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Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

End not dear for some ‘How I Met Your Mother’ fans

Last Forever Part OneThere’s been a very mixed reaction to the final episode of the CBS comedy “How I Met Your Mother.” If you haven’t watched the episode, be warned there are spoilers coming.

Some were happy that it looked like Ted (Josh Radnor) and Robin (Colbie Smulders) were finally going to get together (even if it meant a rapid exit for the real “Mother” on the show). Others were mad that if was the way the show was going to end, then it should have only been on the air one episode because that’s when Ted met Robin.

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Samuel L. Jackson loses his cool

MARVEL'S THE AVENGERSSamuel L. Jackson is one of the coolest people working in Hollywood. There’s got to be a more modern term than “cool” to describe the man who plays Nick Fury in the new “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” but nothing sounds quite as appropriate.

That’s why it says a lot when Jackson gets excited when talking about working with Robert Redford in the new action film. He had met Redford years ago during a trip to the Sundance Film Festival but missed several opportunities to work on a film with him over the years. Jackson made up for lost time during the filming the latest “Captain America” movie.

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UPDATE: You can win tickets to see new ‘Captain America’ film

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The winners have been randomly selected to see the advance screening of “Captain America” The Winter Soldier.” They are Amy, Chad, Tess, Cecilia, Andy, Helen, Lv, Danny G, Kris G, C.K. Thank you to all who participated. Keep reading the Fresno Beehive as another ticket giveaway is coming soon.

ORIGINAL POST: The summer movie season is still more than a month away but one of the big budget action movies is slipping into theaters on April 4 with the release of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” The film is ahead of the summer movie pack but you probably don’t want to wait until then to see it.

This could be your lucky day. The Fresno Bee has rounded up 10 pairs of reserved seats for the 7:30 p.m. April 1 screening in Fresno of the latest Marvel Comics film.

All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me whether you are more excited to see Captain America, the Black Widow, Nick Fury or the Falcon.

You have until 5 p.m. March 29 to post the comment. The 10 winners will be randomly selected from all of the comments and they will be notified on March 31. Keep in mind that if you win and can’t attend, the seats aren’t transferable.

Good luck. Contest rules are below.

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Chris Evans suited for ‘Captain America’

ca-the-winter-soldier-image01Chris Evans has slipped into the red-white-and-blue garb of Captain America for the fourth time (if you count a brief cameo in “Thor: The Dark World”) with the latest being the new feature film “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” The film’s scheduled to open April 4.

He thought by now the suit would begin to feel more comfortable but that hasn’t been the case.

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TV critics tour: ABC boss behind ‘Goldbergs,’ ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’

BACK ROW: HAYLEY ORRANTIA, GEORGE SEGAL, TROY GENTILE; FRONT ROW: SEAN GIAMBRONE, JEFF GARLIN, WENDI MCLENDON-COVEYABC’s day at the TV critics tour includes an appearance by President Paul Lee. Here are some highlights of his comments.

On the success from the new fall shows: “You’ve got to add a couple of assets a year. If you don’t do that, you sort of pay for it in the next year, and we really feel now with ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and ‘Goldbergs,’ we’ve got a couple of assets that can stay on the network for a very, very long time. I mean, ‘Goldbergs’ is a great show. Everywhere we put it over Christmas, it popped a number, and it’s starting to grow. It’s got great social buzz, very pleased about that. ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.,’ it’s obviously disappointing that we started with a very high number and it came down, and it took a little bit of time to find our sea legs, but now the show is really doing well.”

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San Lee comic expo goes ‘Toxic’

toxicThose of you planning on attending the Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo 2013 in Los Angeles this weekend will have a chance to get Troma-tized.

Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma Entertainment and creator of “The Toxic Avenger.” will present two panel discussions and screenings in celebration of Troma’s upcoming 40th anniversary.

There will be a screening of “Terror Firmer” at 5 p.m. Friday in room 411 of the Los Angeles Convention Center. That will be the same location for a 1 p.m. Sunday screening of the original “Class of Nuke ‘Em High” followed by the first six minutes of “Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 1.”

The first panel discussion, “40 Years of Troma!,” will be at 4 p.m. Saturday in room 304ABC. The panel will include Lloyd Kaufman, Patricia Swinney Kaufman, Marc Torgl, R.H. Stavis, and surprise guests. At 11 p.m. Sunday, there will be the “Troma Presents: A Celebration of Reel Independence!” panel including Kaufman, Steven Paul, Ron Jeremy, Ford Austin and Shaked Berenson.

Autograph sessions and photo ops with Lloyd Kaufman are free the Troma booth #612.

It’s time for AMC to cancel ‘Comic Book Men’

Kevin SmithAs a life-long comic book collector, it was exciting news when AMC announced it was launching the series “Comic Book Men.” The show comes from Kevin Smith, the actor/director who is both a comic book enthusiast and writer. The show originates from his comic book store, Secret Stash, located in Red Bank, New Jersey.

This series sounded like a great way to inform the public about the importance of comic books in pop culture from the writings of Stan Lee to the artwork of Neal Adams. The show could explain why The Incredible Hulk #180 is so valuable (it’s the first appearance of Wolverine) or why all comic book collectors should own copies of Green Lantern No. 85 and 86 (deals with Green Arrow’s sidekick, Speedy, being a drug addict).

What sounded like a good idea for a series has turned into the most self-indulgent piece of garbage on TV that doesn’t star a Kardashian.

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UPDATE: You can win tickets to see ‘Thor: The Dark World’

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 UPDATE: The five (5) winners who will get to see “Thor: The Dark World” at the advance screening Monday include: Paul, Tess, Kyle, Blanca and Amy. Thank you to all who posted comments. Keep reading as there will be more screening events in the future.

ORIGINAL POST: “Thor: The Dark World” officially opens Nov. 7 but this is your chance to win reserved seats to an advance screening at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4. I will randomly select five (5) winners from all of you who post a comment to this blog. Each winner gets a seat plus one more for a friend.

The good news is that these are reserved seats. All you have to do is show up at the theater and you will be directed to the special seating area. You won’t have to stand in that long line.

To be eligible, all you have to do is tell me whether you are more like Thor or Loki. Don’t write a novel.

I’ll give you until 11:59 p.m. Oct. 30 to post your comment. The five (5) winners will be notified on Oct. 31.

Start writing.

The rules and regulations are below.

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Holy Affleck! Ben’s playing Batman

POPTOPS2Ben Affleck has been cast to play Batman in the “Man of Steel” sequel to be released in 2015. Henry Cavill will be back to play Superman while “Man of Steel” director Zack Snyder also will be back.

Affleck as Batman. That’s the worst casting idea since Ryan Reynolds was selected to play Green Lantern or Affleck was cast as Daredevil. Affleck is a good actor and a fine director. But, he’s already shown playing costumed characters is not his super acting power.

There have been some great castings in comic book inspired movies. No one could bring the snarky tone better than Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Chris Hemsworth was born to play Thor.

There have also been some major mistakes. Here are my five worst castings in comic book movies. Feel free to add to the list.

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Clark Gregg living Marvel-ous life

THORIf you haven’t seen the “The Avengers,” then you might want to stop reading now. There’s a major spoiler coming. You’ve been warned.

I had the chance to sit down with Clark Gregg to talk with him about his new feature film “The To Do List” that opens at the end of July. He plays an overly protective father who has a lot of trouble dealing with the sexual maturing of his youngest daughter (Aubrey Plaza).

Being the comic book geek that I am, the conversation finally got around to his role as Agent Coulson in several of the feature films based on Marvel Comics including “Iron Man” and “Thor.” It looked like that character was dead and gone after “The Avengers” but Gregg will be reprising the role for the upcoming ABC series “Marvel’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

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Adrian Pasdar big comic book fan

ADRIAN PASDAR (VOICE OF IRON MAN/TONY STARK)A lot of times, when someone finds out that I’m a huge comic book fan, they think it’s sad to like something so silly. They obviously haven’t read comics or at least only think of the publications as being a series of colorfully drawn panels.

Those opponents of comic books are even more dazed when I explain that I learned to read through the publications. My parents were happy that I was interested in reading and it didn’t matter whether it was tales of Superman or classic literature.

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Thor, Black Widow walk into a bar …

KEY ARTThe fact that voice actors Laura Bailey and Travis Willingham are married has more perks than just being able to ride share to a recording session. They also have used their work as the voices of Black Widow and Thor in the new Disney XD animated series “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” as an inspiration for their Halloween costumes.

“It was really Laura’s idea. She asked me if we should go to the recording session for this show on Halloween dressed in our costumes,” Willingham says. “It was a 9 a.m. trip on Halloween Day to the costume store to see what they had left.”

Both voice actors grew up and Dallas and became friend while attending Texas Christian University. It wasn’t until they moved to Los Angeles to find work that they finally got married.

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Gwyneth Paltrow truly a beautiful person

Gwyneth PaltrowLast month, People magazine named Gwyneth Paltrow the world’s most beautiful woman. Having had the chance to speak with her on several occasions, the magazine is right both when you talk about her outer and inner beauty.

Paltrow’s one of those people who makes you immediately feel comfortable. She seems to care about people. I saw another example of this when Paltrow was talking about being in “Iron Man 3.” Her character, Pepper Potts, has gone through some major changes during the series run, but when asked about the success of the films, Paltrow prefers to point to the work of others. She’s convinced the films work only because of the performance of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.

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ABC adding eight shows to schedule

CHLOE BENNET, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE, IAIN DE CAESTECKER, CLARK GREGG, MING-NA WEN, BRETT DALTONABC’s 2013-2014 TV schedule will feature eight new shows including “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” from Joss Whedon. Other shows joining the ABC lineup in the fall include “Back in the Game,” “Betrayal,” “The Goldbergs,” “Lucky 7,” “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” “Super Fun Night” and “Trophy Wife.”

Returning to the scedule are “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “The Bachelor,” “Castle,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Last Man Standing,” “The Middle,” “Modern Family,” “Nashville,” “The Neighbors,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Revenge,” “Scandal,” “Shark Tank,” “Suburgatory,” “The Taste” and “20/20.”

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UPDATE: You can win ‘Iron Man 3′ T-shirt

The five winners of “Iron Man 3” T-shifrts have been randomly selected and include: Erick, Lita, Dan, Kalli and El Guapo.

Thank you to all who entered and keep watching for more giveaways.

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ORIGINAL POST: “Iron Man 3” has opened and you can read my review and interview with Ben Kingsley at fresnobee.com.

I would like to know what you think about the latest film in the franchise. I have five (5) “Iron Man 3” T-shirts that I will randomly give away to those who post their short (and I mean short) review of the movie as a comment. There will be five (5) winners who each get one (1) shirt.

I’ll give you until 11:59 p.m. May 9 to post your reviews. Winners will be notified on May 10. You will have to pick up the shirt at the Fresno Bee during regular business hours. They will not be mailed.

Start writing.

The rules and regulations are below.

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‘Iron Man 3′ gets different look for China

Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man“Iron Man 3” had a very impressive opening weekend taking in more than $175 million across the United States. That’s a huge number but pales compared to what the latest offering in the comic book genre made around the globe. It’s already pulled in more than a $500 million in foreign ticket sales.

There was a time when American movies would open here and then move overseas. That thinking has changed and now big blockbuster movies will have their openings abroad weeks before moviegoers can see them here. “Star Trek Into Darkness” is just under two weeks away but it will be available to overseas fans before domestic Trekkies. “Star Trek: Into the Darkness” opens in Germany on May 9.

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Stark Industries invades Disneyland

IRON MAN 3“Iron Man 3” is in 3D but that visual gimmick doesn’t draw you into the world of the comic books like a new display at Disneyland. The Innoventions attraction in Disneyland Park features a Hall of Armor from Tony Stark’s Malibu mansion. The suits on display are authentic movie armors including the Mark I-VII featured in “Iron Man 3.”

Here’s the kicker. Through some camera trickery, you’ll be able to virtually “suit up” and operate the latest pieces of Mark 42 armor – and even test it out.

Included in the Hall of Armor display are:

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Kingsley better interview than Downey

Robert Downey Jr.Later this week, you’ll be able to read my interview with Sir Ben Kingsley as part of my coverage of “Iron Man 3.” I’m often asked why I will do stories on actors in movies other than those who are the main star. In this case, it was a no brainer. Any chance to chat with an Oscar-winning actor should never be missed.

Kingsley could not talk a lot about playing the villainous Mandarin in the movie but we did chat about how he selects roles and his process for bringing a character to life. Kingsley also talked about how being knighted was the greatest honor in his life.

The problem with Robert Downey Jr. — the man behind the Iron Man armor — is that he will either answer a question with a funny remark or won’t answer the question he’s been asked. A simple question about whether this would be the last “Iron Man” movie for him got an odd response.

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‘Red Dawn’ finally rises in theaters

The remake of the 1984 film “Red Dawn” hits theaters next week. I can’t tell you at this time whether or not I like the movie but I can tell you that the story of how the film got made and finally found its way into theaters would make a very interesting documentary.

While not giving away my reaction to the movie, it should be pointed out the long delay for the release of “Red Dawn” was not based on the quality of the production. It was mainly caused by financial problems with MGM.

When the new “Red Dawn” was shot three years ago, no one had seen star Chris Hemsworth in either “Thor” or “The Avengers.” Josh Hutcherson hadn’t even started work on “The Hunger Games.” Isabel Lucas hadn’t been seen in “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” And, there hadn’t been all of the talk about Adrianne Palicki as TV’s new “Wonder Woman.”

“Red Dawn” producer Tripp Vinson points out that the original “Red Dawn” is remembered for helping launch the careers of actors like Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson and Jennifer Grey. This update version would have had the same bragging rights had there not been such a long release delay.

One major change was made to the movie during the delay. In the original remake version, it was an invading Chinese army that forces a group of teens to become rebels. When you see the film, that army — through computer wizadry — is now from North Korea. It makes more sense that a country as large as China would consider attacking the United States. But, with the way the economy has been going in recent years, such a move by the Chinese wouldn’t make good financial sense.

UPDATE: Win tickets to see ‘Thor’

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UPDATE: The 10 winners have been randomly selected to see the early screening of “Thor” Tuesday night. The winners are Luis, Julio, Gabriel, Alex, cj1, Precious, bradley, Miguel, Patrick and Danielle.

Thank you to everyone who sent the very funny comments. Keep an eye on the Beehive for more movie screenings.

ORIGINAL POST: The summer movie season starts with thunder and lightning through the release of “Thor” on May 6.

The film, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, is based on the Marvel Comics series. Thor’s a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions rekindle an ancient war. That earns him banishment to Earth.

We want to give you a chance to get a jump on the summer season by giving away tickets to the 7:30 p.m. May 3 advance screening of the action movie.

Ten winners will get two reserved seats to see the early screening. These are reserved tickets, so you won’t be herded like cattle into that long line, but are guaranteed great, premium seats.

All you have to do to is leave a comment telling us what you would do if you had Thor’s hammer for one day. Knock down a wall? Drive one million nails? Hammer all over this land?

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The ten winners will be randomly selected from all of the commenters. You have until 1 p.m. Friday to enter.

Check out the pesky rules and regulations below.

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