Well that didn’t take long, now, did it? Before Joffrey’s body’s been put to the ground, the Westerosi power-hungry elite have swooped in like the festering open wounds that they are to ensure that their metaphorical storms have bumped Winter (which is still coming!) from the driver’s seat on Game of Thrones. That’s likely to be a very big mistake, but we’ve no time to worry about that now. The push for power has only strengthened its hold on the Realm — as evidenced by the machinations behind Sunday night’s episode, “Breaker of Chains” — and those trying to keep the world on a just and good path might as well sit and spin on that honor of theirs, because it sure isn’t going to do them any good in the Seven Kingdoms.
So. The king is dead. Long live the terrible stories about him, as he was one of the worst kings Westeros has ever seen, by our wager. And though they didn’t quite touch on the mystery of who killed Joffrey (our money is on an Olenna/Littlefinger team-up), they did show how sad Tywin is about it. Which is to say: not at all. He’s not sad. Not even a little bit. “Your brother was not a wise king,” he explained to Crown Prince Tommen, next in line (while Cersei just sat there, weeping and listening). “Your brother was not a good king. If he had been, perhaps he’d still be alive.” So how does one become a good king? Just let Tywin do his best Olivia Pope and handle everything. At least, that was the basic gist we got from his whole spiel. In the words of locked up Tyrion, “Give it to my father: he never fails to take advantage of a family tragedy.”
And speaking of other terribly inappropriate things that happened over Joffrey’s dead body: Jaime raped Cersei! Which is great because, y’know, I was just starting to like Jaime Lannister after his Westeros Redemption Tour alongside Brienne last season (she really brings out the best in him). But now we can all go back to hating him like during season one, because it doesn’t get much worse than raping your sister next to the still-fresh corpse of your dead king/nephewson. I don’t care that Cersei’s terrible or that they already bone all the time. That was intense and intensely out of line, even for him. Sheesh.
Margaery, eschewing her selfless schtick for far more altruistic (and truthful, it seems) ways, spent her Joffrey Mourning Time pondering the important questions, like “but wait, does this still make me Queen?” Granny Olenna asserted she’ll be fine in that regard in time, and likely married to “the next one” quite soon. Which means she’s likely going to be thrust upon wee Tommen, ensuring several loveless (and sexless) years in wait in her future. Not that her marriages to Renly or Joffrey promised any sort of marital bliss. Man, do the ladies have it great on this show or what?! (The answer is “or what.”)
…Like Gilly, who Samwell brought to Mole’s Town in order to ensure her safety (famous last words). She’ll get to spend her time “washing the dishes” and “watching after the other girls’ children” and, I’m sure, not at all forced into prostitution (ha). But Sam insisted this was better for her than the Wall because they clearly have big ole crushes on each other (but there are 100 horny dudes on the Wall), so, y’know, we’ll see if she lasts an episode prostitution-free. Considering her Wildling status, we highly, highly doubt it.
Of course there are some prostitutes that seem to be having a good time in Westeros: those employed by Prince Oberyn and his lover Ellaria. (HELLO, asscrack!) The horniest prince in all of Westeros (which is really, truly saying something) didn’t have long with his jollies, though, because Tywin is freaking ruthless. (No wonder the Lannister sigil is a lion. Tywin is a by-the-book Leo: He wants what he wants when he wants it, The End.) The hand to the king — and current ruler for all intents and purposes — needs a third judge for Tyrion’s trial, and thought the Dornishman would be a good fit for the job. We’re not entirely sure why — these two clearly hate each other, and the Martells also hate the Tyrells (also getting a seat in the judges’ pool) — but it sets the stage for an interesting trial for Tyrion and what’s sure to be an epic tête-à-tête between The Mountain and Oberyn in the future.
Over with the last remaining Starks, we’re also a bit concerned. Sansa is clearly being used as a pawn by Littlefinger, and we’re sure it’ll be a short time before he tries to wife her again (his obsession with her mother is truly unsettling). And Arya, tiny serial killer-in-training, is really, really learning the meaning of the word “ruthless.” That’s what happens, though, when you spend all your time with The Hound, on the run. Ruthlessness is becoming Arya’s one guiding light. I’m sure that’s a lesson that will keep her alive, but, ugh, does anyone really want to watch Arya become one of the bad guys? Haven’t the Starks suffered enough? Why can’t she just cool it for a bit? “I just understand the way things are,” The Hound posited. “How many Starks they gotta behead before you figure things out?”
Of course there was one saving grace during the episode — Daenerys’ confrontation of the entire city of Meereen. While the fighting will have to wait for another day, her human compassion and ruthless quest for justice were on showcase as she made her plans known to the last of the cities in Slaver’s Bay yet to be conquered by her person. “I do not bring you commands, I bring you a choice. And I bring your enemies what they deserve,” Khaleesi grandstanded, showing the slaves that there’s another way to live (making that all-the-more explicit by catapulting broken slave chains into the city for all the folks to see).
Other Thoughts, Theories, and Things to Note:
- R.I.P. Ser Dontos. We hardly knew ye.
- Ser Davos isn’t really doing himself any favors with Stannis these days. Nor is that fake letter you’re having his daughter Shireen write in order to speak to The Iron Bank.
- I’d like to know what the deal is with The Iron Bank — they’ve been mentioned in every episode this season — outside of knowing that it involves the delightful Mark Gatiss in a pivotal role, which we’re very much looking forward to see.
- Tell me this isn’t the last of Podrick Payne.
- Jon Snow has gotten a bit more aggressive and confident these days, hasn’t he? We’re glad to see it, and finally prove that he does know something other than nothing.
- The wildlings are making their way towards Castle Black, and MAN, are those Thenns meanies.
And here’s to you, Jason Reitman. The director closed his Live Read series presented by Film Independent at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) this week with a surprise presentation of The Graduate. Written by Buck Henry, who was in attendance Thursday night, and Calder Willingham, and directed by Mike Nichols, The Graduate is an iconic film and considered by most to be one of the greatest American movies ever made. Even if you haven’t seen The Graduate, chances are you know certain scenes, images and music from the film. I have seen Nichols’ film about a zillion times because I went to film school and “The Graduate Day” was inevitable at least once in every semester.
That said, I’ve wanted to attend Jason Reitman’s Live Read series since they began, and even more exciting about The Graduate reading is that the cast was unannounced beforehand, so it was all a complete surprise to the audience who would be involved that night. The evening featured Kevin Pollak as Mr. Robinson, Sharon Stone as Mrs. Robinson, Jay Baruchel as Benjamin, Live Read staple performer (she’s been in every one) Mae Whitman as Elaine, Tig Notaro as Mrs. Braddock, and Paul Scheer as Mr. Braddock.
The thing that’s great about a live read is that the words on the page take center stage. For as much as I have The Graduate memorized beat for beat, I found myself really listening to certain dialogue for the first time. When something is on film so much of the presentation is visual whether its the actual shot composition that you find on screen, the actors blocking, the editing that moves the actors performances this way or that, but with a live read, really all you’re left to do is listen.
It is remarkable how funny Kevin Pollak is. This is no secret to anyone who is a fan of the actor, but he could make one line, seemingly about nothing, coming from a condescending guest at Ben’s graduation party, side-splittingly funny. During the scenes between Mrs. Robinson and Ben, I actually found myself watching Pollak watching the performance. He was sitting back in his seat, listening and watching just like the rest of the audience, clearly amused and laughing along. The other stand-out of the bunch was Jay Baruchel, who managed to make Ben his own and find sweetness and patience and confusion in places where Hoffman’s take on the role might have appeared agitated, defensive, or nervous.
The final thing that is worth mentioning here is how, on that evening, I realized how truly spectacular the late Anne Bancroft was as Mrs. Robinson. While listening to the actual words being delivered straight from the page, I realized how much of that character Bancroft herself mined and discovered on her own. Sure, Mrs. Robinson is sexy and powerful — that’s all big part of her character — but she was also trapped and confident and insecure and really funny all at the same time. It’s a real treat for cinephiles to have a performance like hers as Mrs. Robinson captured on film forever. She clearly understood that character in a way that not many others could.
The Graduate is a funny, funny screenplay. Listening to it read live on stage, it was amazing how comedically it was actually written, and that’s the thrill of watching Reitman’s Live Read series. It’s not about how iconic the film or role was or who has come before, it’s an appreciation of art and entertainment and exploring great work in a new way by equally great people.
When last we checked in with the now disillusioned agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Team Coulson had made their way to an icy tundra where they met up with fellow agent Patton Oswalt a/k/a Eric Koenig. During that meeting, Garrett and his team broke into a prison dubbed “The Fridge” and freed a whole bunch of super-villains, one of which happened to be the recently announced iteration of Marcus Daniels, a/k/a Blackout.
This guy seems like he could make for a real bad day for Coulson and his gang, and he also seems like the kind of villain that’s perfect for the show. His powers are small scale enough to make them plausible on a television budget, but he also appears to have an attitude that should make for some very entertaining viewing.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday at 8/7c on ABC.
It has noticeably low production values, it’s really corny, the gore and sex are kept to a minimum, and it does feel exactly like a SyFy Channel Original Movie. Which means this is your opportunity to see a proper B-movie on the big screen.
Sometimes you want the best meal that the master chefs of the world can prepare for you. Sometimes you need a delectable meal, full of rich, complex, and brand new flavors to expand your palate, elate you, remind you that there are things in this world that you haven’t yet experienced. And, well, sometimes you need nachos from 7-Eleven.
Mark L. Lester’s Poseidon Rex is nachos. It’s crappy junk food through-and-through. Poseidon Rex, the latest in a long, long string of low-budget, made-for-TV monster flicks, just barely escaped being a SyFy Channel Original Movie. At the last minute, fortune struck this little production, and now it is being granted a legitimate theatrical release in some cities. This only means one thing: This is your chance to trek to a movie theater and catch a legitimate, heartfelt B-movie on the big screen. Better yet, find your nearest drive-in and see if they’ll book it for a few nights. This is the exactly the kind of cheapo creature feature that used to infuse local grindhouses as far back as the 1950s. The monsters may have long abandoned the guy-in-a-rubber-suit ethos in favor of not-quite-convincing CGI, but the spirit remains the same. We have a few bucks, 15 days, and a bunch of plane tickets to Belize. Let’s put on a show!
Does this spirited B-movie workmanlike tone make Poseidon Rex a good movie? Not really. As the title implies, Poseidon Rex is about an underwater tyrannosaur who savages the coasts of Belize, effecting the lives of a local treasure hunter (Brian Krause), a spunky marine biologist in a bikini (Anne McDaniels), a pair of vacationing college kids (Steven Helmkamp and Candice Nunes), and a slew of evil criminals who are after sunken treasure, à la Into the Deep. The dinosaur looks like your typical T. Rex, but with gills and fins. It can swim in shallow waters, tromp around on land, and, of course, eat entire boatloads of half-naked spring breakers in a matter of minutes. There is also a scene where one of the monster’s miniature hatchlings, about a foot tall, wreaks havoc inside a biology lab. The film runs about 80 minutes.
I have seen numerous films in this current, decade-long wave of cheap monster movies – from Sharknado to Spring Break Shark Attack to Megalodon – and Poseidon Rex, by measuring against its peers, stands a mite taller. It’s not a hidden gem by any means, but it has a slickness and a professionalism that is certainly lacking from the relatively snarky Sharknado or the even-cheaper mockbusters produced by The Asylum. One can always tell if the makers of a B-movie are sincere about making an entertaining film, or if they’re just being cynical. The makers of Poseidon Rex clearly meant it. I can assure you that whoever was behind Zombeavers were… well, I’ll let your draw your own conclusions about Zombeavers.
So at the end of the day, Poseidon Rex is not a good film. Its cheapness and corny clichés are too powerful to ignore. But Poseidon Rex is a sincere film, and that can go a long, long way. The theatrical grindhouse experience is a waning one in this great nation of ours, having moved online or into Netflix queues. But the Gods of The Psychotronic have allowed this little creature feature back into their good graces, and you – you fans of the obscure, the weird, the cheap – owe it to yourselves to see this little flick on the big screen.
This month at Hyaena Gallery, L.A.’s gallery for dark and low brow art located in Burbank, the “All Out of Bubblegum” tribute show to one of the great masters of horror, John Carpenter, is being featured. Displaying art from over two dozen artists, “All Out of Bubblegum” is a mixture of sculpture, paintings and sketches inspired by Carpenter’s films. The imagery runs the span of the director and composers work, including pieces inspired by the made-for-TV movie Elvis, starring Kurt Russell, to horror classics like Halloween, The Fog, and The Thing, and later cult favorites like In the Mouth of Madness and They Live.
“The King” by Robert Heckman
“The Thing” by James Bonner
“Six Must Die” by Mark Covell
“Mouth” by Megan Kelly
Hyaena Gallery owner Bill Shafer has been doing tribute shows since 2011 and Charlie Sheen’s infamous “Winning!” pop culture phenomenon. “It was our anniversary show and I wanted to do something kind of fun and I was just really amused with Charlie Sheen, so we put it together in two weeks and then Charlie found out about it, ended up coming and was just blown away by it.” This began the tradition of the Hyaena tribute show with directors like Guillermo del Toro and Wes Craven also getting exhibits, although Bill’s relationships with both del Toro and Craven go back further. Speaking about del Toro, Shafer said, “He’s been a customer here for years and he’s always been so supportive of anything artistic, you know, especially in the darker and weirder realms. He’s totally into it.”
Shafer continued, “With Wes Craven, he had been really good to us in the past. In Scream 4 he had included a bunch of our art from our artists in this whole big barn scene where they had Stabfest. Most of that came from us and then before the movie came out we did an exhibit of that stuff and Wes totally gave us his blessing and helped promote it and it did really well and you, know signed a bunch of stuff for us. He’s just always been good to us and I’ve been kind of toying with the idea of doing filmmaker tributes for years now.”
“All Out of Bubblegum” runs until April 30 at Hyaena Gallery, and after that, what’s up next? “In two months we have [Krawczyk] Stanislav, he’s an artist from the Ukraine that we’ve done really well with in the past. We’re trying to actually get him out of Ukraine now to come down here for the exhibit. Ukraine is in this civil war, it’s awful… But it’d be good to have him out here. He always gets a great reception in the U.S. with his art. In October, we have a pretty big show with an artist in Mexico that Guillermo del Toro is actually going to bring in for us and host, introduce him to the American market. We do one major show every month. We got a small True Romance pop up exhibit next month to coincide with the anniversary [of the release] and across the street is The Safari.”
Explains Shafer, “It’s just stuff I love. And I’d never seem a gallery that catered to what I want to see… I wanted to show you can have quality things, you don’t have to break the bank for it and this stuff is all around us, you just gotta find it, put it together and show people.” He continues, “If you spend enough time in the gallery you’re going to see, we’re all over the place. There’s probably more Monty Python in here than Dracula. You’re going to get pin up art, you’re going to get serial killer, it’s whatever weird kind of thing that I’m into… I think people should know it’s not like a normal art gallery. We do things so different, we’re not uppity, there’s no stress here, we try to make art really accessible. We love pictures, its supposed to be a gallery for the normal person. Where you can feel comfortable, there’s stuff you love around you, I don’t know, it’s just a lot different than most galleries in those terms because we really do try to work with the normal, average person. Most galleries cater towards the elite. People who can’t afford a $20,000 painting, we have art from $5 to $10,000 so there’s something for everybody.”
“All Out of Bubblegum,” a Tribute To John Carpenter, runs until April 30 at Hyaena Gallery in Burbank. Visit their website for additional information, images, art and more.
Even if the premiere of the animated Star Wars Rebels is still a few months out, Disney is starting the full-on assault of clips and images from the upcoming series. Case in point: this new clip featuring rebel pilot Hera (Vanessa Marshall).
One quick observation: the clip doesn’t appear to shy away from dead Imperials, because when Hera blasts that Tie Fighter, chances are that panicked pilot did not make it out alive.
Star Wars Rebels makes its debut on Disney XD this fall in a one-hour premiere.
For a native New Englander, it feels sacrilege that the village of Salem never really held my attention during those field trips as a wee bairn, especially taking into consideration your author’s teenaged goth phase (my obsession with The Craft was real, you guys). Still, burning people at the stakes, mass hysteria, plagues and other terrible illnesses, and all that Puritanical stuff didn’t really appeal. It just sounded like a real bummertown. But teenaged fascination with witchcraft sent me down a path where there was, at least, an appreciation of the witchy worries of the people of Salem, which is at least partially why I ended up agreeing to head to the set of the new horror-drama TV show Salem in the first place. Once a teen witch, always a teen witch.
Fast forward a few years to March of this year. I’m standing in the middle of a replica of Salem village, getting strapped into the stockades, and l-o-v-i-n-g it. Not because I enjoy mocking the trials and tribulations of the dead, but because the Salem found in Shreveport, Louisiana — home of the televised take on the town on WGN America’s Salem — is a freaking spectacle of the most impressive, Renaissance Faire-esque proportions.
Now, there are myriad reasons why a show like Salem might appeal to you, and plenty of reasons to watch. Be it the strong female antiheroes at the story’s center, a love of witches, the truly — and I mean truly — horrific (horror fans: you’re going to love this show) imagery that pervades its storytelling, or the mythical twist the series takes on these true-life events, Salem has many good things going for it. But my biggest takeaway from the entire trip was the passion and, dare I say it, obsession that oozes out of every nook, cranny, and pore (be it man or beast!) of the entire production. These guys really, really know what they’re doing — and are super passionate about it. And isn’t that the hallmark of every good thing taken under the wing of nerddom?
While on the set I spoke briefly with the production designer, Seth Reed, and his enthusiasm for the project was undeniable. “I wanted to bring texture and authenticity into every detail to bring it to life,” he explained. (I could’ve asked him questions for hours.) Using a staff of 125 carpenters to bring the 25 buildings to life — in just two months to boot — I think it’s safe to say his work resulted in a massive success. I mean, they light the whole place by torch and candlelight, for pete’s sake! And the result is a — not to sound corny or anything but damn, is it appropriate — feast for the eyes and — when you’re in it — a delight for the senses.
My words alone can’t really do the whole thing justice, though. (Plus it might send me into a sort of hyperbolic tailspin.) After all, when one considers the fact that the village was built not just as exteriors but as places that housed actual working sets, in the style of 1692 Colonial America on 28 acres of a rural farm, there’s little words can do to recreate the aura and expansiveness. So being the intrepid documentor that I am, I took a bunch of photos in order to share them all with you. Click through to see the work yourself.
When you first walk on set, this fully constructed church is the first thing that greets you. It is the home to many of Cotton Mather’s hysteria-producing sermons.
The front of Salem church.
Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery)’s abode: inside the house are several working interior sets complete with period-appropriate wares.
Several of the townspeople’s homes — some of the interiors of these are being built out as the production progresses through the season.
The jail cells, gallows, and stockades of Salem — complete with prisoner!
Part of Salem’s business side. Be sure to read the signs.
The village apothecary, for all your medical (and hysterical) needs.
The Undertaker — bet he gets a lot of work in this town.
Salem’s businesses from another angle.
Though there were plenty of authentic dried and salted cods hanging on the set, these lil fellas were fake.
As Salem was a seaport town, the crew build a dock on the lake (and even populated the set with extras to make it feel authentic).
The dunking chair: unfortunately they would not let me use it to see if I am truly a witch.
Not only are these blacksmith’s legit, their whole set-up is authentic and actually from the 17th century. It worked really well (and so did they).
What’s especially incredible are the details and how so many of them are authentic. 200 year old chairs are everywhere, even in this orphanage.
Inside the production offices, photos, paintings, maps, and the like plastered nearly every surface. Paintings from a well-known English artist from the period, William Hogarth, served as a large inspiration for the series’ aesthetic.
The Malleus Maleficarium was an extremely popular text from 1486 that served as a treatise used in the prosecution of witches. (It said witchcraft was real.)
I can also confirm the goats on the show are very real (and very, very cute). Baby goats!
Salem premieres on WGN America tonight, Sunday, April 20th, at 10/9c. Will you be tuning in? Let us know in the comments!
DC Comics is really ramping up their focus on the Batman of the Future. Not only is Terry McGuinness one of the comic titan’s digital-only heroes, he’s also joining the New 52 in a new weekly series called Futures End, which will set the stage for a company-wide publishing plan to push all of their books five years into the future.
And, of course, it’s the 75th Anniversary of the character of Batman, and we’ve already shown you Bruce Timm’s contribution to that celebration, but now we get to see Darwyn Cooke (comic book legend behind many books in the Batman universe, as well as one of my all-time favorite miniseries, New Frontier) take a stab at Batman Beyond with a short of his own, which premiered at Wondercon over the weekend.
It’s a brisk minute-twenty but it’s all action when someone sends a Batman robot into the Batcave to take on elderly (but still quite virile) Bruce Wayne and his protege. Kevin Conroy and Will Friedle return to voice Wayne and McGuinness, respectively, from the cartoon series, which ran from 1999-2001 (and is all available on Netflix, by the way).
Pretty cool, right? I’d watch a full episode/movie of that if Mr. Cooke is interested in continuing that story… hint hint.
Are you stoked for all the Bat-centric things happening this year? It’s a pretty monumental time to like the Dark Knight. Let us know in the comments below!
If you want to see how H1Z1, Sony Online Entertainment’s contender in the survival MMO arena is shaping up, then look no further than this 50-minute Twitch stream the publisher released this week.
SOE game designer Jimmy Whisenhunt and Technical Director Tom Schenk drive the gameplay, offering us a first look at the by now very familiar rusted and ruined rural environments and abandoned structures of this kind of game.
H1Z1 is still super early, but you can see some of the multiplayer elements, a little driving, the switch between first- and third-person views, the day/night cycle, gunplay, and, of course, zombies.
Right now, it doesn’t look all that different from Rust or DayZ, but according to Whisehunt, the studio is trying to focus on the basics of the genre and “push out from there,” building out more towns modeled on real cities which will be interconnected, allowing players to set up shops.
Nerdist is a place where we nerds come together and share the nerdery that we find. It's also my home to various elements of the Nerdist Empire. You might recognize me from TV. You don't realize that's where you know me from, but it is. You think you went to college with me or I look like your cousin's friend, but that is not the case. At one time or another you stumbled upon me on your moving picture box in such cerebral gems as MTV's "Singled Out" and Noam Chomsky's "Shipmates." and so much more...