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.

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