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Movie Review: Paranormal Activity 4
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Paranormal Activity 4 movie posterParanormal Activity 4
Directed by Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Written by Christopher Landon, Chad Feehan
Starring Katie Featherston, Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively, Brady Allen, and Aiden Lovekamp
Paramount Pictures
Rated R | 88 Minutes
Release Date: October 19, 2012

Things that go bump in the night. The primal unknown that can make anyone lose sleep. It’s a simple concept that we can all relate to, which is why the original Paranormal Activity struck such a nerve. Audiences loved it, and it made over 12,500 times its budget in profit. So it’s not surprising Paramount has been churning out sequels every year since.

As with the previous films, Paranormal Activity 4 features “found footage” captured by the characters themselves. Each film as found put a unique spin on how the footage is captured, but the result is the same. This time, the audience is shown an amalgamation of footage captured from web cams, digital cameras, and, in a less-than-subtle piece of product placement, feedback from an XBOX Kinect setup. Unlike the previous films, however, this one offers no explanation for when or how the footage was found and put back together. This was the first sign that storytelling was not a high priority this time around.

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DVD Review: The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret Series One
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The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd MargaretThe Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret Series One
DVD | Instant Video
Starring David Cross, Will Arnett, Sharon Horgan, Blake Harrison
MPI Home Video
Release Date: December 27, 2011

Todd Margaret (David Cross) is not a smart man, and his desire to succeed and impress those around him constantly gets the better of him. A compulsive liar who is completely unable to admit his mistakes, he ends up way over his head when a sudden job promotion lands in his lap by accident.

When his new, extremely aggressive boss Brett (Will Arnett) promotes the incompetent Margaret to head of UK sales for a North Korean energy drink called Thunder Muscle. The problem, well, the first problem, is Margaret knows nothing about sales or the United Kingdom, but that doesn’t stop him from taking the job and heading across the pond.

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Blu-Ray Review: Kill List
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Kill List blu-ray

Kill List
Blu-ray | DVD
Directed by Ben Wheatley
Starring Neil Maskell, MyAnna Burning, Michael Smiley
Rook Films, X Warp, IFC Films, MPI Media Group
Release Date (US): August 14, 2012

Kill List came to the states with a lot hype behind it. The sophomore feature film outing for British director Ben Wheatley is inaccurately described as a horror movie, but it is really a crime movie with a bit of the occult thrown in for flavor.

I had to wait for the home video release of Kill List to see what all the hype was about, but unfortunately, I was still left wondering as the closing credit appeared. Kill List is by no means a bad movie, but there is nothing special about it either.

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Convention Report: Motor City Comic Con 2012
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MCCC 2012 Cosplay

The Motor City Comic Con is not a newcomer on the convention scene, but I can’t help but feel it’s a late-bloomer still unsure how things are meant to run.

The 2012 convention was held in Detroit, Michigan, last month and turnout this year appeared much higher than the rain-plagued 2011 event. Walking through the comics side of the Suburban Collection Showplace proved difficult as crowds clamored around the various comic and collectible vendors. Big name artists like Ethan Van Sciver and Talent Caldwell were almost always seen talking with fans or busy working on sketches.

But conventions like this are also a good place for smaller, local talents to find a wider audience. I Love Lightning Bugs, a band heralding from Royal Oak, Michigan, had a booth showcasing both their music and a new comic book illustrated by local artist Mindy McPeak featuring the band members adventures into the paranormal. First looks suggest a Gorillaz-esque alternative reality but with protagonists based on real people.

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MCCC 2012: Cosplay Round-Up
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MCCC 2012 Cosplay

One of the big attractions for convention-goers of all ages is the chance to dress up like their favorite characters from comics, anime, movies, cartoons, and video games. So it was not surprising that a number of dedicated cosplayers showed up at Motor City Comic Con last weekend wearing intricately detailed outfits. While many competed in the costume contest, others were just there to have fun, posing for pictures with others guests and interacting with each other in moments of cross-genre roleplaying.

Here are some of the outfits that really stood out at the 2012 Motor City Comic Con.

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Sean Patrick Flanery Confirms ‘Boondock Saints 3’ Being Written Now
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Sean Patrick Flanery and Sherilyn Fenn at Motor City Comic Con 2012

Among the plethora of media and comic stars that appeared at the 2012 Motor City Comic-Con this weekend, the biggest draw was by far Sean Patrick Flanery and David Della Rocco, stars of the cult classic film The Boondock Saints. Though originally slated to appear, Norman Reedus was unable to attend MCCC due to filming obligations for the third season of AMC’s The Walking Dead. That left the two three-named stars to pose for pictures and sign autographs for hours on end. The only time “The Saints” seemed to step away from their table was to take part in a short discussion panel about cult classics with Sherilyn Fenn of Twin Peaks, James Duval of Donny Darko, and Patricia Quinn of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The panel itself got off to an awkward start as the lights remained off for the first 10 minutes and there was no microphone for audience members to use. But Flanery kept things going by sharing humorous stories about his Boondock Saints co-stars and fielding questions to the other guests when it appeared the audience was mostly there for him.

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Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows movie posterSherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace, Stephen Fry, Rachel McAdams, Kelly Reily
Release Date: December 16, 2011

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) is back, and this time he is facing the greatest challenge of his life. His former partner, Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) has moved on with his life as he prepares to wed Mary Watson (Kelly Reily). Holmes is left alone to let his mind wander between his latest inventions (which include “urban camouflage” and adrenalin shots) and ongoing investigation in crimes which nobody else even believes are even happening.

Though the story of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows continues roughly where the first film left off, an unknown amount of time has passed. In that time, Holmes has become increasingly erratic as he obsessively tracks what he believes is an international scheme by Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris).

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Comic Review: Troy Duffy’s Boondock Saints: In Nomine Patris
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Boondock Saints: In Nomine PatrisBoondock Saints: In Nomine Patris
Written by Troy Duffy and J.B. Love
Art by Guus Floor
Letters by Innfusion Studios
Covers by Chris Brunner
12 Gauge Comics
Release Date: November 9, 2011
Cover Price: $19.99

Long before two Irish brothers became prayer-reciting vigilantes in south Boston, their father went on a similar crusade against the mob. Before the legend of “Il Duce,” there was the life of Noah MacManus. Fans of the cult classic film The Boondock Saints know there were a lot of unanswered questions about the man whose name wasn’t even revealed until the sequel. Though the second film answered many of those questions, the series took to a new medium shortly thereafter, with 12 Gauge Comics publishing a trilogy of comic series exploring the character’s backstory. Now, the whole story is collected in a single graphic novel for the first time in Boondock Saints: In Nomine Patris.

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Movie Review: Paranormal Activity 3
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Paranormal Activity 3 movie posterParanormal Activity 3
Directed by Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Written by Christopher B. Landon, Oren Peli
Starring Lauren Bittner, Chloe Csengery, Christopher Nicholas Smith, Jessica Tyler Brown, Dustin Ingram, Katie Featherston, Sprague Grayden
Release Date: October 21, 2011

It was not surprising that Paranormal Activity was turned into a franchise after the original, which was made on a budget of $15,000, made over $100 million at the box office. What is surprising is that Paranormal Activity 3, despite rehashing the same formula as the first two films, still manages to scare people half to death.

The evil is back. The incorporeal evil has been caught on tape again, and this time it has a name… Toby. That’s right, the malevolent entity haunting the family in the Paranormal Activity series is named Toby. At least, that is, according to Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown), who gives the name to what her sister Katie (Chloe Csengery) thinks is her imaginary friend. Katie and Kristie both learn the hard way that Toby is not imaginary in the first two films, but Paranormal Activity 3 is set in 1988, when the girls are still children living with their mother Julie (Lauren Bittner) and stepdad Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith).

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Movie Review: Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark
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Don't Be Afraid the DarkDon’t Be Afraid of the Dark
Directed by Troy Nixey
Starring Bailee Madison, Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce
Release date: August 26, 2011

When it comes to remakes, horror movies seem like the most popular option. It’s far rarer, however, that the film was a made-for-TV special, but such is the case for the new Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.

The film opens in the late 19th century at Blackwood Manor, a large mansion set in a remote woodsy area. A housekeeper is called into the basement by Mr. Blackwood only to be trapped and have her teeth bashed out with a chisel. An apologetic Blackwood, who is missing teeth himself, collects her shattered teeth and places them in a bloody dish. He places the dish inside a nearby fireplace, all the while begging to have his son back. Whispers respond, and Blackwood is painfully pulled into the fireplace.

Jumping forward to the modern day, architect Alex Hirst (Guy Pearce) and his interior decorator girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) are in the middle of an extensive renovation of Blackwood Manor. Things become complicated when Alex’s daughter Sally (Bailee Madison) arrives, having been sent by her mother to live with Alex. Sally quickly discovers the now barricaded basement and fireplace, and soon the whispers start again. Revealing more of the plot might ruin the scares for some people, but needless to say something scary calls Blackwood Manor home.

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