Archive for August, 2010


August 9, 2010

We were somewhere around  San Diego when the geek-gasms began to take hold. I remember saying something like, ”I’m feeling a little lightheaded…” And suddenly there was a huge roar all around us and the streets were filled with Supermen, Wonder Women, Klingons, Stormtroopers, Steampunks, Zombies and millions of other costumed geeks. And a voice was screaming: “Holy Moly! Who are all these goddamned nerds?”

Hercules meets Xena/Grae!

Saturday started with a BANG! Xena/Grae and I hit the floor of Comic-Con for a second day in a row in search of one thing. Hercules. And we found the mother-fucker! He was sitting at a booth signing autographs and he leaped out of his seat when he saw her, screaming “I gave you your start!” We immediately arranged for a quick video interview where he hit on my girlfriend, Xena/Grae (flattering, but he’s lucky I was working the camera) and showed off his hairy stomach. Xena/Grae let out her most victorious war cry and we hightailed it to Hall H to get in on some panel action.

Once in Hall H, we made our way over to the press pit and bumped into none other than MR. HEAD GEEK himself, HARRY KNOWLES. He agreed to do an interview with us and he talked for quite awhile about his excitement for the new GREEN LANTERN movie. He was even sporting a GREEN LANTERN tee underneath the brightest Hawaiian shirt I’ve ever seen (which is how we spotted him in the first place). He was very cool and he loved Xena/Grae’s costume. Who doesn’t?

First up in Hall H was the Warner Brothers presentation, which started with the much anticipated GREEN LANTERN movie.


The panel included RYAN REYNOLDS, BLAKE LIVELY (yum), PETER SARSGAARD, MARK (KICK-ASS) STRONG and director MARTIN CAMPBELL. I have a great deal of excitement about this property and the panel discussion did a lot to make me feel like this could be a very cool adaption of the popular DC character. I love the GREEN LANTERN, because it’s more science-fiction than most other comic-book heros and it borrows a little from the awesome LENSMEN series of novels by the great E.E. “DOC” SMITH. That being said, they showed a long trailer of footage that looked pretty cool, but didn’t give me much of a feel for the tone. Still, I remain hopeful for this one.

Next was the HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS presentation. The little blonde kid that plays the evil archenemy in the series was there to introduce the special footage presentation, which was exclusive to the Comic-Con fans. The very long trailer was in 3-D (of course!) and I must say it was pretty damn interesting looking. I’m not a HARRY POTTER fan at all. Never read any of the books and I’ve only seen the first, second and fourth films in the series. They’ve never really done anything for me before, but I just might check out this FINAL chapter (which has been split into two films), because it looks like a HIGHLY dramatic conclusion and those are always fun to watch.

The final WB promo was for the new film from ZACH SNYDER, the wild and weird looking SUCKER PUNCH. I knew nothing about SUCKER PUNCH before this panel, except that it has been described as Alice in Wonderland with machine guns. It does look like that, but it also looks like every geek fetish you could possibly imagine all thrown into one Berserker of a movie! The footage featured hot chicks kicking ass, dark castles, mental wards, nazi-like soldiers wearing gas masks, giant robots shooting WWII planes out of the sky, lots of guns and it even has a fire-breathing Dragon! I still don’t know what it’s about and I don’t want to. I just want to see it. I think ZACH SNYDER is a really interesting genre filmmaker and I’m excited to see what kind of thing he has in store for us here.

The panel included ZACH SNYDER and a lot of really sexy actresses, starting with the gorgeous CARLA GUGINO and also featuring EMILY BROWNING, ABBIE CORNISH, VANESSA HUDGENS, JENA MALONE and JAMIE HUNG. Woof!

Sexy SUCKER PUNCH stars!

The trailer shown in Hall H for SUCKER PUNCH sent every nerd fanboy into convulsions and a few to the bathrooms. Think TIM BURTON meets PAUL VERHOEVEN with a little RUSS MEYER thrown in for fun. I can’t wait until March for this one.

LET ME IN was up next. I went into this panel skeptical. I love LET THE RIGHT ONE IN and considered it one of the best films of 2008. I was worried when I heard that it was being remade for American audiences. I didn’t think we needed one. I’m still not sure if we do, but after seeing the panel I think it could be a pretty cool English language version of the original with a few new surprises. Will it be as good? Probably not, but at least director MATT REEVES has made the right decisions in keeping the children’s age the same, having it take place in a snowy location and keeping the story set in the early eighties. It seems to have the same tone as the original too, which was slow and foreboding.

MATT (CLOVERFIELD) REEVES was joined by the cast, which included KODI SMIT-McPHEE (outstanding in THE ROAD), CLOE MORETZ (HIT GIRL from KICK-ASS) and the most brilliant character actor working today, Academy Award-nominee RICHARD JENKINS (who plays the vampire girl’s guardian).

HIT GIRL is now a vampire!

Everything RICHARD JENKINS does is awesome!

A scene was shown that features the RICHARD JENKINS character attempting to “acquire” a victim, by hiding in the back seat of their car. Unfortunately, the would-be victim brings a friend along for a lift home and complicates the situation even more by stopping to get gas. The scene’s set-up and location have been changed from the original film and it’s actually kind of an improvement in terms of suspense the way it is presented here.

I walked away from this panel with a lot of excitement for LET ME IN. MATT REEVES has made all the right decisions on the look and feel of it and I think it’s going to be an excellent new adaptation of the brilliant Swedish novel, LAT DEN RATTE KOMMA. It’s coming out in October and that’s perfect.

RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE was next and I was VERY excited! Not only am I a huge fan of the series, but I’m also a huge fan of the two SUPER-STUNNING lead actresses for the film, MILLA (I LOVE YOU) JOVOVICH and ALI (I WATCHED HEROES AFTER SEASON ONE JUST FOR YOU!) LARTER (who is the HOTTEST pregnant woman you’ve ever seen in your life)! They are BOTH two of the sexiest women on the planet. Period.





Also, on the panel was director PAUL W.S. ANDERSON and some actor guy named WENTWORTH MILLER, who I could care less about.


The footage for RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE was in 3-D and looked pretty off-the-hook amazing! There was a fight scene shown between the girls and this HUGE monster guy called THE EXECUTIONER (who wears a hood made of metal and swings an enormous hammer). It takes place in a big shower room with drops of water shooting in your face in 3-D and it was tile busting cool!

I was a fan of the RESIDENT EVIL game on PS back in the day, but the thing I love about the movie series is the way it takes the zombie genre and turns into this hyper-kinetic comic-book action sci-fi thing with a totally ROMERO/CARPENTER-style cynical commentary on corporate greed and the corruption of power. The fucking UMBRELLA corporation needs to be stopped and I hope Alice and all her sexy-ass clones can do it! BTW- What’s better than MILLA JOVOVICH in 3-D? An army of MILLA JOVOVICH clones in 3-D! Sign me up!

Immediately following this panel was the now infamous eye-gouging in Hall H. What happened was this: one nerd got mad at another nerd for stealing his seat, so he stabbed him in the face with a ball point pen. At first, we heard the nerd had been poked in the eye, but were told later that he had just received a very nasty scratch across his face. Still, his brand new exclusive HARRY POTTER Comic-Con tee shirt was speckled with blood as he was carried off and the attacker was led away in handcuffs by the San Diego police. Hall H is getting dangerous!

This was NOT the guy who got stabbed in the eye in Hall H.

After the commotion had settled, things finally got back to normal in Hall H and the PAUL panel began. Director GREG MOTTOLA and the star-studded cast came out, which included SIMON PEGG, NICK FROST, BILL HADER, JEFFREY TAMBOR, SIGOURNEY WEAVER, JASON BATEMAN, JOE LO TRUGLIO and once again, SETH ROGEN (only this time thankfully, it’s just his voice).

PEGG & FROST together again.




The plot of PAUL is about two British nerds (PEGG & FROST) who are attending the San Diego Comic-Con of all things (everyone in Hall H went nuts when they showed a shot of them walking up to the convention center) and decide to take a cross-country trip to visit Roswell, New Mexico. They pick up an actual extraterrestrial in the desert named Paul and the wackiness ensues as they’re pursued by government agents. The film looks very funny in a SHAUN OF THE DEAD meets E.T. kind of way and the Hall H reaction was extremely enthusiastic.

Next was the COWBOYS & ALIENS panel and JON (IRON MAN II SUCKED) FAVREAU came out with the cast, featuring DANIEL CRAIG, another Con appearance from super-hot OLIVIA WILDE and HAN SOLO himself, HARRISON FORD, who was escorted onto the stage by security guards with his arms cuffed behind him. It brought the house down as well as revealing the identity of the Hall H stabber. Never would have thought it was INDY.



The Hall H eye stabber was revealed.


The movie has been shooting for only a month, but a few scenes were completed (including special effects shots from ILM) just for Comic-Con. The footage shown involved CRAIG’S gunslinger character getting into some trouble with the law in the old west. He’s caught up in a feud with FORD about something and is about to be lynched when the tiny western town they’re in is attacked by a flying saucer and CRAIG saves the day by shooting it down with a wrist laser he’s wearing. Hard to say if it’ll be awesome, but it looked pretty good and I love FORD in just about anything he does.

The final and most anticipated panel of the day (and the Con for that matter) was the MARVEL presentation. It started with a tease of next year’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, which featured director JOE JOHNSTON and actors CHRIS EVANS and HUGO WEAVING.

The film has just begun filming, but they were able to show us an unfinished scene featuring WEAVING dressed in a Nazi officer uniform (pre-RED SKULL) trying to find the whereabouts of the “cosmic cube”. Many comic nerds lost their minds in fits of geek joy over that.

JOE JOHNSTON assured us that the movie is gonna be action packed and like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (which he himself once worked on) with a super-hero.  I’m hoping it’s great, because CAPTAIN AMERICA is one of my all-time favorite Marvel heroes. Unfortunately, I’m still not completely sold on EVANS as CAP. Time will tell, but I like the direction they’re going in.




Next was THOR and it looks pretty fucking amazing! Director KENNETH BRANAGH and the cast, CHRIS HEMSWORTH (THOR), NATALIE PORTMAN, TOM HIDDLESTON (LOKI) and CLARK GREGG (AGENT PHIL COULSON), came out to show us some footage and talk about the film. The trailer was in (you guessed it) 3-D and looked really cool! The look of the characters and the costumes are perfect and the ASGARD footage is obscenely awesome looking. ANTHONY HOPKINS looks fantastic as ODIN and TOM HIDDLESTON as LOKI gave me chills at how spot-on he is. I can’t wait for this one! It looks epic!




TOM HIDDLESTON as LOKI wants to kill THOR.

CLARK GREGG wants to catch THOR.

We all thought that was it, but suddenly the familiar sounding voice of one SAMUEL L. JACKSON boomed across Hall H to introduce director JOSS WHEDON and the entire cast of THE AVENGERS! AND EVERYBODY WENT INSANE! Here they are:






CHRIS EVANS as CAPTAIN AMERICA, CHRIS HEMSWORTH as THOR, SAM JACKSON as NICK FURY, SCARLETT JOHANSSON as BLACK WIDOW, ROBERT DOWNEY JR. as IRON MAN, JEREMY RENNER as HAWKEYE, and MARK RUFFALO as THE HULK! JOSS WHEDON said that we should all expect the most mammoth super-hero film ever and with him at the helm I expect it to be significantly fantastic! This was an excellent place to conclude the Hall H experience at this year’s Comic-Con. It blew the roof off the joint.

Xena/Grae and I retired to our hotel for some much needed rest. We went out later that night to party with all our friends and share tales of nerd adventures had by all. The next day was sadly the final day of Comic-Con, but we were able to finish up some last minute purchases on the floor as we took a final look around.

The last thing we did at Comic-Con was to record a new podcast with our dear friend MAX LANDIS, who’s a very talented screenwriter (as well as the son of the great JOHN LANDIS) and his lady pal DANI MANNING. We discussed all the sights, sounds and smells we discovered at Comic-Con and the show got pretty crazy at times. If you’d like to watch the video podcast of this show, CLICK HERE! You can also go to THE POPCORN MAFIA website to check out the multitude of interviews and comedy bits we filmed there, too.

GRAE DRAKE, MAX LANDIS, DANI MANNING and MYSELF record a new all Comic-Con related podcast for THE POPCORN MAFIA.

It was a crazy-awesome four days of nerd insanity and I’m already looking forward to next year’s Comic-Con, where I plan to attack it on an even larger scale than the last. Until next time, nerd out!


August 3, 2010

We were somewhere around  San Diego when the geek-gasms began to take hold. I remember saying something like, ”I’m feeling a little lightheaded…” And suddenly there was a huge roar all around us and the streets were filled with Supermen, Wonder Women, Klingons, Stormtroopers, Steampunks, Zombies and millions of other costumed geeks. And a voice was screaming: “Holy Moly! Who are all these goddamned nerds?”

This is how Friday started.

When I awoke the next day in our hotel suite in San Diego , my girlfriend and the lady I’m co-hosting THE POPCORN MAFIA with, Grae Drake was now dressed from head to toe as XENA, THE WARRIOR PRINCESS in a replica costume straight from the UNIVERSAL prop department. She looked absolutely SPOT ON and totally HOT! The moment we walked out of our hotel and headed out for the convention center, she was inundated with one photo request after another. We learned quickly that if you have a great costume at Comic-Con, people want to snap a picture with you (especially if you’re a cute girl). It was insane!

Xena/Grae is inundated with photo requests! Note she hides her cell phone behind her back to maintain authenticity!

Xena's primitive sensibilities are overwhelmed by the floor at Comic-Con.

Our mission for the day was to shoot as many bits with Xena interviewing fellow costumed geeks on the floor and asking them if they knew the whereabouts of Hercules. We got a lot of great footage (including an in depth discussion with a Zombie Stormtrooper), but things took an amazing turn when I went to the SCOTT PILGRIM swag booth to collect my booty.

Upon exiting, Xena/Grae was standing outside with an attractive, athletic looking blonde wearing black wayfarers and a red FLASH tee shirt. Then, Xena/Grae asked me if I could take a picture of her with ZOE BELL? At that point my head did an EXORCIST 360 degree turn as I realized the blonde was none other than the star of DEATH PROOF and former stunt double for LUCY LAWLESS herself, ZOE MOTHER-FUCKING BELL!!! I immediately lost my mind and starting swearing like I had a bad case of Tourette syndrome. She was incredibly nice and even agreed to do an interview, which we filmed for the podcast.

Surprisingly, Zombie Stormtrooper had a lot to say.


After that mind blowing awesomeness, we wandered back to Hall H and walked into the SUPER panel. We had tickets for the panel and grabbed a couple seats in the press section, right behind Mr. Beaks from AIN’T IT COOL NEWS and a reporter from MTV.

I didn’t really know much about SUPER, except that it’s written and directed by the very talented JAMES GUNN, the man responsible for TROMEO AND JULIET, THE SPECIALS, DAWN OF THE DEAD (2003) and SLITHER. The panel included GUNN and the entire cast, ELLEN PAGE, RAINN WILSON, LIV TYLER, NATHAN FILLION and MICHAEL ROOKER.




The plot concerns the RAIIN WILSON character falling in love with the LIV TYLER character and marrying her, only to discover shortly after that she’s a drug addict. WILSON basically has a mental meltdown and decides to start dressing in a handmade superhero costume and starts assaulting law breakers with a huge wrench.

In one scene, WILSON becomes miffed by a man who cuts in a movie theatre line ahead of him. He goes off to his parked car and changes into his costume. When he comes back, he walks right up to the line cutter and splits the guy’s head open with his wrench. It’s an incredibly violent, funny and shocking moment that sent all of Hall H into mad hysterics.

I’m really looking forward to this movie now, because I love the premise and it has that wild TROMA-style twisted humor that I love. It looks like a low rent version of BATMAN combined with KING OF COMEDY and RAINN WILSON’S character is like a TRAVIS BICKLE/RUPERT PUPKIN type, but as a masked vigilante. ELLEN PAGE plays WILSON’S sidekick, who’s like a homicidal ROBIN, only without the motivation of revenge. She just wants to hurt people. Sounds great!

During the Q & A portion of the SUPER panel, Xena/Grae got in line and asked a rather embarrassing question to NATHAN FILLION in front of everyone in Hall H. It was a perfect capper to our Xena video and I shot the whole thing on a HD flip camera for the show.

Xena/Grae and I stayed for the next panel, which was for the highly anticipated remake of the classic 70’s made-for-T.V. movie, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. For the second day in a row, GUILLERMO DEL TORO took the stage and addressed all the crazed horror fanatics in Hall H. He showed a really creepy trailer for the upcoming film that he’s produced for Miramax Films and afterwards gave everyone the GREAT news that it will be rated R by the MPAA for pervasive scariness. He said, “Horror movies need to have balls. And those balls need to be sweaty and wrinkled.”  I couldn’t agree more.

I’m a HUGE fan of the original, which I watched with my parents as a young child. The little creatures in that movie and the killer voodoo idol from TRILOGY OF TERROR gave me many sleepless nights in my early youth. Both were very creepy stories and great examples of a golden age of made for television horror, that also included DUEL, SALEM’S LOT, etc.

This remake looks really frightening and it’s obvious the scares are more extreme, while still remaining faithful to the original. The atmosphere in the footage was dark and gothic and there was a scene shown that’s a prologue to the film, where we see a desperate father going to extremes to get his son back from the little creatures that live in the home’s furnace. It was one freaky scene that involved a nasty bit of amateur dentistry and it made a lot of people jump in their seats. DEL TORO says the tone of the film is as “serious as a fucking attack of gonorrhea.” Ouch!

When asked what he’ll be doing in the future, DEL TORO said he plans to eat four chocolates, get a stretch mark, do an anthology horror series for cable, produce a “weird” version of PINOCCHIO, write and produce the HAUNTED MANSION reboot, and he hinted that he will be directing a big event ticket horror film for a major studio, which was later announced as the H.P.LOVECRAFT adaptation of AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS.  That’s a lot of cool stuff to look forward to!

When someone brought up THE HOBBIT and his unfortunate departure from that project, he said that he designed 98% of the first film and 50% of the second one and he hopes that MGM straightens everything out and PETER JACKSON directs them. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, although the loss of a DEL TORO directed version is still a painful sting. I love GUILLERMO DEL TORO and I think he’s one of the most talented and artistic filmmakers working today and listening to his very funny, obscenity laced presentation was a real treat.




PRIEST takes place in a post apocalyptic world where the earth has been laid to waste by a centuries old war between the human race and vampires. PAUL BETTANY plays a heavily trained Catholic priest sworn to kill the bloodsuckers and it’s based on a Japanese graphic novel by MIN-WOO HYUNG.

There’s also an opening anime prologue that was created by SAMURAI JACK and CLONE WARS creator GENNY TARTAKOVSKY. They showed quite a bit of it and it was very interesting and violent.

They also showed us an extended trailer in 3-D and I must say, it looks pretty cool. Like a MAD MAX movie with vampires. Lots of action and some amazing looking visuals of a walled city and strange looking motorcycles riding over sand dunes in an apocalyptic landscape. Hopefully, it’ll be a cool movie.

I really shouldn’t be surprised that the most HILARIOUS panel I’ve ever seen in Hall H was for THE OTHER GUYS. Not when you’ve got WILL FERRELL and director ADAM McKAY together. These two guys play so well off each other they had the entire crowd in the palm of their hands the whole time. I love ANCHORMAN and TALLADEGA NIGHTS and consider them to be two of the funniest comedies this past decade, so I’m super-psyched for THE OTHER GUYS and the footage they showed looked great.

The panel was nonstop funny. When FERRELL came out (wearing dark shades in an outfit similar to STALLONE’S from the EXPENDABLES panel) he waved at the crowd and instead of stopping at his assigned seat, continued walking the length of the stage until McKAY went to bring him back. Once seated he exclaimed, “It’s great to be back in the whale’s vagina!”

They were joined by a stunning EVA MENDES, who was wearing an eye-popping gold dress. During the Q & A a teenage boy asked her a question about an encounter the two had had together at Comic-Con five years previous, during the GHOST RIDER panel she was on. He had asked her a question then and then bumped into her later that night at a restaurant in San Diego, where he was eating with his parents. She told him then, when he was nine years old, that he should look her up in about five years and he was here to see if she was still interested. It was really funny and began a series of running jokes about EVA being a cougar who stalks underage boys in Hall H.

MARKY MARK WAHLBERG was also there for the panel and from the footage shown he actually seems like he’s BOOGIE NIGHTS funny in THE OTHER GUYS. He also tossed in a few cougar jokes at EVA MENDES that were pretty good.

WILL FERRELL and ADAM McKAY were incredibly funny.

EVA MENDES a cougar?

MARK WAHLBERG had some humorous quips about EVA'S availability to minors.

The movie is about the cop duo that works a few desks down from the hotshot super-cop partners that usually star in a buddy action flick. The footage shown was hilarious and there was a running bit about a group of homeless guys that have sex orgies inside stolen cars, that was pure comic gold.

When asked if there would ever be a ANCHORMAN 2, McKAY said that it doesn’t look very good considering how hard it would be to get all those successful and busy actors together, but you never know. I’d love to take another trip back to 70’s era San Diego with RON BURGANDY and company.

Last and very much least was THE GREEN HORNET with director MICHELLE GONDRY and stars SETH ROGEN and (poor) CHRISTOPH WALZ. It was a long day and I really don’t have much hope for this movie. After the panel, I have less. It looks really lame in a very boring and uninspired way. From the trailer they showed, the tone of the film is confusing and I can’t quite figure out what they’re going for here. Some parts of the movie seem like a JUDD APATOW comedy and other parts look like they’re trying to make it seem post modern 60’s style retro cool, but without the cool part.

SETH ROGEN seems to be the only person in Hall H that's excited about THE GREEN HORNET.

CHRISTOPH WALZ is wondering where the exit is.

There was a fight scene shown that was in 3-D, because one thing that this Comic-Con taught me, everything is coming out in 3-D. THE GREEN HORNET wasn’t shot in 3-D, but it’s being converted just like CLASH OF THE TITANS was. They insist that THE GREEN HORNET’S 3-D will be much better, of course. I personally can’t see why anyone would want to pay an extra 5 bucks to see this piece of crap come at them in the latest three dimensional technology, but what the hell do I know? I think that anyone who’s even remotely a casual fan of the original television series this film is based on (which costarred the late, great BRUCE LEE) won’t go anywhere near this stupid looking reinvention. The best thing I can say about this movie is I’m really glad that STEPHEN CHOW left it.

We were done with Hall H and immediately headed over to FLYNN’S ARCADE to cheer us up after THE GREEN HORNET panel. The facade was similar to the one last year and when we walked inside, once again the arcade was filled with vintage 80’s video games that were free for everyone to play. Xena/Grae and I played a few games of ASTEROIDS, GALAXIANS, MS. PAC MAN, BATTLE ZONE and of course, TRON, before we walked through the entrance into the all new, ultra-cool TRON lounge. The place was trippy and filled with props, costumes and even toys from the upcoming TRON LEGACY and at a certain point the walls would project the new trailer all around us. It was even more awesome than last year!

Back at FLYNN'S!

XENA loses her turn.

I'm a GALAXIAN and GALAGA master!

The ultra-cool TRON LEGACY lounge.

XENA and the man from the future.


That was a perfect capper to a long day of crazy Comic-Con action! Later that night we went to a party for TWEETHOUSE that was held on board the S.S. MIDWAY, which is a real live battleship in San Diego harbor. We filmed a few interviews (including some guy that was dressed like a pirate) and watched the quickest fireworks show I’ve ever seen from the upper deck. We went down below to hunt for one of the numerous celebrities that were supposed to be there, which included WILLIAM SHATNER, BRENT SPINER, LAVAR BURTON and TYRESE GIBSON. We couldn’t find THE SHAT or any of the other TREK guys, but we did manage to run into TYRESE GIBSON and stop him for a quick interview. He was walking around with a guy that was dressed in a weird red masked superhero costume, who I think is supposed to represent TYRESE’S new comic book character that’s based on him. The shit was surreal! Check out the video for yourself.

And you can look for more videos and our exclusive Comic-Con video podcast HERE at THE POPCORN MAFIA website.

Stay tuned for my Comic-Con conclusion, where things get really wild (including a blow by blow account of the infamous Hall H eye-gouging). Nerd out!