Every Wednesday and Friday
We’re moving on to the Children of the Corn franchise this week – and I’m fully aware of the enormity of the task I’m about to tackle… Who thought it was a good idea to make nine of these things? I mean I understand long franchises when you’re dealing with something like Nightmare on Elm Street – that has a narrative… I get multiple sequels to hellraiser – that’s perfectly suited to be an anthology with the through line… But children of the corn seems like there is not enough story there to really keep going for that long…Like the house series, I’ve got a passing familiarity with this one – I’ve seen the first film, read the short story, and I’m pretty sure I’ve caught one or two of the sequels… Part three was included in one of my horror box sets and that particular entry will probably serve as a franchise focus and boxset project review.
I’m optimistic – it looks like these things are generally pretty short, because running into a single two-hour entry in the prom night series just about killed me (more on that later) !
Children of the Corn has a special place in my heart, because it’s one of the few films that truly terrified my wife… I mean, this film messed her up. To this day she has a phobia of cornfields and gets nervous when we drive through the rural countryside… I think this will be fun.
Every Wednesday and Friday
I skipped out of work about 45 minuets early to catch the opening ceremonies. I wondered if it would feel different this year at the new venue, but no, the set-up and delivery was just what I was used to. in fact, instead of feeling out of place in the new hotel, it instead felt like coming home.
For the last couple years I’ve sung the praises of ConCoction and written book length articles on my experiences there. While the show hadn’t quite grown bigger than their excellent accommodations at the Hopkins Sheraton, they HAD outgrown their parking space almost immediately, finally prompting the move east to the Bertrem in Aurora (just outside of Solon). It makes it an hour drive for me this year, but it’s a fine trade off to not have to face the possibility of $12 parking daily.
The show easily managed to fill out the new venue, splitting between two buildings. In the first, we had the artist and author allies, as well as two proramming rooms. A small outdoor walkway connects the buildings, leading to the sprawling game area along with a small conference nook, and larger media friendly room. The dealers room is over here too, a good move that assures everyone visits both sides of the show. Parties still pop up down the hall in the rooms, just follow the sounds of the music. The new venue feels right. It feels like ConCoction has come home.
Programming was as impressive as ever. I’ve heard for years about the Harp Twins from my friend Sean but never really sat down to listen to them. I snuck into the back of their first concert and discovered that I really needed more of this in my life and made a special effort to catch most of their second performance the next day. I also made a special effort to see Pete Mako’s show – he’s changed his schtick from the Boogie Man to the Rock and roll Devil , but the music still felt like the fun acoustic rock I’ve really come to enjoy from him.
Psychology of Cosplay, how to survive a Zombie Apocalypse, Doctor Who, these are just a few of the panels I was able to attend when not strutting around in a Lego suit, getting into sword fights in the dealers room (I STILL WANT THOSE PHOTOS!) or hanging out with friends old and new. ConCoction is still one of the only shows I do more than one day of, and the programming is a big part of that. Equally important is the old-school sci-fi convention feel that they maintain. The show continues to grow every year and here at their new digs, I can see them expanding more than ever…and I plan on being right there to watch it happen!
(It’s okay X-O…. I still love you….)
Every Wednesday and Friday
I’m not a gamer, which means I’m not as steeped in the lore of Tomb Raider as others may be… this may work in my favor actually, but it also affects my expectations – and this is not the Lara Croft that I was expecting to see. Oh sure, she looks the part, with the clinging tank top and tight olive pants, but there’s something in her performance that feels off. This is most definitely an origin story and it shows. Lara’s got the drive but not the skill, she is intelligent but lacks wisdom, she blunders through the film lacking the grace and experience that I expect from this character. I remember being thoroughly let down by this approach to the Lone Ranger film, however I don’t have nearly the emotional connection to the Lara Croft as I do to the Lone Ranger so here it merely serves to keep me off balance. It also lends to my incredulity when we see her figuring out the traps and puzzles in the titular tomb being raided in the third act. It seems an incongruity with what we’ve seen in the previous hour of film. Indeed, It almost seems like her father, Richard, should be the real main character of this piece.
Alicia Vikander, playing our heroine this time around is quirky and fun – attributes that I usually enjoy, but somehow it feels a little bit wrong overlaid on a character that is generally betrayed with poise and determination and only underscores the difference between this movie and the Angelina Jolie films. Perhaps I’m reading too much into this – after all, what this is meant to be is a fun action romp with a wilderness twist.
The Macguffin used here, that of an ancient tomb that holds the old witch Himiko and her curse, is actually quite compelling and I wish we would’ve seen more of it. We’ve got a couple of scenes in the third act that are derivative of The Last Crusade and Temple of Doom, but overall, the whole archaeological aspect of the film is very understated which was a surprise to me. Lara Croft to me has always been Indiana Jones in hotpants. One of my friends pointed out that in recent years the games have shifted more towards survival games rather than straightforward treasure hunting adventures… It was his opinion that the film was going in that direction as well and I can certainly see it. It doesn’t bear a great resemblance to the video game I remember, though as one friend pointed out they do manage to brilliantly capture the platforming aspect of it during a number of perilous scenes.
And make no mistake, there is indeed a great deal of peril and danger in this movie! I think I spent half of the film watching Lara fall, plummet, and hang off of ledges and such – it was such a repeating motif you could build a drinking game around it.
With all this, it actually manages to feel like it’s breaking a little bit of ground on it’s own… like the film could have easily stood by itself without the Tomb Raider name. The paradox of course is that while the movie is good enough to stand alone without the franchise, it never would’ve gotten the requisite number of eyes in front of it without the Tomb Raider name to be successful. It’s a quandary that usually frustrates me, but this time around they manage to handle the balance very well, and mix it all into a fairly satisfying action movie.
In the end, it might not be a must-see-in-the-theater kind of film – although I’ll be perfectly fine tagging along with friends if they wanted to go see it… I’d be equally fine grabbing it from the red box when it comes out for rent. In fact that’s probably when I’m going to do for the kids – they’re not going to miss anything watching on the in fact that’s probably what I’m going to do for the kids – they’re not gonna miss anything watching it on the TV instead of a movie screen. It’s a solid film, and definitely strong enough to warrant a couple of sequels – after all, the objective of the movie was to reboot the series and they’ve mostly done this in their own unique fashion.
Tomb Raider arrives in theaters March 16th.
Every Wednesday and Friday
The Garfield films get a lot of hate and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s just the normal backlash at the kids films with CG characters….I don’t know. What I do know is that when the first Garfield film came out, I was hooked. I’m a lifelong fan of the character and I loved what Iwas seeing. It was funny and sassy and it really FELT like Garfield (apparently a lot of people disagred). My main complain was that the dog Odie, was real and not CG (not enough budget for him to also be a cartoon apparently)
I was shocked when I heard there would be a sequel.
Hill has taken a lot of the critisisms from the first movie and addressed them. Odie is still not a cartoon, but there’s WAY less of him. Garfield dosen’t dance (except for a goofy bit at the end) and there’s more of him. Twice as much in fact.
It’s a stimple twin swapping story, Garfield takes the place of one of the royal cats of England, trying to save the family manor. Our villian, in a brilliant bit of casting, is Billy Connally who manages not to die in a film for once.
I kind of feel bad for Hill on this one, because while he crafts a funny and entertaining film, this one seemed doomed from the start with the bad press fro mteh first and Bill Murry’s reluctance to come in for the voice – I think the studio expected this to do meger numbers. The movie deserves better. Hill treats the material with respect and is more than just a hired gun on this one. Seriously, if you have good memories of watchign the Garfield holiday specials on TV, you should check this out – especially if you have kids!