Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

May 19, 2014 at 11:10am

Nerd Alert! - New X-Men, Wil Wheaton Project, Dylanologists ...

"X-Men: Days of Future Past" is inspired by one of the most beloved stories in all of the 48 billion X-Men comics.

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BAMF! (And no, not the acronym.) This is Nerd Alert, the Weekly Volcano's recurring events calendar devoted to all things nerdy. I myself am a Star Wars fan, mathlete, and spelling bee champion of long standing, so trust me: I grok whereof I speak.


Thursday night brings the TV premieres of Labyrinth on the CW (sorry, no Bowie) and Gang Related on Fox. No one cares, not even the person who should've put a hyphen in Gang Related.


As we all know, the X-Men (but let's not be sexist: X-People) have endured mixed success on the silver screen. It's tough to gripe about director Bryan Singer's first two efforts, but then Brett Ratner took the reins on 2006's threequel X-Men: The Last Stand and ... well, it almost was. For my money, the first standalone Wolverine film, in which Hugh Jackman squared off against Sabretooth, a wretchedly misconceived Deadpool, and suck-tacular special effects, was even worse. Then, notwithstanding January Jones' predictably glassy-eyed performance, Matthew Vaughn steered the franchise back onto the rails with X-Men: First Class three years ago. Finally, like a time-traveler from days of future past, Singer returns to the fold, adapting the Sentinel storyline from Chris Claremont and John Byrne's 1981 run of Uncanny X-Men. Hey, speaking of "uncanny," how much do you want to bet Fox is sweating the timing of those child molestation charges against Mr. Singer? Of course, the man should be considered innocent until proven guilty, and that's always a generous attitude to retain when new superhero movies hit cinemas as well. This time, the early buzz turns out to be good.

Thanks to a bit of temporal translocation, both Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy get to play Professor X, Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender can play Magneto, and Rebecca Romijn who? As if that isn't super enough, the cast adds Peter Dinklage (as Bolivar Trask) and two people named Fan Bingbing and Booboo Stewart as, I'm guessing here, pandas. I can pretty much promise you it'll be better than X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, or, let's face it, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Oh, Paul Giamatti, you deserve so much better.


Sunday night marks HBO's first airing of Normal Heart, the most controversial movie of 20 years ago. That said, the script, based on Larry Kramer's off-Broadway 1985 play, is terrific, and the cast is superhero-movie good (try Alec Baldwin, Alfred Molina, Jim Parsons, Julia Roberts, and Mark Ruffalo for starters). I'd be stunned if this isn't a major Emmy contender next year. The play's belated 2011 debut on Broadway earned the Tony for Best Revival, plus two acting awards for Ellen Barkin and John Benjamin Hickey. Essentially, it's about an early-1980s crusade to push AIDS awareness - literally, an awareness and acknowledgement that the virus even existed - into public conversation and governmental action.


A new season of America's Got Talent begins on NBC, which would be much more exciting if America, which judges the show, also had taste. (Wouldn't America Has Talent - or even better, Americans Have Talent - be preferable?) Luckily for our purposes, Syfy also gave former Enterprise-D helmsman (helmsperson?) Wil Wheaton a weekly comedy show, The Wil Wheaton Project, and that debuts Sunday at 10. He calls it "Talk Soup for geeks." Um ... I thought that was called Talk Soup?


Come gather ‘round, people, wherever you roam. Like many writers and critics who prophesize with our pens, I keep my eyes open for new books about Robert Zimmerman, better known as the one and only Mr. Bob Dylan. But The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob isn't, strictly speaking, a tome about the Bard of Minneapolis, it's an insider's look at geeks like me who adore him. Author David Kinney will stop by the downtown Olympia library tonight to promote it. And don't think twice, it's all right: he will have copies available for purchase.

DAVID KINNEY, 7:30 p.m., Olympia Timberland Library, 313 eighth Ave., Olympia, free, 360.352.0595

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may the answer be blowin' in the wind.

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