Counting down to 2016 Wizard World CHICAGO Comic-Con!

Happy Friday everybody!

The fact that I’ll be flying to Chicago this afternoon certainly adds an extra spring in my step. I’ve attended the Minneapolis Wizard World event before, but this year is the first time I’ll be attending the Comic Con in Chicago! It started yesterday and it’ll go all the way through Sunday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

chicago-comic-con-2016

The programming is pretty massive for all four days, but I can only attend one day as we’re also visiting friends who live in town. We’ve decided that day’ll be Sunday!

A SAMPLING OF PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Interactive Q&As vith Back to the Future standouts Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson (Saturday, 1 PM); X-Files stars David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis (Saturday, 2 PM), Daredevil’s headliners Charlie Cox, Rosario Dawson, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson and Elodie Yung (Sunday, 11:30 AM)
  • Solo Q&A sessions vith Carrie Fisher (Sunday, 12:30 PM); Ash vs Evil Dead’s Bruce Campbell (Saturday, 3 PM); Heroes Milo Ventimiglia (Friday, 3 PM);  Arrow’s Colin Donnell (Saturday, 11 AM); iZombie’s Rose McIver (Saturday, noon); The Karate Kid’s Ralph Macchio (Sunday, noon); Boondock Saints stars Sean Patrick Flanery and David Della Rocco (Friday, 6 PM); Clerks’ Jason Mewes (Friday, 6 PM); Bill & Ted’s William Sadler (Friday, 4 PM); The Librarians’ Christian Kane (Sunday, 11 AM); and Power Rangers Megaforce Andrew Gray (Saturday, 2 PM)
  • “In the Ring” vith WWE® Superstars Becky Lynch™ (Friday, 2 PM), Seth Rollins™ (Thursday, 6:30 PM),  Dean Ambrose™ (Friday, 4 PM), Bayley™ (Thursday, 7:30 PM), and The Bella Twins™ (Saturday, 1:30 PM)
  • Celebrate 40 years of the (Wizard World) Chicago Comic Con with Mike Gold, George Hagenauer, Larry Charet, and Maggie Thompson (Friday, 3:30 PM)
  • Sessions featuring superstar creators “Spider-Man’s” Danny Fingeroth, “Gargoyles’” Greg Weisman, “The Red Hook’s” b, and “Dream Thief’s” Jai Nitz (Saturday, 6 PM), SNL’s J.J. Sedelmaier (Friday, 3 PM); and many others

I gotta admit the one panel I am super psyched about is THIS:

DAREDEVIL panel: Saving hell’s kitchen

… with Daredevil’s Charlie Cox, Rosario Dawson, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, and Elodie Yung.

WizardWorld_DaredevilCast

I LOVE the series and I’m excited to see the cast in person. It’s always fun to see the chemistry of the actors off-set, and this is an ensemble that I absolutely love. I mean I like every single one of the actors and what they bring to each of their roles.

WizardWorld_Daredevil_Cox_Henson
Is Matt & Foggy bromance for real?

Unfortunately The Punisher’s Jon Bernthal isn’t going to be coming to the event due to filming 😦 I had just seen the season 3 teaser trailer last week and now I’m salivating for it even more!


I was really hoping to see Luke Cage‘s Mike Colter also but he too, had to cancel due to filming. Same with Sebastian Stan who was originally scheduled to appear in Chicago. Ah well, I suppose these things happen and they do have work they’ve committed to.

In any case, the Luke Cage trailer is looking good! I know what I’ll be bingeing in late September 🙂

 

Using the force with Carrie Fisher

WizardWorld_CarrieFisher

Now, I’m not a massive Star Wars fan but Carrie Fisher sounds like a hoot from what I’ve seen in interviews. I wonder if she’ll bring her beloved dog Gary to the panel. It’ll be fun just to see her share some of her experiences as part of such a behemoth franchise. And who knows there might be some tidbits about Star Wars Episode VIII! 😉

The truth is still out there

Now, I wish I could make it Saturday as well as I definitely will attend the X-Files panel. I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of the series but I’m a big fan of both lead actors: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson!

WizardWorld–XFiles

I enjoyed the Gillian Anderson panel last year at WW Minneapolis, but I bet it’d be even more fun seeing David and Gillian together! They seem to have a great chemistry off-screen, and I know David’s got quite a wicked sense of humor.

There’s also a David Duchovny Book Reading on Sunday, as he recently released his second novel, Bucky F*cking Dent: A Novel, following the success of his debut Holy Cow, which landed on The New York Times’ Bestseller List.

 


Of course half the fun of attending any comic-con is the people cosplayers watching!

My hubby will surely have a field day taking pictures of them on the exhibition floor, surely there will be no shortage of Star Wars cosplayers, which seems to be eternally popular.


Have a great weekend everyone. I’ll be sure to post my recap of my day at Wizard World Chicago!

31-Days Movie Meme: Day 1 and 2

Another month, another meme. Andrew over at Encore Entertainment posted this 31-Days Movie Meme on Sunday, and the idea is to post on a given topic daily, i.e. Sequel that should not have been made, Favorite romantic couple, Freakishly weird movie ending, etc. You can see the full list on his post.

I think this is a great idea for a meme, though I surely can’t commit to ALL 31 days! But I’ll do a post at least once or twice a week if the topics interest me. Well, without further ado, I’m starting with the Day 1 and 2 in one post.

Day 01 – Sequel that should not have been made
Now that would have to be Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). I love the Indy franchise and who doesn’t love the rugged Harrison Ford in his best, funnest role ever, so when the movie came out I couldn’t wait to see it. Alas, other than the theme song, there isn’t much that the 4th sequel retain from its predecessors. Not even the great Cate Blanchett as the Russian villain could’ve made a dent in this movie, but the real blunder is the script, it’s as if that kid from the 2nd sequel had written it as a school paper! The ludicrous ending was the crowning atrocity of an already insufferable piece of work. Might as well just have the alien hand Indy a light saber and tell him “I’m Your Father” and the agony will be complete. The only good thing that comes out of this is that I don’t have to bother adding a fourth one to my Indy trilogy boxed set.

‘Honorable’ mention: Batman & Robin. Batnipples and Clooney’s idiotic, pesky grin. ‘Nuff said. But I expect a heck of a lot more from Spielberg and Lucas, so that made Indy 4 all the more painful to watch.


Day 02 – Movie that you think more people should see
Well, pretty much all five from this Cure for the common flix post I did last year. But the one I’d recommend the most is Return to Me, I dedicated a whole post for it, that’s how much I love that movie! Starring the under-appreciated Minnie Driver and the funnier-than-we-give-him-credit-for David Duchovny, I can watch this over and over again. Give it a chance. Trust me, it’ll restore your faith in the rom-com genre!

Conspicuous Trailers of the Week: Ondine & The Joneses

I’m breaking tradition with posting TWO trailers this week, but I talked about these back in September ’09 as one of TIFF’s buzz-worthy movies. While I’ve seen three of the movies I listed: Bright Star, The Young Victoria, and the Oscar nominated Up in the Air, a few others have not even been released, yet. I even sort of forgot about them until last week when their trailers surfaced. They both happen to be independent flicks but from two completely different genres.
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Ondine
The story of an Irish fisherman who discovers a woman in his fishing net who he believes to be a mermaid.

Director: Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire, Michael Collins, The End of the Affair)
Cast: Collin Farrell, Tony Curran, Stephen Rea, Alicja Bachleda

….
The Joneses

A seemingly perfect family moves into a suburban neighborhood, but when it comes to the truth as to why they’re living there, they don’t exactly come clean with their neighbors.

Director: Derrick Borte (debut film)
Cast: David Duchovny, Demi Moore, Gary Cole, Lauren Hutton

….
I think they’re both look interesting (read: worth-seeing), though Ondine looks kind of bizarre and Collin Farrell’s accent is a bit intelligible to get the real gist of what the movie is about. The Irish scenery once again makes it look forlorn, with a rather grim feel to it, similar to The Eclipse trailer that’s also set in Ireland.

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The trailer for Leaves of Grass has also been released, which I actually been anticipating since last July, where Edward Norton plays a dual character of twin brothers: One an Ivy League professor, and the other a small-time pot grower. Written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson, it also stars Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon, Keri Russell.

Unfortunately, the profanity-laden trailer of this dark comedy actually leaves me cold, though I have to admit Norton definitely pull off the dual roles really well. You can see it on YouTube if you’re interested.

DVD Pick: The TV Set

The TV Set poster
The TV Set poster

With the workplace comedy Extract opening today, I somehow feel like bringing up this movie I saw quite a while ago. It’s got one of the most fitting and clever tagline: “A place where dreams are canceled.” The TV Set, as it’s aptly named, is a satire about the journey of a TV pilot as it goes through the grueling network process of casting and production before it finally airs. Coincidentally, it stars Jason Bateman’s sister, Justine, as David Duchovny’s wife.

As we’re gearing up for the Fall season with a bunch of new shows coming up, we’re hardly aware of all the drama that goes on behind the scenes—the cast reshuffling, pilot re-shooting, etc. So it’s fascinating to get a glimpse of that and the whole ordeal the creators have to jump through to get a show into our living room. It’s inevitable some of the new shows we’re seeing the ads for right now might not make it past Thanksgiving, and this movie kind of makes you think about TV in whole new way.

Duchovny, with his dry humor, is perfectly cast as Mike, an idealistic TV writer who’s working on his show that’s based on the aftermath of his brother’s suicide. His boss is the ruthless, tough-as-nails network honcho Lenny—played superbly by Sigourney Weaver—who insists on ‘cheering up’ the plot a bit as she deems that suicide is too depressing. She constantly pushes Mike’s buttons as the show is all about the bottom-line for her, not an instrument of creativity. British actor Ioan Gruffud plays a former BBC producer consulted to add some sophistication and class. He is pretty much caught in the middle as he strives to bring balance between the two opposing characters.

I don’t know how accurate the depiction of the situations and characters are, but they seemed pretty realistic to me and I could imagine them happening in real life. The dialogue between Lenny and Mike are ironically hilarious, they make you cringe and laugh at the same time. Anyone who’s a TV watcher would sympathize with Mike as we all want something original and different, alas, the writer is hardly the same person who holds the purse strings. It kind of make me wonder when I watch a particular show whether it’s the original vision of the writer(s) or the 12th rewrite or whatever, y’know. Is a particular actor the first choice or a replacement as a result of a pilot overhaul? Take CBS’s Three Rivers for example. British actress Julia Ormond (Legends of the Fall, Sabrina) was replaced by Alfred Woodard when her character didn’t test well. Similarly, none of the eye network’s Moonlight show original pilot cast survived, with the exception of lead actor Alex O’Loughlin. In The TV Set, there’s a scene in  about the audition process and how a lesser actor gets chosen over a talented one because the studio thinks he’d appeal to a broader audience and the writer/director just have to deal with it and make it work.

It’s an amusing movie with clever and funny dialogue from start to finish. The performances are solid overall, including Judy Greer who plays Mike’s manager. Her character here actually has more to chew on than her usual ‘sidekick’ role. I’m partial to Duchovny as he’s a talented and versatile actor but Sigourney is the scene stealer here with her deadpan humor as the ‘villain’ of the movie.

A couple of trivia for you courtesy of IMDB: Just like her role as television network president, Weaver’s father, Sylvester (“Pat”) Weaver, was for many years president of NBC. The writer and director of The TV Set Jake Kasdan, was a producer and writer on Freaks and Geeks, which aired on NBC (albeit many years after Pat Weaver’s retirement).

The Apple site has the trailer, but here’s a behind-the-scene clip with interviews with some of the cast:

Return to Me – The beautiful, poignant chickflix nobody’s ever seen!

RETURN TO ME

Return to Me poster

I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon this one years ago, but I sure glad I did. Now I’m not a huge fan of chickflix in general, especially those with the quintessential formula of ‘boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back and they live happily ever after.’ So it’s sooo refreshing to see one that isn’t quite so cookie-cutter. Being that we just saw this recently on our monthly movie nite, it’s still fresh in my mind.

David Duchovny (of the X-Files fame) plays a Chicago builder named Bob Rueland who’s happily married to a beautiful zoologist Elizabeth (Joely Richardson). The beginning scenes show a contrast between a charmed life of the couple at a benefit party, and a young woman strapped in a hospital bed in dire need for a heart transplant. But Bob’s happiness is cut short when his wife is suddenly killed in a car accident. You can easily guess what’s happening next. The young woman’s loving grandfather Marty (played by Carroll O’Connor with his thick Irish brogue) received a call on his special black phone inside his restaurant. It’s clear the phone is dedicated for when his granddaughter Grace gets a heart transplant (on the wall right above it is her name circled with a heart). Her close friends all wait in the hospital for her as she goes through the surgery, whilst Marty spent the entire night at the chapel praying for her.

Fast forward a year later, Grace (Minnie Driver) survives the operation and is recovering at home. She is shown painting in her garden and helps out waiting tables at the Irish-Italian restaurant owned by her loving grandpa and his Italian business partner, Angelo. A rather odd cuisine combination indeed! At his friend’s urging, Marty finally gives Grace a plane ticket to Rome so she could paint in Piazza Novona (‘where real artists paint’ says Angelo). Grace is ecstatic as she’s never been able to travel all her life due to her condition.

Off she goes to her BFF’s house Megan (don’t we all wish we had a friend like this, played by Bonnie Hunt who also wrote the screenplay). She and Megan’s large family—she’s got 5 kids and obviously overwhelmed by them—goes to the zoo. Grace is still holding on to the thank you letter she plans to send to the organ donor, but Megan says that she needs to move on (‘send it off and move on, honey, I’m sure they have’), and so she finally did. Right after she drops it off the mailbox, she unconsciously rubbed elbows with Bob! She sort of stopped walking, not sure what just hit her, then quipped ‘whatever it was, it didn’t hurt.’ By this time, I was yearning for the two to meet!

Bob’s BFF Charlie’s been wanting to set him up, and after a year of being all alone with his dog, Bob finally agrees to meet him at, you guessed it, O’Reilly’s!! You know the term how a couple ‘meet cute,’ well their first meeting is exactly that without being overly clichéd. Bob immediately says ‘have we met before?’ and when he ditches his annoying blind date, Grace gives her someone else’s to-go order ‘on the house.’

Bob leaves his phone at the restaurant (intentionally perhaps?) and the night he goes back to retrieve it is when they finally have a chance to be alone together. Gracie’s grandpa & friends happily play matchmakers (as they all share a common bond of being widowers). David and Minnie have a great chemistry together and it’s fun watching them being smitten by each other. Even though it’s clear Bob adores her, Grace still hides the fact that she had a heart transplant and is quite insecure about her scar. There’s a cute scene where she thought Bob was going to unbutton her blouse and she slaps him. She then apologizes nervously and in the end gives him a kiss, leaving Bob bemused yet blissful. it’s a genuinely funny yet moving moment!

It’s great to see Bob finds love again and for Grace to love for the first time in her life. Everything seems all rosy until the night Grace is supposed to reveal her ‘secret’ to Bob. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but that incident leads to her decision to go away to Rome. One of the most memorable scenes is when grandpa Marty tells Bob ‘when Gracie meets you, her heart beats truly for the first time …perhaps it’s meant to be with you always’ Awww … have those tissues handy, gals!

Unlike most chick-flix, even though it’s predictable that they’d be together, it still feels fresh and sincere. Given what each of them has gone through, you just root for them to be happy. Bonnie Hunt‘s debut as a director is truly impressive, the film is sprinkled with cute humors and witty dialog. The acting is believable and natural, and the supporting cast (including James Belushi) are all top notch. Minnie Driver, who’s British, also pulls off a decent American accent. I commend Bonnie for injecting faith into the story without being ‘preachy.’ This is also one of those rare romantic stories that blooms without being ‘physical,’ kind of like a Jane Austen pic for modern day. The soundtrack is also a major plus with classic songs by Dean Martin, Sinatra, etc. It adds pizazz and energy throughout the film.

I definitely recommend this to all of you. Go put it on your Netflix queue! =)

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Have you seen this movie? I’d love to hear what you think!