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From Nine Worlds Entertainment:

Nine Worlds Entertainment is pleased to announce the completion of principal photography on the horror feature Death Do Us Part and have released official character stills. The film is directed by Nicholas Humphries of the acclaimed Syfy webseries Riese: Kingdom Falling and Screamfest LA 2011 Winner for Best Short (The Little Mermaid).

Kennedy Jamieson, a wealthy socialite, has waited her whole life to have the perfect wedding. Engaged to the charming Ryan Harris, the young couple is just a week away from the big day but hasn’t had a chance to celebrate their respective bachelor/bachelorette parties. Ryan’s best man Chet books a remote cabin in the woods to throw them a ‘Jack and Jill’ stag that they’ll never forget.

Out in the middle of nowhere, things take a horrifying turn as members of the group are brutally picked off one by one. What started out as a celebration quickly descends into a bloody nightmare. Friendships are ripped apart and accusations fly in this blood filled psychological horror with a whodunit twist.

Starring Ben Ayres (Vampire Diaries), Julia Benson (Stargate Universe), Peter Benson (The Killing), Emile Ullerup (Sanctuary), Kyle Cassie (Lost Boys: The Tribe), Christine Chatelaine (Riese: Kingdom Falling), Dave Collette (Fringe) with Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica), Death Do Us Part is Directed by Nicholas Humphries (Riese: Kingdom Falling), Produced by Julia Benson (Kits), Peter Benson (Kits) and Ryan Copple (Riese: Kingdom Falling).

“Some of the greatest horror films, movies like Halloween and Black Christmas, are screened annually because they are thematically linked to the holidays. We want to make the movie that horror fans watch when they’re about to get married.” – Nicholas Humphries, Director Death Do Us Part

For further details, visit the Death Do Us Part website at http://www.deathdouspartmovie.com/, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DeathDoUsPartTheMovie or on Twitter: @DDUPMovie.

About Nine Worlds Entertainment

Founded in January 2011 by Peter Benson, Ryan Copple and Julia Benson, Nine Worlds Entertainment is a Vancouver based Production Company with many projects in various stages of development. They have been working with BBC Worldwide Productions on two half hour comedy series, and are slated to shoot a pilot episode for one of them at the end of this year. The team at Nine Worlds has also been working with Aircraft Pictures and Dolphin Entertainment on a children’s comedy series as well as a sci-fi action series. The company is focusing on creating and producing content that is relevant and commercially viable both domestically and internationally.  Nine Worlds Entertainment is going into production on their first feature film “Death Do Us Part”.

 

 

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The Hunger Games

With the announcement of a film in the works, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy has been splashed across the news recently. Actors for the three main characters have been officially announced by Lionsgate and fans are divided on whether or not the choices are good enough. The last time the YA literature community buzzed with this much energy was during the casting of the Twilight series.

The first book, which has the same name as the series, introduces us to seventeen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a lean, mean, fighting machine.

No, really.

Katniss is from District 12 in a post-apocalyptic North America called Panem. Of the 13 districts, District 12 is one of the poorest, not only because its sole source of production (and the district’s specialization) is coal mining, but because it is furthest away from the central controlling government, The Capitol. In addition to being from a poor district, she’s from the slums called The Seam. Everyone from The Seam scrambles to find food. Plus, she lost her father, the breadwinner, when she was eleven years old and, as a result, her mother fell into deep depression. How is an eleven-year-old supposed to provide for her family?

Katniss, trained by her father, is an accomplished archer and skilled hunter, illegally providing food for not just her family but for the people of District 12. This puts her at an advantage when she enters the Hunger Games.

The Games were created by the Capitol to remind the people of the 13 districts of the repercussions of rebellion.

The rules of the Hunger Games are simple… each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins. (page 18, Scholastic paperback printing, September 2009)

Think of it as the Triwizard tournament from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire meets Battle Royale, but even more twisted: kids as young as twelve years old get selected for the Hunger Games. The entries stack, too; eighteen-year-olds have their names entered a minimum of 7 times. Participants are allowed to sign up for more food and oil per year, per person, at the price of an extra ticket entered with their name.

So, Katniss has 20 entries while her sister, Primrose (Prim), at the age of twelve, has 1. Luck of the draw, though, the younger Everdeen gets picked. Prim is the complete opposite of Katniss: if Katniss is like their father, a hunter; Prim is like their mother, a healer. Young, innocent, and kind-hearted Prim is everything to Katniss. It is no wonder that Katniss, without hesitation, volunteers to become a tribute in Prim’s place. The boy tribute from District 12? Peeta Mellark, the baker’s son, a boy from school. As the story unfolds, the reader finds out just how intertwined Katniss and Peeta’s lives are, which is half the magic of The Hunger Games.

The other half, of course, is Katniss’ performance in the arena. The events leading up to the Games see us following Katniss to the Capitol. The Capitol is a highly-developed metropolis full of materialistic people. Everything is glam, glitter, and luxury for them. The Games? They’re just a source of entertainment, not unlike how the Romans enjoyed a good battle between lions and gladiators.

I have not mentioned the other semi-important male in Katniss’ life yet: Gale Hawthorne. Gale forms the third corner of the love triangle, but he is barely there in the first book. He’s the boy from back home, Katniss’ only friend and fellow rebellious hunter. We mostly learn about his role in her life through her thoughts on what people might be thinking when she plans her survival in the Games.

To write more about the book would spoil it. To write about the second and third book in the series would definitely spoil the first (but I can say that the latter two books are a lot more political). Though not a huge fan of politically-themes novels,  I am a huge fan of the series, having finished the trilogy in less than a week. The messages of “hope” and “love” are powerful, and the twist near the end really drives that home. I urge anyone who likes reading YA science fiction and fantasy to pick up a copy.

It’s not as sophistically written as JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, nor would you want to step foot into the world of Panem (well, maybe a visit to the Capitol would be fun). But the characters — both major ones like Katniss and Peeta, and minor ones like the other tributes — are so charming that you just can’t put the book down.

Pick up your copy of The Hunger Games at Amazon or find it at your local bookstore.

The Hunger Games — Book 1
Catching Fire — Book 2
Mockingjay — Book 3
Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset

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Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit, Volume 3

What would it take for you to find inspiration in the little things in life, to appreciate the world and its people for its beauty?

Volume 3 of Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit by Motoro Mase (artist for Heads) follows two totally unrelated characters in two different stories. One is a high school dropout, the other a con artist, and the thing the two have in common are papers they receive from “The Ministry of Health and Welfare” notifying them of their deaths in 24 hours.

Why would the Ministry of Health and Welfare do that? To promote how precious life is and how important it is to be a productive, active member of society. Ironically, some of those served dead papers are productive members of society: “All citizens undergo national welfare immunization in the first grade. Because of a nanocapsule in some of the syringes, 1 in 1,000 young people will die sometime between the ages of 18 and 24.” This method of “improving society” would never be accepted in our world and, as exemplified in the first story of Volume 3, things could go very wrong.

Takimoto Naoki is a depressed, anti-social, self-harming young man. His mother, Kazuko, is a workaholic politician with a one-track mind: to win the election, no matter what it takes. His father, Nobuhiko, is a soft spoken gentleman who helps out with Kazuko’s campaign, though it’s questionable whether he truly supports her. Through flashbacks, the reader learns that Naoki was neglected by Kazuko throughout his childhood, resulting in his suicidal behaviour. The delivery of his death papers come as a shock, but not as much as Kazuko’s reaction to her son’s impending fatality. As the book warns, youths who receive death papers execute their “despair in unpredictable ways.”

The other story follows Iizuka Satoshi and his sister, Sakura, and is much sweeter. This is shown by the familial relationship of the Iizuka siblings, who were orphaned when they were children because of a car accident. Sakura also lost her vision, which led to a reliance on her brother. Satoshi doted on her and continues to dote on her; the story picks up with Satoshi announcing his purchase of an apartment so that he could be a full-time caregiver for Sakura. The joyful occasion comes to a bittersweet ending after Satoshi is served death papers. Unlike Naoki, Satoshi makes the best of his last 24 hours on Earth in order to make sure Sakura is cared for.

Furthermore, the light/dark difference in the storylines is reflected in the amount of black ink used on the pages. Naoki’s story is much darker both in nature and colour, and the artistic style is much more frantic, the panels much more crowded, especially when the reader sees Naoki in his room. Satoshi’s story is littered with full panels of cherry blossoms and other wonderful scenic views.

Other than the death papers, the only shared element of both stories is the letter carrier, Fujimoto, an employee of the Ministry of Health and Welfare whose job is to physically deliver death papers to the chosen few. The brilliance of the Fujimoto character is allowing the reader to see both sides of the coin: he struggles with his own morals about the national welfare system. It would be interesting to see how much he has changed between Volume 1 and Volume 3: did it affect him more at the beginning? When we meet him in Volume 3, he is more seasoned and his boss seems to think so too. But as the stories unfold, especially in the second one, Fujimoto still questions his own actions.

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit, Volume 3 (224 pages) is written and drawn by Motoro Mase, and is published by VIZ Signature. It will be available for purchase at your favourite book stores and online retailers on November 10, 2009. It can also be purchased directly through the publisher here:

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit, Volume 3

Previous volumes are also available direct from the publisher or at your local book store.

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"What a Wonderful World!" vol 1 by Inio Asano

Truth: life as a young adult is hard. Straight out of high school, your dreams and hopes are still fresh. You constantly feel like you’re on the verge of something big. Dreams seem attainable. Time passes and nothing happens. You compare yourself to friends and fellow graduates, and wonder: what went wrong? How did I get here? How do I change it now? Can I go back? What a Wonderful World! doesn’t answer these questions; it illustrates the paths chosen by a cast of interconnected characters and how they find hope in the face of reality.

The two-volume series by Inio Asano (Solanin, Nijigihara Holograph) contains nine short “tracks” about modern life. Each track begins with a character’s internal monologue about how utterly dismal everything is. Life happens (encounters with friends, family, even enemies and strangers), and by the end of each track, the lesson is learned: this is reality; accept it, find joy in the little things, and be happy. The story is then handed off to the next character, usually a friend or relative of the previous story’s main character. This suggests that everyone feels lost at some point — it’s just part of life.

Sound depressing? A little. But I believe it’s a gem of a book. I grew up reading shoujo manga, so I was a little hesitant after reading the blurb on the back cover: “What do you mean it’s about real life? Rated for ‘older teens’? Where’s my bishounen and love story?!” But the yellow and brown colour scheme for the cover was eye-catching, and the design was rather unique as it didn’t resemble those of traditional Japanese manga (of course, you should never judge a book by its cover). The drawing style was believable, in between cartoon and real life (no oddly proportioned people here!). Character design was accurate in portraying average, twenty-something people in an average town, living average lives.

I ended up loving it. Sombre, but with just the right amount of humour. In fact, I laughed out loud in the middle of a semi-quiet cafe during the last short story, titled “Syrup.” The story focuses on Syrup’s friend Tamotsu, who almost gives up his dream of becoming a photographer because of an argument with a mutual friend. Syrup, nicknamed thus because of his addiction to cough syrup, saves Tamotsu’s faith in photography during a tussin-induced high. In doing so, Syrup almost kills himself in a hilarious manner. The story doesn’t end there, but I’m not going to spoil it. The ending was bittersweet and brought a smile to my face.

Other stories include a girl who talks to and outwits a shinigami (Japanese death god) in the form of a crow; a kidnapper/thief who ends up befriending and giving stolen money to the girl he takes as a hostage; a girl who rediscovers love for her long-term boyfriend; and, a jaded bully who restores his belief in life again after being forced to talk to his victim, and that’s just to name a few. The quotes out of this book are enlightening. A few of my favourites include:

“Living sucks. And yet, I still want to live.”

“Don’t stress. We all live in our own ways. And we all have doubts about whether it’s right or wrong. But there isn’t a right or wrong way to live.”

“…You’ve probably realized that happiness never lasts. That fleetingness is why we have to cherish each and every day…”

They’re really common quotes, but they’re things people need to remember in order to be happy wherever they are in life.

What a Wonderful World! is written and drawn by Inio Asano, and is published by VIZ Signature. This two-volume manga is available for purchase at your favorite stores and online retailers today and can be purchased directly through the publisher here:

What a Wonderful World! Volume 1
What a Wonderful World! Volume 2

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