Movie Review – Sicario

September 24, 2015

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Tense. In a word, the description of the situation on the border between Mexico and the United States. Thousands of people a year travel hundreds of miles through the arid Mexican wilderness, to reach the land of opportunity. Also smuggled illegally through the border are drugs, guns and gang related violent crime and most of the activity is run by the Mexican Cartels. Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) a FBI agent, apart of an anti-kidnapping division in Phoenix, Arizona; knows too well, the progress of Cartel activity in the US. It is her team that make a grisly discovery at a Cartel outpost in rural Arizona. Scores of suffocated bodies, victims of Cartel violence. Her resolve through this ordeal makes her superiors take notice. They recommend her in assistance of a mission from the Defense Department. Matt (Josh Brolin) and Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) plan on rattling a few cages of the Mexican Cartel.  (more…)

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Picking up immediately after the events of The Maze Runner; The Scorch Trials continues the story of the Gladers, who were rescued by an unknown paramilitary group who fights against the government organization, World Catastrophe Killzone Department (WCKD pronounced Wicked). Taken to a safe haven where Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Min-ho (Ki Hong Lee) and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) are able to grab some warm clothes and a bite to eat in relative comfort. With WCKD on the hunt and the arid desert landscape full of ‘Cranks’, a zombie-like humanoid that is infected with advanced stages of ‘The Flare’, a viral plague that led to the fall of humanity. 

All isn’t what it seems when Thomas gets more agitated at not being able to see Teresa, also he notices that groups of kids are selected for a ‘promotion’ by Janssen (Aidan Gillen) only to never be seen again. Something’s up, but if the long told stories are true, a group of resistance fighters known as the Right Hand lies somewhere beyond the Scorch in the mountains. Obviously, escaping the compound and traversing the Scorch is tough enough. Doing that with an army of WCKD soldiers and a desert full of Cranks makes the journey impossible. Complicating matters is the uncertainty of the Right Hand. It would be soul crushing to find out that the Right Hand is a hoax.  (more…)

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The world’s most dangerous über driver deserves a vacation. Frank Martin Jr. (Ed Skrein) is ”The Transporter”, personal courier to the highest bidder. He will deliver whatever to whomever, on time, as promised. His father Frank Sr. is in town for a vacation, starting his retirement from a lengthy career in “sales”. The world’s worst kept secret is that Frank Sr. is a retired spy. When Junior takes a job to take a woman and her two packages to a location, named later. The ‘packages’ are two more women, so Frank cancels the deal. Apparently planning for this action , it’s revealed that Frank’s father has been kidnapped and tortured, but he’s still alive at the moment. Stuck between a Glock and a hard place (ha!), Frank begrudgingly helps the trio of bandits, with the hope of freeing his father. 

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A WALK IN THE WOODSIn the twilight of his life Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) is at another crossroads in life. His grandkids are of age and a friend passed away but, Bryson feels like there’s room for one last adventure. After discovering a path leading to the Appalachian Trail (AT), near his New Hampshire home, Bill decides to hike the trail from beginning to end. Hiking the near 2,200 miles of trail from Northern Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine is a serious undertaking for the most experienced hikers. For a 70-year-old, with little knowledge of hiking or camping; thru hiking the AT may be a death sentence. Bryson’s wife Cathy (Emma Thompson) steps in with a mandate: Hike with a partner or don’t go at all. After rummaging through the rolodex and not finding willing participants, nearly gives up on the expedition; until he receives a surprise phone call from Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte), an estranged friend. Katz is a mess of a man. An overweight, bumbling, recovering alcoholic, which is dubious as whiskey is found in Katz’s backpack; Katz makes Bryson look like an Olympian. Unphased by the odds against them, Katz and Bryson head to Northern Georgia via Atlanta in the Spring, hoping to complete the 15 state, 2,185 mile journey before winter. What could possibly go wrong?

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Actress Ellen Hollman (left) as the warrior, Saxa (right)

As mentioned before, in the world of Spartacus- a place full of intrigue, deception, and violence- the women are far from just being eye candy; in fact, they’re just as strong and vicious as their male counterparts.  One prime example of such a character can be found in the warrior known as Saxa.  At this year’s first SpartaCon, I was fortunate enough to speak with Ellen Hollman, the actress behind the ferocious character, to share how she brought the necessary physicality needed for the role.  Check out the interview below… (more…)

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Viva Bianca as Ilithyia in STARZ’ SPARTACUS

Throughout the series of STARZ’ Spartacus, there were quite a few antagonists that our titular character encountered in his fight for freedom.  However, few were as memorable as the alluring character known only as Ilithyia.  Brought to life by actress Viva Bianca, the character’s machinations gave Spartacus a run for his money for two seasons of the series’ run.   (more…)

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Anna Hutchison (left) as Laeta (right)

Historically, female characters are oftentimes portrayed as the romantic interest or “damsel in distress;”  however, this trend has recently started to change, thanks to shows such as Starz’ Spartacus that have played with this stereotype.  One such example would be the character of Laeta-who featured prominently in the last season of the series.  Upon first introduction, the character seemed to been be a run-of-the-mill damsel; however, upon further inspection, the character was far from a weakling.  (more…)

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It must be said that with some supporting characters, actors/actresses can bring such a personality and presence to them that often they’re kept around a lot longer than was perhaps initially planned.  One well-known example of this can be found with Agent Coulson, whose popularity among fans saw his role expanded within in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which of course eventually evolved into a starring role in the Agents of SHIELD TV series).  Similarly, the same occurred with actor Barry Duffield in the Starz’ series, Spartacus.    (more…)

Todd Lasance as Caesar in Starz' SPARTACUS

Todd Lasance as Caesar in Starz’ SPARTACUS

Among the many adversaries that Spartacus had to contend with during the series run, perhaps one of the most dangerous was undoubtedly actor Todd Lasance’s Caesar.  Unlike the antagonists of previous seasons, Lasance’s portrayal of Caesar offered a character who was not only a mental match for Spartacus and his rebels, but a physical match as well.  With that said, seeing that so many stars were on hand at this year’s SpartaCon, I took the opportunity to pick Lasance’s brain about how he brought the real-life historical figure to life.  However, as what normally happens in such interviews, Lasance also discussed some of his future projects as well.  Check out the interview below…   (more…)

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As mentioned before, SpartaCon had a great many selection of special guests from Starz’ Spartacus series.  Among the first I had an opportunity to speak with was Dan Feuerriegel, who portrayed Agron-one of Spartacus generals-on the series.  In the interview, Dan opens up about being cast the character, his amazement with the fandom surrounding his character, as well as his future projects. Check the interview below… (more…)

2015 SpartaCon Was Here!

August 30, 2015

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While its always great to attend your Awesome Cons and/or Comic Cons, your niche conventions can be just as memorable.  One good example of such a niche convention was SpartaCon, which held its first annual convention a few weeks ago in Waldolf, MD. (more…)

Movie Review: Grandma

August 27, 2015

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“A footnote”, that’s how Ellie Reid (Lily Tomlin) describes her four-month long relationship with Olivia (Judy Greer). The harsh but accurate statement is a perfect snapshot of Ellie. Stern but loving, Ellie commands Olivia to leave the house keys on table then storms off; only to cry silently in the shower moments later. Still grieving from the death of her life partner, Violet; the semi-retired poet and occasional writer, Ellie is both broke and lonely. Adding to Ellie’s troubles is startling news from Sage (Julia Garner).  (more…)

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Fathom Events, a consortium of AMC, Regal and Cinemark theaters is bringing  The Hobbit back to the big screen with the extended editions of the trilogy. Each film will show at 730 pm (Local time) in 500 theaters around the country. The dates and running times are as follows:

Click on each title for a link to the Fathom Events site, where there’s a list of participating theaters and ticket sales. Each film is preceded by a brief message by director Peter Jackson. Sadly, there isn’t any word of a 10 hour-long Hobbit single movie marathon.

Movie Review – No Escape

August 25, 2015

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The Dwyer family of Austin, Texas are recent transplants to an unnamed country in Southeast Asia where Jack, (Owen Wilson) took a job with Cardiff as an engineer. A multinational energy company, Cardiff is starting to build a water filtration plant in the nearby countryside; which would give clean drinking water to the impoverished nation. The first impressions of the new lands aren’t favorable, anxious but optimistic wife Annie (Lake Bell) along with daughters Lucy (Sterling Jerins) and Beeze (Claire Geare) are hesitant to embrace their new home on the upper floors of a hi-quality hotel. Intermittent power and water outages are commonplace for the area, but the lack of phones, tv and internet was unsettling at best. In the morning, while Jack is out on the town, searching for a morning paper, he’s suddenly caught in the middle of a riot between local cops and machete wielding revelers. The government is threatened and foreigners, in particular westerners are targeted and executed on sight. Jack, stuck in the middle of political unrest in an unfamiliar city,unaware of language or which way is up; somehow must escape the city, or country with his wife and two kids.  (more…)

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Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) lives in obscurity within the friendly confines of his West Virginian small town. Whether at work at the grocery store or home with his live-in girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart), Mike spends most of his time smoking weed and working on his comic about a superhero monkey in space. For all the weed Mike smokes, it doesn’t seem to help him with his panic attacks. After booking a trip to Hawaii, Mike has a panic attack at the airport, causing he and Phoebe to miss the trip. Mike’s nervousness and panic attacks aren’t without reason.  (more…)

 

Cos 23

Costume role-playing or Cosplay is the unannounced sideshow at any fan convention. Whether it’s store-bought or handmade, it’s important to show up as your favourite character. With comic books at a high in the mainstream consciousness, cosplaying maybe more popular now than ever before. Unfortunately, Otakon doesn’t feature a costume contest, but there were many photo shoots scattered around the convention space. The following are some of the best of cosplay from Otakon 2015.  (more…)

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I wasn’t sure what to make of an all girl Japanese ska band. There were so many questions before to show started. Would they speak English? Do they do covers? How well would the sound? As the crowd filed into Hall D my questions would soon be answered. What follows are some of the photos from the energetic Oreskaband concert. (more…)

Otakon 2015 Recap: Part 1

August 4, 2015

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The Baltimore Convention, one of the sites of Otakon 2015

The 22nd edition of Otakon, July 24 – 26, 2015, invaded the Baltimore Convention Center once again; but with the civil unrest of May and national attention that followed, is Baltimore a place where you would want to spend part of your summer? How would Baltimore’s negative publicity affect attendance at the con this year? Also, 2015 is the penultimate year for the Otakon in Baltimore. The Baltimore Convention Center has been the home of Otakon since 1999, but overcrowding and limited space will send Otakon to the Walter Washington Convention Center in Washington DC, starting in 2017. (more…)

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Rachel Faulkner stars as Lulu in the horror-comedy anthology series, Hillbilly Horror Show

What do you get when you mince in horror shorts with vignettes of hilarious banter between redneck hosts?  Well, you get the hour-long anthology horror comedy series known as Hillbilly Horror Show.  In lieu of the series Volume 1 DVD release this October, I caught up briefly with the breakout star, Rachel Faulkner, to chat about the series.  (more…)

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After speaking previously with many of the folks (actors and producers alike) behind DRAGON BALL Z: RESURRECTION F, on the final day of Comic Con I was fortunate enough to speak with Chris Sabat, the voice behind one of my favorite DBZ characters, the antihero known only as Vegeta. (more…)

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Normally, after a busy week of press obligations and attending panels, Sundays (for me) are normally reserved for extra time in the Exhibit Hall.  However, while I did take some time to hang out in the Exhibit Hall, I broke a bit from my typical routine, and attended panels for Heroes Reborn and The Strain.  Check out some of the cool moments from these panels below… (more…)

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With the Impossible Missions Force disbanded and under investigation by the CIA and US Congress, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has gone AWOL. After successfully thwarting terrorists from buying nerve gas, Hunt is captured by The Syndicate; a shadowy organization that moves without fear of repercussions from any country. Imprisoned by The Syndicate  and at the mercy of a man known as ‘The Bone Doctor’, Hunt, to his surprise is helped to escape by Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a disavowed British secret agent. Unsure of her intentions, Hunt resumes his mission to bring The Syndicate down, clearing his name and restoring credibility to the IMF. His only lead is a sketch of a bespeckled male that maybe the key to the operation. 

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Like Friday, Saturday provided plenty of awesome panels (especially in regards to superhero properties)!  With Marvel Studios bowing out this year, Warner Bros/DC and 20th Century Fox pulled all the stops to get attendees buzzing about their films.  Check out a few of the highlights below…. (more…)

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As mentioned before, Fridays and Saturdays during Comic Con (for me) are designated for panels.  However, in order to make it into the coveted space known as Hall H, many folks really have to WORK HARD for it.  This year was no different as Friday promised a number of panels from a number of hotly anticipated properties, such as Fear The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, as well as STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. (more…)

Anatomy of a Superhero

If I said it once, I’ll say it again, music plays a pivotal role in how we interpret film or television.  Without it, what we see-on the small or big screen-can seem “naked”-as if it is missing something.  However, with music, the right score can create a sense of dread (see JAWS) or rouse excitement (see SUPERMAN or STAR WARS).  Therefore with that said, at Comic Con this year (in promotion of the “Musical Anatomy of a Superhero” Panel), I sat down with the composer behind many of the superheroes shows currently on television, Mr. Blake Neely. (more…)

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As mentioned before, Thursday (for many) acts as the first “official day” of Comic Con (as some may not be fortunate enough to get Preview Night).  For me, however, Thursday acts as a press heavy day as I know that I will likely spend the next two days in panels (instead of press rooms or conferences).  Therefore this year I spent the day making the following press rounds: (more…)

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Believe or not, it’s very common in Hollywood that elements of a film (i.e. an actor/actress being recast, director getting fired, etc.), or the film entirely, gets canned before the finished product ever sees the light of day.  Such was the case with SUPERMAN LIVES, a film which would have seen actor, Nicholas Cage, as the Man of Steel, and helmer Tim Burton in the director’s chair.  However, due to some unfortunate circumstances with the production, the superhero film never made it to the big screen.

With that in mind, at Comic Con I sat down with writer/director, Jon Schnepp, and producer, Holly Payne, to chat about their film, THE DEATH OF ‘SUPERMAN LIVES': WHAT HAPPENED?-a documentary which investigates what happened to the long defunct film.  In the interview, Jon and Holly not only discuss what inspired them to make the film, but also highlight the many challenges in getting the film made. In addition, Jon and Holly also make time (of course) to geek out about they’re going to get MOST “sweaty” about as fans of Comic Con.  Check out the interview below…  (more…)

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As mentioned before, the Big Bad known as Frieza has returned to wreak havoc upon Earth in the upcoming movie, DRAGON BALL Z: RESURRECTION F, and it is once again up to Goku and the rest of the Z fighters to take him down.  Therefore in celebration of his return, I caught up with the voice behind the iconic villain, Chris Ayres, during my time at Comic Con.  In the interview, Ayres discussed what elements he brought to the character as well as what fans could expect from the film.  In addition, he also geeked out about what he was most excited to see at Comic Con as a fan.  Check out the interview below…

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Following my go as a new recruit for Frieza’s army, I took the opportunity to speak with Justin Cook, producer of the film, DRAGON BALL Z: RESURRECTION F.  In the interview, we not only discuss Cook’s experience being at Comic Con, but also some details about the upcoming film as well as if Raditz (a character Justin voices) will ever return to DB universe.  Check out the interview below….    (more…)

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Next month Frieza will seek to settle a score with the saiyan, Goku, in the upcoming movie, DRAGON BALL Z: RESURRECTION F.  However, before he can do that, he must first assemble his army to ensure his victory.  Therefore at this year’s Comic Con, members of his army were recruiting attendees to see if that they had what it took to be his warriors.  Check out the video below-to see if I had what it took- as I made my way through some of recruiting tests, which included skills as “Energy, Agility, and Strength.” (more…)

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