Star Wars Episode VII Cast Announced

Star Wars Episode VII cast announcement? YES!!!

Starloggers

Well so much for waiting for May 4th to make the announcement. After months of speculation from fans and the press, Lucasfilm has just announced the cast for the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII.

As expected many of the actors from SWcastthe original Star Wars trilogy will reprise their iconic roles including Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia (will she be a queen by this time?). Also returning are Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, and Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker as the droids C-3P0 and R2-D2. At this point, Billy Dee Williams has not been announced as returning to play Lando Calrissian.

new castNow for the new actors, there hasn’t been any official announcement as to who will play who, but the following actors have been confirmed: John Boyega, best known for his role in Attack The Block; Daisy Ridley, a…

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Oath Keepers Keep the Wrong Oath

AZModerate Rants

bundyranchcoward

With the Bundy Ranch debacle, a group came out into national prominence that few had heard of before. A paramilitary group calling themselves a “militia”by the name of The Oath Keepers. They have been around since 2009; founded by Stewart Rhodes, who advertises himself as a former paratrooper and Yale Law School Graduate, who worked for Ron Paul.

Membership is said to be made up of former military and law enforcement. Now if you were ever in the military, law enforcement or any government position in the United States, a requirement of employment is swearing an Oath. The oath is to among other things “Uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.”The mission statement of the “Oath Keepers” lists orders they “will NOT obey”,namely:

1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.

No one in government has ever…

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Top Ten TV Mega Post in Ten Parts (3/10 Cable Comedies & Cartoons)

This is part three of my ten part TV mega post and it features my ten favorite cable comedies and cartoons and also the word hilarious. I use it a lot.

I got a DVR with ten times the capacity because I watch a lot of TV.

Armisen and Brownstein

“That’s hilarious.”

Don’t start.

All ten of these shows I’ve talked about in earlier posts. And all of them are amazing. Six are animated; five of them the funniest cartoons in TV history plus one cancelled show concluded on Netflix that really isn’t a comedy but rocks just the same. And four of them are live-action shows that have re-written or broken all the rules of television comedy.

These shows really crack me up.

To the list…

First up an Archer remix…

Archer Vice (FX)

Archer Vice

Created by Adam Reed

Starring H. Jon BenjaminJudy GreerAmber NashChris ParnellAisha TylerJessica WalterGeorge CoeAdam Reed & Lucky Yates

The first animated show on this list is arguably the funniest. I cannot eat or drink while I watch Archer (or Season 5’s Archer Vice) because I would choke to death or spit it all over my TV this show is so freaking funny. Archer Vice is the same Archer, just the Archer gang has found themselves with a ton of cocaine on their hands. It is still one of the best shows on TV. The funniest voice cast in animation and some of the best writing.

Lana Kane

“Now tell them we’re hilarious. Say it.”

Archer is hilariously funny.

Next a little bite-sized comedy…

Childrens Hospital (Adult Swim)

Childrens Hospital titleCreated by Rob Corddry

Starring Malin ÅkermanLake BellRob CorddryErinn HayesRob HuebelKen MarinoMegan Mullally & Henry Winkler

It’s hard to describe this fifteen minute comedy about doctors and doctors in love that borrows from different genres. That Childrens Hospital is funny, is about all I can say..

childrens-hospital-cast

My only complaint would be that they are so bite-sized and short at eleven minutes long, Childrens Hospital works best as a marathon.  It is creative, outrageous and hilarious.

Next we say goodbye to an old friend…

Clone Wars (cancelled… Netflix)

The Clone Wars

Created by George Lucas

Starring Matt LanterAshley EcksteinJames Arnold TaylorTom KaneCorey BurtonT.C. CarsonNika FuttermanDee Bradley BakerCatherine TaberAnthony DanielsIan AbercrombieMatthew WoodStephen StantonTom KennySamuel Witwer & Tim Curry

Star Wars: The Clones Wars was cancelled when Disney took over the franchise and the last season was released to Netflix. Go watch it now.

Anakin and Obi Wan

This final season has some of the best episodes of the series. Some of the best writing that bridge directly into Episode 3 and in my opinion serves to successfully rehabilitate the prequels. (Read that last sentence again) I think it does a really good job of answering many of the Star Wars prequels’ most hilarious WTF moments. No joke. Go watch it.

Next…

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX)

its-always-sunny-in-philadelphia-titleCreated by Rob McElhenney

Starring Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson & Danny DeVito

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a show about the worst people ever in one of the funniest comedies all-time. So well-written. So evil. So bad. They are so bad

It's Always Sunny Cast

“Are we hilarious?”

The cast and creators are immensely talented.

Next…

Louie (FX)

Louie

Created by & Starring by Louis C.K.

Louie is a creatively brilliant and quirky dark comedy about a sad-sack of a divorced comedian played by Louis C.K. whose name just happens to be Louis C.K.

Not based on a true story (still hilarious) It has been on hiatus for a while. It will be back.

Next…

Portlandia (IFC)

Portlandia_titleCreated by Fred ArmisenCarrie Brownstein & Jonathan Krisel

Starring Fred Armisen & Carrie Brownstein

An improv sketch comedy from the amazing team of Armisen & Brownstein. Portlandia is a love letter to the hipster generation and to Portland, Oregon.

PortlandiaPortlandia has some of the best editing on TV. That’s right. It’s an improv sketch comedy show that is extremely well-edited with a lot of fantastic cameos and guest appearances.

Also, I’m in love with Carrie Brownstein. There I said it. She’s hilarious.

Now for some fun with toys…

Robot Chicken (Adult Swim)

Robot Chicken

Created by Seth Green & Matthew Senreich

Starring Seth Green as well as, Candace BaileyAlex BorsteinRachael Leigh CookMacaulay Culkin, Donald FaisonTamara GarfieldSarah Michelle GellarGinnifer GoodwinClare GrantMila KunisSeth MacFarlaneBreckin MeyerDan MilanoTom RootMatthew Senreich & Amy Smart

Robot Chicken is a fifteen minute sketch comedy show with adult, nerdy, humor performed by classic children’s toys and voiced by some of the coolest funniest people around and dozens and dozens of hilariously amazing guest stars.

robot chicken dc comics special

They also do the best specials. Their Star Wars and DC Comics specials are brilliant.

Next up, an old fave..

South Park (Comedy Central)

South Park

Created by and Starring Trey Parker & Matt Stone

It is amazing how good South Park still is. A crass but hysterical social commentary comedy about four little boys from Colorado who get into hilarious misadventures. South Park has been around for decades and hasn’t lost a step.

Next a little something that’s been MIA…

The Boondocks (Adult Swim)

The Boondocks

Created by Aaron McGruder

Starring Regina KingJohn WitherspoonCedric YarbroughGary Anthony WilliamsJill Talley & Gabby Soleil

The Boondocks is an irreverent and hilarious animated show about two young black brothers who move into a white neighborhood after the death of their parents. It is funny as hell. The Boondocks has been on hiatus for far too long.

a pimp name slickback

Bring that shit back.

And while you’re at it…

The Venture Bros. (Adult Swim)

The Venture Bros

Created by Jackson Publick & Doc Hammer

Starring James UrbaniakPatrick WarburtonMichael SinterniklaasChristopher McCullochDoc HammerSteven Rattazzi & Dana Snyder

The Venture Bros. is an absurdly hilarious send up of 1960’s & 70’s adventure cartoons about two brothers who live with their dad (the super scientist) and their bodyguard, while being constantly threatened by their arch-enemy, The Monarch.

The Monarch

This show is freaking hilarious. I’m obsessed with this show and everything about it.

Hank and Dean Venture

Go Team Venture!

And that’s ten.

A bunch of these shows have been on long hiatus and need to come back soon. But in the meantime they are available to stream on Netflix.

While I’m here, I have to say they need to bring back the action adventure shows like Avatar: Legend of Korra, Beware the Batman and Tron: Uprising. I love these shows. I miss these shows. Good action adventure cartoons are hard to find. If you have any recommendations please send them to me.

See you guys on the couch,

– Mel

5 Quick DVD Reviews (April 2014): Swords & Sorcery Edition

5 Quick Reviews is back with April’s new releases and nerd eating dragons.

This time out I’m calling it, the Swords and Sorcery Edition because all these films involve swords, sorcery, monsters, magic and epic battles and of course… nerds (That’s right, I use the n-word in this post. I use it a lot)

Nerd Dragon

“Nerdssssss!!!”

Hey! We can use that word. You CAN’T use that word.

April’s new releases are a mixed bag, ranging from the epic blockbuster to the ultra low-budget indie and all points in between. Also I go on a rant about people using the n-word as an insult and/or adopting nerd-culture “just for the jokes”. I’m looking at you Smaug.

Smaug

“I hate nerds …and I hate hobbits … and dwarves”

That’s more than just a little racist. But enough with the preamble.

To the reviews…

47 Ronin (Universal Pictures)

47-ronin-movie-poster

Directed by Carl Rinsch

Written by Chris MorganHossein Amini and Walter Hamada

Starring Keanu ReevesHiroyuki SanadaKou ShibasakiTadanobu AsanoRinko Kikuchi & Min Tanaka

47 Ronin is a fantasy film based on an ancient story of 47 samurai who lose their master to sorcery and betrayal. It is the story of their struggle for revenge. It is a very pretty film.

47-lang-nhan

With beautiful costumes and sets and nice effects, it paints a pretty picture. And at its core, it’s a good story. A fable with magic and demons and swordplay and Keanu Reeves.

Keanu

But what 47 Ronin doesn’t have is the best directing or the best acting. It suffers from slow pacing, even while the pace fits the subject (the patience of the samurai), and from bad performances (completely in English, everyone speaks with the thickest accents).

47 Ronin

But 47 Ronin has some cool battles and a powerful theme about honor and duty. So, I’m saying I enjoyed 47 Ronin despite it failings. But mostly because I’m an unapologetic Japanophile since High School. I love the culture, the art, the philosophies, the fighting styles and history of the island nation. Samurai, Ninja… all of it.

"What about the nerds?"

“What about the nerds?”

I am a Japanese culture nerd. 47 Ronin, while not a great film, is an entertaining and beautifully filmed one with a wonderful story about honor and service and duty.

Rent it (It has bad acting and bad directing, but a cool story with pretty pictures)

Next up… comedy acrobatics without a net.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Paramount Pictures)

Anchorman 2

Directed by Adam McKay

Written by Will Ferrell & Adam McKay

Starring Will Ferrell, Steve CarellPaul RuddDavid KoechnerChristina ApplegateMeagan GoodJames Marsden & Kristen Wiig

Anchorman 2 is not very funny. I think I laughed out loud twice for the entire film. It’s a good story, about the rise of 24 hour news and the fall of journalistic integrity. It was good writing, for what they wrote but Anchorman 2 is yet another Judd Apatow improv movie.

Anchorperson 2

If you are a regular reader of my blog, there are two things about which I have complained in the past that Anchorman 2 is guilty: First. If they’re going to just point the camera at very funny people and let them riff then you really ought to be there. No really, it needs to be at a live improv show and not a movie. Second. If you’re going to replace all the spontaneous jokes for the DVD release, what does that say about the original jokes?

Meagan Good and Will Farrell

“They told me there would be comedy nerds here.”

Will Ferrell is great as Ron Burgundy and there are a number of surprise cameos all thrown into one epic battle scene. But it’s just not a very funny movie. And I’ve grown tired of the Apatow style of filmmaking. I don’t care what they came up with on-set. It is only precious to the people on-set. It’s voyeuristic. You’re not performing this for me. You’re trying to make the people on-set laugh. I want to hear words that were painfully extracted and nursed to maturity over weeks of staring at a blank page but then interpreted by the likes of Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd and Christina Applegate. Bring back the scripted comedy.

Anchorman 2 news team battle

Anchorman 2 is a series of outtakes edited together to form a story. I’d call it lazy but you can tell these people worked really hard to get what they got. It’s just not that funny as a movie. Or, as I suspect, I think you just had to be there.

Skip it (wait until they release the 500 hours of raw footage)

Next up… Part two of three of a one part saga…

The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug (Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

The Hobbit 2

Directed by Peter Jackson

Written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro  Based on The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Starring Ian McKellenMartin FreemanRichard ArmitageBenedict CumberbatchEvangeline LillyLee PaceLuke EvansKen StottJames Nesbitt & Orlando Bloom

The second Hobbit film is even better than the first. More exciting, although I’m seeing a pattern in the chase scenes turning into amusement park rides, and much more dramatic.

Dwarves in Barrels

Desolation shoehorns a budding romance into the story; A welcome addition with the lovely elf, Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Kili (Aidan Turner), one of the taller dwarves.

Legolas

And Desolation introduces the dragon, Smaug. A satisfyingly evil and deliciously frightening, (in a Benedict Cumberbatch can do no wrong way) nerd eating dragon.

Smaug and Bilbo

“Come here, nerd boy.”

But when I heard they were extending the original two-part Hobbit movie into three parts, I knew there would be a bunch of filler. So I decided that I would shell out the money only for the first film and for the last but I would wait until I received the disk to see the second, as my own little, sort of, protest of their blatant money grab.

Orc

“I smell a Tolkien nerd fresh from complaining.”

While I don’t regret waiting for the second film, I regret not seeing it on the big screen (if that makes any sense). Especially for the dragon and the battles… and Evangeline Lilly (one of the most beautiful women/elves on the planet)

Evangeline Lilly

The movies are stretched to two and a half hours each. And though very well made, there is a heck of a lot of filler added. While the Lord of the Rings films could each be four hours long and still not seem long enough. The Hobbit films need editing. They need it badly.

Desolation

There have been two great films so far in this trilogy prequel but they’re nowhere near as good as Lord of The Rings. And not everything has to be a trilogy, guys.

Rent it (The movie is fantastic even if it is a good half an hour longer than it needs to be)

Next up… something to rant about.

Zero Charisma (Tribeca Film, Nerdist Industries)

ZCharisma

Directed by Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews

Written by Andrew Matthews

Starring Sam Eidson, Anne Gee Byrd, Brock England, Garrett Graham & Cyndi Williams

Zero Charisma is a dark and depressing drama about, what the movie would call, a nerd but what I would call a loser. A role-playing gamer, with anger issues and family troubles, who is slowly losing his mind. Wait… it’s supposed to be a comedy? Who says?

Scott Smash

The main guy, in D&D parlance, would be a character with ZERO charisma. It is actually pretty clever. No one, not even his family, likes him. In fact most people hate him. He is an awful person who has run a weekly RPG with the same five guys for four years before one of his “friends” (I use the term loosely) has to quit to repair his marriage. So “our hero” sets out to find a new player. Someone who doesn’t already know what an asshole he is.

Gaming

“Wait… We all get eaten by a nerd eating dragon? That’s not fair.”

He of course makes a mess of that… Zero Charisma is a very well-written movie for what it is. But what it is, is yet another film that equates nerd with loser. Yet another film where four out of five of the pimply faced adults who role play in their spare time are still virgins and the fifth is married to a shrew. I am so tired of this stereotype.

Grandma

“Oh boy. Here we go. Get ready for the rant.”

I would expect more from the producers, from Nerdist Industries especially, a company founded by the proclaimed king of the nerds, Chris Hardwick (@midnight, Talking Dead). But Chris does this all the time. His entire stand-up act is just him endearingly insulting his core audience. It’s okay, guys, because he’s a nerd too, guys. No really he is… 

RPG

Chris complains about people questioning his nerd cred… a lot… and there is a reason. Because instead of working to break the stereotype or even holding himself up as a nerdy success story. He derides us and makes nerd jokes. Like a Jewish comic doing jewish jokes. But then it turns out that they were only a quarter Jewish …on their father’s side. Never even been to temple. Just claiming it for the jokes.

Upper Nerd

Here we see the Nerd Lite or Upper Nerd (he has a girlfriend and social skills)

Not all gamers, nerds, geeks and role players are socially awkward virgins with Zero Charisma. And I know Chris didn’t write this movie but his name is on it and he’s an easy target. Okay, that was my rant about using nerd as an insult. Sorry Chris.

So while still being a good movie, (yes it is a good movie) Zero Charisma hammers home this image of the nerd in the most annoying way. Maybe I missed the point and this was supposed to be a comedy after all. But I thought of it as more of a drama / cautionary tale.

Scott

Or maybe we were supposed to find it flattering. Holding up a mirror to the ugliest creases of the culture so we can all yell, “I’m not that bad.” Because normally the so-called nerds are the smartest, the nicest, the sweetest, most passionate people in the room. Not this ogre. This Zero Charisma guy. I liked this movie. I really did. I just didn’t think it was funny.

Rent it (It is a good movie but it shows a bad nerd image)

Next up… yep you guessed it. more NERDS!!!

Knights of Badassdom (Entertainment One)

Knights-Of-BadassdomDirected by Joe Lynch

Written by Kevin Dreyfuss & Matt Wall

Starring Steve ZahnRyan KwantenSummer GlauMargarita LevievaJimmi Simpson & Peter Dinklage

Knights of Badassdom is another movie about role-players. But these are LARPers. These guys combine cosplay and sparring with role play and camping. I’ve always been fascinated by the culture but I would never be able to stay in character.

Larpers

Knights of Badassdom, unlike Zero Charisma, is about (the elusive) likeable nerds and it does not take itself seriously. It is actually a very silly film. But it’s a lot of fun. It uses the same old stand-by plot that I’ve seen a bunch of times before; Real magic finds its way into the role-playing world and wreaks bloody havoc on people who don’t know that it’s real until they’re dead. And yes there is a dragon that literally eats nerds.

KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM

“Is that a nerd eating dragon? For real?”

This is not an amazing movie by any stretch of the imagination but I love the cast, which includes Peter Dinklage and Summer Glau as well as a bunch of other familiar faces from True Blood, Community, It’s Always Sunny… all my favorite shit.Knights_of_Badassdom

Knights of Badassdom has the absolute silliest ending I have seen in a long time and while gory, the violence is completely over the top and the effects are intentionally bad.Peter Dinklage Badassdom

I still enjoyed it as a low-budget, tongue in cheek, send up of LARPing that doesn’t insult its subject, its characters or its audience. It ain’t Shakespeare. But its cute. It’s cute as fuck.

Rent it. (A fun low-budget comedy adventure with a bunch of cool people in it)

So to recap… 

There were two films about a bunch of outcasts who take on the establishment; 47 Ronin and Anchorman 2. Neither one that good but both of them pretty to look at.

There were two films about a bunch of misfits who set out to slay a dragon; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Knights of Badassdom. Both of them a lot of fun but one of them cost more to make than the other.

Here are two good-looking and cool elves…

The Elves

And a comedy about a loser I thought worked better as a drama; Zero Charisma. Which made me rant about how nerds are portrayed by other nerds, didn’t make me laugh a bunch, but that I still thought was a good movie… as a drama.

And that’s all for April. (I tried to watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty but turned it off. It was so bad. Go find the one with Danny Kaye. It ranks as one of the best films of all-time)

See you on the couch,

– Mel