.
For every brilliantly executed death, however, we're inundated with plenty of misses. Sometimes, these are crude and diverting, but for our purposes here, we'll count down 13 times character deaths actually lessened the narrative heft of a story and served to piss off its loyal audience rather than adding depth and emotion to the proceedings. [Spoilers for a bunch of (mostly) older things abound, most notably Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games, book versions.]
Yep, we're finally getting around to a list about Batman: Arkham Knight. We would have gotten to the finale (for now) of the Arkham Asylum series sooner, but the game having come out right before our Comic-Con coverage kind of made any attempts to get a timely list out sort of futile anyway.
Then again, it was also tricky deciding what approach to take with this list, largely due to the fact that all of the stuff in Arkham Knight that I wanted to talk about involves some rather hefty spoilers. So in the end, I just decided to catalog the moments in the game that stood out the most - for better and for worse - and highlight them all, spoilers be damned. Plus, enough time has passed for all of you to have picked through the entire game anyway, so why not have this all double as a SPOILER thread as well?
So without further ado - but with one last warning that those who have yet to complete the game should be wary - let's see what Arkham Knight had to offer when it came to stuff worth shining a Bat-signal on!
Okay, so we know there will be another Jurassic Park movie, directly sequelizing Jurassic World, and that both Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard will be returning. That's a no-brainer. But coming up with a surefire premise is more of a challenge.
See, the reason Jurassic World worked was because it showed us a version of the dinosaur park we hadn't seen before in the three previous movies - as a fully functioning tourist attraction we'd love to visit, until the monsters escape. You can't repeat the novelty of that, nor should you from a logical perspective, because why would anyone logically reopen that park again?
I can think of a few ideas. They may not all be winners.More >>
If you were raised on the action movies of the '80s and '90s, you were taught to fear men who wore leather jackets and sported facial scars just as you were cautioned to avoid jocks, bros and the like in the hallways of high school. When boxing was the king of combat sports - of all sports, for that matter - you could (generally) tell you were looking at a fighter, be it Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya or Joe Frazier. They just had a certain look to them.
But this is the new age, and MMA is the king of new-age sports. Sure, some fighters dotting the UFC's Octagon look precisely how you'd imagine them to, but in a sport where looks and a six pack mean about as much to winning a fight as a high GPA does to getting friends, you truly never know what someone is capable of - nor can you tell one by their interests - until you've seen him or her in action.
These are the 10 nerdiest fighters in MMA (in order), along with the sound and inarguable logic behind how they would take you out in the unlikely event you found yourself opposite them in the cage.More >>
Movie Poster Shop
Ask most science-fiction fans to list their favorite genre movies of 1985 and they'll name Back to the Future, Brazil, Cocoon and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Ask me and you'll hear the same list, plus one extra title... Starchaser: The Legend of Orin. I first saw the film theatrically when it premiered on over a thousand screens in the fall of '85, and its cutting-edge mix of traditional and computer animation blew me away. Here was an original, independently produced space opera, filled with dazzling 3D imagery and an adult storyline! What a pity, then, that Starchaser never found an audience. As its 30th anniversary approaches, I spoke with the film's director/producer, Steven Hahn, and its screenwriter, Jeffrey Scott, about the challenges of bringing this groundbreaking 3D adventure to movie screens.
Conventions, once reserved only for discussion in the most heated of USENET discussion boards, have become something of a pop-cultural force this past decade. No cognizant man, woman, or child isn't aware of San Diego Comic-Con, for good or ill.
Myself, though? You dumb nerds can stand in line for 5 hours to blurrily watch the Game of Thrones cast get asked terrible questions; I'll be at places like Otakon and making jokes about hentai.
I had a blast this weekend at Otakon in muggy, sunny Baltimore, so here are 30 things I saw, to mark the occasion!More >>
The meteoric rise of Ernest Cline should be an inspiration to all of nerdkind. I unknowingly first encountered his work when I read his Buckaroo Banzai sequel script that made the rounds in the early days of the Internet, and from there he went on to script Fanboys; a love letter to the Star Wars saga that was full of heart, even if the finished product was a little mediocre. His title of King of the Nerds was obtained with the release of his first novel, Ready Player One, in which young nerd everyman Wade Watts searches the virtual-reality replacement to the internet for an Easter Egg worth more than he could possibly imagine. Ready Player One practically became a nerd holy book overnight. The wildly popular tome was optioned for a film the day after release, and is currently in pre-production with Steven Spielberg sitting in the captain's chair.
Last week, Cline's second novel Armada hit book shelves everywhere. Less than a week later, it's ranked 59th overall on the Amazon Best Sellers page, with a visit to the New York Times bestseller list almost guaranteed in the near future. It's the story of Zack Lightman, a completely average, normal nerdy teen who discovers that his favorite video game is a lot more important than just entertainment. The question is: does Cline replicate the success he found in Ready Player One? Let's find out...with minimal spoilers.More >>
Though it is not, as yet, a sure thing, the Internet was abuzz yesterday with speculation that LeBron James would be making a Space Jam sequel, thanks to reports that (a) he signed a production deal with Warner Bros., (b) WB renewed the relevant trademarks and (c) LeBron once Tweeted that he'd like to make Space Jam 2.
It's a terrible idea for many reasons, primarily in that Space Jam was based on sneaker commercials and it was really, really bad. And I'm not just saying it because when I saw it, the theater played "Fly Like an Eagle" on a constant loop before the feature started. Duh duh duh-duhhh!
Now, if you must start remaking bad movies from the '90s starring athletes, I have a few thoughts. First, pick ones that are actually fun-bad....More >>
Screen shot of Xena: Warrior Princess
On Monday, rumors surfaced that Xena: Warrior Princess would get the reboot treatment from NBC. According to Hollywood Reporter, the network and executive producers Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi are looking for writers to give the 1990s fantasy series an updated spin.
Of course, these are just rumors at this point, something that star Lucy Lawless tweeted herself. Just the mention of a possible new Xena gets fans heads spinning with what should or shouldn't be in the show. Yes, we're weighing in with our own thoughts on the subject.
Clint Howard abides. He's spent his whole career, which in his case means his whole life, in the shadow of his more famous brother Ron Howard. He's been derided at times as the Roger Clinton of the Howard clan by nitwits who don't notice that he's had every bit as busy a showbiz career as Ron, even if you remove the numerous credits he gained working for Ron.
But discerning fans, otherwise known as nerds, recognize that Clint Howard is a character-acting treasure. Back in 2011, TR writer Brian Heiler listed his picks for "The 10 Greatest Nerd Roles of Clint Howard," which included such essentials as his turns on Fringe and in Rock n' Roll High School, or in the teen shocker Evilspeak, or, of course, as Balok in the original Star Trek's "The Corbomite Maneuver." But we've decided that a sequel list of cool Clint credits is warranted, just because, well, Clint Howard.More >>