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Wizard World Chicago 2017-Fans Join the Fun



The first full day of Wizard World Chicago came to a close yesterday and though it was unusually quiet for a Friday it wasn’t hard to imagine that it was only the calm before the storm.

Pop culture fanatics and geeks of all shapes and sizes came out in droves to Rosemont, IL on Friday afternoon to get their chance to be a part of the pop culture zeitgeist.

From an outsider’s perspective it would have been a surreal event. But as a veteran of such conventions one learns to roll with the strangeness. Where else but Wizard World would you find the convention hosted by Kato Kaelin who planted himself in the center of the lobby with a microphone talking to anyone that stops to take a breath.

Local cosplayers get in on the fun at Wizard World Chicago.

In fact if you didn’t want to pay crazy fees for autographs and pictures the main lobby was a great spot to hang with some of the show’s top names for free. By afternoon American Pie star Thomas Ian Nicholas was on stage playing an acoustic set of his new album followed by Lord of the Rings star Billy Boyd and his own band. The stage itself is barely propped up so one could almost have a conversation with them if you talked loud enough.

American Pie star Thomas Ian Nicholas played songs off of his albums for fans at the show.

The convention itself is a shrine to all things pop culture. Granted, its main focus tends to be science fiction and fantasy but it is in no way limited by that. With stars like Barry Bostwick, Kevin Sorbo, Loni Anderson and a ton of WWE wrestlers there is something for everyone. While everyone has a booth and the chance to take photo ops (for a price) most put themselves front and center with panels throughout the weekend.

This year’s theme seems to be Doctor Who, something that is always welcome in the fandom community. The guest of honor was supposed to be David Tennant but his appearance needed to be cancelled at the last minute for personal reasons. Fans will still get the chance to mix and mingle with Doctor Who regulars like John Barrowman, Jenna Coleman and Catherine Tate. The highlight will no doubt be Barrowman’s one-man show on Sunday in which he lets loose and lets his radiant personality shine. If you’ve never seen his show that alone is worth the price of admission.

Friday’s highlight was Michael Rooker’s panel in the large auditorium. Rooker, who is a dynamic personality to begin with, shared the secrets of some of his most high profile projects like The Walking Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy. Yet seeing him on stage with a huge smile on his face says volumes about how much he loves his fans.

If you haven’t been to Wizard World yet don’t fret there are still two more full days to go. Tickets are available online or at the door.

Photos: Leon Rudzin

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No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters



If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago. 

It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced. 

 Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.

Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game. 

From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.

Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.

The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.

What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?

And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Back to the movie. 

Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.

Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.

The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!

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Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023



Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).

Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm

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Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3



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