Monday, April 30, 2012

A Very Fangirl Avengers Contest!

Attention Fangirls!!!

We're holding a very special, contest here at All Things Fangirl. In honor of a certain movie opening this Friday, Disney/Marvel has offered to send a surprise item to five dedicated fangirls. The exclusive item is not available in stores or anywhere else for that matter. It was created specifically for our Fangirl community, which is why the limited number remaining are going to go to you!

We wanted to come up with a contest that was more than just the usual "post in the comments" deal, so we thought we would take this opportunity to honor our beloved Loki. He *almost* won Best Villain in this year's Fangirl Awards (hard to beat the Lannisters after the shit they pulled last year) and is about to probably get his ass kicked by six superheroes on thousands of screens across the country, so it's only right that we throw him some love before Friday, when we all collectively become obsessed with The Hulk because ZOMG I AM SO OBSESSED WITH THE HULK NOW. While the prize doesn't have anything specifically to do with Loki, whatever, WE DO WHAT WE WANT, THOR.

To enter, do the following:

-Create or re-blog a macro or photo with either a Team Loki theme, a Loki's Fangirl Army theme, or an an "I do what I want" Loki theme (original comic panel here, that we referenced ourselves about two sentences ago - and post on tumblr with a link to the contest. If you're reblogging someone else's, just make sure to add a personalized touch in the text. If you create your own photo/macro, your entry will be counted twice!
-tweet the tumblr link with the hashtag #teamloki and a link to the contest
-shoot me the tumblr and twitter link at allthingsfangirl at gmail dot com with your mailing address and the subject I'M AN AVENGERS FANGIRL

Teehee, I just found this on tumblr and reblogged it cause it's making me giggle and is totally an example of something that would count as an entry - The Hulk has nothing on my army.

The contest closes when Avengers opens Thursday night at midnight! Happy Loki-ing, ladies!

Tumble this contest! See full post

CinemaCon '12: Martin Scorsese and Ang Lee Talk 3D & The Future of Cinema

Perhaps my favorite part of CinemaCon 2012 was the Filmmaker's Luncheon, which featured an in depth talk with Martin Scorsese and Ang Lee about the art of 3D filmmaking. I wasn't sure what to expect, as this was my first event at my first CinemaCon, but what followed was a wonderful, enlightening discussion, the kind I rarely get to be exposed to with the extent of my coverage usually being on geek specific gatherings. I thought I'd put together a summary of the biggest things I took away from the luncheon, and I hope you find it as fascinating as I did. 

 1. 3D companies realize what a major issue the dulling of the image is and are working on eliminating that as an issue. A scene from Hugo they screened for us was at double the brightness as normal, and I did notice a decidedly smaller difference between the image brightness when I lifted my glasses up. But also discussed was mportance of the theaters and projectionists to make sure they are up to date and know how to use the product so that their screens are showing the images in the best possible light, literally. Scorsese himself pleaded to the theater owners in the audience, "We all have to work together on this. Please show the films in the best possible light" It's a two way street, but ultimately it begins with the 3D companies, so here's hoping this isn't an issue we're still talking about in a couple of years. 

2. Ang Lee has been interested in making the Life of Pi into a film for so long, but felt he needed another dimension of filmmaking to make it work, so decided to look to 3D. He finds it to be incredibly intense and its purpose is to make the story more immersive. He sees 2D as easier to watch, which is necessary for some films, while 3D forces the audience to be more attentive and active in the story, a quality necessary for a very different kind of film. So ultimately, Lee doesn't think 3D and 2D should be compared, because 3D is its own art. Even if it's not quite there yet, it's where it is headed. 

3. 3D acting requires a different application of an actor's skill set.  Lee talked about loving a scene on the 2D monitor, then hopping back to the 3D monitor and realizing the actors (specifically first time actor, 17 year old Suraj Sharma, headed to NYU next year!) needed to bring the performance down. Scorsese chuckled in response to this, as he had the same issue on Hugo, working primarily with children. Lee is  also are nervous for the day that  actors see themselves on monitor and demand that the I O be turned down, because they don't like how they look. All of this leads to the question - how long until we see acting classes designed specifically for work in 3D? Lee already predicts that film schools will be teaching it as a technique to its students sooner rather than later.

More after the jump!

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Friday, April 27, 2012

A Whole New World: A Look Inside My Vegas Convention Experience

Battleship lobby display, [Photo from]

In its second year as CinemaCon (formally ShoWest), the Las Vegas trade show owned by the National Association of Theater Owners showed off tons of footage from upcoming movies, featured a variety of products on the floor for theater owners to consider (and for me to eat), provided seminars on things like social networking, 3D, and texting in theaters, and got thousands of people drunk. It was my first time making the trek to Vegas to see what all the fuss has been about so I thought I’d sum up the best parts of my two days in Caesar’s Palace.

A Peek Into A Different Demographic
One of the hands down most interesting parts of my entire CinemaCon experience was taking a look inside a demographic that I have never been privy to before. I am mostly all geeks all the time or all hipster artists all the time. In my universe, the big winners of the convention would have been Prometheus, The Amazing Spiderman and 47 Ronin. SO not what happened here. Case in point: the unexpected winner of the Universal presentation and possibly the whole weekend?  Ted, the first feature length film from Family Guy mastermind Seth McFarlane, the clips from which got the loudest, most enthusiastic response of any film at CinemaCon. 
Also, in chatting with folks after the Sony presentation, pretty much everyone, but especially women, came away most excited personally for Hope Springs, the film where Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones go to a marriage counseling retreat to get some spice back into their lives. I’ll see it, sure, but I think I can safely say I have never been in a room before with this many people who dismissed genre films as noise and explosions, but simply can’t wait for a middle aged romantic comedy starring Meryl Streep. Although, to be fair, a lot of these folks happen to be excited for Looper as well, as it seemed smart and liked that there was more in there than just noise and explosions. Yay!
Here's the kicker: after killing it at Wondercon with fantastic footage complete with silly intro and hilarious panel with Seth Grahame-Smith and Benjamin Walker, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter seemed to utterly stump the CinemaCon crowd. When chatting with attendees, I discovered just how true this was. This movie is not for this crowd. Thankfully, anyone I personally spoke to got to hear that it was based on a great book, that the writer is extremely clever, that Benjamin Walker starred on Broadway, that it was extremely well received at Wondercon and the geek crowd is super excited for it, but it was definitely eye opening to encounter a bunch of people that aren’t automatically excited at the thought of Abe Lincoln chopping up vamps on top of a train. 
Oh, peeks inside other demographics, how interesting and rare you are!
More after the jump
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Morrison Hotel Gallery's Rolling Stones tribute

The Morrison Hotel Gallery, in association with GrandLife Hotels, will be exhibiting an expansive collection of portraits of The Rolling Stones, tributing their 50 years as a band. The exhibit and sale will feature photos of the iconic band as captured by a slew of talented photographers.
If you've never visited The Morrison Hotel, this show will be your perfect introduction to this awesome New York gallery dedicated to music photography.
Rolling Stones: Celebrating 50 Years in Photography
May 4th-May 31st
For more information, visit the gallery's website here. See full post

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Cabin in the Woods Visual Companion

SPOILER ALERT - If You Haven't Seen Cabin in the Woods, Click Away!

Cross-posted on

Remember that moment in Cabin in the Woods when you finally realize what the office pool is all about as the film cuts to a white board filled with a long list of creatures and various departments next to each one? Remember how much you wanted to pause the screen and take in all in? But then remember how you realized t's a movie in a movie theater and you wouldn't get to do this until DVD/Blu-Ray release? FEAR NOT YA'LL. Luckily, the Cabin in the Woods Visual Companion hits bookstores today and not only does it have a screencap of the board, but shots of the basement, specific creature designs, discussions about the creatures, and the script itself, which contains creature details. All that's missing to answer all of your creature questions is a detailed diagram of board to basement to creature. Which *will* be on the DVD/Blu-Ray, right Drew? RIGHT, DREW?!?! In fact, Badass Digest posted the photo and there's a pretty fun comment chain going on in response as people break down the creatures - have a looksie

Frankly, that alone would be enough to get me to buy this book, but the Visual Companion is so much more than that. Aside from the massive creature education/explanation, the book offers tons of behind the scenes stills, production photos, storyboards, concept art, models, interviews with actors, production designer, creature designer and more, the entire original script and best of all a THIRTY FOUR page interview with, plus forewords and afterwards from, Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon. Sure, plenty of this stuff you could maybe find in various interviews around the interwebs, but this extensive chat was done right after the film was picked up and goes into incredible detail from pre production through the shoot itself and where they were in post.

Moar after the jump!

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Blunderbuss indeed

Jack White's first solo album Blunderbuss will drop this Tuesday. When it does, it will annihilate all other new rock music (already released and forthcoming) this year. Don't care that I haven't heard and will not listen to every single rock record released this year. I stubbornly stand by my unreasonable statement. Get ready for White's 2012 domination.

And catch White's Unstaged, a Gary Oldman directed digital concert, live on April 27th. See full post

Is The Lucky One creepy?

Cross-posted on and commissioned by

You guys have totally seen The Lucky One by now, right? Ok, fine, let's back track. You guys have seen the trailer for The Lucky One by now, right? To not pay attention, you'd see, oh, Zac Efron is a soldier and he falls for this lady and they do it a lot, and her ex husband doesn't like it, plus Nicholas Sparks! But when you actually dissect what's going on, things start to become...uncomfortable...and it begs the question - is The Lucky One creepy? Find out after the jump. Oh, and spoilers await you. If you care.

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Pipeline's The Ash Girl: a fairly luminous fairy tale

The Pipeline Theatre Company has been an ATFG favorite for a couple of years now and I've always been impressed with their versatility. Thursday night, they proved their chameleon character to me again during a preview of their new show The Ash Girl.

Director Jessika Doyel's The Ash Girl is a stirring adaptation of Timberlake Wertenbaker's play, which itself is a beautiful take on the Cinderella story. The play adds layers and weight to the conventional Cinderella plot with its personification of the Seven Deadly Sins (including Sadness as a loner, who is reluctant to be a group member but is an equally dangerous eighth villain), funny and wise animals that do more than help with chores, a less than wicked and more pathetically covetous stepfamily, and a prideful and homesick foreign Prince. The Sins fuel the actions of others, stirring up inner demons that the characters must fight off or end up giving into. Ashgirl, played with wonderful intricacy by Meagan Kensil, is a melancholic Cinderella-like young woman who, with the help of The Fairy in the Mirror, uses inner-strength and hope to fight off the eight literal and figurative demons as she finds solace in the company of an equally tormented Prince.

Despite the fantastical and mythical aspects of the play, Pipeline's adaptation of The Ash Girl has a subtle quality, helped in part by its low-key set and lighting design. With their productions of Felix & the Diligence and The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Pipeline impressed by proving that they could utilize a large stage and orchestrate well with a large cast, but with The Ash Girl they decide to subdue the audience into awe. The audience is seated directly on the stage, in a three-fourths of an in-the-round setup with cast members entering and exiting from numerous doorways and ladders. And despite the relatively sizable cast, the show creates an intimate feel with its small stage, dark lighting, limited props, and mostly muted costumes. The eight villains slink in and out of the shadows setting a menacing and ominous tone for the audience. There is a chilling bareness at the beginning of the show that slowly creeps and crescendos into an overflowing turmoil of Ash Girl's inner-conflict as she longs for happiness but struggles to believe she can obtain it. The play eventually eases us into the inevitable warm, happy ending only after making us yearn for it and believe its possibility, just as Ashgirl resolves to believe for herself. Kensil's eyes vividly standout throughout the play as she portrays Ashgirl's sway between sorrow and hope. She captures a forlorn gaze and a look of longing with equal finesse. Teddy Rodger and Sam Chapin help cheer up Kensil's Ashgirl and do a lovely job of counterbalancing the show's haunting feel with their warm and funny performances as her animal friends Mouse and Otter, respectively.

Fueled by Wertenbaker's sophisticated text, the entire cast and crew do a wonderful job of creating an eerily ethereal yet engrossing show. The Ash Girl opens tonight and I urge you to go see it and get wrapped up in the dark but oddly tender fantasy.

Written by: Timberlake Wertenbaker
Directed by: Jessika Doyel
April 21–May 5, 2012
Wednesdays–Saturdays, 8PM
The Connelly Theater
220 E. 4th St. (between Avenues A & B)
Tickets: $18 for general admission, $13 for students (with a pay what you can show on Wednesday, April 25!)
For tickets and more information, go here.
Please also consider donating to their fundraising campaign here. See full post

Friday, April 20, 2012

Zac Efron: Top Five/Bottom Five

Cross-posted on and commissioned by

Today, the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation, The Lucky One, starring Zac Efron, comes to theaters nationwide. I've never seen a Nicholas Sparks film in theaters, but plan on breaking my streak for this solider-falls-in-love-with-a-woman's-photo-then-there's-shower-sex! flick. Unfortunately, Zac Efron's record isn't too strong when it comes to making quality pictures, so there is a strong chance that this movie will be terrible. But the Zefron isn't 0 for 22, some of his credits are actually less than awful. Doubt me? Read on, as we try really hard to rate the films of Zac Efron. It should be noted that FINE, finding five good Zefron films is no easy task, so we took some liberties.

Top Five

5. Hairspray
I know lots of people love this movie, and yes, I LOVE the stage musical, but I tried and failed to watch this film three times before actually succeeding. I don't know what it was about the transition from stage to film that made me dislike it so, but my best guess is John Travolta. Zef is undeniably adorable at least, and perhaps the only part of the movie I truly enjoy, even though his acting is actually pretty horrendous. Still, I can't ignore a score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, so Hairspray, you make it in the top five.

4. Liberal Arts
Okay, let's be honest, I haven't seen Liberal Arts, truth, but I needed something to go here, and everything I've heard about this movie (which got a rare standing ovation after screening at Sundance this year) points to making it into Zefron's top five. Written and directed by How I Met Your Mother's Josh Rador, who also stars, Liberal Arts is about a thirty five year old man who visits his alma mater and falls for a nineteen year old student, played by Elizabeth Olsen. Aldo Zac Efron doesn't have a large part, here is a rare case of a Zef character role, playing what the Hollywood Reporter describes as a "shamanistic campus hanger-on" and D Magazine says he plays one of the most enjoyable characters in the film and First Showing calls his performance the "real treasure" of the film. 

3. Me & Orson Welles
Not perfect by any means, but this Richard Linklater movie that follows a teenager (Zef, natch) hired by Welles to play Lucius in his production of Julius Caesar is no question one of Zac Efron's best films, although not even remotely his best performance.  In fact, Efron and Zoe Kazan as a potential love interest are easily the least appealing parts of the movie, but if you can get past them, it's not half bad. Christian McKay is perfect as Orson Welles, and any film that takes place in the theater will take a small part of my heart.

2. Firefly Episode 1.7, "Safe"
In the seventh episode of Firefly, Zac Efron plays a young Simon Tan in the opening flashback, wearing fancy clothes, speaking Mandarin chinese, the whole deal. Although he wasn't as perfect as Skylar Roberge, who might *actually* be a Summer Glau clone, Efron does a fine job. And although Safe is one of my least favorite Firefly episodes, it still has probably the best written script of anything Efron has ever done. IF I'd seen The Lorax, maybe it would take this slot? But I haven't, so FIREFLY IT IS!

1. 17 Again
I LOVE THIS MOVIE. The film that made me fall for Zac Efron. Before seeing this movie, I didn't get the Zac Efron thing. I thought he was a horrible actor and not even that good looking - the swooning he attracted made no sense to me. But that aaallll changed with 17 Again.  I've seen the film countless times, and despite the befuddling negative reviews, I consider it to be Zefron's best film, and his best work. The film is so in on the joke that there is even a Zefron dance number, helloooo. I feel the same way I did today when I saw the film almost three years ago, and encourage you to see it if you haven't already. I'm completely serious.

Bottom five after the jump

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Spidey Project: 1000 Times Better Than That *Other* Spidey Musical

This past weekend, The Spidey Project ended its six week run in Los Angeles. The show, which originally ran in New York around the same time Turn Off The Dark first delayed its opening, was extremely acclaimed at the time, so I was heartily surprised to hear that reviews were more mixed of this Theater Unleashed production. I decided to go see for myself and came to one conclusion: theater critics out here are snobs who don't know how to let go and enjoy. What other explanation could there be for not enjoying this piece of theater that I couldn't watch for a moment without a smile plastered across my face?

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. 

The evening began in a small lobby surrounded by things to look at, interact with and purchase - fan art on one wall, audience haikus on another, Spiderman wristbands (that read Great Power Great Responsibility, natch), glow in the dark spider rings, and an aces concession stand that not only had standard delicious snacks but had COFFEEMATE for FRESH COFFEE (seriously, wtf, yes, thank you) and an awesome red and blue colored cocktail called a Webslinger. I drank two. 

After the jump, on to the show! 

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Hello Avengers, Wanna Adopt A Direwolf AND BUY ME AN IPHONE?!

Rargh. These make me want a stupid iPhone.

Hat Tip: @tooadorkable See full post

Monday, April 16, 2012

PEN: A Festival of International Literature in New York City

Literary geeks of New York! The PEN Festival, which promotes international literature, will be held in our great city from April 30th through May 6th. Commemorating the 90th anniversary of the PEN American Center, the festival will have tons of excellent events featuring a diverse group of artists. The events include discussions, performances, and screenings, all celebrating contemporary works and topics in literature. Two events that stand out to me are: Opening Night—The Kronos Quartet: Exit Strategies, a collaborative performance exploring the relationship between music and literature; and a film screening and discussion with the multi-talented Marjane Satrapi, Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis and Poulet aux Prunes (Chicken with Plums).

You can find out more about the festival's events, ticketing information, and the PEN America Center here. See full post

Friday, April 13, 2012

About All That Cabin in the Woods Buzz....

Cross-posted on and commissioned by

Ever since Cabin in the Woods had audiences freaking out at Butt Numb a Thon and even more so at SXSW (and for many of us, way before then), it's been perhaps the most buzzed about original film of the year. While running errands a couple days ago, two employees and two customers began talking about the film, seemingly prompted by nothing, discussing whether or not it will be like say, Saw, or something more subversive. So for the confused or uninitiated wondering what this buzz is all about, let me break it down for you - spoiler free of course.

The Hold Up
Cabin in the Woods was originally shot in 2009 for MGM, and when the studio went under, the film just kind of hung around for a while, wondering if it would ever see the light of day. So it's not like Cabin just popped up a couple months ago and people started gabbing. Some of us have been anticipating this film for *literally* years. Anticipating an ORIGINAL film for years is extremely rare. So when Cabin started screening, most notably at Butt Numb a Thon, and word on the street was that it was balls out amazing, well, you can imagine how difficult it became for us geeks to contain our excitement. While the hold up was initially so frustrating for us all, a lot of positives ended up coming out of it other than the long period of time to simmer in anticipation, including enough of a chance to resist 3D conversion (thank goodness for that) and the GIANT strides that have happened for the people involved since wrapping. 

Joss Whedon
Certainly this applies to Joss Whedon. Once and to a certain degree still, a geek's geek, beloved by a very specific niche audience, who everyone else ignorantly turns a nose up at, now Whedon is about to enter the arena of household name-big budget-massive franchises. If Cabin had been released when intended, maybe his involvement would have been brushed off by the more mainstream audiences. But here, in 2012, mere weeks after Cabin hits theaters, so will The Avengers, directed by none other than Whedon himself. The Avengers has already put Whedon on the map outside of the geek crowd. Remember when I mentioned hearing employees discussing Cabin a couple days ago? One of them got more interested the moment someone else mentioned that the writer is directing the Avengers

Chris Hemsworth
Not to mention the cast! Since wrapping, Chris Hemsworth went and oh you know, became Thor, NBD, and apparently ultimately got the job because Whedon called Kenneth Brannagh and recommended he give Hemsworth another shot. Then as luck would have it, Whedon and Hemsworth reunited to shoot The Avengers. Hemsworth has a huge following now and brings a star element to the film that previously didn't exist. I'm personally excited for the film to open so people will see what Kristen Connolly (who holds a masters in drama from Yale, whatwhat) can do and start propelling her towards stardom. 

Former Buffy/Angel Writers Taking Over The World
Continuing the trend of former Buffy writers taking over the world, Cabin in the Woods is Drew Goddard's directorial debut. Since Buffy's end, we've seen David Fury writing and producing for Lost, 24 and Fringe, David Greenwalt creating and showrunning Grimm, Jane Espenson writing for Once Upon a Time, Dollhouse, and Battlestar Galactica and showrunning Caprcia, Marti Noxon writing Fright Night and writing/producing for Mad Men and Glee, Drew Z Greenberg executive producing Warehouse 13, and the list goes on and on. The writing room for Buffy and Angel was the breeding ground for greatness and the proof is in the pudding. 

Word on the street wasn't just that the film was great, but that it is important to not know anything going in. I echo this statement and hope you have done your best to avoid all trailers and simply know you are going next weekend. I went in 100% cold and was astonished at what I found. Other people will argue that the film is unspoilerable for reasons that will become clear to you, but I disagree. I think part of the wonder of Cabin, part of its genius, sits in the audience not knowing what exactly to expect, which simultaneously makes it impossible to market and yet all the more desirable to dedicated genre audiences.  If you *have* seen the trailer, don't worry, it's only the tip of the iceberg, but if you have managed to avoid it until now - keep it that way. But what builds more buzz than being told by multiple sources that you MUST see it before it gets spoiled for you and know NOTHING going in? OhgodIwanttoseeitagainrightnow.

Husband Bulge
Aside from being shrouded in secrecy, which certainly adds to the draw, the film is also intensely quotable. Most of the quotes at least to me, act as a spoiler, so best to only engage in a quote-off with other folks who have seen the film, but at least one of them, "husband bulge" spoils nothing while still being incredibly specific and reminiscent of some great moments in the film. Bring a pen and paper cause some of these lines you will not want to forget. 

It's Not Based On Anything and Not A Franchise
!!!!!! Huzzah for original genre material! ORIGINAL GENRE MATERIAL!!! That's enough on its own to get me buzzing.

It's Fantastic
In case you were wondering....:)

Are you planning on seeing Cabin in the Woods, opening today nationwide? Have you managed to avoid knowing anything about it? What excites you about the film? Sound off below!
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Crushes of the Week

In which I fangirl out in the worst sense of the word and everyone is embarrassed for me

Fringe was excellent this week, as was Seth Gabel as both Lincolns. My personal favorite is Agent Lee (as opposed to Captain Lee) - I will date you if no Olivia will!

Holy scruff, Phillip Phillips! Swoooon.

Something about Jake Johnson on New Girl.....amiright?
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Friday, April 6, 2012

Review: Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope

Cross-posted on

It's no secret to anyone who knows me or regularly reads me here, or on my Twitter, that I am a Comic-Con lifer. I've been going since I was two years old and I hope to never stop. The closest I've ever come to missing a Comic-Con was when I was 16 and had previously been in Ireland for a Summer program. But I flew directly to San Diego from Ireland and although I missed the panel I was most looking forward to (all I remember? It involved Jason Lee and Ben Affleck) because I detained at the airport for having the same name, birthdate and description as a runaway from Reno (no, really), I still made it for a solid two days of nerdy gloriousness. Which is why I think I am not a bad authority on whether or not, say, a documentary on Comic-Con works. I was lucky enough to catch an early screening of such a film, Comic-Con: A Fan's Hope a few weeks back, and I would like to say definitively that yes - it works. In spades.

The film, produced by Harry Knowles, Joss Whedon, Stan Lee and more, directed by Morgan Spurlock, takes a look at 6 different people making the pilgrimage to Comic-Con for a host of reasons, as well as a look at the Convention experience itself. While it doesn't delve too much into history other than opening with some vintage photos and radio interviews, that ended up not bothering me - this isn't a documentary about this history of Comic-Con - that movie will come another time. 

What the film does capture well is what it is like to attend Comic-Con, whether as a collector itching for that one particular exclusive, an artist looking to make connections in portfolio reviews, a cosplayer participating the masquerade, a comics book dealer hoping against hope to make a profit, or as fans who met and fell in love at the geek mecca. Expansive shots of the crowds descending on the convention center, then swarming in the inside, plus a look at the long lines and claustrophobic nature of Hall H doesn't sugarcoat the fan experience. It's crowded and requires long, tiring hours for those moments of seeing someone you admire talk or getting their autograph. But the movie also emphasizes how worth it it is for everyone who attends. Many people who are important to Comic-Con in some way were interviewed, but tons of fans were as well, many in costume, not shy about revealing which geek icons they were excited to see the most or which encounters left them the most star stuck. One of my favorite instances of this was when Paul Scheer talked about being in an elevator with Joss Whedon and finding himself unable to say anything to someone he loved so much. 

Following individuals into Comic-Con was hands down the best way to approach capturing the Comic-Con experience. We followed these two aspiring artists as they filled their days with portfolio reviews, an aspect of Comic-Con I barely knew existed, and how their ventures play out were fascinating to watch. Don't be surprised if you find yourself getting a little emotional. We also had the pleasure of witnessing some very dedicated cosplayers make some faneffingtastic Mass Effect 2 costumes for the masquerade, and got to be a part of the whole pre-masquerade rigamarole, from turning in forms, to rehearsals, to the night itself. This storyline was probably my favorite, and from the sound of it, the audiences as well, as ringleader Holly Conrad's "what happened since this was shot" placard got the largest and most enthusiastic response. And made me cry. The collector only shows up briefly, but demonstrates handily the convention collector culture, and anyone who was at the Kevin Smith panel in 2010 knows about the "lovers" track, following a boy with the plan to propose to his girlfriend who he met at Comic-Con the year before, during the Kevin Smith panel. Again with the tears. 

Perhaps the most dramatic track was that of the comic book dealer,  Chuck Rozanski or the "survivor" as he was referred to in the film. Any regular Comic-Con attendee knows the "Mile High Comics guy", with his long braid and magical way of convincing you to buy comics when you're on the fence. He spends most of the movie highly concerned that he is going to be forced to sell some of his most prized possessions in order to not go out of business, as he sees Comic-Con going much more in the pop culture direction than the comic book direction. We spend the whole movie crossing our fingers that he makes enough cash by the end and can put his beloved Red Raven #1 back in the safe. There is no question in my mind that this year, I'm making more of an effort to buy my comics on site from these dealers. 

What's cool about these specific people and their stories are that it's a perfect microcosm - all 125,000 people who attend Comic-Con are there for different reasons. Most of us who spend the bulk of our time in Hall H or Ballroom 20 don't even know about things like portfolio reviews or the masquerade (although I attended the masquerade every year until about 2005. Ready for this old school masquerade reference? Rock! Rock! Rock!) and anyone who doesn't do the Hall H experience had no idea about the proposal. 

What this film also does very effectively is create a "laughing with" filmic experience. I never found myself laughing AT anyone, but I laughed a lot. Someone else's intense geekery for Phineas and Ferb is a lot like intense geekery I've felt for Star Wars or Buffy or Shaun of the Dead or Battlestar Galactica or Game of Thrones or Fables, so my laughter never held any malice, and the intention of the film was never to encourage such a thing. We're all in this boat together and the film really captured that nicely. It filled me with joy (and as I've said before, often tears) from start to finish and reminded me how much I love the place I for so many years referred to as my home away from home, the place I've always felt I belong the most. 

As stressful as Comic-Con can be between getting to every panel I want to see and attending every party I want to go to and buying every exclusive on the floor I need, at the end of the day, it's one of the most magical events in the world and some people spend their lives dreaming about attending. You know what this movie really does most of all? Makes me want to smack anyone who ever complains about "having to go" or being "forced to cover it." Then don't. Don't go. It's a place of love, of acceptance, of sharing in our geekery together, and if you're gonna roll your eyes and complain, you're doing it wrong. 

Also? I knew Matt Fraction is talented. I did not know Matt Fraction is hot. I would like to date him. The end.

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope opens in Los Angeles Thursday April 5th, San Francisco and Portland Friday, April 6th, New York, Boston and Washington DC on Friday, April 13th. You can also watch it On Demand Friday April 6th. There will also be special screenings with Morgan Spurlock Q&As across the US through
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Monday, April 2, 2012

On The Scene - Jason Reitman Live Read of The Big Lebowski

Last night marked the final installment of what has in six quick months become a highly popular Los Angeles cultural touchstone, Jason Reitman's Live Series. Much to the delight of everyone in attendance, curator Elvis Mitchell announced right before the performance began that the Live Series would return in October with six brand new scripts. Reitman himself apologized for his "day job" that would keep him occupied during the summer, but expressed great enthusiasm about returning later in the year. Hell. Effing. Yes. This was easily the most packed of the six Live Reads, with a stand by line circling around the Wilshire LACMA entrance, triple the size I've seen in the past.

Both Reitman and Mitchell decided that the final script of the first series should be a crowd pleaser, something overlooked originally by critics, but that maintained a cult status in years to come specifically because of its strong script, or as Mitchell put it, a film "ignored by the mainstream, but still found a way into our hearts...and bongs as the case may be." Naturally, the film that ended up being chosen was the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski, which was released fourteen years ago this month. The film has over 40 characters so presenting it as a reading with only nine actors was no easy task. But, and I hate to sound like a broken record, but if it's true it's true - this Read was even better than the last one. Which was leagues better than the last one. Oh Reitman and your learning and applying your learning! 

The cast, sitting from house right to house left was as follows: Lebowski (originated by David Huddleston) : Jason Alexander, Brandt (originated by Philip Seymour Hoffman) : Fred Savage, Jesus (originated by John Tuturro)/Jackie Treehorn/one of the Germans/many more : Nick Kroll, Bunny (originated by Tara Reid)/waitress/Pilar/German woman: Catherine Reitman, Donny (originated by Steve Buscemi)/Dieter/more: Hank Azaria, The Dude (originated by Jeff Bridges) : Seth Rogen, Walter (originated by John Goodman) : Rainn Wilson, Maude (originated by Julianne Moore): Christina Hendricks, and The Stranger (originated by Sam Elliot): Sam effing Elliott, who got a standing ovation just for walking on stage. Because. Sam. Effing. Elliott. Reading. The Stranger. 

Where to even begin? Shampoo was a fine introduction, Reservoir Dogs was a raucous good time, but The Big Lebowski was in a league of its own. There was a level of professionalism and preparation among the actors that was unlike anything I'd seen yet, definitely the tightest script read of the three I've seen. Clearly each person on stage took this INCREDIBLY seriously and went to great pains to make sure he or she could deliver. Seth Rogen (who I kind of wished was wearing a bathrobe) and Rainn Wilson were so pitch perfect, I was not alone in thinking that if the movie had been made today, with those two actors in the roles, it would have worked just as well. It was as if Seth Rogen's stoner chill meets over the top exasperation and Rainn Wilson's comical intensity were crafted by the universe to play The Dude and Walter. They did not miss a word. They did not miss a moment. There was specificity, tactic changes, appropriate tonal shifts, I was FLOORED by what these guys were doing, and they made it look so easy. Word to the wise - this is *not* easy and it's rare to get through an entire live reading with a truthful, full fledged performance, without screwing up even once. And Rogen's rolled papers that he "smoked" from as a prop whenever the script called for it? Love.

More after the jump

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