July 31, 2014

Nerd News: Arrow preview, Mad Max trailer, SDCC stuff and more

Vol. 5, Issue 27

Hey kids! Tonight is the night. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. I am very excited. However, first things first: Loads of good stuff came out of SDCC last weekend, so let’s jump right in.

In TV news:

Here are a bunch of previews:







The Flash


Legend of Korra: Book Three (Thanks, Colt!)

Sleepy Hollow


The Walking Dead


July 28, 2014

Do you live in or around Houston (Texas)?

Do you enjoy dystopian movies or YA novels?

Do you want to see me being a nervous wreck?*

Then join me this Sunday, Aug. 3 for An Evening with Chris Weitz: MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME at the Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park!

Because of my work with Forever Young Adult, I was asked to moderate a Q&A with film director Chris Weitz (About A Boy, American Pie ... Twilight: New Moon), who has written a new dystopian YA novel The Young World.

(I finished the book this weekend and enjoyed it—thankfully! I'll be posting my review on FYA this Wednesday, if you're curious.)

Here are the event deets from the Drafthouse site:
Murder by the Book and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema presents an in-depth discussion with writer/director Chris Weitz.

Weitz is the acclaimed director of AMERICAN PIE, ABOUT A BOY and THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON. In addition, Weitz has written the screenplays for films such as ANTZ and the upcoming Disney live-action adaptation of CINDERELLA. Most recently, Weitz has authored the YA novel "The Young World," a a gripping thriller set in a post-apocolyptic New York City where adults have been killed off by a myserious Sickness and the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. When a potential cure is discovered to the Sickness, a group of five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind. 

Weitz will sit down with Forever Young Adult writer Mandy Curtis for an extended Q&A about his career, his novel and his writing process. In addition, Weitz will introduce MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME, a movie that has influenced him during the course of writing THE YOUNG WORLD.
I'd love to see you, if you can make it out! And, if you know anyone in the Houston area, please pass this on.

*Only slightly kidding.

July 24, 2014

Nerd News: Agent Carter characters, Bat-Bear, Supernatural musical and more

Vol. 5, Issue 26

Today is the first day of San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) … and I am not there, sadly. I hope that if you are there, that you’re having a great time. (And reading this after the event is over. Or while standing in line.) If you’re like me, however, you can be sure I’ll be sharing links to roundups in next week’s Nerd News. Let’s console ourselves with some links.

In movie news:

Here are a few trailers/clips/20 minutes of the new TMNT:

Guardians of the Galaxy




The Imitation Game


Sin City: A Dame to Kill For


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


July 17, 2014

Nerd News: Age of Ultron photos, Doctor Who teaser, "Word Crimes" and more

Vol. 5, Issue 25

Hey guys! Sorry again for the lack of Nerd News last week. Projects tend to pile up when I’m away from the computer for a few days! Let’s get going.

In TV news:

Here are a few promo videos and a featurette:

SyFy’s 12 Monkeys


Doctor Who (Thanks, Rebecca.)


The Flash


Sleepy Hollow


July 15, 2014

obsessed.: Don't Kill the Magic

So, yeah ... Nerd News over the weekend didn't happen. Sorry guys! I got sidetracked with other projects, like this one:

Which I made for the summer scavenger hunt/showdown that I'm part of through the FYA Book Club. (View a larger, non-animated version here if you'd like to read the articles. I don't know why it stops moving when it's embiggened ... I blame Tumblr.)

I'll have a double dose of NN ready for you Thursday morning. However, I do have something to share with you today: I fell hard for the song "Rude" on the radio recently, and turn it up and sing along every chance I get. It's not my typical jam, but I dig it. And when I listened to Magic!'s entire album, I was hooked. Take a listen for yourself below.

What's your summer jam?

July 10, 2014

Nerd News delay + the new Harry Potter short

Sorry guys! Late night work event + early morning continuation of work event = no time to dedicate to nerdy news gathering.

I've got another late night tomorrow, so check back this weekend for the news you need to know ... only a few days late.

To tide you over, here's a new Harry Potter short that J.K. Rowling released earlier this week. I've included the first couple of paragraphs below as a tease.
There are celebrities – and then there are celebrities. We’ve seen many a famous face from the wizarding world grace the stands here in the Patagonian Desert – Ministers and Presidents, Celestina Warbeck, controversial American wizarding band The Bent-Winged Snitches – all have caused flurries of excitement, with crowd members scrambling for autographs and even casting Bridging Charms to reach the VIP boxes over the heads of the crowd. 

But when word swept the campsite and stadium that a certain gang of infamous wizards (no longer the fresh-faced teenagers they were in their heyday, but nevertheless recognisable) had arrived for the final, excitement was beyond anything yet seen. As the crowd stampeded, tents were flattened and small children mown down. Fans from all corners of the globe stormed towards the area where members of Dumbledore’s Army were rumoured to have been sighted, desperate above all else for a glimpse of the man they still call the Chosen One.


July 08, 2014

Haiku Revieu: How to Train Your Dragon 2

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (****)

Dragons are awesome
Dragon trackers are d-bags
Power can deceive

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. We didn't jump on the How to Train Your Dragon bandwagon until long after the first movie had gone to DVD/BluRay, but once we did finally watch it, both the mister and I totally fell for its charm. And Toothless, natch.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 picks up on the island kingdom of Berk five years after the adventures of Hiccup and Toothless began. The vikings have taken to their dragons quickly, and treat them like part of the family. Stoick is attempting to groom Hiccup to take his place as chief when he retires, but Hiccup would rather go exploring and adventuring with Toothless. On one such adventure, the duo come across a set of dragon trappers ... and a mysterious dragon rider who might be more than meets the eye.

Before I get into the why, let me say: How to Train Your Dragon 2 is adorable. It has a great humor that rides the line between childlike and adult so well. The main characters—particularly Hiccup, Astrid and their crew—are endearing. I think it's hilarious that the actors that voice the kids young adults look absolutely nothing like their characters (particularly America Ferrera (Astrid) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fishlegs)), but it all works. The new big bad, Drago Bludvist, is voiced by Djimon Hounsou. Again, he looks nothing like his character, but his voice is perfect for a baddie role.

The stars of the movie, however, are definitely the dragons. I want my own Toothless SO BAD. The CGI was also great, both technologically and visually; I'd love to visit some of the places Hiccup and Toothless visit, regardless of their historical inaccuracy/fantastical nature.

I'd highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoyed the first one, or anyone who wants to enjoy a carefree time at the movies.



July 07, 2014

Recently Read: May and June 2014

I upped my game by two book during May and June, and read 15 books rather than 13. I also read a few books—and two Doctor Who short stories—over the long weekend, bringing my read total up to 48 for the year. According to Goodreads, I'm three books behind schedule if I'm going to read 100 by the time 2015 starts, but I think I can make it up!

Below are the books I read in May and June. My favorites? Ruin and Rising—the last in the excellent Grisha series—The Bone Season, Free to Fall and The Falconer. Poison Princess was also surprisingly entertaining, but definitely a guilty pleasure read.

Out of the 15 read, I reviewed 12 for FYA. If you'd like to read my reviews, you can do so by clicking on these links:

The Falconer
Free to Fall
The Almost Girl
The Collector
Poison Princess
The Murder Complex
The Bone Season
Wanted: Dead or in Love
Ruin and Rising

P.S.—I've also joined an online book club created by the ever-awesome Kristin of My Life As A Teacup. It's called ... NovelTea. Isn't that adorable? You can learn more here; the first book we're reading is Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. I finished the book in practically one sitting—it was that good.

July 04, 2014

Yay for 'Merica!

It's a tradition of mine to watch this video every year around this time. Why? Because it's one of the greatest speeches in movie history. And, well, it's Independence Day.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

July 03, 2014

Nerd News: GotG soundtrack, new Sherlock(!), Who teaser and more

Vol. 5, Issue 24

Happy day before Independence Day! I’m super excited to have a day off tomorrow—and I’m sorry for those of you who might not. At least you’ll have some nerdy news that might help you make it through to Friday?

In movie news:

Here are a few trailers and a featurette:

Dracula Untold


Guardians of the Galaxy



Life After Beth


The Prince


The Skeleton Twins


July 02, 2014

Haiku Revieu: Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer (****)

Humans on a train
Don't turn around, don't look back
Chris E. gives good beard

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. Full disclosure: I knew very little about this movie until actually seeing it in theaters. I'd seen part of a trailer or two, but wasn't really sure what to think. I knew it was directed by a v. famous Korean director, but it wasn't really a foreign film. I knew it was a dystopian piece, but I didn't quite understand how. And then, come to find out, it's based on a French graphic novel, but, like any adaptation, takes liberties. All that said, Snowpiercer is a darkly beautiful film, and I'm really glad the dinnertime showing of How to Train Your Dragon 2 was too early for us to make. (Although I still really want to see that, too.)

Snowpiercer takes place entirely on a ridiculously long train that travels the world housing the last of humanity. Nearly 20 years prior to the time the movie takes place, humans tried to fix global warming and instead turned the Earth into a frozen wasteland. The last of humanity jumped on this massive train—which takes one full year to complete a circuit. As with all dystopian stories, however, all is not well on the train ... particularly with the people who live in the train's tail end, where frightening squalor is the norm. But revolution always comes at a price.

For a not well-known movie with a limited release, Snowpiercer stars many a familiar (and famous) face. Chris Evans plays the lead—it was great to see him out of spandex, but there's a Captain America-style quality to his character regardless—and he's backed up by the likes of John Hurt (Doctor Who, Merlin, loads of other things), Jamie Bell (Jumper, Billy Elliot) and Octavia Spencer (The Help); Tilda Swinton (Chronicles of Narnia, Constantine) plays a fantastic crazy person (natch), and Allison Pill (Scott Pilgrim) plays sickly sweet all too well. The story was really powerful, too—but equally hard to watch. Humans are terrible creatures, y'all.

My favorite part of the wasn't the fabulous acting or the intriguing story, though ... it was the train. The sets they created for the massive, quite possible technologically impossible train were fabulous. When I was little, I created a similarly awesome train—albeit on a much smaller and cheaper scale (i.e., shoeboxes and Kleenex)—for my Quints dolls. Watching the train in Snowpiercer totally made me a little nostalgic!

I'd recommend this movie to anyone who wants to have to think a little after the credits roll. (But do be warned: It can get really gory.)

If you've seen the movie, I'd love to discuss! Let me know in the comments.

July 01, 2014

July, baby, you're a firework

The seventh month of the year deserves all the ooohs and aaahs.

(If you'd like to download this page of the 2014 Man Calendar for personal use, just click on the image and it'll open in a new window. You can then right/control click and save it. Each page should print at 6"x9".)