Tuesday, November 12, 2013

DVDTalk Interview: Delocated Creator/Star Jon Glaser

Reality television has made stars out of just about everyone, so why not a guy in the witness protection program? Well, besides the obvious problem with giving publicity to someone who's supposed to be hiding. But that's easily solved with a jaunty ski mask and some voice alteration, as shown by the adult swim series Delocated. The man behind the mockumentary, comedy writer Jon Glaser (Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Dana Carvey Show) spent a little time, sans mask, with me, and talked about what a difference 15 minutes can make, taking over at Dunder Mifflin and why beards and masks don't mix.

Read the interview at DVDTalk.com

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Cast and Crew of China, IL

If you watch China, IL on [adult swim], the brainchild of cartoonist Brad Neely, it's a pretty sure bet that you love it, because it's pretty much all or nothing when it comes to this series about the worst college in America, it's terrible professors and its sad, yet striving students. Suffice to say, it's the only animated series that features Greta Gerwig, Hulk Hogan and Chelsea Peretti. The show's second season debuted in September to rather consistently rising ratings, which made the New York ComicCon as good a time as ever for Neely, executive producer Daniel Weidenfeld and actress Brooke Hogan to sit down with me to chat about getting longer, nepotism and lollipops.

Read the full interview at DVDTalk.com

Friday, October 11, 2013

New York ComicCon 2013 - Friday Edition

On the ground at NY ComicCon 2013

Francis Rizzo III has returned to ComicCon after a year off (Thanks, Obama) and the convention is better than ever, with tons of big-name panels and interesting stuff to check out. Interviews with the folks behind Bob's Burgers, Archer, Eagleheart, The League and Chozen, as well as chats with Pete Holmes and Dan Harmon are on tap, but for now, here's what was happening on Friday.

For anyone who is tired of getting DVDs lacking in bonus content and paltry streaming options, AMC is coming through in a big way with Yeah!, a new streaming app that marries cult movies with exclusive extras (a mix of text and video) created by AMC's people, in a slick presentation that syncs the extras with the films, but lets you enjoy them separately as well. It's like taking the old New Line Infinifil concept and applying it to streaming. Getting to sample Clerks with this treatment made it clear this could be the next big thing for cinephiles, and with subscriptions, TV (remember AMC's properties, like Breaking Bad and Mad Men) and purchases being discussed, this idea has some serious potential. The service is live now with 28 titles, and more added on a weekly basis.

Vampire Academy
The last place I thought I would be spending time at the NY ComicCon would be in a panel about a movie adaptation of a young-adult novel series about teen vampires. However, when I saw that Vampire Academy is written by Daniel Waters (Heathers) and directed by Mark Waters (Mean Girls, personal favorite The House of Yes) I felt like it might be worth skipping the Comic Book Men panel. With the teen girls gasping over the younger members of the panel, the Waters brothers offered entertainment for the older folks in the crowd, who know Barbara Stanwyck and The Hunger. The trailer shown was actually quite entertaining, with the mix of sex, violence and humor you'd expect from these filmmakers. If the actual movie doesn't drown in Twilight-level drama, it could be a surprising good time, crossing demographic boundaries.

Chucky Turns 25
The terrifying toy returned this month with the sixth film in the series, The Curse of Chucky, as well as a retrospective collection of the previous five films. After turning more toward meta comedy in the previous two films, creator Don Mancini brings the series back to its horror roots as writer and director, as a terrifying remix trailer made all too vividly clear. At ComicCon, he led several members of his cast, including Jennifer Tilly and Brad Dourif, on a trip down memory lane under the guidance of moderator Harry Knowles of Ain't it Cool fame. Tilly's presence made for a fun time, as she told stories of the perversion of puppeteers, and Dourif embarrassed his daughter Fiona, star of the franchise's latest chapter. It's safe to say that no one in attendance will think of little doll parts the same way ever again, and they'll probably stay away from craft services on the set of the next Chucky movie.

A New Novak
Since The Office left the NBC line-up, actor/writer/producer BJ Novak has kept something of a low profile, but he returns with Saving Mr. Banks, a Disney film about the music of Mary Poppins, and, in February, One More Thing, a new book of short stories, musings and other brief ventures. At ComicCon he entertained a filled-beyond-capacity room with a few pieces from the book, including a discussion of dark matter with a none-too-forthcoming scientist and a challenge Tony Robbins couldn't refuse. If these stories are any proof, this book is one to look out for, and Novak talked about taking the stories on the road, which would be even better, as his readings make them that much better.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Chap Off the Old Block: Writer/Director Joe Cornish's Attack the Block

After 15 years working in TV, radio and film, British writer director Joe Cornish has finally become an overnight sensation, thanks to his cult hit sci-fi flick Attack the Block, which chronicles the battle between a gang of inner-city London street toughs and the vicious aliens who crash-land in their neighborhood one night. Up next for Cornish is the release of the film on DVD and Blu-Ray (arriving October 25th), the high-profile new Tintin animated movie, which he did a re-write on with pal Edgar Wright, and a co-writing gig with Wright on his highly-anticipated Ant-Man feature film. But first, he took a moment to sit down with me to talk about aliens, anti-heroes and audio commentaries.

(Warning: spoilers and foul language ahead!) 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Chatting with Laurie Berkner

"Kindie" musician Laurie Berkner and her Laurie Berkner Band have been big names in the childrens' music arena for several years, propelled by appearances on Nick Jr. and her well-crafted music, including kids favorites like "Victor Vito," "We are the Dinosaurs" and "I'm Gonna Catch You." After a recent concert, Berkner sat down with me to talk about keeping both kids and adults entertained, the challenges of the kids music business, digital distribution, Jack's Big Music Show and what it was like working on her latest DVD, "Party Day."

Read the full chat at DVDTalk.com

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ComicCons Arrive on Long Island

The big ComicCon in the New York area these days is certainly the annual NY ComicCon, the four-day festival that takes over the Javits Center in New York City, drawing the second biggest pop-culture crowd in the U.S., second only to the iconic San Diego ComicCon. Though attempts were made to compete, like Wizard World's New York presence, and smaller shows, like the Big Apple Comic Con, crop up here and there, getting to the city and battling the near-claustrophobic crowds isn't for everyone. For the first time in pretty much anyone's memory, Long Island received its first ComicCon on June 16, 2013, as Frank Patz kicked off the first EternalCon at the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City, NY.

It's Been a While

I've been away from the convention circuit for a while, due to a number of issues, including personal and professional responsibilities and canceled conventions, but this year looks to be an opportunity to get back on track.