Tag Archives: summer glau

Knights of Badassdom

Knights of Badassdom is 2013 comedy horror film. It stars Ryan Kwanten (best known from True Blood), Steve Zahn, and Peter Dinklage as three best friends with a passion for live action role-playing games. They go on a weekend-long medieval LARP in the woods, but accidently end up summoning a succubus that goes on a murderous rampage. If that sounds awesome, that’s because it is. Any nerd would love it.

This movie was not successful at the box office. It hardly made any money. It only made $123,854 in its initial run. Baby Geniuses 2 made $9,448,644 for comparison. Knights of Badassdom is a much better movie, but it didn’t get any advertising or respect. I only know about it because I saw it on Netflix. I wouldn’t have watched it, but my friend was insistent that I check it out sometime. Today was that sometime. And I was pleasantly surprised at how good it is.

The film has heart. The characters are funny, wacky, and still manage to be relatable. Peter Dinklage’s character is a great example of that. He’s a little person but that has no bearing on the plot whatsoever. There are no midget jokes or offensive sight gags. He’s just one of the main characters and he happens to be short. They don’t talk about it and they don’t exploit it.

There are quite a few actors that you recognize, which is kind of cool considering the lack of budget the film had. That means that Summer Glau, Danny Pudi, and Brian Posehn wanted to do the movie because they wanted to be apart of it. It’s not a great movie, but it’s solid and better than most of the crap you see in theaters today. Add it to your Netflix queue and watch it the next time you can’t decide what to watch.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young


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Serenity (film)

Once upon a time, there was an amazing television show called Firefly. It got cancelled before it could even complete the first season. But the fans demanded more stories about Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his crew. And somehow Joss Whedon was able to convince a studio to make a follow-up film to his cancelled show. It didn’t do too well at the box office, but it’s become a cult classic. It’s a great sci-fi flick, but if you didn’t watch the show, you’ll be confused with all the characters and backstories.

            Joss Whedon brought back all of the main cast from the TV show. Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Ron Glass, and Summer Glau all reprise their iconic characters. There’s a great extended take reintroducing Malcolm, Wash, Zoe, Jayne, Kaylee, Simon, and River as Serenity fights to stay in the sky before crash landing. It’s the perfect way to reestablish what you’ve been missing out on.

The movie picks up a few months after the events of the final episode. Shepard Book and Inara have already been driven off of Serenity by Malcolm, and Simon and River seem poised to leave as well. The two Tams are still being pursued by the Alliance and Malcolm is having more and more difficulties trying to find jobs. There’s a run-in with some Reavers and you finally see how frightening they are.

            The Reavers are kind of the backbone of the story. A lot of shit happens and one of the shits that happens is the crew discovering that the Alliance is responsible for creating the Reavers. Malcolm decides that the Verse has the right to know the truth, and he eventually broadcasts the evidence after a fight with the Operative that has been tracking them throughout the film.

This is an awesome movie, a great movie, and a spectacular movie… if you’re a fan of the show. You really need to watch Firefly first to truly appreciate this flick. Serenity is your reward for enjoying the show. It’s just a glorified episode with better special effects and a bigger budget. And it makes you want more Firefly.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Firefly (tv show, not the bug)

Firefly is one of the best TV shows of all time. Never mind the fact that it didn’t escape its first season, that just means it never got the chance to jump the shark. Firefly is about nine different people looking out into the void of space and seeing nine different things. Creator Joss Whedon takes us to a universe where mankind has escaped to the skies to escape overcrowding, transforming and terraforming new planets for habitation. China and the US were the two superpowers, and the two cultures merged together. So Firefly is your basic space western with eastern flavor to spice it up. Nathan Fillion stars as Malcolm Reynolds, the captain of Firefly-class spaceship Serenity, who leads a loyal crew and a group of passengers of various adventures around the outskirts of space doing odd jobs, which may not be entirely legal.

At first glance, Firefly seems like your standard slice of sci-fi. There are spaceships, advanced technology, crazy weapons, new phrases… but then you start to realize that it’s very different from most science fiction shows. There are no aliens for starters. It as much a sci-fi show as it is a western. That might seem like two clashing ideas but Han Solo is a fucking cowboy. It is a human drama that relies on the chemistry between the characters and the cast.

A good cast will make or break a show. A show like Lost can go off the deep end and start involving time travel and purgatory, but if they have likeable and relatable characters people will come back each week.

Nathan Fillion stars as Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a former sergeant for a losing army in a civil war. He resents the Alliance, the current government for beating him in the fight for independence. He is honorable and has good intentions, but will fight dirty if he needs to.

Gina Torres plays Zoe, the first mate. She fought alongside Mal as a Browncoat and his been loyal to him ever since. She is fierce, ferocious, and a great fighter. She is married to Wash (Alan Tudyk), the pilot of Serenity. He is kind of a coward, and naturally serves as comic relief. Adam Baldwin plays Jayne Cobb. He is basically a mercenary that currently works for Mal, but he would sell him out if the price is right. Rounding out the main crew is Kaylee (Jewel Staite) the ship’s mechanic and the heart and soul of Serenity. She is sweet and innocent, and if she is in trouble than the ship is in trouble.

Malcolm Reynolds and his crew do random heists and various illegal activities to pay the bills and keep Serenity in the sky. Occasionally they pick up passengers for legitimacy. One passenger is Inara Serra (played by Morena Baccarin), who works as a companion. Companions are legal prostitutes, and in the future they are respectable. Inara and Malcolm have a little chemistry but they rarely act on it.

In the pilot episode, they pick up a few new additions to the passenger list. Ron Glass plays Book, a Shepherd (a priest or pastor), with a shady past who knows way more about crime and criminals than he should. Also jumping on board is Simon Tam (Sean Maher), a brilliant doctor whose main concern is his younger sister. Summer Glau plays River Tam, Simon’s sister and the main reason for Serenity to keep evading the Alliance. She has a much higher IQ than her genius brother, which he describes as making him seem idiotic. So she is really smart. She is also really crazy. The Alliance fucked with her head and turned her into a human weapon that’s way beyond Jason Bourne.

The crew stumbles their way around the galaxy, meeting new people and doing crazy things. They make enemies and become heroes more than once. The crew fights amongst each other, they bond, they become friends, and they become family. And you get to know each character and what they represent.

The best episode of the entire series is Out of Gas. They use a non-linear structure that flashes between the current perilous storyline of Mal with the history of the crew and how they all came to join Serenity. This one episode sums up the entire series.

I have a crazy theory that Malcolm dies in Out of Gas. The next episode, Ariel, they do an elaborate Hollywood style heist that seems out of place for the show. Shepherd Book is inexplicably absent, there’s no religious influence and we know that Mal is an atheist. They suddenly start to reuse characters that appeared once and suddenly come back, in this case the mysterious Two by Two, Hands of Blue guys. The episode after that, War Stories, brings back another character, the evil crime lord Niska, who comes back and captures Mal and tortures him to death before reviving him and telling him, “You died, Mr. Reynolds.”

The episode after that, Trash, brings back Saffron, another character from one episode. In a universe with countless worlds to explore, Malcolm keeps running into key figures from his past. Maybe he’s dead and is holding onto his memories, trying to keep from slipping into the void.

Firefly is a great show. I can geek out and talk about it for hours if someone would let me. Joss Whedon created a fully realized universe, oftentimes fantastic, but always relatable. You recognize the characters and their problems. They just happen to be living on a spaceship in the future.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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