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Founder and Executive Producer of the Heroes Podcast Network. Host of Screen Heroes and Redshirts & Runabouts podcast series. Known Trekkie, gamer, and all around nerd.

Box Office Numbers: July 17-19, 2015

Not surprisingly, Ant-Man, Marvel Studios’ newest MCU film, won the box office its opening weekend, beating out Minions which saw a nearly 57% drop from it’s first week. Check out the list of the Top 10 highest grossing films from this weekend’s box office below.

Before we dive into the specific numbers, let’s take a deeper dive into Ant-Man. While it did win its opening weekend with an estimated $58.04 million, those numbers pale in comparison to Marvel Studios’ previous hitters. In fact, the first of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, Iron Man, brought in $98.62 million in it’s opening weekend way back in May of 2008. The first Thor made $65.72 million in May of 2011 while Captain America: The First Avenger made $65.06 million in July of the same year. In fact, only one film brought in less during its opening weekend, The Incredible Hulk with $55.41 back in June 2008 and to be fair, we had just seen a Hulk-centric film in 2003. Now, we are only talking about official MCU movies here. Ant-Man did beat out other Marvel films including X-Men, X-Men: First Class, The Wolverine, Fantastic Four (2005), and Big Hero 6, just to name a few of the more popular movies. What does this mean for the newest hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Probably not much. Many expected Ant-Man to fall short of previous Marvel Studios films simply because people don’t know the character as well and we haven’t had an origin story in this universe for a while. We do expect to see Scott Lang join up with the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War. To see what we thought of the film, check out our review of Ant-Man.

Also breaking into the list with their opening weekend, Trainwreck starring Amy Schumer. She also wrote the film. It’s directed by Judd Apatow. Our limited release film is Mr. Holmes, starring Ian McKellen.

  1. Ant-Man ($58.04 million in opening weekend across 3,856 theaters)
  2. Minions ($50.2 million in second weekend, totaling $216.69 million)
  3. Trainwreck ($30.2 million in opening weekend across 3,158 theaters)
  4. Inside Out ($11.66 million in fifth weekend, totaling $306.36 million)
  5. Jurassic World ($11.4 million in sixth weekend, totaling $611.17 million)
  6. Terminator: Genisys ($5.4 million in third weekend, totaling $80.64 million)
  7. Magic Mike XXL ($4.5 million in third weekend, totaling $58.64 million)
  8. The Gallows ($4 million in second weekend, totaling $18 million)
  9. Ted 2 ($2.7 million in fourth weekend, totaling $77.457 million)
  10. Mr. Holmes ($2.489 million in opening weekend, limited release across 363 theaters)

Did you catch a movie over the weekend? What are you most looking forward to seeing on the big screen? Comment below!

Box Office Numbers: July 17-19, 2015

Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt – Review

Today’s review check outs a fantastic Indie game from Image & Form studios out of Sweden. Image & Form has been around since 1997, consists of 14 people, and have put together a great game here. Now, I’ll be covering Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt from the Nintendo 3DS XL perspective, though the title is also available via Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as the Nintendo eShop for the 3DS, 2DS, and Wii U consoles, PlatStation 4 and Vita. Yeah, that’s a lot of platforms. In fact, you can purchase a cross-platform, DRM free version on their website for $9.99.

Steam World Dig - RustySo what is Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt? Well, to use the developers’ own words, it “is a hardcore platform mining adventure game”. That really is the best way to describe it in a single sentence. In this game, you play as Rusty, a steambot. You’ve inherited an old mine from your uncle who’s been missing for some time. The plot of the game follows you as you mine deeper into the depths of the dirt. Along the way, you uncover minerals that can be sold on the surface for equipment upgrades. This quite literally, steampunk style game brings a ton of uniqueness to the equipment you can use. While upgrading your pickax is an option, you’ll have access to teleporters, explosives, shielding and drills. As the digging level gets deeper, you’ll uncover special areas where strange, fantastical items can be obtained. These items provide new, intense ways to smash the harder rocks deep in the dirt, like a drilling arm or steam powered fists. It’s not all smash and grab down below. As you dig deeper, dangerous and powerful enemies await, ready to attack and protect the secrets of the underground.

Steam World Dig - TumbletonWhat I love about this game is that it is not a money grab in any sense. As I noted earlier, it can purchased for $9.99. All in-game item purchases are done by selling the minerals collected during digging and no real money is ever used. That’s right, you buy the game and everything is in the game, no outside purchases. In the world of free-to-play and micro-transactions, this is a relaxing relief.

Let’s meet some of the characters of Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt. First, there’s Rusty, the player you control. In the town above you can sell your minerals to a lovely female steambot named Dorothy. Her father, Cranky, is nearby ready to sell you basic items, health, and upgrades throughout the game. Later, you’ll be introduced to Biff. He’s a competing equipment dealer with some more advanced (and expensive) items. There’s a few other characters you’ll meet along the way, but I want to save a few surprises.

Steam World Dig - Oldworld

Steam World Dig - DorothyThe mechanics of the game are complex but surprisingly user friendly and easy to pick up. There are a few metrics that are very important. First and most obvious is health. Rusty has a health bar and it can be increased as the game progresses. Healing can be done on the surface with Cranky or by getting health from killing enemies. Later, a water meter will be added. Some of the more advanced abilities require steam power and therefore, water. Things like the steam jump, drill, and steam punch all require water for power. Water can be found underground in patches. Enemies will sometimes provide some when killing as well. Then there’s the light. Since the vast majority of the game is played underground, the sun doesn’t help out much. There are some lights planted in the depths of the planet but additional lights can be placed by you and purchased from Cranky. On top of that, Rusty has some light of his own. This light diminishes while underground and is replenished immediately after returning to the surface. How long the light lasts can also be increased throughout the game. With that said, don’t forget about the teleporters. Early on in the game, these will be discovered. One sits on the surface near the mine entrance. Additional units can be purchased from Cranky and they can be placed underground. This allows Rusty to jump back and forth from the mine to the surface instantly. Trust me, this will become very important. You’re going to end up very deep. In the two times I’ve played through the game, I hit 400 meters after just 3 hours of play. You do not want to hike all the way back up on foot every time you need to sell minerals or regain light and health.

Steam World Dig - Laser DodgingSelling minerals is a cornerstone for this game. Certain rock blocks contain minerals that can be easily seen. In fact, you can see a few of them in the “Old World” screenshot above. Some minerals are worth more than others and the deeper Rusty gets, the more the minerals found are worth. Rusty has a pouch that he uses to carry minerals. This pouch is limited in size, though larger ones can be purchased from Cranky during the game. Once the pouch is full, it’s in your best interest to return to the surface and sell them to Dorothy for the in-game currency.

Steam World Dig - CrankyAs I noted at the beginning of this review, I am playing Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt on the Nintendo 3DS XL. The two screen experience is perfect for this game. The top screen, which is 3D enabled provides a brilliant universe to play in with depth, color and incredible detail for a handheld game. I’ve played with the 3D on and off and honestly, either way is great. If you’re a big fan of the 3D experience then you’ll gain a slick sense of depth but if you aren’t a fan, you won’t be missing out on much. The second screen, which is touch enabled, provides access to in-store items, and, most importantly, your digging map when underground. I can’t imagine playing this game with just a single screen. It truly feels like it was made for the 3DS/3DS XL/2DS market.

Overall, this game is just a ton of fun. Its unique steampunk style is exciting, new, and just plain interesting to watch. The characters are fun and entertaining, while the story continues to expand. At the beginning of the game, Rusty is a simple miner looking for his uncle but just a couple hours in, a new world is being uncovered. This world isn’t exactly new. In fact, you might find it surprisingly familiar. I’m not going to give any more away here, but what I began to find deep in the dirt is not what I was expecting.

If you like platform games, steampunk, and the 3DS two-screen experience, Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt is the game for you. But don’t forget it is available on Steam and PS4\Vita. The game is even available via Gog.com and Humble Bundle.

Fans of this game will be happy to know that another SteamWorld universe title is set to come out this year, SteamWorld Heist. The new title takes place in the same universe but it’s a space adventure set to release for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, PlayStation 4 and Vita, Xbox One, and Steam Fall 2015.

For more information on this title and their developers check them out here:

Steam World Dig Games

Image & Form Games

*Please note that the game play screenshots are based on the Steam version for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Have you played this game before? Are you looking forward to the new one? What are you excited about? Let us know in the comments.

Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt – Review

Axanar – The Future of Trek

“Space… the final frontier…”

I’ve been watching Star Trek in one form or another since I was six months old. Seriously, I’m not kidding. It all began with The Next Generation, it coming out six months after my birth. My father and I watched as much as possible, TV and film. As I got older I read countless non-canon books and played every PC game I could get my hands on. I love the franchise. I love the future Roddenberry saw for the human species, the hope, the possibilities. In 2005, hope started to diminish with the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise. For the first time since August of 1987, there was no new Star Trek on TV. After almost 20 years, then there was nothing. It wasn’t until 2009 that J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot attempted to salvage the historic franchise with their reboot\sequel\prequel\alternate timeline film… but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Instead, I’m here to talk to you about Axanar.

The term “fan film” has some negative connotation. People see it as some friends in their basement with a camcorder and some store bought costumes. Axanar is far from this. Instead, Axanar brings us not just professionals in acting, special effects, and more… but Star Trek veterans. The film, set before the time of Kirk but after Archer, stars Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), J.G. Hertzler (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Enterprise, Zorro), Gary Graham (Star Trek: Enterprise, Alien Nation, Robot Jox), Kate Vernon (Star Trek: Voyager, Malcom X, Pretty in Pink), Tony Todd (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Rock, Platoon), and Alec Peters (Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II). The director, Robert Meyer Burnett has helmed several Star Trek documentaries including Free Enterprise and Reunification: 25 Years After Star Trek – The Next Generation.

Last year, they put together Prelude to Axanar, a short film that leads up to the feature film. It is simply fantastic Trek. It’s done in a documentary style format with limited cast but it gets the job done very well.

Axanar_AresD7

So what is Axanar? Well, the film is set to cover the turning point of the Four Years War between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. The Klingons were more focused on war, battle, weapons. Their ships were bigger, faster, and better armed. The Federation was beaten badly for a long time until they made a change, the creation of a new vessel designed specifically for battle, the Ares. This film takes place before the legendary Constitution class ships existed and the Klingon Empire was about to launch their iconic D7 heavy cruisers.

Would you like to know more?

Still not sure if Axanar is worth the hype? Check out the Prelude to Axanar in full below.

Still here? Good. Now, Axanar is a “fan film” in the sense that it is not officially licensed by CBS. Instead, they rely on outside funding and they have done this through crowd funding. The Prelude was their first effort. Then they moved to Kickstarter for the initial funds for the feature film. Now, they are back to push forward. Check out their Indiegogo here. Contributing not only gets you cool swag like patches, soundtracks, blu-rays, scripts, etc. but it also helps keep Star Trek at its roots and bring us all an era of Trek we’ve never seen, one that shaped the Original Series and was born out of the wake of Enterprise.

I’ve contributed to all three campaigns because these people are fighting to bring every fan what we love and what we deserve, classic Trek.

What are your thoughts on Prelude to Axanar? How do you feel about crowdfunding Trek? Comment below!

Axanar – The Future of Trek

Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata Dies

I am going to keep this brief. Nintendo has announced that their CEO and employee since the 1980’s, Satoru Iwata has died at the age of 55. He had health issues recently but many, myself included, hoped he had recovered.

I am a Nintendo fan boy. Always have been. I love what they do and what their style stands for. Iwata saw the company through some amazingly good and bad times, everything from the GameBoy, DS, and GameCube through the Wii, 3DS, and Wii U. He also brought us the Nintendo Direct videos, which I used to write about in my old weekly column “Nintendo World”.

Whether you are a fan boy like me or not, Nintendo helped shape the video game revolution and Iwata was there. The industry will surely miss him as will the fans of Nintendo’s legendary franchises.

Rest in peace, Satoru.

Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata Dies

Box Office Numbers: July 3-5, 2015

Two new movies, expected to be major summer hits, sputtered in their opening box office weekend. Terminator: Genisys and Magic Mike XXL missed expectations, big time. In fact, Magic Mike XXL barely beat out Ted 2 which is in its second week while the box office winners were Jurassic World, which is now at $558.14 million domestically and Pixar’s emotional masterpiece, Inside Out.

Terminator Genisys was crushed by the previous franchise film, Terminator: Salvation which made $65.32 million in it’s 5-day total, over $20 million more than the new movie. Check out the list below and click on the links to see reviews for films. The original Magic Mike, meanwhile, made $49.62 million in its 5-day while the sequel pulled in just under $27 million.

 

  1. Jurassic World ($30.9 million in 4th week, $558.14 million total)
  2. Inside Out ($30.105 million in 3rd week, $246.16 million total)
  3. Terminator: Genisys ($28.7 million in opening weekend, $44.156 million in 5-day opening)
  4. Magic Mike XXL ($11.6 million in opening weekend, $26.66 million in 5-day opening)
  5. Ted 2 ($11.6 million in 2nd week)

The top 10 is rounded out by Max (2015), Spy, San Andreas, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl with Mad Max: Fury Road (8th week) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (10th week) finally dropping out of the list. Insidious Chapter 3 also dropped out of the top 10 after just 5 weeks.

Coming Soon:

Minions 7/10
Ant-Man 7/17
Mr. Holmes 7/24
Pixels 7/24
Southpaw 7/24

Box Office Numbers: July 3-5, 2015

First Image from Ash vs Evil Dead

A few weeks ago we were introduced to the first teaser trailer for Ash vs Evil Dead, a new TV series from Starz set to hit the small screen this Fall. Ash vs Evil Dead takes place in present day, 30 years after the original Evil Dead movie, not the 2013 remake\reboot\sequel. The new show will star the legendary chainsaw-armed Bruce Campbell along with Mimi Rogers and Jill Marie Jones. The show is also led by Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, Drag Me to Hell), of the Evil Dead films.

So, to date, we have two trailers, one teaser and the original graphic (both linked below) but now we also have our first image of Bruce back in the chainsaw. See the picture below from Entertainment Weekly and let us know what you think of it and the trailers. Are you ready for some killer necronomicon action? Because we are!

Ash vs Evil Dead First Image

Here is the latest teaser trailer, chainsaw and all:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ncef44CHrI

Here is the original graphic trailer from a little while back:

Groovy.

To learn more about the upcoming series, which is set to have 10 thirty minute episodes, check out their Facebook page –> Ash vs Evil Dead

First Image from Ash vs Evil Dead

Rocky’s Creed: First Trailer

In 1976, Stallone started an unexpected phenomenon, the first of the Rocky franchise. The award winning film led to five sequels including the rematch with Apollo Creed, a fight with Mr. T, the greatest workout montage of all time, a less enjoyable fifth film, and then a surprisingly solid and deep sixth. Rocky returns for a seventh time but not in the ring. Instead, the Italian Stallion takes on the role of teacher to train a new, young fighter. But this isn’t just any boxer. Michael B. Jordan plays the role of Adonis Johnson. Sure, the name doesn’t sound familiar but his father knew a thing or two about fighting toe-to-toe with Rocky.

The first trailer for Creed dropped. Check it out below and see our first look at the son of Apollo Creed. After watching the trailer, comment below with your thoughts and expectations for the seventh Rocky universe film.

Oh, and don’t forget. “It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

Rocky’s Creed: First Trailer

First Look at Ghostbusters Reboot

Ghostbusters is coming back to theaters, and yesterday we got a first look at the uniforms for the new Ghostbusters film set to hit theaters July 22nd, 2016. Today we got a look at the new proton pack. While it clearly takes some design concepts from the original, this is definitely a new direction for the iconic pack. Take a look at the photos provided by Paul Feig and let us know what you think of the early looks at the new incarnation of our ghost busting equipment. Comment below!

Ghostbusters Reboot Unifoms

 

Ghostbusters Reboot Proton Pack

Ghostbusters has a primarily female cast starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, along with Chris Hemsworth.

First Look at Ghostbusters Reboot

Star Trek Beyond First Image

Well folks, Star Trek 3 or Star Trek Beyond, is currently in production and we have our first image from the set. It comes to us via Justin Lin’s Twitter account in the form of the new Starfleet patch on a character’s uniform. Justin Lin will be the director of this first non-JJ Bad Robot Trek film. Lin is known for directing The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, and Fast & Furious 6. This has some Trekkies\Trekkers concerned that Star Trek 3 will be turned into some big car chase in space but Simon Pegg (The World’s End, Paul, Hott Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead), who is writing the film, is assuring us that we’ll get the Trek we deserve.

https://twitter.com/trailingjohnson/status/615644713824051204/photo/1

What do you think of the new Starfleet badge from Star Trek Beyond? Clearly, it’s very similar to previous incarnations but it does look a little worn, perhaps it’s been used on some away missions already.

Star Trek 3 (Star Trek Beyond) is slated for a July 8th, 2016 release, in time for the franchise’s 50th anniversary. It will star returning cast Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Simon Pegg (Scotty), Karl Urban (Bones), Anton Yelchin (Chekov), and John Cho (Sulu) along with possible new comer Idris Elba, among others.

 

Star Trek Beyond First Image

Batfleck to Direct & Multiple Green Lanterns

There’s been a decent amount of DC Cinematic Universe news today. First, Untitled Batman film is slated for 2018 and will allegedly be directed by the Dark Knight himself, Ben Affleck. This will be a big job for the director since he will also be wearing the cowl as Batman. This film is still very early on in development, so we don’t know exactly when it takes place, before Batman v. Superman or after Justice League. We’ll have to wait.

Then, there’s Green Lantern, my personal favorite superhero. Rumor has it that the solo filmed scheduled for 2020 will star multiple Lanterns, most likely Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, and Jonathan Stewart. This would be a lot of fun for GL fans since these three get together from time to time when a big enough bad guy is afoot. Additionally, Chris Pine might be up for the role of Hal Jordan since this would be long after Star Trek Beyond.

What do you think about Batfleck directing his own Batman film? What about the possibility of multiple Green Lanterns in one film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Batfleck to Direct & Multiple Green Lanterns

Day in Review – June 23rd, 2015

Today was a big day for movies and video games.

First, as you may have seen in one of our posts earlier today, James Horner, long time movie composer, died in a plane crash.

Then, Marvel announced they had found their new Spider-Man in Tom Holland. This incarnation of Spider-Man is expected to show up in Captain America: Civil War next year and he will be getting his own solo film directed by Jon Watts. The Untitled Spider-Man film is slated for a July 2017 release. Tom Holland’s resume is a little short with noteworthy performances being released this year including In the Heart of the Sea. Jon Watts also has a fairly short director resume having directed several episodes of The Onion News Network and Onion SportsDome. His movie Clown came out last year and his latest work, Cop Car is slated for 2015.

Marvel continued their announcements by noting that Dr. Strange has headed to London to begin production. Dr. Strange, which is set to release in December 2016 stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Remember that Independence Day sequel? Well, it’s really happening AND it has an official title, Independence Day Resurgence. The final is set to star Liam Hemsworth in addition to some returning players including Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, Bill Pullman, and Brent Spiner. Will Smith will not be returning to the franchise. Many think it might have to do with the rough reception After Earth had but that is mainly just speculation at this time.

Star Trek: Axanar‘s latest Kickstarter is set for July 8th, per their blog. This will be their third crowdfunding campaign if you include their original Prelude to Axanar Indiegogo and their first Kickstarter. This new one will focus on production while the first had more to do with construction of the bridge set, finding warehouse space, and other pre-production tasks. I’ve actually contributed to both of their first two campaigns, so I’m sure I’ll continue with this one.

Remember the old video game Rampage? Well, whether you do or not, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is set to star in a film adaptation of the classic city destroyer arcade game, produced by New Line Cinema. In the original game, players got to choose from one of three animalistic monsters, George, Lizzie, and Ralph. You then tried to destroy more of the city than your competitors. Well, this time, it looks like Dwayne Johnson will be the hero but we’ll have to wait for Ryan Engle (Non-Stop) to be done with the script. Do you think Johnson will play a human or a giant monster terrorizing a city?

Speaking of video games, GameStop started their Retro Classics sales today, providing vintage video games and consoles including the NES, Genesis, and even Dreamcast. Check out our full article on the story.

To those excited for Batman: Arkham Knight, I hope you didn’t buy it on PC. Reports show that while xBox One and PS4 show no issues, the PC version has been loaded with graphics and performance issues. So keep an eye out.

What was your biggest news moment of the day? Anything we missed? Comment below!

Day in Review – June 23rd, 2015

GameStop’s Retro Classics Available.

GameStop surprised people by announcing they were getting back into the classic video game business and, this week, it becomes reality. As of today, GameStop has officially launched its Retro Classics collection which consists of consoles and games, all pre-owned of course, from the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), Sega Genesis, SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System), N64, PS1 (original PlayStation), and Sega Dreamcast (yes… the Dreamcast).

A quick glance at their website this morning only showed three consoles for online sale, the Genesis for $34.99, the original PlayStation and the slightly updated PlayStation Slim (also known as the PSOne at times) for $39.99. So, maybe you have to stop in store and be lucky enough to find one of the other consoles. All three consoles are noted as refurbished. Now, they have listings for other consoles, even though they are out of stock. It looks like either version of the NES or SNES will run $59.99, $49.99 for a N64 or Dreamcast.

Then, of course, are the games. Games range in price drastically from about $6.99 for something like Tetris 2 for the NES all the way up to $79.99 for Dreamcast’s Canon Spike or Conker’s Bad Fur Day for the N64, and even $89.99 for Chrono Trigger for the SNES. You can also pick up a Nintendo Power Glove for $39.99, assuming it’s in stock!

GameStop is sure to add more to its collection, so keep your eyes peeled if this is something you’re interested in. Don’t forget, though, you can pick up a new Retro Duo or similar off-brand console that plays classic games like NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis without needing to pick up a refurbished console. So, make sure you know what you’re getting and why. I love classic games. In fact, my SNES Mario Kart died, so I might see if I can possibly pick up a new copy but when my SNES finally died, I picked up a Retro Duo and since it uses the original controllers and games, it’s worked perfectly.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to some classic video game purchases? Do you wish they added GameBoy to the list? What about Sega Saturn or even older games like Atari? Comment below and let me know!

 

GameStop’s Retro Classics Available.