Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
Friday's Comic-Con Schedule Highlights
We just got our hands on the Friday (July 23) schedule for Comic-Con 2010 in San Diego, and there's just as much delicious geek-fare to entertain you as there was on Thursday's schedule! Moreover, FRIDAY is STAR WARS DAY at Comic-Con!
Even if you didn't manage to nab a ticket to the convention this year, you can still revel in all its glory here at Hollywood.com, where we will continue to keep you up to date with all the event's entertainment-industry news. Full Friday schedule here.
10:00-11:00 Comedy Central: Ugly Americans
David M. Stern (showrunner and executive producer), Dan Powell (executive producer), Jeff Poliquin (supervising producer), Devin Clark (producer and series creator), Aaron Augenblick (director of animation), Matt Oberg (voice of Mark Lilly), Kurt Metzger (voice of Randall Skeffington), and Randy Pearlstein (voice of Leonard) take you behind the scenes at this animated series sensation. Featuring a sneak peek of the new season, Q&A, and more. One audience member selected will be drawn into an upcoming episode! Room 25ABC
10:15-11:15 Aloha, Earth!
Lost castaway found! Battlestar Cylon becomes human! Star Trek writers return from space! A supernatural force has drawn some of sci-fi's giants back to Earth -- and they're all gathering on a beautiful and mysterious island in the Pacific. It's Hawaii Five-0, a modern-day reimagining of one of television's most beloved and iconic classics. The epic series, one of the most anticipated new shows of the season, will explore the origins of the Five-0 team and build on an already rich mythology. Executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek) and Peter M. Lenkov (24), director Len Wiseman (Underworld), and stars Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) and Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica) present an exclusive sneak peek at the series and an in depth discussion on how they plan to marry their genre sensibilities with a classic police procedural. Room 6BCF
10:30-11:30 Batman: The Brave and the Bold Screening and Q&A
The Caped Crusader swings back into San Diego as Batman: The Brave and the Bold returns to Comic-Con for its third consecutive year, with an advance screening of an upcoming episode as well as a lively discussion with voice of Batman Diedrich Bader (Surf's Up), executive producer Sam Register (Teen Titans), producers James Tucker (Justice League Unlimited), and Michael Jelenic (The Batman), and voice director Andrea Romano (Superman Doomsday). As a special bonus for fans, the panel will also screen the world premiere trailer for the upcoming and highly anticipated Cartoon Network/Warner Bros. Animation series Young Justice...don't miss this Comic-Con exclusive! From Warner Bros. Animation, Batman: The Brave and the Bold airs Fridays at 7:30 pm ET/PT on Cartoon Network, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold—Season 1, Part 1 will be released on DVD August 17. Room 6A
10:30-11:30 Stargate Universe
Follow your Destiny. Catch the Syfy Stargate Universe panel, featuring Robert Carlyle (Dr. Nicholas Rush), David Blue (Eli Wallace), Ming Na (Camile Wray), and Louis Ferreira (Colonel Everett Young), moderated by Robert Cooper (series co-creator). Ballroom 20
10:30-11:30 Summit Entertainment: Drive Angry 3D
A vengeful father hunts down the people who brutally killed his daughter and kidnapped her baby in the newest film shot in 3D from the writer and director of My Bloody Valentine 3D, starring Nicolas Cage, William Fichtner, Billy Burke, and Amber Heard. Join the cast and filmmakers as they showcase never-before-seen footage of this high-octane, blood-spattered road trip through hell! Hall H
11:00-12:00 Bob's Burgers
Creator/executive producer Loren Bouchard (Home Movies) and executive producer Jim Dauterive (King of the Hill) introduce animation fans to their hilarious new series premiering on Fox in January. There will be a screening of never-before-seen footage followed by a Q&A. Room 25ABC
11:00-11:45 Dimension Films: Piranha 3D
Dimension Films presents never-before-seen footage of Piranha 3D, which hits theatres August 20. Director/producer Alex Aja (The Hills Have Eyes), producer Mark Canton (300), producer Gregory Levasseur, and executive producer Alix Taylor are joined by cast members Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell, Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl), Steven R. McQueen (Vampire Diaries), Kelly Brook, and Adam Scott for a sneak peek at Piranha 3D and a Q&A! Hall H
11:30-12:30 AMC's The Walking Dead
Andrew Lincoln (Love Actually), Jon Bernthal (The Pacific), Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break), Laurie Holden (The Mist), Emma Bell (Law & Order), series creator/director/executive producer Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), executive producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator), executive producer Robert Kirkman (creator/writer of The Walking Dead comic), makeup artist Greg Nicotero, and Joel Stillerman (AMCs senior VP) discuss the making of AMC's series The Walking Dead, based on the Image comic book series created and written by Robert Kirkman, premiering in October on AMC. Room 6BCF
11:30-12:30 State of the Animation Industry
ASIFA-Hollywood's annual overview of trends in animation. In this turbulent economy, how is the animation industry faring? Are games taking up the slack? Will 2D survive? Moderated by Tom Sito (Shrek, The Lion King), the panel includes Raul Garcia (Aladdin, The Old Woman and the Reaper), Joe Haidar (Beauty and the Beast, Alvin the Squeakquel), Beth Sleven (Night at the Museum, Iron Man 2), and Sean Petrilak (Kung Fu Panda TV show, Lady Gaga and Kanye West videos). Room 9
Syfy presents an exclusive glimpse into the future of humanity. Featuring Alessandra Torresani (Zoe Graystone), Sasha Roiz (Sam Adama), Ronald D. Moore (co-creator/executive producer), and David Eick (executive producer) and moderated by Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times. Ballroom 20
11:45-12:45 Cartoon Network: Comedy Animation
What time is it? It's Adventure Time with special guests Pendleton Ward (creator), Jeremy Shada (voice of Finn), John DiMaggio (voice of Jake), and Tom Kenny (voice of Ice King). Fans will also get an exclusive look at what's coming this fall from Cartoon Network Studios, including a sneak peek at Regular Show with creator J. G. Quintel. Room 6A
12:00-1:00 Neighbors from Hell
Executive producers Pam Brady (South Park) and Mireille Soria (Madagascar) screen a never-before-seen episode of their newly launched TBS animated series and take questions from the audience, along with their all-star voice cast including Molly Shannon (SNL), Patton Oswalt (My Weakness Is Strong, Ratatouille), Will Sasso (MADtv), Kurtwood Smith (That '70s Show), David Soren (DreamWorks animation veteran), Kyle McCulloch (Mr. Wong), and Tracey Fairaway (Chicago 8). Room 25ABC
Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, and Rogue Pictures present an exclusive look at the sci-fi thriller Skyline, directed and produced by the Brothers Strause (Alien vs. Predator: Requiem), whose company Hydraulx has provided visual effects for Avatar, Iron Man 2, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and 300. In Skyline, strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame, where an extraterrestrial force proceeds to swallow the entire human population off the face of the earth. Colin and Greg Strause unveil an exclusive Comic-Con trailer and scenes from Skyline, along with stars Donald Faison (Scrubs), Eric Balfour (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 24), David Zayas (The Expendables, Dexter), Scottie Thompson (Star Trek), and Brittany Daniel (Club Dread) and moderated by Drew McWeeney. Hall H
12:45-1:45 The Big Bang Theory
It's "Anything Can Happen Friday" at Comic-Con as The Big Bang Theory -- which kicks off a new night of comedy on Thursdays for CBS this fall -- returns to Comic-Con with a special screening and Q&A featuring the show's creators and stars. Resident Big Bang alum Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation) moderates a lively discussion featuring executive producers Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men) and Bill Prady (Dharma & Greg), as well as series stars Johnny Galecki (Roseanne), Jim Parsons (Garden State), Kaley Cuoco (Charmed), Simon Helberg (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story), and Kunal Nayyar (NCIS). From Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television, The Big Bang Theory will air Thursdays at 8 pm ET/PT this fall on the CBS Television Network, and The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Third Season will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 14. Ballroom 20
1:00-2:00 Motion Picture and Television Production Designers
Motion picture and television production designers might take us to a 1930s prison break, a '50s drag race, a '70s disco, or even today's Comic-Con. Or, like this year's panel, they'll take you to unknown worlds that beggar the imagination—fully realized worlds with alternate architecture, interior design, cars, weapons, and more. In collaboration with a multi-person, highly skilled art department, they will conceive, hire, supervise, and even try to stay on budget as they create whole new worlds of the imagination. Panelists include moderator John Muto (Terminator 2: 3D), Mimi Gramatky (10,000 Days), Barry Robison (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Kirk Petruccelli (Blade), and Oliver Scholl (The Time Machine). Room 32AB
Writer/director James Gunn (Slither), stars Rainn Wilson (The Office), Liv Tyler (Lord of the Rings), Nathan Fillion (Firefly), and Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer), and producers Ted Hope (Adventureland) and Miranda Bailey (The Squid and the Whale) reveal footage from their latest feature production Super, including the first peek at Rainn and Ellen Page's costume design. Super is a hyper-real and shockingly funny look at the extremely violent antics of a down-on-his-luck man as he attempts to win his wife back from a glamorous drug dealer by teaming up with a psychopathic teen to become costumed crimefighters. Hall H
2:00-3:00 Star Wars Day: Inside the Force
Lucasfilm Animation artists Dave Filoni (supervising director), Joel Aron (CG supervisor), and Kilian Plunkett (lead designer), take you on an in-depth journey from script to screen, showing how an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is made and demonstrate the transformation of the animation style from Season One to the upcoming Season Three. Room 7AB
Creator and executive producer Hart Hanson and star David Boreanaz are on hand to discuss what went down in Season 5 of Bones and the cliffhanger finale as well as what's in store for Booth and Brennan in the exciting new Season 6! The panel will be followed with a Q&A session. Ballroom 20
2:15-3:15 The Cape: Sneak Peek and Panel Discussion
One man can make a difference...When Vince Faraday, an honest cop on a corrupt police force, is framed for murder and presumed killed, he assumes the identity of his son's favorite comic book superhero -- The Cape -- to reclaim his name, family, and his city from the ruthless ARK Corporation and the masked villain known as Chess. Join the cast and creators including David Lyons (ER), Summer Glau (Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles), Dorian Missick (Six Degrees), James Frain (True Blood), Keith David (Gamer), Vinnie Jones (X-Men: Last Stand), Martin Klebba (Pirates of the Caribbean), composer Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica), creator/executive producer Thomas Wheeler (Empire), and showrunner/executive producer John Wirth (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) for this sneak peek at the pilot episode and panel discussion. A limited collector edition of The Cape comic book, with a cover by superstar artist John Cassady (Astonishing X-Men), will be given away at the panel. Room 6A
2:15-3:45 Miramax Films: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
Producer/co-writer Guillermo del Toro and director Troy Nixey present a first look at their new film Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, a hair-raising, spine-chilling tale of horror about a little girl (Bailee Madison) who is sent to live with her father (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend (Katie Holmes) in the old mansion they are renovating, only to unwittingly unleash malevolent creatures bent on destroying all of them. Hall H
2:30-3:30 Nickelodeon: Penguins, Lemurs, and Pandas, Oh My!
See Penguins of Madagascar executive producers Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley (Kim Possible), supervising producer Nick Filippi (Wolverine & X-Men), creative consultant and voice of "Skipper" Tom McGrath (Madagascar 1 & 2), and cast members John DiMaggio (Futurama), Jeff Bennett (The Misadventures of Flapjack), James Patrick Stewart (Wolverine & X-Men), Danny Jacobs (Epic Movie), and Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show) present highlights from the upcoming Penguins special "The Lost Treasure of the Golden Squirrel" and perform a table read from a new episode. Then get a special preview of the upcoming Nickelodeon series Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, presented by executive producer Peter Hastings (Pinky and the Brain), supervising producer Bret Haaland (The Penguins of Madagascar), supervising producer Randy Dormans (The Penguins of Madagascar), and supervising director Gabe Swarr (The Penguins of Madagascar). Moderated by Rich Magallanes, VP of animation for Nickelodeon, and Megan Casey, executive-in-charge for Nickelodeon. Room 5AB
3:00-3:45 The Joss Whedon Experience
Every year Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, and Serenity, comes to Comic-Con to give fans a wide-ranging and digressive look into what's keeping him busy. Join Joss and a few thousand of his closest friends for the Q&A. Spoiler Alert! Ballroom 20
3:15-4:15 Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Andy Whitfield (McLeod's Daughters) makes his Comic-Con debut, along with Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess), John Hannah (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor), and Viva Bianca (Bad Bush). Executive producer Stephen S. DeKnight (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) joins the cast to discuss the upcoming prequel, titled Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, expected to air on Starz in January 2011, and the exclusive content found on the first season Blu-ray discs, available September 21. Room 6BCF
3:30-4:30 Terra Nova
Executive producers Brannon Braga (24, Star Trek: Enterprise) and David Fury (24, Lost), director Alex Graves, and star Jason O'Mara (Life on Mars) offer a glimpse into the highly anticipated epic family adventure 85 million years in the making. This new event drama slated for midseason on FOX comes from the brilliant minds of Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park, The Pacific) and former News Corporation president and COO Peter Chernin and follows an ordinary family on an extraordinary journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a part of a massive expedition to save the human race. Room 6A
4:00-5:00 Entertainment Weekly: Girls Who Kick Ass: A New Generation of Heroines
EW moderates this discussion with Jena Malone (Sucker Punch), Anna Torv (Fringe), Chloe Moretz (Kick Ass), Adrianne Palicki (Red Dawn and Friday Night Lights), and Ellen Wong and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) about the next generation of female action heroes and the power and privilege of playing young women who are nobody's arm candy. Moderated by Nicole Sperling. Ballroom 20
4:00-6:00 Sony Pictures Entertainment: The Other Guys and The Green Hornet
Two more sneak peeks at upcoming films from Sony Pictures Entertainment!
The Other Guys -- NYPD Detectives Christopher Danson and P.K. Highsmith (Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson) are the baddest and most beloved cops in New York City. Two desks over and one back, sit Detectives Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg). You've seen them in the background of photos of Danson and Highsmith, out of focus and eyes closed. They're not heroes -- they're "the Other Guys." But every cop has his day and soon Gamble and Hoitz stumble into a seemingly innocuous case no other detective wants to touch that could turn into New York City's biggest crime. It's the opportunity of their lives, but do these guys have the right stuff? Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, and co-writer/director Adam McKay will be appearing in person.The Green Hornet -- Director Michel Gondry, who makes movies with a special, personal signature, is taking on The Green Hornet—and he's doing it in 3D. Comic-Con audiences, prepare yourselves. In The Green Hornet, Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is the son of L.A.'s most prominent and respected media magnate and perfectly happy to maintain a directionless existence on the party scene—until his father (Tom Wilkinson) mysteriously dies, leaving Britt his vast media empire. Striking an unlikely friendship with one of his father's more industrious and inventive employees, Kato (Jay Chou), they see their chance to do something meaningful for the first time in their lives: fight crime. To get close to the criminals, they come up with the perfect cover: they'll pose as criminals themselves. Protecting the law by breaking it, Britt becomes the vigilante The Green Hornet as he and Kato hit the streets. Confirmed to appear in person to unveil this early look at The Green Hornet in 3D are the Hornet himself, Seth Rogen, director Michel Gondry, writer Evan Goldberg, producer Neal Moritz, and actor Christoph Waltz. Hall H
4:30-5:30 Adult Swim Panel Featuring Robot Chicken, Venture Bros, and Metalocalypse
Show creators Seth Green, Matt Senreich, and Tom Root (Robot Chicken), Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer (Venture Bros), and Brendon Small (Metalocalypse) discuss their original series, screen sneak peeks, and answer questions. Keith Crofford, VP of production at Adult Swim, will moderate. Room 6BCF
4:45-5:45 Falling Skies
They're coming. Get the very first look at Steven Spielberg's new series that envisions a world where aliens have invaded and the fate of humanity lies in the hands of a few survivors. Noah Wyle (ER, TNT's The Librarian movies) and Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) join co-executive producer and writer Mark Verheiden (Heroes, Battlestar Galactica) for a Q&A on the new series. Falling Skies premieres on TNT next summer. Room 6A
5:00-6:00 Spotlight on Drew Struzan
See the premiere screening of excerpts from Drew: The Man Behind the Poster, a feature-length documentary film about the career of movie poster artist and Comic-Con special guest Drew Struzan, featuring exclusive interviews with George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Michael J. Fox, Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg, and many others. Q&A will include Struzan and filmmakers Erik Sharkey (director), Charles Ricciardi (producer), Greg Boas (editor and cinematographer), and Marc-Antoine Serou (cinematographer). Room 7AB
5:00-6:00 Girls Gone Genre: Movies, TV, Comics, Web
Meet and talk with women who write, read, game, and perform in arenas that are historically and statistically dominated by men. What's it like to try and get a job in a field where most of your competitors and colleagues are guys? Can women write men, and vice versa? And what happens when traditionally "male" genres are reinvented by female writers and embraced by female fans? Sex and the City it ain't! Meet the women who like to play with trucks and Barbies...and Wolverine action figures. And flux capacitors. Featuring Felicia Day (writer/producer, The Guild; actress, The Guild, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog), Kathryn Immonen (writer, Patsy Walker: Hellcat, Runaways, Heralds), Laeta Kalogridis (screenwriter/producer, Shutter Island, Ghost in the Shell, Avatar), Marti Noxon (screenwriter/producer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Mad Men), Melissa Rosenberg (screenwriter/producer, Dexter, The Twilight Saga), and Gail Simone (writer, Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey).Moderated by Io9's Annalee Newitz. Room 24ABC
5:15-6:15 True Blood Panel and Q&A session
Mixing romance, suspense, mystery, and humor, True Blood kicked off its 12-episode third season June 13 on HBO. The series, which has earned two Golden Globe nominations for Best Television Series—Drama, follows the romance between waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin, Golden Globe winner for True Blood season one; Oscar-winner for The Piano), who can hear people's thoughts, and her soulmate, 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). Alan Ball (creator of the Emmy-winning HBO series Six Feet Under) created and serves as executive producer of the series, which is based on the best-selling Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. The series also features Nelsan Ellis as Lafayette Reynolds, Sam Trammell as Sam Merlotte, Rutina Wesley as Tara Thornton, Deborah Ann Woll as Jessica Hamby, Kristin Bauer van Straten as Pam, Denis O'Hare as Russell Edgington, the Vampire King of Mississippi, and Joe Manganiello as Alcide Herveaux. (Note: names in bold will be appearing on the panel.) Moderated by Tim Stack of Entertainment Weekly. Ballroom 20
6:00-7:00 BBC America's Being Human
Creator/writer Toby Whithouse and cast members Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow, Aidan Turner, and Sinead Keenan are on stage for a fan Q&A and exclusive inside peek at the new U.S. premiere season launching the same weekend as Comic-Con. The Los Angeles Times declared, "Buffy fans -- come out of the Twilight and sink your teeth into this import." Don't miss the chance to get the inside secrets on the double-lives of a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost, joined this season by George's friend Nina, who's got a mysterious secret of her own. Room 6A
Creator and executive producer Adam Reed (Sealab 2021, Frisky Dingo) screens selected scenes from the FX animated series Archer, which recently won a NowNewNext Award for "Best Television Show You're Not Watching" from cable's Logo network. He will take questions from the audience along with Aisha Tyler, who provides the voice of Agent Lana Kane, the strong, voluptuous, and often exasperated secret agent. Adam and Aisha will discuss the evolution of the series as well as the voice-over process. Room 7AB
6:30-7:30 Thomas Jane and Tim Bradstreet's RAW Entertainment
Join the crew from RAW Entertainment as they discuss their exciting slate of current and upcoming projects in comics and film. Moderated by Thomas Jane (Hung, The Punisher), and Tim Bradstreet (The Punisher), panelists include Bernie Wrightson (Frankenstein), Bruce Jones (Twisted Tales), James Daly (Bad Planet), William Stout (Pan's Labyrinth), Mark Schultz (Cadillacs & Dinosaurs), Steve Niles (30 Days of Night), and a surprise guest! Room 4
6:30-7:30 TV Guide Magazine: The 2010 Hot List
Featuring the hottest supernatural/sci-fi talent in front of the camera and behind the scenes from new and returning series! Moderated by TV Guide magazine's executive editor Craig Tomashoff, the panel includes Morena Baccarin (V), Brannon Braga (Terra Nova, Flash Forward), Michael Chiklis (No Ordinary Family), Keith David (The Cape), Zachary Levi (Chuck), David Lyons (The Cape), Elizabeth Mitchell (V), Chi McBride (Human Target), and others to be announced! Ballroom 20
6:30-7:30 Old School American Horror
Featuring legendary horror icons and the hottest names in the genre, the cast of Hatchet II presents an old school American horror panel. Kane Hodder (Friday The 13th), Tony Todd (Candyman), R. A. Mihailoff (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Danielle Harris (Halloween), Tom Holland (Child's Play), and Adam Green (Hatchet) are on hand for an unforgettable panel. Room 32AB
7:30-8:30 Discovery Channel's Reign of the Dinosaurs
Immerse yourself in next spring's TV blockbuster, as an all-star crew reveal the secrets behind Discovery Channel's genre-busting journey back to the Prehistoric. Confirmed panelists include Iain McCaig (Star Wars), David Krentz (Disney's Dinosaur), and Ricardo Delgado (Dark Horse Comics' Age of Reptiles), all of whom will be pitching their stories live! Hosted by producer Erik Nelson (Grizzly Man), the panel goes deep behind the scenes for an in-depth look at how this landmark production is creating stories, characters, and digital models for the new standard in realistic dinosaur storytelling. A once-in-a-decade opportunity to be present at the creation of an epic miniseries. Room 6BCF
7:30-8:30 30 Days of Night: Dark Days
This highly anticipated sequel to the box office hit 30 Days of Night is based on the second book of the cult graphic novel series and will debut on Blu-ray and DVD this fall from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Director/co-screenwriter Ben Ketai (Dusk to Dusk), graphic novel creator/co-writer Steve Niles, stars Keile Sanchez (Lost), Diora Baird (TCM: The Beginning), and Rhys Coiro (Entourage, upcoming Straw Dogs), and producer J. R. Young (Ghosthouse) are on hand for an exclusive sneak peek, panel, and Q&A session. Room 7AB
8:00-9:00 Anthropology of Twilight Zone
Daryl G. Frazetti (anthropologist, Western Nevada College) and Curtis Webster (Spirit of Star Trek host) examine Rod Serling's exploration of the ambiguity of reality as it relates to the human condition, exceeding cultural space/time constraints. This panel examines questions such as: What is the deeper cultural meaning of "perception"? What is the cultural meaning of myth? How might Twilight Zone function as myth? How do Sterling's insights speek to concepts of cultural and linguistic relativism? Don't miss this enthralling discussion on the mix of Serling's magic and science fiction as the presenters follow each twist and turn that moves the meanings of his stories into the mythical realm. Participation highly encouraged! Room 8
8:00-10:00 World Premiere: Batman: Under the Red Hood
Warner Home Video, Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Animation proudly present the World Premiere of Batman: Under the Red Hood, the eighth entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 movies. In the film, Batman faces his ultimate challenge as the mysterious Red Hood takes Gotham City by firestorm. One part vigilante, one part criminal kingpin, Red Hood begins cleaning up Gotham with the efficiency of Batman, but without following the same ethical code. Killing is an option. And when The Joker falls in the balance between the two, hard truths are revealed and old wounds are reopened. The stellar voice cast is led by Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek), Jensen Ackles (Supernatural), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), John DiMaggio (Futurama), Jason Issacs (the Harry Potter films), and Vincent Martella (Phineas & Ferb). Executive producer Bruce Timm (DCU films), director Brandon Vietti (Superman: Doomsday), award-winning comics writer Judd Winick, casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano (DCU films) and members of the voice cast will be around for a postscreening panel that will reveal details behind the making of the film, a glimpse of the 2011 DC Universe Animated Original Movies slate, and a first look at the next DCU film, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Warner Home Video will distribute Batman: Under the Red Hood on Blu-Ray and DVD, OnDemand and For Download on July 27, 2010. Note: a second encore screening will take place in the same room beginning at 10:15. Ballroom 20
8:30-9:30 Ironclad Panel and Footage
A medieval Magnificent Seven that combines the visceral action of 300 with the impassioned heroism and romance of Braveheart, Ironclad is a violent action thriller that tells the true story of a motley crew of tough, battle hardened warriors, who withstood several brutal and bloody months under siege, in a desperate bid to defend their country’s freedom. Starring James Purefoy, Paul Giamatti, Brian Cox, Kate Mara, Jason Flemyng, and Derek Jacobi. Filmmakers Jonathan English (Minotaur), Andrew Curtis (Lost In La Mancha), and Rick Benattar (Shoot 'em Up) will screen an 11-minute battle sequence from the film and host a Q&A afterward. Special surprise guests to appear! Room 7AB
9:30-10:30 The Blood Factory
To unlock the bone-chilling secrets of The Blood Factory, join Danny De Vito (actor/director/star of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), John Albo (writer/director of Flexing with Monty), Nick Bonamy (art director of The Blood Factory), "Tkay" Raul Garcia (website developer), Frank Ippolito (effects makeup, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3), and William Mesa (visual effects, Army of Darkness). Relish new short films from The Blood Factory: tales of horror that will conjure nightmares to disturb your sleep for nights to come. Room 5AB