Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Doctor Strange Los Angeles Red Carpet Premiere

Doctor Strange Red Carpet Premiere
TCL Chinese Theatre Imax
Hollywood, California
October 20, 2016

Doctor Strange Premiere advertised on the El Capitan Theatre Marquee
Side of the El Capitan Theatre Marquee
The set up for the Doctor Strange premiere was a little weird.  They were using both the TCL Chinese Theatre and the El Capitan Theatre was used for overflow.  The sidewalk was split with two lines of barricades to create a small “fan area.”   I arrived about 10 minutes after they closed off the fan area, but security allowed us to lineup along the back barricades, but we had to have our bags checked in order to stand there. 

Press entering the red carpet for the Doctor Strange Premiere in Hollywood.
Press entering the red carpet area

Top of the tent covering the red carpet for the Doctor Strange Premiere in Hollywood

"buildings" on top of the tent covering the red carpet of the Doctor Strange premiere in Hollywood

Press in place along the red carpet at the Doctor Strange premiere

I got some really good pictures, but the ones I managed to take of Benedict Cumberbatch weren’t very good.  I happened to be directly behind autograph hunters so large boards kept blocking my shots.  Those people don’t stay in place, either, and they would move along as the stars made their way down the line. 

Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson arrives at the Doctor Strange premiere
Doctor Strange Director: Scott Derrickson

Benedict Wong arrives at the Doctor Strange Premiere in Hollywood
Benedict Wong

Mads Mikkelson arrives at the Doctor Strange premiere in Hollywood
Mads Mikkelson

Stan Lee arrives at the Doctor Strange premiere in Hollywood
Stan Lee

Tilda Swinton signing autographs at the Doctor Strange premiere in Hollywood
Tilda Swinton

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn arrives at the Doctor Strange premiere in Hollywood.
Guardians of the Galaxy Director: James Gunn

Benedict Cumberbatch signing autographs at the Doctor Strange premiere in Hollywood.
Benedict Cumberbatch

Chadwick Boseman signing autographs at the Doctor Strange Premiere in Hollywood.
Chadwick Boseman

Rachel McAdams arrives at the Doctor Strange premiere in Hollywood.
Rachel McAdams

Near the end of the arrivals, I saw Karl Urban arrive, but he didn’t come across to where the fans were and was rushing towards the theater. 

Karl Urban rushes to the red carpet at the Doctor Strange premiere in Hollywood.
Karl Urban 

I loved Doctor Strange, which I’ll write more about in my post from the advance screening I attended as part of Entertainment Weekly’s PopFest.



Monday, January 23, 2017

Movie Experience: D-Box versus 4DX

Monday Musing: Review of D-Box and 4DX Movie Theater Experience
Los Angeles, California
January 23, 2017

Today's Monday Musing is a comparison and review of the D-Box experience and the 4DX experience.  The week of January 9-13, 2017 I had the opportunities to see Rogue One in D-Box and 4DX.  I have already seen Rogue One several times (in Imax 3D and regular 2D), and it just happened to be a perfect week as Skywalking through Neverland was inviting fans to join them in seeing Rogue One in 4DX on, Wednesday, its last day in the 4DX theater.  The Regal at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles is the only theater to have 4DX on the West coast of the United States (the only other on the west coast is in Mexico City).  The D-Box viewing was a last minute decision on Tuesday, because of receiving a T-Mobile Tuesday reward for a $2 movie ticket via Fandango.  Getting a $24 (plus Fandango fee) ticket for $2 was too good to pass up.  The D-Box I used is located at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood.

The thing to remember about D-Box is that it isn’t a dedicated theater as is the case with 4DX.  D-Box seats are just seats which move according to what’s happening on the screen, and they were only two rows in the particular screen I was in.  It’s important to sit in your assigned seat because only the purchased seats are going to be working.  The D-Box show I attended wasn’t in 3D (there were 3D showings also available in D-Box. You can adjust the amount of movement with the console seen in the photo below. 

D-Box control at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters
D-Box motion level control
I found the almost constant vibration at the beginning of the film to be akin to a massage chair and had to turn it down, because I was getting sleepy.  The motion is a vibration plus forward and back as well as right and left.  My feet barely touched the floor, but I felt that I needed to keep my feet (easily accomplished by crossing my legs at the ankles) off of the ground to get the full effect.  I did adjust my seat back to maximum motion just prior to the Battle of Scarif sequence.  The best part was the feeling of soaring with the X-Wing fighters. 

D-Box seats at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood
These two rows were D-Box seats.
The 4DX show was in 3D, and the ticket was about $29.  4DX has a dedicated theater because it is a full experience with fog machines (located at the front left and right of the screen), large wind fans, strobe light.  The seats themselves are connected 4 to a “section” which move together.  There is water squirting from the back of the seat in front of you, and the water is the only thing you can adjust (on or off only).  There are two small holes in the head rest which blow air, and a small cord at the legs.  These seats also have foot rests which I found to be very convenient.  The surprising thing is the back of the seats “punching” you in the back during falls or fight scenes.  At one point during the film,  I had slid down a little in my seat and the punch landed at my shoulder blade which hurt a tiny bit.  I pull myself back up into the seat better after that, and there were no more issues for me.  The blaster shots during the movie were enhanced by the air blasts from the headrests. 

4DX Theater seat at the Regal Cinemas at LA Live in Los Angeles.
My seat for 4DX
After the movie, we spoke with one of the employees who appeared to be in charge of 4DX as he’s the one who tests each film to make sure the effects are working and in sync with the film.  He said that the theater gets the program from 4DX and they have to merge it with the film, then test everything to make sure it all matches up.

While we talked with him I did notice that the ADA seats had seatbelts.  I had noticed earlier, that there were spaces for wheelchairs, but I thought it would be a waste to pay so much money and not have the motion effects.  So as long as one has an attendant to transfer to and from the 4DX seat and wheelchair, they can also enjoy the fun.  The strobing effect could be problem for those with sensory issues or those subject to seizures.  It was only one small light, and it wasn’t used too much for Rogue One. 

With both 4DX and D-Box being similar in price, it’s really a matter personal choice.  I do like that the D-Box seat can have the intensity of the motion adjusted, but the 4DX is a more immersive experience.  If you don’t live near a 4DX theater, and chances are you don’t at this time, I definitely feel like D-Box is worth a try for the right movie.  

What other immersive theater experiences do you think I should try next?

1/31/2017 Update:  A 4DX theater has recently opened at the CVG Cinema in Buena Park, California. 


Friday, January 20, 2017

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Global Fan Event

Fantastic Beasts Global Fan Event
TCL Chinese Theatre
Hollywood, California
October 13, 2016

My Shirt, wand and "reserved" sign
I had obtained a pass good for two people to attend the Global Fan Event which was happening during the middle of the day on a weekday in Hollywood.  The event was having events in various cities all over the world.  The Los Angeles event was going to have Colin Firth and Jon Voigt in person for the Q&A portion.  The event was promoted as going to show exclusive footage, a live Q&A transmitted from Los Angeles on London followed by an Imax screening on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

A few days before the event TCL Chinese Theatre’s Facebook page had a contest for two tickets to the event which I entered and won.  I still got in line early to see everyone’s costumes and wait for my friend to arrive.  Then at the appointed check-in time, I walked over to the check-in table.  They had turned the forecourt of the theater into a 1920s era street complete with a car and people in period costumes.  When we checked in, we were each given a replica Newt Scalamander wand, an event t-shirt, and complimentary parking voucher!  Saved $15 right off the bat! We took some pictures outside before we headed inside to discover that we also had reserved seats.  Great seats to see a movie but terrible if you’re trying to take pictures of the guests.  A lot of people didn’t stay for the screening after the event, but my friend and I stayed since we had free parking and nothing we needed to rush off to.

A photo-op standee

Forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre Imax

"Wanted" signs and faux trees

This is where the guests did the Q&A.
It was a really fun event, and I’m glad I took the time off from work to go.  While I didn’t love Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I did like it.  I heard too many complaints of not enough magic, but I wasn’t expecting much since the focus is on the beasts (as stated in the title!!)



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Classic Comic Con 2016 - Overview

Classic Comic Con Overview
Modesto, California
October 1-2, 2016

Sign at Classic Comic Con 2016 advertising various local conventions

My reason for attending Classic Comic Con was for the Battlestar Galactica panel.  This is a small convention so I don’t know when or if I’d make the trip to Modesto again just for the convention.  That being said, it was really fun and everyone I met was really open and friendly. 

Dirk Benedict during his solo panel at Classic Comic Con 2016
Dirk Benedict
I did attend the solo panel that Dirk Benedict did (see photo), and that was interesting.  There were some good cosplays, but I only took a couple of photos.  I also attended the panel on Steampunk in Film panel (not sure of exact name), which was fun and informative. 

Steampunk in Film panel at Classic Comic Con 2016
Steampunk in Film panel
I bought quite a bit from vendors, Star Wars custom art playing cards, a card game, and a few trinkets for my “adopted” nieces. 

Cosplay at Classic Comic Con 2016

I left pretty early on Sunday as I was driving back to LA that day and had to be at work early Monday morning.   

Daenerys Targaryen cosplay at Classic Comic Con 2016

This year’s Classic Comic Con is scheduled for October 27-29, 2017.  I’ll likely be at Stan Lee’s LA Comic Con that weekend, but I think you should check it out if you’re in the area that weekend.



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Superhero Launch Party

Superhero Launch Party
San Diego Comic Art Gallery
September 29, 2016

CW6 Booth
I had the opportunity to attend a Superhero Launch party sponsored by CW6 in San Diego to celebrate SuperGirl coming to the CW from CBS.  The event was being held at the San Diego Comic Art Gallery.  I had entered the contest for entry on the CW6 San Diego website. 

Photo booth 
It was pretty fun as there was good food and free drinks as well as booths to win prizes.  Stok ColdBrew Coffee was there doing taste testing and giving out free bottles of their delicious cold brew coffee.  Radio station Star 94.1 and CW6 both had booths giving away prizes.  I had won concert tickets from Star 94.1, but I knew I wouldn’t make it back to San Diego on that day so they let me pick something else.  I took a cosmetic bag instead.  I only won a button at the CW6 booth, but a friend got me the two footballs in the photo below.

My goodies
CW6 was giving away prizes about every hour including a grand prize of a trip to New York.  There were also glasses of wine and bottles of beer available for a cash donation to Traveling Stories inside the gallery. 

Crowd inside San Diego Comic Art Gallery

Crowd inside the San Diego Comic Art Gallery
There was a photo booth outside with a couple people in costume to take pictures with you.

My picture from the photo booth

I stayed quite a bit longer after the party as I was talking to a friend, but I had a long drive back home to LA and a trip to Modesto the next morning.