It's time to post my photo gallery from WonderCon! This sci-fi convention takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center every year and I love it. However, it requires a ton of walking because this particular convention center is enormous. Let's dive into the pics without any further ado!
This was the first time I saw Octopunx; a very nice retailer of jewelry and custom made goggles. Basically, their merchandise is great for any type of cosplay, including steampunk, superheroes, Ren Faires, witches, Star Wars, Star Trek, vampires, etc. I bought a really pretty steampunk cat pendant. The Shield vs. Hydra goggles sparked my fancy too, but that type of cosplay is hard for me because I wear glasses. Feel free to check out their work on Instagram and Etsy.
Here's another newcomer to my blog. Silver Leaf Costumes makes licensed outfits with a Ren Faire twist. Fun stuff for a lot of cosplayers. I noticed Wonder Woman, BB-8, Batman, and a Slytherin outfit. Find this vendor on Etsy if you want to comission them for a costume. It looks like they do really good work.
I'm not a big fan of the Green Hornet, but the car is cool.
Classic Batmobile! Love it!
You have no idea how big Pokémon was at this event. I saw quite a bit of Pokemon cosplay. A lot of exhibitors sold Pokémon merchandise as well. Detective Pikachu is coming out next month, so I can understand the explosion of Pokémon interest. Rock on, Pikachu.
It's Hawkman and Hawkgirl! I've actually seen this pair at other conventions. If memory serves me correctly, they appear at the Long Beach events sometimes. Believe it or not, I've always liked the Hawkman and Hawkgirl characters. I wouldn't mind seeing them in the DC films, but that probably won't happen any time soon. They get a bad rap, kind of like Aquaman. But the Aquaman movie was really popular, so there might be hope yet.
Here's a vendor who attends a lot of conventions. The Brass Wardrobe sells a lot of merchandise that works well for steampunk, Ren Faires, Wild West reenactments, and pirate festivals. It seemed like leatherwork and woodwork was a big showcase at this event. They also sell replica guns, but unfortunately, many events are banning prop guns. I should buy a bottle in a holster. It would be a really cute accessory with my steampunk outfits. Let's put water in the bottle and call it moonshine. You can inquire about merchandise and commissions on their Facebook or Etsy pages.
I took a moment to visit the Order of Gallifrey. First of all, I have to apologize for the blurry photo. That's an epic fail on my part. This statue is a Dalek from the Doctor Who series. Daleks are an alien race who inhabit mechanical bodies and remain the Doctor's arch enemies throughout the franchise. This one appears to be a model from the earlier seasons of the reboot series. I find their makeshift arms kind of funny. Their arms are plungers, egg beaters, and other random items. The Order of Gallifrey is a really entertaining group for Doctor Who fans. If you want to become a member, check them out on Facebook. Each area has a different chapter. I live in Southern California, so my chapter is the Bad Wolf Sector.
Boba Fett! Wheeeee! A lot of Star Wars fans like Boba Fett and bounty hunters in general.
I took a few pictures of the Gaslight Gathering booth again. They're a pretty dedicated steampunk group. I see them at almost every sci-fi convention and steampunk convention in Southern California. They host an annual event in San Diego every spring. I believe this year's theme is a tribute to cinema. They're also going to have a steampunk X-Wing that will be available for exploration. If you want to attend, purchase tickets on their official website. The Gaslight Gathering will take place on April 12-14 this year.
Lady Mechanika is a fantastic comic book series for steampunk fans. It's definitely my favorite steampunk comic book series. It has amazing illustrations, mystery, action, and really cool steampunk elements. Marcia Chen is the writer and she took some time to converse with me again. I've seen her at multiple events and she's quite approachable. Maybe I'll run into Joe Benitez one of these days. He's the illustrator and very talented. There's some new work coming out in the near future. You can buy the entire Lady Mechanika series on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Click on the link to find out more information about Joe Benitez's work.
That's awesome. It might be from a t-shirt retailer.
I had my photo taken with the 501st Legion. They're a really huge Star Wars cosplay group, specifically for Empire characters. You can find out all kinds of information about the 501st Legion on their official website. It's a good place to check out if you're thinking about making a Star Wars costume. I wore some Captain Marvel gear with the logo t-shirt and Bomber jacket in this photo. By the way, Captain Marvel was a popular cosplay at this event.
And I took a photo with their rivals, the Rebel Legion. This is the right Star Wars group if you want to cosplay as the good guys. I'll leave a link for their website as well.
The Gaslight Expo is a steampunk festival that's also located in San Diego. I believe it's taking place in late September this year. It's a pretty nice event. I went last year and it was really cool. It seems like they're having an Egyptian and archeological theme this year. You can purchase memberships on their official website.
Well, you don't see that every day. This was my first time seeing a Lego Batman. By the way, the second Lego Movie is super cute and funny. It was released earlier this year.
Excellent! A Deadpool Stormtrooper. I see a lot of inventive crossover outfits at these conventions.
I took a few pictures of the Fanbase Press booth. They attend most of the major events in Southern California. I would recommend checking out their website if you're a prospective writer. They have a lot of great resources for Indie authors. I've noticed their comic books have a lot of originality too. They're not trying to copy Marvel or DC.
More Legos! These guys are taking over the world.
The Boston Metaphysical Society is another fun steampunk comic book series. Madeleine Holly-Rosing is the author and she has really creative ideas. I see her at most of the local steampunk events and Comic Cons. This series is entertaining because it has a big emphasis on paranormal elements. It looks like she has some new work as well. You should take a look at her website. Her books are also for sale on Amazon.
That's the end of my WonderCon post! Thanks for checking out my photos. I'm planning to attend a couple more events later this year. A lot of people would probably enjoy these events. You don't have to be shy or ashamed of geekdom. I know many people are interested in cosplay, comic books, superhero movies, and sci-fi conventions, but they're afraid of negative labels. Who cares about everyone's opinions? People are too worried about winning popularity contests. There might be a similar event in your area and it might be worth attending. Give it a shot if you're curious. Leave a comment if you have anything to say about this post or my photos. Stay tuned for more news, interviews, reviews, and photo galleries. I have plenty of plans for 2019. Thanks a lot and I'll see you guys next week.
Welcome back! This post is going to be a double feature review for Us and Hotel Mumbai. Us is a horror film that was directed by Jordan Peele. It's a very unique movie that illustrates some cultural themes. Hotel Mumbai is a thriller that was based on true events, chronicling the mayhem of a terrorist attack that occurred in 2008. The human race watches a lot of violent movies, but destruction isn't fun in real life and that part is clear in Hotel Mumbai. Keep reading to find out my thoughts about both films.
Let's begin with Us. The movie is told through the Wilson family's point of view during their vacation in Santa Cruz. After coming home from an outing on the beach, they encounter their evil counterparts or dopplegangers. These frightening beings terrorize the family with a very direct intent. Ultimately, the story unfolds with mystery, scares, violence, and several thought provoking moments.
This film didn't blow me away, but it definitely has good elements. Most of the actors brought a lot strong elements to the movie. Lupita Nyong'o plays the Wilson's matriarch, Adelaide, and she was the star of the film. Overall, Lupita is an exceptional actress and this performance is another strong addition to her resume. She plays Adelaide and her evil doppleganger very well with a lot of depth and range. Winston Duke plays Gabe, Adelaide's husband, and he brought a lot of humor to an otherwise dark story. He was quite refreshing and entertaining. The teenage daughter and young son were played by Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex respectively. Both of them had pretty good range for young actors, bringing different elements to the children and their dark twins. Truthfully, the actors made the film a lot more watchable and interesting.
It's not a boring film either. Us moves along at a solid pace and keeps the entertainment value amped up. It has a good mixture of thrills, humor, and unusual elements. The movie is creative and quite a bit different than most horror films. I also found the story very simple and straight forward as well. Believe me, that's a good thing. This film could have been very confusing and convoluted, but it actually makes sense.
Jordan Peele has a his own style of directing. Us is surprisingly artistic with interesting choices in cinematography. Even though it's not one of my favorite horror films, I'll definitely give Peele credit for his craftsmanship. In some ways, it feels a little bit like an art house film, made in the vein of A24's releases.
Now I'm moving on to the movie's weakest elements. Some components don't work very well. Many viewers will find plot holes, inconsistencies, and continuity errors. Jordan Peele will often ask his audience to think deeply while they're watching his work, but that can be a problem sometimes because they'll notice the film's problems. I don't want to give away spoilers, but many elements don't add up if you pay attention.
Is this movie scary? Unfortunately, it's not particularly scary at all. The marketing doesn't help the film very much. It's not a true horror movie. Us is more like a horror comedy with social commentaries and action scenes. This film doesn't have a lot of tension, jump scares, or bloody scenes. I would say it's more weird than frightening. It also dives really deep into another genre, but I'll remain vague because that would be another spoiler.
I'm pretty sure this film will be anticlimactic for several viewers. It's a little bit difficult to explain. You'll either connect with the story or not. It's actually not a bad movie, but this particular story probably appeals to niche audiences better than the mainstream. I just think it will be too weird for a lot of people.
Should you see Us in theaters? That's a hard question to answer. I would say give it a shot if you're curious. You might think it's amazing. I'm pretty sure a lot of people will enjoy it more than I did. Just don't expect it to be a hardcore scary movie.
Hotel Mumbai has a very different take on violence than Us. This film was inspired by true events that happened in 2008. A group of radicalized youths from Pakistan invaded Mumbai, killing at least one hundred and sixty-six civilians at a train station, café, and other locations. Most of the story takes place in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, where the terrorists continued their violent rampage. This might seem like a controversial movie, but it fits within our current climate and brings a realistic vision of widespread violence.
I actually felt really disappointed with this film because it has a lot of issues. But I can probably summarize its stronger elements in one paragraph. Hotel Mumbai is shockingly realistic and it doesn't sugarcoat anything. Cinema tends to glamorize violence and it can give people false impressions. In reality, violence isn't fun and this film boldly shows a more accurate concept of terrorism. It's visceral, eye opening, and difficult to watch. I believe this movie raises awareness about violence in the real world and it sends an effective message. People are often dismissive about violence and terrorism because it's an uncomfortable subject, but ignoring it won't change anything. Once in a while, we need a film that tells the truth instead of showcasing a romanticized tale of heroes and villains.
Unfortunately, Hotel Mumbai is lackluster in many ways. It has a bunch of technical problems, including bad cinematography. For example, the picture was blurry sometimes and I know it wasn't a problem with the theater's projector. The cameramen also used a ton of shaky cam during most of the violent scenes. I'm not a fan of that cinematography style. It's hard on the eyes and makes the scene disorienting. This film was directed by Anthony Maras and it didn't seem like he was capable of putting everything together very well. Even the story and characters don't stand out. I wouldn't say the movie is disorganized, but the final product is unimpressive and it's the director's job to identify major issues.
It's worth nothing that I didn't connect with any characters. That problem hurts the movie significantly. When lives are at stake, it's important to feel invested in the characters. The viewer should care if they live or die. This film has an ensemble cast and that might not have been the right choice. Ensemble casts work great for certain movies, but in this case, nobody has a chance to shine. Most of the characters lack a backstory and considerable screen time. Honestly, I'm not going to care if a character dies when they only appeared in a couple scenes. Certain elements were also used as copouts. For example, Dev Patel's character, named Arjun, has a pregnant wife and a small child. That part is supposed to make you care about him, even though his character isn't fleshed out. A couple with a baby is vacationing in the hotel. You're supposed to care about the child because it's a baby. Isn't that enough? Not really. I'm not going to tell you who lives and dies because that would be a spoiler, but many of the death scenes didn't seem meaningful enough.
I have a really huge complaint. The characters have unbelievably bad survival instincts. Nobody is smart enough to run out the front door! When bullets start flying, get the heck out of there! I only remember one minor character escaping through the front door. Nobody leaves through the back door either. In general, the characters just hide and hope someone will rescue them. Ultimately, the characters are trapping themselves and it becomes very easy for the terrorists to pick them off. The film also has plenty of opportunities for retaliation and the characters don't take advantage of it. When a terrorist has his back turned, grab one of those handy items and crack his head open. But this movie needs a huge body count, so the characters aren't allowed to be resourceful. By the way, this hotel has a kitchen staff and I don't remember anyone using knives as weapons during the most prime opportunities. I realize anything can happen in a disastrous situation and many people will die during a major attack, but this went above my suspension of belief. The film seems exploitative to a certain extent because the writing forces the characters to make bad decisions that will lead to gruesome death scenes. Something just doesn't feel right about it.
Overall, Hotel Mumbai is a missed opportunity. It could have sent a powerful message to both critics and general audiences. But a sloppy execution ultimately hurt the film's integrity. It has some really good moments, but the low points brought everything down a few notches. Don't bother seeing this movie in theaters. In fact, a lot of people won't be able to handle this film at all. It's pretty disturbing.
That's the end of both reviews. Have you seen either of these movies yet? Leave your opinion in the comment section. On a different note, I had a really good time at WonderCon. Next week, I'm going to post my photos from the event. My photo gallery has a good combination of cosplayers and exhibitors. So, come back next weekend to check it out. Thanks for reading my reviews and I'll see you guys soon.
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