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WonderCon 2018

WonderCon is a comic book, fantasy, and sci-fi convention brought to Anaheim, Calfornia by Comic-Con International.  It is a great place not only to find oneself a new comic to get into (or an old one!), but also to hear from professionals in film, comics, animation, storyboarding, writing, and various other visual mediums.  And of course, a visit to WonderCon would be incomplete without an exploration of the exhibit hall - featuring hundreds of artists and craftsmen of all styles and methods.

While I have attended San Diego Comic-Con before, this was my first experience with WonderCon.  WonderCon still draws thousands of fans, cosplayers, press, and professionals, but in terms of crowds, length of lines, and ease of getting into the events one's heart is set on seeing, WonderCon is far less overwhelming than San Diego Comic-Con.

I was fortunate to receive a pass from and attend with a couple of my friends, one of whom is an accomplished animator, and this was their first conventi…
Recent posts

Talking in Circles: A Movie Review of "Arrival" (Some Spoilers)

Genesis chapter eleven records a story of the people of the ancient world electing to come together and build a tower tall enough to reach the heavens.  For reasons undisclosed to us mortals, God, having observed this concerted effort, which was apparently destined to succeed, scrambles communication between his peoples.  "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this," he says, "then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.  Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other" (New International Version, Gen. 11:6).  The engineer could not understand the architect.  The brick layer could not understand the engineer.  It was the last time all of humanity worked together in perfect cooperation.  It was the last time all of humanity spoke a common language.

In the story of the Tower of Babel, a universal language was clearly the key that could unlock unlimited progress, discovery, and achievement.…

Reflections on "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" (Spoilers)

Readers should be informed that leading up to viewing "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and also following its release, I have deliberately avoided reading anything about the film.  Obviously, the purpose behind this prior to the film being released is that, like many Star Wars fans, I didn't want to see any spoilers.  The biggest spoiler of all would been to hear any news as to whether J. J. Abrams had managed to resurrect the feel of the original trilogy (Episodes IV, V, and VI.)  Having felt burned by George Lucas on several points in Episodes I, II, and III, even knowing Abrams and Disney were in charge, my trust could only be earned back by a viewing of the film.  The reason I have not yet read any reviews  of "The Force Awakens" is that after having finally seen it, it is sacred to me.  I neither care nor want to know what critics think, because when it comes to this franchise - a franchise that is pretty unique in that the fans believe it belongs to them -…

"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" Extended Cut Review (No Spoilers)

Last night, across the nation, Fathom Events hosted a special early screening of "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" extended cut.  The roughly 20 minutes of new footage was enough to earn the extended version an "R" rating.  However, if you saw the original theatrical cut of BotFA or took your children to see it, you are probably safe doing the same with the extended cut.  Yes, more "classic Peter Jackson" outrageous battlefield deaths occur in the extended cut, but just the fact that they are indeed so Peter-Jackson-esque means that they are played for laughs, somewhat ridiculous, and there's no gore seen up close.  And this is "The Hobbit," after all - this is fantasy violence - orcs beating on dwarves, dwarves beating on trolls, trolls beating on elves, etc.  The MPAA chooses to stand firm on some types of content, such as long, sustained scenes of violence, therefore the "R" rating pops up despite the added scenes not…

Geek Gear of the Week

For the die-hard Gatsby fan in your life who will totally get this somewhat obscure The Great Gatsby reference, here is a "West Egg/East Egg" necklace from Modcloth.  The charm is a clever allusion to the dichotomous cities Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby inhabit during that infamous summer... And now to decide... Who's going to wear old money versus who's going to wear new money?


"White God" Movie Review

I have been waiting with bated breath for six months to see Kornel Mundruczo's "White God."  You don't have to be a dog-lover to appreciate the powerful and hair-raising sight that is two hundred dogs sprinting through the streets of Hungary.  And the best part is that not a shred of CGI was used to achieve this scene.  It was the sight of this army of dogs, which I viewed in the trailer in March 2015, that intrigued me.  Knowing full well that these well-trained (and extremely photogenic, I might add) dogs were most likely part of thinly veiled political commentary, I settled in for the wait for this story to come to Netflix.

Eden 2.0: A Review of "Ex Machina" (Major Spoilers)

The title of Alex Garland's film "Ex Machina" is a truncated form of the Latin phrase "deus ex machina."  The translation is "god from the machine."  The phrase conjures similar imagery to the idea of the "ghost in the machine" from Cartesian dualism, especially in the context of a film like "Ex Machina" which deals with an artificial intelligence.  The meaning is much more literal, however.  Deus ex machina refers to a device from Greek drama in which a crane (a machine) would suddenly lower an actor playing a god onto the stage, whose appearance typically provided a convenient solution to a seemingly unsolvable dilemma and wrapped everything up in a nice little package.

Most likely "Ex Machina" as the title of this film, however, was meant to carry dual meaning.  Yes, hardware or machinery is the means by which a superior being enters the stage, but there are also undeniable overtones of what it means to play god, and …