Monday, June 4, 2018

AT&T Shape 2018 - Where Technology & Entertainment Merge

AT&T Shape brings to us the incredible use of technology used in entertainment and how it continues to further revolutionize the industry. Here at this event, you are welcomed to experience how the advancements of technology have pioneered new breakthroughs in entertainment and its ongoing impact on how we get to experience this world. 

This convergence of entertainment and technology took place in the Warner Bros Studio backlots. As you walk in through the entrance and guided to the central location, you come to realize that you are standing in the middle of the outdoor set stage notably recognized in Pretty Little Liars as the city of Rosewood. Here, as an attendee, you dispatch onto your journey to visit a variety of different interactive booths that range from motion capture to augmented reality.

Photographed by: Denisse Alejandre-Huerta

First booth that we attended was a live facial capture exhibit hosted by the New York Film Academy. The booth was set with 3 stations rigged with cameras for the live capture of every participant's face. By the exhibitor's request, we make different facial expressions not knowing the end result of our silly acts, but to give you a glimpse, I have provided my personal video. Hope you enjoy.

Within the same vicinity, The New York Film Academy had an additional booth giving participants a taste of green screen action. You were able to costume-up with provided costumes and props to act in front of a green screen for different roles. Some of these rolls included: an enchanted forest, a skyscraper cityscape, the moon, and few more. 

Photographed by: Denisse Alejandre-Huerta

In addition to great interactive booths, another highlight of AT&T Shape were their guest speakers. An eclectic group of speakers were present on stage to enlighten us on diverse topics ranging from Esports to 5G networks. These presentations offered great insight in future plans that are shared by AT&T and the entertainment industry. Attending two very distinct presentations, each one delivered something innovating that captured the attentions of all of those present.

Photographed by: Denisse Alejandre-Huerta

The first presentation dove into how our worlds are being shaped by data. Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel Corporation, spoke in depth on the specifics of how we interact with data, whether it is through phones, computers, homes, or even our autonomous cars, our consumption of data will only grow as we continue to move forward. Presenting some staggering statics on data usage, Brian focused on the importance of investment into 5G networks. He further explained how 5G networks will allow us to meet our growing demand for data. Not only will 5G networks meet those demands, but will also evolve how we immerse in entertainment experiences. 

Photographed by: Denisse Alejandre-Huerta

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

State Of Decay 2 Xbox Gaming Bunker

Photo by Humberto Sandoval

For the release of State of Decay 2, Xbox got creative and offered a few lucky fans the chance to experience the game before its release in a very special way, inside a WW2 bunker!

We were a little worried as we arrived to our destination in the outskirts of El Sereno right by Cal State LA, we didn't get a confirmation for our reservations, but thankfully our names were on the list. The staff handling the event was very accommodating and welcoming, always a good sign. As we arrived we were told about the three bunkers (we were on the middle one), "an authentic WW2 bunker built in 1947" and offered us food, an all you can eat BBQ buffet!

State of Decay is a survival horror zombie film, a game where you not only have to kill zombies to survive, but build up your character's levels and take care of your home base. I have to admit, I didn't play the original State of Decay so the controls and features were a little difficult at the beginning. I also brought my non gamer friend along to see how the game would test with someone even at a major disadvantage than mine.

One of the first things you notice about the game is the graphics. State of Decay 2 looks amazing! All the detail in the surroundings and characters made the zombies more menacing, also making its rural settings more enjoyable (one of the three choices of location available, we were told), with lots of houses, barns and sheds to explore, cars to drive (if you have found gasoline, of course) and all the different options of stations to build at the homebase; whether its an infirmary, an armory or a shooting range (among many other options), one has to take into account not only your character(s) well being, but also the NPCs.
It took me a while and some assistance from a member of Team State of Decay 2, Shawn, to get the gist of it, but after a few minutes (a warning -"if your character dies, he dies!" and some guidance) I was out and about killing zombies and breaking into houses looking for supplies and health and ammo (and everything I could find to help the cause and survival.) You also have to pay attention to the sounds, as you can hear the zombies approaching you from behind as you're checking for supplies, but the dodge and melee fighting (a lot depending on which character you got) help a lot. The selection of weapons was also vast, given that this was a stocked-up demo version so we could test the best ways to kill the undead.
But, the best thing about the game, hands down, is the co-op option. You and three other friends can team up and take on the zombies and the missions, it was a lot of fun playing co-op at the bunker, with a friend and even a stranger, making the game, in my opinion, even better. I grew up playing multi player games with my siblings (and still do!) so co-op is always an option I look for in a game (though nowadays the days of split screen are almost long gone...) and having a game where I can team up with my friends to kill zombies is always a plus.

The three hours of gameplay we got flew by fast, and we can't wait to play this game again at home.
Ah! And how did my non-gamer friend Marc -a screenwriter from Washington DC- fare? He not only loved the game and graphics; but let's hear what he had to say:

A member of our State of Decay 2 zombie killing team, Alam from Highland Park, had this to say about the game himself:

The Xbox Gaming Bunker for State of Decay 2 is going on until this Sunday, May 20 for those lucky ones that got to RSVP, But you never know! Keep an eye out  for openings on twitter! @stateofdecay

State of Decay 2 is exclusive to Xbox One and Windows 10, and if you pre ordered the Ultimate Edition you can play it this Friday, May 18 or wait for its retail release on May 22 and play it, for FREE, on Xbox Game Pass*!

*if you pay the Game Pass subscription fee, free as in, no additional charges with the service

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

FX's Legion Chamber

Photo By Humberto Mendez
Marvel's Legion Season 2 April 3 on FX
      Fans of the Marvel show Legion in Los Angeles got to experience a pop up event from the show at Goya Studios in Hollywood on Easter weekend. Tickets were free on the Eventbrite App, but even if you hadn't RSVPed you could line up and eventually get in. 

Photo By Humberto MendezFor those that don't know about the show, Legion is a character from the X Men comics, one that so happens not only to be one of the most powerful mutants, but also the son of Charles Xavier (Professor X)!  The first season was not only a critical success, with a Metracritic score of 82, Legion was also a hit among the fans. The first season dealt with our main character trying to figure out if he was going mad or there was something more to the visions he was having. Easily one of the most artistic and out there shows of last year, Legion may not be for all, it doesn't quite follow the standard expectation of an X Men TV, it's more of a character piece as we are figuring out what is going on along with David Haller. Audrey Plaza as his best friend/Bad Guy was one of the highlights of the show, and fans were excited to hear that it got picked up for season 2. Flash forward to March 30, the first day of the pop up. 

Photo By Humberto Mendez

Photo By Humberto Mendez

Photo By Humberto Mendez

Inside you were able to take photos in front of character posters, as the shows music can be heard in the background. Besides photos, there was an "immersive 360 experience" which is where the "Chamber" part of the event came from. Groups of eight are led inside this small room surrounded by LEDs showing you a glimpse inside the mind of David Haller, a 2 minute and a half "trailer" for the new season. 

All in all, a fun if short taste of what it is to come, only for hardcore fans that have some time to browse and take photos, but not much to do here.

Legion Season 2 starts April 3!

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Attack Of The Southern Fried Zombies Los Angeles Premiere

   On March 23, 2018 at the Arena Cinelounge in Hollywood, the Los Angeles premiere for Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies took place. We heard about the film at Long Beach Comic Expo and were impressed with all the research and love that Producer/Creator Daniel Woods put into the film that we couldn't wait to see it on the big screen. Not only do we get a zombie film, but a prequel comic book, Kudzu Zombies (Attack's original title, which in retrospect I can see how the name couldn't fit the film since many would think it's one of those crazy Japanese zombie films, and the last thing an honorable producer wants to do is fool the audience) which tells how this particular zombie plague started. (Free digital copies of the comic available here!) Now it was time to see the film Hollywood style!

As we waited for the cast and crew to arrive for the red carpet, we talked to Alexa Varano from Third Wolf Designs, an artist, designer and horror movie fan!

We spoke to Producer Daniel Wood, giving us a little insight on the making of the film:

Here's a one on one with Timothy Haug, one of the leads of the film:

Clay Acker & Moses J Moseley:

Writer Christian Hokenson explains the name change:

Actresses Megan Few & Kaitlin Mesh:

And finally, Director Mark Newton:

Finally, we sat down inside the theatre, first row, ready to get ourselves immersed in the world of Kudzu and its zombies, and armed with the most important detail you have to have in mind when watching the film; this is not The Walking Dead or any George Romero film. As previously warned by the director, the cast AND THE TITLE, the audience should be aware that this is horror comedy. ALL THE WAY. That's the foremost warning one must have because us fans of horror films have expectations. They're either blown up by the well edited but deceitful trailer of a film or by reviews from Fangoria or other "trusted" horror rags that ALWAYS seem to find the best in the most horrible films. BUT I digress. I was going to see the film with only the expectations of a film made with heart, with lots of production value only a well connected producer can muster, and a cast of up and coming actors who seem to have the right attitude and personality. Will our expectations be met?

Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies:
Zombies, who doesn't like zombie movies? Scratch that. A lot of people don't (nobody's perfect!), but for those of us that LOVE them, how does Attack rank?
As the film begins and we are introduced to the cast scattered throughout Charleston, who is going to survive? the town kid who never managed to get out? His ex visiting from college or her boyfriend? The lesbian couple? The three youngsters that accidentally unleash the plague? The scientists who may be the only ones holding the cure for the zombie virus? Yes, we dwell a bit on common character troupes that we have seen over and over again but at least the film manages not to stray into campiness, which is one of my biggest complains with horror comedy. There is a fine line that you can't cross (in my book) 'cos it will ruin the suspense, if you don't fear for the characters, what is the point? One zombie show that manages to do this perfectly is Zombie Nation. But I digress. My favorite part of the film, besides the gory deaths the zombies give/get, is how there is no definite sense of a true lead. Whilst we have Timothy Haug as the obvious main guy, all of the characters get their chance to shine. Moses J Moseley has a lot of funny lines and moments and so do the lesbian couple, Kaitlin Mesh and Megan Few. There are some unexpected deaths that managed to surprise me, but let's not spoil the fun.
The gore is also one of the top reasons to watch Attack, it is a gory movie, earning their FANtastic Horror Film Fest "Goriest Film" award. The production value was also another thing that surprised me, but I guess that if you want to shoot an independent film and make it look good on a small budget you HAVE TO do it outside of LA, unfortunately. But Attack couldn't have been made elsewhere as is its location, Charleston Mississippi, what gives the movie character, (as well as the perfect setting given the real problem that is kudzu in the south) with the aerial shots of the overpowering kudzu giving the dash of realism all horror movies need.
While some of the story points fall within the "why doesn't he/she just" and the "just shoot the damn thing and ask question later" problems we encounter in the genre, there is enough here with the comedy and the gore to keep anyone entertained. The (maybe? un)intentionally bad dialogue at points adds to the charm and comedy the film offers, with Clay Acker delivering one of the most finest/funniest moments of the film. Yes, the film is not perfect or a classic, but is it fun and entertaining? is it worth a rental or a purchase? Hell Yeah! This is one of those movies you watch with friends at a party and have fun with it.
Don't forget Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies is out NOW, March 23, on VOD and in theatres!

Alexa Varano - Third Wolf Designs @thirdwolfdesigns

Megan Few @megan_few

Kaitlin Mesh @kaitmesh

Moses J Moseley @mosesmoseley

Clay Acker @thenutclacker

Timothy Haug @iamtimothyhaug

Bruce Penton @songwriter32

Director Mark Newton @lamoviedirector
Writer Christian Hokenson @christianhokenson
Michael Emery @iammichaelemery
Producers Juri Koll, Daniel Wood & Per Ericson with Megan Few & Kaitlin Mesh

Michael, Timothy, Clay & Moses

Clay & Moses Ready for action!
Attack of the Southern Friend Zombies Cast & Crew

Attack of the Southern Friend Zombies Cast & Crew post red carpet madness
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