Costume Designers Guild Comic-Con Panel Recap: Tips from the Designers Behind BATMAN V. SUPERMAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, MOCKINGJAY, and More

by     Posted 90 days ago

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A lively group of today’s most in-demand costume illustrators gathered at Comic Con on Thursday to discuss their latest movie work. Moderated by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel actor Camden Toy, the panel included costume designers and illustrators Constantine Sekeris (Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice), Alan Villanueva (The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part I and II), Christian Cordella (Captain America : The Winter Soldier), Arianne Phillips (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and Phillip Boutte Jr. (X Men: Days of Future Past). After a brief video of the illustrators’ memorable work from dozens of blockbuster films, the group answered some questions about the experience and talent necessary to navigate the brutal and fast-paced waters of the entertainment industry.  Hit the jump for my Costume Designers Guild Comic-Con panel recap.

THE ILLUSIONIST Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 3 years, 116 days ago

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First of all, I must state that this is not The Illusionist, the brilliant film from 2006 with Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti, but the French animated film The Illusionist from 2010, that also happens to be rather brilliant in its sweet way. Set in the mid-1950’s, it’s the story of a small-time illusionist who visits a tiny Scottish town, and a young female resident who believes through his kind actions that he is an actual magician.  She tags along with Tatischeff the Illusionist, and they form a bond of friendship.  More that this, it is, in a small way, the story of the approach of the modern era and the increasingly hard-to-please and sophisticated public. It’s a story of kindness, and the little things that one can do for almost complete strangers that make all the difference in the world.

THE GREEN HORNET Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 3 years, 140 days ago

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It is really difficult to reboot a franchise that was already kind of boring to begin with. The original Green Hornet 60s TV series, though it boasts incomparable Bruce Lee as Kato, was deadly dull. In fact, the only episode that is somewhat worthwhile isn’t an episode of The Green Hornet at all, but a Batman episode called “Batman’s Satisfaction” (1967). In the story, our visiting heroes Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (Bruce Lee) battle the Dynamic Duo (Adam West and Burt Ward), Kato squaring off against Robin. God bless Burt Ward, but after seeing Bruce Lee fight just once, even pulling his punches for the camera, it’s pretty clear who would win the battle. The Batman scene ends in a draw, but was originally written with Robin prevailing over Kato. Upon seeing the original script Bruce Lee refused to allow Kato to lose the fight to Robin, and it was rewritten the way it was shot, even-Stevens. As if.  My review of the Green Hornet remake starring Seth Rogen and Jay Chou after the jump:

WALT & EL GRUPO DVD Review

by     Posted 3 years, 289 days ago

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A handsome and brilliant man wearing a fedora travels to distant lands, fighting Nazis. Sound familiar? Well, this man was Walt Disney, not Indiana Jones, but Walt fought Nazis all the same. Once upon a time way back in 1941, the US Government asked Walt Disney to become a cultural ambassador to South America, to fight the growing Nazi influence in the region.  Walt & El Grupo is a documentary that explores the fascinating story of Disney’s goodwill tour.

Walt brought along several artists handpicked from The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, who were nicknamed “El Grupo,” because South Americans called them “El Grupo Disney,” or “The Disney Group” while they traveled. Captured in this film are the people who remember Walt’s visit, and explain the effect that he had on them, and their countries.  Hit the jump to check out my DVD review.

THE BIONIC WOMAN: SEASON ONE DVD Review

by     Posted 4 years, 3 days ago

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The thick and manly Lee Majors is part of the last wave of 1950’s-style leading men. Tanned, helmet-haired and squint-eyed (complete with crow’s feet), Majors wears 70’s styles such as a powder blue denim suit like nobody’s business, and has a wink that says…something only Lee knows.  Like Gil Gerard, the star of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Lee resembles a husky adult male, and not some boyish waif like the body type that became common with 1980’s stars like Michael J. Fox from Family Ties, Henry Winkler from Happy Days or Johnny Depp from 21 JumpStreet. It’s cool that, when Steve Austin punches a guy, one can actually believe that they would go down. Big time.  Why so much focus on Lee “The Six Million Dollar Man” Majors? Because it was on his show The Six Million Dollar Man where America fell in love with Lindsay “The Bionic Woman” Wagner.

SMALLVILLE The Complete Ninth Season Blu-Ray Review

by     Posted 4 years, 44 days ago

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What can one say about a show that has been on television for nine whole seasons and only has one more to go? It’s quality, baby. Smallville is a fun and compelling show that just gets better with age, one with the bravery to prune away old characters that have run their course and to add brilliant new ones. Some characters I really do miss, like the evil and misguided Lex Luthor, as played by Michael Rosenbaum. Also Jonathan “Pa” Kent, played by John “awesome” Schneider. One character that serves the “I’m explaining the technical reasons about what’s going on here” purpose but that I could easily live without: Chloe Sullivan.  Finally, a character that I love beyond all reason: Lois Lane. Yes, Tom Welling is like a well-oiled (and extremely good looking) machine; he gives a first-rate acting performance and makes even die-hard comic book fans believe that he really is Superman. But, when it all comes down to it, it’s Lois, played by the brilliant and funny Erica Durance that makes me excited to see what’s going to happen to Clark next. She really is the best Lois Lane ever captured on film to date.  More after the jump:

ELVIS 75th Birthday Collection DVD Review

by     Posted 4 years, 104 days ago

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This year on January 8, Elvis Presley would have celebrated his 75th birthday. The occasion was commemorated with a huge party in Memphis, Tennessee, where Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie went before a throng of fans during record-breaking cold weather to cut a lovely cake baked especially for the King. Vans traveled furiously up and down Elvis Presley Boulevard delivering hundreds of fervent Elvis followers to their Mecca: Graceland. There were cameras and news crews, along with minor celebrities attending the event that had known or even worked with Elvis himself. The whole occasion was a rather big deal for Elvis fans. One would think that with all of this hullabaloo going down, 20th Century Fox and MGM would have acquired some footage of the birthday scene for their recent DVD release: Elvis – The 75th Birthday Collection 7 DVD set.

True Blood Season 2 Blu-Ray Review

by     Posted 4 years, 160 days ago

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The True Blood actors were brilliantly cast and have completely become the characters created in the now-famous Charlaine Harris “Sookie Stackhouse” books. Strangely, some of the actors that embody southerners in the show are from quite different areas of the world.  Bill the vampire (Stephen Moyer) is British, Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) is from New Zealand, and Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) is Australian. The rest of the brilliant cast, including the flighty waitress Arlene, sardonic Pam the vampire, and Eric Northman, the baddest ex-Viking vampire ever are just a few of the excellent characters that make this show absolutely addictive.  More after the jump:

MAD MEN Season Three DVD Review

by     Posted 4 years, 194 days ago

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Mad Men is all about veneer, the illusion of the perfect person and the perfect family in the early 1960′s. Our hero Don Draper works at an ad agency, Sterling Cooper, and creates the illusion of the perfect life in print. Though Don and his wife Betty Draper are wealthy and attractive with a large home and two kids, there is a dark underbelly to their seemingly model life. Drinking and smoking are the norm for everyone, whether in the office or outside of it. Shockingly to contemporary audiences, Betty smokes and drinks while pregnant, the custom in those times. Like many early 1960′s hard-nosed, keep your chin up type-people, Betty and Don Draper are appalling parents. Cold, uncommunicative and barely affectionate, they send their kids outside, upstairs or to watch television if the wind so much as blows. It’s amazing that the Draper’s little boy dosen’t grow up to be Showtime’s Dexter, the loveable sociopath serial killer.  More after the jump:

THE NEVERENDING STORY Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 4 years, 212 days ago

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I carry a soft spot for movies that advocate the magic of reading. Labyrinth (1986) and The Neverending Story (1984) are films that I totally identified with as a kid, as well as the Roald Dahl children’s story Matilda, released in 1996, which I loved as an adult. The Neverending Story feels a lot like Legend (1985) and Labyrinth, as a matter of fact. Though it can be assumed that these films are set in the United States, they “feel” very foreign. They give the impression that the fairy tales that are told where these films were made are darker, harsher, and created in a land far, far away from Anaheim and Disney’s friendly Magic Kingdom. The Neverending Story was originally written for children in German, and the film was made mostly in Germany too, which explains the harsh, non candy-coated story we see here.  More after the jump:

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 4 years, 214 days ago

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I must admit that The Princess and the Frog surprised me. I am quite a Disney fan, but while this film was in theaters, I wasn’t really compelled to go and see it. “I know this fairy tale already,” I thought. “How different can the movie be?” The answer, happily, is very different, and as a wonderful extra surprise, it’s very funny, too. More after the jump:

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: THE PLAN Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 5 years, 2 days ago

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I have a lot of enthusiasm for Battlestar Galactica. I was a latecomer to the series, but once I discovered it, the show quickly became a personal obsession. Every night I would burn through two, three or four episodes at a time, until I was too tired to keep my eyes open. Now fans have received, as a sort of epilogue to the series, The Plan. Admiral Adama himself, Edward James Olmos, directed this high-definition widescreen digital extravaganza. The Plan refers back to the text that glowed over the opening credits of all four seasons of the series: “The cylons were created by man. They evolved. They rebelled. They look and feel human. Some are programmed to think they are human. There are many copies. And they have a plan.” The makers of Battlestar Galactica even joked in the DVD extras of Season 4.5: “So, what the frack was the plan?” This is the attempt at an answer. My review after the jump:

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA Season 4.5 DVD Review

by     Posted 5 years, 85 days ago

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Finally, the last Battlestar Galactica episodes have been released to the world of DVD! This is important because I watched the series strictly on DVD, and not as they aired on television. For the record, I have been dying to know what the heck happened to the rag-tag fleet and a bunch of dispirited cylons after they found earth, and amazingly, with the exception of a few small plot details, I was unable to predict how the series finally ended. My review of the DVD and season is after the jump:

TOM AND JERRY The Chuck Jones Collection DVD Review

by     Posted 5 years, 117 days ago

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There are three phases of Tom and Jerry cartoons.  First are the wonderful 1940′s and 50′s MGM cartoons, which were colored in beautiful blue and grey pastel tones.    Here, the classic chase of “cat and mouse” occurred in just about every way conceivable.  It is no doubt that the creative minds at MGM’s animation division may have been inspired by being located on MGM’s lot #2, and perhaps channeled some of Andy Hardy’s hoodoo, due to the fact that the street used for filming was located directly behind the animatinion studio.   In these shorts, when Tom gets injured while chasing Jerry or gets cornered by Spike the bulldog, he let out a satisfyingly comical yelping yowl different than Walt Disney’s “Goofy” yell: “Waa-hoo-hoo-hooey!” in sound, but equally iconic with hilarity.  These cartoons were created during the Fred Quimby years; he produced Tom and Jerry along with all other MGM cartoons until the animation division was closed in 1957. The famous animation team William Hanna and Joe Barbera were in charge of animating Tom and Jerry for almost their entire run at MGM before forming their own successful animation company know as what else, “Hanna-Barbera.” Continued after the jump:

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