Archive for August, 2008

26 Aug 2008

A Guide to Comic-Con

No Comments Opinion, Published Work

Every year during the last week of July, more than 100,000 comic book, movie and TV fanatics flock to San Diego for Comic-Con. While Comic-Con may sound like the name of a retarded comedian, it is actually the biggest pop-culture entertainment convention in the world.

This summer, Arts & Entertainment Editor Julian Rhodes and I traveled down to San Diego to “live blog”the big event.

For the first couple of days, we primarily stayed in the infamous Hall H and covered panels dealing with upcoming films. Some highlights included seeing Mark Wahlberg promote the new Max Payne movie and Hugh Jackman, who brought with him the first trailer for the new X-Men movie coming out next May.

The other days we split up in order to cover more events. While Julian went to more comic book and video game oriented panels, I stayed and continued to cover the movie scene. All in all we had a great time and got some great photos of our experience. For our entire coverage of Comic-Con 2008, visit

For those of you considering going to the Con, I have put together a Comic-Con Survival Guide that should help you through the great geek escape.

Plan Ahead

  • Buy your tickets before summer begins. The quicker you buy them the better chance you have of getting passes to all-four days and you will even get a discount.
  • Determine where you are staying at least six months in advance. If possible, stay with a relative or friend because hotels fill up fast and are extremely expensive.
  • Figure out your mode of transportation for the week’s adventure. If staying in a hotel near the Convention Center, almost everything you need is within walking distance. If you are staying outside of the main city area, a vehicle comes in very handy.
  • Make a list and schedule of all the things you want to do while there. Comic-Con events are just like a great brothel experience. The selection is always fantastic, but there are only so many you can get through before you get tired or before the day is over.
  • What to Bring

  • BRING LOTS OF MONEY! While the tickets may not be extremely expensive, almost everything at the Comic-Con (except 99 cent comic books) is outrageously priced.
  • Bring a packed lunch and lots of liquids. If you don’t like eating $10 mini pizzas that taste like ass, you should probably hit the grocery store before starting the Con.
  • Bring a digital camera. As sad as it may be, it is highly doubtful that you will get close enough to a celebrity to get a picture taken with them. The good news is, there are plenty of fat men dressed up in tight Spiderman spandex costumes just dying to get their picture taken!
  • What to do While There?

  • Roam the floor. The convention floor is what Comic-Con is all about. It is split between the comic book section, film/TV section and the artist/craftsman section. While the film/TV section gives out the most free stuff, that also makes it the most crowded and violent part of the floor.
  • Go to a panel in Hall H. This is where all the big stars gather and showcase their upcoming films. If you want to get close enough to get a decent picture of the stars, you should begin to stand in line at least 24 hours before the panel starts. Realistically though, showing up about two or three hours beforehand will assure you seat selection in front of one of the five big screens showing the panel.
  • Get an autograph. Each day, dozens of random forgotten TV stars and B-movie actors gather to give their John Hancock to any fan willing to pay a price. Yearly highlights include the Mistress of the Dark, Elvira, and the man and the voice behind Chewbacca.
  • For a photo slideshow and all Julian’s and Jay’s blog posts go to

    26 Aug 2008

    Hamlet 2

    No Comments Reviews

    Hamlet 2 may have brought us the new smash single “Rock Me Sexy Jesus”, but it rarely delivers many laughs beyond its already ridiculous plot.

    Year after year, West Mesa High School’s drama teacher Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan, “Tropic Thunder”) and his two star pupils produce plays based on Hollywood movies. During their entire run, not once have they received a good review from the local drama critic. Things begin to change when the school cancels all electives except drama.

    With his class now filled with Latin American hoodlums trying to fulfill credits, he decides to produce his most original play to date, a sequel to Hamlet based on the abuse he received as a child from his father. Soon after production begins, Marschz learns the school is also planning on canceling drama and that they will not allow his racy script to be performed at the school. With nothing going right, Marschz and his class must now overcome the obstacles and put on the most controversial and innovative play ever.

    As the fall season rolls in and the society’s youth returns to school, Hollywood prepares for its dead season by dumping some of its least appealing films into theaters. ‘Hamlet 2’ seemed ready to break the trend, but instead only strengthens the idea that good movies really are hard to come by this time of year. With clichéd slapstick and over- the-top acting from Coogan, it is hard to imagine what those audiences were smoking when they called this “The hit, the very palpable hit”of the Sundance Film Festival.

    While far from a horrible film, “Hamlet 2″ultimately fails in not fully delivering what the title has to offer. The first 4/5 of the film is spent watching Coogan’s character spiral deeper down into a chaotic mess. Instead of watching the progression of the play, the audience gets to see Marschz’s struggle to make a baby with his overly depressed wife (Catherine Keener, “Into the Wild”). From time to time, the script delivers some clever one-liners, but mostly relies on Marschz falling on his butt or a mute girl getting hit in the head to deliver the laughs.

    During the opening of the film, the narrator poetically states, “To act is to live.” Honestly, it is dumbfounding to think how the rest of the “Hamlet 2″cast can make a living off of their acting. With its highly touted supporting cast, including David Arquette and Elizabeth Shue, one would think that at least one of them would give a memorable performance. Sadly, this is not the case. Arquette’s character instantly goes down as one of the most useless and retarded performances in history. His biggest moment in the film comes when he talks about how sunny it is outside.

    Elizabeth Shue eagerly tries to become the next Neil Patrick Harris by portraying herself, but also succeeds in being just another worthless addition to the cast. While Harris is portrayed as a man-god in the Harold and Kumar series, Shue is nothing more than a washed up actress willing to make fun of her crappy career for a few bucks.

    When the film finally arrives at the first showing of the play and everyone, including the local firemen, is trying to shut it down, it finally achieves full comedy status. With witty and surprisingly well performed musical numbers such as “Rock Me Sexy Jesus”and “Raped in the Face”, “Hamlet 2″ends satisfyingly.

    If you’re in the mood for a slow moving, self-righteous film that purposely tries to offend most religions, then “Hamlet 2″is the movie for you.

    ‘Hamlet 2’
    Release Date: Aug. 22
    Director: Andrew Fleming
    Starring: Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, and Elizabeth Shue
    Genre: Comedy
    Rating: R for language, brief nudity and some drug content
    Grade: C-