A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

James Halcomb: Superheroes, gubernatorial hopefuls, nerd-chat … ComicCon had it all

The 2015 Lexington Comic and Toy Convention over the weekend was my first as a member of the press. I have been to a couple of conventions as a fan, although I was never a “cosplay” big spender at these events. I was just a fan of comics, particularly DC Comics. This first experience was a good one. Here are a few of my observations.   Day 1   I was running late. As you know,...

James Halcomb: Oscar predictions aside, here’s who I’d like to see win big this year

Oscar predictions are worth about as much as the paper they are printed on. So, I won’t predict who will win, but I will tell you who I’m rooting for in the main categories:   BEST ORIGINAL SONG   ‣ “Everything is Awesome,” The Lego Movie ‣ “Glory,” Selma ‣ “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me ‣ “Lost Stars,” Begin Again ‣...

James Halcomb: UK’s musical rendition of 2001 should spur more unique performances

As someone who has a passion for film, my desire to experience films in varying presentations is always a thrill.   I love IMAX but I hate 3-D movies (I find it too distracting). So when the Singletary Center for the Arts brought something entirely new like this for Lexington, I was quick to jump at the opportunity.   Stanley Kubrik’s 1968 sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey was shown...

James Halcomb: Local film ‘Proud Citizen’ is a sugary-sweet love letter to Lexington

  Often a personal connection to a film can skew your review of that film. The fact that the film “Proud Citizen” was filmed in Lexington and that many of the actors appearing in the film are recognizable people who live in and around Lexington, coupled with the fact I saw the film with a very receptive crowd, made for a perfect storm of joy while watching the movie.   The film centers...

James Halcomb: Musical-inspired beer is good companion to Broadway’s ‘Once’

  There are certain opportunities not to be missed in life.   “Once” is a musical movie that was staged for a Broadway production. (Photo from Facebook) For me as a writer, there are certain progressions of words that would sound unbelievable when typed that are based on your life or your imagination. Here are a few: I got to try a beer that was inspired by a musical that was...

James Halcomb: Stunning performances from old and new highlight ‘Concert with the Stars’

The Lexington Opera House was overflowing with talent, local and Broadway, last Saturday at the premiere event for The Lexington Theatre Company (The Lex), an aptly titled Concert with the Stars.   It was a stripped down and intimate production (only a three piece stage band was present) that was as much old style revue of the established performers as a showcase for the affectionately termed...

James Halcomb: Life Itself examines film critic’s legacy, provides peek into his life

The film Life Itself eventually becomes less a cinematic interpretation of Roger Ebert’s same titled biography, but the portrait of a man with a debilitating illness and the effect it has on his family, his friends and ultimately, his legacy (Creative Commons Photo)   It is funny that I knew fairly early on in life what I really wanted to do and that was talk about movies.   Siskel &...

James Halcomb: Kundo: Age of the Rampant light on accuracy, but heavy on excitement

The film attempts to carry its heart on its sleeve, but is at its best when it just lets the swords and the multitude of other weapons fly (Facebook Photo)   Part of the fun of the barrage of film and TV streaming services has been finding something new and off the beaten path. I discovered the Korean action piece ‘Kundo: Age of the Rampant.’   This 2014 released action/adventure...

James Halcomb: Kinetic SMACK-OFF filled with appropriately over-the-top performances

The Bobbies are the ‘extremely emotional (and emotionally disturbed) group of sisters competing in SMACK-OFF. (Photo from The Rep Facebook page)   This past weekend I had a great night out at the Guignol Theatre at University of Kentucky and see The Rep Theatre’s production of “THE SMACK-OFF: A Christmas Reality Show,” which television and film actor Steve Zahn produced and Robyn Peterman-Zahn...

James Halcomb: Kinetic SMACK-OFF filled with appropriately over-the-top performances

The Bobbies are the ‘extremely emotional (and emotionally disturbed) group of sisters competing in SMACK-OFF. (Photo from The Rep Facebook page)   This past weekend I had a great night out at the Guignol Theatre at University of Kentucky and see The Rep Theatre’s production of “THE SMACK-OFF: A Christmas Reality Show,” which television and film actor Steve Zahn produced and Robyn Peterman-Zahn...

James Halcomb: Latest installment of ‘The Hobbit’ succeeds in what it was meant to do

(Image from TheHobbit.com)   Somewhere between the amazing the release of “Iron Man” and I am going to guess around the release of “Thor: The Dark World” as a culture, we nerds became very spoiled, with overly-high expectations and automatic disillusionment.   The “Hobbit” film trilogy has been a prime example in the making. What should have been a rallying cry for the “true”...

James Halcomb: The Flash, S.H.I.E.L.D., Prince among year’s best entertainment

(Image from Wikimedia.com)   I never felt that I am entrenched in the minutiae of popular culture, or expert enough about film, television or music to deem anything “best”. However, I can tell you my favorites.   Favorite New Show: The Flash: currently finishing up the opening half of its first season, this show continues to be the best superhero event out there. Eclipsing, at times,...

James Halcomb: Stay in character, listen more than you talk and more tips for ‘Santas’

A couple of years ago, my wife and I decided to invest in a nice Santa suit. The suit was mainly to use for church and family functions, but we thought it would be fun if we also did some side Santa “gigs.”   I started a Facebook page called Lexington Area Santa and things took off from there. Every year I get to put on the suit of the Jolly One and enter rooms filled with adulation and abject...

James Halcomb: Well-crafted and smart, Birdman should win big come awards season

Michael Keaton and Emma Stone star in Birdman (Facebook Photo)   When they look back at this decade, I don’t think any film will be more of a reflection of our popular culture than “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”.   The film takes all of the tropes and clichés of a film about Hollywood blockbusters, New York, the theater and of course, critics, and makes them feel...

James Halcomb: ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ still teaches lessons about ourselves, our world

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is required holiday viewing. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)   There are very few films that I would say have had as much of an impact on me as Frank Capra’s classic It’s a Wonderful Life. Every time that I watch this film I get something new from it. I learn something vital about me and the way our crazy world works.   I think that there is...

James Halcomb: New Disney/Marvel hybrid Big Hero 6 saved by quality of animation

“Big Hero 6” is the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of movies; they have truly put Marvel in their Disney or Disney in their Marvel. Either way this collaboration continues to shine, this time in animation form.   Baymax is a serious scene stealer in Big Hero Six, a Disney/Marvel animated collaboration (Facebook Photo) The film takes place in the amazingly animated San Fransokyo; a person...

James Halcomb: John Wick role shows Keanu Reeves still has chops to drive action movie

There is a moment where Keanu Reeves’ title character, John Wick, sits at the edge of his bed, hands by his side and takes a quiet, meditative breath. This is last moment in the film until its conclusion that I remember taking a breath as well.   The film, “John Wick” is an actioner of the highest order, more in line with a late 1980’s John Woo/Chow Yun Fat collaboration than any of the...

James Halcomb: Sesame Street may be 45, but Snuffleupagus is still pretty cool to me

Elmo from Sesame Street joins the USO in bringing a live show to U.S. Navy personnel and their families stationed in Italy. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)   Sesame Street was a huge part of my childhood.   Rubber Duckie, C is for Cookie and the immortal Letter B are stuck in my brain alongside Sinatra’s Reprise catalog and Batdance. The show turns 45 this week and I honor this amazing and...

James Halcomb: Sesame Street may be 45, but Snuffleupagus is still pretty cool to me

Elmo from Sesame Street joins the USO in bringing a live show to U.S. Navy personnel and their families stationed in Italy. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)   Sesame Street was a huge part of my childhood.   Rubber Duckie, C is for Cookie and the immortal Letter B are stuck in my brain alongside Sinatra’s Reprise catalog and Batdance. The show turns 45 this week and I honor this amazing and...

James Halcomb: Few film characters have endured as long as Godzilla, who turns 60

Godzilla, King of the Monsters is my third favorite of the film series. It comes in two versions with the North American version featuring Perry Mason getting in on the act of trying to save the populace from the ‘king of monsters.’ (Photo from YouTube)   There was no way I was going to let the 60th anniversary of the first Godzilla movie pass this week without some sort of recognition....