Archive for Star Wars

Nerd Lunch Episode 178: Star Wars A New Hope Drilldown

Posted in movies, podcast, pop culture, Star Wars with tags , , , , on May 11, 2015 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

This is it. Nearly 180 episodes in, the Nerd Lunch Podcast is finally tackling the Star Wars movies. And we are starting with the very first one.

Joining us again are the guests from the previous “setting the table on Star Wars” episode of Nerd Lunch back in #153; Geek Kay from Fangirl Blog and Michael May from Kill All Mosnters! and the Adventureblog.

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We talk about our first time watching the movie, we talk about our favorite characters and scenes, we even discuss things we have issues with. Most of those reside in the Special Edition and other “versions” of the movie. It’s a good discussion that begins the Nerd Lunch Star Wars Drilldown trilogy. Join us.

Download this episode from iTunes, Stitcher or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online right here.

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The movies I’m anticipating in 2015

Posted in movies, personal, Star Wars with tags , , , on January 23, 2015 by Paxton

Okay, I’ve showed you the best and the worst movies I watched last year. What about this year? I thought I’d throw out a few movies that I’m looking forward to in 2015. Now, I’m not saying the movies I list here are going to be the best movies of the year, these are just the movies that I personally am super excited to see as they have something about them that flips that switch in my wheelhouse.

First things first, let’s get the obvious blockbuster ones out of the way. You know the ones:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Superman v Batman
Furious 7
Jurassic World
James Bond: Spectre

Of course I’m anticipating these movies so I’m not going to elaborate any further than that. I’ll do everything I can to see those movies in the theater. Those are a given for me. So, with those out of the way, let’s take a look at some other movies I’m anticipating that may not even be on your radar.

Tomorrowland
Tomorrowland – This looks amazing. Brad Bird is awesome and he got Clooney for this so the script has got to be good.  And check out that awesomely atmospheric teaser.

Hateful Eight
Hateful Eight – Tarantino’s new picture. It’s a western. And it stars Kurt Russell, Sam Jackson, Bruce Dern, Walt Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Channing Tatum. So, yes, I’m in.

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Mission: Impossible 5 – I loved Ghost Protocol and this entry will be directed by Christopher McQuarrie who last worked with Cruise on the awesome Jack Reacher.

victor-frankenstein
Victor Frankenstein – Not a part of Universal’s planned Monster-verse movies that started with Dracula Untold, this particular movie is from 20th Century Fox, is directed by Max Landis and stars James McAvoy as Victor and Daniel Radcliffe as Igor.  The movie is told from Igor’s point of view.  Cast and plot sound AWESOME.

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Year End Book Report: The Best Books I Read in 2014

Posted in Batman, books, comic books, movies, pop culture, Star Wars with tags , , , , , , on January 12, 2015 by Paxton

Year End Badass Book Report

I can’t believe I’m doing these year end wrap up reports again.  Where does the damn time go?!

Anyway, if you’ve read this article in the past you know I keep my book log online.  Here’s the link to my Book Log on Google Spreadsheet.  There are tabs for every year since 2007.

Looking at that log it looks like I read about 78 books/comics this year.  That total includes not only books I read for the first time but anything I re-read for the second (or more) time.  For the list below, though, I’ll only take into account books I read for the first time this year.

And I actually have four books on this list that were released in 2014.  That ties my total from last year.  It’s rare when I get to read a currently released book, but I’ve done it four times each in the last two years.  Amazing!

On to the lists!

Below you will find, first, my list of favorite books and following that my list of favorite comic books/graphic novels.  All that I read for the first time this year.  Enjoy.

Books

Star Wars: Maul: Lockdown (2014) – Joe Schreiber – I predicted at the end of my 2013 Best Books I Read article that this book would be on the list for 2014.  And, as you can see, I was right.  Joe Schreiber really hit it out of the park with this one.  A prison thriller that has Maul locked up in a prototype prison that pits its prisoners in gladiatorial matches and broadcasts those matches on pay-per-view.  Very brutal and lots of fun we get lots of awesome Maul in this book.  However, to be honest, the last third of the book sort of goes WAY bananas in a weird way.  It’s still really good, but the book sort of becomes super-gonzo and you’re left scratching your head wondering, “What the f**k is going on?  Did THAT just happen?!”.  However, overall, still one of the best books I read this year.


Point of Impact (Bob Lee Swagger #1) (1993) – Stephen Hunter – I was not aware of this book until I saw the Mark Wahlberg movie Shooter, which is based on this book.  I love that movie and finally picked up the source material this year to give it a go.  And it’s AMAZING.  Even better than the movie.  A bit more story to sink your teeth into and a bit more of an epic bad guy for Swagger to focus his revenge on.  Great action packed book.  I look forward to reading more of Hunter’s Swagger books in the future (there are several).


The Shining (1977) – Stephen King – This Halloween I decided to fill another hole in my Stephen King reading list.  Two years ago I had finally tackled The Stand and just last year I read The Talisman.  So, I thought, let’s continue that trend this year and I decided to read ‘salem’s Lot.  I enjoyed it more than I expected, plus it left me wanting to read more early Stephen King, so even though I only had about a week left in October, I picked up The Shining on my Nook for like $2 and dove in.  And discovered probably the scariest book I think I have ever read in my life.  The Shining is big on plot and character detail as early King likes to be, but once the stuff in the hotel starts happening, it gets seriously scary.  Like several nights I had trouble sleeping it was so scary.  So here it sits on my list.  But as much as I loved this book, I really saw no need for a sequel so I have little to no desire to read Doctor Sleep.  I even tried reading a sample and I couldn’t even finish it.


Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer (2007) – James Swanson – Earlier in 2014 I got into an American History phase.  I read Walter Isaacson’s epic Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and was all wrapped up in the days of the early Revolution.  I then watched Spielberg’s Lincoln and loved it before starting this book.  This book is a fascinating account of the days leading up to and the 12 day manhunt that occurred after President Lincoln’s assassination.  Lots of inside stuff I never knew about.  And it’s written in a very modern way that keeps events interesting and not like reading events out of a history book.  Right after reading this book, I watched Robert Redford’s The Conspirator to complete my unofficial “Lincoln trilogy”.  So now, I’m on the lookout for Swanson’s other books he’s written, most specifically the one about Kennedy’s assassination.  But I highly recommend this book.


Star Wars: Tarkin (2014) – James Luceno – This last slot was tough. I had a few REALLY good books I could have put here.  Most notably The Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussRed Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch and When March Went Mad by Seth Davis.  But I went with my gut and chose this book.  The second Star Wars book on my list.  I really love what they’ve been doing with the Star Wars novels the last few years.  They’ve really been changing it up and getting really good stories out there.  Luceno wrote one of my favorites from a few years ago, Darth Plagueis, and he looked to do the same thing here.  But this is a more intimate story than the galaxy wide epic that played out in the pages of that earlier book.  Luceno really fleshes out the character of Tarkin in this book and investigates a bit more his relationship with Vader and even the Emperor.  Lots of Star Wars-y goodness to be had.  It gets me excited to see what comes next for the Star Wars expanded universe.

Comic Books/Graphic Novels


Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk (2006) – Greg Pak (writer), Carlo Pagulayan (artist) – Oh, man, this book is epic.  It’s bad ass.  It’s just awesome.  Hulk is deemed “too dangerous to stay on Earth” by a think tank of Marvel’s smartest so they devise a way to shoot him off to another world so he can’t hurt anyone.  The only problem, something happens en route and Hulk crash lands on the wrong planet.  A planet that enlaves Hulk and forces him to compete in gladiatorial games until he decides he’s had enough and stages a coup to take over the planet.  So much awesome contained within.  I can’t recommend this enough.


Savage Dragon Vol. 1 (1993) – Erik Larsen (writer/artist) – Back in September I decided I wanted to read the first 10-20 issues of all the original launch titles of Image Comics.  Most of them were forgettable.  However, Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon was not only readable, it was GREAT and deserves a spot on my list.  I was surprised how much I thoroughly enjoyed this comic and I look forward to catching up on all that I missed with this character.


Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon (2012) – Matt Fraction (writer), David Aja (artist) – This was suggested to me by several people but I never listened.  But the more I heard how good it was the more I became intrigued.  So I grabbed the first volume of Matt Fraction’s series for cheap and read it.  And loved it.  This is minimalist storytelling at its finest.  Sort of a “between the panels” look at what Clint Barton does when he’s not being an Avenger.  Quirky, but it’s charming and lots of fun.  I’ll definitely be checking out more of this series.


Thief of Thieves (2012) – Robert Kirkman (writer), Nick Spenser (writer), Andy Diggle (writer), James Asmus (writer), Shawn Martinbrough (artist) – I’ve actually read the first three volumes of this title which cover the first 19 issues of the series.  And it’s pretty great.  Master Thief (retired) Redmond is called back into the life in order to save his estranged son.  This is a pretty great comic with some pretty great writers.  It’s also a nice change from all the super hero books I normally read.  Just a regular guy, trying to get on with his current life but his previous life and his reputation won’t let that happen.  Great book.


Krampus! (2013) – Brian Joines (writer), Dean Kotz (artist) – I think I’ve talked about this book before.  This is such a fun read.  It makes great references to all the Santa/Christmas iconography you can imagine and even makes someone like Doc Holliday, that has nothing to do with Christmas, fit right into the story.  Great art, fun story.  I really hope this gets picked up for some sequels.  So much potential awesome to be mined out of these characters.  GET IT AND READ IT NOW.

That’s my best of list for 2014. It was really hard to pare some of that list down as I read some really good stuff this year. But I also have some good stuff lined up for myself next year. I plan to continue my Stephen King reading by possibly tackling Needful Things as well as possibly It.  There are some good Star Wars books coming out next year featuring Luke Skywalker (Heir to the Jedi) as well as two of our favorite Lords of the Sith.

Nerd Lunch and Expanded Fandomverse Podcasts

Posted in movies, podcast, pop culture, Star Wars with tags , , , , on August 5, 2014 by Paxton

I’ve been gone a week, so things have been a little hectic here. Consequently, I missed this week’s episode of Nerd Lunch. CT and Jeeg fared well without me. They invited Howie Decker from UnderScoopFire and they talked about Man Crushes.

Man Crush

They run the gammut with current men, older men, dead men and even cartoon men. Surprisingly, I am not on any of their lists. A little shocking to be honest.  Check out Nerd Lunch episode 143 in iTunes, Stitcher or over on Nerd Lunch.

How about a podcast that I’m actually on? Two time 4th Chair guest, and my good friend, Jason Collier has joined a new podcast called The Expanded Fandomverse Podcast.

efp01

It’s a Star Wars themed podcast that interviews creative Star Wars fans to discover how Star Wars inspired them. Due to my friendship with Jason and the fact I’m currently a mostly not entirely unsuccessful podcaster, they asked me to be their first guest for a “pilot” episode. The show isn’t on iTunes just yet, so you have to navigate over to the site to listen. But you can listen to the show through your browser.

Check out the pilot episode of The Expanded Fandomverse Podcast featuring an interview with me right here.  They interview me about my blog, how it got started and how that led me to become the famous podcaster that I am today.  And how Star Wars ties into all of that.  I had a really great time with these guys and urge you to check out this new podcast.

Nerd Lunch Episode 115: Star Wars Episode VII Roundtable

Posted in movies, podcast, sequels, Star Wars with tags , , , on January 21, 2014 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

This week on the podcast we invite back my good friend Jason Collier who originally joined us back in episode 14 when we talked about the Star Wars Holiday Special. This time, I’m hosting again and Jason joins us for a another Star Wars discussion, but this time on Disney’s Star Wars Episode VII.

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(Via artist Sean Hartter)

It’s been a little over a year since the announcement that Disney bought Lucasfilm and they were going to make all new movies.  So, we thought it was a good time to have a roundtable about this very subject.  In this roundtable we all talk about the first time we heard that Disney bought Lucasfilm. We talk about what we know about the new movies, we talk about what we’ve heard about the new movies. We even go into what we’d maybe like to see in the new movies. We also go over some news on the proposed one-off solo movies and the expanded universe. This episode is chock full of Star Wars-y goodness.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online right here.

Year End Book Report: The Best Books I Read in 2013

Posted in Batman, books, comic books, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on January 10, 2014 by Paxton

Year End Badass Book Report

How did this happen!?  It’s that time of year again where I pick my favorite books of the year?  Is 2013 over already?  WTF?!  Time is just flying by.  My son is 3, my daughter is 1 and I’m writing the fifth in my series of year end book reports.  THAT. IS. COCONUTS.

Anyway, if you’ve read this article in the past you know I keep my book log online.  Here’s the link to my Book Log on Google Spreadsheet.  There are tabs for every year since 2007.  Take a look on the 2013 tab and you  can see that I read 58 books/comics/graphic novels this year.  That’s way low compared to 2012 in which I read 80 books/comics/graphic novels.  However, having two kids will do that to you.  Those totals include not only books I read for the first time but anything I re-read for the second (or more) time.  For the list below, though, I’ll only take into account books I read for the first time in 2013.

And I actually have FOUR books on this list that were released in 2013.  That may be a personal record.

Below you will find, first, my list of favorite books and following that my list of favorite comic books/graphic novels.  Enjoy.

Books


Impulse (Jumper Book 3) – Steven Gould – I talked about this series on the Nerd Lunch podcast last year and I sort of reviewed the first two books on the blog back in 2009.  I enjoyed the movie for what it was but it led me to the books which were published first.  And the books are excellent.  There are three of them; the original Jumper from 1992, the 2004 sequel, Reflex, and then this third book which was released early 2013.  All three books are excellent, but you’ll need to read the first two before reading this book.  There’s a lot of continuity that flows throughout the books.  Oh, and if you hated the movie, don’t worry, other than sharing a few of the same characters, the stories are completely different between the two.  Just a warning, though, there is another “Jumper” book by Steven Gould called Jumper: Griffin’s Story.  That book is not really a part of this series, it’s a part of the movie series.  Confusing? Yes, but that’s the way it is.  Read my blog review above for a little bit more explanation.  All that aside, this is a fun read that I thoroughly enjoyed.  And hopefully we don’t have to wait 10 years for another Jumper book.


The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards Book 1) (2006) – Scott Lynch – I forget how I first stumbled across this book, I think it was while I was searching the store on my Nook.  I was intrigued by the title and the premise. It’s somewhat like an Ocean’s 11 con man/heist story but set in a fantasy world.  Hard to explain, but the book is extremely well written, has a great world built up within and interesting, smart and dangerous characters.  Gun to my head, I would probably put this as my favorite book of the year.  Just really fun and well written.  I recently bought the sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies, with holiday money and I’m eyeballing the third book, The Republic of Thieves, which came out in Oct 2013.  Lynch also plans a series of novellas based within this world.  If you like smartly written, character based fantasy with a nice helping of action, this book is for you.


Star Wars: Scoundrels (2013) – Timothy Zahn – Timothy Zahn is one of the best Star Wars EU writers. He wrote the Zahn Trilogy as well as the awesome books Star Wars: Allegiance and Star Wars: Outbound Flight (which made my favorites list in 2010).  This is a Han Solo adventure that also happens to include Chewie, of course, and Lando.  And it’s great.  I honestly hope that when Disney makes the Han Solo stand alone movie, they use this as the blueprint.  It takes place right after the first Death Star is blown up in the original Star Wars: A New Hope. Han gathers a team of expert con men and thieves in order to steal a priceless piece of art from a Black Sun boss.  Han hopes the proceeds from the job will free him of his debt to Jabba.  Lots of well written, fun dialogue and heist action.  There’s also a short story prequel to this book called Star Wars: Winner Lose All that focuses on what Lando is doing right before the actual book. It, too, is a lot of fun.


Star Wars: Kenobi (2013) – John Jackson-Miller – Oh wow, two Star Wars books get to make my list this year. Yay!  This book was very highly anticipated by myself.  I’ve said for years that a movie or book based on Obi-Wan’s “Tatooine Years” would be amazing.  When Disney was throwing out the stand alone movie ideas I said Ewan McGregor as Kenobi should get one.  And this book should be the basis.  It takes place just after Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.  Obi-Wan has dropped off Luke to the Lars Homestead and he’s setting up base in the Judland Wastes and starts getting acquainted with the denizens of a small moisture farming town who are being attacked by Tusken Raiders.  Great book.  Check it out.

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I visited Barnes & Noble for Star Wars Reads Day with my son

Posted in books, movies, Star Wars with tags , , , , , on December 12, 2013 by Paxton

Star Wars Roadtrip

My 3 year old has been slowly getting into the concept of Star Wars. He hasn’t seen any of the movies, he just knows some of the characters because he has several books I read to him at night featuring the more popular ones. Not surprisingly, he gravitates to the more visually interesting ones; Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Yoda, etc. And, of course, he loves lightsabers.

So, back in early October, when I saw that our local Barnes & Noble store celebrated Star Wars Reads Day with costumed characters, book readalongs and lots of fun activities, I knew I had to take PJ.  He already loves Barnes & Noble, but to go there and see Darth Vader?  Yeah, this had to happen.

Star Wars Reads Day sign

We got there around 11:30am and there were several costumed characters. First PJ and I got a pic with one of my favorite types of stormtroopers, the Biker Scout.

Biker Scout

PJ was a little shy at first seeing these giant, life size representations of the characters in his book, but he was sort of giggling with happiness as well.

Next we saw a Sandtrooper.

Stormtrooper

And then finally, the man himself. Darth Vader.

Darth Vader

PJ was in Heaven at this point. He loved Vader. Later on he would walk up to Vader and the other stormtroopers and tell them that “his name is PJ”. So cute.

There was only one character PJ was actively afraid of.  That was the Jawa.  I don’t think he’d ever even seen a Jawa before, so it scared him.  Consequently, he wouldn’t get a picture with it.  However, afterwards, that’s the one he asked the most questions about.  He wanted to know more about the Jawa.

Whenever we’ve gone back to Barnes & Noble after this, he asks if Darth Vader and the Jawa are going to be there.  He also has been showing lots of interest in my Star Wars figures.  I have a bunch of loose ones on display upstairs as well as a bunch stored away in plastic divider boxes.  I’ve given him about 4 figures to play with; a stormtrooper, Darth Vader, Darth Maul and The Emperor.  He also wants a Boba Fett really bad, but I don’t actually have one at the house except for a vintage one that is on display.  I’ll have to dig into my stored boxes to find one.

I can’t wait until he can actually see these movies.  I’ll probably show them to him sometime in 2015 right before the new Disney Star Wars movie is released.  He’ll be five.  I think that’ll be PERFECT.