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Panamanian boxing legend Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez) came from humble beginnings. Growing up in the slums of the El Chorrillo section of Panama City during a tumultuous time in the country’s history; Duran learned to fight at an early age. Undisciplined, but with a surprising amount of raw talent, Duran made his professional début at the age of 16 in 1968. Outside of Panama, Duran is more infamous for his 1980 forfeit of the WBC Welterweight Title during his rematch with former Welterweight champion, Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher Raymond IV). Hands of Stone chronicles Duran’s life and times up to the infamous title fight.  (more…)

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Set in ancient Japan, we first meet the young Kubo in his cliff side cave outside of a seaside town, as he tends to his sickly mother. Mom is ill, but has enough strength to tell stories of the past to Kubo; including how Kubo lost his eye. Without spoiling things, it’s easier to say that the past is unforgiving and Kubo shouldn’t stay out after dark. Though it wasn’t his fault, Kubo is caught out past curfew which, endangers the entire town. In the aftermath, that sends Kubo on the run, he tries to remember the tales his mother told. The stories of Hanzo’s enchanted armour are true and waiting to be claimed. This mystical armour is the only thing that can protect Kubo from the forces looking to destroy him. 

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Otakon 2016: Day 2

August 17, 2016

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Good Morning Starshine

Day 2 of Otakon 2016 kicked off under sweltering conditions that seemed worse than yesterday. Though it was 8am leaving Essex, Maryland for Downtown Baltimore; the temperatures had to be in the mid 80s, yet it felt like the mid 90s. My thoughts were with the cosplayers that had elaborate costumes. I wondered how many would abandon their all black or full body costumes for something more appropriate for the weather. Not many. The Baltimore Convention Center was consistently more crowded than Friday and featured more elaborate costumes.  (more…)

Otakon 2016: The 1st Day

August 13, 2016

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It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine…)

There’s a touch of trepidation in the air after the phrase “I’m going to Baltimore”. High profile, racially charged incidents has sullied the reputation of the nicknamed “Charm City”. The industrial blue collar town, 40 miles from the nation’s capital is a city on edge, as seen in the riots of 2015 and the protests of 2016. Yet, even if the contentious attitudes towards the city’s officials aren’t universally shared, everyone in town can agree that it was freaking hot out. The combination of sun and stifling humidity turned Baltimore into a sauna. The high temperature was 96, very close to a record, but had a heat index of well over 100. As I arrived at the Baltimore Convention Center (BCC) this afternoon, none of the world’s problems mattered.  The late summer tradition is once again upon us as Otakon weekend begins today.  (more…)

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Let’s rewind the clock back to 2013, shall we?  That spring (April, to be exact) a little event called Awesome Con unveiled itself to fans in the nation’s capital.  Having attended various comic book conventions prior to that (at the time), the prospect of having a comic convention right in my back yard to was too awesome  (pun intended) to pass up.  Despite its humble beginnings in terms of scale (during that first year), the event, even then, showed promise of what it could be (or arguably is, now), thanks to its format of panels, exhibitors, and special guests.  One particular highlight that 1st year, for me, was attending Billy West’s panel.

Being the voice behind many of my favorite animated characters, I thought it be worth checking him out, and boy was I right!   Equally irreverent and transparent with his thoughts about life and the trajectory of his career, in radio and voice work, it was a moment, that I captured, which left a lasting impression on me.  Not surprisingly, it was very quite special for me to come “full circle” and have the opportunity to moderate his panel at this year’s event 3 years later.  In the first two-thirds of the panel, we chatted about his transition into voice work for children’s cartoons, his work on The Oblongs, as well as Futurama.  Afterwards, during the Q& A segment with the audience, he reveals a bit more! Check it out…. (more…)

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The Howard brothers are in a tough position. They need to raise more than $40k to pay back the debt on their family farm before the bank forecloses. Toby (Chris Pine) is trying to save the farm for his kids and ex-wife, while Tanner (Ben Foster) is just happy to be out of jail. Out of both time and options, Toby and Tanner decide to raise the necessary capital by robbing local banks. Without taking large sums of cash, the string of heist aren’t enough to send the FBI, so it’s up to local Texas Rangers to catch the thieves. Soon to be retired Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and his half Comanche partner Ranger Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham) take up the case.  (more…)

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A shadowy arm of the government want to be proactive against threats against the land. Realizing the futility of conventional means against these threats, the agency uses an unconventional weapon. The baddest of the bad, worst of the worst criminals ever would fight (begrudgingly) against those that threaten our existence. Set to a trippy set list of memorable songs that act almost as a commentator throughout the film, surely this will be the experience that shapes your summer. Unfortunately for Warner Brothers and DC Comics, 2014 happened and Guardians of the Galaxy was released to positive reviews. With two lackluster entrants for the DC Extended Universe preceding Suicide Squad, the WB and DC needs this film to do well. At this moment Suicide Squad has a 27% positive rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes.com; which was down from 31% 12 hours ago.  Despite the vitriol for Suicide Squad, the battle at the box office is ultimately decided by the value of your movie ticket. It’s not that Suicide Squad isn’t worth seeing but, with ticket prices steadily increasing and the added costs of 3D and IMAX (also in 3D); how much is it worth seeing to you? (more…)

In the game world.

In the game world. Those sparkling HD graphics?

Max (Larenz Tate) is a pro gamer. After the awards and accolades, Max finds himself as the lead beta tester for Seattle based gaming juggernaut Sentinel. Max’s latest assignment is an unnamed first-person simulation set in the present day. Guided by “Tech Support” over speakerphone, Max is under the assumption that he’s checking the game for inconsistencies, as a beta tester would. Max’s first mission is to sneak into a bank that is being robbed and retrieve the contents of a specific safe deposit box. After killing the robbers and presumably saving the day, Max is satisfied with his efforts and the game is seemingly a success. Unknowingly, Max is not playing a game. He suddenly learns that robbery he thwarted happened in real life. The character Max has been controlling is former Sentinel executive Orson Creed (Manu Bennett). Creed was kidnapped by Sentinel and was implanted with a chip that is synchronized with Max’s game controller. Innocents will die if Max keeps playing, but bigger powers are in play that  could have global ramifications. Also, there’s the matter of Orson Creed who is enslaved by the game he help create.

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DC Entertainment will be pulling all the stops at Comic Con this year. Period. Don’t believe me? Check out what they’ve got planned (via their press release) below… (more…)

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Jessica Jones fans, rejoice! Everyone’s favorite street-level superhero is returning with a brand new solo series!  Check out what the private investigator will be up to in the press release (provided today by Marvel) below…. (more…)

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The SHARKNADO Franchise will once again be despending upon Comic Con with a Panel! Find out the details (released today by production company, The Asylum). (more…)

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Today Titan Comics released its full Comic Con slate.  Curious to know what they will be up to next week? Find out in the press release below… (more…)

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Today FX has announced plans to bring an innovative activation & art installation to Comic Con. Read the press release below to find out what the network has in store for fans.   (more…)

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This year’s Awesome Con saw no shortage of voice actor talent; however, among these incredibly talented artists, I was particularly eager to speak with actor/comedian, Phil Lamarr. No at all a stranger to the convention, I was eager to get his take on this year’s Con (seeing that he has attended many times before).  In addition, he also shared with me his thoughts regarding The Artist Formerly Known As Prince (an artist whom he memorably impersonated on the comedy series, MAD TV). Check out the interview below… (more…)

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Today MTV announced some of the nominees for their Fandom Awards Show set to kick off during Comic Con.  Did any of your fandoms get the nod?  Find out in the press release below…

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STAR WARS. ET. Tetris…What do these properties have in common? Well, they’re entities which many of us would agree transcend media form, age, race, or even religion.  While there are perhaps only a handful of such properties that exist, few would argue that the 30+ year old Mario Bros. game franchise definitely fits the bill.  At this year’s Awesome Con, I took the opportunity to speak with the voice behind the legendary character Mario, Mr. Charles Martinet, to pick his brain about the franchise. (more…)

As the title suggests, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. The fraternal screw-ups Mike (Adam DeVine) and Dave Stengel (Zac Efron) have a penchant for ruining family functions. Their antics usually are based on good intentions but, go horribly wrong. In trying to avoid another Christmas gone awry (R.I.P. Grandpa Stengel), Stengel patriarch Burt (Stephen Root) has new rules for the Bros, relating to sister Jeanie’s (Stephanie Beard) Hawaiian wedding. Find respectable date or else. With the ever-growing list of online dating sites available, the duo post on Craigslist and advertise on The Wendy Williams Show about their plight. Their tv appearance draws the interest of hundreds of women (and a few men). Tatianna (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick) are two slackers in desperate need of a vacation from their lives of pizza bites and recreational drug use; the girls swindle their way into the Hawaiian vacation.  (more…)

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Announced today by FX Networks, comes word that a special one-night performance of Archer Live! will be taking place at this year’s Comic Con! Read on to get the details… (more…)

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Today, Marvel has announced a new ongoing series for Marvel NOW! titled CHAMPIONS.  Check out the press release to find out about the new superhero team. (more…)

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Returning for their second year, BBC.com Culture is coming to SDCC with a panel titled, “Are Heroes Born or Made?”  Read the press release below for more details on the panel as well as its impressive list of panelists… (more…)

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Ash (CAMPBELL) & Ruby (LAWLESS) in Starz’ ASH VS EVIL DEAD

Today, Starz released a new photo (featured above) & teaser trailer (featured after the press release) for the new season of Ash vs. Evil Dead.  Though the first season was quite satisfying for gore hounds (like myself), it appears that the new season will be (dare I say it…) upping the ante!  You can check out the teaser trailer in the embedded tweet below… However, be warned, the footage featured in the teaser is very graphic! (more…)

nicksplatsdccAre you a fan of former Nickelodeon game show, Double Dare?  Well, if you’re attended this year’s Comic Con, you’re in luck, as the network will be saluting the show’s 30th Anniversary by bringing back original host, Marc Summers, for a special edition of the show to air live at Comic Con!  Check out the press release from Nickelodeon (announced today) below….   (more…)

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In addition to the special guests at this year’s Awesome Con, I was also afforded the opportunity to sit down and chat with the folks from the hit Destination America series, A Haunting.  Seeing that the series presents tales of real-life families terrorized by paranormal forces, I decided to pick the brains of host, Tony Call, and deliverance minister/ paranormal investigator, John Drenner Jr., to see if the paranormal elements featured in pop culture (i.e. tv, movies, etc.) stack up to “real thing.” Find their answer in the interview below… 
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Just announced today by Titan Comics, comes news that NBA Legend, Kareem Abdul Jabbar will be coming to Comic Con to debut his new take on Mycroft Holmes.  Check out the press release below for more info…  (more…)

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Look out San Diego, truTV’s Impractical Jokers are heading to the Gaslamp District – and they’re bringing some friends. truTV, along with Sal, Joe, Murr and Q – together known as The Tenderloins – will treat fans of the long-running series with great events and experiences like a three-day exhibition and massive block party steps from the San Diego Convention Center from Thursday, July 21 through Saturday, July 23. Building off of last year’s popular Museum of Impractical History, the Hall of Impractical Jokers exhibit during Comic-Con International will give fans incomparable access to the show’s most popular moments and artifacts. Plus, on Saturday, July 23, the party moves to The Park at Petco Park for the daylong, first-ever Impractical Jokers Block Party.

Look below for further details… (more…)

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Today Starz’ announced that two of their shows, American Gods and Ash vs. Evil Dead will have a presence at Comic Con.  You can find the info below…. (more…)

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We last saw Sgt. Leo Barnes two years ago in Los Angeles during the Purge of 2023; the annual holiday where all crime, including rape and murder (except of high ranking government officials) are legal. Though avenging the death of his toddler son drives Leo’s existence, he realized that the Purge wasn’t as it seems. Wonderfully hinted in the first film (2013) and all but screamed in the second (2014), the Purge is a thinly veiled exercise in population control where the upper class psychopaths prey on the defenceless, eliminating the “burdens” of society. Realizing that murder won’t bring him happiness, nor bring his son back Leo moves on.

Two years later, we reconnect with Leo in Washington, DC; where he is leading a security detail for a popular Presidential candidate. Senator Charlene ‘Charlie’ Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) has been on the frontlines, rallying against the Purge for decades. Fifteen years ago, Senator Roan was the sole survivor of a Purge night attack on her family. Since that fateful day, she has dedicated her life to ending the annual lawless holiday. The New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) stands to oppose the Senator and thus “Keep America Great”. Crime and unemployment are at an all time low while, consumer spending and overall happiness are at its highest, since the institution of the Purge. While the debate rages on about the ethics and morality of the Purge, its supporters conclude that America has never been better. In response to cries of the Purge being an instrument of classism, xenophobia and racism; the NFFA strikes down one of the few rules of the event. The use of class 4 and above weapons are prohibited, but for the first time, any government official, including those of class 10 or higher are not exempt from the Purge this year. For Leo Barnes, keeping the Senator alive through the night is his only priority; and that isn’t as easy as it seems.  (more…)

joe harris_awesome conDespite being distinctly disparate forms of media, we live in a day and age where comics and film are more closely associated together than ever (thanks largely to the various film adaptations that are now out there).  With that in mind, I caught up with prolific writer, Joe Harris, at Awesome Con, to discuss this current landscape of comics and film that we, as fans, live in.  As someone who has written in both comics and film, Harris provides a unique perspective on how film has evolved; particularly, those inspired by comics.  In addition, he also sheds light on some of his future projects as well.  You can check out the interview below… (more…)

Movie Review – The BFG

June 30, 2016

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The young, orphaned Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is an insomniac. Usually up late reading, Sophie’s normally quiet night was disturbed by a presence. Unbeknownst to Sophie, that presence was that of a Giant. Plucked from her bed by the Giant, Sophie is held captive in the Giant’s lair somewhere in Giant Country. Giants have a long standing reputation of being large and dumb, but also cannibals; however, Sophie’s captor Runt, as he’s called teasingly by his bigger, meaner, man eating brothers is fairly friendly. A vegetarian, Runt protects Sophie from the others, since his diet doesn’t consist of cooked humans. Runt even brings Sophie along when he is capturing dreams for his collection. The two become fast friends, but the longer Sophie stays with Runt, a Big Friendly Giant, Sophie’s life is in grave danger. (more…)

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Hot off the heels of their other announcement, Entertainment Earth has revealed yet another exclusive for Comic Con attendees (however, if you read in the fine print of the press release, there may be hope for those not attending).  Check out the press release below… 

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