Tuesday 30 January 2018

Top 10 Must Watch Geek Movies for 2018

2018 is a BIG year once again for Geek Pop Culture Movies. Another year with many highly anticipated sequels as well as a few prequels. Here are top picks by Outpost's resident Vulcan Mr Smock and The Captain of Pop Culture FUN Malaysia:

Watch this video for more insight into why these movies are Must Watch

Listed below in order of release date in Malaysia (at time of this posting):

Tomb Raider, 15 March 2018

Official Synopsis:
Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent, and takes college courses, rarely making it to class. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father¹s global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he¹s truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can¹t understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death.

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Tomb Raider is the story that will set a young and resolute Lara Croft on a path toward becoming a global hero. The film stars Oscar winner Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl) in the lead role, under the direction of Roar Uthaug (The Wave), with Oscar-winner Graham King (The Departed) producing under his GK Films banner. The film¹s production begins on the heels of the 20th anniversary of the wildly popular videogame franchise from Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal.

Tomb Raider also stars Dominic West (Money Monster, 300), Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained) and Daniel Wu (AMC¹s Into the Badlands).

Follow the official Tomb Raider Facebook Page for this prequel video-game adaptation movie, and at Warner Bros. Pictures Malaysia Facebook Page for local promos.

Pacific Rim Uprising, 22 March 2018

Official Synopsis:
The globe-spanning conflict between otherworldly monsters of mass destruction and the human-piloted super-machines built to vanquish them was only a prelude to the all-out assault on humanity in Pacific Rim: Uprising.

John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) stars as the rebellious Jake Pentecost, a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous “Kaiju.”  Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld.  But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through our cities and bring the world to its knees, he is given one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy by his estranged sister, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi)—who is leading a brave new generation of pilots that have grown up in the shadow of war.  As they seek justice for the fallen, their only hope is to unite together in a global uprising against the forces of extinction.

Jake is joined by gifted rival pilot Lambert (The Fate of the Furious’ Scott Eastwood) and 15-year-old Jaeger hacker Amara (newcomer Cailee Spaeny), as the heroes of the PPDC become the only family he has left.  Rising up to become the most powerful defense force to ever walk the earth, they will set course for a spectacular all-new adventure on a towering scale.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is directed by Steven S. DeKnight (Netflix’s Daredevil, STARZ’s Spartacus) and also stars Jing Tian, Burn Gorman, Adria Arjona and Charlie Day.

There is a prelude comic to this sequel movie titled Pacific Rim Aftermath. This 6-part comic is available for purchase via Comixology.com.

 Official comic book series Pacific Rim Aftermath setting up the scene for Pacific Rim Uprising.

For more update, goto Like the Facebook Pages for Pacific Rim, Legendary Pictures, and locally United International Pictures Malaysia. Also enlist with the Pan Pacific Defence Corps (PPDC) at the Jaeger Academy to earn your stripes to be pilots.

Ready Player One, 29 March 2018

Official Synopsis:
From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the science fiction action adventure “Ready Player One,” based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon.

The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse.  But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance).  When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world.  When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.

Many retro 1980s pop culture references in this movie as well as some new ones. Try spotting these: Deloren, Gundam, Overwatch, and many for "easter eggs".

Find out more in the countdown to this movie from the official Ready Player One Facebook Page, and locally at Warner Bros. Pictures Malaysia.

Avengers Infinity War, 26 April 2018

Official Synopsis:
As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment - the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.

10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe culminates in this third Avengers movie when all the superheroes assemble to face of against uber-BAD Thanos and his Black Order. Expect to use all your fingers, toes and more to keep count of the characters appearing in this mega-blockbuster.

For updates, follow on Facebook the Avengers, and Marvel. This will also be the best opportunity for a MASSIVE Marvel group cosplay so stay tuned as we attempted to assembled the largest MCU cosplay gathering in Malaysia closer to movie release.

Deadpool 2, 17 May 2018

Official Synopsis:
After surviving a near fatal knee boarding accident, a disfigured guidance counselor (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Poughkeepsie's most celebrated French Bulldog breeder while also learning to cope with an open relationship. Searching to regain his passion for life, as well as a new stuffed unicorn, Wade must battle ninjas, tight assed metal men, and babysit a group of stereotypical side characters as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and creative outlets for his very open-minded sex life. He manages to find a new lust for being a do-gooder, a sparkly Hello Kitty backpack, all while earning the coveted coffee mug title of World's Best 4th Wall Breaking Superhero.
(Mr Smock - this synopsis is highly illogical)

Ryan Reynolds is back as Deadpool with R-rated elements what made the first movie such a smashing success. No need to point where to find more info about this Merc with a Mouth as certainly expect witty social media bytes to populate newsfeeds in the run-up to movie release.

Solo: A Star Wars Story, 24 May 2018

Official Synopsis:
Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' an adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga's most unlikely heroes.

Hardly any movie promotional materials have been released yet for Solo: A Star Wars Story, despite being just 4 months away and barely 6 months after Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Can there be too much Star Wars to digest? If this movie creates more "ripples" in The Force like Episode VIII, perhaps some fans can no longer take the stress!

Alita: Battle Angel, 19 July

Official Synopsis:
Visionary filmmakers James Cameron (AVATAR) and Robert Rodriguez (SIN CITY) create a groundbreaking new heroine in ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, an action-packed story of hope, love and empowerment. Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita (Rosa Salazar) is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic. When Alita awakens she has no memory of who she is, nor does she have any recognition of the world she finds herself in. Everything is new to Alita, every experience a first. As she learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield Alita from her mysterious past while her street-smart new friend, Hugo (Keean Johnson), offers instead to help trigger her memories. A growing affection develops between the two until deadly forces come after Alita and threaten her newfound relationships. It is then that Alita discovers she has extraordinary fighting abilities that could be used to save the friends and family she’s grown to love. Determined to uncover the truth behind her origin, Alita sets out on a journey that will lead her to take on the injustices of this dark, corrupt world, and discover that one young woman can change the world in which she lives.

Based on the Japanese manga series "Gunnm", otherwise more known in the western world via the anime OVA Battle Angel (1993).

Stay tuned to the official Facebook Page Alita: Battle Angel and locally at 20th Century Fox Malaysia.

The Predator, 2 August 2018

No official synopsis for this movie yet with scant details other than Director Shane Black stating that it will be an "inventive" sequel taking place after the original Predator (1987) movie, and not a remake. Expect more snippets to be revealed in the coming months by 20th Century Fox.

X-Men Dark Phoenix, 1 November 2018

Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world.

Not much more is known for this 4th outing of the X-Men First Class timeline other than the obvious fallout of young mutant Jean Grey turning into the Phoenix. But hey, wasn't that story thread already explored in X-Men III: The Last Stand (2006)? The official X-Men Movies Facebook Page seems to be making reveals so go Like and Follow it.

Bumblebee (Transformers spin-off), 27 December 2018

On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug. 

Transformers fans' fav Autobot scout is back in "live-action" in what looks to be his original Gen 1 incarnation as a yellow VW bug! Plus being based in 1987 (actual peak popularity period of the Transformers cartoon franchise), except looks of retro 80s music tunes to groove this movie directed by Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings, Paranorman, Boxtrolls). It also stars John Cena as a human.

So there you have it, 10 MUST WATCH Geek Movies releasing in 2018. Scroll back up to listen to Mr. Smock and The Captain explain their picks, then set these dates in your calendars. Let's all keep our digits crossed that they delivery way many geekgasms!

Monday 22 January 2018

Maze Runner: The Death Cure Comes Within Reach of WCKD

The Maze Runner Trilogy concludes this week in cinemas with The Death Cure. Based on young adult fiction books by James Dashner, the film adaptations were launched in 2014 with The Maze Runner, followed shortly by The Scorch Trials in 2015. The Death Cure was intended to release in February 2017 but was delayed almost a year due to an accident during production involving lead star Dylan O'Brien. Maze Runner movie fans in Malaysia will finally be able catch the Gladers back in action from 25 January 2018 and brace for the final showdown against WCKD.

Official Movie Synopsis
In the epic finale to the Maze Runner saga, Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all. Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure is directed once again by Wes Ball with returning cast Dylan O'Brien (Teen Wolf, Deepwater Horizon, American Assassin) as Thomas, Rosa Salazar (Alita Battle Angel – coming soon) as Brenda, Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones) as Newt, Kaya Scodelario as Teresa, Ki Hong Lee as Minho, Patricia Clarkson (Six Feet Under) as Ava Paige and Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones) as Janson.

Before heading into The Death Cure, it is highly recommended to watch the first two movies: The Maze Runner (2014) and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015). Check out this 90 second recap by the cast or read the Outpost recap below:

The first movie introduces our lead protagonist, Thomas (Dylan O'Brien), who is thrown into The Glade, a (relatively) peaceful patch of forest and fields surrounded by unscaleable walls of the Maze. The Glade is populated by teenage boys since 3 years ago with a new inmate, crudely labelled as a “greenie”, brought in every month by a mysterious elevator. Viewers learn about the morphing Maze and life in the Glade through the eyes of Thomas, who soon becomes a Runner. The Maze Runners explore the maze everyday in attempt to map it and find an exit. Runners can only enter during the day as come nightfall the Maze closes and anyone trapped inside do not survive. That is until Thomas does survive and also saves fellow Gladers Minho (Ki Hong Lee) and Alby (Aml Ameen).

Life in the Glade soon turns topsy-turvy with the arrival of Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), the first girl and the last greenie, ever. The Gladers are assaulted at night by Grievers, massive techno-creatures on spidery legs with a poison sting inducing madness. Many are killed and subsequently the Gladers are divided between Thomas who intends to escape The Maze, and Gally (Will Poulter) who insists everyone must stay put in the Glade.

Thomas, Teresa, Newt, Minho, Winston, Frypan, Chuck and other boys enter The Maze and after a deadly battle with Grievers, escape into a WCKD facility. There they find a recording of Dr Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) explaining that the Earth has been scorched by a massive solar flare and mankind subsequently afflicted by a deadly pandemic known as The Flare. The Gladers became part of an experiment to find the cure of the lethal virus that transform humans into “Cranks”, living zombies that prey on survivors.

Humanity on the edge of extinction by The Flare virus.
In a final showdown between Thomas and a delusional Gally (induced madness after stung by a Griever), young Chuck is shot and Gally speared by Minho. Everyone is suddenly “rescued” by a tactical military team and ushered into helicopters whisking them over desert wastelands to a safe facility. However the final scene shows Ava Paige very much alive and stating the commencement of “Phase Two”.

Up next during The Scorch Trials, The Gladers are brought to a safehouse run by Janson (Aiden Gillen) who claims to have saved them from WCKD, short for World Catastrophe Killzone Department. They also find survivors from other mazes at the facility. Thomas soon meets Aris (Jacob Lofland) who suggests that things are not what they seem. Investigating further, Thomas discovers that Janson is actually allied with Ava Paige and WCKD, where the survivors, dubbed “Immunes”, are being experimented on in a secure wing of the facility in attempt to find a cure to The Flare virus.

Thomas, Avis and the other Gladers quickly escape the facility, running in the scorched desert. Whilst scavenging provisions from an abandoned shelter, they soon encounter the virus-transformed Cranks and so begins another mad run to escape. Fortunately the movie did not devolve into a typical “zombie” flick once the Gladers outrun the Cranks. However, whilst crossing the scorched desert, Winston (Alexander Flores) is forced to end his own life instead of succumbing to The Flare.

The Gladers soon discover a small refuge of humans lead by Jorges (Giancarlo Esposito) and his ward, Brenda (Rosa Salazar). Their presence is soon revealed to WCKD who send-in tactical assault teams to retrieve the Immunes. With the help of Jorges and Brenda, the Gladers escape but are separated. Unfortunately Brenda is infected whilst on the run from Cranks with Thomas. The gang reunites and heads into the mountains seeking The Right Arm, a resistance group rescuing Immunes from WCKD.

Brought to the Right Arm's camp, Thomas is recognised by Mary Cooper, a former WCKD scientist who explains that the prospective cure to the Flare can only be harvested from Immunes and not manufactured. However, a true Cure has yet to be found as the harvested enzyme is only able to prolong the infection before transformation into a Crank. Mary extracts this enzyme from Thomas and administers it to Brenda, receding the infection.

Teresa betrays the Gladers and leaves with Ava Paige and Immune prisoners.
The movie ends with WCKD ambushing the camp and kidnapping many of the Immunes when Teresa betrays the camp location. Amongst the Gladers, Minho is captured and flown away by WCKD together with Teresa. Although they have the opportunity for escape to a safehaven, Thomas opts to remain vowing to save Minho.

Setting the scene for this third and final instalment The Death Cure, Thomas and his band of Gladers together with Jorges, Teresa and Vince have been tracking down WCKD's movement of the Immunes for some months. No secret from the movie trailers, Thomas and friends hit a WCKD "shipment" train of Immunes in attempt to rescue Minho.

Thomas shows how to conduct a train heist in a post-apocalyptic dystopian future.
Without delving into SPOILERS, Thomas' mission ultimately leads him to the Last City, a WCKD stronghold where Ava Paige and Teresa relentlessly seek a cure for The Flare. To protect against Cranks, the WCKD city is surrounded by an impenetrable wall and defensive weapon emplacements. Unfortunately many survivors of this post-apocalyptic Earth are also not welcome into the fortress city, leading to much resentment amongst the populace in the surrounding squatter settlements.

To face off against WCKD's hi-tech forces led by Janson in the Last City, Thomas and friends are forced to seek help from other rebels and unexpected allies.

Left to Right: Thomas, Jorges, Frypan (behind), Newt & Brenda prepare for their most dangerous mission against WCKD.
Overshadowing their respective struggles is a reflection of humanity in this question posed by Ava Paige to Thomas (as seen in the trailers): “You can save your friends, or you can save us all.” Although WCKD can easily be seen as the evil corporation, their mission is to find a cure to save mankind from extinction and to do so without constrained by ethics.

So to quote Star Trek's most logical Vulcan Mr Spock, do “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one”? Watch Maze Runner: The Death Cure and decide an answer for yourself.

Thomas with Jorges (centre) and Brenda must find a way into the Last City.
The surviving cast from The Scorch Trials return in The Death Cure, but who will survive this final Maze? It's almost certain not everyone will so check out this fun video of the main cast audition from the first movie before they take their final race to the end as Runners:

Asia's largest Super Fan Screening for Maze Runner: The Death Cure took place on 13 January 2018 at GSC Cinemas Mid Valley Megamall as part of a Global Fan Screening Event. This special invitation only event included a pre-screening party with thematic activities for guests. Here's a video rundown on what took place

Maze Runner: The Death Cure Super Fan Screening, 13 January 2018

Cool thematic display of the Last City overhanging the cinema entrance.

Guests funnel through a short "maze" to the party.

Some guests were motivated to showcase their "maze running" skills.

The Flare virus instantly available to willing candidates.

Not to worry, The Cure serum is available on hand.
Also look for photos of this #GSCdeathcureparty at the Outpost Productions Facebook Page.

Snapshots from the Global Fan Screenings across the planet.

Thanks to 20th Century Fox Malaysia, we were able to send an Away Team to this Super Fan Screening and provide this early review of the movie, presented by our resident Vulcan Cultural Officer Mr Smock and special guest Vocaloid geek gal Hayashiforest:

Stay tuned to the end of this review to find out how to win a handy movie premium.

For Maze Runner fans who like to take home movie merchandise, the Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T.) has sourced these goodies:

Firstly GSC Cinemas is offering an exclusive Death Cure Vial keychain with purchase of two (2) Maze Runner: The Death Cure tickets at selected cinemas. Check at the GSC website to find out which locations to find this cure and head over soonest before stocks run out. Always handy in case of infection by The Flare!

Amongst the cinema chains, at time of this posting only Premium-X in OneCity USJ is offering movie premiums to giveaway. Follow instructions from their Facebook Page and submit entries by 5 February 2018.

 Cool WCKD movie premiums to be won.

From social media partners, blogging community Nuffnang and Budiey.com are offering similar Maze Runner: The Death Cure movie premiums comprising WCKD-branded tshirt, flash, earphones, phone cover, wristband cord and backpack (pictured above). Nuffnang's contest ends on 24 January and includes in-season movie passes so ACT fast! Budiey.com's contest runs longer until 30 January for that's more time to create a winning slogan.

To experience running to survive the Maze, two App games are available for smartphones and tablets based on the preceding movies. Look for The Maze Runner and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials on iOS and Android.

App game for the first Maze Runner movie is still available for download.

Run the Maze as your favourite Gladers to beat the clock.

The Death Cure is the last movie / book in a trilogy, but hardcore fans of this young adult dystopian future can look for the prequel novels titled The Kill Code and The Fever Code. Find out more about these books from the official website of author James Dashner.

The second prequel novel The Fever Code ties in just before the events in The Maze Runner.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure coming to Malaysian cinemas shortly on 25 January 2018. The movie run time is 142 minutes, the longest of the trilogy, so prep warm clothing and snacks as well as empty bladders beforehand, or risk getting "cranky":

Disclaimer: Maze Runner and other trademarks are copyright 20th Century Fox and/or James Dashner, referenced here for fan service engagements without intent to infringe.

Friday 19 January 2018

Top 10 Geek Pop Culture Movies of 2017 with Honorable Mentions plus Dishonorable Ones

As the year begins, it is usually the off-season for major movie releases with some of the December blockbusters trailing off the festive holiday season and a few mid-budget offerings. So this is a good time to reflect on last year's movies to revisit those geek pop culture titles that sent shudders through our geekiness. These geek movies need not have broken box office records but certainly made their presence felt amongst various fandoms.

Our resident Vulcan cultural observer Mr Smock together with The Captain of Pop Culture FUN - Malaysia share their selection of Top 10 Geek Pop Culture movies of 2017 released in tropical Malaysia; listed below in no intended order:

Logan, the final chapter in the Wolverine Trilogy. of the X-Men franchise.
20th Century Fox.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2.
Marvel Studios (Disney).

Spider-man Homecoming joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Sony Pictures.

Marvel's Thor Ragnarok.
Marvel Studios (Disney).

Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi.
Lucasfilm (Disney)

Wonder Woman.
Warner Bros Pictures.

Justice League, finally the DCEU unites.
Warner Bros Pictures.

Blade Runner 2049, a sequel 35 years in the making.
Sony Pictures.

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle, a sequel 22 years in the making.
Sony Pictures.

Kong Skull Island.
Warner Bros Pictures.

Listen to Mr Smock and The Captain explain their movie choices on our YouTube channel MySciFiFanOutpost in this video:

These movies are certainly must-watch for geeks so take the opportunity during this off-season to catch these titles that you may have missed at the cinemas; some are still showing whilst others are already available in DVD / Blu-Ray, pay-TV, and on-demand video streaming services.

There were certainly many other geek movies released in 2017 so these comprise 10 Honorable Mentions by our reviewer duo; also listed in not intended order:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge / Dead Men Tell No Tales (Disney).
Fast & Furious 8 / Fast 8 / Fate of the Furious (United International Pictures).

War for the Planet of the Apes. Kingsman The Golden Circle (20th Century Fox).

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Rainfilm).
Ghost in the Shell (United International Pictures).

The Dark Tower. Arrival. (Sony Pictures)

Power Rangers (TGV Pictures).
LEGO Batman Movie (Warner Bros Pictures).

Whilst these movies may not fall under the "must-watch" classification as per the Top 10 list, they are still recommended entertainment that the geek community should check out, especially whilst the cinema is devoid of equivalent offerings at this time. Here is Mr Smock and The Captain share on why these titles deserve Honorable Mentions:

Local movie tidbits: Fast 8 and Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle rank in the Top Five All-Time Highest Grossing Movies in Malaysia, both starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the same year. Plus Malaysia's Highest Grossing Movie ever is Furious 7 in 2015, also starring Dwayne Johnson! Malaysians just can't get enough of Mr. Johnson.

Along with the good, there are certainly the bad offerings of 2017. These few titles are labelled Dishonorable Mentions in such that they are a disservice to their respective franchises. In their third and final part video, Mr Smock and The Captain explains on their Dishonorable Mentions not worth the cinema ticket:

Thank you for reading and we trust fellow geeks will find this movie list plus video reviews useful for an informed decision. Stay tuned here on our Blog as well as our YouTube Channel MySciFiFanOutpost for the Top 10 Must-Watch Geek Movies of 2018.

Peace and Long Life.
Live Long & Prosper.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed by reviewers are not representative as official positions of Outpost Productions regarding the subject matter.