Highlights from 2016 Wizard World CHICAGO Comic-Con: Netflix’s Daredevil panel + Carrie Fisher Q&A

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Hello hello! I’m back from my mini vacation to Chicago, visiting friends, sight-seeing and topped off with a fun day at Wizard World! As I mentioned in this post, I was only able to make it to Sunday, and they sure saved the best for last. I got to see the Netflix’s Daredevil cast [minus Jon Bernthal which had to cancel due to filming], followed by the eternally entertaining Carrie Fisher right after!

So here’s my recap from Sunday:

12:00-12:45 – Netflix’s Daredevil panel

I waited in line for about an hour and a half before I finally got into the Ballroom, but it was worth the wait! The host was from Honest Trailers, and I think he was pretty good, though some of the fun moments came from questions from the audience. Everyone was understandably mum about season 3, though Charlie Cox mentioned about The Defenders a few times, so I don’t know if Netflix is gonna run that first before season 3 of Daredevil.

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Charlie also talked about the wonderful continuity of the Marvel TV universe, as in one episode, Rosario Dawson‘s Claire showed up on set with a cut above her eyebrow. It turns out she got that injury from a scenario in Jessica Jones involving Luke Cage!

Speaking of Rosario, can I just say I have a massive girl crush on her after seeing her here! I mean, I’m already a huge fan of Claire but Rosario has such an amazing personality to match her beauty, she’s truly a fun person to watch on and off screen.

The host talked about how fun it would be to do a Daredevil/Jessica Jones musical mashup (like what CW’s The Flash/Supergirl). Rosario quipped that perhaps Kilgrave could make everyone sing in the show! Oh how fun would that be!!

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Charlie Cox looks exactly like I’d picture him to be. Gorgeous and adorkable (he turned to Rosario when someone asked them who their favorite cereal mascot is, I suppose they didn’t have that in England, ahah). He also told a story about one of his earlier films he’s not proud of, which I think is this one, where the director didn’t speak much English and he didn’t want anyone to help fix the erroneous dialog. Now he actually made me curious to see it!!

Elden Henson who played Foggy seems very shy (or disinterested I don’t know), but he really didn’t do much during the panel. I thought he’d be as witty as his character, but meh. Despite what happened at the end of season 2, looks like Elektra will be back as Elodie Young is one of the panelists. She seems so petite and delicate, but the host reminded everyone she’s got a black belt in Karate so yeah, she definitely can beat everyone up real easy.

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I really enjoyed Deborah Ann Woll as well, she has a fun, spunky personality but she’s also affable and sweet. The two ladies really livened up the panel, I’m certainly a fan of both of ’em now.


One of my favorite parts is when Charlie talked about the challenges of portraying a blind man on the show. He was quite elaborate describing how Matt Murdoch wouldn’t have to even look at the direction where he’d be grabbing something because of his heightened senses, which is something he’d have to train hard to do.

The panel seemed to go by in a flash, I could totally watch them for another hour!

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1:00–1:45 – Using the force with Carrie Fisher

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I am so glad I went on Sunday as the Q&A session with Carrie Fisher is an absolute blast! Of course she brought her dog Gary. In fact the first ten minutes is pretty much about Gary and the beef jerky, as she (as well as the two hosts) were feeding him the entire time! In fact one time Carrie berated Gary at one point for walking back and forth to get food.

I love how real she was and that she really didn’t give a flying fig about anything or anyone. I also respect that she’s a big advocate for mental illness and she was totally gracious towards fans who ask her about dealing with Bipolar disorder.

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The hosts didn’t just ask her about Star Wars, though of course that was the main entrée, but they also asked about her experience about working with John Belushi in The Blues Brothers and The ‘Burbs with Tom Hanks. When asked about which movie(s) she regretted she turned down, she said that she was never in a position to turn down roles. But she did reveal that she wished she had been in Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven.

Here are just a sampling of her funniest quotes during the panel:

“Harrison is witty. He’s not funny. There’s a big difference. Funny involves a bit of people pleasing and Harrison isn’t a people pleaser, but he people-pleased inadvertently.”

“Look, my son is Hitler!” – referring to Kylo Ren when asked about who she would ship in The Force Awakens

“In that universe it’s issues with their father. So if you have issues with your father and I must say I have, in both universes, so you don’t want to screw with me in either one.” – on why Leia is so fierce.
 …
She then asked the little girl how her father’s treating her. When she said he treats her well, Carrie said, “Well then you’re not gonna be as fierce. Ask your father to start neglecting you.”
 
“I’d make Trump go away. So I never have to hear about his small hand or small penis ever again.” – on what she’d do if she had the force
 …
“I knew Luke was my brother, so I tongued him.” – when asked if she had read that Mark Hamill’s Luke was Leia’s brother.
 ….
“John Belushi. What would I say that you’d laugh at. No, it’s Harrison, which would be funny too.” – on who’s the best kisser.
 ….
“Where the hell have you been? Did you go to a small island as you didn’t look it.” – on what she would say to Luke after he came back from his hideout.


I never laughed so much and so hard in a single hour! She had me in stitches so many times my stomach hurt after the panel was done.

Carrie Fisher is a legend, folks, I absolutely loved the Q&A. Plus, at the end she made this young girl’s day when Carrie invited her to the stage. She was the last person to ask a question and she said she’s Bipolar. She also had a service dog with her that she dressed as Leia!

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Favorite Cosplayers

One of the best parts about comic-con is the people cosplayer watching!

The Spidey photographer who I think is a press member (as he wore the same light blue wristband as I did) is both my hubby and my favorite! Not just because of the costume, but he was such a fun, obliging guy. As soon as my hubby asked him for a photo, he immediately dropped to the floor and stroke a pose!
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My second favorite is Kylo Ren as the guy resembles Adam Driver so much in terms of mannerism and tall, lanky figure. I wish he had a red lightsaber that could actually turn on!

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Suicide Squad was a popular one, unsurprisingly, the fact that the film still tops the box office this weekend. There were multiple Jokers and Harley Quinns, and the entire gang were hanging out in the lobby the entire time. I saw one giant Batfleck walking by as I was in Starbucks, but I couldn’t find him again, bummer!

This one is for Margaret 😉
Ok he’s no Leto but I think he nailed the Suicide Squad‘s Joker look pretty well!

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Click on each image to see a larger version:

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LOVE this Wonder Woman cosplayer who’s absolutely gorgeous and always ready to pose for the camera! We ran into her a couple of times and she truly embodied the character in her pose, plus it’s a real kick-ass costume + prop. You go girl!

Wonder Woman ready to strike!
Wonder Woman ready to strike!


That was a blast! Wizard World Chicago was definitely bigger than the one in Minneapolis, and there was still a huge crowd on the last day. I really enjoyed the two panels I attended and had a blast roaming the lobby and exhibit hall!

Big shout out to Wizard World PR people Jerry Milani & co. for your hard work organizing this wonderful event!


So that’s my Wizard World Chicago recap, folks. How was YOUR weekend, seen anything good?

Musings on Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

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I wasn’t going to blog about Star Wars as I didn’t think I’d have time before my East Coast trip on Tuesday. But you know what, I can’t help it. Hubby and I actually watched the original trilogy a few weeks ago, just to refresh my memory as I barely remember any of the story. We even watched the last half hour of episode III around the time the final duel between Anakin Skywalker & Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin becoming Darth Vader.

Well, naturally there’s a feverish anticipation to The Force Awakens, a decade after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in 2005. I’m glad the film is finally here so I can actually talk about it and not worry about spoilers. Given the behemoth box office take of $238+mil, surely most of you have seen it by now? I pretty much avoided reading a lot of reviews and articles before this weekend and I’m glad I did. Well, this post is not a review per se, more of my random thoughts about the film and the franchise as a whole, so SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen it yet.

A balance of homage & re-imagining

After refreshing the sci-fi classic Star Trek, it’s incredible that JJ Abrams ended up getting the torch to refresh yet another beloved franchise. In a way he’s the right man for the job, and he’s dealt with audience’s passion AND wrath for some of his own creation, i.e. LOST. It’s crazy to think that this is only his fifth feature film as he mostly serve as producers in a plethora of film and TV series.
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Abram’s revealed that it’s nerve-wracking to be helming such a massively popular franchise with such ardent fans who are quite tough to please. So I can see why he sort of played it safe with Episode VII and the plot was a nice continuation from where Return of the Jedi left off three decades earlier. The trio of writers, Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt, were respectful to the original story whilst making it current in terms of tone and narrative for the new generation of fans.

The one major update seems to deal with the Force itself. In The Phantom Menace, the Force was measured by Midi-chlorian counts found in the cells of a human being. Anakin had a high amount of that and that’s why Qui-Gon Jinn deemed him to be the Chosen One. But he had to be trained to be able to use the force optimally, but now it seems that the Force-sensitivity is more of a mythical thing that isn’t quantifiable, as the case with Rey who doesn’t require much training to use it (more of that later).

After the Galactic Empire was defeated, a new threat emerged in the galaxy, this time it’s called the First Order. Its similarities to the Third Reich is palpable once again, down to the army formation, uniform, etc., led by the Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). It’s clear from the start who the good and evil parties are, which kind of takes away the suspense.

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What I like about it

There’s plenty of familiar faces that’s thankfully more than just for nostalgia sake, as the major players Luke & Leia Skywalker and Han Solo’s are integral to the plot. But the fresh faces add a dose of new energy to the story, and the female-driven plot is a welcome but not-surprising move coming from Abrams.

The adventure pretty much began the moment we meet Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger in the desert planet Jakku and Finn (John Boyega), a stormtrooper who found his conscience and escaped from the First Order headquarter. I love both Ridley and Boyega as the two young fresh faces, that’s inspired casting there to cast two unknowns who have a nice chemistry together. Ridley’s given the most to do here as the Chosen One character, both in terms of physicality and emotionally. I think overall she pulled it off. Boyega is an effortlessly likable lead who’s got a pretty strong screen presence, too. They’ve signed on to multiple Star Wars movies and I certainly welcome seeing more of them.

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Both of them have some funny and even sweet moments with the original cast, especially Harrison Ford who have the most screen time compared to Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, the latter had no speaking part at all. Like an old shoe, Ford filled his role of Han Solo effortlessly, complete with his curmudgeon attitude and dry wit. His loyal companion Chewie was right there beside him up until the end and perhaps the only moment I choked up a bit was when Chewie witnessed his BFF being murdered right in front of him.

Lupita Nyong’O, whose face was never seen, added gravitas as the wise Maz Kanata, a petite pirate of some kind who’s lived a thousand years. It’s a memorable motion-capture performance and her character is a pretty important one as she seems to know the whereabouts of Luke and also has his lightsaber.

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Like in Abram’s Star Trek films, there’s an underlying humor throughout. The banter between Rey, Finn and Solo are a hoot when they’re trying to operate (and fix) the archaic Millennium Falcon. I also find Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) hilarious when he’s angry. The dude has major anger management issues as he’d blast an entire control panel with his lightsaber upon hearing some bad news, ahah. He does have great hair though and what’s the secret to him NOT having helmet hair? Now that‘s a secret worth knowing about 😉 I think between him and resistance fighter Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), they can practically do a Pantene commercial!

My new fave characters are definitely Rey, Finn AND the spherical droid BB 8. It’s the most adorable droid yet and he’s an absolute blast to watch! Just like Baymax in Big Hero 6, I had a big smile in my face every time the droid appeared on screen and it even knew how to give a thumbs up!! So yeah, thanks Abrams for introducing such a fun new character that made me forget about that super annoying amphibious whose name rhymes with jinx.

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When I learned that the film is 2 hrs and 15 minutes long, I was worried I’d be bored stiff but I’m glad that’s not the case at all. In fact, the film felt like a breeze thanks to the dynamic pacing and fun action scenes, especially the flying sequences. That said, I didn’t think the special effects were THAT spectacular as some people have been saying. I mean, it’s to be expected from a modern movie with a humongous budget of $200 mil. It wasn’t as jaw-dropping as Mad Max: Fury Road which was made with $50 mil less and it didn’t feel so CGI-heavy as this one.

Lastly, I have to mention about John Williams‘ score which was still as awesome as the first time I heard it. The new score is wonderful and rousing as well, which mixes the old and the new, just like the film itself.

What I’m not crazy about

I mentioned the lack of suspense, well that’s how I feel throughout the movie. I can’t tell you a moment where I was genuinely surprised, let alone shocked by it. It’s also very predictable, which takes away the impact of some of the big moments of the film. I could see the death of a major character from a mile away, and I didn’t shed a single tear when it happened (and I’m a cryer!). So you could say that the film wasn’t as emotionally gratifying as I had expected.

Now, my main *quibble* that I discussed on my way home with my hubby was the fact that there are more questions than answers after seeing it. I read this article on Tech Insider on 11 biggest questions after seeing the movie and I agree with all of them. The main one is about the protagonist Rey, who we knew nothing about when the film started and she remained a mystery up until the end. Why is she force sensitive? How does the force work within her without ANY kind of training? Yes of course given that Disney is going to milk this franchise for all its worth, I said to my hubby that we probably won’t know much about her until Episode XII! Heh.

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The other main issue I had was that it was never explained why Kylo Ren had such a major beef with his parents? I’d think they’d mention a bit of that when Han and Leia talked about him, but no, we only learned that he had been trained by Luke but then got seduced by the dark side like his granddad. I kept thinking how this seems akin to those parents who learned that their sons had secretly joined ISIS. Ren himself is far from the great villain Vader was (which is obviously the point I guess, hence his constant self doubts), and he’s far too emo and prone to tantrum-throwing to be effective as an evil leader. It made me wonder how he got to be in such a high position to begin with, is it because Snode saw a potential in him given that he’s Vader’s grandson? As much as I enjoy seeing his gorgeous hair though, I think Ren should’ve worn his mask more often as he’s not at all menacing when he takes it off.

“A soap opera about family, not spaceships”

That’s a quote from George Lucas himself I read in this article. “People don’t actually realize it’s actually a soap opera and it’s all about family problems — it’s not about spaceships.” Well, that is fine and dandy because even stories that take place in space have to be somewhat relatable for it to resonate with audiences. But do they need to have familial link for every single character though?? I think if Kylo had been someone NOT blood-related to any of Star Wars’ major character, but that he somehow received training from a Jedi (Luke), I doubt that it’d make that much of a difference in the story. Yes obviously having Han being killed off by his own son, instead of some stranger baddie who happens to be a Vader groupie, has a bigger shock value (though I wasn’t all that shocked, to be honest).

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In any case, I do think the Star Wars saga is NOT just about spaceships. It’s got some Biblical values of good and evil, generational sins, and a good message about self-control, self-sacrifice and what it means to be a hero. It’s also a story about loyalty and friendship, as with Han and Chewie, as well as those droids being so loyal to their masters. The Force Awakens introduce new best friends too, Rey and Finn, Finn and Poe, and even Rey and Chewie?

So is it a perfect film?

Well, the short answer to that is NO. As I mentioned above, Abrams took a pretty safe path and made it more of an homage with a few new things added and so I feel that it’s a bit derivative and even predictable. Just as the original trilogy were best appreciated as a whole, as a stand-alone film, The Force Awakens is good but not spectacular, but it works as a continuation of a larger story. The finale hints that Luke would have a larger role in Episode VIII alongside Rey, so it’ll be interesting where the story goes from here.

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Yes it is indeed better than the prequels, and the dialog has more zing and not cringe-inducing, thank goodness. I’m glad I saw it and I think having just seen the original trilogy helped with my enthusiasm for this new film. Having said that, my hubby and I didn’t absolutely LOVE this enough to see it again on the big screen though. We might rent it again later once it’s on Blu-ray. Thus, as entertaining as The Force Awakens was, I’m actually looking forward to talking about other movies other than Star Wars in the new year.


Well, what did YOU think? Did you share my thoughts about Episode VII?

Star Wars Fever: Movie posters that Lightsabers would definitely have improved

Hello everyone! Had enough of the force yet? Star Wars fever hit fever-pitch this week with its premiere in L.A. and its wide opening tonight. The press screening was last Tuesday but it was at 11am and I had to be at work, plus I was going to see The Big Short that night anyway.

Surely all of you either have seen the movie or you’ve got your tickets for The Force Awakens. Apparently I didn’t order mine fast enough as the Friday tickets in our fave theater is mostly gone (I refuse to sit in the front row) and so hubby and I are gonna see it Saturday night, woot woot!

Well, we’ve got a cool guest post from Izzy just to mark this special occassion…

The Lightsaber – THE weapon of choice for both Jedi’s and The Sith and in the words of The Urban Dictionary, ‘A weapon from a more civilized time’. I personally couldn’t think of a more appropriate word than ‘civilized’ for this type genre of fighting (if fighting can ever be deemed civilized?). A Lighsaber duel is elegant, takes skill, and it doesn’t involve hiding and firing from a distance (yet it can deflect bolts being fired from afar). I challenge you to come up with a more polite way to battle!

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My adoration of duels in true Star Wars style had me thinking about which movies would have been improved if the mighty Lighsaber had featured. Thinking turned to wishing, and wishing turned into poster editing…Eventually I landed here, showing you guys which movies my buddy Luke and I thought would have been significantly improved with the occasional Lightsaber battle….

Click on each image to view a larger version

Posters courtesy of Izzy and were originally posted on GBposters.com.
IzzyS
Izzy S. is a drama graduate with an interest
in literature and screenwriting

Check out Izzy’s blog
Follow her on Twitter

 


Ok, I’ve been wanting to include this video for some time. It’s an oldie but goodie, but it never fails to crack me up. Eddie Izzard is a comedic genius!


May the force be with you, folks! 

Weekend Roundup + a preview of the TCFF 2015 film lineup

How’s your weekend everyone? It’s been quite a whirlwind one for me even with Friday off, as I pretty much spent most of Friday preparing for the filmmakers interview scheduled for all day Saturday. More on that in a bit.

In about a month, October 21 to be exact, another fun-filled film festivities will be underway. 11 days, nearly a hundred films, plus Midwest premieres, film educational panels, after parties, and more will pack the ShowPlace ICON Theatres at the West End Shoppes in St. Louis Park. I’m so excited for the new venue for our mixers (after party) which is just a few doors down from the theaters. The TCFF Preview Gala on Friday night took place in what used to be the Love Culture store, and the space is simply gorgeous!


On Saturday, I got a chance to chat with some MN-based filmmakers/actors/producers whose films will screen at TCFF.

Every year I’m thrilled to see such a great variety of films in the TCFF lineup. The trailers below are just a sampling of some of the trailers being shown at the preview night, ranging from studio features, documentaries, MN-made films as well as shorts.

I’m excited to see quite a few female filmmakers being represented this year: Patricia Riggen (The 33), Stéphanie Joalland (The Quiet Hour), Emily Ting (It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong), just to name a few, as well as Vanessa Horrocks (MN-made indie Keepsake) whom I got a chance to chat on Saturday. Apart from Riggen, all of these filmmakers are debuting their first feature film!

Check out some of the trailers below:

FEATURES

Brooklyn

Director: John Crowley
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Zegen, Julie Walters

In 1950s Ireland and New York, young Ellis Lacey has to choose between two men and two countries.

 

Youth

Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Cast: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano

A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday.

 

The 33

Director: Patricia Riggen
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, Gabriel Byrne

Based on the real-life event, when a gold and copper mine collapses, it traps 33 miners underground for 69 days.

 

The Quiet Hour

Director: Stéphanie Joalland
Cast: Dakota Blue Richards, Karl Davies, Jack McMullen

In the aftermath of an alien invasion, a feisty teenage girl sets out to protect her farm from human scavengers who will stop at nothing in order to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

 

 

It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong

Director: Emily Ting
Cast: Jamie Chung, Bryan Greenberg, Richard Ng

An attraction forms when a Chinese American girl visiting Hong Kong for the first time meets an American expat who shows her the way, but timing may not quite be on their side.

 

Too Late

Director: Dennis Hauck
Cast: John Hawkes, Rider Strong, Crystal Reed

Told in non-linear fashion, TOO LATE explores the tangled relationship between a troubled private investigator and the missing woman he’s hired to find.

 

DOCUMENTARY

Jug Band Hokum

A 2015 feature-length documentary film by Jack Norton which follows the eccentric lives of band members competing in the annual Minneapolis Battle of the Jug Bands.

 

In Football We Trust

“In Football We Trust” captures a snapshot in time amid the rise of the Pacific Islander presence in the NFL.

 

SHORTS

Moving On

A short film written and directed by Marcia Fields & Mike Spear, is about what happens when you wake up to the news you need to move on and move out… at exactly the same time.

 

The Caper

Two women bond over dating fatigue and a love of film noir, created by the writer/director Matthew G. Anderson who made the Theater People web series.

….


Well, as far as weekend viewing in concerned, not much to report as we only managed to see one film, Star Wars: A New Hope. We’ve been planning to do a marathon of the original trilogy before The Force Awakens is released this December 😀

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So what are your thoughts on these films? And did you see anything good this weekend?