Highlights from 2015 Wizard World Minneapolis Comic-Con

MplsWizardWorldComicConWhew, another packed weekend at Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con this year! This year I was able to make it to the Press Welcome Party at Hard Rock Cafe, which includes an advanced screening of Avengers: Age of Ultron [check out my review] We even had the Avengers cosplayers greeted us before we got in 😀

Comic Con Highlights:

We got to the Minneapolis Convention Center just before 11 am and immediately made our way to Room 101 for the WETA workshop: character creation through prosthetics, hair & make up.

As a big fan of the Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit trilogies and King Kong, I simply had to see the work of famed makeup/effects artist Warren Dion Smith. He asked for a volunteer from the audience who wanted to be turned into an Orc in under 40 minutes! A guy named Scott was the lucky winner, see below for pics of his transformation. Not only is he a master at what he does, Warren’s such a fun guy, answering a couple dozens questions whilst working on Scott. It was so entertaining to learn tidbits about his career and how he’s become longtime friends with a lot of the actors he’s worked with in various films.

During the panel, Warren said he’s worked on hundreds of Orcs, Elves, Dwarves, etc. during his time at WETA. But he’s also done other films besides those directed by Peter Jackson, i.e. Elysium, The Amazing Spiderman 2, Man of Steel, and the children’s classic remake of the 1960’s Thunderbirds are go Series.

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In between panels, Ivan and I walked around the exhibit hall… and I spotted Lance Reddick in his booth. My immediate reaction is ‘Oh that’s John Wick’s concierge from the Continental Hotel!” 

I asked one of the comic-con organizers if I could approach him and was allowed to do so. So I said hello to him and shook his hand. I erroneously thought he was also the same actor in HEROES, to which he graciously corrected me, oops!! Of course I had to ask him about John Wick 2 and he’s hoping that’d happen. You and me both, Mr. Reddick!

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That’s me chatting w/ Mr. Reddick

 

2:00-2:45 – No “bones” about it: Karl Urban

Ok so naturally I knew the Karl Urban panel would be one of the main highlights of the day. But I really didn’t know it’d be THAT much fun!

I had gone to the restroom just before the panel started and spotted him going into the ballroom through the side door. He looked just as tall and handsome as I had imagined it. He came to the stage to thunderous applause. Interesting that there’s no moderator present during his panel and really there’s no need for one. The hunky New Zealander handled the crowd and a throng of fans lining up for questions with aplomb! I’ve been a fan of his since his Lord of the Rings days where he played Éomer, but he’s since impressed me in various films like Bourne Supremacy, Star Trek, RED and Dredd. There were questions for pretty much every role he’s played, even Xena: Warrior Princess!

What strike me about Karl was how relaxed and polite he was. He thanked every single person after each question and he answered even the silliest ones like this guy who asked him if other people should all move to New Zealand. Karl thought he meant *his* people should move to NZ, and it was a hilarious exchange. One blond woman asked him simply ‘Cake or Pie?’ and even he entertained the audience by asking her what’s in the cake and the pie, before settling with apple pie.

Karl shared that he just wrapped Pete’s Dragon which was filmed in his native NZ, it’s a family adventure film that starred Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard and Wes Bentley. Sounds like a fun film!

Many of the questions were about Dredd 2 and he seemed keen on that idea and it sounds like there’s still hope for that project, woo hoo! He’s also confirmed to play Bones in the Star Trek sequel of course. One fan asked him if he’d have more screen time, to which the room cheered. I definitely think he SHOULD have more screen time, he’s so awesome in the role!

4:00–4:45 – The truth is out there: Gillian Anderson

I wasn’t going to stay for the whole segment as I haven’t really watched enough of her work to know what’s going on, but we ended up staying anyway.

Gillian Anderson looked even more beautiful in real life. She seems a bit shy and didn’t expect the huge crowd… “I thought there’d only be a 100 people in here…” to which the moderator said “Well you’re wrong, Gillian.” Clearly she had many fans being in the X-Files series.

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It’s cool that a couple of people asked about her stage work as I know she’s done some performances at London West End, including Doll House at DonMar Theatre in London with none other than Toby Stephens! She also talked about how much she loved playing Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Young Vic theatre in London. Based on a couple of brief clips I’ve seen, she can do a very convincing British accent!

One thing that made me want to watch after this panel is her British show The Fall that’s on Netflix. I had no idea Gillian was in Hannibal as well, not sure if she is still on that show and whether she’d have some screen time with Richard Armitage as Francis Dolarhyde.

 

 Michael Rooker called James Gunn during his panel

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I got to this panel rather late and when I arrived, Michael Rooker was goofing off on stage with his former Mallrats co-star Jason Mewes. The panel was apparently about the Mallrats 2, which is to be Kevin Smith’s next movie. [There was a special Q&A session ‘An Evening With Kevin Smith’ at the State Theatre on Friday].

At one point Mewes said, “Yeah man, why didn’t you get me into one of your movies?” Well, the next thing I know, Rooker suddenly took his mobile phone out and called James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy to ask if Jason Mewes could play one of the Ravagers (the interstellar group of thieves, smugglers and pirate led by Rooker’s character Yondu) in Guardians of the Galaxy 2!

Someone’s posted the video of the exchange on Youtube, watch it below:

 

You could hear Gunn on speaker phone and the funniest bit was when Gunn said “I got an even better idea. Why doesn’t he play Yondu?” Ahahaha, be careful Rooker, you could end up losing your job to Mewes! 😉

 

Favorite Cosplayers

One of the best parts about comic-con is the people cosplayer watching… and here are some of my favorites! The father-son team of Batman & The Joker is my absolute favorite, we saw them just outside the exhibit hall after they’d just finished their lunch and we just had to take a photo!! The two Dredd guys were pretty cool as well, they’re both pretty imposing in those costumes.

That was a blast! I definitely had even more fun this year than last year, definitely the highlight of my weekend! Big shout out to Wizard World PR people Jerry and Ryan for your hard work organizing this wonderful event!

I look forward to next year when Wizard World is back in town on May 6-7-8!

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So that’s my recap folks. Any thoughts on any of the actors/projects I mentioned above?

A Day at the Wizard World Minneapolis Comic-Con

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Whew, this past weekend was quite a whirlwind for me. I had to apply for a Schengen VISA in Chicago on Friday that’s why I had to miss the first two days of Comic-con. My friends Ashley and Anne were able to make it to Friday and Saturday though, check out their recap which includes the panels with Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, William Shatner, Sean Astin, Karen Gillian, and more!

So the only day I was able to attend was Sunday. I got there around 11 am and most of the talents like Lou Ferrigno, James Marsters, Adam Baldwin, Manu Bennett (Azog in The Hobbit), Ralph Macchio, Ian Ziering, etc. were still hanging around their booths. We had to pay up to $40 bucks (I think for Fillion it was like $100 buck!) to get a photo and signature with each of them though. Heh, I can’t imagine paying that much just to have my picture taken with a celebrity, but given how I feel for Toby Stephens now, I might just be obsessed enough to do so, ha! Not that he’d ever do this kinds of thing unless he’s promoting a project or something. In any case, so my hubby and I just hung out in the exhibit hall, checking out all the vendors and cosplay-watching of course!

Proof that Toby was never far from my mind that I actually took a picture with two female pirates as I had been wishing someone would’ve put on a Black Sails‘ Captain Flint costume! Yes I know, I am hopeless 😛

Highlights:

matt-smith-the-11th-doctor-mpls-comic-con-Well the best part is definitely the Matt Smith panel, and I haven’t even watched a single Doctor Who episode with him as the Doctor. Yes I’ve actually only watched about 7 episodes total and those are the ones with Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. Still, it was an enjoyable panel as he’s pretty hilarious. He seems like a good sport too, answering every single question in a jovial way, even after being asked the same questions over and over again, mostly by the younger fans. Seriously, how many times do people have to ask him about his favorite Dr Who companion?! I agree with Anne that I wish Karen Gillan and Matt Smith could have done their session together to eliminate the same boring questions, besides the two seem like they made a fun pair. I might have to start watching their Doctor Who episodes now, ahah.

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It took about a half hour into the Q&A session that someone finally asked Matt about being cast in Terminator Genesis. Unfortunately he couldn’t really say anything as he fears for his life, ahah. Typical I suppose, besides, it hasn’t even been announced who he’ll be playing yet, but for sure NOT John Connor as that role’s been filled by Jason Clarke. In any case, though I haven’t seen Matt in anything else before, I really like the guy. He’s quirky, playful and seems genuinely friendly. I sure hope he has a long career ahead of him post Doctor Who.

Oh, it’s fun to meet up with my friend Conor Holt, the filmmaker of A Better Life which was my favorite short film at TCFF last year and he’s also a contributor to FlixChatter. His short film deservedly won Best Student Short Film at Wizard World Film Fest! Here he is beaming with pride, congrats Conor!! I hope he continues to make movies in the future!


Well I’d have more high points if I had gone the entire weekend. The low point is that I miss all the highlights on Saturday, but hey, there’s always next year! Speaking of which, a Wizard World rep said in the press note that the Minneapolis event was a huge success and the next year’s date has been announced: May 1-3!

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I’m sure glad Minneapolis’ got our own Comic-con now! It’s next to impossible to score tickets to San Diego Comic-con any more, so I’m glad I was able to go a few years ago. Glad that now I don’t have to travel far to geek out 😀


So that’s my recap folks. Have you been to a Comic-con before? If so, what’s your favorite moment?

Monthly Roundup & Favorite Films of April 2014

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Happy May Day everyone!

Well April’s certainly been a hectic month! We’ve got the Minneapolis/St. Paul Film Festival (MSPIFF 14) and also my hubby and I are planning for our trip to Europe at the end of May. Oh and guess what, I also got a press pass for the first ever Minneapolis Comic-con, yay!

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The thing is, this weekend I actually had to fly to Chicago to apply for tourist visa (Schengen visa) as I’m not a US citizen, and the closest Dutch/French embassy is in that city! So I can only attend the Sunday event, which means I’ll miss seeing Nathan Fillion AND William Shatner! Such a bummer eh, those two guys would’ve been a lot of fun to see.

Here are some posts from April you might’ve missed:


Thanks to Josh from JJAMES reviews for partnering w/ me on reviewing MSPIFF movies! His reviews are marked w/ *

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Joe* & Brave Miss World
Hotell & Mystery Road*
Breathe-In & The Grand Seduction
Beyond the Edge
Paulette & The Life of Riley*
A Thousand Times Good Night & Words and Pictures
Proxy & The Animal Projects*
The Double* & The Last of Robin Hood

New Releases:

Rental/Rewatches:

  • Rewatch – Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1959)
  • The Guard (2011)
  • All Things To All Men (2013)
  • Leap Year (2010)
  • The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (2008)
  • Some Like It Hot (1959)
    I mistakenly thought this was one of my Blindspot movies, the other Billy Wilder movie that’s on my list is The Apartment. So I’ll have a double Blindspot post in May to make up for it.

So overall it’s been a pretty good month of movie viewing with 16 new films watched. It’s actually lower than what I had hoped as I missed a few MSPIFF screenings for one reason or another. But hey, I also watched a bunch of TV, well mostly binge-ing on Toby in a variety of TV stuff he’s done, from The Great Gatsby (2000 TV movie), the British cop comedy Vexed & his latest project Black Sails. Thank goodness for Youtube as I could also get my Toby-as-Rochester fix there until my Jane Eyre dvd arrives! So yeah, the Toby Marathon continues! 😀

Favorite Movie Seen in April 2014:

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I know The Machine isn’t perfect, I wish they’d focus more on the relationship between the scientist Vincent and the intelligent machine Ava, but still I’m very impressed by Caradog James’ work in crafting a thought-provoking sci-fi thriller with a shoe-string budget.

As for The Grand Seduction, out of all the films I saw at MSPIFF, this is one I’d readily watch again. I had so much fun watching it, lots of thigh-slapping hilarity to be had all around.


So, what movies did you get to see in April and which one is your favorite?