Review: Hellboy never stood a chance in hell

When I finally went to college, I suddenly realized that I could pretty much do whatever I want since my parents weren’t around to tell me otherwise. This mostly translated into eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and as much as I wanted. Two semesters and four pants sizes later, I learned a valuable lesson: Just because I could doesn’t always mean that I should. Much like the end of my freshman year, the team behind Hellboy learned this lesson much too late.

Before I started writing this review, I tried to convince myself not to spend the whole time talking about how far superior Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy run was, but the more I think about it, the less I can keep that promise. The two previous Hellboy films were both PG-13, but even then they didn’t shy away from violence. You really can’t have Hellboy, AKA World Destroyer AKA Beast of the Apocalypse AKA the Right Hand of Doom, without there being some sort of fighting or destruction involved. Del Toro has never shied away from that, but in his films, he focuses on crafting a world full of whimsy and mayhem, and then has the brutality become a part of it. Where this new Hellboy goes wrong is that instead of having the violence and carnage being the result of the plot or story, the film treats it like it’s a character all its own.

Director Neil Marshall, who has brought us forgettable, over-stylized films like Doomsday and Centurion, give the Hellboy universe the same treatment. With it’s new, hard R rating, Marshall goes above and beyond to push the limits, but not in any constructive way. He mainly focuses on copious amounts of blood and more gore than you get from even the messiest slasher film. Where del Toro put an emphasis on the magical nature of the unseen world, Marshall tries to distinguish his film by focusing on the hellish aspect creating scenes of blood and dismemberment that would make even Spawn blush. This darker take would be a problem at all were it not for the seeming pointlessness of it all. For a few scenes, this corporal brutality works perfectly, but for most of them, it is literally overkill.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be such an eyesore if visuals didn’t look like something out of an early 2000’s film. The first Hellboy came out in 2004, and even it had visual effects that still hold up today. Everything from the CGI characters to the horrible animated blood and even the obvious green screen landscapes makes you appreciate the visual opulence of every single Fantastic Four film. Yes, even the unreleased 1994 Fantastic Four film was more appealing than this film. If it weren’t for the previous Hellboy films, we wouldn’t have a standard set for every subsequent film. Guillermo del Toro’s use of practical effects, magnificent creature design and use of make-up and prosthetics over CGI all make for an engaging cinematic experience whose attention to detail shows you just how much the filmmakers care about their film.

Really the only good character design in this new Hellboy is Hellboy himself, and much of that is because actor David Harbour does a good job in bringing him to life. His one-liners and nonchalant attitude embody the character well-enough to almost make up for the nonsense story that ultimately feels like it is filler meant to take you from one battle to the next. The performances are the most enjoyable part of the entire film, but aside from Harbour, the only other two people who breathe life into this film are Ian McShane and Sasha Lane, who play Professor Broom and Alice Monaghan, respectively. Even our main villain (aside from the filmmakers), Milla Jovovich who plays the Blood Queen, feels like she is just rehashing a mix of the other villains she has played in the past.

As a reboot for the Hellboy franchise, this film crashes and burns. With enough wanton gore and guts to drown a small island, it ends up getting lost in a sea of red. Great characters could have been enough to save the ill-conceived, lazy story, but even those were mostly hard to come by. Somewhere, Guillermo del Toro just finished watching this film and thought to himself, “They didn’t let me finish my trilogy for THIS?! To hell with them.” To hell with them, indeed.

The Geeks OUT Podcast: Star Wars – The Rise of Streaming Services

Geeks OUT Podcast: Star Wars – The Rise of Streaming Services

In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin (@Gilligan_McJew) is joined by writer David Nora (@davidnorajr) as they discuss all the details that were released about Disney+, take a look at the new Charlie’s Angels revival, and celebrate Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as our Clip of

In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by David Nora, as they discuss all the details that were released about Disney+, take a look at the new Charlie’s Angels revival, and celebrate Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as our Clip of the Week.

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BIG OPENING

KEVIN: Disney+ launch date, price, and rumored series confirmed
DAVID: New teaser for AHS: 1984

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DOWN AND NERDY

KEVIN: Hellboy, Missing Link, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
DAVID: Pet Semetary, Camp Strange, Fluffy’s Revolution

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STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER

First look at new Charlie’s Angels revival

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THIS WEEK IN QUEER

Sequel to Love, Simon series coming to Disney+

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CLIP OF THE WEEK

New teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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THE WEEK IN GEEK

MOVIES

The MCU won’t see the X-Men for a while
• New trailer for The Lion King “live-action” remake
New trailer for The Addams Family animated movie
• New trailer for Anna

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TV

• First look at The Mandalorian
Hawkeye series featuring both Clint & Kate coming to Disney+
• Monsters, Inc series, Monsters at Work coming to Disney+
• New trailer for new Netflix horror series Chambers
Pose returning June 9th
• First teaser for the Veronica Mars revival
• Season 2 of AMC’s horror anthology The Terror: Infamy to premiere in August
• AMC orders new Walking Dead spinoff centered on young female leads
Killing Eve renewed for season 3

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COMIC BOOKS

• DC releases trailer for Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale
• Brian K. Vaughan reveals Saga will go to issue 109

The Geeks OUT Podcast: Finding Your Family w/ Shazam!

Geeks OUT Podcast: Finding Your Family w/ Shazam!

In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin (@Gilligan_McJew) is joined by @JonHerzog (on Instagram) as they discuss found families in Shazam!

In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Jon Herzog, as they discuss found families in Shazam! the movie, marvel at Captain Marvel’s (over) $1 billion box office, and celebrate Michelle Pfeiffer cracking that whip as our Strong Female Character of the Week.

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BIG OPENING

KEVIN: Captain Marvel has made over $1 Billion
JON: New trailers for Avengers: Endgame

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DOWN AND NERDY

KEVIN: Pet Semetary, Twilight Zone, Major X
JON: Shazam!, Sabrina, Binge Mode: Game of Thrones

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STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER

Michelle Pfeiffer proves she can still whip it

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THIS WEEK IN QUEER

Netflix orders animated gay spy series Q-Force

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CLIP OF THE WEEK

New trailer for The Dead Don’t Die

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THE WEEK IN GEEK

MOVIES

Rachel Weisz & David Harbour in talks to join Black Widow
• Kumail Nanjiani may join The Eternals
Fox/Disney teasing sequels to Aliens, Kingsmen, Planet of the Apes, & more
• New teaser for Joker
New photos from Terminator: Dark Fate
New trailer for My Spy

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TV

• New trailer for Netflix’s The Society
• John Cho cast as lead in live action Cowboy Bebop series
• Netflix renews The Umbrella Academy for season 2
Gotham teases new look of their “not The Joker”
• New trailer for season 5 of Fear the Walking Dead
• First peak at the host of the reboot of Creepshow

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COMIC BOOKS

• DC’s DCeased getting horror movie variants
DC’s Walmart exclusives no longer exclusive

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SHILF

• KEVIN & JON: Zachary Levi, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, and DJ Cotrona

Review: Shazam! sparks with youthful, infectious electricity

Let’s be honest, most of us geeks have had this fantasy before. As kids, we were fascinated by superheroes to the point that we would try to emulate them. Hopefully, it didn’t get to the point of trying to fly from the roof of your garage as I did. My arch nemesis was and still continues to be gravity. I’m talking about the much more rational wrapping a blanket from corner to corner around your neck as a makeshift cape. I can still remember that sense of wonder and excitement. Although the DC film universe still has a lot of developing to do, its latest entry, Shazam!, does mostly elicit those feelings of childhood joy that many of us have probably not felt from a comic book film in a long time.

Something you may not know about this film is that it’s a Christmas film. It came as a major surprise to me also with all the trees, lights, presents, and even the appearance of one of the three wise men, AKA The Wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou). Although it does inevitably tug at those Yuletide strings in springtime, the emphasis on the holiday doesn’t ever really get to the point of turning us into Scrooge’s. Just like the youthful essence of Shazam (Zachary Levi), we’re meant to get more of the feelings of love, peace, and family instead of having the holiday actually be part of the plot.

For those unfamiliar with the story of Shazam, it essentially boils down to a teenager getting superpowers. Aside from fanboy fantasy fulfillment, most of the appeal comes from the exploration of self and how we all have a hero inside of us waiting to come out. In this case, the hero inside is a tall, buff white man with electrical abilities that you transform into by yelling out, “Shazam!” Let’s face it, going into this film I was already a little worried. Following diverse films like Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Academy Award-winning Suicide Squad (yeah, I still can’t believe that’s a real thing either), and last month’s Captain Marvel, I thought we had moved past the white men phase of superheroes.

The hero and origin may be different, but this is a perspective that we have explored many times before on both the Marvel and DC side. Hell, I would have loved to have Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer), Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) disabled foster brother, to be the one to receive the powers. Even though he is still a white male, at least we would get a diverse perspective and a much more interesting internal struggle regarding staying in the hero form as opposed to being himself. This did keep me from enjoying the movie to a certain point because as the film went on, and we witness Billy do a myriad of highly illegal things, he gets away with them without a single consequence. As a person of color, it’s hard not to imagine the real-life consequences were Billy a boy of color. Without giving anything away, let’s just say I went into the film weighed down by my adult skepticism but left with my childhood faith restored and excited for the sequel. Those who are familiar with the comics will figure out what happens much faster than I did.

Shazam! may take place in today’s world, but every single fiber of the film screams 80’s adventure movie. There are hints of The Goonies, Neverending Story, Labyrinth, Christopher Reeve’s Superman, and more. There is even a callback to the movie Big, which is the film’s biggest cinematic influence. Henry Gayden, who also wrote interplanetary kid’s adventure film Earth to Echo, perfectly captures the childlike excitement of superheroes, and how that would look like in our modern society. There’s, of course, hilariously going through all the things you can now do as an adult, like drinking and smoking, only to realize they are disgusting. Then you have the ever-necessary montage where you test/figure out your new abilities.

This works well, not just because it was written from a great childhood perspective, but because it was perfectly cast, with Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer stealing every scene they’re in. All the superhero schlock aside, the most effective part of the story comes from its emotional core centered around the idea of family. In this case, it’s a supportive foster family where no one is blood-related and that doesn’t stop them from loving each other as a family any less. As I’ve come to learn from growing up gay, you sometimes have to make your own family, similar genetics need not always apply. This message in the film is what I enjoyed the most, aside from the twist that comes later.

Keeping in true DC fashion, even though the color palette is decidedly brighter than we’re used to, Shazam! still has a darkness to it. To balance out the film, the tone has dark elements in the form of plot developments and several demons/deadly sins as villains. Horror film director David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation, Lights Out) has experience juggling the complexity of family/sibling relationships and childhood friendships with evil forces. Although his past films have only ever had small notes of comedy throughout, Sandberg has flexed his action muscle and tickled our funny bones in a way we’ve never seen him do before. The same way James Wan played with the opposing natures of darkness and light in Aquaman, Sandberg delivers a fully fleshed out product with Shazam!. No matter how you go into this film, you’ll likely leave fully energized by the contagious electricity that infectiously comes off of it.

The Geeks OUT Podcast: Queer Stories to Tell in the Dark

The Geeks OUT Podcast

Opinions, reviews, incisive discussions of queer geek ideas in pop culture, and the particularly cutting brand of shade that you can only get from a couple of queer geeks all in highly digestible weekly doses.

In this week’s extended episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Brett Mannes from the Comic Book Queers Podcast, as they discuss the new teaser of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, get happy about Marvel announcing a new Valkyrie solo series, and celebrate all the winners of this year’s GLAAD Media Awards in This Week in Queer.

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BIG OPENING

KEVIN: New teaser trailer for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
BRETT: New trailer for Twilight Zone reboot

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DOWN AND NERDY

KEVIN: Star Trek: Discovery
BRETT: X-Tremists, Detective Comics #1000, Mr. & Mrs. X

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STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER

Marvel announces new Valkyrie solo series

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THIS WEEK IN QUEER

Steven Universe, Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, and The Elder Scrolls Online: Sommerset win GLAAD Media Awards

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CLIP OF THE WEEK

Sneak peak at season 6 of Agents of SHIELD

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THE WEEK IN GEEK

MOVIES

New trailer for Annabelle Comes Home
• Child’s Play reboot adds Mark Hamill
New trailer for Brightburn
• New trailer for Netflix’s The Silence
Angelina Jolie in talks to join The Eternals

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TV

• Runaways renewed for season 3
• New trailer for NOS4A2
Arrow is losing Felicity before it’s final season
• New trailer for Legends of Tomorrow
• First look at Stargirl & update on Swamp Thing’s premiere
• New teaser trailer for Pennyworth series
• Netflix renews The Order for season 2
The Dragon Prince renewed for season 3
• New trailer for season 2 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Apple TV+ announced

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COMIC BOOKS

Wiccan & Hulkling returning for limited series by Tini Howard
DC teases the year ahead

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SHILF

• KEVIN: Roy Harper
• BRETT: Booster Gold & Blue Beetle

The Geeks OUT Podcast: Netflix & Kill

The Geeks OUT Podcast

Opinions, reviews, incisive discussions of queer geek ideas in pop culture, and the particularly cutting brand of shade that you can only get from a couple of queer geeks all in highly digestible weekly doses.

In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, recorded from C2E2, Kevin is joined by Eric Green and Seth Schindehette, as they discuss the new trailer for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 2, discuss the problematic elements of Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots, and celebrate the casting of Chella Man as Jericho on Titans in This Week in Queer.

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BIG OPENING

KEVIN: Supernatural is ending next season
ERIC: Marvel announces the return of Jonathan Hickman with House of X & Powers of X series
SETH: Netflix accused of shuffling Love, Death & Robots based on sexuality

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DOWN AND NERDY

KEVIN: Black Lighting
ERIC: Age of Apocalypse
SETH: D&D Real Play Podcasts

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STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER

New trailer for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 2

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THIS WEEK IN QUEER

Titans cast deaf trans actor as Jericho

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CLIP OF THE WEEK

New trailer for Stranger Things season 3

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THE WEEK IN GEEK

MOVIES

It’s official, Disney now owns Fox
• New trailer for Toy Story 4

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TV

• DC Universe will be free for a day on March 30
Castle Rock season 2 to give origin to Misery
• David Boreanaz teases something for Angel’s 20th anniversary
• Anson Mount not returning for season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery

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COMIC BOOKS

• Marvel announces Absolute Carnage and Secret Warps events
• New Kickstarter for queer focused graphic novel Masked Prejudice

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SHILF

• KEVIN: Quentin Quire
• ERIC: Nightcrawler
• SETH: Superman

The Geeks OUT Podcast: Avengers – A Hair in Time

The Geeks OUT Podcast

Opinions, reviews, incisive discussions of queer geek ideas in pop culture, and the particularly cutting brand of shade that you can only get from a couple of queer geeks all in highly digestible weekly doses.

In this week’s marvelously extended episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Jason Conover, as they discuss Black Widow’s hair journey in the latest Avengers: Endgame trailer, marvel at Disney’s decision to bring James Gunn back, and question JK Rowling’s decision to continue to gay-bait Harry Potter fans in This Week in Queer.

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BIG OPENING

KEVIN: James Gunn returns to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3
JASON: New international trailer for Shazam!

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DOWN AND NERDY

KEVIN: The Passage, Apocalypse Now, Uncanny X-Men: Winter’s End
JASON: Captain Marvel, Umbrella Academy, Thor, Mister Miracle

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STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER

New trailer for Tuca & Bertie

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THIS WEEK IN QUEER

JK Rowling continues to gay-bait Harry Potter fans

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CLIP OF THE WEEK

New trailer for Avengers: Endgame

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THE WEEK IN GEEK

MOVIES

Ezra Miller & Grant Morrison working on Flash script
• Teaser for Alien 40th Anniversary shorts
• New trailer for Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
• Sony teases 7 or 8 years worth of Spider-Man properties
New trailer for Disney’s live action remake of Aladdin
Disney will officially “acquire” Fox this week
Namor teased by Doctor Strange 2 director
Shang-Chi gets Asian writer & director

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TV

• Netflix cancels One Day at a Time
• Starz renews American Gods for season 3
• Esai Morales joins season 2 of Titans
DC Universe offering free previews of shows
Supergirl teases a new romance between Alex & Jimmy’s sister
• Taika Waititi joins Time Bandits tv series
Marvel’s What If? coming to Disney+

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COMIC BOOKS

Marvel & DC introducing new Asian heroes
• New Kickstarter for queer focused graphic novel Masked Prejudice

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SHILF

• KEVIN: Luthor
• JASON: Klaus

The Geeks OUT Podcast: The Marvelous Ms. Larson

The Geeks OUT Podcast

Opinions, reviews, incisive discussions of queer geek ideas in pop culture, and the particularly cutting brand of shade that you can only get from a couple of queer geeks all in highly digestible weekly doses.

In this week’s marvelously extended episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Jon Herzog, as they salute the success of Brie Larson and Captain Marvel, take a peak at the new trailer for Game of Thrones, and celebrate Mr. Rogers and 20BiTeen in This Week in Queer.

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BIG OPENING

KEVIN: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening up sooner at Disney
JON: New trailer for final season of Game of Thrones

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DOWN AND NERDY

KEVIN: Captain Marvel, Star Trek: Discovery, Prisoner X
JON: How To Train Your Dragon 3, Binge Mode: Game of Thrones Podcast

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STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER

Captain Marvel has the 6th highest opening ever

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THIS WEEK IN QUEER

Mr. Rogers was bisexual

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CLIP OF THE WEEK

New trailer for Good Omens

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THE WEEK IN GEEK

MOVIES

New trailer for Shazam!
• First tease of Jared Leto as Morbius and character breakdowns
• New trailer for Midsommar
• New Line developing Hello Kitty movie
New poster for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
New trailer for Tolkien
New trailer for Brightburn

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TV

• New trailer for season 2 of Cobra Kai
• New trailer for season 3 of Queer Eye
• New teaser for Love, Death, & Robots
• Freeform orders Motherland: Fort Salem about witches in the military
• Riverdale dedicating every episode this season to Luke Perry
Arrow is coming to an end
• New photos of Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor on Supergirl
• New teaser for NOS4A2

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COMIC BOOKS

• A sequel to Kwanza Osajyefo’s Black is being Kickstarted
• The Kickstarter for The Closet of Secrets surpasses its goal

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SHILF

• KEVIN: Talos
• JON: Yon-Rogg (Jude Law)

The Geeks OUT Podcast: I Choose You! Ryan Reynolds!

Geeks OUT Podcast: I Choose You! Ryan Reynolds!

In this week’s super-sized episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin (@Gilligan_McJew) is joined by @JWCrump as they discuss the latest trailer for Detective Pikachu, fan cast an out gay actor for Marvel’s The Eternals, and celebrate Matt Bomer speaking out about the importance of queer superheroes in This Week

In this week’s super-sized episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by J.W. Crump, as they discuss the latest trailer for Detective Pikachu, fan cast an out gay actor for Marvel’s The Eternals, and celebrate Matt Bomer speaking out about the importance of queer superheroes in This Week in Queer. 

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BIG OPENING

KEVIN: Marvel reportedly seeking openly gay actor for The Eternals
J.W.: New trailer for Critters: A New Binge

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DOWN AND NERDY

KEVIN: The Dragon Prince, Buffy, X-Tremists
J.W.: Betrayal Legacy

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STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER

Book of Enchantment series focusing on villains coming to Disney+

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THIS WEEK IN QUEER

Matt Bomer speaks about the importance of LGBTQ supereheros

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CLIP OF THE WEEK

New trailer for Detective Pikachu

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THE WEEK IN GEEK

MOVIES

New trailer for Hellboy reboot
• Captain Marvel brings back Magic Eye posters in new promo
• New trailer for Dark Phoenix
• A View-Master movie is being developed
Black Manta cast as Jordan Peele’s Candyman
Rotten Tomatoes makes some changes

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TV

• Syfy orders Resident Alien to series
• Netflix orders dramedy of The Baby-sitters Club
• New teaser for Love, Death & Robots
• New trailer for season 2 of The OA
• New trailer for season 2 of The Tick
Star Trek: Discovery renewed for season 3
• New trailer for season 2 of Cloak & Dagger
• New trailer for Hulu’s Into the Dark: Treehouse

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VIDEO GAMES

• First look at Pokemon Sword & Shield for Nintendo Switch
• IGN releases Alien: Isolation web series based on the game

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SHILF

• KEVIN: Iceman (X-Tremists)
• J.W.: Elasti-girl

The Geeks OUT Podcast: Wakanda For-Oscars

Geeks OUT Podcast: Wakanda For-Oscars

In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin (@Gilligan_McJew) is joined by @LynaeDePriest as they discuss Black Panther making history at the Oscars this year, take a peak at the new Twilight Zone trailer, and celebrate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez getting her own comic for our Strong Female Character of

In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Lynaé DePriest as they discuss Black Panther making history at the Oscars this year, take a peak at the new Twilight Zone trailer, and celebrate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez getting her own comic for our Strong Female Character of the Week. 

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BIG OPENING

KEVIN: Black Panther & Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse win Oscars
LYNAÉ: New international trailer for Us

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DOWN AND NERDY

KEVIN: The Umbrella Academy, The Orville, Runaways
LYNAÉ: The Passage, Russian Doll, Jook Joint

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STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is coming to comics

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THIS WEEK IN QUEER

Katy Keene to feature drag queen co-star

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CLIP OF THE WEEK

New trailer for revival of The Twilight Zone

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THE WEEK IN GEEK

MOVIES

Captain Marvel’s 1st reactions are glowing, despite trolls bombing Rotten Tomatoes
• Hugh Jackman & Patrick Stewart win Guinness World Records
• New teaser for Angry Birds 2
• New trailer for Rocketman

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TV

• Netflix adapting Turn of the Screw for new The Haunting of Bly Manor
• Netflix orders Medical Police series
• New trailer for The Order
• Tyler Posey joins The Lost Boys pilot
• Syfy cancels Nightflyers
• Syfy reboots The Banana Splits as a horror movie
• New trailer for His Dark Materials
• New Gremlins animated series being developed

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BSHILF

• KEVIN: Spectrum
• LYNAÉ: Meteor Man