Hammertown Comic Con

htcc-bttf Sue and I, with our friend and camera operator Kayleigh Book in tow, tackled the Hammertown Comic Con in Hamilton this past weekend, and we had a lot of fun! There were 3 Back To The Future guests, a couple of DeLoreans, some fantastic costumes, great art, and some cool folks to chat to! Sue and I arrived in style…

Is there possibly a cooler way to show up at a con?!? From there we wandered the floor, taking in the sites, and coming very close to collecting these… IMG_0003 From there we had a wander and looked at some of the amazing art by folks like Ron and Indy as well as the awesome art of Steve McGinnis - I picked up a copy of his The Thing print (I have to get a frame for it, because it needs to go up like now!!), and Sue picked up his Alfred Hitchcock print. Then we decided it was time to jump in and do some interviews!!

First up was the amazing James Tolkan, best known as Principal Strickland in Back To The Future, and various other Stricklands through Hill Valley’s history, as well as Stinger in Top Gun…

Once that first interview was out of the way, things started to come together pretty quick for us as we began hitting one guest after another, all of whom were a joy to chat with! We were pleasantly surprised by how simply awesome Donald Fullilove was, best know for his turn as Goldie Wilson in the Back To The Future series, we got him to deliver his most famous line, and I bought a replica of his Re-Election poster.

Mayor Goldie Wilson… wow.

Then we moved along and spoke to the series original Jennifer Parker, Claudia Wells! Make sure you check out her official site here. As a side note, my hair seems to get wilder and wilder from one interview to the next…

After that, we decided to wander the floor again, where Sue encountered Ruffus the Dog, who was talking about his new project, Ruffus the Dog’s Steampunk Adventure, take a look at it’s trailer and site here!

From there we wandered for a bit, checking out costumes, and looking at toys, Sue got herself a new Christmas tree… IMG_0004 Then we had a couple of more chats. The first was with Kylie Szymanski, who played the Governor’s daughter Penny, in season 3 of The Walking Dead…

We then got a chance to converse with the brilliant, funny, and generally awesome Robert Picardo from Star Trek: Voyager, the Stargate series…

Then for our last chat of the day we wandered over to chat with the hosts of YTV’s popular show Splatalot Matt Chin and Jason Agnew, and we were then ambushed by a surprise guest… Pat Mastroianni!

It was a fantastic day at the Hammertown Comic Con, and Sue and I want to extend our thanks to everyone who went, everyone who chatted with us, and everyone who made the event a success! We hope to see you next year!

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Back To The Future (1985) – Robert Zemeckis

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I love this movie so much!

It’s always a joy to watch, and it puts me right back in 1985, I remember seeing it, reading the novel on my way to school, I remember playing the soundtrack over and over until the ink of the track listings was completely faded, I even got myself a skateboard, though I never mastered it, all because of this movie.

martySo how stoked was I that I got to revisit it on the 101 Sci-Fi Movies list? Pretty damned!

This was the first movie I saw that put a character my age in a time-travel story, and even now I continue to wonder what my parents were like as kids, so it had an instant appeal in that way, and of course with Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown, what wasn’t to like about it?

I’ve seen the clips of Eric Stoltz in the Marty role, and as good an actor as he is, he just didn’t have that something that made Marty awesome.

For me there isn’t a missed beat or moment in the entire film, and even now it holds up beautifully, though I imagine anyone viewing it today who didn’t live through the times would have no idea what a Tab or Pepsi Free was.

Marty is just your average kid, he plays guitar in a band that is just too darned loud, or at least that’s what Huey Lewis in his cameo thinks, has a great girlfriend in Jennifer (Claudia Wells) and wants to borrow the car for the weekend but Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) wrecks it.

He’s also friends with an eccentric scientist, Doc Brown, and one night at Twin Pines Mall, Doc reveals what he’s been working on. He’s turned a DeLorean into a time machine…

BackFuture30And Marty accidentally ends up back in 1955, stops his parents from meeting and falling in love and is now vanishing from time.

He has to save his own future, get his parents together and get back to the year 1985, but trouble with young Biff, his mother (Lea Thompson) crushing on him, and his dad (Crispin Glover) being a bit odd are all piled against him.

Backed with a rousing, highly whiste-able score by Alan Silvestri, Zemeckis alongside co-writer Bob Gale and executive producer Steven Spielberg has created one of my favorite films. Couple this one with Jaws, give me some tomato soup, a grilled cheese and a rainy day on the couch and I’m a happy guy.

There isn’t a single thing I don’t love about this movie, and Michael J. Fox, was and still is, one of the coolest people on the planet as far as I’m concerned.

BacktotheFuture1985Wallpaper1Everything works, the editing and pacing, the attention to detail (Twin Pines changes to Lone Pine before the ends of the film, amongst other changes to the timeline – which of course brings up the idea that Marty didn’t return to his timeline but an alternate one created by him, and the original still exists out there somewhere…), the costumes, the dialogue. I love it all.

When someone says 80s movies to me, this and Breakfast Club are the first films I think of, because for me they are perfectly, typically 80s, and I was the characters’ age when I saw them, so it resonated with me.

There are bits and pieces I love about the sequels, especially the music, but the first one will always be in my Top 20! (it’s Top 20, because most of the movies are in flux constantly except for the number one position, and we all know what that one is :D).

What’s your favorite Michael J. Fox movie?

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Fan Expo Day 4

Somehow, Day 4 of Fan Expo has come and gone – and it’s all over for another year.

Wow.

It’s been an amazing weekend, and each day just seemed to hold the bar or raise it in terms of awesomeness.

This morning should have been a sign! Sue and I checked in at the Media Desk and finally got to meet someone I’ve tweeted and emailed to on a regular basis, Adrienne Kakoullis, from Holmes Creative Communication. She was so excited to see Sue and I that it completely blew us away, and built up our enthusiasm for the day.

We slipped downstairs and staked out a spot in the quickly forming line for the Gillian Anderson Q&A for 1:30, yes it was barely 10, but we knew the line would form quick.

Sue and I would rotate out, and I ran down to pick up our photo-ops. It was there that I got to speak with Steven Hodges and ‘Emily Expo’ who run the Calgary Expo, and oversaw, what, for Sue and I were incredibly smooth and quick-moving lines, and a fantastic turnaround on photo pick-ups. I also learned why some of the lines were held-up at various times, and I won’t get into the details, but I will tell you, it was not the fault of the organizers, fans or the guests.

While Sue waited in the queue, I raced up to the Showcase booth with Faenonymous, and was lucky enough to have a moment to chat with the series creator of Continuum, Simon Barry. So watch for that in our Fan Expo compilation podcast.

I spell Sue from her wait in line, and she goes off to cover the Dead Before Dawn 3D panel – featuring Tim Doiron, April Mullen, Devon Bostick, Christopher Lloyd, and then to Sue’s delight - Max Topplin who was also in an episode of the why-aren’t-you-watching-it-it’s-so-good show Haven!

Who when we chatted to him later at the Dead Before Dawn 3D booth he was simply delighted to learn that we watched and knew him from Haven. So delighted in fact that he had to pull Sue into a big hug.

Sue was enraptured with Gillan’s talk, and said that it was everything she wanted it to be, she was funny, charming and told great stories, which caused Sue to spend lots of time with tears of laughter streaming from her face.

While Sue was otherwise engaged, I prowled the floor and had an awesome chat with the cast and crew of Little Bit Zombie including Kristopher Turner (currently appearing on Saving Hope – we’ll see if we can’t get him back for a longer chat), Crystal Lowe, Shawn Roberts, and the film’s director, who fellow blogger Kirk Haviland, and I chatted to together.

It sounds like a fun little movie, which I missed in its theatrical run, but do plan to track down a copy in the near future.

I also swung by Baby’s First Boo, and chatted with Jackie, listen for her on the Expo podcast, and check out her store on Etsy and eBay, there are so many geeky things there!

Then to top it off, thanks to Erin Gray, I got to have a quick chat with the incredibly fun and charming Jamie Bamber from Battlestar Galactica and Band of Brothers! We’ve also learned that his sister is in town shooting on the new Showcase series Copper, which premiered this weekend.

We swung by the Dead Before Dawn 3D booth to say hello to Devon Bostick and our friends, before we prowled the floor and touched base with some other folks, that we hope to bring to you via podcast in the near future including the director of The Last Will & Testament of Rosalind Leigh. We first saw the poster art for it on Thursday, and THAT is what sold me on hanging around to watch the trailer play on their display. This movie looks incredibly creepy, and I’m really looking forward to it!

And to finish the day, we joined our last photo-op line, and got to pose with Christopher Lloyd and the Back To The Future DeLorean! Sue asked him if he could glare at the camera, which he and Sue did, while I crack a big goofy grin – leaving us all to wonder, how I’d changed the timeline and why was it so shocking?!

I’ve seen on the Fan Expo event page on Facebook that already people have found things to complain about. That’s too bad, cause Sue and I had a great time, and while there may have been a few minor issues, this for us, was the smoothest running con yet. They got more things right than they did wrong, but as we’ve seen in the world of fandom, some people aren’t happy unless they have something to complain about and aren’t constantly getting their way.

Sue and I met some amazing people this year, caught up with some old friends, made some brilliant new ones.

Thank you Fan Expo, it was a great weekend.

We’ll see you next year!

Detention (2011) – Toronto After Dark

The 2nd and final evening of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival – Summer Nights program took place Wednesday eve and I was there.

Well, to be clear I was there for the first one. As much as I wanted to see the second feature V/H/S I have a problem with found footage films in the theater, I tend to suffer from ‘shaky-cam’ nausea, something I forgot in The Blair Witch Prohject and then again in Cloverfield to my tummy’s extreme dislike.

At least this time I remembered, and spared myself the countless trips outside it would’ve required of me. Which is too bad, cause I really did want to see it. Perhaps it’ll show up on Netflix soon.

So for the early show, I caught Joseph Kahn’s Detention.

This film easily denies classification and if you don’t go in expecting something off the wall, you are not going to have a good time with this film. Put as simply as I can, it’s a R-Rated-horror-comedy-sci-fi-teen-drama. And we definitely had the right crowd for it Wednesday night! We clapped, cheered, and laughed repeatedly through the film.

If I was going to say it’s like this meets this…. I would say, you take all of John Hughes’ teen films, from Sixteen Candles to Weird Science, throw in a healthy dash of Back To The Future (there’s also a wicked flux capacitor reference in the film) and stir in a lot of Scream and you may have something close to what this film is.

And while the film does rely on some visual gags, almost all of it is in the dialogue, some of it is so inanely stupid that it actually comes around to verge on brilliance.

To nutshell the film as much as I can, someone, using the fictional horror movie Cinderhella character as their basis, murders the most popular girl in school Taylor Fisher (Alison Woods), who is murdered during her instructional montage sequence.

The high school is plunged into terror as they wonder which of the cool kids is next.

Riley (Shanley Caswell) they typical ‘pretty girl on the peripheral.’

Sanders (Aaron David Johnson) is the geek in love with Riley.

Riley is is crushing on the school’s own Ferris Bueller-type Clapton Davis (Josh Hutcherson, who also served as executive producer).

Clapton, however, is crushing on Ione (Spencer Locke), an old soul trapped in an insanely hot cheerleader’s body, and also because she knows the lyrics to all of Sting’s post-Police work, especially Fields of Gold.

Billy Nolan (Parker Bagley), Ione’s ex, wants to kick Clapton’s ass, who has his own weird story.

And the mystery of who is Elliot Fink (Walter Perez)?

Through all of this, there are side-tips (all introduced with hysterical chapter names) little odd characters, weird secrets, a time-travelling bear (seriously), UFOs, gruesome murders, the fighting styles of Steven Seagal and Road House’s Patrick Swayze and Prom.

The dialogue is funny, self-referential, and the audience totally bought into it, especially Gord (Travis Fleetwood), who is ruled out as the killer, because it would be inherently impossible and impolite for him to do it because he’s Canadian.

And amazingly, for a film that has story threads that stretch across time and characters, almost every single one gets seen to before the film ends, whether it’s in little throw away scenes or dialogue, it almost all gets taken care of.

It’s also one of those ones that you may want to watch at home with friends (when it gets a home release), because we, the audience, would be laughing so hard at one line, we’d miss the next two or three!

It’s funny, goofy, and a visual delight. It’s not gonna win any big awards, but it’s definitely going to garner a cult following.

I loved it!

See it with your friends, expect nothing, laugh a lot, and don’t watch the trailer, cause it doesn’t market the film very well at all.

Continuum S01 E05 – A Test of Time

This week, series creator Simon Barry, and writer Jeff King bring us my favorite episode of Continuum so far, by introducing a lot of things to think about in terms of timelines in paradoxes.

Because this week, Kagame (Tony Amendola) and Liber8 spring into full Terminator-mode, going after CPS Protector Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) through her past.

They are hunting down women named Lily Jones, and killing them, knowing one of them must be Kiera’s grandmother.

Cool.

The show opens in 2077(ish) as we see that yes, as I had hoped, the Protectors have jumpers/flyers/patrol craft, whatever they are calling them, to move about in. They are investigating three high-profile targets they believe Liber8 is planning to blow. When one of them explodes, Kiera thinks her husband Greg (John Reardon) was in it.

We slip back to 2012, where we find Travis (Roger Cross) murdering a Lily Jones, while Garza (Luvia Petersen) is keeping an eye on Kiera to see if anything happens.

It’s the wrong Lily, but Kiera cottons to what they are up to as she and Carlos (Victor Webster – who is kind of side-lined for most of the episode) investigate.

Kellog (Stephen Lobo) has heard Kagame is back, and rejoins Liber8, despite Sonya’s (Lexa Doig) attempt to blow him up previously.

He then contacts Kiera to meet up and tell her that her family is being targeted. He also reveals that the guards were involved in Liber8′s escape to the past, though he’s not quite sure how high up it goes, he intimates that Kiera was placed in that room on purpose.

Following the meeting, Sonya tags Kiera and gets a DNA sample to help them track down the right Lily Jones.

Kiera finds her first though, and she is not who she thought her grandmother would be. Lily (Katie Findlay from The Killing) is a bit of a punk, though Kiera identifies her by her butterfly tattoo.

She also learns that Lily is pregnant.

Which gives us a flash forward to 207(ish) where we see Kiera taking a pregnancy test, which involves her licking a tab – placing a DNA sample on it – and putting it on her mirror, which then renders a scan of her, showing proof positive that she’s pregnant, sex of the child, and the conception date. She goes to Greg, and talks about the baby coming along at the wrong time, and that she may go to the clinic, it only costs 1400 Life Credits… It’s hinted at that she is of course referring to terminating the pregnancy, Greg however proposes to her instead.

Back in 2012, she has to make a pro-life argument for Lily, who is thinking of an abortion as well.

While all this is going on, Kellog is desperately attempting to call Kiera. When she finally answers, Kellog reveals that something terrible has happened, Kagame proposes a trade. If Kellog turns over Lily, they will let Kellog’s young grandmother, Maddie (Olivia Ryan Stern) go free.

Kiera comes up with a plan of her own, and texts a name for Carlos to track down for her…

When the trade goes down, and Maddie is set free, Kellog reveals that he doesn’t have Lily, but has, in fact, Kagame’s own mother, who is pregnant with him!

Kagame, eager to protect himself, agrees to this trade, and spirits his mother away, as Travis takes out Maddie with a sniper shot.

Kellog, however, does not pull a Back To The Future and erase from existence. Instead he’s still around. Which opens a whole new series of questions… was Maddie really his grandmother, or, equally as important, are they in an alternate timeline? One could argue that the moment they went back in time, history was changed and created a new timeline in which they are no living, which means, that even if Kiera gets back to 2077, it probably isn’t the one she left… Or maybe there are other things we haven’t thought of yet? Ideas?

The episode wraps up with Kellog getting Lily and her boyfriend Jake out of the city, Kagame is upset with Travis about the murder of Maddie (he doesn’t seem that bothered), Alec is hanging out on his porch staring at a picture of Lily, and in 2077, Sam (Sean Kyer) finds Lily’s necklace and gives it back to Kiera.

This episode was the best so far, slipping right from the Terminator aspect to the old quandary of the grandfather paradox, as well as throwing in a healthy dose of conspiracy about Liber8′s escape.

At the halfway mark of the first season, this show seems to be ready to kick into high gear, and build up the conspiracy, explore some paradoxes, and establish, change, and re-write the present and future history.

Awesome!!

Keep it coming Showcase!!!

Niagara Falls Comic Con!!

Yesterday was a brilliant day! (Even getting up at 4am to get it underway.)

Sue and I headed to Niagara Falls for their comic con in their brand new Scotiabank Convention Center. Chris Dabrowski Co-Owner of the show, who handles the celebrity bookings, as well as the PR & Marketing for the event kindly set us up with a media pass for the day, which we put to use documenting the day and chatting to a great many people.

What follows will be a photo journey through our day, as well as talking about some of the fantastic people we met.

This young Han Solo on the left won the awesome award as far as Sue and I were concerned. We saw him waiting in line with his parents, and practically ambushed them when they came in to take his pic. At some point through the day, they came across one of the original Kenner Millennium Falcon’s which he promptly carried around with him for the remainder of the day.

Also present, are the always awesome 501st, the stormtrooper legion comprised of fans who craft and upkeep their outfits, and do some fantastic charity work!

The fan turn out for the event was fantastic, there was always a steady line of people coming in, and all of them seemed to be having a brilliant time.

The exhibitor tables were a lot of fun, and we found a number of them we loved, as well as some fantastic artists!

One of them, which we will be following eagerly, as they have told us a web presence is imminent, is The Gift Crypt. At this table, there were hand crafted gothic items, as well as some homemade candies and chocolate, chocolate skulls, mints, and an amazing assortment of goodies. I highly recommend watching for this site when it pops up so keep your eyes open! If you would like to get in touch with them before hand their email is thegiftcrypt@gmail.com .

There were tons of collectibles, ranging from the pre-loved to brand new goodies, and they were all fairly, and amazingly priced, actually some of the best prices I’ve seen at a convention, and will probably be the baseline I use from now on when shopping at a convention.

I chatted with a number of comic book exhibitors, the wonderful gents from Pulp Comics in Niagara Falls itself, as well as Paradise Comics, Mostly Comics. Every single vendor I chatted with was eager, professional, knew their products incredibly well, and some of them were happily surprised by how busy the event turned out to be, some of them selling out of the inventory of certain titles that brought today, Batman Hush was incredibly popular! (I found a couple of Iron Man hardcover graphic novels for insanely cheap prices – 50% off the US cover price!! How sweet is that?!?! As well as an IDW Star Trek comic I was missing from my collection!)

One of the best things about conventions are the costumes, especially when people throw their imagination into it. You can’t help but wonder what happened to poor Robin and his sweetie in the pic to the left, but it looks awesome!

The Joker made a wicked appearance, and sadly, promptly made a baby cry. I’d say that’s perfectly in character for that fella.

There was a Rainbow Brite accompanied by a Strawberry Shortcake, there were at least 3 Tony Stark-types, and that isn’t including me with my new Tony-inspired goatee and shorter hair.

The security was maintained by roving clone troopers (not true, security there was awesome, and not a single untoward incident happened all day) of which there was a surprising number.

There also characters I thought I would never see in real life, like Bartman!

We also chatted with a number of artists, and I got a nice little print from Chris DeLara that I need to get a frame for (along with other pieces I’ve purchased over the years).

We found time to chat with artist Steve McGinnis, who recently made the leap from producing children’s art to horror art, and had one of his prints for sale that showed the bridge between them, a wicked picture of a little girl offering a lollipop to a bloodied, weapon-wielding Jason from the Friday the 13th series. You can check out his site here which he’s told us he’s going to update with a variety of his other pieces as well. If something strikes your fancy, I’m sure you’ll be able to order it through his site.

Oftentimes at a con, as much as I am having a great time, I am always reminded of the jostling masses surrounding me all intent on doing their own thing, and while the floor was constantly packed (the Bret Hart line was insane! I have never seen so many golden belts slung over shoulders in my life!) everyone was friendly, polite, eager to talk, and always more than happy to pose for a pic, or take a pic for you if you asked.

Wandering through Artists’ Alley, we chatted with the likes of Ty Templeton, Dave Ross, Mike Hogue and Ken Lashley who created this awesome Star Wars print…

Each one of the artists were exceedingly gracious with their time, chatting happily with each of their visitors, offering advice, opinions, and talking about some of their favorite characters and pieces.

The celebrity signing area, played host to a number of familiar faces and names, including the brilliant Robert Picardo, who talked with his fans in a Q&A as well as fielded questions at his table as he signed Star Trek: Voyager and Stargate memorabilia.

The man is erudite, well-read and charming, smiling and chatting with everyone.

Burt Ward, Robin from the original Batman TV Series was under a slew of fans, laughing, talking and sharing memories with a seemingly unending line!

The celebrity area was constantly busy much to the delight of the fans, and the lines moved smoothly, each fan waiting for their moment, but never intruding on the time of the person before or behind them.

Little Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl on the Walking Dead, seemed to be having a great time, and towards the end of the day found time to sit in the Back To The Future DeLorean that was on site.  It’s tough at that age to be the center of so much attention, but young Riggs handled it well, and always seemed to be ready for more.

Also on hand was a bearded Dustin Diamond, best known for Screech from Saved By The Bell. Every time I saw him he was laughing or very engaged in talking amiably with the scores of folk who came to see him.

Throughout the course of the day, there were photo ops with the guests in front of green-screens to drop you into high-school, a horde of zombies, the bat-cave or a wrestling ring depending on the guest. There were also Q&As through the day, as well as a screening of Niagara Falls home town girl, and fan favorite April Mullen and Tim Doiron’s film Rock, Paper, Scissors: Way of the Tosser.

There was also a VIP screening of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface), and members of the cast.

The man’s a big teddy bear, and seems more appropriate to take on the role of Santa Claus as opposed to the terrifying cannibalistic killer he portrayed.

He and his cast mates, were across from the MacabreCon table that had arranged for them to be there, and were a great bunch of guys, including a clutch of filmmakers who are working on a feature film entitled Android Re-Enactment, have a look at their site here.

And long before there was a show called Jackass, there was another guy doing all kinds of crazy stunts and almost killing himself doing stunts and broadcasting them in the Southern Ontario area, that would be none other than Ralph Zavadil, known to his fans as Cap’n Video.

This guy’s energy was insane, he was rockin’ and rollin’ with each and every person who came to his booth. He was loud, boisterous, and a lot of fun for each of his fans.

Sue and I spent the day in close proximity to the Cap’n as we chatted and helped our dear friends April and Tim, promoting their two previous films, Rock, Paper, Scissors and Gravy Train, while talking about their upcoming film (which Sue and I have cameos in) Dead Before Dawn 3D!!

They were aided by various members of the Mullen clan (and you’ve never met a bunch of nicer people, EVER) and a young, up and coming filmmaker in his own right, Phil Marinucci. Watch for his name, cause I’m willing to bet we’ll hear more from him, and somewhere in the near future we’ll be having him on our show.

And speaking of our show, we’ll have a brief one up where we have a chat with one of the exhibitors on site… he and his friend constructed and maintain their very own 1966 era Batmobile. It’s perfect in every detail, and looks awesome!!!

So make sure you listen to that!

We also chatted with out dear friends April & Tim, who, let’s face it, along with Jeremy LaLonde need to be regulars on our show. All three of them are passionate filmmakers and dear friends.

At the end of the day, Sue and I were ready to head back to Toronto… so we commandeered the Delorean and a hover board…

We’d like to extend our thanks to Chris, and all the folks who made that con possible, it was fun, busy, and one of the smoothest run cons I’ve been to yet! We’ll be back for sure! Thanks for having us!

(Check out the rest of our pics on our Facebook page!)

Romancing The Stone (1984)

“Romantic novelist my ass!”

“The Joan Wilder?!?”

I love this movie, it’s just so much fun, and has so many wonderful lines that tend to fall from my lips on a regular basis.

In the early 80s, everyone was kind of keen to cash in on the big adventure stories ever since they saw what Spielberg and Lucas did with Raiders of the Lost Ark. There were a number of forgotten television shows, Bring Em Back Alive, and Tales of the Gold Monkey and some lesser known films like Chuck Norris’ Firewalker and yet another telling of Allan Quartermain with King Solomon’s Mines.

For me, none of them could ever measure up to Raiders, but Romancing The Stone, featuring the behind the camera combination of director Robert Zemeckis and composer Alan Silvestri, is probably one of my fave adventure films.

It follows romance novelist Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner – who never looked better!), who still hasn’t met the Right Man, on the adventure of her lifetime. When her sister Elaine, is held for ransom, Joan must deliver a treasure map to her kidnappers in Cartagena, Colombia. She’s shadowed by a corrupt police official named Zolo (Manuel Ojeda) and one of the kidnappers, Ralph (Danny DeVito).

Ending up on the wrong bus, and held at gunpoint by the nefarious Zolo, Joan is rescued by adventurer Jack Colton (Michael Douglas), who stumbles upon the scene to find his jeep wrecked and his prized birds escaped. (“what did you do, wake up this morning and say, ‘today, I’m gonna ruin a man’s life?’”).

Paying him off ($375 in travellers checks… “American Express?” “Yes” “You’ve got a deal.”) Jack agrees to escort her to the nearest phone before realizing they could follow the map, and get the stone for themselves before they bargain for Elaine’s life.

The film has great chase sequences (featuring Pepe, the little mule), a mud slide, crocodiles, shootouts, and as the title suggests, romance. An awesome adventure film!

Zemeckis has consistently proven himself as a director I can rely on, but this, Contact, and Back to the Future will always be my three faves. Yes, I like them more than Forrest Gump and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Stone is just good fun, filled with humor, romance and adventure, an enjoyable romp.

It also saw the first of three times that Turner, Douglas and DeVito worked together on the less than stellar, but still mostly enjoyable sequel The Jewel of the Nile, and the dark comedy War of the Roses, which DeVito also directed.

I saw this when it first came out in 1984, in fact, I can still remember sitting in the theater with my mother, and my sister. There aren’t tons of movies that I can remember a lot of specific moments like that, but the ones I do have stayed with me for a reason… I knew I was experiencing something special, something entertaining, something that was magic.

What’s your favorite Zemeckis film? Or do you enjoy Romancing the Stone as much as I do?

The Con is Over – What Now??!!

So Wizard World Comic Con is now behind us… What will Sue and I do next to get our geek fix?

We’re going to Niagara Falls on June 9th!

I’ve going on a press pass and will have a chance to chat with the guests and wander about and document the entire convention.

Thank you to everyone at The Niagara Falls Comic Con for extending this pass to The Mind Reels.

It’ll be our third con of the season, and both Sue and I are looking forward to the trip down to Niagara for the day.

We’ll be delighted to see our dear friends April Mullen and Tim Doiron again, and hopefully get some news on the forthcoming Canadian release of Dead Before Dawn 3D.

April of course grew up in Niagara Falls, and will no doubt be a huge draw for the Con.

There are also more guests I’m looking forward to having time to chat with, Burt Ward, the Robin from the iconic Batman series of the 60s is going to be there, also bringing the original Batmobile with him! COOL!!!

But it gets better, the uber-cool DeLorean from the Back To The Future films will be there!

The world famous 501st Stormtrooper legion will be there, which means, as always, awesome pics with the forces of evil!!

Robert Picardo, of Star Trek:Voyager, and Stargate; Atlantis will also be on hand, and I’m sincerely hoping that I have a chance to chat with him.  I love watching a show or movie and see him show up on screen.

I think he’d be a smart, fun, and entertaining interview.

We’ll see what happens there.

There are also a number of wrestling guests on hand as well some , horror names like Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, and little Carl(Chandler Riggs) from The Walking Dead.

There’s also a games section, so it sounds like all the bases will be covered  for Niagara fans, as well as those who are making the trip!

It looks like it’s going to ramp up to be a pretty interesting day, and we’ll be talking about it more as it gets closer… so stay tuned!!

And hey… are you going?

Film Scores – A Whistler’s Tale

I’m a whistler, and a dreamer… and “Binary Sunset” is one of my favorite thoughtful, hopeful and slightly sad things to whistle, especially when I’m thinking about my future, and watching the horizon.

Whistling.

I do it all the time, and I carry a huge repertoire in my mind, and on my ipod.

In the case of my whistling, film scores tend to be my default setting.

Since I was a child, they have been playing in my head. In point of fact, before I even owned my first LP or cassette tape I can remember playing in my school’s playground on a weekend. I had brought some of my Star Wars figures, and I can remember being on the edge of the merry-go-round playing with them, whistling a never-ending medley of themes and cues from a film I had only seen once at that point, whistling over and over music by a composer whose name I didn’t even now yet, believe Mr. Willilams (can I call you John?) I have more than made up for that slip.

When the 1980s rolled around and I got my first walkman as a birthday present (I think it was my birthday, it may have been for Easter). One of the very first cassettes I bought to go with it was the score from Return of the Jedi.

I wore that tape out.

I would listen to it over and over, I knew every moment of that score.

I also played my soundtrack LPs repeatedly as well, I introduced myself to John Barry through his fantastic score for The Black Hole, and James Horner through his stirring compositions for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (and I would wear out my Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger and Braveheart soundtracks.

But cassette tapes were my passion, before I had my own CD player, I had tons of them. Anytime my meager allowance came along, or babysitting money, or my small income from working as a stock boy at the CanEx I would find yet another soundtrack or score to add to it (or a pop tape, but more often a soundtrack).

It was during this accumulation of tapes that I discovered the wonderful compositions of Jerry Goldsmith. My favorite scores of his continue to be the soundtrack for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Alien. Both of these soundtracks just keep circling in my head.

I’m well aware that he has composed so many more other scores, and I even have some of them, but his work for sci-fi films seem to resonate the most with me.

John Williams of course, seems to have scored my entire life, and I think I actually have most of his collaborations with Steven Spielberg, and none of them disappoint.

For me, one of the highlights of knowing that there were new Star Wars movies coming out, when the rumors of prequels started, was that no matter what the films were like, there would be three new soundtracks filled with music from the Star Wars universe by the man who wrote the original music (specific tracks are Duel of the Fates, Battle of the Heroes, and the Main Titles & Revenge of the Sith – Williams is the man!).

That is saying nothing about the impact he had on me with the Raiders March, the piano end titles of E.T., the music cues mentioned in my Raiders of the Lost Ark post, the theme from Jurassic Park, any cue from Jaws, the ebullient tones from Close Encounters, Hedwig’s theme, the violin work in Schindler’s List…

It goes on and on…

I was also lucky to discover Alan Silvestri, who turned in fantastic work for the films of Robert Zemeckis including  Romancing the Stone, all three Back to the Futures and of course, the amazing score for Contact.

I especially love the cue/track, “Good to go.”

I have always loved films scores, and composers who use a full orchestra. It can give you huge sweeping moments, stirring strings, and then quiet tiny cues that can break your heart.

Howard Shore’s work on the Lord of the Rings films are great examples of that. He composes music that serves the film, and never over powers it, it simply enhances the viewing experience, and I do like when my brain just randomly cues one of those tracks in my head to whistle.

I can’t wait to see what he does with the Hobbit!

There are some composers who use a combination of synthetic and orchestral sounds, Hans Zimmer (whose score on Gladiator is his best in my opinion), Daft Punk’s score for Tron Legacy, the Chemical Brothers use of tones and electronica for Hanna.

But for me a score stands on whether I whistle it or not, and Silvestri, Williams, Barry and Goldsmith are for me, the titans in composing circles.

I have one more name to add to that list, and this compose seems to be the hardest working composer in film today. Or at least he seems to be, his name seems to pop up everywhere.

His name…

Michael Giacchino.

He’s everywhere, and he doesn’t keep his work merely on the big screen, he’s scored videogames, as well as TV series, most notably Fringe, Alcatraz, and Lost. He has a healthy working relationship with J.J. Abrams, and scores his films, amazingly I might add.

His standout scores for me currently, are his turns on The Incredibles, filled with homages to superhero films as well as a bit of an old school James Bond feel, and my favorite, his highly whistle-able score for Star Trek.

His brassy, up-tempo score for Trek simply sunk into my subconscious, even more than I realized. I had seen the film once, and purchased the soundtrack, loading it onto my ipod, and by the second time I saw the film in the theater, I was stunned to find myself whistling themes and cues from the soundtrack already.

I am constantly delighted now when I read a film’s credits, or am watching the opening or closing titles and see Michael’s name pop up. I always know I’m in good hands.

I know I don’t know as much about writing or composing music to talk tech about it, but I know what I like, and I am quite happy to welcome Mr. Giacchino into the ranks of Williams, Goldsmith, Barry, Silvestri, Horner and Shore. I can’t think of a higher compliment to pay than my continued whistling, so that’s what I’ll do…

Back To The Future at the Digital Film Festival

There are few movies guaranteed to plaster a smile on my face every time I see them. Back To The Future is, however, one of them.

I actually realized this today when I was watching it for who-knows-how-many-times-I’ve-seen-it.

In between mouthing my favorite lines as they came up, there would be a huge grin plastered on my face as I just watched the story.

I needn’t rave about Michael J. Fox again, I did so in an earlier post, but have no doubt, he is, was, and ever shall be awesome.

I do love seeing this film on the big screen, and once again, our audience was filled with those who loved it, and those who were being introduced to it for the first time. Which means that everyone laughs and even claps at the right moments.

Watching Christopher Lloyd make big eyes, and shocked expressions behind Lea Thompson’s back is always brilliantly funny.

Part of the eternal appeal of this film, I think, is the excitement of time travel, who wouldn’t want to see different places and times? Part of it is also the appeal of seeing the world that your parents grew up in, to know what they were like before you came along.

But the rest of it is the sheer fun of watching Marty and Doc in this Spielberg-produced, Zemeckis-directed classic.

I so love this movie…

And of course Doc says “What the hell”  when Marty asks him about messing with the space-time continuum, Marty already messed it up when he saved his dad from being hit by the car. At that moment he’d created an alternate timeline, so I figure that was how Doc rationalized it for himself.

While the trilogy is fun and enjoyable, the first film will always be my go to movie for smiles, and sheer joy.