Avengers: Age of Ultron

In a word: AWESOME!!!

(No spoilers, I promise!!)

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If you aren’t planning on heading to the theaters this weekend to see Avengers: Age of Ultron… you’ve made a mistake. Or you’re finally watching Daredevil on Netflix and have taken to the reclusive life for the weekend. When you emerge from your binge watching, head to the theaters and back into the darkness and watch this movie!

Here’s all the reasons to watch it:

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The Scene Stealer
Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlett Witch, one half of the Maximoff twins, completely steals some big moments in the movie. Her powers are epic. Her acting is perfect. Her introduction as an Avenger… well I already said perfect, but I’ll say it again!!! PERFECT. Marvel’s casting department definitely knows what it’s doing!

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The Payoff

To anyone still smarting from the lack of Hawkeye action in Avengers, this is our boy’s moment to shine!! And shine he does. Jeremy Renner takes every moment to shine! And we get some rather unexpected twists where his character is concerned. Good ole Clint Barton really is a standout among the gods and demigods that make up the team of Avengers.

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The Favorite

And by favorite, I mean my favorite. Cap has always be my guy!! He’s the eternal boy scout (something they take time to poke fun at a little bit in the film.) Because Captain America has 2 solo movies under his belt, we don’t need character development or back story here. We just need Cap to be Cap. And as always, Chris Evans brings the heat. You can also see the threads they are setting up for the Civil War story line in his scenes with Robert Downey, Jr. The bromance is still alive and well, but there might be a little trouble in paradise.

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The Villain

It’s no surprise to anyone that James Spader (excellent actor that he is) took the role of Ultron to the next level. This is no mindless robot bent on torture and mayhem. Ultron is an intelligent entity of Tony Stark’s own creation. Granted, his creation takes a turn for the dark side. But even in his darkness, James Spader manages to keep that Stark humor alive in his voice work.

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The Vision

The duality of good and evil is explored throughout the whole movie in a wonderful way. A discussion about how humanity is bent on preventing bad things and in doing so eventually end up creating bad things in the process some times. This is brought to life in the form of Ultron’s antithesis, The Vision. Paul Bettany’s Jarvis finally gets a face… sort of. The Vision is meant to be an instrument of destruction for Ultron’s evil plan, but ends up… well, no spoilers!

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Lady Love

Black Widow (as bad ass as she’s ever been) gets to explore a different side to her character that we haven’t really seen yet. (Although one might think that if she had a stand alone movie, we might have the chance to see all of her different sides!) I think that this will be one that people are a little divided about, but I really loved it! I love a softer Natasha Romanoff. And it doesn’t effect her ability to kick villainous butt in the least. As if anyone believed for a second that it would!

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The Classic

What needs to be said about RDJ’s Iron Man that hasn’t already been said a million times. There’s a reason Marvel started the entirety of their world building, mega franchise, phasing plan with him. He’s irreverent and funny. He’s a leader, but he makes mistakes. He’s relatable and untouchable all at the same time. Again, Joss and company really took some time to give beats to each character. Play on their fears and their pasts. And like basically everything else in this movie, it works!!

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The New Kid

Quicksilver, aka Pietro Romanoff, aka brother of Scarlett Witch. He’s a great character, but really loses some ground in the presence of his overpowering sister, Wanda. I will say that he does have some good moments. But he’s not as strong as he could have been. And not quite as funny as Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past played by Evan Peters. My favorite part about him was his relationship to his sister. He’s the older twin (by a whole 12 minutes) and it’s sweet to see how he takes that to heart. He is a protective older brother who…NO SPOILERS.

Ok, this is getting tough. The more I talk about it the more I want to tell you everything!!!!

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The Hulk

I love Hulk. And Mark Ruffalo really gets to explore a little of the mental torture that comes with being a mean, green fighting machine. Plus he gets to explore a softer side of himself as well.

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The god

And Thor is Thor! God among men. Son of Odin. Ruler of Aasgard. Wielder of Mjolnir. Boyfriend of Jane. You get it. He rocks!

Yeah, I’m gonna stop before I give all the major plot points and twists away and you get mad at me! Go see and then we can talk. 🙂

Come join me tonight at 9pm EST for my #NerdySlumberParty to talk more about Marvel’s many projects including Avengers: Age of Ultron!

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Star Wars Episode VII: 1 Year To Go

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Today marks one year until Star Wars Episode VII hits the theaters. And if you’re a Star Wars nerd like me, then you have been waiting with baited breath for each and every scrap of news that’s come out. But we have to beware, everyone. There’s a lot of false prophecy out there that you must ignore. So to clear things up, here’s what we know to be true.

THE DIRECTOR

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A little over 2 years ago when the news first broke that Disney had purchased the Star Wars Empire and that three new movies were slated to join the epic saga, the first thing on everyone’s mind was who’s going to direct it? With George Lucas stepping away, we knew that The Maker wasn’t going to be in charge. And to all of us who lovingly endured the more painful moments of the prequels (there are plenty of redeeming qualities) we all knew this could be a really good thing.

Once that was established, the hunt was officially on. And the amazing thing to think about is how most of today’s directors have been directly influenced by Star Wars. For a while, everyone from Joss Whedon (Avengers) to Jon Favreau (Iron Man) to JJ Abrams (Star Trek) was being considered to take the helm. As we all now know, in the end it would be JJ, who got hired to direct. JJ’s a big fan of the Star Wars movies.  So we know that the Universe we know and love is in the hands of someone who knows and loves it as well.

THE CAST

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After the director was hired, the next thought on people’s minds was “Who’s gonna be in it?” We all hoped and dreamed that the original trio would jump back into costume, but the years had passed and who knows if that was where the “powers that be” saw the story going. There’s was so much expanded universe (before the de-canonization) to work with. What direction would they go? But then came the news that they were back in the cockpit along with other classic favorites. And a list of new players that were seemingly perfect for this movie!! The cast list stands as follows according to IMDB:

-Mark Hamill

-Carrie Fisher

-Harrison Ford

-Domhnall Gleeson

-Andy Serkis

-Gwendoline Christie

-Adam Driver

-Oscar Isaac

-Lupita Nyong’o

-Warwick Davis

-Peter Mayhew

-Max von Sidow

-Kenny Baker

-Anthony Daniels

-John Boyega

-Maisie Richardson-Sellers

-Daisy Ridley

-Pip Andersen

-Dixie Arnold

-Crystal Clarke

This list looks especially good with so many female names upon it. There are officially 6 women cast in Episode VII which is a vast improvement on the 3 that were cast in the entire original trilogy!! And that’s including useless Aunt Beru… come on!! When the casting announcement first came out there were less women on the list and this sparked a national conversation about women in film as well as the online community known as the Legion of Leia helmed by Jenna Busch. Perhaps they were always going to cast more women, or perhaps they sensed that their offering just wouldn’t appease the countless female fans of the Star Wars universe. As it stands, there could always be more women in the Star Wars Universe, but this isn’t a discouraging list by any means. And who knows who may join in future additions to the saga. Methinks Disney knows the power of the female. And if they don’t they need only to head over to Legion of Leia to see how much we ladies truly love anything and everything SW!!!

THE TITLE

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Next up.. what will it be called? There were mixed reactions to the names when it was released. But personally I think it’s a great title and can’t wait for The Force Awakens. And when you see it lined up with the existing film titles then it makes it sound even better!!! Take a look:

The Phantom Menace

Attack of the Clones

Revenge of the Sith

A New Hope

The Empire Strikes Back

Return of the Jedi

The Force Awakens

I think it sounds pretty cool when mixed in with the other titles. What do you think?

THE PLOT

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We actually don’t have much information beyond what we’ve seen in the trailer and mere speculation about what the plot of the film is. Right now the description on IMDB reads:

“A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi(1983).”

But false spoilers have been released almost weekly at this point with tid-bits of potential plot information. And while any hard core Star Wars fan knows the stories of Jaina, Jacen, Anakin and Ben, descendants of Han and Leia and Luke and Mara Jade, the council of Star Wars big wigs at Lucasfilm and Disney decided that the best course of action regarding the expanded universe would be to start fresh, thus giving themselves complete control over the stories released. And so everything that already existed in the EU would be relegated to Star Wars Legends and Disney would be able to keep the reins tight.

This was obviously disappointing news to avid Star Wars EU readers who greatly enjoyed the tales told by authors like Alan Dean Forester (who wrote the very first EU novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye), Timothy Zahn (Thrawn trilogy), L. Neil Smith (The Lando Calrissian Adventures), Michael A. Stackpole (X-Wing series) and many more. But at the end of the day, Disney has shown that it knows it’s properties well and if their handling of Marvel is any indication, they know exactly what to do with them. So this reader remains hopeful that whatever comes out of the Disney juggernaut will not only be faithful to the Star Wars we know and love, but it will also be exciting and action packed.

THE MUSIC

John Williams is doing the music!! And this isn’t so much news as it is confirmation of awesomeness. When a Star Wars movie gets made, it better have Williams on board or else it just wouldn’t be right. So when it was announced that he would be returning to create the score for the new film, Star Wars fans, the world over, drew a sign of anticipated relief.

THE TRAILER

If you still haven’t seen the trailer for the new movie then I can only assume that you have just crawled out from an underground bomb shelter built in the 50’s and have emerged into our culture with no knowledge of what’s going on in our world. That’s simply the only explanation I can think of that makes any sense. But if it’s true and you haven’t make sure to catch it now…

With an entire year to go until this movie comes out, it’s going to be a long, hard wait. But Nerd in the City will continue to bring you monthly updates with only confirmed news until we get a little closer to the big day.

If I had to choose one thing to be nerdy for in the entire world, it’d be Star Wars. It was the first thing I ever geeked out about. So you can rest assured, gentle reader, that if you love Star Wars as much as I do that you are in exactly the right place!!!

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Make sure to check back on the 18th of every month for monthly Star Wars news!! And to make sure you don’t miss a minute… don’t forget to subscribe to Nerd in the City.

Sunday’s Nerd on the Scene

post by: Jenn Brown

I’m back home after an epic week. It felt like the year leading up to it was taking forever, and then the weekend flies by so fast.

NerdHQ keeps getting better and keeps topping itself. This year we raised over $260,000! That’s over 1,000 surgeries and 1,000 lives changed forever.

Emotions were definitely running high today, but we kicked it off with a really big bang!

Stephen Amell made his debut appearance to NerdHQ this year, continuing to prove that he’s a down to earth, really good guy who appreciates everyone around him. With his sold out panel and Smiles 4 Smiles, he raised $12,000. While his panel does contain some spoilers for those who haven’t watched the show, it’s still an excellent watch. C’mon, have you seen his abs?! Sinceriously. 😉
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Following Stephen, was Wil Wheaton & Felicia Day. Another sold out, standing room only panel, which apparently had a lot of talk about video games and beer. I didn’t get into this one but I do admire them both.

Then came the 2nd panel for Nathan Fillion, but this time he had to have his good buddy, Alan Tudyk, join him on stage. He again auctioned off more “crap”, and raised even more money for Operation Smile.
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Next came the cast and creators of Thrilling Adventure Hour. It’s a podcast of radio comedy shows, with a troupe that boasts the superbly talented Marc Evan Jackson (22 Jump St.), Hal Lublin, Craig Cacowski and I could go on but that would take the rest of my post. They are always entertaining, always hilarious. The highlight of the panel had to be when a little boy, not yet 4 years old, asked the creators how they made up their stories. Marc Evan Jackson fell in love with him so much, he got off stage and took a picture with him afterwards.
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Then came the Joss Whedon panel. Speculation had abounded after Joss tweeted from a hospital bed earlier in the week, following knee surgery. The show must go on as they say so fans were treated to a last minute Mystery Panel, hosted by Nathan Fillion, and featuring some of his friends; Liam McIntyre (Spartacus), Chloe Bennett (S.H.E.I.L.D), Seth Green and Alan Tudyk. They all told stories about Joss, their connection and when they’ve felt intimidated by him. About halfway through the panel, like the great Wizard of Oz, Joss appeared via Skype from London. Making his “puppets” dance, and taking a few audience questions, before signing off to rest and recover.

The last panel of the day was the cast of Supernatural. Jared Padalecki has been a panelist since year one of NerdHQ, finally last year Jensen Ackles was able to join him, so this year they brought along Misha Collins and Mark Sheppard (the man who inhabits many fandoms). I’m looking forward to watching this one myself.

This weekend was an incredible experience and a fabulous success on many levels. Not only for Operation Smile, but The Nerd Machine as well, sold nearly all the merchandise they had brought.
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As I lie in my own bed tonight, I can hardly believe it’s already over. So many memories were created, I’ll have to filter through them all once I’m rested and thinking clearly.

I will say, my biggest highlight, was probably meeting Colin Ferguson (Eureka, Haven). When we were asked via Twitter who we’d like to see at NerdHQ, I replied with his name. He replied very enthusiastically that he’d like to do it, and I was thrilled when I’d learned that he showed up for the Mystery Panel. He did a Smiles 4 Smiles afterwards and I was able to get a photo and hug from him after we recounted our humorous Twitter conversation.
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All in all, NerdHQ 2014, was epic. I’m hoping that the success of this year will lead to a 5th NerdHQ in 2015. Thank you to everyone at The Nerd Machine, who works so hard to make it happen. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who give so much of themselves during this weekend.

I’m looking forward to seeing what heights NerdHQ will reach in the future, and that it will continue to transform lives.

For more from Jenn follow her on Twitter @JennOC7

The Adventures of Will and the Buffster

Last night Roommate and I decided to forego the big Halloween party/ night out atmosphere for something a little different!!

Take a look:

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IMG_4613Photo Credit: Roommate’s Sister

 

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The fall lineup for television this year is chock full of delicious treats!
But I am looking forward to ABC and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Kingpin of nerdom himself, Joss Whedon, is heading up the project as well as continuing his work on Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. (Busy man!)

By far the most exciting and notably cast member is Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson, who we last saw getting shanked in the back by Thor’s rogue brother, Loki.

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But Agent Phil Coulson lived on in our hearts and has found rebirth on this series. Though word on how he survived is still a closely guarded secret and will be revealed throughout the pilot season.

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With Joss Whedon at the helm and the entire ABC/ Marvel/ Disney brand backing the project there is no doubt that this will soar to new heights. Capturing both female and male audiences alike. If the ladies doubt the appeal of this project then they need just return to Whedon’s roster of shows to see his love of powerful women, powerful story and moving moments.
For the men well Buffy may have been a blonde chick from Sunnydale but she sure kicked some serious ass! S.H.I.E.L.D. will no doubt get a jolt of action worthy of any feature length film!

Definitely a must see of the season. The pilot episode airs Tuesday Sept 24th at 8pm.

30 Days of Nerdy Hair

Day 15: Kaylee Frye from Firefly

If you are a nerd then you know the heartbreak of the cancellation of Firefly. The brevity of a mere season and a movie. Nerds around the world feel the pain of this injustice.
In honor of this favorite among the nerd perauasion, I chose Kaylee Frye played by Jewel Staite.

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To create this fun look, I parted my hair and created knottu buns on top of my head. Keep it sort of messy.

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Today’s Imaginary Schedule…

Even though I can’t make it to the blessed event, that hasn’t stopped me from creating an imaginary Comic Con schedule for myself. And here’s what today’s day would’ve looked like, had I made it to San Diego this year…

10:15-11:15 TheOneRing.net: The Truth About The Hobbit— The Hobbit movie is imminent just at the book turns 75. With on-set visits, intrepid reporting, and the pulse of fans worldwide, the TORn staff shred rumors, answer questions, share New Zealand images-but not as part of the official publicity machine. Also featuring a special visual presentation from Weta Workshop and an account of Fandalf traveling the world and (all that is the tip of the iceberg!). Featuring Cliff Broadway (Ringers: Lord of the Fans) and Larry D. Curtis(Hobbit embedded reporter) and additional staff and guests. Room 6DE

12:00-1:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #2: Once More, with Comics: How the Whedon Universes Continue in Comic Book Form— Authors Katrina Hill (Action Movie Freak, GeekNation.com), Jennifer K. Stuller (Ink-StainedAmazon, GeekGirlCon), and Traci Cohen (CSU-Sacramento) examine how comic books and graphic novels provide a new form of media adaptation in which the graphic novel form furthers the canon or official continuity of television series as sequels to the original material. Creator Joss Whedon’s television universes enjoy new life in print (e.g. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9). Sharing their own thoughts on these Whedon comic book follow-ups are comic book writer/actress Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara), writer/producer Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Torchwood), writer Chris Gage (Angel & Faith), editors Scott Allie (Dark House) and Mariah Huehner (IDW), and actors Clare Kramer (Buffy the Vampire SlayerBring It On) and Tom Lenk (Buffy the Vampire SlayerCabin in the Woods). Room 26AB

Now, I am a Twilight fan, but the mere thought of trying to get into the Twilight panel, sends shivers of fear down my spine. So I most assuredly would skip it! And head for a quick bite to eat instead. After which…

2:00-3:00 Power Rangers: 20 Years and Beyond— Saban Brands and Shout! Factory officially kick off the 20th anniversary celebration of Power Rangers with a discussion featuring Elie Dekel (president, Saban Brands), Paul Schrier (“Bulk”), and other on-screen talent and members of the creative team. Moderated byBrian Ward (DVD producer of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series), the panel will dive into the origin and evolution of the Power Rangers franchise, including the long-awaited debut of the series on DVD and the show’s resurgence on Nickelodeon with Power Rangers Super Samurai and much more!Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront

3:30-4:35 Beauty and the Beast— Kristin Kreuk (Smallville) and Jay Ryan(Terra Nova), along with executive producers Jennifer Levin (Without a Trace), Sherri Cooper (Brothers and Sisters), Brian Peterson (Smallville) and Kelly Souders (Smallville discuss the new CW fall show: a modern adaptation of the beloved fairy tale. Centering on Catherine Chandler (Kreuk), a tough-minded NYPD homicide detective, who is haunted by witnessing her mother’s murder nine years ago and the murderer’s quick demise at what she perceived to be the hands of a beast. After years of searching, Catherine finally discovers the beast is Vincent Keller (Ryan), a survivor of a military experiment that went disastrously wrong and left him in hiding to lead a secret life. Join the cast and producers for an exclusive viewing of the first episode, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Dalton Ross(assistant managing editor, Entertainment Weekly). Ballroom 20
5:00-6:00 Legendary Comics— Legendary Comics presents a behind-the-scenes look at its upcoming slate of must-read projects. Get first-look access to new content, grab limited-edition giveaways, and ask questions of your favorite creators. The panel is hosted by the nerdist himself, Chris Hardwick. Panelists include The Tower Chronicles creators Matt Wagner (GrendelMage) and Simon Bisley (Lobo, 2000 AD), Shadow Walk creators Max Brooks (The Zombie Survival GuideG.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds), Mark Waid (Kingdom Come,The Flash), and Shane Davis (Final Crisis: Rage of the Red LanternsSuperman: Earth One). Joining this all-star cast are co-creator of The Tower Chronicles and Shadow Walk, Thomas Tull (founder and CEO of Legendary Entertainment) and editor-in-chief Bob Schreck (All-Star Superman). Don’t miss breaking news regarding our next project from an elite creator in the comics industry who will be making a surprise appearance. Room 6A
The end of the night would be a tough decision between Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog and Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope.
Regardless, after whichever of the two I ended up choosing, I would head over to The Nerd Machine’s NerdHQ for The Nerd Army Party. To end the day in the best of ways. With hundreds of nerds and dancing!!!