Trying to predict NYCC and reflecting

At last year’s Comic-Con Stan Lee made tons of announcements.

The beginning pre-promotion for one of 2011’s best films HANNA began (which just came out on Blu-Ray).

SEGA had very pre-release previews of their video game counterparts to CAPTAIN AMERICA and SHIELD. DISNEY was showing off EPIC MICKEY a month before release. ROCKSTAR was previewing RED DEAD REDEMPTION’s expansion Horror pack.

Of course there was tons more, but I’m trying to figure out what special secrets, early promotions might exist.

Most of the BIG games will be already out or coming out soon at that point (GEARS OF WAR, BATMAN, SPIDER-MAN, ASSASSIN’S CREED, UNCHARTED), so not sure which games will be featured this year.

Hard to predict the films situation too. I’m pretty positive JOHN CARTER and THE HUNGER GAMES will have a major presence since they open March 2012. I’d guess GHOST RIDER too.

I doubt, but would hope for some kind of GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, TINTIN and SHERLOCK HOLMES presence.

I’m assuming some of the newer genre shows like RINGER and TERRA NOVA, but who knows.

In terms of comics, I really can’t say. DC will be on it’s third month of the New 52 and probably still milking it with no new announcements. Marvel will be dealing with continuing fallout from FEAR ITSELF. Dark Horse just did major debuts. So it’ll be up to indies to make a blast… or maybe it’ll be status quo, which can still be fun.

I just know I plan to have as much fun as possible. I know myself better as a reporter now and as a media gatherer. After 5 years of this convention I THINK I have a hang of it. It gets bigger each year though.

No matter what though? FUN!

Oh I am hoping this year will have a better wrestling presence.

Maybe the stars of HULK HOGAN’s MICRO CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING will be there. That’d be freaking awesome!

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Three Things Early Extra Things to be aware of at the 2011 New York Comic Con

Jane Espenson, one of Joss Whedon’s right hands and also the creator of WAREHOUSE 13 has developed and is debuting a sitcom web series called HUSBANDS on September 13.  I can only assume that part of her interaction at the con will be a panel about it or some kind of marketing.  At least I’m hoping so as the show is right up my alley being an LGBT themed comedy.  I also hope Cheeks will be there too.  Not the artist/designer Sean “Cheeks” Galloway (who I’m also a fan of), but the writer/actor/musician Brad Bell.

Chad Michael Murray, former teen heartthrob, famous for roles on Gilmore Girls and Dawson’s Creek before his six season stint on One Tree Hill and scheduled to return for the final season will be debuting a graphic novel he states is 8 years in the making.  It’s called EVERLAST and features artwork from popular  illustrator and painter J.K. Woodward.

The role-playing/LARP/I don’t know exactly but it looks awesome  indie film UNICORN CITY will be screening at NYCC.  I wish I had more details, but that’s what I can confirm.

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The Continuing Insurgence of Sequential Storytelling As Accepted Media

 

 

I am currently considering attending the Brooklyn Book Festival as media and barring that just another consumer.  As I look over the schedule of readings and panels I am excited and mesmerized by the amount of “comics” artists are involved in regular talks with “traditional” writers.  While it was apparent at this year’s Book Expo America that the graphic novel is becoming more and more accepted amongst the regular reader, it overjoys me to see that this fact is continuing at a consumer level with an event such as the festival.

 

 

While there are many panels dedicated simply to graphic novels and comics, which I will overview in a moment here, I am excited to see that Adrian Tomine will be on a panel about NY writers.    Also notable, Nick Bertozzi will be on a panel about re-imagining history with two award winning young adult authors.  Sarah Glidden will be on stage with Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg discussing Epic Adventures; while Casey and Steven’s book To Timbuktu has illustrations, it is not a graphic novel like Glidden’s How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less. Anders Nilson sits on a panel called Notes From The Underground with prose novelists Susan Choi and Jonathan Dee.  

Let me focus now on those comics panels, as well as a few ones that are of particular interest to me.  I expect overlap to exist, as is par for the course for conventions, expos and festivals.  In the case of description I shall be “borrowing” directly from the Festival page when needed.

Keep in mind the Brooklyn Book Festival is SEPTEMBER 18, 2011 in Downtown Brooklyn, New York City.

Starting at 11:00 P.M.
YOUTH STOOP
Borough Hall Plaza/Columbus Park

Comics Quick-Draw!: Three comic artists face off in this fast-paced contest. Drawing (literally!) from audience suggestions, NYT best-selling and ALA-notable book author/illustrator Raina Telgemeier (Smile), best-selling author/illustrator Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy), and rising star author/illustrator Laura Lee Gulledge (Page by Paige) will battle with pen and pad.  And, everybody wins: finished art will be gifted to some of the lucky young people in attendance! Moderated by Calvin Reid, editor of Publishers Weekly Comics World.

at 1:00 P.M.
ST. FRANCIS SCREENING ROOM
180 Remsen Street


Funny Ha-Ha-Comedy in Comics:
Join and laugh with four artists of comics that are surreal, political, and hilarious: Eisner-nominated and cult-favorite Michael Kupperman (Mark Twain’s Autobiography: 1910-2010); Harvey, Glyph, and Inkpot Award-winning Keith Knight (The Knight Life: Chivalry Ain’t Dead); web-comics phenomenon Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant); and newcomer Jennifer Hayden (Underwire). Moderated by Heidi MacDonald of The Beat and Publishers Weekly Comics World.

In the same building, but in the ST. FRANCIS AUDITORIUM and a
Ticket Required Event at
3:00 P.M.

Comics Writ Large and Small: Three of the most exciting artists working in the comics medium today—who work on canvases both epic and poetic—will discuss their craft and the artistry of long and short form graphic stories. Harvey, Ignatz, and Eisner-award winner Craig Thompson’s much-anticipated Habibi is a 672-page quest of spiritualism and love. Ignatz winner Anders Nilsen’s 658-page Big Questions weaves together surreal tales the artist released as shorter works over many years, and Harvey award-winner Adrian Tomine’s Optic Nerve series, with #12 newly released, typifies the concision of his storytelling—also loved by many in New Yorker covers and strips that offer a thousand words in a few quiet frames.  Moderated by Meg Lemke.

Back in the Screening Room at
4:00 P.M.

Drawing a Life: How do you draw someone else’s memories? Eisner-nominated Dean Haspiel (Cuba: My Revolution) illustrated the memoir of revolutionary turned refugee Inverna Lockpez.  Pulitzer nominee Lauren Redniss (Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout) blends research and imagination in a haunting portrait of Marie Curie and rising star artist GB Tran (Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey) turns to his own family’s history to portray a war-torn, transnational generation. Moderated by Hillary Chute, author of Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics.

 

My one major conflict is at 3:00 P.M.

ST. ANN AND THE HOLY TRINITY CHURCH (157 Montague Street)

Brooklyn Book Festival Presents – Gumshoes: Award winning authors Eoin Colfer (Plugged) and Walter Mosley (When the Thrill Is Gone).   Moderated by David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times.

I missed the opportunity to meet Eoin at Book Expo America as the line was incredibly long and I’d of missed three other opportunities that were happening during the time I was on that line.  So unfortunately I left the line and then of course read PLUGGED which quickly became one my favorite books of 2011.   Sitting with the legendary Walter Mosely they should have a spirited conversation.

Other Panels of interest/note from PCS’ perspective:

2:00 P.M.
BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY MAIN HALL
128 Pierrepont Street
Politics and Poetry: Poets Timothy Donnelly (The Cloud Corporation), Nick Flynn (The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands), Thomas Sayers Ellis (Skin, Inc: Identity Repair Poems) and Evie Shockley (The New Black) explore poetry’s capacity for social change role and the role of poetry in public life. Moderated by Camille Rankine of Cave Canem Foundation.

5:00 P.M.
ST. FRANCIS SCREENING ROOM
180 Remsen Street

Moving Pictures. From B Movies to the Art House, film is possibly the most powerful broadcast medium of the past century—taking us on flights of fancy as often as it brings us face-to-face with the more unpleasant nature of the contemporary world. J. Hoberman (Army of Phantoms), Jason Zinoman (Shock Value), and Roberta Seret (World Affairs in Foreign Films) discuss the role of movies in understanding our world and ourselves. Moderated by film critic and Light Industry founder, Ed Halter.

Of course on top of panels there is the Festival itself which has signings, previews, and booths galore. The outdoor setting of Columbus Park/Borough Hall makes for a truly entertaining event. While I have not been capable to go every year, I always desire to, knowing it is truly one of the best events New York has for readers and book lovers.

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Some early Cool Things Coming Up at the 2011 New York Comic Con

First of note is the nine course dinner at wd-50 with food writer and SVP of Creative at Marvel C.B. Cebulski and former Vertigo editor turned Marve Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso. Oh and Joe Quesada will be there too. While I personally would rather spend $606 and have an even LARGER meal at wd-50 with some close friends, this event is the perfect opportunity for 10 folks who want to make their NYCC experience even more amazing. If I had $550, I’d probably go, but I don’t… so, there’s that!

Opening night for folks who can afford themselves 4 day tickets there will be a very special concert from DJ Z-Trip. Labeled as America’s favorite DJ these days and one of the original kings of mash-up, this could be an exciting addition to events. This one is free to 4 day ticket holders and while it may seem like there’s no pop-culture tie in, one would be wrong. On closer scrutiny one of the songs that first got Z-Trip noticed was his re-mix of the RUSH classic “Tom Sawyer” which got featured in the cult classic SMALL SOLDIERS starring  a teenage Kirsten Dunst, a teenage Greg Smith (famous now for the TV series Everwood and Rookie Blue and the film, Hobo With a Shotgun), some of the world’s greatest stand-ups (Dennis Leary, David Cross, Jay Mohr, Phil Hartman) and a who’s-who of classic Hollywood as the voices of the toys (including Ernest Borgnine and Frank Langella).   If you need some extra incentive to check the concert out, go to Z-Trip’s website where you can download almost all his albums for free.

Also notable is the Speed Dating event.  I really wanted to attend this at last year’s convention and scheduling of private press events, walking the floor and meeting certain folks preempted it.  This year I feel it is an experience I should have as both an attractive, eligible nerd bachelor and as a pop-culture journalist.

There are many comic book releases, debuts and toys at the show this year.  None of the panels have been announced other than the Jay & Silent Bob Get Old Live ticketed event.  As much as I enjoy them, I listen to Smodcast enough and have seen the Kevin live speaking DVDs, I don’t need to see them live, but it could be a great experience for someone else.

As time gets closer I’ll plan to try and break down the panels, IGN Theatre events, various booth happenings and possible exclusive press events I’ll be involved in.  I hope you  look forward to that.

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It’s All About Hair Transplants

Novel: PLUGGED

Author: Eoin Colfer

Publication Date: September 1, 2011 in the US (already out in the UK)

Best known for the crazy and wild antics of boy genius ARTEMIS FOWL, as well as what is concidered the sixth book in Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Trilogy, …AND ANOTHER THING, Eoin Colfer’s first tackle at crime noir drama is painstakingly brutal, humorous and nail biting.

Before I approach my scattered, possibly altered thoughts on the awesome PLUGGED I want to address the concept of ...AND ANOTHER THING being titled the SIXTH book. In essence this is untrue and discounts Doug’s unfinished, but still published posthumously SALMON OF DOUBT. Originally constructed to be the third book in the Dirky Gently series and indeed pretty much published as such, it is fairly known that Adams intended for it to become the “final” chapter in Hitchhiker’s. While …AND ANOTHER THING is a cleverly written book in which Eoin proves his stellar writing abilities, it really should be titled NOT REALLY, BUT KIND THE SOXTH BOOK, NOT THAT ANYONE”S COUNTING PER SE (or something akin to that).

In PLUGGED, Eoin brings us into a very bleak, troubled world, one that is cloistered, hidden, almost like a darkened stranglehold. It’s a place few would venture and even fewer would even consider. Yet it is also bitingly funny. There is an intense amount of dark humour (sic) in this book. It is mozzenfocking crazy I’m telling you. It is also pure modern noir and while reading it I could not help but envision it as a film. Although my cast isn’t completely not locked down. While it seems a perfect vehicle for say Vinnie Jones or Jason Statham, I also envision it being something Colin Farrell could bite his teeth into. Possibly Stuart Townsend, or maybe even Cillian Murphy. If it was 10-15 years ago it would easily be something Gabriel Byrne, Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson would be fighting each other for. While all those actors are very different, they all have a few things in common. They’re Irish, they can pull off being creepy badasses, and they have the acting talent to be a leading man who is serious, cynical, slightly crazy and amazingly charming all in one breath.

That is exactly what lead character in PLUGGED is. In my Unrevised and Unppublished edition I have for the use of this review his name is Dan McEvoy, but marketing on Amazon.com suggests this was changed Linc, which is short for Lincoln. I’m really hoping this is wrong, as Daniel just works way better. At least in my opinion.

On top of Daniel, the book is filled with amazing characters, all of them also larger than life, full of grit, and feeling all like they’ve stepped out of a 1930’s Dashiell Hammett novel, read a primer on the last 70 years of history and jumped right back into modern times. You got a wacky unlicensed doctor, a slimy sleazeball lawyer with mafia ties, a smalltime gangster who’s the big fish in a little pond, the crazy broad upstairs, the dyke like cop with sex appeal. Plus you have all the plot twists one would expect, conspiracy, murder, betrayal, coverups, drugs, smuggling, etc.

Is this starting to sound more like hype than a book review? That tends to happen when I really enjoyed something. I start overselling it. Maybe I want it to be mine and no one elses, but that wouldn’t be fair. People who enjoy a good detective mystery crime drama noir with messed jokes and crazy surrealism shouldn’t miss this one.

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Imaginary Friends and Letting Go

Got a late start to the day.  Had some food, then watch a movie and then put together a new thing for the bathroom, might paint later with the special art kit that was purchased for me as a gift to try and generate.

The movie was PAPER MAN.  The critics lambasted this one, but I enjoyed it a lot.

It stars Jeff Daniels, Emma Stone, Lisa Kudrow Kieran Culkin and Ryan Reynolds as Captain Excellent.

Daniels is a published but not completely successful, but admired enough author with extreme writer’s block.  His wife is a very rich and on top of her career doctor.  To break the writer’s block, Daniels is going to live in a small house in The Hamptons to clear up his mind and hopefully his life which is in shambles and break the writer’s block.  Kudrow is the wife, Emma is a girl he meets there and Reynolds is his imaginary best friend and superhero.

That’s all I’m going to tell you about the story as I think this is one you should actually seek out and might find inspiring and helpful in pushing one’s proverbial ass off the couch.  Yes, it means sitting on the couch to watch it, but sometimes one needs inspiration to be inspired.

The movie also has great music and I went and looked up all the singers and bands:
MARK McADAM
LITTLE JOY
THE INCREDIBLE CASUALS
ALL POINTZ WEST
EARLIMART
MOTHERBOARD
BEULAH

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An Assassin and an Adventurer walk into a bar

Since I’ve started writing about video games, I thought I’d link to a few videos and discuss two of the games I am looking forward to most as 2011 comes to a close and discuss their history in some detail as well.

The first is Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. This will the fourth game in the series and the third game that is part of a story arc. In the game you play a young man named Desmond who is placed in a machine and can live out the memories of your ancestors. In the first game you met Altair, a Master Assassin from the Byzantine era of the Middle East, you travel around Syria, Jerusalem and more assassinating key figures in the Holy Wars, only to discover it was all a ploy of your mentor seeking power for himself in an item of much power, you defeat him, but what happens next in Altair’s legend remains unknown. In the second game you met Ezio, a young man learning the ways of becoming an Assassin during the Renaissance period of Italy. You face The Borgia, defeating The Pope and his sons through the second game and then a third called Brotherhood in which you start training Assassins yourself. You also become good friends with folks such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Copernicus and Machiavelli (so the game is really based on real history). In Revelations, you return to Ezio in his old age, in which Ezio is now seeking to find out what happened to Altair, before the first game and after. At the same time, Desmond is trapped in a special black world because of stuff that happened in Brotherhood. So you play as all three trying to piece together all the answers.

The first video just will show you how amazing the story telling, acting and animation is, especially in the upcoming game along with a commentary track from the developers.

Oh and the Game developers have so much love for the game and the series they even made a Live Action film called LINEAGE which is about Ezio’s father, who was also an Assassin.

They also put together an animated film called Ascendance.

And another animated film is coming out called EMBERS.

Oh and there have also been two books and a comic book, and these were not adaptations, but stories that take place in between the game or in the same world of the game, but in a different section!

Oh I forgot to mention that Desmond also has friends and partners in the games, helping him in the machine. There’s the hot blonde, voiced by Kirsten Bell (Veronica Mars, Heroes, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), the cute brunette tech girl and the British researcher.

Another game I am super excited about is UNCHARTED 3.  Uncharted are the adventures of Nathan Drake, a treasure hunter/former thief who believes he is the ancestor of Francis Drake. Following clues from ancient legends he finds the home of amazing treasures once thought real, but forever lost. In the first game he followed clues from Francis Drake to find the fabled El Dorado. In the second game, once again following clues from a diary by Francis Drake, Nathan goes in search of Shamballah. In the third game he will follow the lead of T.E. Lawrence in search of Iram of the Pillars. In the third game incluence will also be taken from the classic film “Lawrence of Arabia”. Drake has had various partners. His main one is Sully, an older dude who is really tough played classic character actor Richard McGonagle, Elena, a journalist played the lovely Emily Rose, Chloe a tough as nails Brit played by Farscape’s Claudia Black and Harry played Magician and Comedy actor Steve Valentine. The games have also featured Rene Auberjonois and Simon Templeman, the third game has very popular British actress Rosalind Ayres as the bad guy.
Nolan North plays Nathan Drake and he’s so good, he also plays Desmond in Assassin’s Creed and the voices are similiar but quite different, not a distraction as in going “Wait, he sounds just like Nathan Drake”.

Nolan is much more suited to play Nathan though, which you can see is this live action commercial for the third game starring Nolan North, it is very funny, Nolan is fantastic, sort of like David Boreanaz, Bruce Campbell and Nathan Fillion having a love child:
http://blog.us.playstation.com/2011/08/25/uncharted-3-drakes-deception-collectors-edition-unboxed/

The game has also had a Motion Comic prequel.

It also has a comic coming soon and a novel telling a story not in the games by Christopher Golden.

Video games when you really analyze them like this have come a long long long way. I know most of know this, but how frequently do you sit down and think about it?

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A Gaggle of Outdated but Still Relevant Links

First up the band OK Go did an awesome cover version of The Muppets Theme song and then did an Official video for it with The Muppets to promote the special Green Album which is full of official cover versions of some of Jim Henson’s greatest hits.

I don’t care about this one, BUT, hey the trailer for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is LIVE.

Here’s a Teaser Trailer for the next PIXAR flick BRAVE which is about Irish legends and hot redhead as the hero, looks a bit Dreamworks Animation than PIXAR I feel.

Trailers for books are getting really crazy. I’ve seen a few impressive ones before, but this is the biggest movie trailer like one yet, well more like a TV series trailer, but still. It’s for a fantasy action series called The Black Prism.

Book promotions have become so crazy they made a FACEBOOK game for the Eragorn series.

Here’s an article all about Alice Cooper’s new album and teaming up with Ke$ha, plus a preview.

I’m not sure how to use this movie collection software, but it’s free.

Best Music Video EVER, starring Patton Oswalt, directed by WFMU radio’s Tom Scharpling, great article and then the video.

For your interest and curiosity, New York Comic Con Show Specials and Exclusives.

Been watching this hilarious show called KIDS REACT on Youtube. They have 27 episodes so far. They have some really funny and cool kids on this, all the same kids each week, so you really get to learn about the kids as they react to popular things in the world.
The same production company also put together this fake SAVED BY THE BELL game, where you click through different videos based on a choice you make, sort of like Choose Your Own Adventure.

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Ranting on DC’s New 52, plus what comics should be (for me)

I’d made a decision with DC’s New 52 to take advantage of thinking of it as a jumping off point. A perfect opportunity to start ordering less comics and focus my financial energies elsewhere.

This was not a boycott or a hatred of the re-launch. It seemed like a fine idea to me. Weird and strangely done, but I was ok with it. I was even feeling regretful when they announced books like ANIMAL MAN and the new Western title. Some of these books look great.

I really thought though that before the relaunches all the current books would have satisfying tie-ups where one could walk away from the book feeling like “It goes on, but this is a stop point.”. I expected no actual cliff-hangers.

Then I get Green Lantern #67, the conclusion to War of the Green Lanterns. Half the issue is a set up for Green Lantern #1. Maybe it’ll be tied up tightly in Aftermath of the War, but I betting that that book will instead be filler for the month Green Lantern isn’t published. This pisses me off.

I am just going to have to reconcile myself to not care.

I am slowly trying to drop some Marvel books as well.

Even if money was no object I’d be doing this. I need to taper off the books, as the stories are becoming to hit or miss.

I’d rather focus all my energies on more “independent books” that have been consistent or newer properties that have great creators behind them and not a lot of messy continuity.

Here are four books that fit that category now currently for me.

Sergio Aragonés’ Funnies: Published by BONGO as Sergio has been doing some great Simpson’s stuff for them, it is great to see Sergio let loose. He is a funny funny man and funnier than ever here.

Roger Landridge’s Snarked: Everything Landridge touches is gold, Fred the Clown, Thor, The Muppets and now he’s tackling Lewis Carroll. The #0 reprints Hunting of the Snark and Walrus and the Carpenter and I cannot wait to see how he expands the Wonderland Universe. I trust he will do even better than Tommy Kovak and Sonny Liew, even though that was an amazing book.

The Boys: Garth Ennis and Darrick Robertson continue to kick ass on this book. Russ Braun as the current artist as Darrick tackles Butcher’s origin is amazing and John McCrea has done some of the best work of his life here as well.

The Unwritten: While I’m not reading DC Comics anymore, I’ll be sticking with Vertigo. Scalped ends at issue #60… so that leaves me Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross. It’s truly one of the most compelling books I get monthly.

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Nerd Notes (Music, Comics and Movies!) 8-09-2011

Some of these I’m “late to the party” but that doesn’t make them any less insignificant or worthy of mention still.

New 303H! single/video for the song “ROBOT” from their forthcoming album.

Interview and video link for the Drew Barrymore’s directed music video “Our Deal” by The Best Coast starring Alia Shawkat, Miranda Cosgrove, Tyler Posey, Donald Glover and Chloe Moretz

The Wrong Ferrarri, a movie made by and starring songwriter Adam Green, with appearances by Macauley Culkin, Alia Shawkat, Jeffrey Lewis, Corey Kennedy, and many more people you might know.

A 20th Anniversary Tribute Album to Nirvana’s “Nevermind” put together by SPIN with tracks by Meat Puppets, Butch Walker, Vaselines, Amanda Palmer and more. Some really great stuff on this one.

Jim Lawson, comic artist most famous for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles after Laird & Eastman, has posted the sequel to his excellent dinosaur comic PALEO (which is in my drawers somewhere) as a blog/webcomic.

Good casual point and click mystery game based on TNT’s Rizolli & Isles.

Now some Movie Trailers!

TWIXT: Francis Ford Copolla’s newest with Val Kilmer in the lead, as a horror novelist studying a murder mystery.

TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY: The first feature film adaptation of the John Le Carre’s “classic” starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth,

RESURRECT DEAD-THE MYSTERY OF THE TOYNBEE TILES: Fascinating documentary of a truly compelling subject.

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