Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Review: “The Barn” by Bonfire Films (kinda biased)

Friday, March 9th, 2012

The Barn

So back in September,2011, my wonderful niece Heather Guglielmo (who is an aspiring actress) sent me a link to a Kickstarter project for a movie called “The Barn” that she was going to be in with her Portland, Maine film-making director friend Corey Norman from Bonfire Films.  I had seen a bunch of their previous stuff and I was impressed on how good they were for being self-funded projects, but I was impressed to see they were going the Kickstarter route and taking their productions to a whole new level…  So of course I donated to the cause – Sure, I think they are very talented, but lets face it – if my niece is a part of it, I’m absolutely donating…

As a sign of how good these guys had gotten, they were asking for $500 to cover their basic production costs, and by their Kickstarter end-date of October 2nd, they almost-quadrupled that with $1,975!   Which meant they were going to add some real production value to this movie!   I was excited to see what they’d do with the extra money because they have pulled off some impressive movies with no funding…

So once they got the money they got to work right away – like setting up locations, building props (like coffins), etc.   And Heather would tell me all about the shooting, etc…   Within weeks after they started, they got all their principal photography done, and the film was in the editing room…

A few weeks after that, they are announcing their release date of December 5th, 2011 at the Nickelodeon Cinema in Portland!   I just want to note it was (more…)

A Tale of Two Comic Cons – Part II – NY Comic Con

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Part 2 of a segment about two consecutive weekends where I got to met THREE of my childhood heroes, and have a lot of other cool things happen at a pair of conventions.  This is in addition to the weekend earlier where it was Superhero Nirvana down in Flemington, NJ– October is a great month to be a costumer!

Well, this one is about the big boy of conventions in the New York City area – NY Comic Con!  Last year there were 96,000 or so attendees – this year 105,000.  According to Wikipedia, its been going up steadily since its inception…It sold out both weekend days this year, so I dont know how much higher those numbers can get…

Year Attendees
NYCC 2006  33,000
NYCC 2007  49,000
NYCC 2008  60,000
NYCC 2009  77,000
NYCC 2010  96,000
NYCC 2011 105,000

Last year, Johnny Rox and I went to NYCC for a first time on the Saturday, and it was MOBBED (I’m not talking supermarket mobbed – I’m talking last train out of the apocalypse-mobbed!)…   We went in normal civilian clothes (as opposed to being costumed) and we had a great time.  Check out our experience last year here  (Lots of pix there too)

Anyhoo, so lets get on with the events of the individual 2011 days!

Friday Oct 14th, 2011 – Day #1 (for me)

Someone mentioned to me that since I was vacation on Friday, I should go to NYCC that day because it would be a LOT less crowded…  Nobody else was on vacation, so I had nobody else to go with, but I knew enough people there – so I headed into the city on Friday sans costume…

I got a call in the morning saying that the lines around the Javitz Center were insane but happily found out that these were people who had to pickup tickets.  Luckily I ordered my tix a few months ago and had them in hand, and didn’t need to wait in any lines..  But I got there after 2pm anyway to avoid the initial confusion that usually happen at these things.

I went in without any maps, or any idea what I wanted to do…  I said I wouldn’t do that again, and I actually created an agenda on the NYCC website, but I never printed it, nor did I remember anything on the list…   There’s a LOT to see, and there’s no way in hell I was gonna see 5% of what there was to see, so I just decided to let Fate be my guide…

So I walked… And walked…  And walked…  I zigged and zagged down aisles dodging human traffic looking for (more…)

Green Lantern movie – A lifetime waiting to review!

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Don’t worry, I’ll let you know in big bold letters when to stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Well, after waiting my entire life for this, FINALLY a Green Lantern movie came out. In case you didn’t know, your old pal James (whose company is called LANTERN-media.com by the way) has been a HUGE Green Lantern fan since he was a kid.

Sure Superman and Spiderman were cool, but there was just something about having a ring that can construct kick-ass weapons based on the wearers imagination really appealed to this Irish kid from the Bronx – And the fact that he was “green” didn’t hurt LOL And every summer, I’ve watched as a bunch of less-deserving superheroes get their moment on the big screen.

Well not this Summer… Finally Green Lantern hit the theaters today!

I’ll be honest, I was pretty worried about this movie… Waiting an entire lifetime for something only to have it suck was a real concern. I really tried to keep my emotions in check about it – and by its release, I was fully expecting it to be more disappointing than the Green Hornet movie with Seth Rogan last year.

Which was a really good strategy on my part. Having low expectations meant that as long as Jack Black didn’t star as Hal Jordan (an actual possibility from a past script that still frightens me), it was probably NOT going to be a disappointing movie.

So we found a local theater and went to the matinee. Jackie wouldn’t have stayed awake for the car ride to the theater, let alone the whole movie, if we had went to the midnight showing, so we went to the first showing of the next day. We also decided to watch the Non-3D version since it was earlier
(more…)

Band Review: Black 47 at the Stone Pony, Memorial Day 2011

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Band Review: Black 47 at the Stone Pony, Memorial Day 2011

As biased as my previous review was, this one will be also.  But, unlike the previous review, I became biased towards Black 47, not because of friendships (which came later), but because I was just a super fan going back to their early days (1989-1991) when they were playing in the Norwood/Bainbridge section of the Bronx – which just happened to be my old neighborhood.

I’m kinda embarrassed to admit this, but I never did see the band live when they were playing back in my old neighborhood.  They had played in the local Irish bars, and by this time I had already given up drinking at the ripe old age of 16 (more common in my Irish-American neighborhood than you would expect)

I don’t remember who exactly, but “someone” recommended Black 47, and I picked up their CD – probably at Crazy Eddie’s on Fordham Road. I was really surprised that I liked their music.   I DID NOT like Irish music at all at that time tho – too many parentally-forced listenings of “Wild Colonial Boy” and “The Unicorn” on WFUV’s Sunday radio program will do that to you.

(more…)

Band Review: ANOTHER biased review for Tasting Grace

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

ANOTHER biased review for Tasting Grace
This time at the Downtown in Red Bank, NJ – May 25th, 2011

Ok, as the title would suggest, I’ve reviewed the band Tasting Grace before. See here for that review.

And like before, it is still going to be partially biased since drummer Johnny Rox and I are good friends, former bandmates (I was the manager of the now-defunct RiffSurfers) and brothers in the charitable Star Wars costuming group the 501st Legion – But I’ll try to keep it as unbiased as I can..

Last night’s show was at the Downtown bar in Red Bank, NJ – They have an upstairs room for shows – I had done a book signing there at another friend’s hypnosis event there back in January 2011. It’s a pretty big place with a good vibe to it.

As mentioned, I’ve been to a Tasting Grace show before back in November, 2010 at the Asbury Park Convention Hall, and they were great back then, albeit with a few lighting problems that made it difficult to see the band on stage (really, read my previous review). But this time, there were no technical problems (at least to me) and I saw the show as the band wanted me to.

(more…)

Book Review: This is Your Brain on Shamrocks

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Mike Farragher is a fellow Irish-American writer who I met thru Larry Kirwan of Black 47 – He just came out with a book called “This Is Your Brain on Shamrocks” and I just finished reading it…   And heres the review:

“This is your Brain on Shamrocks” is an entertaining book.   It is a collection of humorous short essays from Mike Farragher about how “growing up Irish” influenced (and still influences) his daily life.

I’ve met Mike twice in person, and oddly enough they were both in pubs. First was at an Irish-American Writers & Artists event, and secondly was at his book signing in a local New Jersey pub.  Both times he was one of the nicest & most social people.  In reading his book however, I got a scary look into his psyche, and realized that while we were completely different people, we have a lot of the same memories and ideas about things thanks to our similar backgrounds during the same time period on opposite sides of the Hudson River.

(more…)

Christmas Blizzard 2010 / Irish Voice review

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Originally this was going to be a blog entry on this cool review I got on the Irish Voice newspaper website today, but I realized that the Scotch Plains Christmas Blizzard of 2010 is just as worthy to talk about…

I’ll talk about the book stuff first since I think its pretty major – AND it will let me end the blog with the blizzard videos and pictures… So here goes…

After shoveling out from the Christmas Blizzard (see later on), I sat down to surf the net a bit, and I got a Google Alert email telling me that
James Hannon” and “Lost Boys of the Bronx” was mentioned in a news story entitled “Don’t Bet Against Spider man“.. Didn’t know what connection I had to Spiderman, but news is news right?

Popping the article up on my screen, I realized it was from the Irish Voice newspaper and was written by “Off the Record” columnist Mike Farragher – Now things made sense….   A few weeks ago, I had went to the Irish-Mexican Alliance benefit (see my blog from then for what that was all about) and I met Mike in person there.  We’ve been “virtual” colleagues for a while since both of us were part of the Irish-American Writers & Artists group and had a lot of the same friends (most notably god-amongst-men Larry Kirwan – who somehow is getting mentioned in every blog lately LOL) – We finally met in person, and I passed my book to him hoping he would find the time to check it out…

Well, he did and he wrote a wonderful review of it…  Check it out at:

http://www.irishcentral.com/story/ent/off_the_record/dont-bet-against-spider-man-112497839.html
I know Mike has both an online edition of his column and a “physical newspaper” edition.   I’ll find out Wednesday if I made it to the paper version…

Now  onto the Christmas Blizzard!

Everyone knew this was coming – kinda… In the days prior, there were reports of it being anywhere from a dusting to 2 feet of snow…  Would it come on Christmas Day or the day after – or not at all???  Details were sketchy, but “something” was gonna happen…  Eventually reports started remaining consistent and we were gonna have a Nor’Easter the day after Christmas…

(more…)