In 1981, the horror film genre was introduced to a new kind of horror. It was a film that relied on cheap gimmicks, unique makeup effects and a young actor who was terrorized all throughout the movie as well as its two superior sequels. That young actor, of course, is Bruce Campbell and ever since The Evil Dead, the actor has been an icon for the genre, big chin and all. Like most Comic Cons, Mr. Campbell was in attendance at Wizard World Chicago, not only to ham it up to his many adoring fans but to play host to a fun event and to plug his latest shows on the small screen.
“In a world…” and “One man…” are two of the most overly used opening lines in film trailer history. The film trailer establishes the tone and sets the mood of a movie in no more than two minutes. It is a marketing tool that draws audiences in and puts butts in movie theater seats. Just about every movie has one and more often than not, they can be pretty stupid. The online comedy group (and sensation) Screen Junkies knows this all too well and takes advantage of this by editing these short videos and adds their own commentary. Think of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and you have “Honest Trailers”, a brutally honest take on many of today and yesterday’s ridiculous film trailers.
The terms “geek” and “nerd” used to be something of an insult, labels that denote someone who is introverted, an outsider and just plain uncool but in the last decade or so, these terms have changed and altered society’s perception. Now, these labels seem to describe the very opposite, people who shine brightly in the spotlight and are the very essence of “cool”. Comic Cons across the country have celebrated the greatness of people who appreciate pop culture in all its wonderful glory. Wizard World Comic Con Chicago just took place last weekend and people from all over the world participated in its greatness.
Technology has always helped guide film and bring it to new heights. Since the beginning of the motion picture camera, people have enjoyed the delights of sound and image. 2015 is seeing even more advanced forms of cinematic storytelling especially at Queens, New York’s Museum of the Moving Image, which has most recently played host to an exciting new exhibition. That exhibition is Sensory Stories, a fully immersive and revolutionary film experience that not only takes audiences on a visual and auditory adventure but also stimulates touch and smell. All of the senses (with the exception of taste) are treated to a truly technological and artistic “trip”.
In the past few weeks, fans of the iconic sci-fi comedy franchise Ghostbusters have been treated to a bevy of on-set photos and tidbits from director Paul Feig’s Twitter page. The man is most best known for his raunchy comedy films 2010’s Bridesmaids, 2013’s The Heat and this year’s Spy. All films have a certain risqué flavor to them and each star Hollywood leading goofball Melissa McCarthy. The Ghostbusters reboot also stars McCarthy, along with fellow Bridesmaid Kristen Wiig and Saturday Night Live young bloods Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. The film promises to provide a fresh take on the 31-year-old franchise while at the same time, honoring the memory of Ivan Reitman’s timeless 1984 film and its 1989 sequel, both starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson.
Spotlight Pictures is known the world over for its wide range of quality independent cinema. The company specializes in the selling and distribution of films to the masses. They are truly on top of their game and their latest acquisition is that of the offbeat dramedy 7 Chinese Brothers starring Mr. Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, I Heart Huckabees), Eleanore Pienta (See You Next Tuesday, Bad at Dancing), Stephen Root (Office Space, NewsRadio) and Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck, Look Who’s Talking. The film is written and directed by Bob Byington (Somebody Up There Likes Me, Harmony and Me) and is proving to be pretty spectacular. 7 Chinese Brothers follows Larry (Schwartzman), a young man who bounces from job to job only to fall head over heels for his current supervisor (Pienta). The film is produced by Faliro of House Productions.
There are many movies out there that contain lines of dialogue that are not only memorable but are ingrained in the collective conscious of civilization. Cult films in particular warrant constant recitation of lines and scene reenactment. The 1998 off-beat comedy classic The Big Lebowski is one such film and fans of the Coen Bros. gem flock every year to pay tribute at Lebowski Fest, a traveling event which celebrates the film. This weekend, the festivities took place in Manhattan and the Big Apple was treated to two days of fun, dress up, trivia, and bowling.
In 1939, artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger created one of fiction’s greatest and most enduring characters, Batman. Since then, this masked hero has been a staple in comic books, film, TV, video games, toys, shower curtains, and almost anything else you can think of. On May 5th, 2014, the Paley Center for Media in New York City hosted Batman at 75: To All a Dark Knight, a very special event celebrating 75 years of the Caped Crusader and the memories created during the iconic character’s history. New memories were created as well during this awesome event, which I had the honor and privilege of attending.
In animation, anything is possible. Worlds and characters are created and grace the screen, captivating audiences and leaving an indelible impression on both young and old (mostly young). On Tuesday, August 13th, I had the immense privilege and pleasure of visiting Blue Sky Studios, an animation studio responsible for such films as Ice Age, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who, and Rio. The incredibly talented people behind these films are basically wizards who, through the use of skill and technology, create films that not only look great but tell interesting stories. The purpose of this event was to promote the Epic Blu-ray/DVD combo pack which is now available for purchase.
“You have the right to remain silent… FOREVER!” This is the tagline for the cult 1988 slasher flick Maniac Cop, a film which, by its title alone, needs no introduction. This is just one of the many random and hilariously bad films screened at the hipster-friendly movie theater the Nitehawk Cinema. Located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn this theater is home not only to current independent cinema but to a number of obscure films as part of its usual film series. Maniac Cop falls under its “August Midnite: I Heart New York Horror” series, a delightfully gory and over-the-top collection of horror films which take place in the Big Apple. Another series, “Live + Sound + Cinema” presents classic or cult films while live music is played simultaneously, sort of a throwback to the silent film era. The very cheesy sci-fi comedy Dark Star was also screened.