Metallica and San Francisco Symphony Announce S&M 2 Anniversary Concert

METALLICA & SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY
Present 
S&M2: 20th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT 
SEPTEMBER 6TH GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION AT THE CHASE CENTER

In celebration of the historic grand opening of the Chase Center—the new 18,064-seat arena in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood—two preeminent musical forces of the Bay Area will join together for the first time in 20 years: On Friday, September 6, Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony will commemorate this most anticipated addition to San Francisco’s cultural landscape by christening the new Chase Center stage with a one-night-only show. The S&M2 concert will also mark the 20th anniversary of Metallica and the SF Symphony’s groundbreaking 1999  S&M (“Symphony & Metallica”) concerts—and its subsequent film and album releases.

Legendary conductor Michael Tilson Thomas completes the first week of his final season as San Francisco Symphony Music Director with a special appearance, conducting a portion of the show.  

The announcement was made earlier today at Chase Center with a press conference with Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield, who joined Michael Tilson Thomas from San Francisco Symphony. Warriors Owner and CEO Joe Lacob and Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts joined San Francisco Mayor London Breed for today’s press conference event as well. For a video of today’s press conference, CLICK HERE.

“Bringing together Metallica and San Francisco Symphony 20 years later for our first event at Chase Center is going to be an incredible and unique performance for the Bay Area,” said Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts. “This announcement is one of many of the must-see acts we’ll have as we continue to add a variety and diversity of shows to Chase Center’s calendar.”

“This is beyond exciting on so many fronts,” said Metallica’s Lars Ulrich. “The fact that San Francisco is finally getting a much needed world-class arena, the fact that Metallica get to be part of the opening celebration, the fact that we get to revisit S&M 20 years later, and the fact that we get to share the stage not only with the San Francisco Symphony once again, but with the legend himself, MTT, as he kicks off his final year as music director here in San Francisco. This is mind-blowingly awesome… bring it on ASAP!!!”

“The San Francisco Symphony is delighted to be a part of the Chase Center’s opening week, and to perform once again with Metallica to recreate the magic of the historic S&M concerts,” said San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas. “I’m happy to join with my friends in Metallica to make this an extraordinary only-in-San Francisco music event.”

The original S&M concerts were performed by Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony conducted by the late Michael Kamen In spring of 1999 at the Berkeley Community Theatre. The S&M album, was released later that year, winning a Best Rock Instrumental Performance GRAMMY for its version of “The Call of Ktulu.” The S&M2 concert will feature the first live performances of these arrangements in 20 years, plus the first ever Metallica/San Francisco Symphony renditions of songs written and released since the original S&M, with new orchestral charts by Bruce Coughlin.

The first presale event begins on Tuesday, March 19 at 9:00 a.m. exclusively for Metallica Fan Club members, with an additional presale event at 12:00 p.m. for Chase cardholders. Additional presale events will be held for Chase Center Membership members on Wednesday, March 20 at 12:00 p.m. and for Warriors Season Ticket Priority Wait List members on Thursday, March 21 at 9:00 a.m. Tickets will be made available to the general public on Friday, March 22 at 10:00 a.m. Fans will be able to purchase tickets by visiting chasecenter.com.

“Jaws 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel” book nominated for Rondo Hatton Award


“Jaws 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel,” a book written by Media Mikes co-founder Michael A. Smith, with Louis R. Pisano, has been nominated in the category BOOK OF THE YEAR for the 17th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards.

The Rondo Awards have recognized, since 2002, the very best in film, television and publishing in the field of Classic Horror.

“Jaws 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel,” was initially published in 2015. However, Smith spent two years after its publication finding more behind the scenes photos and tracking down more members of the crew to tell their story about working on the Hollywood Sequel that launched the constant stream of films we have today.

Filmed but never seen: the death of Bob (Billy Van Zandt)

The nominated book is a limited (to 1000 copies) signed and numbered edition, with the majority of the photos and images posted in color.

Tegan West, Sarah Holcomb, Martha Swatek and Gary Springer on set. West and Holcomb would later be replaced in the cast.

If you would like to vote for the book, send an email HERE and tell them you’d like to vote for the JAWS 2 book for Book of the Year. If you would like to order a copy, please click HERE.

Metallica…And Justice For All (Remastered) Definitive Re-Release Out Nov. 2

METALLICA …AND JUSTICE FOR ALL (REMASTERED)
DEFINITIVE RE-RELEASE OUT NOVEMBER 2, 2018

PRE-ORDERS FOR 1988 BREAKTHROUGH ALBUM OPEN TODAY

EXPANDED AND DELUXE EDITIONS TO FEATURE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED MATERIAL INCLUDING DEMOS, ROUGH MIXES, VIDEO, LIVE ALBUMS, INTERVIEWS, NEVER BEFORE SEEN PHOTOS & MORE
SAN FRANCISCO, CA –

SEPTEMBER 6, 2018 – Today Metallica commemorate the 30th anniversary of the release of their breakthrough fourth album …And Justice For All with the announcement of its definitive reissue, out November 2nd on the band’s own Blackened Recordings.

The re-release of …And Justice For All has been remastered for the most advanced sound quality, as overseen by Greg Fidelman, and will be available in multiple digital and physical configurations. Pre-orders begin today at www.metallica.com where fans can see the full package details and track listing. Pre-orders of all configurations will receive an instant download of “Dyers Eve (Remastered),” while pre-orders of the expanded and deluxe editions will receive an additional instant download of “Eye of the Beholder (Live at Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – October 10th, 1988).”

The …And Justice For All reissue will be available physically as a Standard Double 180 gram LP, Standard CD, 3 CD Expanded Edition, Cassette, Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set and digitally as a Standard album (available to stream and download), an Expanded Edition (available for download only), and a Digital Deluxe Box Set (available for streaming and download). The Expanded Edition will include previously unreleased demos, rough mixes, previously unreleased live tracks, and an expanded booklet of never-before-seen Ross Halfin photos. The one-pressing-only Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set will include the remastered double 180g LP, a “One” picture disc, 3 LPs featuring their iconic performance from Seattle in 1989 remixed by Greg Fidelman, 11 CDs, 4 DVDs, a set of four patches, a Pushead print, a tour laminate, lyric sheets, a download card for all material in the set, and a deluxe 120-page book with never-before-seen photos and never-before told stories from the people who were there.

Click HERE to watch Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett unbox the reissue.

…And Justice For All was originally released—despite what the internet might tell you— September 7th, 1988, on Elektra Records. Certified 8x Platinum in the United States, …And Justice For All marked a series of firsts for Metallica: The first full length Metallica recording to feature bassist Jason Newsted, the first Metallica album to crack the U.S. Top 10 where it peaked at #6, the band’s first video and top 40 single (“One”), their debut performance on the Grammy Awards, as well as their first Grammy loss (Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental for …And Justice for All), and first Grammy win (Best Metal Performance for “One”). It also received more widespread critical acclaim than any of its predecessors, with Rolling Stone hailing the album as “a marvel of precisely channeled aggression,” Spin calling it “a gem of a double record,” and ultimately placing in the Village Voice annual Pazz & Jop critics poll of the year’s best reviewed albums.

TENACIOUS D In “Post-Apocalypto” Six-Part Animated Series. New Album Out Nov. 2

TENACIOUS D
In
Post-Apocalypto
Six-Part Animated Series Begins on YouTube on September 28, 2018
New Album Out November 2, 2018 On Columbia Records

Acclaimed rock duo and basically everyone’s favorite band ever Tenacious D — comprised of Jack Black and Kyle Gass — will release not one but TWO incredible works this fall. Both are called Post-Apocalypto. Both are amazing. Here’s what you need to know:

Post-Apocalypto – THE SERIES – is an original, six-part animated video series from the minds of Tenacious D. Each frame of every episode was hand-drawn by Jack himself, with every character voiced by Black and Gass. The series begins rolling out on September 28th, 2018, via Tenacious D’s YouTube page, with a new episode every Friday after that.

WATCH THE TEASER FOR POST-APOCALYPTO HERE

All six episodes feature new Tenacious D songs, culminating in a new Tenacious D album — also called Post-Apocalypto — released on November 2, 2018. As each episode goes up, a song from that episode can also be heard via all DSP’s. Produced by John Spiker, and featuring long-time collaborator Dave Grohl on drums, Post-Apocalypto – THE ALBUM – is a genius addition to The D’s already scintillating catalogue of rock greatness.

True to the title, Post-Apocalypto finds Tenacious D thrust into a world of complete and utter destruction following the drop of an atomic bomb. Surviving the attack in classic cinematic fashion (a good old imperishable 1950’s refrigerator), the duo quickly learns that new forms of evil have spawned from the blast. One thing becomes apparent — for humanity to prevail, Tenacious D must save the world.

With unimaginable twists and turns, an insane visit to the White House, a time machine, a space adventure, and the help of some tried and true daddy issues, Post-Apocalypto is as hilarious as it is political, and as brilliant and multi-faceted as its incredible creators. The songs are damn good, too.

Post-Apocalypto (the album) will be available digitally, on CD, and on translucent green vinyl. There is also a limited edition Post-Apocalypto vinyl picture disc that will only be available on the band’s online store; click HERE to learn more.

PRE-ORDER POST-APOCALYPTO NOW.

Tenacious D will be playing sold out shows across the country this fall. Tour dates are below.

The dates are:
10/6/18 San Bernardino, CA @ Cal Jam 18
11/3/18 Brooklyn, NY @ Kings Theatre
11/4/18 Brooklyn, NY @ Kings Theatre
11/5/18 Boston, MA @ House of Blues
11/7/18 Washington, DC @ The Anthem
11/8/18 Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
11/9/18 Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
11/10/18 Columbus, OH @ Express Live! Indoor Pavilion
11/12/18 Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
11/13/18 Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
11/14/18 Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
12/10/18 Calgary, Canada @ Grey Eagle Resort and Casino
12/11/18 Edmonton, Canada @ Show Conference Centre
12/13/18 Vancouver, Canada @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre
12/14/18 Seattle, WA @ Moore Theatre
12/15/18 Portland, OR @ McMenamins Crystal Ballroom
12/17/18 Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
12/31/18 Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint

 

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‘ASTRO’ wins 2 Awards at the 14th Annual Action on Film International Film Festival

“Astro,” the latest film from filmmaker Asif Akbar, took home two awards  at the 14th Annual Action on Film International Film Festival which was held this past weekend in Las Vegas.

Actor Gary Daniels was named the Best Male Action Performer of the Year while the film’s costume design was given the Best Costume award.  “Astro” had received a total of (5) nominations, including Best Action Sequence, Best Fight Choreography and Best Sci-Fi Feature Film.

“The competition at this year’s festival was tremendous and we are proud and excited of our five nominations and two awards,” said Akbar, the film’s director and co-writer.

For a look at an exclusive clip, click HERE

 

 

 

Win Advance Screening Passes in Boston for “The Equalizer 2”

Media Mikes is proud to be hosting advance screenings of the new upcoming release of EQUALIZER 2 starring Denzel Washington! There is an advance screening of the film on Monday, July 16th @ 7PM at AMC Boston Common.

Click below to get tickets, first come first serve! Good luck and like always leave a comment here after you’ve seen the film!
http://www.sonyscreenings.com/MediaMikesEqualizer2

Website: http://www.equalizer.movie/site/
GENRE Action thriller
SYNOPSIS: Denzel Washington returns to one of his signature roles in the first sequel of his career. Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed – but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?

Blu-ray Review “Escape Plan 2: Hades”

Actors: Sylvester Stallone;Dave Bautista;Curtis Jackson
Directors: Steven C. Miller
Rated: R
Studio: LIONSGATE
Release Date: June 29, 2018
Run Time: 94 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

The first “Escape Plan” back in 2013 was an “ok” movie, not great and definitely didn’t warrant a franchise. Iam not sure what Sylvester Stallone was thinking about when he agreed to do not one sequel but TWO for “Escape Plan”. Oh wait I know…$$$$$. What’s sad about this film is that it is the truly first low budget direct-to-video release for Stallone since “Eye See You” in 2002. Anyone remember that bomb? I didn’t think so. Stallone just got nominated for an Oscar back in 2015 and then this…so I am honestly sad because this film is such a mess that it is nearly hard to watch…and I seen it twice now. I was hoping that I missed something the first time but it is a true bomb and the whole film just wastes time to setup the third film! WHY?!

Arnold Schwarzenegger smartly stays away from this sequel but Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson returns for what feels like a useless role. Same goes to Dave Bautista! This dude is on the top of his game with the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise etc and yet he is in a film like this. I don’t understand. I don’t even think any of these people of in the same scene together. “Escape Plan 2: Hades” is directed by Steven C. Miller. He has become the go-to low budget action direct-to-video guy with recent forgettable films like “Extraction (2015)”, “Marauders (2016)” and “First Kill (2017)”, which all happen to star Bruce Willis (another actor that has gone to the straight home video market). Let’s hope the third movie makes up for this one.

Official Premise: Years after Ray Breslin [Academy Award nominee Sylvester Stallone (Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, Creed, 2016)] fought his way out of the escape-proof prison called “The Tomb,” he’s organized a new top-notch, for-hire security force. But when one of his team members goes missing inside a computerized techno-terror battle-maze known as HADES, Breslin together with Trent DeRosa (Dave Bautista, Guardians of the Galaxy) must now decipher a way to break into the world’s best hidden prison, release their kidnapped team, and make it out alive.

Even though the film is what it is, the Blu-ray is solid and comes stacked as a combo back with a Blu-ray + DVD (anyone still use these) and a digital copy. The film feels low budget and doesn’t carry the same scale as the first film (which had a $70 million budget). The look of the film is cheap but the sound is solid. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 works well with the action, when there is any. I was honestly shocked to see there was extras included. There are three features including: “Making Escape Plan 2: Hades”, “Creating the Look of Escape Plan 2: Hades” and “Building the Robot of Escape Plan 2: Hades”. Lastly there are a few more Extended Cast / Crew Interviews, worth taking a look if your really bored.

 

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Film Review “Incredibles 2”

Directed by: Brad Bird
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L. Jackson
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 118 minutes

Film Score: 3 out of 5 stars

When I saw the first “Incredibles” movie, I really wasn’t blown away. I know there are some extreme people that saw that it is one of Pixar’s best but I never and still don’t see it even after 14 years. It’s obvious a sequel is here but even though “Incredibles 2” is a smart movie that not only has a message but improves from the first film…yet I was left unsatisfied luckily my expectation were low. I will say that “Incredibles 2” is definitely an action packed movie. I just wish it was more fun. I wanted to laugh more for sure. I just didn’t feel like the cast was having fun. “Incredibles 2” runs nearly two hours, which is a lot for kids to stick with. My little one left the theater yawning (as did I). Second act definitely picks up some steam but too late I felt.

Official Premise: “In “Incredibles 2,” Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell), Dash (voice of Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack—whose super powers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible.”

I just don’t see the fascination with these characters. I don’t like them, especially not in this movie. Mr. Incredible is a major egomaniac. I really didn’t like him in this movie, I know he is trying to be funny having “a men” taking care of his children while mommy is out working. I get it, the roles are reversed for the time that this film is timed in. It doesn’t make it any better that he is jealous of his wife’s success and honestly gives me a real bad taste throughout most of his scenes. I am glad that Elastic Girl gets a chance to shine this movie, even if it has a social commentary within it and it ended up being my favorite part of the film. I felt like it added an extra level to the typical superhero male driven story.

Frozone was used a little more this time but at the same time even less it felt like. I didn’t enjoy looking at (the Acid reflux guy was disgusting) or listening to any of the new characters that were introduced outside of Winston Deavor (voiced by Bob Odenkirk) and his sister Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener). These two nailed their roles for sure. I liked them but the other “supers” weren’t super at all. Jack-Jack definitely steals the show, no question. He is funny and super cute. Loved his powers for sure. There is a great bit with Edna and Jack-Jack that was a riot. So in closing, I am not a huge fan of “The Incredibles”, I enjoyed the sequel but it is not a favorite of mine. It is probably not something I can watch over and over again like we have with “Inside Out” or “Wreck-it Ralph”. But if you are a huge fan of the first movie, this will definitely leave you satisfied and wanting more.

Film Review: “Deadpool 2”

DEADPOOL 2
Starring:  Ryan Reynolds, Morena Bacarin and Josh Brolin
Directed by:  David Leitch
Rated:  R
Running time:  1 hrs 59 mins
20th Century Fox

Every once in a while a film comes along that not only bends the rules, but breaks them.  Such a film was “Deadpool.”  Is there any way the sequel can live up to that introduction?  Yes indeedy.

Ryan Reynolds continues his journey as the foul-mouthed, yet sensitive, Wade Wilson, better known to us moviegoers as Deadpool.  In this chapter he firmly puts tongue in cheek as he tries his best to learn the meaning of the word family.

Along the way he pokes fun at so many pop culture references that I literally lost count.  The Justice League.  “The Goonies.”  A still simmering anger with anything to do with Wolverine.  His sarcasm is razor fine and cuts just as easily.  A running gag where a line from the film “Frozen” sounds suspiciously like “Papa Can You Hear Me” from the film, “Yentl” is reigned in enough so it actually makes you laugh no matter how many times you hear it.  And the added humor that Josh Brolin is Barbra Streisands’s step-son only makes the gag even funnier.

Brolin, fresh off his gig in “The Avengers: Infiniti Wars,” plays Cable, a time-traveling mutant that’s as buff as his “Avengers” alter ego Thanos.  Brolin gives the role a sense of drama but isn’t above having a little fun himself.  If I’m sounding a little evasive here, it’s because the film company has asked reviewers not to give away too much of the film.  Just sit back and enjoy the ride.  Like its predecessor, “Deadpool 2” is one of the best comic book films ever.

Win Advance Screening Passes in Florida for “Super Troopers 2”

Media Mikes is proud to be hosting advance screenings of the new film “Super Troopers 2″ staring Broken Lizard in all Florida markets! Click below to get tickets, first come first serve! Good luck and like always leave a comment here after you’ve seen the film!

MONDAY, APRIL 16th @7:30PM
.
AMC AVENTURA (MIAMI)
CINEMARK BOYNTON BEACH 14 (WEST PALM BEACH)
AMC THE REGENCY 20 (TAMPA)
AMC DISNEY SPRINGS 24 (ORLANDO)

Cast: Kevin Heffernan, Tyler Labine, Hayes Macarthur, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rob Lowe, Lynda Carter, Marisa Coughlan, Brian Cox, Jay Chandrasekhar, Fred Savage, Will Sasso
Writers: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Producer: Richard Perello

Everyone’s favorite law enforcement team is back by popular demand with the long anticipated follow up to the cult comedy classic…SUPER TROOPERS. When an international border dispute arises between the U.S. and Canada, the Super Troopers- Mac, Thorny, Foster, Rabbit and Farva, are called in to set up a new Highway Patrol station in the disputed area. Unconventional police work follows, and the result is…SUPER TROOPERS 2.

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Win Passes to the Kansas City Premiere of “Super Troopers 2”

Media Mikes has teamed with their friends at Fox Searchlight Films to give (50) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new comedy from the gang at Broken Lizard, “Super Troopers 2.”

The screening will be held on Monday, April 16, 2018 at the AMC Studio 28 Theatre in Olathe, Kansas and will start at 7:00 p.m.

All you have to do is click HERE.  The first (50) readers to do so will receive a pass for two to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once all (50) passes have been claimed, the contest is over.  GOOD LUCK!

 

SUPER TROOPERS 2

Monday, April 16, 2018  –  7:00 p.m.

AMC Studio 28 Theatre – Olathe, Kansas

 

 

Behold the Second Coming, as the Merc with a Mouth delivers New Trailer For The Highly Anticipated “DeadPool 2”

Behold the Second Coming, as the Merc with a Mouth delivers unto you a new trailer for the highly anticipated DEADPOOL 2 from 20th Century Fox!

Watch The Trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D86RtevtfrA 

After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.

DEADPOOL 2 Official Channels
Website: Deadpool.com
Facebook: facebook.com/DeadpoolMovie/
Twitter: twitter.com/DeadpoolMovie/
Instagram: instagram.com/DeadpoolMovie/
#Deadpool

Orlando Boat Show arrives on March 2, 3 & 4, 2018 at the Orange County Convention Center

Central Florida’s Premier Boat Show!
With 2
0 of Central Florida’s Best Boat Dealers
Representing Over 60 Manufacturers
Bowriders, Pontoon Boats, Ski Boats, Cruisers,
Fishing Boats, Bass Boats and Deck Boats
Marine Electronics, Accessories & Much More!
If You Are Interested In Being A Vendor At The
Show Please Call 386/943-8383 Or Email
contact@orlandoboatshow.com
See Over 60 Great
Booth Vendors!
The boat show in March will be
the best Orlando Boat Show Ever!
Don’t miss this spectacular show!
March 2, 3 & 4, 2018
at the Orange County
Convention Center
South Hall B
Fun for the whole family!
Kids 12 & Under Are Free
Show Hours
Friday – 10am to 8pm
Saturday – 10am to 8pm
Sunday – 10am to 5pm

 

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2017 New York Comic Con Review: Day 2

2017 New York Comic Con

Friday, October 6th 2017
Jacob K. Javits Center, New York, NY

Our Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

All things pop culture descended on New York City specifically The Jacob K. Javits Center as the sprawling complex once again played host to the annual New York Comic Con held on October 5th-8th. The event now in its 11th year was once again put on by the Connecticut based company Reed Pop a company who organizes some of the largest pop culture events around the country. 2017 proved to be no exception and despite having to deal with a smaller venue space due to construction the event still boasted an over whelming number of vendors and appearances by some of the biggest names in comics, film and television.

Day two of the four day convention this year seemed a bit lacking in the way of panels and events as compared to previous however that did not thwart our attempt to take in the massive show floors and numerous cos-players as the con is always one we look forward to attending each year. Right off the bat we noticed that the entry to the event was much easier than in previous years as there was now two different entries for single/multiple day pass holders. This dramatically cut down the once endless serpent like line which in previous years engulfed the outside areas of the center. Despite a quicker entry once inside you could instantly see that the construction taking place in several key areas of the center such as the section which normally houses artist alley was causing large bottle necks of immovable lines. For those wanting to meet their favorite artist or creator gone was the spacious, well lit corridor which was always a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the main show floors but instead this year creators and artist were relegated to one of the structures basement levels which caused for a less than pleasurable viewing experience complete with cramped/impassible walk ways and a heightened room temperature that at times almost took your breath away.

After a couple escalator rides we made our way on to the main show floors. This area also seemed to take on the brunt of less floor space in other areas as walk ways and vendor spaces seemed much smaller than in previous years. As always the Funko booth commanded a lot of attention as those fortunate enough to be selected in the lottery process waited in endless lines in hopes to purchase one of the sought after convention exclusives. During our time at the booth we had the chance to grab a quick autograph from WWE Superstar and Funko Enthusiast Zach Ryder who had stopped by to check out his NYCC exclusive Pop! figure. Other notable vendors were the Middle Earth “Shadow of War”  booth which featured a life size dragon which convention goers could have their pictures on and Marvel vs. Capcom’s replica Ultron and throne display both of which garnered long wait times just to get a glimpse of.

Before leaving for the day we made quick stop in the autographing area which as always is a popular stop for most attendees. Some of the big names this year included Michael Rooker, Peter Capaldi and Mark Hamill among a long list of others. With prices ranging from $40 to $300 per signature we did not spend a lot of time in this area but there were plenty of others anxiously awaiting to spend their hard earned cash to meet their favorite actors and actresses.

With more and more events/panels being held off site it makes me question just how much longer the Javits center will remain a viable location for the Con. With early attendance figures coming in at around 200,000 for the four days the event shows no signs slowing down. Hopefully the center will be back to full functionality for next year’s event as the lack of space definitely impacted all aspects of the event. Either way, we can not wait for next year.

Film Review #2 “Despicable Me 3”

Directed by: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker
Distributed by Universal Pictures[2]
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 90 minutes

Mike G’s Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Illumination Entertainment really has a gold mine here with the “Despicable Me” franchise. It literally just prints its own money…but so far after three films and an even better spin-off, they are still great. Pixar’s movies cost near or above $200 million per film and don’t get me wrong they are good, at least they used to be, while Illumination knocks out films like this and “The Secret Lives of Pets” for just $80 million. These are quality films that are very entertaining, pack great voice casts and overall great movies. “Despicable Me 3” is a great addition to the series and is a step up from the second film.

Official Premise: The mischievous Minions hope that Gru will return to a life of crime after the new boss of the Anti-Villain League fires him. Instead, Gru decides to remain retired and travel to Freedonia to meet his long-lost twin brother for the first time. The reunited siblings soon find themselves in an uneasy alliance to take down the elusive Balthazar Bratt, a former 1980s child star who seeks revenge against the world.

Pharrell Williams steps up again and some great new songs for this film. I don’t think he replicated another “Happy” on this soundtrack but very fun music. In addition the film has a flood of 80’s theme of music that is very fun in this film ranging from a-ha to Madonna to Michael Jackson. Trey Parker, co-creator of “South Park” is a new addition to this cast and voices the role of villain Balthazar Bratt, a former child star who’s grown up to become obsessed with the character he played in the 80’s, Evil Bratt. Trey knocks it out of the park and steals the movie, no question. Also we get to meet Gru’s twin brother, Dru and he is another great addition to this sequel.

What I love most about this film is that it is has a nice balance. A nice balance of Gru, Lucy and the girls as well as the a fun backstory for Bratt and of course we get a good amount of those lovable Minions. If Illumination is reading, I am ready for a “Minions 2” BTW for sure next. Just love those guys (or whatever they are). I saw this with my five year old daughter and she simply had a blast. She was laughing throughout and even though some of the 80’s theme was obviously lost on her she enjoyed the balance of the characters and just had a great time watching this film. I really hope that Illumination continues down this trend and continues to deliver great animated films for the whole family!