IMJ Geek Film Review™ – Sin City A Dame to Kill For

My review of Frank Millers Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

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Walking into Sin City A Dame to Kill For, I was a little confused. Was it going to be a prequel? A sequel? Somewhere in-between the two?

As it turns out, it was all of the above.

In a similar format to the first film, the story breaks into acts involving different timelines and characters. Some take place before the events of the first film, and some after. Jessica Alba’s character Nancy Callahan (still looking FANTASTIC nine years later!) continues to suffer and plot revenge against Senator Roark, who wronged her and her hero John Hartigan (Bruce Willis)– a man who continues to haunt her. Returning favourite Marv (played by Mickey Rourke) spends his nights drinking himself away, watching Nancy dance and looking for trouble.

Sin City A Dame To Kill For PosterLuckily, he finds a lot of it in A Dame to Kill For.

Josh Brolin makes his debut as the…

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IMJ Nation™ Special – How To Survive Your FIRST Comic Con!

My quick guide to surviving Comic Con. Start planning now for 2015!

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Now that the dust has completely settled on my first-ever San Diego Comic Con, I wanted to provide the IMJ Nation™ with some essential Comic Con Survival Tips! If you read anything useful, please feel free to bookmark this post for next year— as SDCC 2015 will be here before we all know it!

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When booking hotel accommodations, your first instinct may be to get the hotel parked right in the middle of the madness, and although this may be more convenient and time efficient, it will also be a burden on your budget and may hinder your ability to find “you” time.

For the entirety of the Con, there are thousands upon thousands of people walking the streets in San Diego’s Gaslamp District (the area immediately adjacent to the Convention Centre), so we found a hotel near the border of Tijuana and San Diego that provided some…

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IMJ Comic Book Reviews

I reviewed Grayson #2 this week!

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New Avengers #22New Avengers #22
We Are Not Brothers
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Kev Walker
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
20 Pages, $3.99

The last five issues of Jonathan Hickman’sNew Avengers have all been magnificent, so I am a bit sad that Issue #22 is somewhat of a downer.

The book is filled by one lengthy, tense discussion between Namor and Black Panther– showcasing a heavy, yet believable, conflict between the two men. These two hate each other, and it’s quite palpable here. (This is the kind of antagonism where words hurt more than punches.) Ultimately though, after the enormity of the horror previously committed by the entire team, showing such petty detestation feels like a mild nosedive quality-wise.

Make no mistake: The comic is still a good, interesting read– but this story is more like a band-aid, a breather of sort, before the next arc. It also sadly features…

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5 Robin Williams Movies That Defined My Childhood.

Only moments ago, I was hit the with the tragic and devastating news of Robin Williams passing. I know that he was a man who struggled for many, many years with his mental health and his addictions. Though my first instinct is to mourn him and ask the world “WHY!?”, instead I felt that it was necessary that I remember and honour him for what he has given to me as a person, and to the world of film.

1. Aladdin

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Ethnic diluting aside, Aladdin stands as one of my all time favourite Disney movies. Hell, it is one of my favourite movies of all time. There is absolutely no question in my mind that this is because of Robin Williams absolutely spot on performance as the Genie. I have said it once, twice, probably dozens of times: Genie is the best Disney character in my books.

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The character perfectly captured his infectious energy, his brilliant delivery, and his vast array of quirky voices. It was as if the Genie was created around him, and not the other way around. With dozens of quotes that carry me through my daily life, this is one of the most iconic roles that I will remember him for. 

2. Hook

You can ask anyone in my family about how much I loved watching ‘Hook’ over, and over, and over again in my early years. I barely watched Peter Pan, but I watched ‘Hook’ until the VHS broke. Williams may not have been the stand out character in the movie; but alongside the likes of Dustin Hoffman and Bob Hoskins, he carried the weight of the film with vulnerability.His leading role as Peter Pan was one that I believe perfectly embodies who he was in his youth. He was just a big, lovable kid. 

3. Mrs Doubtfire

Seriously, who DIDN’T watch Mrs Doubtfire every time that it came on TV? Kids and their parents alike never seemed to get sick of this hilarious tale of a single father who resorts to dressing in drag in order to see his children.

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It was crude enough for its time, but it was a playful bit of obscenity. It perfectly showcased how well Williams could handle physical comedy. It was just as heartbreaking as it was gut busting, and it was a role that could not have been played by anyone but Robin WIlliams. 

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4. Jumanji

Jumanji is likely one of the first movies that folks of my generation think of when they hear William’s name mentioned. Though it certainly has not maintained any critical success, it most definitely has a place in the hearts and memories of Generation X.

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In the time period following the likes of Indiana Jones, Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Jurassic Park, fantasy and adventure film was in a defining stage of its existence; and Jumanji served as a fun film for the whole family. Williams infectious energy carried the film and brought its story to life.

5. Dead Poets Society

Anyone that I went to school with watched ‘Dead Poets Society’ in English class at least once. You will remember feeling a little warm and fuzzy instead, and you will remember feeling incredibly sad. 

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 The movie that inspired decades of “Oh Captain, My Captain!” references and copious amounts of “Carpe Diem” tattoos, Dead Poets Society touched endless volumes of people. It made us believe that there may be educators out there who were as passionate and caring as Robin Williams, but it mainly made us want Robin Williams to be our English teacher. It made us want to lose ourselves in the arts.

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Though words are not enough to express the feeling of sorrow throughout the world over the loss of Robin Williams, his work will live on in my heart, and in the hearts of so many.

May he Rest in Peace. 

The Dying Art of the Movie Poster

Think about some of the most iconic movie posters of the past century. 

Now, ask yourself if any of those posters are for movies from the last decade. My thoughts are, they are probably some of the iconic images from Drew Struzan, Bill Gold, Saul Bass or John Alvin

The older I get, the more that I delve into my appreciate of the arts, and the more that I respect the talents of artists. Though I will never dispute the amount of skill, patience and technique that goes into digital editing, computer generated imagery (CGI) and things like motion capture technology, I still find myself opposing the use of digital editing in photographs and artwork.

Case in point: movie posters.

Remember when posters looked like these?

1980, dir. Stanley Kubrick

Art from 'Blazing Saddles' by John AlvinWhat began as the manipulation of film photography and hand crafted masterpieces slowly ventured into the world of digital editing, as the technology began to show itself in the movies as well. “Mixed Media” began to surface.

 

Art from 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial' by John Alvin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was often about creating an image that would elude to the themes or plot of the movie. It was about simplicity, yet also about great detail.

And now, everything from the most pitiful to the most reveled modern movies start to look like these:

 

I would never go so far as to say that the medium is dead, but I can certainly see it dying away in mainstream Hollywood. Simplicity is now replaced with support propaganda-from critics reviews, to heavily retouched celebrity visages, to blatant name dropping. Unfortunately, the market is so saturated with directors, producers, actors and the like that a poster is now a retail advertisement moreso than it is the cover of a story. We need to know who made it, and what else they made, and who is in it, and what they look like. We need to see the entire cast of the film standing around one other, either looking straight at you, or all looking dramatically over their shoulders as they float in different layers of the background.

Every once in awhile, I am still impressed by a promotional poster, no matter what medium or method that they use. The majority of Judd Apatows films use a very simple, very repetitive and very straight forward technique, but they always manage to catch your attention. Plain background, actor, funny tagline. I can get behind it. 

Comic book adaptations-lookin at you, Marvel!-are some of the worst culprits for these Photoshop-soaked clusterf*cks that we see in recent years, especially since so many of their movies are ensemble casts. However, once in awhile, when the focus is on particular hero, we see a simple, beautiful image that has a little nostalgic ring to it.

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for The Wolverine

 

Luckily, when it comes to these types of films, something as simple as a symbol is enough to tip off the audience and tantalize their curiosity. Still, when the situation does not require something complex, the studios can’t help themselves. One of the most obvious culprits comes from XMen-Days of Future Past.

Some of the best movie posters that I have witnessed in the last few years was more than enough for me to see to become instantly excited about the movie, when there was at least 6 months remaining until the movie was released. Then, when it came close to the time of release. they felt the need to hit us with this:

Look familiar? It should, because it looks like EVERY OTHER MARVEL POSTER!

Yep, there are a whole lot of people in these movies. They are all different sizes, some of them stand in fire and look into the distance, and none of them are aware of one anothers existence on the poster. 

Poster art, much like digital art, is like a steak. There is a fine line between rare, medium and well done. Some people like their steak raw, and some hard as a rubber band. Though everyone has the tools to cook a steak, not everyone can cook one. Art is very subjective and difficult to define, and this is all just one nerd’s opinion on the issue, but I want to see less Photoshop and more photos, less digital and more drawn, less computer and more coloring.

IMJ Geek Film Review™ – Guardians of the Galaxy

My review of Guardians of the Galaxy for IMJ. Relatively spoiler free!

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As I sit here, anxious to tell you all about Guardians of the Galaxy, I’m still smiling from ear to ear. It’s been years since I have spent the entirety of a movie (aside from a few genuinely sad moments) in a euphoric nerd coma. Now, I know that many of my recent reviews have been on the outrageously positive side… But you need to know this– if you didn’t believe me before, you have to believe me now:

This movie is utterly fantastic.

GotG PosterQuick, mostly spoiler-free, plot recap: Tragically orphaned space outlaw Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) steals a rather non-descript orb from an abandoned planet– for no reason other than a monetary reward. What starts out as a run-of-the-mill gig quickly becomes an all-out Intergalactic War between the good, the evil and the just plain greedy.

By the time Quill faces off against assassin Gamora (

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3 Albums That You Should Be Listening to Right Now, Because I Am

The Black Keys – Turn Blue

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I found myself on the ‘Black Keys’ train quite a bit later than most of my peers, but a little music video for a song called ‘Lonely Boy’ reeled me in like a hungry fish. ‘Turn Blue’ was just released in May, and it has since been in constant rotation during my daily drives, cleaning sprees and outdoor activities. Moody and retro cool, it is the perfect soundtrack to relax to. There are hints of 1970’s and Zeppelin-esque influence in songs like “Weight of Love” and “Bullet in the Brain” while songs like “In Our Prime” and “Turn Blue” have a folksy, blues feel to them. In fact, the entire album brings the Beatles to mind, in their eclectic, upbeat overall sound. It is modern but nostalgic, and just flat out comforting from start to finish.

Listen to: Weight of Love, Turn Blue, Fever, Bullet in the Brain

Childish Gambino – Because the Internet

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You may know Childish Gambino by his real name-Donald Glover- or you may know him as beloved Community cast member Troy Barnes. Either way, you will probably be surprised by the music that he puts out. Unless you have heard his crass and playful standup routines, of course. Then this should come as no surprise.

Gambino’s second album has turned out to be the only rap/hip hop album that I have kept in rotation for the last few months, and is one of the most infectious albums of 2014 so far (it came out in December 2013, but for the sake of this article-its a 2014 album). He has created a genre for himself that I would describe as ‘nerd hop’, with references to nearly every facet of pop culture, from TV, to Star Wars to mobile apps like Vine and Twitter.

When he isn’t throwing out insanely clever rhymes about weed, parties, technology and being generally awesome, he is crooning about relationships, solitude and finding yourself in a world where “because of the internet, mistakes are forever”. His openness and unique perspective as a “rich kid, asshole” is fresh and intriguing, and he embraces it with full steam.

I am hooked. 

Listen to: Telegraph Ave, Crawl, The Party, Death by Numbers, 3005

Protest the Hero – Volition

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If there is one album that has changed my musical perspective over the last few years, it is Volition. From the operatic vocals to the elaborate and unconventional instrumentals, this album has everything that I look for in music. It is music that digs deep into your core and reverberates through your nervous system, living inside of your stomach and escaping through your throat in fits of adrenaline. Protest’s lyrics have a political and social voice, with dark tones and tongue-in-cheek sermons on moral fortitude. An album that was conceived with the financial and moral support of their loyal fanbase, they have created what I believe to be their strongest album yet. Even the weakest song on the album is far better than 90% of the music out there today.

Listen to: Animal Bones, Clarity, Skies, Drumhead Trial, Tilting Against Windmills 

San Diego 2014: San Diego Zoo to My First Comic Con! (FB Photo Album)

This was my first time in San Diego, one my first times in the USA, and my first time at Comic Con. Overheated, overwhelmed and overcrowded, it was an experience that I won’t soon forget. 

In the excitement of the event, I failed to take any photos of myself in costume with any of the hundred + people who wanted a photo with/of me. So, if you took a photo of/with me, or if you’d like to tag yourself in any of my photos, please email me at thedaniplanet@gmail.com or look for my FB page called “The Dani Planet” and tag away!

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https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002236058274&sk=photos&collection_token=100002236058274%3A2305272732%3A69&set=a.668176973266832.1073741836.100002236058274&type=1