Site Updates! August Film A Week Film Reveals & Amazon Wishlist

Hello, readers. Serg Beret here.

Now, normally I announce the Film A Weeks films as the weeks go along in order to maintain the surprise, but this month, I want to change that by announcing them beforehand since I will have my hands full in the upcoming weeks. The month is all about uncovered genres on Film A Week with each week diving into a new genre into the mix.


As announced, Week 30 is 2009’s Paper Heart covering the mockumentary genre. Week 31 will explore the Western genre with the Sam Peckinpah classic, 1969’s The Wild Bunch. Week 32 will venture into the straight up horror genre with 1942’s Cat People without the past horror films that blended humor or science fiction themes. Week 33 gets into the New French Extremity subgenre with Gaspar Noe’s highly controversial films, 2002’s Irreversible, which is one Film A Week to look forward to as it will be handling cringe-worthy themes in a very serious light. Finally, Week 34 will go into the erotic film genre with 1979’s Caligula, the first true X rated film to be covered for the series and the first NSFW review because…well, it’s Caligula.


Week 30: Paper Heart, August 2nd
Week 31: The Wild Bunch, August 9th

Week 32: Cat People, August 16th
Week 33: Irreversible, August 23rd
Week 34: Caligula, August 30th

With that announcement, time to share the Film A Week Amazon Wishlist. This wishlist was a long time in the making and pertains solely for review purposes and helping this series and potential series and retrospectives. The Amazon Wishlist is located on the sidebar and at this link: This will help the site strive as it strives to eventually make some form of revenue. It is a good way to support new series such as Back to the Drawing Board coming in October and Play The Record, a music series premiering in late September/early October, and you will get recognition as well.

Thanks for reading this announcement. Love you all,
Sergio J. Berrueta aka Serg Beret

Film A Week 29: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Adaptations of popular best sellers and books is always a tough job in the industry of Hollywood. It takes a few executives to step in and try to appeal to broader market to completely screw it up. Yet, there are instances when Hollywood decides to play nice and lend the driver’s seat to the author and have them show off their vision to the world. Such is the case with this week’s film, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.


Produced, written and directed by Stephen Chobsky, Perks is a throwback tale into the years of high school youth of the early 80s detailing the freshman year of resident wallflower Charlie, played by Logan “Percy Jackson” Lerman. Along the way, Charlie comes across some cool senior in the form of Patrick, an outspoken gay teenager played by Erza Miller, and manic pixie dream girl (a recurring theme in the Film A Week series) Sam, played by Emma “Not Going to Call Her Hermonie” Watson. The life of Charlie goes from him just being a wallflower latching onto to a certain group to diving in too deep into his own psyche, emotions and desires.

To be perfectly honest with the reader, it is hard to write about this film and review without going into spoilers of both the film and the book, but I will try my best. Charlie is a messed up soul, not by choice of course due to an undeniable bout personal trauma in his life. He is truly an awkward fellow that Logan Lerman’s portrayal could be the spawn of Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenberg if it was possible for those two to mate. Lerman plays Charlie with simplicity, yet pulls off the most serious of moments with realism. Erza Miller is phenomenal as Patrick and lived up to expectations tackling the sarcastic gay archetype with subtlety and shining bright in darker moments. One killer moment is during arguably the most cringe worthy moment of the film, Patrick immediately utters the immortals words of “Well, that’s fucked up”, breaking for a comedic beat, but not ruining the tension of the scene.

Emma Watson as Sam is the typical manic pixie dream girl with a bit more too her than the others. She has a past that is just as broken as Charlie and Charlie envisions her as the ultimate girl who can do no wrong despite dropping acid every now and then. Watson sells it well and is magnificent.Actually, without Emma Watson’s involvement, Perks of Being a Wallflower would have never even hit the screen. She and Stephen Chobsky got together to talk about trying to get this film off the ground. They both went shopping the film rights around Hollywood demanding it be made until Summit finally said “Fine. It will make up for Twilight” (I assume that is what the executive said).

Like The Breakfast Club, but in the 90’s…in a 2012 film

The rest of the supporting cast is just stellar. From the smallest of roles with Dylan McDermott as Charlie’s dad to Mae Whitman playing an excellent clingy girl archetype cannot bare to be with, everyone is stellar. Never would I have thought they cast an adaptation so perfectly outside of Lord of the Rings, but with a bevy of great actors and actresses, this film proved that wrong.

Chobsky’s vision of his own work on screen is grounded in the reality of the 90’s with low lighting, not going to into high concept and seems to have a clear focus. It is quite a treat to see an author go from writing the initial version of a scene in novel form for the reader to imagine to showing off what he wanted to convey to those curious to view it. For a novel that is told entirely in letters to a mystery friend, this film manages to keep to the same rhythm as source material. The audience only sees Charlie’s account of the events going on and leaves us to wonder who some of characters are, what are they thinking and what they took away from the experiences.

Overall, I regret waiting until now to read the novel and watch the film as it is certainly one of the few great adaptions of an already great story. If I could go back in time, I would have knocked out The Dark Knights Rises from my Top 12 of 2012 list and easily placed this film on it. the Perks of Being a Wallflower is great for those who have read the book and wondered if it could live up to the book’s reputations. For those who never read the book, do not fret because the film covers just as much as the book. Either way, you are in good company and you will fell infinite after it is all over.

“We can be heroes, just for one day”

Next week, we wonder what exactly is love and go on adventure with Charlene Yi to seek out the answer…if we don’t fall head over heels with Michael Cera first. Time for Film A Week to take a breather post as we sit back and watch the faux-documentary Paper Heart.

Film A Week 30: Paper Heart (2009)

Saturday Friday, August 2nd


What Is ScareLA
ScareLA premieres on August 10 & 11, 2013 as the first Los Angeles convention dedicated to celebrating Halloween. Situated in the entertainment capital of the world it will combine the city’s top talent and unique cultural setting with a twist! Drawing fans and haunt entertainment professionals, the event will feature top attraction designers and operators, manufacturers, artists, filmmakers and more. The weekend-long Halloween season teaser will celebrate California’s hottest scary faire with attraction unveils, workshops and classes, top industry panels, haunt tours, screenings and activities.

What Can I Expect
Curated exhibitor list showcasing scary goods, services & jobs Expert and celebrity panels on the haunt business, horror entertainment and more Sneak-peeks and unveils of top and upcoming local haunts Professional demos and classes on makeup, set building, costume creation, animatronics and more
Hands-on workshops taught by top haunt industry professionals for all skill levels and ages Onsite haunt experiences and Halloween-themed entertainment
Education on Halloween art and history
Screenings of attraction walk- throughs and local scary films Games, pumpkin carving, costume party and more

ScareLA will engage over 3,000 of the most passionate LA Halloween and haunt professionals, enthusiasts and fans showcasing the diversity and high quality of our city’s autumn and horror themed attractions. In 2012 a record-breaking 71% of Americans participated in Halloween festivities, spending was at an all-time high. The convention will highlight Los Angeles as the top destination for Halloween tourists in-par with scary entertainment epicenters throughout the U.S.
Media Impact
ScareLA is expected to generate over 200 M media impressions nation-wide in its first year across online, TV and radio. Our media supporters include premier scare entertainment outlets and a broad spectrum of consumer and event-goer media.
Sponsorship Opportunities
The convention is a premier opportunity for California theme park attractions, Halloween productions, manufacturers, services, & venues to showcase their products, new content and build excitement for the upcoming Halloween season. Sponsorship benefits include various levels of onsite and online presence, PR, custom-tailored activations & more.

LOS ANGELES, California
ScareLA, the first-ever Southern California Halloween convention, announced today it will open in downtown Los Angeles on August 10 and 11, 2013. The event celebrates California’s Halloween, haunt, and horror community and fans with two full days of presentations, industry panels, hands-on workshops, and an exhibitor show floor.
The ScareLA program will feature sneak-previews and behind the scenes insights into the most anticipated 2013 Halloween events in the region. Confirmed participants include:
John Murdy, creative director, Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights
Brooke Walters, designer, Knott’s Halloween Haunt maze
Melissa Carbone, producer, Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, The Great Horror Campout
Jason Blum, horror film producer Insidious, Sinister, The Paranormal Activity Jon Braver, founder and director of interactive horror theatre Haunted Play Delusion
Key creatives and staff from local haunted attractions such as Reign of Terror, Sinister Pointe, Chambers of the Mausoleum, Blumhouse of Horrors, Blackout Haunted House
Participants from renowned home haunts throughout SoCal including The House at Haunted Hill, Boney Island, Boot Hill, and more

“ScareLA will shine the spotlight on everything that makes Los Angeles the ultimate Halloween destination in America,” shares David Markland, who is co-producing the event with Lora Ivanova. Ivanova adds, “Our city is brimming with talent and scary history just waiting to be discovered. Are you curious about hidden urban haunts? Want to get a head start on your Halloween costume? Interested in creating your own attraction or going pro? We have you covered.”

At ScareLA attendees will have an opportunity to learn from the nation’s best pro haunters and artists with a full lineup of workshops, demonstrations and classes. From make-up art, costuming, home haunt logistics and tips on pumpkin carving, fans and pros of all ages will get the chance to roll up their sleeves and play.
Interactive exhibits, exclusive meet-and-greet opportunities and a show floor full of unique Halloween merchandise round out the event’s ever-growing schedule. Original programming developed in partnership with Theme Park Adventure, industry legend Leonard Pickel, Scream Team Productions, Dread Central, FANGORIA, Shock Till You Drop and more.
To purchase tickets, for more information, exhibitor inquiries and to be among the first to learn about event updates, visit Share, inspire, play – ScareLA.

Personal Ramblings: Romantic Realizations

Yes, we are talking about romance. Now, before I dive deep into this whole rambling on the mere concept of having mutual bond with someone, I am deeply aware this may come straight out of left field. Why? Because I am single, so what the hell do I have to say about romance outside of typical cliched romances in cinema and the songs from The Book of Love the Magnetic Fields sang about and Peter Gabriel covered? Well, romance has evolved from the days of fairy tales into a simple, yet complicated process into a real and honest truth.

Lately, it has been appearing in the media world as well, be it at the local cinema or in the palm of your hands reading a romantic novel. Not the the puppy dog romances that exists in films like Grease or vapid hints in the Twilight series, both in film and novel form. No, romance is seen as it should be: a series of events where to people are probably destined to be together (or not, I digress), but must undergo arduous tasks, rediscovery or a good kick in the ass in order to fulfill their goal in the modern romance world. The idea of love and romance is one tough shell to crack.

Once you crack it, you can finally get the sweet and salty goodness that is a ‘relationship’ (Terrible analogy, I know)

It seem sugarcoating the truth of this amazing and terrifying experience is no longer the case. For example, men and women alike have a series of unrealistic expectations based off what they feel is an ideal relationship from what they see on the silver screen, in their world view or by misinterpreting the entire premise of (500) Days of Summer. We set up these expectations to suit are needs, but when you get down to it, it is pretty much a ‘want’ rather than a ‘need.’ For example, in the film Ruby Sparks, the main character Calvin, played by Paul Dano, ends up falling in love with his creation Ruby Sparks because she is everything he desires from a woman by writing out exactly what she can do to satisfy him.

Also helps if she is played by your real life girlfriend, but that is besides the point

Ruby does not like this and begins to break down and turn into something he did not expect. It is not until Calvin realizes at the last second “Oh fuck, this is not what I wanted’. No one truly needs what they want and cannot control their ideal sense of romance. What few understand is that romance is based on two people’s ideal vision of what it can create and what it can go onto be and not just one’s perception of the whole relationship. Sure, it can backfire and the two may not agree, but in the end, they must work out a bond. It’s kind of like a co-op objective in a mod for Warcraft IIIYou two have to solve one objective together and figure out exactly what you need to build, what to take away from the previous builds and how to approach the situation at hand without completely fucking it up.

And I just lost half the readers for making a Warcraft III reference to explain the concept of realism in romance

But know you ask yourself ‘What can I do to change that?’ It’s simple really. Lower expectations and go into it with a realistic and optimistic view. It may not go the way you want to, but that’s okay because you decided to approach it with realism and a clear head rather than being stuck in a fantasy created in the mind. I have given advice to people who wonder why they can’t get the person they want or why their relationship is working. This sole reason seems to be the problem and many need to see that it is not them that is the problem, but themselves.

AKA Tom Hansen Syndrome

Even the young teen romances that we all experienced in the high school prime of our lives getting a new modern view as well. Young love, and for many their first love, in high school is hell. The couples want to be happy with sunshine and rainbows flying everywhere, yet many obstacles are in their way and they fall apart in an instant. The fantasy is taken over by the reality, but it is a tough lesson to learn. Seeing romance in a realistic sense is hard to do.

One of the most popular novels at the moment is John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, which provides the most realistic view on young romance and the harshness that it all is. In the book, an intelligent and gorgeous young teen with thyroid cancer named Hazel Grace falls for a gorgeous specimen of a boy named Augustus Waters, who has lost a leg due to his osteosarcoma and they fall head over heels for one another. Hazel feels that her death will tear them apart and does not to fall for Augustus, but Augustus decides to love her regardless even knowing about the danger that may lie ahead for them.

Which Shailene Woodley better not fuck up

Without spoiling too much of the book, they both have intricate talks about the concept of death and the concept of why being together may not work out for the best. It is smart, intelligent, and takes the concept of the already heartbreaking teen romances and elevates by thrusting a true and honest element upon these two have two equally struggle with. They cooperate together to work through it and see it to the end despite the struggle that will face them later on. Normally, we see this realistic situation in older couple, but to have a younger couple undergo it all is brilliant. The expectations were not high, but grounded in the reality around them.

In my last relationship, we had set unrealistic expectations and got lost in the fantasy of what it could become and where it will go. She promised me that we can go on and live our lives after high school since I had just graduated and that everything will be fine. I, like the idiot I am, believed every word of it even though I knew it probably would not last. Sure enough, it did not and it was one hell of a lot to deal with. We set ourselves up for failure and did not approach our relationship with a clear mind. I took the realistic view point of the world from then on after the heartbreak of that relationship and gave up on the fantasy that ran around in my peception.

Or maybe I am wrong. Maybe the magical romance that exists in fantasy is still around us all and I have yet to personally experience it in its form. Maybe the fantasy still lingers about and miracles do happen. Heck, someone right now in the world could be bumping into a random guy or gal in a humorous way and fall in first sight. A couple can probably be forming right now just from stares across the room of the local coffeehouse and then venture off with one another.

Who knows.

Till the next rambling.

The Mystery of the Outer Spectrum

Into the abyss surrounding our inner sanctum
Lies the dark void known as the outer spectrum
A cold un-oxygenated venue of despair
That would leave a lonely traveler grasping for air

Diamonds that twinkle, dead yet sustain
Lighting the beauty, stagnant in the light years while pain
The endless and boundless lands to uncover
With global fields longing for life to discover

Streaks of fire and ice cruise across the infinite night
Waiting to crash land to win a one-sided fight
Rings and belt cavort around celestial giants
With the sun and moons ruling as tyrants

Technicolored nebulae ionized in gas mass
Many be galaxy this system may soon surpass
Black hole and wormholes swallowing precious lives of old
Into other dimensions and multiverses of stories untold

An extended collection of a universe to explore
One for future generations to not ignore
The mystery of the outer spectrum is soon be reveal
A dream for the inner sanctum to make real

Film A Week 28: The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

Last week’s Film A Week ventured into the realm of David Lynch, considered a master of his craft and now we focus on another famous David: the incomparable David Bowie. Bowie has been making music for decades, bending genres exploring what other musician only dare to venture into and inspiring future generations to take his trademark alter egos and create their owns. From Ziggy Stardust to being proclaimed the Thin White Duke, David Bowie to this day has made an impact and even continues to create music with his latest album The Next Day being released to universal. It is wonder then that this man has tried to put his godgiven ass into the world of acting with his debut in The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Yes, for those unaware, the man appeared in a film other than Labyrinth (not knocking that film though is a chessy good time). In Man Who Fell, Bowie plays a martian who has come to Earth to seek out water for his homeworld under the pseudonym of Thomas Jerome Newton. He meets a maid named Mary-Lou, played by Candy Clark who shows him around New Mexico (What is it with these men from other worlds coming to New Mexico? First, Bowie and then Thor. Who is next?).

Thor never had it this good though

He slowly becomes a quite sucessful man by making inventions for World Enterprises in order to build a great amount success and befriends Dr. Nathan Bryce, played by Rip Torn, who tends to be quite the womanizer. Bryce discovers that Newton is not of this world by setting up a series of X-Ray cameras to take pictures of him, as Newton descends into madness of alcoholism and watching multiple sets of televisions. Newton uses his fortune to build a spaceship to head back, despite the obstacles that may get in his way and chaos that may ensue.

The Man Who Fell to Earth is an odd foray in the world of science fiction that seems unnatural and surreal at times. Given the nature of subject matter they are dealing with, it is no wonder. The direction by Nicholas Roeg creates a vision that rivals Lynch with moments that seem out of nowhere and possibly drug infused. Sure, the psychedelic imagery fits in with the era and science fiction features of that. What Roeg does, however, makes an intelligent and unique story using this imagery that not only appeals to the casual viewer, but the art house crowd. Guess Roeg was aware of Criterion Collection before there was a Criterion Collection to speak of.


A story like this would be quite hard to convey and make in modern cinema alongside other films such Inception and District 9, but feels in the realm as those two present classics that made audiences hink and wonder. That is something science fiction is missing these days: intelligence. Casting Bowie as the lead may seem like a gesture to bring more audiences in, but adding him into the mix seems ideal. Bowie already made himsslf built on the obscure and out of this world style, so this film expands upon that. What may surprise many is just how damn good David Bowie is on the acting front. Candy Clark does her job as the swet Mary Lou who in turns falls into the madness that surrounds Newton. Rip Torn himself plays the friendly foe to perfection with a betrayal that feels natural and not out of place just to move the story forward.

Man Who Fell delivers an intelligent and honest effort in the science fiction genre that does not talk down on its viewers, but instead engages them in a worthy out of this world experiences. For David Bowie fans still curious about his acting work, this is great film to start out wih and see just how talented our beloved Goblin King truly is.

Next week on Film A Week, adaptation of highly praised novels is always a tough job, unless the author himself has full control on his own work. Join as we dive into Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the modern classic film based upon a novel I happen to love. Let’s see how this goes.

Film A Week 29: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Saturday July 27th

Hard work, dedication helps William Draven through his magic career

Written by Jesus Figueroa

“Myth: Legends of Burlesque” an incredible showcase of talented burlesque dancers and mystifying magicians begins with an introduction from creator William Draven and ends with a spectacular act.  Draven is from Ohio but has achieved success through both magic performances and producing shows. “A lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I’ve paid my dues. Biggest advice I can give is to follow your heart,” Draven said.

All that is worked for should be achievable and all that is achieved should be worked to maintain and the busy schedule Draven keeps is testimony to how true that is. “I’m married to the craft first, my wife second. Everything I do in life essential to living, eating, sleeping, working, bathing, shopping, etc, is done around my craft,” Draven said “I never stop dreaming. I keep several notebooks for ideas, I write everything down. The good, the bad, the sometimes undefined, and store it for later. I never leave my house with out a coin or a deck of cards. I build my life around my craft,” he said. The philosophy behind Draven’s point of view came from his father who told him, “You will always find the time to do the things that matter to you the most,” Draven said. The dedication to Draven’s craft show through the presence he has on stage. His performance is not only masterfully worked but is always improving.

“I never buy into any of my own marketing, and I’m always looking at every performance with a critical eye. When I say I don’t buy my own marketing I mean I never believe I am as good as they say I am,” Draven sad, “I don’t believe in the concept of a “perfect show”. To me that doesn’t exist. After each show I always review every little detail. Everything from what I did to plan for the event, to what I did while on stage. I pull things apart, I critique myself, and I always find things that I can improve upon,” he said.

The more Draven performs the better he becomes, “There is always something to learn from, something you can improve upon, or something you can do better. When you stop looking for those things is when you need to retire,” Draven said, “While I’ve been blessed to accomplish some of my goals, I still have a long ways to go. I want to tour the world, I want to produce magic for TV programs, and I want to walk in the shadows of the greats like Copperfield, Henning, Thurston, Blackstone, and Burton who came before me. Most of all I want to be respected by my peers for my contribution to the craft. That’s what drives me. The need to be better, and the need to add something of value to a proud tradition that has existed before me, and will continue to exist long after I take my final bow,” he said.

The time has not come to see Draven’s final performance. There are still stages he needs to visit and dreams he needs to achieve. He works diligently and feels fortunate to be able to do what he enjoys. “I grew up in the middle of Ohio. Not the best place to be if you want to be in entertainment. I got to where I am today because people took a chance on me,” Draven said, “They gave me an opportunity to do what I do. They taught me, polished me, broke me, and educated me. I’ve never forgotten that,” he said.

The show goes on and thrills the audience. Each act is spectacular and as the night goes on the incredible magic acts just keep coming.
“I know each act from various other sources. All of the magicians I’ve worked with before on other projects, many of them before at Anime Expo during ‘Magic Macabre.’ My stage crew I know from being loyal gamers at the Table Top Game Room, which I also manage for Anime Expo,” Draven said, “I am routinely honored that Eric Fisher, his brothers, and friends, would gracefully give up their precious time to helping me run my show. Believe me things would not be as smooth without them!,” he said.

Each of the sexy burlesque acts have their own story and adds to the show, “As for most of my burlesque dancers; I know them from working other venues in which we both shared a stage together. The only two that I hadn’t worked with was Nova Snape, and Stella Chuu. I met Nova at Anime Conji in San Diego. After talking about burlesque and entertainment careers she mentioned she would love to be a part of a production at Anime Expo sometime. Unbeknownst to her I was planning Myth at the time so I made the offer to perform with me. I’m glad she said yes,” Draven said, “As for Stella I’d say right place right time. She was coming to Anime Expo anyways, happened to be a burlesque star, and asked if I had room to put her on stage. After reviewing some of her videos I was an instant fan. How could I say no to a Pinkie Pie striptease?! At the end of the day I’m just lucky to know such an amazing group of talented people who never said no to me when I asked them to help me out,” he said.
The show is amazing and the audience tends to enjoy each performance. The screams, the cheers and the enthusiasm are heard throughout the entire show and yet Draven continues to push himself to be better and better.
“I started wanting to be a magician when I was two and a half years old. It was 1983, David Copperfield vanished the Statue of Liberty on national television and watching that show is my earliest memory. Ever since then it grew from hobby to passion and passion into career. One of these days I think I’d like to thank David personally for inspiring me, if I ever get that opportunity that is,” Draven said. Draven has worked his way up and had been performing for the Anime Expo in “Magic Macabre” and now “Myth: Legends of Magic and Burlesque.” He also performs in front of Hot Topic on City Walk Friday through Sundays from 5 – 10 p.m. usually doing street magic. “A lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I’ve paid my dues. Biggest advice I can give is to follow your heart,” Draven said.

Myth has a facebook group page, which all the performers are members of, at Draven can be found on Facebook at


‘The Conjuring’ Provides Fascinating Spook House Scares

Not even in the summer swelter can audiences escape the chilling frights brought on by ‘Saw’ and ‘Insidious’ director James Wan’s latest film, ‘The Conjuring.’ 


Based upon one of the many case files of Ed and Lorriane Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga respectively, the film is a look at their encounters with the Perron Family, lead by Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor, alongside with their daughters as they deal with a paranormal experience terrorizing their new home in Rhode Island. The Warrens, armed with their knowledge of the supernatural, start to take the case head on, only to discover this might be the most destructive and terrifying case they have ever witnessed. 

Wan brings his signature styles of terror by delivering another winner that is closer with his work in ‘Insidious’ providing slow builds to amplify the scares with great Hitchcock-like suspense to help create an uneasy feeling to film-goers. The scares never feel forced or go over the top like current horror films and manages to recreate feelings of classic spook house features of the 70’s. When the scares come, they feel natural and unexpected unlike the scares of last year’s scare flick ‘Sinister’ which were predictable and played to much to what audiences already know. The depth it goes into to explain what the Warrens do for a living and what they have experience, along with going more into the Perron’s daily life, drives the film with a more personal and unique touch, a element missing from the modern supernatural films. Knowing the bond that keeps the Warrens together gives the audience a couple to root for and hope they pull together in the end.

The acting is all around stellar with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga performing as the Warrens with expertise and genuine fright as the story continues into much darker territory. Farmiga as Lorraine is fantastic capturing every emotion and sense of concern with realism and foresight as Wilson supports as the intelligent yet unsure Ed. Lili Taylor fits into her role well and even shines in later scenes tackling a feat most actresses in a film such as this could not take on. The five daughters, portrayed by Mackenzie Foy, Shannon Kook, Joey King, Hayley McFarland, Shanley Caswell and Kyla Deaver, tackle on as the paranormal bait with strength and uncertainty of the situation at hand being both wide eyed and in fear of what is next. The only complaint of the film would be that some supporting characters get limited time and explanation as to why they show up, but it is only a minor complaint in a feature like this.

‘The Conjuring’ is a near-perfect summer scare that is actually terrifying and will leave one shaking long after the credits roll with scares aplenty, a story worth mentioning and characters one can actually root for than despise. ‘The Conjuring’ is rated R for sequences of disturbing violence and terror.

Otaku in the Shell: My Personal AX Experience| Part I: There’s A First Time For Everything…

Entering the Los Angeles Convention Center on Independence Day at 10 am, I was wondering if I would fit into the world of anime. My range of anime knowledge is mostly through exposure to Studio Ghibli films, hours of Toonami with Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z & Mobile Suit Gundam and trying to dive more into the features of Satoshi Kon and Mamoru Hosoda. It seems like a lot, but that is limited in the mind of a die hard Otaku. Even worse in my mind, this was my first true major press event. It was not a Hollywood premiere trying to lure celebs for an interview, but an entire expo filled with events and panels. AX 2013 for the first big press job of my life seemed like a daunting task. Then me and my friend/employer, Jesus Figueroa of, opened the door into a world yet unexplored.

My Press Badge for Anime Expo 2013. The first true step into my journey.

At first, it seems filled to the brim with fans cosplaying as their favorite characters and ready to enter the Exhibit Hall to browse the booths for products that appeal to them. The entrance was only the beginning. It seemed sprawling and massive for such a confined space. It was surprsingly to see a collective group of people together to support their love of not just anime, but anything in the nerd culture and otaku mindset.

Aya Ikeda delighting the crowd (Photo by Jesus Figueroa)


We entered the press lounge for a bit to get the work around about things. Of course, upon arrival, we already had to head to a press conference for J-Pop stars Aya Ikeda and CARAT. This presser started with a bang with a fellow journalist (who I will not name) asking the question of how they are percieve as dumb and idiotic. Never have I seen a room of journalist stare at her with a ‘Dear God, what have you done?’ written of their faces as she pleaded to save herself from the question with pretentious statements to back it up. The first press conference and already controversy as I sit thinking Aww crap, what did I get myself into?. Luckily, we all pretty much agreed that she put herself in a corner she could not get out of. This did not reflect or destroy the rest of my AX experience because it was just getting warmed up as we entered the Exhibit Hall.

Seeing this bad boy above the Hall made me smile like when I watched Gundam for the first time

Holy shit! was my first thought. Tons of booths to go through and explore ranging from classic anime, modern animes and even hentai for those deviants out there in the crowd. Behind was the Artist’s Alley with gorgeous and unique artwork based on anime and even live action shows like Doctor Who and Supernatural. I was disappointed as I did not have enough money to buy anything, but seeing the art was unbelievable.

And the rest of the day went on, though short, was a blast. Covering the FUNimation panels and typing away on my tablet was delight, taking notes and having to announce awesome updates direct from them was a pure joy with Jesus and I recapping the days event after attending the day. Trying to quell my excitement for the latest Mormoru Hosoda film, Wolf Children, coming stateside with a full dub cast was a hard task, but I did it with a professional mind and a small “SQUEE!” of excitement.

Michelle Lee, social media manager, and Justin Rojas, son of a doctor, lost his mom, and once stabbed a man and got hard (at least, that’s what he said)

One major highlight of the first day was the press conference with Ghost in the Shell producer and President of Production I.G., Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, as having loved the Ghost in the Shell franchise for a good while now. Hearing his thoughts on the current state of anime and what children should be exposed to in the media mindset was fascinating to hear as despite probably making a fortune from his company, to know how humble and passionate he is to make a great project come to life.

Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Personal Hero of Mine, Badass Producer (Photo by Sergio Berrueta)

At the end of the first day, I could not wait to come back for the next three days. Taking the Metro back home as the fireworks celebrating the country’s independence blasted across the sky, I knew that this was a test to see if I could do what I am majoring in, to see if I can handle a great task. Jesus opened the door to a golden opportunity and I needed to take advantage of it.

There is more to this experience, so stick around for more first time account of my Anime Expo 2013 experience. Next time, meeting a childhood hero, the serious nature of cosplay harassment, and sometimes the one you are making flirty eyes with may not seem like the one you usually make flirty eyes with.