Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Ho-Ho!


The Nerd Report wants to wish all of my readers a very Merry Xmas! Drink some eggnog (if you can), suck on a candy cane and enjoy some geekiness this holiday season. If you're faced with another dysfunctional holiday, here's some nerdy things you can do to pass the time!



  • Watch all three Lord of the Rings films

  • Read all three Lord of the Rings books

  • Go to HTML Comics, pick a series, read as many issues as humanly possible

  • Watch all three seasons of The Venture Bros. on dvd; you'll be glad you did.

  • Start a massive Settlers of Catan tournament. Don't know it? You'll soon be addicted

  • Grab some copies of Dark Horse Comics' excellent reprints of Marvel's old Black and White Magazine The Savage Sword of Conan. With art by many of comics top talents (John Buscema being the most identified with the character) and scripts mostly written by Roy Thomas, this is classic stuff.

So there's some things to do between presents and turkey! See you after Santa comes!



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dances With Smurfs


This weekend I made the choice to go against my instincts and go see Avatar. From the minute I watched the first teaser I was not enthused, and my enthusiasm didn't grow with more exposure, that's for sure.


First off, it had Sam Worthington in it. I've got nothing against the man personally, but in Terminator he seemed to compete with Christian Bale to see who could give the most ridiculously macho performance. Bale won, but only because he employed his "big boy Batman" voice.....for NO apparent reason.


Second, I think we can all agree that the big blue aliens looked silly. Oh, don't even back off that one. I think Cameron did that to himself. He stayed away from movies for years, and had mentioned that he was waiting for technology to catch up to what he envisioned, and that's what we got? Nine foot tall crosses between cats, smurfs and the clan of the cave bear? It was disappointing.


But the reviews were amazing, and I didn't want to be petty, so I went.


And it is amazing. Mostly. Yes, the creatures still looked silly from a design point of view, but the execution was breathtaking. These are actual characters. They didn't quite reach the pinnacle of cg actors, which remains Gollum, but they were close. The world he created was just mind-blowing, all the way through. It truly did create a whole new benchmark. Like Titanic, the visual effects work was absolutely second-to-none.


However, it fell into the same trap of Titantic, too. Cameron kept the story simple and as a result, the film feels pretty basic. There's simply not a huge amount of story here, considering the length, and what does happen is nothing we haven't seen before. In fact, it's pretty much Dances With Wolves, with a kick ass action climax, fuzzy quasi-religion and some pretty ridiculous dialogue.


So, in the end, you are left completely awed by the technological achievement, but totally underwhelmed by the story itself.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Brittany Murphy and Our Need to Get Involved


I'm going to have to be delicate here, because I'm going to write about the late Brittany Murphy and her death, something that is obviously tragic and very, very sad. But an event like this also brings up one of the most infuriating and narcissistic qualities of modern human beings. Namely the way that we incorporate celebrity tragedy into our own lives when we really have absolutely no connection whatsoever.


Ms. Murphy's passing is a sad thing, no question. When I found out about it, I felt for her family and husband and her friends. I thought that, when I had seen her performances, particularly in 8 Mile and Sin City, she had an odd little spark that was interesting and showed some talent. It was, in the most serious sense of the word, a shame. And if her death was, as rumoured, caused by complications stemming from anorexia, that that is an issue that Hollywood as a whole needs to do something about.


But then I moved on. Why? Because I didn't know the woman. I saw her in some movies. I didn't know her, and it's completely crass of me to share my "feelings" about her death considering there are people out there right now who did know her and love her that must be going through hell. So why would I do it? Well, to make myself feel important, maybe. Or make myself feel like I'm somehow part of the scene. But I'm not not. And using the death of a stranger to do so makes me pathetic, doesn't it?


I know some of you may be thinking that I've written more than a few obits for the famous over the life of the Nerd Report, but I insist that there's a difference. What I hope I've done with my obits is write an actual obituary; they aren't about me or my feelings (with the exception of Paul Benedict, who I actually met once or twice) they are about the life and legacy of the artist.


Even other celebs are guilty of this. Eonline has this story about how some celebs are "tweeting" their feelings. First off, "tweeting" something like that has to be to most moronic and inappropriate way to voice a reaction that has yet to be invented. To use that method to detail your intimate feelings about the death of a friend is insane. Literally. But some celebs (I'm looking at you Kevin Smith) claim not to have known her at all and still have things to say. Look, I get you're trying to make a gesture about a colleague, but it's really got nothing to do with you.


We need, especially in moments like this, to actually muster up real feelings and real empathy and a real sense of others. Sometimes the best you can do is simply feel for their family and keep quiet.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Golden Globe Nominations - The Movies

Today's the the day that the awards ceremony with the inferiority complex (No, seriously, we're almost as prestigious as the Oscars! Seriously! Fuck it, we've got booze, okay?) announces their nominations. Let's take a look.

I'm going to make this a two-part post, and begin with a look at the movies before moving on to TV in part two.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
· AVATAR
· THE HURT LOCKER
· INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
· PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE
· UP IN THE AIR

I haven't seen every one of these films yet. In fact, shamefully I have only seen Up in the Air and Inglourious Basterds. I'd say that while the former certainly deserves its spot, I found the latter to be an almost great film, held up by its episodic unevenness. It was the boldest film I've seen this year, though.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
· EMILY BLUNT
THE YOUNG VICTORIA
· SANDRA BULLOCK
THE BLIND SIDE
· HELEN MIRREN
THE LAST STATION
· CAREY MULLIGAN
AN EDUCATION
· GABOUREY SIDIBE
PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE

Amazingly enough, I have yet to see any of these films, but I really want to see Precious. I suppose it's possible Sandra Bullock could deserve her nomination, but only in a Twilight Zone episode would she beat out Helen Mirren for anything other than a Blockbuster Video Award.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
· JEFF BRIDGES

CRAZY HEART
· GEORGE CLOONEY
UP IN THE AIR
· COLIN FIRTH
A SINGLE MAN
· MORGAN FREEMAN
INVICTUS
· TOBEY MAGUIRE
BROTHERS

Jeff Bridges is due. It's that simple. I haven't seen the flick, but he's fucking awesome in everything. He is simply overdue.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
· (500) DAYS OF SUMMER
· THE HANGOVER
· IT’S COMPLICATED
· JULIE & JULIA
· NINE

Unless Nine is incredible, it should really go to (500) Days of Summer.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
· SANDRA BULLOCK
THE PROPOSAL
· MARION COTILLARD
NINE
· JULIA ROBERTS
DUPLICITY
· MERYL STREEP
IT’S COMPLICATED
· MERYL STREEP
JULIE & JULIA

How is it possible Bullock is nominated twice? WTF. And Duplicity? I mean it was okay, and she was fun, but what about Zooey Deschanel?

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
· MATT DAMON
THE INFORMANT!
· DANIEL DAY-LEWIS
NINE
· ROBERT DOWNEY JR
SHERLOCK HOLMES
· JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT
(500) DAYS OF SUMMER
· MICHAEL STUHLBARG
A SERIOUS MAN


Shit, Daniel Day-Lewis queers everything. I mean, he's a genius. A living legend. If he weren't around, I would strongly push Gordon-Levitt, who's close to being the next huge thing.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
· PEN√ČLOPE CRUZ
NINE
· VERA FARMIGA
UP IN THE AIR
· ANNA KENDRICK
UP IN THE AIR
· MO’NIQUE
PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE
· JULIANNE MOORE
A SINGLE MAN

From what I hear, it's Mo'nique's to lose.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
· MATT DAMON
INVICTUS
· WOODY HARRELSON
THE MESSENGER
· CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER
THE LAST STATION
· STANLEY TUCCI
THE LOVELY BONES
· CHRISTOPH WALTZ
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

A tough one. This used to be a mortal lock for Christoph Walz, who stole that movie from Brad Pitt and Tarantino, but his heat has cooled a little. Plus, Christopher Plummmer may get the legendary vote.


BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
· KATHRYN BIGELOW

THE HURT LOCKER
· JAMES CAMERON
AVATAR
· CLINT EASTWOOD
INVICTUS
· JASON REITMAN
UP IN THE AIR
· QUENTIN TARANTINO
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

Some big guns here. I think Bigelow may get it. While I'm psyched that a sci-fi flick is being touted so highly, I'm not sure Cameron will really pull off the upset he needs. Invictus has yet to get the rapturous response Eastwood usually gets. Up in the Air is a quietly affecting film, and may suffer some backlash. Basterds is simply too divisive. The Hurt Locker is the scrappy little underdog and that may allow her to take the prize.

BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
· NEILL BLOMKAMP, TERRI TATCHELL
DISTRICT 9
· MARK BOAL
THE HURT LOCKER
· NANCY MEYERS
IT'S COMPLICATED
· JASON REITMAN, SHELDON TURNER
UP IN THE AIR
· QUENTIN TARANTINO
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

Don't Call it a Comeback!

Hello, my fellow nerds and loyal readers. I'm sure you've all been wondering.....um.......what the fuck happened to me, right?

The truth is that I was smacked upside the head with a month-long illness that can only be described as similar in intensity to the opening scene of Scanners, which is as pleasent as it sounds.


Well, rest easy, everyone, I'm back up to my fighting weight and ready to don my magnificent Nerdlinger costume and continue illuminating the blogosphere with pithy commentary, as you can see from the photo below:


I'm back, and I'm going to resume posting regularly. So, thanks for being patient, and let's get this show on the road.