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It’s been three years since we saw the Kings of Tampa in action, and a lot has changed. “Magic” Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) is struggling to make ends meet with his small construction company, but when ‘Pony’ by Ginuwine comes on the radio; the impromptu routine in Mike’s workshop proves that there’s still some magic left. After being lured by Tarzan (former wrestler Kevin Nash) to join the rest of the Kings on their trip to the annual stripper convention in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The road trip begins. But what of the boys? Can they still wow the masses after a three-year hiatus. Can they do it without Dallas (Matthew McConaughey from the first film) and The Kid (Alex Prettyfer from the first film)? 

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Evie (KATE MULVANY) and Dan (DAMON HERRIMAN) in THE LITTLE DEATH. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Sex. It is a enjoyable activity that all of us mammals engage in not only for fun, but also to reproduce.  However, as with anything that is enjoyable, it can potentially become stale and/or boring if one has too much of it.  It is from this “staleness,” (many would agree) that we now have what we know as fetishes.  (more…)

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To cap off my coverage of this year’s Awesome Con, I thought I’d come full circle by speaking with the Con’s other co-founder, Mr. Steve Anderson. Perhaps known to many as the founder and CEO of Third Eye Comics, Mr. Anderson has been apart of the Con’s conception from the beginning.  Always enthusiastic and energetic, Steve and I touched on quite a few topics in our interview together. (more…)

Spooky Movie 2015 To those movie fans that reside in the metropolitan area (DC, MD, & VA) of the nation’s capitol, its no secret that the city plays host to a few unique, niche film festivals, each year.  For me, one of the most enjoyable of these festivals is undoubtedly the Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival.  Founded by director C.W. Prather, the festival, as the name suggests, caters to movie fans of the horror variety. (more…)

Movie Review – Ted 2

June 25, 2015

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Where we last left Ted (Voiced by Seth MacFarlane), he and Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) were going to live happily every after. Now married, the couple wants have a baby. There’s an obvious problem as Ted doesn’t have means to procreate. Remember, he’s a teddy bear. So, without being able to naturally have kids, the couple could adopt, or use a surrogate. But, when Ted’s legal status as a person is challenged; Ted, best friend John (Mark Wahlberg) and newly retained lawyer Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) will go to court and argue the civil rights case of the century. 

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As it has been mentioned before, many of the Special Guests at Awesome Con this year have a following that crosses over many forms of media-thanks largely to their many talents.  One such guest who fell into that category was Billy Martin.  Though many likely know him as the guitarist for the band Good Charlotte; Martin, in addition, is also an accomplished illustrator.  (more…)

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Next week, movie audiences will be reintroduced to the iconic TERMINATOR franchise with its newest installment called TERMINATOR: GENISYS.  Acting as both a sequel and quasi-reboot to the franchise, the new film will revisit the events of the first film with new actors taking on the iconic roles of both Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese, respectively.  While some may be excited by this new prospect, no one can overlook the impact that the original actors had in those roles.  Thankfully, at this year’s Awesome Con, I was afforded the opportunity to speak with the original Kyle Reese himself, Michael Biehn.   (more…)

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These days the horror genre has been inundated with the found footage element, and while I have come to enjoy this device with some horror films, I’m sure many would agree that the style has been overused quite a bit.  Therefore it was refreshing to come across the more traditional horror film, PERNICIOUS.  Directed and co-written by James Cullen Bressack, the film follows three young girls, holidaying in Thailand, who unleash the spirit of a murdered child with only one thing on her mind-revenge. (more…)

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Though some audiences these days may know George Newbern from his portrayal as the operative, Charlie, on ABC‘s Scandal; in geek circles, he is also known for his voice work on television, movies, and videogames.  More specifically, he has provided notable voice work as Kent/Superman on television (Justice League, Justice League Unlimited), in film (the DC UNIVERSE ANIMATED ORIGINAL MOVIES), and in gaming (Injustice: Gods Among Us); therefore at Awesome Con I took the opportunity to chat with him about what approach he has used in bringing “The Man of Steel’s” voice to life.  In addition, he also shared some info on what its like to be a cast member of Scandal.  (more…)

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Ben taking a pic with the promotional poster for Awesome Con on the DC subway

These days when thinking about the major Cons of the calendar year, probably a handful of events come to mind: C2E2, San Diego Comic Con, Dragon Con, and New York Comic Con.  However, thanks to its ever expanding scope year by year, one convention has quickly joined the conversation among these major annual geek events, and that’s Awesome Con!  Since its inception back in 2013, the DC event has since grown from a minor room (in the DC Convention Center) in its first year, to multiple spaces (in the same facility) in its sophomore year.  Now, in its third year, the Con had more than double its space usage and nearly quadrupled its attendee attendance (it was poised to accommodate about 40,000 attendees). (more…)

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Few can deny the impact that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have had on pop culture.  The four brothers, over the past 30+years, have weaved their way into nearly every facet of media, whether on the small screen, the big screen, or in music (here is looking at you Mr. Vanilla Ice).  With that said, in my time at Awesome Con, I caught up with the characters’ co-creator, Mr. Kevin Eastman, who was on hand at the show.  (more…)

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My favourite event of the Awesome Con weekend is the cosplay contest. Cosplay and conventions go hand in hand. At every convention I’ve ever attended, you’ll find a dedicated fan base willing to immerse themselves in their fandom. Cosplaying is about more than finding an outfit. Cosplayers transform their characters, bringing them to life. The first set of photos are from Sunday’s group contests. Both group and individual contests were judges in three categories: Novice, Journeyman and Master. Contestants were scored on costume design and the effectiveness of the character’s’ portrayal. There were a lot of great entrants but I think the judges got it right and the best, cosplayer won.  (more…)

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For any actor its a dream come true to be apart of any beloved franchise.  However, for a select few, that dream happens many times over, as they are afforded the opportunity to dip into many franchises over the course of their respective careers.  One such example of an actor who has accomplished this feat would be actor Brian Tee.  (more…)

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Twenty-two years after the debacle on Isla Nublar, Jurassic World is open for business. Dr John Hammond’s vision has come to life and business is booming. Like any other business, especially a theme park; Jurassic World must reinvent itself to stay relevant. The scientific discovery of genetically engineered dinosaurs from fossilized mosquitoes is passe and park visitors demand more. At least, that is what current fiscal projections predict. Unwilling to let profits slide, park owner and billionaire Simon Masrani (Iffran Khan) has his geneticists cook up a hybrid dino that’s bigger, faster and stronger than the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The Indominus Rex, as it’s known, will surely bring home the bacon. Until its imminent escape, that is. 

Meanwhile, on another part of the island, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) is an experienced Velociraptor trainer who is instructed by Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) to inspect the cage for the Indominus. The cage was supposed to hold the Indominus and was supposed to be impossible to escape. Oops. Right on cue the Indominus escapes. Head of park security, Hoskins (Vincent D’onofrio) wants to use Owen’s trained raptors to hunt the I-Rex. If successful, iN*Gen, Hoskins’ employer could find use for raptors on the battlefield. Claire’s nephews, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) are visiting the park today (of course) and are caught in the middle of it all when the I-Rex breaks loose. 

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High school can be tough. Operated like a prison, with worse food; the experience is life orienting. Most inmates, officially known as students will assimilate into a number of cliques almost immediately. For Greg (Thomas Mann), navigating the minefield that is the cafeteria, is similar to diplomatic relations within the United Nations. He tries to fit in with everyone to avoid any conflict, ever. By placating the Nerds, Jocks, Goths and everyone in between with niceties; Greg, a senior has nearly survived his tenure in high school. Along with his “co-worker” Earl (RJ Cyler) the duo spends their spare time making short film parodies of classic cinema. I’ll never think of Kubrick in the same way, after seeing “Eyes Wide Butts”.

When Greg’s mom (Connie Britton) forces Greg to befriend Rachel (Olivia Cooke), he has to face his greatest fear: Girls. Their forced relationship, albeit platonic is strained further by Rachel’s leukemia diagnosis. Rachel is as appalled by the idea of a pity friend, as much as Greg hates the idea of being kicked out of his comfort zone; what happens next changes everything for both. 

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As with any film festival, there are only so many selections which can be considered “the best” of what a festival has to offer.  However, considering the quality of films featured at this year’s GI Film Festival, that predicament was magnified.  In fact, in one situation (see tweet below) an award category resulted in a tie.  With all of that said, there were numerous guests on the Awards Show’s Red Carpet to not only discuss their respective films but also to express their thoughts on the festival itself.  (more…)

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In addition to festival selection, KAJAKI. THE TRUE STORY, another film which made a splash at this year’s festival was BATTLE SCARS.  Written & directed by Danny Buday, the film follows former soldier, Luke Stephens (Zane Holtz), who shows up on his brother Nicky (Ryan Eggold)’s doorstep after a tour in Afghanistan. Suffering from both P.T.S.D. and physical wounds, Luke wants nothing more than to forget the war, but his veteran father (David James Elliott) won’t let him. At a gentleman’s club, run by a ruthless killer (Fairuza Balk), Luke crosses paths with Michelle (Heather McComb) who leads him into a turbulent world every bit as dangerous and isolating as the brutality Luke so desperately tried to leave behind in Afghanistan.

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Among the best selections at this year’s GI Film Festival was the unflinching military film, KAJAKI.THE TRUE STORY.  Directed by Paul Katis, the film tells the story of a small unit of soldiers who are positioned on a ridge overlooking the Kajaki dam.  Consisting of a three-man patrol team, they set out to disable a Taliban roadblock. However, in a dried out river bed at the foot of the ridge, one of the patrol members detonate a land mine, blowing off his leg and setting into motion a desperate rescue mission. (more…)

Movie Review – Spy

June 4, 2015

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Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) has the skills, but she remains unproven in the field as a CIA agent. Instead, Susan spends her days in the vermin-infested basement as the frumpy analyst for top agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law). She’s his eyes and ears in the field while Fine is on a mission to track down an arms dealer, trying to sell a nuclear weapon on the black market. When Fine’s cover is blown by the haughty Bulgarian arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne); the agency is rattled. Boyanov knows the identities of all of the top agents, making her increasingly difficult to track. Without time and options, the agency chief (Allison Janney) agrees to send Susan undercover for the first time to track down Fine’s killer.  (more…)

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Awesome Con started in 2013 as a small two-day convention that sought to differentiate itself from the other bigger, more well-known cons around the country. Everyone knows of San Diego and New York Comic Cons, C2E2 in Chicago and Dragon Con in Atlanta; but Washington D.C. didn’t have a con of its own. The convention, spread over few large rooms in the Walter Washington Convention Center; had a handful of guests good selection of merchants selling their goods. An admirable first convention in this previously untapped market, but Awesome Con had a lot of room for growth. 2014 saw substantial growth in every aspect. More artists, guests, games, workshops, food, vendors and anything else you could think of. The calendar year is peppered with many niche cons around the area, but Awesome Con was slowly starting to prove itself as a premier convention destination of Washington and the Mid-Atlantic. 

The 2015 Awesome Con has concluded and it was the biggest to date. But, is bigger always better?

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THE FORGOTTEN ANGEL OF BASTOGNE

In any war there will always unsung heroes who oftentimes get overlooked in terms of their deeds & impact on a given war.  One such hero was the subject of the 2015 GI Film Fest Selection, THE FORGOTTEN ANGEL OF BASTOGNE.  Directed by Emmy Award-winning director, Mike Edwards, the documentary follows the story of a black woman who overcame racism and Nazis in 1944 Belgium during WWII to become the war’s unlikeliest heroes. (more…)

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We, as Americans, often take for granted the freedom that we are afforded everyday.  However, for those who are willing to look deep enough, a symbol of this freedom can be found in the form of our very own flag.  With that in mind, I took the opportunity to speak to THE FLAG director, John Kelly, at this year’s  GI Film Festival, to chat about his film which addresses this very idea.  (more…)

Four years after the series finale of one of HBO’s longest running series, Entourage picks up years after we last seen Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), his brother Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dillon), Turtle (Jerry Ferarra) and Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly). You have 8 seasons on Blu-ray to catch up on the show. Binge watching the last season is probably a good idea, because the movie doesn’t offer any help if you missed the show in its original run; similarly to another series with a Lazarus like reanimation: Mad Max. My biggest concern with Entourage was the same as with Mad Max; is this new installment into the canon a necessary installment, or a simple cash grab?

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Captain Ray Gaines (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) has made a successful career of rescuing people from precarious situations. Whether it’s in Afghanistan or Laurel Canyon, CA, Ray and his team of the Los Angeles Fire Department are the ones to call when disaster strikes. However, Ray isn’t as successful in saving his marriage. Soon to be divorced from Emma (Carla Gugino), Ray has to play weekend dad to his college-aged daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario). Meanwhile, over at the California Institute of Technology Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) is a seismologist who is working on a system to predict earthquakes.  He and Dr. Kim Park (Will-Yun Lee) detect a series of “micro-quakes” near the Hoover Dam in Nevada. As it turns out, they were right; but before they could celebrate, the earthquake they predicted wrecks the dam. 

As a result of the destruction, Ray and Blake’s daddy/daughter road trip to Blake’s school gets cancelled as Ray gets called in to work. Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd), Emma’s new wealthy, architect boyfriend volunteers to chauffeur Blake to school in his private jet, with a brief stop in San Francisco. If the boys and girls at Caltech are right, San Francisco could be the epicenter of the largest earthquake ever recorded.  (more…)

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The third annual Awesome Con approaches. This weekend, May 29-31, 2015 at the Walter Washington Convention Center, many corners of the pop culture universe will descend upon Washington DC. The complete list of guests can be found (HERE) . I’m excited to see the panels of Power Rangers, WWE and Lord of the Rings. Tickets are still on sale through Eventbrite but are in short supply. If  some act of God prevents you from attending Awesome Con 2015, keep close to RFN on the site and social media for complete Awesome Con coverage.

 

 

 

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Back in 2009, movie audiences were introduced the twisted, macabre vision known only as THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE. Directed by Tom Six, the film told the disturbing tale of a scientist who kidnapped and mutilated a small group of tourists in order to reassemble them into a human centipede-stitched together to each other’s rectums through their mouths. Due to the film’s radical concept, it understandably transcended its niche as a standard, run-of-the-mill horror film, and instead made its way into the annals of pop culture. In fact, perhaps because of its infamy, saying that you had seen the outrageous film almost became a rite of passage, something of a bragging right (of sorts) among your movie-going peers. Now, flash forward five years (and two installments) later, the franchise has reached its conclusion with THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE III: FINAL SEQUENCE. (more…)

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We first meet Frank Walker (George Clooney) as a boy  (Thomas Robinson) at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. The endless possibilities of tomorrow were on display for all to see. In a competition for inventors of all ages, Frank is unceremoniously dismissed by a pompous judge (Hugh Laurie); though Athena (Raffey Cassidy) takes interest. But, interest in what exactly? Secretly, Athena gives Frank a pin and tells him to follow closely. He does ; and whizzes and bangs later, Frank steps out into the unknown. A similar thing happened to Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), in the present. She’s the daughter of a NASA engineer (Tim McGraw) who is about to be laid off, pending the decommission of the space shuttle program. When some of her late night activism lands her in hot water with the local authorities, Casey also discovers a pin similar to Frank’s.  (more…)

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That right! Starting Monday, the 9th Annual GI Film Festival will ship into our nation’s capitol!  Launched back in 2007, the mission of the festival has always been to allow artists to tell the story of our great troops; more specifically, their successes and their sacrifices. Since that time, the festival has developed into one of the nation’s premiere events for the screening of military films. (more…)

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The land is barren. Unbroken, only by a smattering of rocks and cliffs in the distance. The desert is unforgiving and endless. The lands of this unnamed terrain have been decimated by war and the fall of society; which is where we meet our unnamed hero (Tom Hardy). The vagrant wanders through the hinterlands alone, haunted by his memories and  hunted by marauders from a nearby stronghold. That citadel is ruled by King Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) with the Imperator, Furiosa (Charlize Theron) by his side. While out on a supply run, Furiosa has her own ambitions and steals Joe’s most cherished possessions. With Furiosa on the run and a battalion of the War Boys on the hunt, the only way to escape is down Fury Road. 

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The acapella world was turned on its ear when the Barden Bellas won the 2012 International Championship of Collegiate A Capella. After their three-peat as champions, the Bellas, now seniors are on a whirlwind tour. In a performance at Washington D.C. ‘s John F. Kennedy Center, with the President and First Lady in attendance; Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) has a wardrobe malfunction of epic proportions. The Obamas were not amused. The following embarrassment gets the Bellas suspended from competition for the rest of the season; also, the Bellas are prohibited from recruiting new members. As most of the squad are seniors, The Barden Bellas may be finished. Since all good things eventually come to an end, Co-Captain Becca (Anna Kendrick) takes an internship in a record company and other  Co-captain Chloë (Brittany Snow) exploits a loophole in their punishment. While the Bellas aren’t able to perform at the collegiate level; nothing could stop them from entering international competitions. The legacy of the Barden Bellas is at stake when they battle on the world stage against their stiffest competition yet.  (more…)

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