Texas Frightmare and Comicpalooza 2017

And fun was had by all.

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Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ (Family First)

Paraphrasing from director James Gunn: if Vol. 1 was about finding your family, Vol. 2 is about holding it together.

After completing a mission for The Sovereign, the Guardians of the Galaxy find themselves in hot water after Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) slights their oversensitive leader Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki). Crash-landing on a remote planet, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) meets Ego (Kurt Russell), a man claiming he had paid Yondu (Michael Rooker) to make a special delivery: his Earth-born son. While Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax (Dave Bautista) accompany Quill to resolve long-unsettled daddy issues, Rocket and Baby Groot (voice of Vin Diesel) repair the Milano while watching over Gamora’s wanted sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), but Yondu has been hired by Ayesha to take down the Guardians once and for all…

The first Guardians of the Galaxy was a bit of a surprise hit. While it was Marvel continuity and provided an excuse to explore the rest of the universe beyond Earth 616, no one was quite sure how it would be received… plus it was a pure joy to watch. It wasn’t long before director James Gunn was tasked to duplicating the success of his mix-tape-inspired space opera, but could he expand the Guardians universe while topping the bliss of the original?
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Review: ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (Machines With Souls)

Neither “The Six Million Dollar Man” nor “The Bionic Woman” ever saw this coming.

In a very likely future made possible by Hanka Robotics, biomechanical upgrades to humanity have been commonplace. They have one miracle yet to accomplish — the complete transplant of a human brain into a cyborg body — and The Major (Scarlett Johansson) becomes that miracle, one performed by Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche). A year later, Major has joined anti-terrorism squad called Section 9 with her partner Batou (Pilou Absaek), taking orders from Chief Daisuke Aramaki (Takeshi Kitano). Tough, agile, armored and well-equipped, Major is happy to do as she’s told to save others and protect the city, but images begin to haunt her waking memories, making her question both her programming and her sanity. What Major is unaware of is that her latest case against a master hacker bent on destroying Hanka isn’t just an assignment; it could be her salvation.

We’ve seen this kind of story before — the purest science fiction there is: humanity surviving encroaching technology. Writer/illustrator Masamune Shirow created the original manga in 1989 as a serial, drawing inspiration from Arthur Koestler’s The Ghost in the Machine; the title Ghost in the Shell, while not the original title of the comic, was always intended to reflect its inspiration. After a series of anime movies, it took almost thirty years and star Scarlett Johansson attached to get Hollywood on board with a live-action treatment, but can the decidedly Japanese story survive the culture jump and “white wash” casting to become a cinematic hit?
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Get Thee to Texas FRIGHTMARE Weekend on Saturday, May 6th, 2017!

Will you be in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, May 6th? Why not? *I* will be…!
Find me haunting the main floor and dealer’s areas at Texas Frightmare Weekend!

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Review: ‘Life’ 2017 (Alien plus Gravity equals Meh)

Remember how you felt at the end of that 2001 Tim Burton remake of Planet of the Apes starring Mark Wahlberg?

Onboard the International Space Station, a crew of six astronauts (Hiroyuki Sanada, Ryan Reynolds, Rebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Olga Dihovichnaya, and Ariyon Bakare) have been tasked with the recovery and study of a Martian soil sample. Closer examination yields a curious find: a dormant single-cell organism. With containment procedures and established firewalls in places, the sample is awakened, nurtured, and begins to grow… proof of life beyond our own world. Unfortunately, when the subject of the experiment falls inexplicably dormant again, the sample — named Calvin by students on Earth below — decides it doesn’t like being prodded… or held captive by humans who too foolish to realize how intelligent, adaptable, and dangerous it can be in full-on survival mode.

All the hardware of our current space program plus a slightly futuristic yet real possibility: life from the stars. Is it a Martian or did it land there holding onto a meteorite? This concept could do for the search for extraterrestrial life what Contagion did for containment of an outbreak: a worthwhile look into how all the thought-out think-tank safety protocols would be used to preserve society as we know it. Unfortunately, the later trailers moved away from that suggestion and toward a CGI-enhanced bug hunt with all the trappings. Is the truth somewhere between these two ideas, or did the filmmakers always intend to go all-in with the sci-fi horror movie concept?
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Review: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ 2017 (less beast, more explanation)

While interesting to see many plot holes filled in, a few choices contribute far too little: the pitfalls of remaking a classic.

In a poor provincial French hamlet — a quiet village, some say — Belle (Emma Watson) and her father Maurice (Kevin Kline) endure the small-minded ideals of the local peasantry, none smaller than Gaston (Luke Evans) and his yes-man LeFou (Josh Gad). With plans to marry Belle — whether she likes it or not — Gaston is unknowingly thwarted by another would-be suitor: a savage Beast (Dan Stevens), the cursed lord of a forgotten castle in an enchanted woodland. Intent on saving her father at any cost and in little need of rescuing herself, Belle finds herself at the center of an adventure like she’s only read about… but can it truly have a storybook ending?

The House of Mouse has long since purchased the imagination of boys everywhere with its Star Wars and Marvel Entertainment acquisitions, but advances in movie-making technology now allow former girl-targeted Disney Princess films to be remade with live actors and lavish productions. As one of the very few traditionally animated productions ever nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award, there’s a lot to live up to, but not everything that works in cell animation can hit the same high notes as a live production; choices must be made. Can Beauty and the Beast continue its tale as old as time into Disney’s live-action renaissance?
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Everyone’s A Critic: MST3K Takes On Death

Not yet ready for the silver screen. Thanks, guys!

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return
Starring: Felicia Day, Patton Oswalt, Jonah Ray
Genres: TV Shows, TV Comedies, TV Sci-Fi & Fantasy

The cult hit returns on Netflix! Captured by mad scientists, new host Jonah survives a blitz of cheesy B movies by riffing on them with his funny robot pals.

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