The finale to my Other Worlds Austin film festival preview

Art by David Poe

The inaugural Other Worlds Austin scifi film festival starts this Thursday, December 4 at the Galaxy Highland Theater. The 3 day event features 11 full length films and a variety of shorts. Not terribly surprising to anyone who regularly follows my writings, I’m covering the festival.

Over the next three days, I will preview the 11 features.

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The Perfect 46

Brett Ryan Bonowicz | USA | 97 min

Writer: Brett Ryan Bonowicz
Producers: Brett Ryan Bonowicz, Sheldon Coolman, Marco Cordero, Whit Hertford, Thomas Campbell Jackson, John Seabright
Cast: Whit Hertford, Keston John, James Kyson, Robyn Cohen, and Don McManus

A geneticist creates a website that pairs an individual with their ideal genetic partner for children.
This ‘science factual’ film has been lauded by MIT Technology Review, Scientific American, Science, and the London Evening Standard as “a worryingly believable cautionary tale.” What if you could have the perfect child?

Saturday, 3:10

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Part two of my Other Worlds Austin film festival preview

Art by David Poe

The inaugural Other Worlds Austin scifi film festival starts this Thursday, December 4 at the Galaxy Highland Theater. The 3 day event features 11 full length films and a variety of shorts. Not terribly surprising to anyone who regularly follows my writings, I’m covering the festival.

Over the next three days, I will preview the 11 features.

download (4)

Space Milkshake

Armen Evrensel | Canada | 85 min 

Writer: Armen Evrensel
Producers: Holly Baird, Billy Boyd, Robin Dunne, Kristin Kreuk, Rob Merilees, Shayne Putzlocher, Amanda Tapping
Cast: Kristin Kreuk, Amanda Tapping, Billy Boyd, George Takei, Robin Dunne

Four blue-collar astronauts find themselves stuck on a Sanitation Station after they bring a mysterious device aboard their ship, ending all life on Earth. Discovering what happened to civilization is only the first of many galactic-level crises the astronauts will have to face as they are about to come under attack by a mutating rubber duck named Gary bent on taking over the Universe. Featuring George Takei as the voice of Gary.

(Friday, 10:30)

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Part one of my Other Worlds Austin film festival preview

The inaugural Other Worlds Austin scifi film festival starts this Thursday, December 4 at the Galaxy Highland Theater. The 3 day event features 11 full length films and a variety of shorts. Not terribly surprising to anyone who regularly follows my writings, I’m covering the festival.

Over the next three days, I will preview the 11 features.

download

The Well

Tom Hammock | USA | 95 min

Writers: Jacob Forman, Tom Hammock
Producers: Seth Caplan, Billy Federighi, Dante Federighi, Jacob Forman, Chris Harding
Cast: Haley Lu Richardson, Booboo Stewart, Max Charles, Nicole Fox, Michael Welch, and Jon Gries

It’s been a decade since the last rainfall, and society at large has dried up and blown away. When a greedy water baron lays claim to what little of the precious resource remains underground, seventeen-year-old Kendal must decide whether to run and hide or bravely fight for the few cherished people and things she has left. A full-throttle action film, The Well features an ass-kicking female heroine in Haley Lu Richardson, and Napoleon Dynamite’s Jon Gries as her nemesis.

(Thursday, 7:45)

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Michel Parry, editor of THE RIVALS OF KING KONG, has died

THRVBSTS041978On Twitter, Kim Newman has reported that anthologist Michel Parry has died. Throughout the 1970s, Parry edited numerous collections including Archives of Evil (two volumes), The Mayflower Black Magic Stories (six volumes), Reign of Terror (four volumes), The Rivals of Dracula, The Rivals of Frankenstein, and most importantly from my perspective The Rivals of King Kong. As the first anthology devoted to ape fiction, Parry’s book at least partially influenced my own book The Apes of Wrath.  Five of the nineteen stories in Apes also appeared in Parry’s. This is what I wrote about Rivals in Apes:

Surprisingly, given the simian’s influential role in popular culture, only one previous anthology of ape fiction exists. Published in 1978 by Corgi, The Rivals of King Kong collected eight reprinted stories, two originals, and an excerpt from one of H. Rider Haggard’s Allan Quatermain books. Editor Michel Parry contributed the introduction and checklist of simian cinema. The difficult-to-locate collectible paperback original commands a ridiculous price ranging from $30-$200.

I didn’t know Parry personally, so I never got the chance to discuss apes with him or to learn what, if anything, he thought of my volume. Or if he even knew it existed or what he spawned.

So Michel, wherever you are, thanks for those early jungle trails.

Cover by Alex Solis

Cover by Alex Solis

The fascinating and surprising LFO comes to DVD

unnamedAt the 2013 Fantastic Fest, I was lucky enough to catch the inventive low budget Swedish picture LFO and starting today, you’ll be able to also as it comes out on VOD/Digital Platforms and DVD.

Here’s what I had to say in my September 26, 2013 The Horn review:

Director Antonio Tublén’s (Original) second outing, the clever LFO, explores a simple concept to its logical conclusions. What if you could control people with sound?

Robert Nord’s (Patrik Karlson) sneering wife (Ahnna Rasch) and disdainful son (Björn Löfberg Egner) drive him into a solitary and lonely life. He lives within his own head and the secure comforts of his basement lair where he pursues experiments with audio frequencies. While working with low-frequency oscillation (LFO), Nord stumbles across a sound that makes the human mind very open to suggestion. He first tests his discovery on himself and then his new neighbors Linn (Izabella Johanna Tschig) and Simon (Per Löfberg). Nord begins to abuse his new found power with catastrophic results.

Tublén, who also penned the screenplay, creates an intelligent geek wish fulfillment film. The tortured Nord, excellently portrayed by Karlson, is your stereotypical geek, who engages in solitary pursuits while dreaming of acclaim and recognition for his activities. Once he masters his newly acquired ability, Nord will go to any mean necessary to get what he wants or perceives the world needs

The inventive low budget Swedish picture delivers a tale awash with guilt and megalomania, haunted by misdeeds of the past and the promises of the future. LFO, fascinating and surprisingly complex, supplies a thoughtful and terrifying analog to what happens when those in control believe they always know best.

Check out this truly unique film.

Stuff received 9/18/14 Austin Comic Con edition

Since my most recent Nexus Graphica is about my adventures at the Austin Comic Con (aka Wizard World Texas), I figured it’d be a good time to catch up with what I picked up at the con.

As-You-Wish

As You Wish
Princess Bride tribute

Signed 11″ x 14″ print from an illustration by Chet Phillips.

Promo copy:

This tribute showcases famous quotes and icons from the Rob Reiner film “Princess Bride” based on the book by William Goldman. Signed on bright white archival 60 lb. paper.

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Rayguns Over Texas garners several honorable mentions

 

Cover by Rocky Kelley

Cover by Rocky Kelley

Even though though Gardner Dozois’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-First Annual Collection came out back in late August, I’m finally getting around to reporting about the strong showing of Rayguns Over Texas. (Should give you an idea of how crazy things have been at the Geek Compound) While none of the stories were actually reprinted within the volume, seven of the tales garnered an honorable mention.

With Finn, Person, Allston, and Brown receiving additional notice within Dozois’s Summation of the year.

Congrats to all.

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My Fantastic Fest Curtain Call

Poster by Geof Darrow

Poster by Geof Darrow

Here are my final reviews for Fantastic Fest 2014. Between illness and tech issues, I ended up seeing far less than I hoped. I still had, dare I say it, a fantastic time and look forward to reviewing even more films next year.

MV5BODgxMDk3ODI3MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDUwNzU2MTE@._V1_SX214_AL_The most pleasant surprise of the festival, the documentary Kung Fu Elliot delivers a knock out blow with the story of Elliot “White Lightning” Scott. Known throughout Nova Scotia for his low budget chop sockey films such as Blood Fight and They Killed My Cat, Scott’s dreams of becoming Canada’s “first action star.” The unemployed, 30-something Scott, with the aid of his girlfriend Linda’s money and several unpaid actors, spends all of his time trying to reach his goals.

Very reminiscent of younger geeks, Scott’s reality never seems good enough for him. He always embellishes upon the truth about his accomplishments. Being a world class kick boxer is not enough, but he must be the best in all of Canada. Making two films is not enough, but must win several film festival awards. Scott’s story sounds almost too good to be true and as this fascinating film progresses, cracks appear in his tale. Though he imagines himself as the Canadian Van Damme or Chuck Norris, Elliot lacks the charisma, not to mention the martial art skills, of either. Linda at first supports the man she loves until his inconsistent behavior devolves into bullshit.

Embolden with the intriguing and insightful interviews of Scott’s friends, the fascinating tale ventures into unexpected and seemingly unreal territories. With Kung Fu Elliot, directors Matthew Bauckman and Jaret Belliveau expertly deliver one of the best features of Fantastic Fest.

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(Guest Post by Mark Finn) MondoCon 1: The Little Show-Within-A-Show That Could

mcbanner-copy_full

I’ve been blessed over the years with many good and talented friends. One of which is aging hipster, writer, and personality Mark Finn. In my time of need, Finn graciously volunteered to fill some of my pixels about the eight days of Fantastic Fest with his account of MondCon 1, the poster/art event that occurred during the festival.

MondoCon 1

The Little Show-Within-A-Show That Could

By Mark Finn

 

I got the first alert that there would be something called MondoCon the usual way: via Twitter. Mondo (the company) does a lot of their business that way these days. They started out as a T-shirt screen printer, in cahoots with the Alamo Draft House, making ironic tees for nascent hipsters. It was perfect niche marketing. Over the years, Mondo has greatly expanded their operations into silkscreening prints and movie posters for special events (and also, just because) and most recently, new vinyl pressings (with a full art workup, of course) of movie soundtracks that never got a vinyl release in the first place.

Genius idea? Clever marketing? Right on both counts. Now, they have enough clout and draw for their own gathering, the aforementioned MondoCon, and it was strategically located in the middle of the forced march that is Fantastic Fest. The organizers promised a more personal and intimate experience than the usual big name conventions like San Diego Comic-Con; they limited attendance on both days, booked a smaller event space, and promised a number of exclusives for people showing up.

As a collector of posters and movie memorabilia as well as a lover of comics, it was too good to pass up. Two-day tickets were affordable and the sheer volume of exclusives for the show was so vast, there was something special to be had for any and all price ranges.

The guests, as expected, were a number of cream of the crop artists and illustrators who have worked with Mondo before on posters and projects. Big name comic book greats and illustrators like Basil Gogos, Berni Wrightson, Val Mayerick, Mike Mignola, William Stout, Tim Sale, and Geoff Darrow were situated alongside the young turks and new designers like Jason Edmiston, Becky Cloonan, Francesco Francavilla, Jock, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Kevin Tong, and “Ghoulish” Garry Pullin. With a couple of exceptions, there were short lines or no lines at all, giving attendees plenty of time to chat with their favorites, ask questions about their work, and feel like they got to make a connection with the creators. It was an art lover’s dream, to be sure.

TheBlackBeetle_NoWayOut_01_preview

Art by Francesco Francavilla

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Dude, Where Are All Your Fantastic Fest Reviews?

 

Poster by Geof Darrow

Poster by Geof Darrow

You probably have noticed1 that I’ve only posted two days worth of reviews from Fantastic Fest, while the festival itself is on Day 6.

I’m on day two of some sort of stomach virus thingie. So sitting in front of the computer hasn’t been the most viable activity. Not too mention, I’ve missed the past two days of movies.2 Further complicating matters, as always, is the MS. Whenever something funky is going on in my body, my fatigue gets much worse.

I’m feeling far better than yesterday and I’m hoping to make it back to the theater tomorrow. And more importantly, energetic and well enough to pump out some reviews.

For the rest of the FF reviews, I’m going to drop the pretense of the days and just post them. I have notes for some 10 film reviews and plan to watch several more.

So here’s to hoping that tomorrow, all will be right and I’ll be furiously typing away.

But for now, I’m going to lay down and rest.

 

 

1Or not. I like to pretend that someone cares and actually reads what I post here.

2Thankfully, reviewers are given streaming access to many of the Fest’s films.