Con Man: Alan Tudyk Vimeo Series Ends on a High

Sean Astin, Alan Tudyk and Nolan North

Alan Tudyk’s homage to all things convention-al, as in Con (vention) Man on Vimeo has ended on a hilarious high note. The last three episodes were released on October 21, aka BTTF day, and had some of the funniest moments yet. Apart from all this humor and nods, winks and hat doffing to Firefly, Tudyk, and his gang, decided reward all those fans who plunked out to rent the entire series.

Literally a day before the final trio of installments were aired, Alan, via Vimeo, announced that those of us who forked out for the whole shooting match, as it were, now own the series and can watch it “until the end of time.” Or something along those lines…

This is a pretty epic turn of events for anyone who: a) was not on board to fund the project but excited about it anyway and b) or finds Tudyk’s comedic talents naturally funny.  Remember Alan was adept at comic performances as long ago as Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story which was years before Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.

The last episodes had more of Fillion and included the lovely, and oh so funny Amy Acker who proved that she too is incredibly adept at comedy.  It also saw the return of Alison Haislip as Jack’s assistant (Only mentioned because this reviewer has a huge crush on this performer because not only is she gorgeous but her comedy chops are strong as well…just saying.).

Kudos to Skyler Day, there cannot be many performers who can pull off “blissfully stoned” so well and to that “fat-suit” placed on Liza Lapira. Not since the Korean high school horror flick Wishing Stairs has there been so convincing a prosthetic. 

Fans who coughed up donations for this comic fest of in-jokes and cameos by a plethora of Joss Whedon alumni and the big guy himself, must be pleased. There were bits by those who are not from the Whedon “stable” like Michael Dorn and Casper Van Dien as the bartender (a number of times) and other “icons” in Geekdom like Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day. Along with many others from the science fiction world.

Some of the middle bits, those with Leslie Jordan failed to connect with this viewer but fortunately the video game voiceover artist that is legend, aka Nolan North being part of the series, along with a number of other favorites and sly winks to Firefly made up for  the lackluster bit in the middle. Also a quick peek at Jewel Staite in full Captain Mal garb was another lovely treat.

Stand out moment of the last three episodes (apart from the sleeping pee scene in Jack’s bathroom) had to be Jack Donner and his 90 year-old “lady stuntman” schtick. The scene between Mindy Sterling and Donner has me in hysterics. Note to other viewers, if easily embarrassed do not watch this scene in a fast food restaurant. 

Honorary shout out to Fillion’s running about with the cops handgun, as Jack, and “Screw Vegas.” Amy Acker channels her inner crazy beautifully.

As anyone who has ever attended a comic con, or Star Trek convention, or any themed con, will recognize the madness and excitement levels that are all apart of these events.  This is also a lovely way to see many of the old Firefly and Serenity players together, albeit mostly via cameos, but together all the same.

Alan Tudyk’s Con Man ends on a high note and the Vimeo series was funny as well as fun.  Enjoyable gags and great cameos make this one heck of a great series.  Check it out and prepare laugh all the way through.

 

 

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 19 Amy Acker and Cobie Smulders *Contains Spoilers*

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 19 Amy Acker and Cobie Smulders *Contains Spoilers*

Rapidly approaching the end of season one, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in episode 19 brings on Angel star Amy Acker and it looks like next week will see the arrival of Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill. This will be another big screen cross over from the film verse of Marvel with the inclusion of Hill in next week’s episode. Acker will be playing Audrey, the former love interest of Agent Coulson, also mentioned in several big screen Marvel films.

Joss talks about Avengers 2, Serenity and Much Ado About Nothing

Joss talks about Avengers 2, Serenity and Much Ado About Nothing

The Cabin in the Woods (2011): Wolfram and Hart go Big-Time

It may just be me, but the whole film kind of felt like a huge Angel episode. One where Angel and co have already been defeated by ‘Wolf, Ram and Hart’ and are now running the entire world to their own set of skewed rules. It felt like the ‘bad guys’ had won the battle, but in order to win the war had to keep sacrificing a certain amount of people to hold the ‘ancient ones’ at bay.

It was like this was really the series end of Angel and it showed us that the demonic law corporation was alive and well and holding back the evil gods by the skin of their demonic teeth. Having Whedon regulars like Amy Acker (never a bad thing) and Fran Kranz (a personal favourite after his brilliant role in Dollhouse), not to mention Tom Lenk (it was nice to see him in something other than the Pepsi Max commercials he’s been trapped in), sort of made this film seem like ‘old home week’ already, but add in the massive plot device and the twist at the end of the movie and it still felt a little like an Epilogue to Angel season 5.

But despite the niggly feeling that Eliza Dushku was going to suddenly show up and save the day, I enjoyed the film. The very presence of Richard Jenkins(who gave a star turn as the father figure in the film Let Me In) ensured that the calibre of acting was going to be top notch and it was. I adored the explanation of how the whole thing worked. The ‘participants’ had free-will going for them. Okay the cards were pretty much stacked against them from the get go, but they still had the liberty to misbehave or not. The entire feel of the ‘behind the scenes’ guys was brilliant. Right down to the betting pools on which ‘big bad’ was going to dispatch the group.

The writing was pure Whedon and Goddard gold. The scene where the gas station attendant rings the control room for a strange almost biblical rant. He  stops mid-rant and asks, “Do you have me on speaker-phone?” With much choked back giggling and gestures to keep quiet, the controller talking to the gas station guy says, “Yep, I did. Sorry about that.” He then makes a knocking noise and says, “Okay, you’re off.” Of course gas station guy isn’t off the speaker phone and the giggling and laughing clues him into this. The entire film was worth the price of admission just for this scene alone.

“I told you! I don’t want to talk about Dollhouse!”

It was these type of scenes combined with the subtle action that made the film worth watching. Wendy Lin (Amy Acker) turning up her nose at the office pool and then at the last minute placing her bet. The slow realization that everything is resting on their televised sacrifice show and the pressures and tension that entails. The premature celebrations when they think they’ve won. I could go on but what would be the point?

The film was a brilliant attempt at satirizing the horror/slasher genre that just doesn’t quite work. The film has stand out moments and for my money Fran Kranz stole the show. The Cabin in the Woods was plagued with problems from the get go. The studios who had given the film the green light, then turned around and wanted to first change the format to 3D and then just wanted to get rid of the finished product.  *Interesting to note that the other film the studio was desperate to get rid of was the re-make of Red Dawn. Red Dawn also starred Thor aka Chris Hemsworth. It makes you wonder what the studio was thinking.*

I did also get the feeling that Kristen Connolly was a replacement for Felicia Day who must not have been available for the shooting schedule. I was desperate to see this film and was gutted when I missed it’s cinema run. Watching it last night, I was actually glad that I didn’t see it on the big screen as I don’t think it would have enhanced the experience at all. I am now waiting for the blu-ray copy to come in so that I may see the making of featurettes that I live for.

Goddard, Thor and Whedon

My final verdict is that the film is a must see for Whedon fans, or indeed Goddard fans,  and it’s still very entertaining. It is not a horror film (I thought I’d better warn you) and it only just misses the satire genre. The film is still clever and what we have come to expect from Mssrs Whedon and Goddard.