Captain America: The First Avenger of Awesome

captain-america-poster with hot nerd girlAs many of you know, this past weekend I spent my time doing my big move from Los Angeles to San Diego. Between the packing of the U-haul and the wiping of the brow from all the heavy lifting, I didn’t have time to get to the theater to catch the last of the summer superhero themed blockbusters: Captain America. But after asking everyone on facebook if I should hurry out to the theaters to catch this cinematic marvel, I decided that unwrapping my bed from the bubble wrap could wait. To the theater!

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And just in case I do spoil something, SPOILER WARNING!

Now, as I’m sure many of you know, a high bar was set in terms of Captain America movies. There have been three previously, with two done in the seventies and one in 1990. And if you missed them, SyFy was good enough to have a marathon of them on Friday night. Lucky for me I’ve actually already seen the 1990’s one and, being a good little nerd girl, I’ve even seen the Dolph Lungren debacle Punisher movie from around the same time period.

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I had never even heard of the 1970’s sequel Captain America II: Death Too Soon starring Reb Brown. <sarcasm> Fortunately for me, I was able to catch about 15 minutes of it between throwing my fine china and Star Trek teddy bears into cardboard boxes. And I gotta say, Chris Evans had a pretty tough job beating it. Captain America throws his motorcycle on top of a prison wall but can’t defeat a pack of what looks like SPCA rejects? Phew! So tough! </sarcasm>

Captain America II

Totally not ridiculous looking

If you’ve read any of my blog posts before, you’ll know that my brother serves in the USMC. Going in I was curious about how they were going to portray why Steve wanted to fight, how he was going to get into the program and how he would see himself during the whole run up to becoming the bad ass Cap that we all know and love. And I gotta say, they nailed it. As opposed to the 1990’s movie version, or even the comic book, where it’s just kind of a given that he’s getting all geared up to fight, this one takes a much longer route and shows just how much the character of Steve Rogers wants to serve his country. There were times when I actually started to get genuinely verklempt. Chris Evans played the role so perfectly of the scrawny little guy that doesn’t want to pick a fight persay, he just “doesn’t like a bully.” It really is heartwarming for a girl who’s brother is in the military. If I were to pick a part that really got me, it’s when he jumped on the grenade in training. The others guys always treated him harshly, but he was willing to die for them. How many of the rest of us can say the same?

Overall, as just an action film is was pretty damn awesome. In the land of over-choreographed fight scenes in movies where every minor character seems to know as much martial arts as a human-turned-vampire in Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, it was really cool to see the Cap do it more old school 1940’s style. Just kicking, punching, shooting and flinging that shield like he was born to do it. No huge martial arts training from some guy that was smuggled out of China to teach him the wise ways of kicking ass Asia-style, just good old fashioned brawling of the period. *LIKE*

Could anything with this chest be bad? The answer is nothing. Ever. EV-ER.

I’d like to say there was something wrong with this movie, but honestly, for an origin film I can’t find anything wrong with it. Being a big Marvel girl, I know a fair amount about Captain America. So I already knew how the film was going to end, which is a bit of a different experience compared to all the other super hero films that have been coming out this summer. Since The Avengers is coming out next summer, Cap has got to get frozen in the Arctic. Not that it was a huge deal, but it just gave me this lurking creepy feeling during the film. Maybe I’m alone in this, just saying.

But is that enough to keep me from the theaters? Hell no.

And don’t forget to wait for the special action at the end. It’s way more involved than the previous tidbits we get at the end of all the other films.

Five out of Five Sci-Fives!

Sci Five - 5

Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog – Live!

HNG with cast members Nathan Turner, Michael Minto, Zack Wolfe and Jane Lui

First off, a disclosure.  I have never seen the original online Dr. Horrible starring my beloved Neil Patrick Harris (NPH), Nathan Fillion (NF) and Felicia Day (FD).  It’s true.  As much as I heart Joss Whedon, I have never been big on watching TV online and, to be honest, I’m lucky to have time to watch good ol’ fashioned television TV.  I thought about watching it before driving down to San Diego but two things held me back.  One, this move from LA to SD is killing me and every spare moment is going into packing and prepping.  Two, I kind of wanted to see the show on its own merit so that I wouldn’t be tempted to compare it to the Whedon’s Writer’s Strike pet project.

HNG age 12. Admit this is an EPIC win.

Another disclosure, I’m a huge theatre nerd.  I come from a theatrical background and have been performing most of my life.  I have a deep appreciation for the time and effort that goes into putting together a production.  Needless to say, I was very, very excited to see this show.

The evening started off with Gam3rs: The Play, a one-man show about an extreme gamer and his attempt to wage an epic RPG battle in the middle of a work day.  The premise was clever and the actor/co-writer, Brian Bielawski, was great as the spastic and obsessive Mountain Dew drinker “Steve.”  I dug the myriad of obscure nerd references and character voices he whipped out.  Nary a line was said that wasn’t culturally significant in the geek lexicon.  Having done one-(wo)man shows myself, I know how challenging it can be to pull off and I think he did an admirable job.  I guessed the ending the very first time the boss came out but I chalk that up to my superhuman ability to guess the ending of virtually everything I watch.  Seriously, it’s bizarre.  That said, I smiled and laughed throughout the whole show and truly enjoyed watching it.  If you’re into WoW, D&D, FF, Diablo, DQ or any of the other fantasy-based RPG’s, you will appreciate this show.  Part of my press packet included a “made of awesome” pin which, I must admit, is pretty awesome.

Onto the main event!

Like I said, I’ve never seen the original Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog so I really didn’t know what to expect from the Live! version.  I figured, if it’s created by Joss Whedon then it’s got to be good!  Andy Lowe and Co. did not disappoint.  There was great deal of creativity that went into this in the form of shadow play. My friend (who has seen the original) wasn’t sure how they were going to pull off certain scenes and the shadows seemed to fill in those blanks for him.  As a Dr. H virgin, it made perfect sense to me to use them as a storytelling tool.  One thing we were both shocked and impressed by was when they brought out an actual van that had been cut in half and attached to a flat for Captain Hammer’s introduction.  Rarely do you see such a feat on a large stage let alone one that is relatively small like 10th Avenue Theatre’s.

Fun with shadows! (photo by Christina Rogers)

There were some seriously amazing voices on that stage.  Nathan Turner (Dr. Horrible) was utterly charming whether he was in “aspiring evil genius” mode or “awkward nerd likes pretty girl” mode.  You can tell that he’s a stage veteran and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment that he was performing.  I was surprised to read in the program that this is Jane Lui’s (Penny) first time acting.  Very impressive.  Both her voice and her demeanor are very sweet and she’s completely adorable.  Seriously, I wish I could pull off her awesome hairstyle.  Check out her music, it’s lovely.  Michael Minto (Captain Hammer) is delightfully cocky and obviously having a lot of fun playing a character with such bravado.  I can totally picture Nathan Fillion (*sigh*) playing this role.  The rest of the ensemble cast has some wonderful moments but one in particular was my favorite actor in the whole show.  Zack Wolfe does double duty as Moist and an extremely flamboyant Captain Hammer fan.  Even before he made his first appearance as Moist he was catching my eye as a background singer/dancer in the first laundromat scene and from then on I kept finding my attention wandering in his direction.  I can’t even count the number of times he made me LOL.  When I met him at the after party I think all I could blurt out was “seriously dude, hilarious.”

Dr. Horrible and Moist (photo by Christina Rogers)

Speaking of the after party…it was great to finally meet Andy Lowe, the Director and champion of this noble effort, after corresponding via email.  I found him to be warm and engaging and genuinely passionate about this project.  The cast members were awesome and friendly.  It seems like a kick ass group to work with.  The rooftop space is the home of other parties related to Gam3rCon and if you get a chance, you should definitely check it out.  You will be rewarded with lots of string lights and some seriously gorgeous views of downtown San Diego.

With Director Andy Lowe and fellow HNG Joy

The after party also marked the first time ever that I’ve been recognized in person.  Like many nerds, I tend to be shy and a bit socially awkward (hopefully it wasn’t too obvious) so having someone say “Hey, you’re Hot Nerd Girl!” was kind of trippy and kind of awesome all rolled up into one big burrito of weird.  I’m not really sure what that means but I’m rolling with it.

In conclusion , if you are heading to San Diego for Comic-Con, you should really swing by Gam3rCon and check out the tournaments and plays.  You can get more information about all of the festivities at www.gam3rcon.com. And hit www.iwanttosingalong.com for more on Dr. Horrible Live!

Go.  Now.  Don’t make me shoot you with my Freeze Ray.

Don't be fooled by my innocent looking exterior, Bad Horse has nothing on HNG