NYCC 2013: The Vicious Cycle of White-Washing Geeks

Part 3 of this 3-part series will examine how media coverage of New York Comic Con ignored racial and gender diversity among attendees as well as exploring the implications of this kind of media coverage.

As part of their New York Comic Con coverage, Business Insider published a gallery of 112 pictures of cosplayers. A variety of fandoms and favorite characters were represented including Wonder Woman, Loki, Doctor Who, and Game of Thrones. Unfortunately, that was where their variety ended. In the entire gallery, there were only about 20 people of color featured, only slightly more than one-sixth of the gallery.

Nov
03
2013
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Halloween Retrospective: Halloween 3 - Season of The Witch

halloween3_buddyTVThroughout the month of October, Rob will be taking a trip down memory lane, examining the Halloween series as the films exist in chronological order.

Let's talk about Halloween 3. Let's talk about the concept of taking the Halloween franchise and turning it into an anthology series. Under the direction of Tommy Lee Wallace (who also provides the throaty "announcer" voice), Moustapha Akkad, working with Carpenter and Hill, envisioned the series going off into a variety of directions. Carpenter, being a fan of British horror/science fiction writer Nigel Kneale, helped craft a narrative that would take witchcraft and juxtapose it against the background of then-modern technology.

Nov
02
2013
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Halloween Retrospective: Rob Zombie's Halloween 2

halloween-meyers-pumpkin-imgThroughout the month of October, Rob will be taking a trip down memory lane, examining the Halloween series as the films exist in chronological order.

Rob Zombie's follow-up to his prequel/remake interpretation of John Carpenter's immortal classic. Oddly enough, Daeg Faerch doesn't return for this follow-up as young Michael Myers; instead, we get some kid who's nowhere near as creepy. The good news is that Sheri Moon Zombie, who was brilliant in the first film, returns, reprising Myers' mother. I'll be examined if she's not a genuinely powerful performer in this flick after playing a howling lunatic in Zombie's previous efforts.

Oct
27
2013
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NYCC 2013: Fans Demand Diversity from Creators

In Part 2 of this 3-part series, fans used New York Comic Con to confront companies and creators failing to offer diversity in their books, TV shows, films, and video games. Which creators made excuses, and which ones are making changes? Read on to find out.

At the “All Things YA” panel Saturday afternoon, the biggest names in publishing had just finished presenting their new releases for 2013 and titles to look forward to in 2014. Harper Teen, Disney Hyperion, Simon & Schuster, MacKids, Penguin Young Readers, and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers were all on hand, hoping that the crowd would respond to their line-ups and ignore the lack of “insider scoop” that the panel had promised. Having sat through a parade of Hunger Games meets X-Men meets The Scarlett Letter meets Downton Abbey “with teenagers,” people were anxious to get some real answers about what is going on today in young adult literature.

Oct
27
2013
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NYCC 2013: Jane Espenson Talks "Husbands," Complex Gay Characters on TV

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How did a linguistics and computer science major from Ames, IA become one of the most well-known and beloved TV writers working today? I sat down with Jane Espenson Sunday afternoon at New York Comic Con to talk about her rise to prominence in television, how she chose her projects from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Once Upon a Time, and how her work on Husbands is changing how TV portrays gender dynamics in gay couples.

Oct
27
2013
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Halloween Retrospective: Halloween 2

stills-halloween-ii-02Throughout the month of October, Rob will be taking a trip down memory lane, examining the Halloween series as the films exist in chronological order. 

John Carpenter decided to hand of directing duties to Rick Rosenthal, who, apparently, would later say he'd never make another Halloween movie again due to behind-the-scenes conflict. Until Halloween: Resurrection, that is. The second film, written again by Carpenter and partner Debra Hill, picks up moments after Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) saved Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) from the clutches of Michael Myers. It's in this second film that Myers' impulse to kill become a clear and that he is, in fact, targeting his sister. 

Oct
27
2013
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Exclusive Interview: Nicolas Winding Refn Threatens To Kill Me, Talks Only God Forgives

Nicolas-Winding-Refn-talk-001I’ve been fortunate enough to chat with a lot of filmmakers. Some are more verbose than others. Some are more caught up in the artistic side of filmmaking, while others are more concerned about the realities of the filmmaking process. Some are funny. Others are not. Some might threaten to kill you.

Nicolas Winding Refn is probably my favorite filmmaker working today. As a long-time devotee, I’ve studied the man’s films since Pusher, which I believe to be one of the finest crime dramas to ever be put on-screen. Chances are, American moviegoers discovered Refn through the mainstream hit Drive, which starred a mumblecore Ryan Gosling as a professional wheelman caught up with some shady folks in Los Angeles. The street-level, synth-drenched noir story was beautifully shot, well-acted and gave Refn the American exposure he deserves.

Oct
27
2013
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Halloween Restrospective: Rob Zombie's Halloween

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Throughout the month of October, Rob will be taking a trip down memory lane, examining the Halloween series as the films exist in chronological order. Tackling Rob Zombie's remake alongside Carpenter's original made sense at the time.

It happened. After the successful remakes of Dawn of the Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dimension Films saw fit to "reboot" Halloween using rocker Rob Zombie, then-known for the underrated House of 1,000 Corpses and the overrated Devil's Rejects. The terms "gritty" and "real" have been thrown around a bit when talking about Zombie's filmmaking ability. He's like a modern-day Peckinpah, only without the restraint, as odd as that sounds.

In this prequel/remake, Zombie approaches Myers as a human being, not as a force of nature, as Carpenter did. The standard abused childhood excuse and mother issues arise, however; they're nothing fascinating enough to really drive a character like Michael Myers. It's a shame that the franchise had been run into the ground to force Dimension's hand and bring about a remake of this kind. Halloween, as a series, works not because of explanation, but because at the end of the day, the evil is ethereal.

Oct
21
2013
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NYCC 2013: Convention Bullying in an Age of Social Media

“At what age do you tell a girl that she can't be Wonder Woman because she is black?”

Jay Justice, one of the featured speakers at this year's New York Comic Con, asked this painful hypothetical question after recounting stories of strangers telling her she was being “disrespectful” when she chose to cosplay as characters like Scarlet Witch, Batgirl, or the aforementioned Wonder Woman. At the “Geeks of Color Assemble! : Minorities in Fandom” panel, Jay's story was all too familiar to other panelists and attendees, which is probably why the room was packed to overflowing with people getting turned away at the door. Celebrities like William Shatner, Gillian Anderson, and Sylvester Stallone might have dominated the headlines for New York Comic Con 2013, but the real story this year was fans challenging sexism/racism/homophobia within their own community, the lack of diversity in geek entertainment, and the media's continued portrayal of geeks as white and heterosexual.

Oct
17
2013
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Top 10 “Once Upon a Time” Surprises from NYCC 2013

This year, the fan presence of Once Upon a Time exploded at New York Comic Con with meet-ups, Regina cosplayers walking the show floor, and a high-profile panel on Saturday afternoon. Show creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz were at Saturday's panel to present a new clip for Sunday's episode “Quite a Common Fairy” as well as a clip from the new spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Surprise special guest Jennifer Morrison also answered questions from moderator Matt Mitovich, and as a Once Upon a Time fan, the panel exceeded my expectations. Questions and conversation ranged from season 3 and Wonderland plot line to fan shipping and the potential for queer characters on the show, so read on for the top 10 Once Upon a Time surprises and revelations from New York Comic Con 2013. 

Oct
16
2013
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In October, Criterion Marries a Witch, Gets Uninvited, Loses Face, and More

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You know those movies your cinephile friends geek out about? The Criterion Collection is their steward. They've spent years curating a selection of classic and contemporary films that have been deemed significant to the craft of filmmaking for one reason or another, and every month they bring four to five new titles into the modern age with new DVD and Blu-ray releases sporting extensive extras and the best remasters you can find. This month, the Criterion Collection honors brings us Michelangelo Atonioni's La Notte, and then dives into the spirit of the Halloween season with René Clair's I Married a Witch, Lewis Allen's haunted house pic The Uninvited, and Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face. We also get a box set of five films by John Cassavetes. For a full breakdown of each release, just keep reading.

Oct
01
2013
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Headin' On Down to "South Park" Gonna Give Season 16 Away

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17 years ago, Trey Parker and Matt Stone created South Park, and chances are they had no idea that it would go on to rival The Simpsons in terms of its longevity and social commentary. As shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons further run themselves into the ground with tired formula or writing that just doesn't have the same intelligence it once did, South Park still manages to hit episodes out of the park and elicit belly laughs more often than not. It's still going strong, with its 17th season having kicked off last week. If you're looking to catch up on the last season or are just a fan, then you're in luck because we've got two copies of the 16th season of South Park on DVD and we're giving them away to two lucky readers.

To find out how you can win a copy, just keep reading.

Oct
01
2013
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Exclusive Interview: Ariel Vromen Talks "The Iceman" And More!

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Richard Kuklinski is a scary dude. Nicknamed “the Iceman” due to his steely demeanor and ability to seemingly be able to commit acts of impossible violence at the drop of a hat, he became a feared mafia hitman and enforcer. The film The Iceman is a brilliant character study and perfect companion piece to the popular HBO documentary. The film adaptation, directed by the talented Ariel Vromen and starring the intense Michael Shannon, has been met with solid reviews and was one of my favorites of last year.

I was fortunate enough to have some time with director Ariel Vromen to talk about The Iceman and some of his other projects, as well as some behind-the-scenes stuff.

Sep
29
2013
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Severely Indie Spotlight: "Look At Me Again"

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Microbudget master James Christopher’s Look At Me Again is the latest in his series of solid character studies about twenty- and thirty-somethings, relationships, love and friendship. It's he story of three sisters who face various difficulties in their personal and romantic lives struggle to hold everything together. Christopher, who’s directed a variety of films, most of which are comedic efforts, really stretches his legs by focusing the narrative on the drama and honesty surrounding these women’s lives. You’ll find that the theme of “honesty” plays a huge role both in this review and in the film itself.

Sep
15
2013
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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: Best "Modern Family" Cameos

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With the fourth season of Modern Family arriving September 24th on Blu-ray and DVD, and with that the show is just 4 episodes shy of that big magical "100 Episode" marker that networks use as the threshold for syndication. That also means Modern Family has had 96 episodes and thus 96 opportunities for great cameos.In the fourth season alone we got Matthew Broderick (as Phil's awkward man-date), Elizabeth Banks, Shelley Long, and many more. To celebrate all the stars who've popped up here and there, we've compiled a list of some of the best cameos Modern Family has had so far.

Sep
08
2013
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Ben Affleck to be Batman in "Man of Steel" Sequel

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I'd love to chalk this up to pure internet conjecture or a rumor that got wildly out of control, but if Variety and a few other sources are to be believed, Ben Affleck is Batman for the upcoming Man of Steel sequel that has either a 'Batman vs. Superman' or 'Superman vs. Batman' somewhere in its title. It's an interesting choice, but probably not one fans are going to be too wild about. Affleck has established himself as a noteworthy director in the last few years with his last film Argo even winning Best Picture, but as an actor he's long been lukewarm. Then again, maybe bringing Mr. Affleck on was part of a long game to get him signed on as the director for the Justice League movie announced for 2017.

Here's hoping that's the motivation, because otherwise the upside of this choice beyond name recognition is hard to see. Ben Affleck is not the Batman we deserve, but the Batman Warner Brothers needs right now.

Aug
22
2013
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Our "Epic" Tour of Blue Sky Studios

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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.

Aug
22
2013
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**ENDED** Win a Blu-ray Copy of Studio Ghibli's "From Up on Poppy Hill"

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Right now, no one is making 2D animated features on the level that Studio Ghibli is, and it's due in no small part to the brilliance of Hayao Miyazaki, who has brought us such animated masterpieces as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and the current release creating a stir in Japan, The Wind Rises. From Up on Poppy Hill is proof that the fruit hasn't fallen far from the tree as Hayao's son Goro Miyazaki has now given us his second Directorial effort (from a script written by his father) which is quite a bit better than his still quite beautiful first try, Tales from Earthsea. The story of an imperiled young friendship boasts a huge voice cast of Gillian Anderson, Beau Bridges, Jamie Lee Curtis, Aubrey Plaza, Christina Hendricks, and more.

In anticipation of From Up on Poppy Hill's arrival on Blu-ray and DVD on September 3rd, we'rd giving away 3 Blu-ray/DVD combo packs of the movie. If you want to know how to win, keep reading. Or, if you're the impatient type, hop on over to Amazon and pre-order it now.

Aug
21
2013
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In September, Criterion Cages Les Folles, A Spy Comes In, Austin Slacks, and Ingrid Bergman Shines

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Cinephiles the world 'round are no doubt familiar with the mission of The Criterion Collection to preserve culturally significant classic and modern films, and so each month's release of 5 such films on Blu-ray offers movie-lovers a chance to add some of history's most enduring films to their collection. This September, The Criterion Collection has a number of recognizable titles debuting in HD, including the beloved La Cage Aux Folles, John Le Carre's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, the singular collaboration between Ingmar Bergman and Ingrid Bergman Autumn Sonata, Richard Linklater's Austin, Texas tribute Slacker, and a collection of 3 films by Roberto Rossellini starring Ingrid Bergman (Stromboli, Journey to Italy, Europe '51). For details on all of the above and the custom made extras Criterion commissioned for them, read on.

Aug
21
2013
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Nitehawk Cinema: August Series

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“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.

Aug
20
2013
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