Monday, May 23, 2016

The New FORCES OF GEEK Arrives June 6th!

We'll be seeing you again on Monday, June 6th.

After seven years and over 18,000 posts, it's time to tune up the engine.  FOG! is currently undergoing a long overdue redesign and transfer to the WordPress platform. 

It's been in the works for well over a year and now that we're getting close, we're working hard at making the site the very best it's ever been.

There may be a post here and there before the relaunch, and you can always keep abreast of our latest news via Facebook or Twitter.

We're also looking for new contributors, though many of those details won't be explained until after the relaunch.

Thank you for your continued support.

Viva la geek!

Stefan Blitz

Boston Cinegeeks! Check Out THE CONJURING 2!

Director James Wan brings this supernatural thriller to the screen with another real case from the files of renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren.. Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as Lorraine and Ed Warren, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.

For your chance to download passes to the advance screening of THE CONJURING 2 on Monday, June 6 at 7pm at AMC Loews Boston Common, click here:

Remember seating is first come, first served and not guaranteed so arrive early!

That Time of The Week - DVD & Blu-ray Reviews From Us to You...

Well, here we are again...

This time, we've got an abundance of titles from all areas of entertainment; from tv series to documentaries, to award winning feature films to cult classics.

Now that you've seen Captain America: Civil War and the tv season is winding down, there's plenty of time to check out the new titles within.

Fire up those queues and clear out that shopping's That Time of The Week!

20th Century Fox / Released 5/3/16

Joy is the wild story of a family across four generations, and centers on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy's inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces. Oscar Winner Jennifer Lawrence stars with fellow Oscar Winner Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Elisabeth Rohm and Dascha Polanco. Like David O. Russell's previous films, Joy defies genre to tell a story of family, loyalty, and love. Extras include featurettes, interview with David O. Russell & Jennifer Lawrence and gallery.

Last Word: I have a sort of unconditional love for director David O. Russell, so it’s hard for me to admit that this film wasn’t my favorite. While all the usual suspects (Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, to name a few) perform with excellent timing and deprecating humor, I felt the story was diminished by the fact that the typically fluid, fun yet exciting nature we’ve come to love in Russell’s films, was over-exaggerated, a bit contrived, and pretty slow.

Now, the story of Joy is actually fun and interesting. It’s a true story about a woman who single-handedly creates a corporation from her invention of the self-wringing mop—this after taking care of her broken-hearted soap-opera obsessed mother, dealing with her ex-husband, who awkwardly lives in her basement, and juggling her father’s move in/move out situations depending on whether or not he has a girlfriend.

Joy is thwarted at every turn not only by familial dysfunction, but bad luck, and irrational circumstances that render her helpless. Her mop invention is incredibly fitting here, as she is so often the rag (of her family) that is used to clean up mess after mess without any consideration for her wants, needs, or happiness.

There was a lot of great content to be used, but the presentation was executed in an almost cocky and disingenuous way—I don’t think it was totally intentional, at least I hope not. But the mood was just too inconsistent. And maybe the purpose of the unsteady aspect was to mirror the characters’ discombobulated lifestyles, but I’d say that’s a pretty far-fetched notion and, regardless, it didn’t work. The unfortunately inauthentic quality of Joy began during the opening scene with a kitschy voice-over. That wise-old-grandmother gimmicky storytelling feature instantly gave the film a child-like satirical air. Not only was it unnecessary, it was out of place considering the grandmother was in the film a minuscule amount. Other pitfalls include pace, odd nightmare-dream sequences, and simply unrealistic character traits.

Flashbacks and expository recaps of Silver Linings Playbook as well as American Hustle, are fluid and relevant, the same just cannot be said about Joy. The first hour is an assembly of disjointed scenes that reflect past and present slights and slims of Joy’s childhood, but they don’t add anything to the film, but instead elongate the already two-plus-hour running time. The story of Joy’s movement forward is far more interesting than her past. We don’t need nightmares of stress—Jennifer Lawrence does a perfect job presenting that stress in her facial expressions, no more is necessary.

Here I will say that David O. Russell indeed knows how to direct his actors, regardless of the pitfalls of this film, the director knows how to make a film look great. His consistent extreme close-ups and over-the-shoulder point of view shots accompanied by an amazing soundtrack, equally inspire sympathy and pump up the audience respectively. The presentation of the claustrophobic house in which Joy’s dysfunctional family resides is done with the same delight as the overbearing environment of Silver Linings Playbook, but many scenes that start off strong, end up goofy instead of genuine. Don’t get me wrong, I was entertained throughout, but those funny scenes, either ones of depressive humor, witty dialogue, or empowering success, weren’t enough to merit this film a success.

During the brief shining scenes, that most often include Bradley Cooper (I say that trying my hardest not to be biased), or Jennifer Lawrence solo (without interaction with other characters), the film sparkles. The soundtrack picks up, the mood lifts, and just as you’re ready to change your opinion of the movie, the rhythm shifts right back to another slow moving set of circumstances that are just disappointing. Joy isn’t a bad movie. It’s just very much not David O. Russell’s finest. I’m guessing there will be other movies that might be more worthwhile seeing on Christmas Day, but if you love Russell’s familiar cast and the humor that they offer, grab a morning mimosa and enjoy it. Emphasis on the mimosa. (– Caitlyn Thompson)

Magnolia / Released 4/19/16
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon

From the 1970s thru the 1990s, there was no hipper, no more outrageous comedy in print than The National Lampoon, the groundbreaking humor magazine that pushed the limits of taste and acceptability - and then pushed them even harder.

Parodying everything from politics, religion, entertainment and the whole of American lifestyle, the Lampoon eventually went on to branch into successful radio shows, record albums, live stage revues and movies, including Animal House and National Lampoon’s Vacation, launching dozens of huge careers on the way.

Director Douglas Tirola’s documentary Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon - tells the story of its rise and fall through fresh, candid interviews with its key staff, and illustrated with hundreds of outrageous images from the mag itself (along with never-seen interview footage from the magazine’s prime).

The film gives fans of the Lampoon a unique inside look at what made the magazine tick, its key players, and why it was so outrageously successful: a magazine that dared to think what no one was thinking, but wished they had.  Extras include featurettes, and additional interview footage.

Last Word: One of the main criticisms of political correctness is that it insists that the offended be allowed to dictate the intention and extent of his or her perceived injury.  It works under the supposition that all insult emerges from ignorance;  that the offending party was unintelligent or unsophisticated;  and that re-education be implemented once proper apologies have been made.

The founders of National Lampoon, Douglas Clark Kenny and Henry Beard, were Harvard kids who, within two years of graduating, published Bored Of The Rings, a stinging parody of J.R.R. Tolkien that sold 750,000 copies.

They were smart guys who really liked make people laugh, and who didn’t give a fuck who it bothered.  What set them apart from mere class clowns was their bracing, encompassing intellect and their view that satire was an innately hostile act.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon describes how Kenney and Beard created a magazine whose raison d'ĂȘtre was to dispassionately observe how much bad taste a joke could bear before collapsing.  Reverberating with arrogance and superiority, the brilliant staff at National Lampoon (Kenney, Beard, Anne Beatts, Michael O’Donoghue, Chris Miller, PJ O’Rourke, Michael Gross) savaged both The Vietnam War and the anti-war movement.  They ran meticulously detailed Volkswagen ads built around Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick disaster (“If Ted Kennedy drove a Volkswagen, he’d be president, today!” read the copy beneath the photo of a buoyant Bug.)

They were geniuses who were out to make people laugh or piss people off.  Whichever side you were on was up to you. The largely Catholic or WASP writers at National Lampoon looked to the brilliant Lenny Bruce’s smartass Jewish outsider’s perspective (particularly his bits like “How To Relax And Colored Friends At Parties” and “Let Me Explain Jewish and Goyish To You”) and scrupulously removed any sense of social righteousness.  Bruce’s barbed underdog commentary was replaced by an equally revolutionary parody/evocation of a drunk millionaire complaining about the help at a cocktail party.  The writers at Lampoon, at the outset of the anti-comedy tradition, inhabited outrageous humor and never broke character.

The film consists of plenty of interviews, all of which are entertaining.  Surprises include a humble and visibly melancholy Chevy Chase discussing the talents of Kenney and his own arch-rival, John Belushi. Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon will be of interest to two possibly-overlapping groups of people:  big fans of ‘underground comedy’ of the 1970s; and people who think that any subject is fair game for satire. Figure out which group you’re in and give it a look. (– Guy Benoit)


By Gavin Hignight

I may have discovered the best place to find a car for my commute in Los Angeles. The folks at Wasteland Weekend did a Car Show this weekend showing off their rides of doom!

It was a great entry level event for those tempted to throw themselves into the Apocalypse, but maybe not ready for the desert trip just yet.

A great idea, a great event. The cars were fantastic, the crowd was super fun. And strangely the backdrop of LA or actually Torrance California's Alpine Village really fit this odd mix of autos!

The Car Show went on all day, followed by an after party with DJ Steph Infection when the sun went down.

I'm ready for more of the end days. Is it too obvious to say these cars were Shiny and Chrome?

Check out some pics after the jump.

Queer Sci-Fi, Road Trip Reads, 100 Tales of The Old West & More

Written by Alex C. Telander

Dark Tower News 
Recently some photos leaked of Idris Elba in his getup as Roland of Gilead; warning it will give you shivers.

Queer Comics for Sci-Fi Fans
Just to show that comics are pushing the envelope in every way, here are five queer comics for scifi fans.

Mental Reads 
Five recommended science fiction and fantasy books that tackle the prickly subject of mental illness well.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Win The Complete Series 1 MUPPETS Action Figures From Diamond Select Toys!

It’s time to meet the Muppets! With the new TV series getting big ratings, the Muppets are hotter than ever, and now they’re getting their very own action figure line from DST! Series 1 gets things started with three different multi-figure packs: Fozzie with Scooter, Gonz o with Camilla, and Kermit with Robin and Bean Bunny. Each figure is in the Select action figure scale, and ranges from 2 to 6 inches tall, with multiple points of articulation. Each multi-pack comes in the famous display-ready Select packaging, with spine artwork for easy shelf reference. Sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios!

And thanks to our friends at  Diamond Select Toys, we're giving away one set of Series 1 figures to a FOG! reader!

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT Debuts on Blu-ray 6/28th and on Digital HD 6/14th

Based on Reporter Kim Barker’s Entertaining Memoir
“Tina Fey shines” (Scott Mendelson, Forbes) in the wickedly entertaining comedy WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT, arriving on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand June 28, 2016 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. The film debuts two weeks early on Digital HD June 14.

Based on real-life reporter Kim Barker’s revealing and funny memoir about covering the war beat in the Middle East, WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT is a sharp and savvy film that critics are calling “boldly entertaining” (Stephanie Zacharek, Time). A satirical take on combat journalists and an illuminating story of self-discovery, the film follows Kim (Fey) as she decides to shake things up by taking a dangerous assignment in Afghanistan. There, in the midst of chaos, Kim discovers her true strength as she risks it all to find the next big story. The film features an all-star ensemble cast including Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street, Suicide Squad), Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), Billy Bob Thornton (“Fargo”), and Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2).