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The Curse of La Llorona | SXSW Movie Review

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When The Conjuring released in 2013 it was a surprise hit earning over 15 times its original budget. Although the film wasn’t immune to the clichés of the genre, director James Wan executed them so effectively that nearly every viewer succumbed to fear.

The success has led to numerous sequels, spin-offs, and spin-off sequels, and soon Wan will be passing the torch to Michael Chaves to lead the mainline series. Before that, Chaves gets a trial run with the tangentially related The Curse of La Llorona, a film that unfortunately feels all too familiar.

Set in the early 1970s, the film follows social worker and single mom Anna (Linda Cardellini) who intervenes after discovering Patricia (Patricia Velásquez), a mother in her caseload, has kept her children locked in a closet for several days. Soon after being placed in foster care the two boys are found dead in a reservoir.

Believing Patricia to be the culprit Anna seeks her out, but soon discovers it is the work of La Llorona, a malevolent spirit who murdered her own children and now seeks to take the lives of others’. Blaming Anna for the loss, Patricia prays to La Llorona to take the social worker’s young son and daughter instead leaving Anna to hunt for a way to break the curse.

La Llorona’s underlying conceit places a considerable amount of weight on the matriarchal role, something the studio undoubtedly understood when they cast such a familiar face for the part, and Cardellini carries this responsibility without issue. She balances a maternal resilience with the utter terror that accompanies this type of situation, and is the biggest factor in creating any engagement with the audience.

Consistently working against said engagement is the lack of freshness in the script and the scares. It’s an effort to get spooked when you can correctly count out the beats before the next appearance of La Llorona who appears quite frequently, and while the design elicits a reaction the first time it dwindles over time. It also suffers from groan-worthy character decisions. This happens frequently enough that by the last third scenes that are designed to draw out tension instead invoke laughter.

This feeling is amplified when viewed with a large crowd which interestingly inspires a positive viewpoint. It’s easy to see why these movies have continued to garner so much attention and money. La Llorona does feel formulaic in the way that a Marvel movie can down to the well timed instances of levity; in this case brought to you by a rather fun performance from Raymond Cruz. Yet, when viewed with a crowd like the one at SXSW the eye rolls are done in unison and the theater can breathe a collective sigh of disbelief at the stupidity of a character decision. There’s something of worth, albeit distant from what made the original films so buzzworthy, in the communal nature of this popcorn horror.

For those who have been fans of the Conjuring universe, including the “bad” entries, thus far seeing this opening weekend could inspire a fun theater experience although largely at the film’s expense. For everyone else, here’s hoping that Chaves learns from The Curse of La Llorona and takes a few more chances next time he steps up to the plate.

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10 Ways to Keep Cool at San Diego Comic-Con: Beat the Heat Like a Pro!

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San Diego Comic-Con is one of the hottest events of the year, both figuratively and literally! As you navigate the bustling halls and outdoor events, staying cool becomes a top priority. Here are ten surefire ways to beat the heat and enjoy your Comic-Con experience to the fullest.

1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Water is your best friend! Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it often. Dehydration can sneak up on you in crowded and air-conditioned spaces. #StayHydrated #ComicConSurvival

2. Dress Smart

Opt for light, breathable fabrics. Cotton and moisture-wicking materials can make a huge difference. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses for outdoor events! #CoolCosplay #ComicConFashion

3. Plan Indoor Breaks

Schedule time in your day to hit indoor panels or exhibits. The AC will give you a much-needed break from the heat. #ComicConPlanning #IndoorCool

4. Use Cooling Accessories

Cooling towels, portable fans, and misting sprays are lifesavers. These small items can make a big difference when you’re waiting in line or exploring the outdoor areas. #CoolGadgets #ComicConEssentials

5. Seek Out Shaded Areas

Find shaded spots for a quick rest, especially if you’re spending time outside. The shade can offer a noticeable temperature drop. #ShadeHacks #SurvivingComicCon

6. Enjoy Some Ice Cream

Nothing beats the heat like a refreshing ice cream or a cool drink. San Diego has plenty of options, from food trucks to nearby cafes. #CoolTreats #SDCCSnacks

7. Wear Comfortable Shoes

Blisters and sore feet can make the heat feel even worse. Choose comfortable, breathable shoes to keep your feet happy. #ComicConComfort #ShoeGame

8. Visit Cooling Stations

Many outdoor events have cooling stations with fans and misters. Take advantage of these spots to lower your body temperature. #CoolingStations #ComicConTips

9. Avoid Peak Sun Hours

Try to minimize outdoor activities between 11 AM and 3 PM when the sun is at its strongest. Plan your outdoor excursions for the morning or late afternoon. #SunSafety #ComicConTiming

10. Stay in the Loop

Keep an eye on social media for real-time updates on cool spots and special events. Follow the official Comic-Con accounts and popular influencers for tips. #ComicConTips #StayCool

Attending San Diego Comic-Con can be an unforgettable experience if you’re prepared to handle the heat. Follow these tips, stay cool, and make the most of your Comic-Con adventure!

## Share Your Tips!

Got any more cool tips for Comic-Con? Share them in the comments or tag us on social media! #SDCC2024 #ComicConSurvival #BeatTheHeat

By following these strategies, you’ll be ready to enjoy every moment of Comic-Con without overheating. Stay cool, stay hydrated, and most importantly, have fun!

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends heading to Comic-Con! #ComicConHacks #SummerSurvival

For more cool tips and Comic-Con news, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @thatsmye #ComicConFans #SDCC2024

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The HISTORY Channel’s “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch” To Make Panel Debut at San Diego Comic-Con

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“The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch,” a hit nonfiction series on the HISTORY Channel, is making its debut at San Diego Comic-Con with an exclusive panel. The panel will feature aerospace engineer, astrophysicist, and lead scientist Dr. Travis Taylor; Defense Intelligence Senior Executive (Retired) Jay Stratton; and others. The series follows current ranch owner Brandon Fugal and an accredited team of scientists, researchers, and experts as they conduct carefully curated scientific experiments, daring drilling and drone exercises, and more to uncover what’s taking place on the anomalous 512-acre hotspot of high strangeness and UAP-related activity. New episodes currently air on Tuesdays at 9/8c, with the two-hour season five finale airing on Tuesday, July 23 at 9/8c.

HISTORY’s “THE SECRET OF SKINWALKER RANCH” PANEL – Thursday, July 25 from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Hilton San Diego Bayfront (Indigo Ballroom)

Can You Keep A Secret? Unveiling the Secrets of Skinwalker Ranch – Ever seen a UAP? Or witnessed something strange and unusual that you couldn’t explain? Join the experts from The HISTORY® Channel’s hit series The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch, including astrophysicist and lead scientist Dr. Travis Taylor and others, for a dynamic panel discussing the motivations, inclinations and secret findings currently taking place at one of the most infamous UAP and paranormal hotspots to ever exist. The moderator will be Matt Zoller Seitz (New York Magazine/Vulture). Cast subject to change.

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ADULT SWIM TO HOST FOUR-DAY “PIRATE PARRRTY” AT SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON 2024 ALONGSIDE EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEKS, SERIES PANELS AND LAUNCH OF THE “RICK AND MORTY: THE ANIME” ANIME-RICAN TOUR

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Adult Swim, the global leader in adult animation, unveiled plans today for San Diego Comic-Con which includes an ongoing Pirate-themed fan “parrrty” featuring a series of special evening events, exclusive panels diving into key Adult Swim programs, and the kick-off of a cross-country mobile tour to celebrate “Rick and Morty: The Anime.”

“For reasons too long to get into, we at Adult Swim have always used a pirate ship (and, owls, but maybe we’ll do that at a later con) as a metaphor for how we operate,” said Michael Ouweleen, president, Adult Swim. “We thought since we like to think of us, fans and network, as all one thing, that we should bring the pirate ship to the harbor of San Diego this year and let everyone join us on the – erm – poop deck.”

ADULT SWIM PIRATE PARRRTY

Adult Swim will crash onto the shores of San Diego with a shipwreck adventure on the network’s Adult Swim on the Green space outside the San Diego Convention Center (5th Avenue Landing and Convention Way). The “Adult Swim Pirate Parrrty” will include custom games, exclusive first looks, giveaways, and evening entertainment including DJ laser sets – no badge required!

The space will also host a series of special evening events including:

  • AEW x Adult Swim “Battle for the Booty” Wrestling Tournament – Join a collection of AEW wrestlers who will face off in a tag team tournament against famous Adult Swim faces for a no-holds-barred event as each competitor vies for the chance to win the “Battle for the Booty” title. Thursday (7/25) at 7:30pm
  • Adult Swim’s Night of New – Comic-Con attendees will be the first to experience a collection of brand-new Adult Swim series at this special screening event featuring the full-length premiere episodes of “Common Side Effects,” “Rick and Morty: The Anime,” “Invincible Fight Girl,” and “Women Wearing Shoulder Pads” alongside more never-before-seen Adult Swim content.  The screening will also be livestreamed in real-time on Adult Swim’s YouTube Channel. Don’t miss your chance! Friday (7/26) at 7:30pm
  • Fun with Zach and Michael – Fresh off the finale of the hit series’ second season, join “SMILING FRIENDS” co-creators Michael Cusack and Zach Hadel for a special live-draw and fan Q&A event. Saturday (7/27) at 7:30pm

The first 1,000 attendees to join the “Adult Swim Pirate Parrrty” at 1pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday will receive an exclusive giveaway! For more details on the “Adult Swim Pirate Parrrty” visit here.

RICKMOBILE TOUR KICK-OFF

This summer marks the return of the famed Rickmobile and Mortymobile for Adult Swim’s “Anime-rican” tour in support of the new series “Rick and Morty: The Anime,” and San Diego Comic-Con is its first stop! Fans attending the “Adult Swim Pirate Parrrty” will have a chance for a photo-op with the Mortymobile, while the Rickmobile will roam San Diego’s Gaslamp District with special giveaways. After Comic-Con, both the Rickmobile and the Mortymobile will cross the country for a nine-city tour that will conclude in Adult Swim’s hometown of Atlanta.

PANEL EVENTS

The fun continues inside with a series of can’t-miss panels featuring advanced looks, breaking news and insightful discussion from series creators and voice talent:

  • Adult Swim’s “Common Side Effects” Series First Look – Come experience the side effects of an incredible panel discussion about Adult Swim’s highly anticipated new series.  “Common Side Effects.”  From executive producers Mike Judge and Greg Daniels, and creators Joe Bennett and Steve Hely, this comedic thriller follows two former high school lab partners who take on big pharma and government agencies as they try to bring a medicine that cures everything to the whole world. Co-creator Steve Hely and writer/director Sean Buckelew will join the series voice cast including Martha KellyEmily PendergastJoseph Lee Anderson and Dave King to discuss the new series. Friday (7/26) at 11am, Indigo Ballroom
  • Adult Swim’s “Rick And Morty: The Anime” Series First Look – Go further into the multiverse of Rick and Morty with the new series “Rick and Morty: The Anime” as it lands at San Diego Comic-Con.  Writer/director Takashi Sano, producers Joseph Chou and Takenari Maeda, and Adult Swim’s head of action and anime Jason DeMarco will share details about the intergalactic adventure and show you the inner workings of the new series on Adult Swim. Friday (7/26) at 12pm, Indigo Ballroom
  • “My Adventures with Superman” Screening Presentation and Panel – Join executive producers Jake WyattJosie CampbellBrendan Clogher, and voice cast members Jack QuaidAlice LeeIshmel Sahid, and Kiana Madeira as they answer your burning questions from season two. Plus get the early scoop on all the action, comedy, and romance that awaits Clark, Lois, and Jimmy in season three. Airing on Adult Swim, “My Adventures with Superman” is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Saturday (7/27) at 10am, Indigo Ballroom 
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