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Pop-culture conventions - now generally falling under the umbrella label of a comic con - are a great place to get close to your favorite actor, celebrity and athlete. Buying your admission ticket gets you in the door and lets you walk around the convention floor where you can peruse dealer tables filled with movie memorabilia, T-shirts, comic books and fun chotchkies; …

My story about David Lynch and me begins with another great American film director entirely--Jonathan Demme who, sadly, just died at the age of 73. In the late 1970's, Gerald O'Grady's Media Study was such a charismatic concern on Delaware Avenue that its film curator Bruce Jenkins got Demme to come to Buffalo to show some movies and talk about them. He had already been…

If you’re a fan of franchise movies and genre shows, you probably have one, two or all of these dates circled on the calendar. Here are all the sci-fi, fantasy and comics-based films and television shows set to debut this summer. At the movies “Alien: Covenant,” May 19. Director Ridley Scott helms another film in the science-fiction franchise he helped create i…

It wasn’t too long ago that "Star Trek" fans were mocked, "Star Wars" was irrelevant, and comic book readers had to hide their hobby past the age of 12. A lot has changed over the past 15 years. Geek culture is now popular culture. There are at least five major fan conventions in the area through September with notable celebrities. Among the highlights: William Sha…

In 1976, an ABC made-for-TV movie became part of the cultural landscape. “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble” in which “the girl next door makes a teen born with immune deficiencies want to leave his germ-free bubble.” A huge hit, the film catapulted John Travolta’s career into “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease.” Flash forward 40 years, and we have “Ever…

The hustler Richard Gere plays in "Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer" is a far cry from the role he played 37 years ago in "American Gigolo." That starring turn elevated Gere into a sex symbol. In the comi-tragedy "Norman," Gere's nuanced portrayal of Norman Oppenheimer depicts an aging man who wears thick glasses, a camel hair overcoat, gray…

For the first time in roughly a decade, David Lynch fans have reason to be breathless with anticipation. On May 21, Showtime debuts the 25-years-in-the-making return of Lynch’s television masterpiece, “Twin Peaks.” All 18 new episodes are directed by the man himself. Therefore, the release of “David Lynch: The Art Life,” a feature-length documentary exploring…

William Shatner is curious about Buffalo. The Montreal-born actor, who performed Shakespeare at Stratford, Ont. before becoming a pop-culture icon as Captain Kirk on "Star Trek," remembers a time when people from Toronto came to Buffalo for entertainment. “I’m not sure how it’s working now,” Shatner said in a telephone interview during a break shooting the movi…

This much we all know: The moment, in 1979, when the alien monster exploded out of John Hurt's belly in Ridley Scott's "Alien" will always remain one of the scariest and most horrifying jolts in movie history. That brings up an interesting subject, now that Scott's first-rate new prequel, "Alien: Covenant," is ready to keep audiences in suspense for two hours. What i…

As superheroes and sci-fi heroes continue to dominate movie screens during the summer, many local fan events are filling up the calendar featuring celebrity guests, costumes and even baseball. “Flash Gordon,” 7 p.m. May 18 at the North Park Theatre. The 1980 sci-fi pulp film with the classic Queen soundtrack returns with a special screening at the North Park Theatre…

Sometimes, even Ecclesiastes got it wrong. It's not true that there's nothing new under the sun -- not in current movies, anyway. We are seeing an extraordinary new kind of virtuosity from young film actors and the audacious directors who know how to use them. These are movies of severely limited location that are brilliant one-man shows from some of the least likely st…

We’re only five months into 2017, but it’s already been a memorable year for Billy Dee Williams. He recently turned 80, provided a voice in the hit “Lego Batman Movie,” and joined the likes of Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford at the "Star Wars" Celebration fan festival in Orlando. The actor best known for his role as ultra-suave “Star Wars” hero Lando Calrissia…

Talk to just about anyone involved in historic preservation, smart growth and neighborhood sustainability in Buffalo, and chances are they're a fan of Jane Jacobs. Jacobs' seminal book, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," presented a counter-narrative to the prevailing views of urban planners of the 1950s and '60s. The urban renewal they propagated bulldozed …

"Snatched" is the most disappointing movie comedy since the all-female "Ghostbusters." And thereby hangs a tale. The two unfunny botches share a writer--Katie Dippold, who is also known for such successes as "The Heat" and TV's "Parks and Recreation." Forget, for a moment, the ugly and unseemly online sexual raillery at the very idea of an all-female "Ghostbusters." Som…

If you are interested in Guy Ritchie’s "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword," now showing in area theaters, you may want to brush up on your knowledge of King Arthur myths. Since medieval times, King Arthur has starred in numerous poems, novels, paintings and films. To prepare yourself for Charlie Hunnam’s portrayal of Britain’s most legendary king, why not take this tr…