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.
  • First a NerdHQ panel, then a press room with The Walking Dead … it was a zombie kind of day for Michael. The cast was pretty secretive – sadly, though understandably, a theme this year with everyone we spoke too – up to and including running across the room to check in with a producer with what they could and could not say.
  • My last press room of the day was for SyFy’s upcoming event mini-series Ascension. This was one of those odd experience where we knew very little about the series, set for six episodes in November. Fortuately the cast didn’t have to be entirely obtuse … they had just finished filming the first episode the day before!
  • One of the highlights of the trip historically has been the NBC New Media party, and while the party isn’t what it once was – though considering NBC’s decreasing presence at the Con it is understandable – Michael and I did get to spend a couple of minutes with Grimm’s Reggie Lee, who has been an incredible friend to this website for several years now (Though it seems that our editor Keith McDuffee has been much more generous with the homemade honey his household produces with Mr. Lee than he’s been with the rest of us).

Reggie Lee Grimm SDCC Ivey West Michael Noble 500x375 San Diego Comic Con: Days Three and Four

  • We finished the night by attending the premiere screening of Prelude to Axanar, a Kickstarer-funded teaser/prequel to an upcoming Star Trek based fan film. The short had a surprising solid cast including Richard Hatch (Starbuck plays a Klingon!), the always lovely Kate Vernon and Gary Graham, though it was Tony Todd who stole the show. The first of two campaigns to fund the main film is underway and is at 84% as of this writing.
  • Sunday is always a little melancholy as the week comes to an end. Michael and I had a quick breakfast at our new favorite spot The Broken Yolk with our good buddy Tom Gardiner from Three if By Space.
  • At that point, Team CliqueClack went our separate ways. Michael headed to the Convention Center with his two daughters in tow. I spent most of my Sunday at NerdHQ, catching panels for Wil Wheaton & Felicia Day and Stephen Amell. I also experienced my first Nathan Fillion (with Alan Tudyk joining in) “Auction my crap” Panel. If you want to see just how much money those two can raise by signing things they brought with them, you have to check out this video (Especially watch the first two items auctioned … when the final bid came in – out of nowhere – it set a tone for just how generous people would have to be).
  • The final press room I had on my docket didn’t work out particularly well due to a variety of scheduling snafus; sadly we’re at the mercy of the insane timeline the talent has to follow while they are in town (and the unfortunate chaos that those press rooms can be).

It’s hard not to look back at SDCC 2014 as a success. While it was the first year I’ve attended without our Editor Keith McDuffee, Mr. Noble and I still managed to have a productive – and fun – couple of days. The highs were high (Ron Moore, a picture on the Iron Throne, Reggie Lee) and the lows were low (San Diego isn’t supposed to be that humid, and it actually rained. Twice!). Team CliqueClack acquired a great deal of content that we’ll be sharing with you over the coming months. And it’s already time to start thinking about what SDCC 2015 might look like.

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.

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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



San Diego Comic-Con 2014: Day One (and a half)

Ali Larter TNT Legends SDCC

The first day – or so – of SDCC 2014 is in the books. Take a look at the highlights of CliqueClack’s experiences as the Con kicked off.


As the sun sets on San Diego, the first full day of Comic-Con 2014, too, comes to a close. The first day and a half of SDCC have been full of glamour and glitter, fashion and fame … wait, no, not Jem! (Though if the event continues to be the continuing evolution to a wider base of “Popular Culture,” it wouldn’t surprise me if Jem showed up next year.) Until then, however, CliqueClack will focus on whatever the SDCC planners have in store for us.

Michael and I spent the day getting our feet wet, traveling here and there across the San Diego Convention Center and out into the Gaslamp District, attempting to get a feel for everything going on (though, with nearly 30 years of SDCC experience between us – that’s my four years to Michael’s whole-lot-more – we know darn well there’s no way to experience it all). These, however, were some of the highlights: Continue reading 'San Diego Comic-Con 2014: Day One (and a half)' »

Photo Credit: Ivey West



And So It Goes was less than I’d hoped for, but better than I expected


Is ‘And So It Goes’ a comedy hit or miss for acclaimed director Rob Reiner?


It’s probably not the best sign when a film’s opening date gets pushed back by a studio. And So It Goes, the latest comedy from Clarius Entertainment and acclaimed director Rob Reiner, was my first encounter with such a scenario involving a film I was reviewing. There’s a scene toward the film’s end in which Michael Douglas’ character tells Diane Keaton’s character that something had gone “less than he had hoped for, but better than he expected.” Unfortunately, I’d have to say the same expression applies to And So It Goes for me – it was less than I had hoped for, but better than I expected.

As a fan of Rob Reiner’s previous work, I had high hopes.

As a fan of Rob Reiner’s previous work, I had high hopes. However, I knew from watching the previews, And So It Goes was not going to be another unexpected gem about life, love and relationships like When Harry Met Sally… or as hilarious as the irreverent This Is Spinal Tap. It looked like a run-of-the-mill, romantic comedy – one that is quickly forgettable when the discerning moviegoer is bombarded with countless others of the same caliber. I don’t think my initial assessment was very far from the mark, but I did enjoy watching it unfold a little more than I had expected.

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Photo Credit: Clarius Entertainment



Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson elevates the decent but not great Hercules


‘Hercules’ may not be the best action movie this summer, but it is the only one where you get to see The Rock fight a lion.


When Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson began acting, with a mostly-CGI cameo in The Mummy 2: The Mummiest, any fans of him from his wrestler days thought that he’d become the next Schwarzenegger. With charisma oozing out of every pore and legitimate athleticism, it seemed a perfect fit. So first there was the The Scorpion King, which was very direct to DVD, but hey … it was his first starring movie. But after a few failed starts, Dwayne Johnson turned to kid’s movies, playing a modern day version of Hulk Hogan’s old incongruous one joke movies in The Tooth Fairy.  And then, it was a miracle when he showed up in Fast Five and immediately made every scene he was in interesting. After doing the in the GI Joe sequel and Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain, the old school Rock fans were saying “Finally, The Rock has come back to action movies!”

When Hercules was announced, it seemed like a great idea. The Rock vs mythological monsters? How could it fail? Then it was discovered that it would be based on a lesser known series of comics from Radical Comics called The Thracian Wars which had a far more realistic take on the story. Well, we thought, that might still work. The Rock could still smash heads in a grittier version of the classic tale. And then we found the director was Brett Ratner and we shuddered. After all, the guy hasn’t made a good movie since Rush Hour and to a lesser extent, Rush Hour 2. And then it was decided that the movie would be PG-13 and we said “C’mon, why are you making this so hard? We just want to see The Rock fight the Hydra already!” Well, I have some good news for you. You do get to see that. Sort of.

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Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures



Neverending nostalgia: The NeverEnding Story celebrates 30 years this week


This Throwback Thursday is a love letter to a childhood favorite that is celebrating its 30th anniversary this week. Join CliqueClack for a fond look back at ‘The NeverEnding Story’ and the beloved book of the same name. Look for a special anniversary Blu-Ray release later this year.


“If you have never spent whole afternoons with burning ears and rumpled hair, forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting cold and hunger – If you have never read secretly under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or some other well-meaning person has switched off the lamp on the plausible ground that it was time to sleep because you had to get up so early – If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless – If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won’t understand what Bastian did next.”

And thus begins one of the most beloved children’s books of all time – The NeverEnding Story by German author Michael Ende. Until last night, I had never actually read the book, which was first published in German in 1979 and translated into English in 1983. But what he wrote still rings true, if my bloodshot, “I was up reading until 1 a.m. even though I had to be up for work by 6 a.m.” eyes are any indication. While it’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since the film adaptation of The NeverEnding Story premiered on July 20, 1984, part of me knows not only is that possible but it’s probably been at least a good 25 years since the film first rocked my world.

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Photo Credit: Bavaria Filmstudios



Win free passes to see Into the Storm in Boston or Hartford


A storm is brewing in Boston and Hartford, and you can be among the first to witness ‘Into the Storm.’ Find out how to enter the drawing to win a pair of passes to an advance screening.


CliqueClack has partnered with Warner Brothers Pictures to offer readers in the Boston and Hartford areas 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.

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Photo Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures