C2E2 2023 Photos, Part 4 of 4: Convention!

Life-size recreation of a giant furry white bison/manatee friendly hybrid monster with a beige "Last Airbender" arrow pointing down its forehead.

A life-sized Appa the sky bison from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

My wife Anne and I just got home from the latest edition of the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Exposition (“C2E2″), a three-day extravaganza of comic books, actors, creators, toys, props, publishers, freebies, Funko Pops, anime we don’t recognize, and walking and walking and walking and walking. After its 2010 inception, we attended every year from 2011 to 2019, then took a break due partly to the pandemic and partly due to guest lists outside our circles of interest. This year’s strong lineup lured us back in, much to our delight…

…and the exhibit hall didn’t disappoint, either. It all comes down to this: one last gallery of the C2E2 sights and wonders that we didn’t already post from our two-day extravaganza. Sure, our passes could’ve gotten us in for Sunday as well, but we’re getting old and can only handle so much sensory stimulation and so many miles of walking before our legs snap off.

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“Godzilla vs. Kong”: When Humanity’s Doom Was Super-Sized, Not Microscopic

King Kong Waits.

“Waitwaitwaitwait — they signed me up to fight WHO?”

Once upon a time at the cinema, the deadliest monsters weren’t lurking in our own airways, weren’t infiltrating nursing homes to murder our loved ones, and weren’t other humans screaming in our faces about their hallucinatory conspiracy theories. In our shared realm of pure imagination, creatures fifty feet tall or more threatened our lives, our livelihoods, our close-quarters societies, and our very infrastructure that is the ultimate status symbol of superior lifeforms. In each rueful tale humankind was brought low by its hubris and its denial of its own frailty, screaming at the heavens as our deathblow came not from ironically itty-bitty microorganisms, but from amazing colossal oppressors who deemed us just as squashable as ants. Though they were arguably empowered by humanity’s sins, at least we could see them coming from a mile away and escape them if we had a cool enough car. In those days, dire threats to our entire species were much more fun.

Blame nostalgia for old-fashioned monsters, as opposed to today’s monsters outside our windows, as the primary motivation that drove me to see Godzilla vs. Kong in theaters and break my own rules.

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“The Invisible Man”: The Dudebro Who Wasn’t There

Invisible Man!

She seeks him here, she seeks him there, she seeks that rascal everywhere!

I wasn’t instantly sold on writer/director Leigh Whannell’s revival of The Invisible Man. I saw the Claude Rains version over forty years ago on late-night TV, courtesy of our local horror-host Sammy Terry, but I’ve never revisited it since. I’d seen none of Whannell’s films to date, though Upgrade is on my to-do list. When this was first announced years ago as an entry in Universal’s “Dark Universe” plan to imitate Marvel’s success at interlocking products, I scoffed and moved on. I assumed the eventual results would be a muddled waste of time.

Two developments in its favor convinced me to give it a try: Elisabeth Moss, who was always great on Mad Men and deeply disturbing in Jordan Peele’s Us; and unusually positive word-of-mouth. Horror films aren’t an easy sell for me, but the glowing reviews weren’t the usual fans raving about super awesome epic kills. The trailer telegraphed some of the zeitgeist-eriffic themes at play, and yet I was curious to know more.

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Yes, There’s a Scene After the “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” End Credits

Godzilla King of the Monsters!

Turn on your heartlight! Let it shine wherever you go!

Previously on the Godzilla and Friends Cinematic Universe: in 2014’s Godzilla reboot we got seven (7) minutes of Our Hero and two hours of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch hiding and moping. 2017 brought us Kong: Skull Island, the big ape’s cheesy yet awesome comeback that delivered on its promises of MONSTERS FIGHT! though any human actors who didn’t arrive tongue-in-cheek looked pretty lost.

Now it’s sort of a trilogy as Legendary Pictures perpetuates the American GFCU with Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Hopefully this time Toho isn’t ashamed of what our country has done to its favorite native superlizard.

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