Guardians of the Galaxy is another big win for Marvel Studios

Guardians of the Galaxy

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ might just prove that Marvel Studios can do no wrong. While many had to Google the team when the movie was first announced, the film will surely have kids screaming “I AM GROOT” the rest of the summer.


It hasn’t been since 2011’s Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger that Marvel has introduced a franchise to their cinematic universe. When Guardians of the Galaxy was first announced at San Diego Comic-Con in 2012 (its sequel was likewise announced at this year’s show), casual comics fans across the country – including myself – scratched their heads and collectively said, “Who?” Two years later, the titular a-holes might just carry Marvel to their most successful franchise launch since Iron Man.

The titular a-holes might just carry Marvel to their most successful franchise launch since Iron Man.

Each of the Marvel franchises have lived in their own genres: Thor is a space opera, Cap has been both a classic World War II film and a brilliant modern take on the 70’s spy thriller. Guardians is something different altogether: an action-comedy (or comedy-action?) flick that is as much a distant cousin to something like Spaceballs than something that feels like it fits in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On first glance, it barely does fit … we only see perhaps three characters already established in the films, and those only in passing. Guardians’ – and it’s sequel’s – relevance will probably grow post-Avengers 2, but no one outside of Marvel knows for sure.

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Photo Credit: Marvel Studios



San Diego Comic-Con Batman ’66 Press Conference


A lively round of questioning came out of the ‘Batman ’66′ press conference with stars Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar. We even got to witness some unexpected fireworks from the show’s titular actor.


Heading into the Batman ’66 press conference during the first full day of Comic-Con was a bit eerie.

An elevated stage hosted four bodies — left to right were Burt Ward, Adam West, Julie Newmar all sitting at a table and the conference moderator standing behind a podium. The four of them watched as the media filed in and found seats; it was as if we were on display. The room was uncharacteristically quiet. You couldn’t help but have the feeling of being marched into a room with adults staring you down with laser eyes, sizing you up to consider what sort of punishment to dole out.

The moderator — who never introduced himself, something I absolutely despise — informed everyone why we were there (the Blu-ray release of Batman: The Complete Television Series) and began fumbling with questions for the three personalities but quickly decided it was better to simply let the audience get things underway.

“We are the luckiest actors in the world with the legacy we’ve left.” — Adam West

Ward, West and Newmar took on characteristics they wore consistently throughout the hour. Burt Ward was the most serious and articulate of the trio, when he wasn’t crochety Adam West worked the crowd for laughs — continually pumping the coming release of the new Blu-ray set in November — and an air of uncertainty hung in the room whenever Julie Newmar commented in a semi-seductive whisper each time her turn came up.

Far and away, Burt Ward was the most informative of the group in between gushing appreciation for his fellow actors and speaking of his genuine friendship for West. Continue reading 'San Diego Comic-Con Batman ’66 Press Conference' »

Photo Credit: Michael Noble



NerdHQ was one of the highlights of my San Diego Comic-Con experience

Zachary Levi NerdHQ SDCC

NerdHQ has become a big part of the San Diego Comic-Con experience. Despite some early criticism on their fundraiser, this year’s installment was a big success.


If you’ve never spent any time in San Diego, you don’t know what you’re missing; the weather is phenomenal, the food is outstanding and the scenery is top-notch. If you’ve never visited San Diego in July, however, you’ve never witnessed nerd-nirvana at its very best. San Diego Comic-Con has been holding its convention for 45 years, but in the last 15 or so, things have gotten particularly crazy. Not only has the attendance, programs and exhibit space grown explosively, the number of things to do away from the convention center has equally grown. One of the biggest and most popular of these off-site experiences is NerdHQ.

Started in 2011 by Chuck star Zachary Levi and his partner (and former Chuck props-guru) Dave Coleman, NerdHQ aimed to offer an alternative to the convention itself. The venue – which has moved around before finding what seems to be a permanent home at Petco Park – is a place where people can see the latest video game activations, get your picture taken with some of your favorite stars, pick up Nerd Machine (Levi’s company that runs NerdHQ) gear or take in a Conversation for a Cause panel. Continue reading 'NerdHQ was one of the highlights of my San Diego Comic-Con experience' »

Photo Credit: Ivey West



Win free passes to see Into the Storm in Baltimore, DC or Ocean City, MD

Into the Storm 2

A storm is headed to Baltimore, DC and Ocean City, and you can be right at the center if you win passes to see ‘Into the Storm.’ Carefully read the rules to enter the contest.


CliqueClack has partnered with Warner Brothers Pictures to offer readers in Maryland and DC an opportunity to attend an advance screening of the new disaster movie Into the Storm starring Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies Matt Walsh, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Arlen Escarpeta, Nathan Kress, Jon Reep and Jeremy Sumpter.

In the span of a single day, the town of Silverton is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes. The entire town is at the mercy of the erratic and deadly cyclones, even as storm trackers predict the worst is yet to come. Most people seek shelter, while others run towards the vortex, testing how far a storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot. Told through the eyes and lenses of professional storm chasers, thrill-seeking amateurs, and courageous townspeople, Into the Storm throws you directly into the eye of the storm to experience Mother Nature at her most extreme.

Continue reading 'Win free passes to see Into the Storm in Baltimore, DC or Ocean City, MD' »

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures



Win free passes to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Baltimore or DC


Be among the first to see ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ on the big screen in Baltimore or DC! Carefully read the rules to see how to enter our random drawing!


CliqueClack has partnered with Paramount Pictures to offer readers in the Baltimore and DC areas an opportunity to attend an advance screening of the new action movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles starring Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Johnny Knoxville, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Abby Elliott, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Shalhoub and William Fichtner.

The city needs heroes. Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April O’Neil (Fox) and her wise-cracking cameraman Vern Fenwick (Arnett) to save the city and unravel Shredder’s diabolical plan.

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Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures



San Diego Comic-Con: Days Three and Four

Stephen Amell SDCC Arrow

Sadly SDCC 2014 has come to a close. Team CliqueClack had a great week attending. These were the highlights of the final two days of the Convention.


Combined, the first three days of San Diego Comic-Con – including preview night – rarely add up to the crammed schedule that is Saturday. If you’re a movie lover – and willing to camp out at least 15 hours in advance (according to my Twitter research on the last person I could find who got in and was sharing) – then Hall H is usually filled with awesomeness from Marvel, Warner Bros. and some of the other studio heavyweights. For those of us covering TV, Saturday is generally as easily congested as many of the shows that have just started production wait until the weekend to make the trip.

For Team CliqueClack, that meant a fun 12 hours hopping from Press Room to Press Room, chatting about the upcoming seasons and new projects with actors and creators. As late as a night as Saturday generally becomes, we’ve held off until Sunday evening to include the half-day or so we spent at the Convention in one post. Here are the highlights:

  • While I spent a lot of time at NerdHQ this weekend (more on that to come) Michael attended his first Conversations for a Cause panel featuring the cast of The Walking Dead.
  • I spent the first part of day with what we could call Team Berlanti at SDCC: The casts and crew of The CW’s The Flash and Arrow. One thing that particularly stood out was how much Stephen Amell was excited for The Flash in general and Grant Gustin experiencing his first SDCC as the fastest man alive (see that hat?).
  • My schedule did a bit of a backflip, but it allowed for an opportunity I didn’t think I was going to get at this Con, talking to the cast and crew of the show I’m probably most looking forward to this calendar year, Starz’ Outlander. This was great because I’m a big fan of the show and am really looking forward to the series, but also because it was the first time I’d ever sat down with Ronald D. Moore … and I even found a way to ask a (relevant to Outlander) question about Battlestar Galatica, which is the series that was in the impetus that lead to me writing about television in the first place.

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Photo Credit: Ivey West, Kyle Nolan



San Diego Comic-Con 2014: Day Two

Con Hall rev rev

The second day of SDCC was progressively (and expectedly) busier than the first on the verge of a monster busy weekend. Here are highlights from Friday.


Comic-Con is what you make of it.

And, being the event comes but once a year for a brief portion of a week, it’s best you hit the floor with all thrusters at full when you descend on San Diego.

Plans in place, I did just that Friday …

  • My day started with a tradition I maintain every year at Comic-Con, a visit to the San Diego Blood Bank for my annual donation. With my partner in crime Ivey in tow, we made the short trek to do our thing. Lo and behold, the same gentleman who poked and prodded me last year — Ramon — drew from me once again. I think the two of us are becoming “a thing” …
  • I got the opportunity to do quite a few interviews Friday, all of which will be posted in some form or another in the coming week. Included in those Q&As were a comic property (Eric Powell of the popular comic The Goon), a couple television show press rooms (Falling Skies which had to be cut short due to scheduling conflicts and The Walking Dead) and something new I wanted I sought out to learn more about, God Is Disappointed In You by writer Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler of Too Much Coffee Man fame.
  • Ivey sat down with the cast from Dominion, or putting it another way: Ivey sat down with Giles and Charles Widmore … and David from Kings and Doreah from Game of Thrones.
  • I caught an extended look at iZombie in one of the spacious meeting rooms, something I thought might be packed to the gills. To my surprise, I was able to walk right in, unlike Thursday with the Toy Story That Time Forgot. (That panel was stuffed to capacity. You win some, you lose some.)
  • In a stark contrast to last year’s The 100 press room, Ivey said series star Isaiah Washington was comically tight-lipped about what is coming up for his character on the show this year … but in all honesty, his being in attendance is a spoiler in and of itself.
  • Do I have to mention there was a gaggle of photos taken and the Con floor traversed in search of personalities and old friends? Naturally.

Continue reading 'San Diego Comic-Con 2014: Day Two' »

Photo Credit: Michael Noble



Snowpiercer is the best action movie with depth since The Matrix


‘Snowpiercer’ has gotten a lot of praise, but hey, that’s because it’s awesome, dark, and brutal.


Ah, dystopian movies. They have been with us since the beginning of movies (Metropolis was in 1927), but that’s easy enough to answer, because life has never been free from worry or fear. Sure, there have been some brief periods where the concept waned, like the 40′s, where an actual war occupied our time or the 50′s, where everyone was cautiously optimistic about the future. By the 60′s however, we got things like Fahrenheit 451 (which has since proven well predicted in the rise of large screen TVs occupying our time) or Planet of the Apes. Of course, by the 70′s, we were overrun with everything from cannibalism worries representing worries about running out of resources in Soylent Green to fear of aging in Logan’s Run.

And they just have not stopped. Look at the success of The Hunger Games or even the optimistic dystopia in WALL-E; everyone’s worried about the future. One fear that’s come up a few times is climate change, although it’s a bit more recent an apocalyptic worry than others. Sure, The Day After Tomorrow was stupid, and Waterworld stupid and boring, but it can’t be argued that people are certainly worrying about it. But hey, just because a movie is about one thing doesn’t mean it can’t also be about something else. And boy, this movie is something else.

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Photo Credit: Radius TWC



Lucy is an entertaining hot mess of a movie

Film Title: Lucy

Luc Besson returns to the director’s chair with the new sci-fi/action flick ‘Lucy’ which is mindlessly, stupidly, entertainingly dumb (but Scar-Jo is terrific).


Director Luc Besson was a darling with movie critics and audiences with his particular brand of action films that had a touch of humanity to them – La Femme Nikita, The Professional, The Fifth Element, even the original The Trasnporter. But somewhere along the line, he completely went off the rails, writing and producing not very funny action-comedy films (Taxi) and family dramadies (The Family), while continuing to have a hand in neverending Transporter sequels, and even a TV version of Taxi (Taxi Brooklyn).

But the previews and concept for his latest effort, Lucy, had me intrigued. The story wonders what would happen if humans were somehow able to access 100% of their brain capacity (flouting the myth that we only use 10%)? Would we be infinitely more intelligent than the super-est super computer? Would we remember everything from the time we gained consciousness … or even all the way back to the Big Bang? Would we be able to manipulate our own bodies, electromagnetic waves, and the people and environment around us? It all sounds like an interesting premise for a movie.

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Photo Credit: Universal Pictures



They Came Together is a riotously funny take on romantic comedies

They Came Together

‘They Came Together’ is ridiculous, which means it’s not for everyone, because humor is subjective. But I sure liked it.


A spoof movie is a delicate thing. The absolute classics like Airplane! or Galaxy Quest work because they combine real characters and absurd situations to make a legitimately interesting movie, not just a simple parody. Sometimes a specific movie or movie series can be parodied like Spaceballs or Austin Powers, but in both cases the characters are more than just the caricaturish cardboard versions of the original characters. But get too ridiculous, and the movie becomes a different sort of animal; something like the under-rated UHF works by combining cliched drama story ideas with absurdism, and the Naked Gun series plays things mostly straight except for a few dips into slapstick.

There is, of course, the danger of using reference humor, which can quickly become dated and boring years later. I still like Not Another Teen Movie, but will those unfamiliar with the spate of 80′s and 90′s teen movies find it as uproarious as I do? Probably not. The absolute worst thing a spoof movie can do, though, is to become hateful and unfunny, like Epic Movie or (shudder) Date Movie, the worst movie I’ve ever seen. But that’s a really low bar I don’t expect to ever see met again.

They Came Together is the latest film from writer/director David Wain, known for the cult movie Wet Hot American Summer and the middling Wanderlust. This time, he pokes fun at the entire genre of romantic comedies, using more references in one movie than any one person’s likely to have ever seen. The movie is the story told by Molly (Amy Poehler) and Joel (Paul Rudd) to their friends Karen (Ellie Kemper) and Kyle (Bill Hader) over dinner of how they met and fell in love. From that moment on, the movie is told like an actual romantic comedy, except that every single scene is exaggerated and bursting with over the top absurdity.

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Photo Credit: Lionsgate