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Hey, Watch This! Wondercon 2016

5 Apr

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David discusses the various TV-related things he saw at Wondercon!

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EPISODE 472: WONDERCON 2016

4 Apr

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David is joined by Terence Johnson and Matt Patterson to discuss Wondercon 2016.

 

Musical Notation: West Goes to Wondercon

1 Apr

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In this episode, West discusses his experiences at Wondercon 2016.

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WonderCon 2015: Blumhouse

4 Apr

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Blumhose started their super size panel of upcoming horror movies with a teaser for The Gallows. I hope there’s more to the film than what we saw, which is a pretty standard found-footage scenario of a girl crying into a camera followed by a jump scare. The panel that followed was mostly about the pitfalls of found-footage which, if you look just beneath the surface of the discussion, serves as a pretty good list of reasons not to make one. Talking about how difficult it is to believe that a person would keep holding a camera is not a good way to make me wanna see your movie.

For Unfriended, Blumhouse just showed the trailer, which is already playing in theaters. Sometimes there’s a con glow that makes things seem better than they really look. That didn’t happen here. If you don’t know, this one is the found footage Skype style movie. The one interesting bit that came from the panel was the revelation that there was one single 80-minute master take with pick-ups and inserts done separately. It could be a fascinating exercise to watch at least.

Next up was Insidious Chapter 3. I don’t know this series but the couple of clips shown were a refreshing change by not being found footage. And a humanoid creature with no hands, feet or face gave good creeps. In our current indie horror golden age, it’s nice to see at least someone keeping polished studio horror alive and interesting. Unlike a couple other movies I could name.

The panel ended with a teaser for Sinister 2 that was too brief to comment on.

WonderCon 2015: American Odyssey

4 Apr

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American Odyssey premieres tomorrow night on NBC. It’s no light Spring series, though. Rather, it’s the next in the line of post Homeland shows centering in on a woman in a military/government position. That’s how I would describe it, at least, if I were in the habit of being reductive or dismissive.

Actually, the pilot, which screened here at WonderCon today, sets up a smart and twisty conspiracy thriller, nested in the middle of which is a modern update of Homer’s epic poem. So far, there’s no one with one eye but the backbone concerns the attempts of a soldier, played by Anna Friel, to return home after her platoon was wiped out, possibly on the orders the American military and an American bank.

Friel’s Odelle is only one of the three characters who could be described as leads. Peter Facinelli plays a lawyer who works for thr aforementioned banks but whose curiosity and moral instincts lead to him investigating in his free time. Then we have a rich kid turned anti-capitalist activist whose connection to the rest of the story is more tenuous but which is intriguingly teased by the end of the pilot. There’s also a trio of villains played with assured and effective villainy by Treat Williams, Jay O. Sanders and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.

The pilot hints at a show that is confident in its story. There are a number of reveals and shocks but nothing that approaches overload or lily gilding. With a solid core of performances and an established sense of forward momentum, this could be one to keep an eye on.

WonderCon 2015: Warner Bros.

4 Apr

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I might not be the ideal person to talk about Mad Max: Fury Road. The third sequel to an unfamiliar franchise leaves me very little to grasp onto. But I will congratulate Warners for showing us a full scene as opposed to just an extended trailer or sizzle reel, though they did that too. The scene was a decent action one but its gratuitous inclusion of women in wet, white garments and a quizzical overuse of undercranked motion made it less than tantalizing.

San Andreas, on the other hand, is more the kind of thing I’m interested in seeing at these kinds of conventions, even if I’m ultimately not interested in the movie itself. The trailer gives us a 2012 style natural destruction orgy with a family at the center. That the family is played by Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario (the latter two were on the panel) lends a little extra appeal but I don’t see myself lining up on opening day for another CGI extravaganza.

WonderCon 2015: Batman Vs. Robin

3 Apr

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On Friday evening here at WonderCon, Warner Bros. and DC gave us the world premiere of Batman Vs. Robin (available digitally on Tuesday).

A continuation of the events in last year’s Son of Batman , the new movie deals with the relationship between Bruce Wayne and his son Damien, the new Robin. It also involves the Court of Owls, the Dollmaker and Alfred weilding a shotgun.

There’s a nearly unceasing amount of action in the movie, but all of it is varied and exciting enough to keep from getting dull. What’s at the heart of it, though, is Batman’s refusal to kill, which is represented in the repeated phrase “justice, not vengeance.”

Batman stories that take the character’s aversion to murder seriously are often my favorites. And the framing of it here as not a rule but a defining philosophy feeds directly into the focus on Bruce Wayne as a father trying to raise a child and impart values.

There’s a whole lot of story going on in Batman Vs. Robin , from a secret society story that could carry a movie on its own to a fantastic villain voiced by Jeremy Sisto who offers a competing father figure to Robin. All of this in a brisk and fun 90 minutes.

WonderCon 2015: The Last Man on Earth

3 Apr

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We were asked not to reveal details of the episode of The Last Man on Earth that we just watched so I won’t. But my complaints about the lead character’s limited and narrow motivation remain.

But I can talk about the panel. Specifically the question of where all the dead bodies are. They were in the original script, it turns out, but it was decided that corpses weren’t funny to enough people. Not the most intriguing answer but we did get the tidbit that Phil’s prayer to God in the pilot is a leftover from a scene where he buries the former occupant of the house he moves into.

Having a panel of funny people (Will Forte, Phil Lord, Chris Miller) always makes for a good time. And, despite my complaints, the show still has plenty of laughs.

WonderCon 2015: Wayward Pines

3 Apr

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Wayward Pines wears its influences on it sleeve from the very first scene of the pilot, which screened at WonderCon today. If the bar for enigmatic, serialized TV mystery drama is set at Lost, why not announce your intention to emulate it by also starting with a bloodied and confused white guy in a suit waking up in the woods?

That white guy is Matt Dillon and he’s only the tip of the iceberg of heavy hitters in the cast.That roster, which includes Melissa Leo and Toby Jones, among others, goes a long way to papering over some of the tired cliches. (“What do you mean, the woman who was working last night? There’s no woman who works here. ” – not a direct quote but you get the point.) Leo in particular, who is delightfully menacing even when she’s pretending not to be, is a treat.

Ultimately, the pilot,competently directed by M. Night Shyamalan, sets up enough mysteries to warrant tuning in for a second installment. And the folks on the panel promise answers early and often in the ten episode series. But the show will have to establish deeper character back stories and individual desires to come anywhere near being mentioned alongside Lost.

Wondercon Meetup 2015!

3 Apr

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