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Fantastic Fest 2018 –“Overlord” Review: Not What You Expect, But Still a Fun Time



If you have seen the trailer for 2018’s Overlord, you may be expecting a Wolfensein-like, action movie with plenty of Nazi zombies, grotesque experiments, and other horror elements sprayed liberally over the films run time. Like so often we see now with modern movie marketing, this is not exactly the case.

The horror elements are in there to be sure, but really only feature heavily in the third act and even then there appears to only be one variety of monster for our heroes to fight. The rest of this movie is very much a traditional men on a mission war film even going as so far to open and close with black and white credit sequences to get you in that 50’s mindset.

This gonna be another undead Kruat hunt sir?

We have our crew of ragtag soldiers, our anything-to-get-the-job-done leader Corporal (Wyatt Russell), our moral compass of a main character Private Boyce (Jovan Adepo), and nearly impossible mission for them to complete. Said mission is to take down a radio tower that not only is a pivotal target for the war effort but also the sight of horrific Nazi super soldier experiments that will make you think Red Skull hiding just off screen.

The action of the film is tight, bloody and satisfying and manages to make the B monster movie stuff not feel out of place with the more gritty and realistic war movie stuff. The opening plane drops sequence is particularly breathtaking and feels like such a successful tribute to Saving Private Ryan you will start to imagine Tom Hanks sitting in one of those landing boats underneath their bullet magnet of a plane.

The cast is also doing great work here. They all may be playing their war movie types but everyone brings their A game and really make a meal of their role. Jovan Adepo is likeable and compelling as the compassionate soldier, Mathilde Oliver brings credibility to her self sufficient female character that we almost never get to see in movies like this, and whatever genius cast John Magaro as the trash talking, gruff soldier should be freaking applauded.

Seriously, Magaro is so good in this I will be shocked if he is not on the shortlist for any wise-cracking soldier parts in the future. The stand out here though has got to be Wyatt Russell who is channeling the early B movie, tough guy charisma of his dad so well, we might as well slap an eyepatch on this kid and get that “Escape from New York” remake started already.

There is a slight hiccup in the pacing of this film. After a heart pounding opening sequence, we are treated to a second act where there is a lot of talk and planning about completing their mission without a whole lot of actually getting it done.

This does provide time for the characters to breathe and develop, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t think to myself “Just storm the freaking Nazi castle already!” a few times. Also, the movie doesn’t want to let any of those war movie cliches go to waste, which makes for a story that doesn’t hold that many genuine surprises. Fortunately, the movie has so much fun that it doesn’t really matter you see most of the story beats coming.

“All right men! File in and stand still for a moment so the audience can play the who-is-going-to-die-first drinking game”

Overlord isn’t revolutionary but a blast to experience. I would recommend catching it in a theater with some friends when it comes out on Nov.9, 2018.

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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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