Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

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2020 is largely turning into the year without a fan convention. We saw a few conventions take place just after the New Year, but then the Big Bad Bug hit America’s shores and con after con started announcing their closures. If it wasn’t already apparent to everyone before it got to this point, the idea that this was going to be a year where fan gatherings had to fall to the needs of public health came when SDCC announced they were shutting their doors for 2020. 

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So, starting with the shameless plug… We did an episode of The Assignment: Horror Podcast focusing on 1977’s The Haunting of Julia. As we were going over the films many attributes, another film came up as we were discussing films that had a very well executed aspect of intentional ambiguity about them. When done right, it’s something I love to see in a film.

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ROM Spaceknight

It’s more of a pipedream than a wishlist item, but, still…

Read more here-

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(This was originally written as a part of the Needless Things 31 Days of Halloween series for October 2015. The article was removed from the site along with various other contributions and is now being republished here.)

In this hyper-political age, we’ve seen what seems to be an almost unending debate among the political class of this land over the highly charged topic of immigration reform. Countless hours are spent arguing whether this person or that person should be allowed citizenship for this country, whether still others should even be allowed into the country at all, and of course whether or not we’re giving some “a free pass” to citizenship. But what we have not seen, my friends, is the much more important question addressed. Should these people be able to bring their monsters with them?

Because, let’s face it, until this is addressed they will continue to come and eventually you will be faced with a kill or be killed situation with a creature that doesn’t follow the rules as you know them. Since we can’t count on legislation, we’ll have to turn to education. To that end, this series will give you the basics on the monsters that you only think you know but in fact play by other cultural rules. Today we look at the Blemmyes.

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Romanian Vampire

(This was originally written as a part of the Needless Things 31 Days of Halloween series for October 2015. The article was removed from the site along with various other contributions and is now being republished here.)

In this hyper-political age, we’ve seen what seems to be an almost unending debate among the political class of this land over the highly charged topic of immigration reform. Countless hours are spent arguing whether this person or that person should be allowed citizenship for this country, whether still others should even be allowed into the country at all, and of course whether or not we’re giving some “a free pass” to citizenship. But what we have not seen, my friends, is the much more important question addressed. Should these people be able to bring their monsters with them?

Because, let’s face it, until this is addressed they will continue to come, and eventually you will be faced with a kill or be killed situation with a creature that doesn’t follow the rules as you know them. Since we can’t count on legislation, we’ll have to turn to education. To that end, this series will give you the basics on the monsters that you only think you know but in fact play by other cultural rules. Today’s monster is the Romanian Vampire.

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Birds of Prey

Okay… So, Birds of Prey...
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The film, which should probably at least be jogging out of the starting gate, is stumbling out of the gate on its opening weekend. The originally reported studio projections for the film was an opening weekend of around $55 million. They were expecting it to do at least Shazam numbers id not better. As the release got closer and they started getting a feel for where everything was tracking, they downgraded that to expecting around $45 million. By Saturday morning, the projections for its domestic box office take was being discussed as around $35 million. It’s actually just under that right now, but I suspect it will come out a little above $35 million by the time the Sunday adjusted totals post tomorrow. 
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[This article was originally written for publication on the Needless Things website in August of 2018. Unfortunately, it was a part of the archives lost in the September 2018 migration of the site to a new platform. In the case of this and the other ‘Around Dragon Con’ articles being published this month, the things covered here are still as contemporary and relevant as they were when these articles were originally on Needless Things. Enjoy this one and the others, and, hopefully, you’ll find something in the ‘Around Dragon Con’ articles that will make your time in Atlanta better than it’s been before.]

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If there’s one piece of advice that we- as in anyone and everyone giving advice about Dragon Con –beat like a dead horse every year when talking to you- as in anyone going to Dragon Con no matter how many times you been before –every single year, it’s that you need to shower and use deodorant. Sometimes, like, say, Saturday, you might even want to do it more than once depending on what you’re wearing and doing, and, no, Axe body Spray, Febreze, and/or Fresh Linen scented Lysol are not acceptable substitutes. Yes, I have seen people at cons try to shortcut matters by spraying what they’re wearing (even while they’re wearing it) with half a can of Fresh Linen scented Lysol. It doesn’t work. Ever. So, yeah, get a shower in at the start or the end of each convention day.

However, right behind that bit of advice is the other beaten like a dead horse bit of advice pertaining to the human body’s nutritional needs. You must eat, and, preferably, you should do it more than once a day with meals consisting of more than power bars, meal drinks, and/or beef jerky. Fortunately, the hotels have their own restaurants, quick grab places, and bars that serve food and Dragon Con long ago conquered the Peachtree Center Food Court and made it the official convention canteen. Not so fortunately, all of these combined are not quite capable of serving and seating the now 85,000+ attendees with the same speed and efficiency of service that they can when not slammed with Dragon Con attendees, football fans, and the miscellaneous others in town for the various Labor Day weekend events. This is especially true on Saturday. That can occasionally be an issue when you want to have a good sit-down meal while not having the time to wait in line for 45 minutes and then having the (extremely understandable) smaller delays as the staff has to juggle serving you and the small army of other people looking for a meal.

That’s where a little pre-planning can help you out a lot.

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Welcome to Dragon Con Soon

This year has flown by so far, July is dissolving in the mists of time, and August is almost upon us. That’s a somewhat relevant fact for those of us going to Dragon Con as the official kickoff date of the festivities this year is Thursday, August 29. I won’t mention the rather sizable few of you who have adjusted to the new first day by making Wednesday the new Thursday and are claiming the 28th as the first day of con as, if I did that, several people I know might rip out all of their hair.

Nevertheless, the important (thing no matter the precise start date) is that Dragon Con is now less than 50 days away.

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Yes, It Really is a Big Deal

Posted: April 27, 2019 in Entertainment, Life, Movies
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Blog Cover - Big Deal

[I should note up front that at the time of this writing I have not seen Avengers: Endgame, so you don’t have to worry about spoilers.]

This is the weekend. It’s finally here. Almost one full week shy of exactly eleven years ago, Iron Man landed in theaters across the country and started us on a trip that is finally seeing its end. From Iron Man to Captain Marvel, 21 films have been made that have brought us to this weekend and film 22. We are at Avengers: Endgame.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, from social media to the workplace, there are people who want to downplay what this is. Some are just being deliberately insulting trolls or outright jerks, disparaging the nature of the genre and the fans who enjoy it. Some are simply playing the ‘I’m too cool to be into this popular film series stuff to that level’ bit. Then there are those who are not fans- outside observers as it were -who genuinely don’t understand why some of their friends, family, and coworkers are losing their minds this weekend.    

There’s little that can be said to the first two groups. They are what they are. As for the third group, I can assure you that, yes, what is about to happen in movie theaters across the country this weekend is absolutely a big deal. Here’s why. By the time we’ve all watched the last of the credits roll on Avengers: Endgame, we will have witnessed something that has never been done in the history of American cinema and, as far as I know, the history of cinema anywhere else.

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On April 16, 1988, 31 years ago in Japan, an animated film, an early film for the just shy of three-year-old Studio Ghibli, opened in movie theaters in Japan. The film was based on a 1967 semi-autobiographical short story, Hotaru no Haka, from writer Akiyuki Nosaka. The story itself had become well known in Japan, and Akiyuki Nosaka had reportedly turned down several offers to turn his story into a live action movie or television film believing that live action would not capture the intended spirit of the story. He had never considered animation, but first the pitch from Studio Ghibli and then the early storyboards convinced him that the story could not be properly told at that time in any medium other than animation. There are probably a lot of people all around the world who are glad he came to that conclusion, because had he not done so we would never have seen Grave of the Fireflies. Of course, that’s as much a blessing as a curse for some.

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