The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Phase 3 — What’s Next?

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On Tuesday, July 8, 2014, the opening day of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley, we here at EG were midway through the 8 hours and 51 minutes it would take to ESCAPE FROM GRINGOTTS when we began to wonder about HARRY POTTER PHASE 3.

By this point, most Muggles are aware that Universal’s old JAWS attraction was, umm, blown up(?) to make way for the Diagon Alley expansion. And with less and less real estate available in both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure parks, more existing attractions may need to be eliminated if there is to be more Wizarding Magic to come. And so, as the sun blazed down and melted our brains during that epic wait, we began to fantasize about what’s next…

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley Opening Day Magic!

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The big day has finally arrived and the brick walls of Diagon Alley have opened to Witches, Wizards and Muggles to explore, that is, to those brave and pasionate souls who possess the virtue of patience. Opening day saw wait times of three hours to simply enter the new land inside Universal Studios Orlando, and an additional SIX to NINE hours to experience Diagon Alley’s new centerpiece, Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, a state-of-the-art thrill ride which paves the way for the future of E-ticket attractions. Having just returned from the scene, we are here to say that, even with those astronomical waits, it’s truly all worth it.

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This new expansion to the Universal Orlando Resort is not only a hit, it’s a game-changer, creating what we feel is the most immersive awe-inspiring physical space inside any theme park on the planet. And that statement alone is unable to do it justice, becuase being inside Diagon Alley, you are not in a theme park… you have left Universal and have been transported inside J.K. Rowling’s imagination, made to instantly forget the trials and tribulations of your reality.

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WonderCon 2014 Cosplay Gallery

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Cosplayers flocked to the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend for WonderCon and EG was on the scene to catch up with some of the best. Taking place right across the street from Disneyland seemed to bring out droves of Disney-inspired cosplay — take a look in our Facebook gallery HERE!

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Sabotage Review – Total Garbage

Sabotage

Arnold Schwarzenegger said he’d be back, and when Arnold speaks, our butts are in the seats. And for every miss like The Last Stand, there’s some good quotable Arnie in Escape Plan… and then there’s Sabotage, the DEA cop thriller by David “End of Watch” Ayers.

The film opens strongly enough with some gun violence, before the two hours we spend with mostly annoying characters, like LOST’s Josh Holloway and The Killing’s Mireille Enos in a role that’s so grating, you may end up offing yourself during the film. Read that carefully: two hours of annoying characters. Well, at least there will be more gunplay right? Would you be surprised if there isn’t as much as the trailers would lead you to believe?

No, Sabotage is a thriller, a “who dunnit” with layers that you don’t give a shit about. Who stole the money? Who really cares, give us something interesting, not cops bantering about their sexual conquests or DEA agents also bantering about their sexual conquests. The pacing is so slow and awkward, balanced poorly with “radical camerawork” like mounting a camera on the muzzle of the gun pointed back at the shooter… FELLINI-ESQUE! And the violence, we keep hearing about how “gory” it is and pushing the limits of the R rating. It doesn’t and it isn’t.

Of the entire cast, it’s Sam Worthington, you know, Avatar’s Jakesully, who gives a real performance, so that should sum up what to expect. Arnold’s fine, but wasted and overall, the film ends up being a letdown and a bore. Skip it completely and pretend it never existed.

ASIDE: And why the F does everybody fire through walls in this movie?

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Into The Storm Teaser Trailer – Bad Weather Ahead!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Trailer – First Look At The New Turtles

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Disney Characters As Walking Dead Survivors

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Hercules Trailer – The Rock Calls It Like He Sees It!

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The Signal Trailer – Something Strange Is Going On

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New Transformers: Age of Extinction Posters – Dangerous Robots Are On The Loose!

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300: Rise Of An Empire Review – FOR SPARTA!!

300 Rise Of An Empire

While not as good or as revolutionary as its predecessor, this prequel/sequel/side-story has enough action, boobs and violence to make any boy happy. The story is fairly straightforward, without any real twists or turns, but it’s all there to move us from one slo-mo fight sequence to the next one. Actors and characters are largely forgettable, outside of Eva Green’s Artemisia. Even the big bad Xerxes is just a bit player in the whole production.

I should have watched the original 300 before this one, as I hadn’t seen it since theaters, but as a nitpick, the digital blood kinda bugged me. Sure, it was probably intended as artistic, but just seemed a little off. Perhaps this is the same as in its predecessor, up to you how you feel about things like this.

Some lazy CG aside, it was nice to be back in the 300 world, though it felt a little dated.

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Sin City: A Dame To Kill For – Rodriguez and Miller Are Back!

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The Raid 2 Review – When Story Met Pencak Silat

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I really loved the original Raid. It caught me completely off-guard and was such a simple movie with wild action. The Raid 2: Berandal is almost the complete opposite: a film with lofty goals in which I had high expectations of more wild action. To keep it simple: Expectations made.

Sure, you have a 2+ hour film telling a fairly familiar crime story of betrayal and daddy issues. But within those two hours you meet interesting characters, albeit characters designed to fight in exciting ways. You’ve also got some very sick fight and action sequences, wonderful cinematography and camera direction, and for a long movie, it never felt long.

In some ways, it’s better than the goofiness of some of Tony Jaa’s work, on the other, it barely holds a candle to iconic scenes in those films. What I respect is that director/writer, Gareth Evans, went for a story bigger than “guys running up a staircase” and in the end, delivered. It may not be The Godfather, but it has its own special sauce… and makes me super excited to see The Raid 3.

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Afflicted Trailer – A Trip Around The World Goes Horribly Wrong

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Transformers Age of Extinction Trailer – The Rules Have Changed But Has It Changed For The Better?

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Batman Arkham Knight Trailer – Abandon The City Once Again

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Game of Thrones Poster – Valar Morghulis, indeed!

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Non-Stop Review – Liam Neeson And The Plot Are Up In The Air

Non-Stop with Liam Neeson

Non-Stop with Liam Neeson

I love Liam Neesons, but even he can’t get me into a theater to see Unknown or Taken 2. That said, I was curious about Non-Stop as it takes place entirely onboard a plane and I’m always interested in how movies handle one set thrillers… plus the one-two punch of LEGO Movie and Non-Stop seemed like a good time to be a fan of Qui-Gon.

For the first hour and change, it mostly works. Sure, there’s always implausible elements (mobile devices that boast fantastic high-speed connections, etc.) but Neeson’s great and the ensuing mystery is intriguing. There’s also a fairly well-done close quarters fight sequence, and some hilarious improvisational fighting techniques from Neeson that allowed me to have a good time. [click to continue]

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Godzilla Trailer – The Epic Adventure Begins May 16th

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Harold Ramis Dead At 69 – Forty Years of Darkness!

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