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As you may know, The 40th Annual Comic-Con International is upon us. And as we, the staff of Film School Rejects, depart on our epic cross-country trip to bring you the best coverage from around the web, we are ready to take a moment to bring you a list — we do these sometimes. Just as it’s been in years past, Hollywood is descending upon San Diego and the legions of geeks with a marketing blitz of epic proportions, showing off the shiniest and snazziest of their upcoming toys to their “target demo.”

In order to help you keep all of the movie-related stuff straight — as opposed to making you sift through the gigantic programming schedule — we’ve put together a list of the 13 must see movie-related events of Comic-Con 2009. So get out your pencil and your day calendar (the one with the kittens on it) and write down the following events:

14. Kevin Smith

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Even though he’s currently shooting his next film, the buddy cop comedy A Couple of Dicks in New York City, Comic-Con’s favorite son is returning once again this year to host his own panel in Hall H. There’s a promise here that the guy who directed Clerks will show footage of Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in his next film, however, I need not remind the masses that this man is funny on his own. There’s no reason why you should miss this panel on Saturday night. Saturday, July 25 @ 5:15p (Hall H)

13. The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

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Allegedly director Troy Duffy has been shooting this long-awaited sequel to his underground cult hit — but we don’t believe it. We saw that documentary, Overnight, which showed that Duffy has zero friends left in the Hollywood Hills. So we’re headed to this panel just to see if it’s all a hoax or not. Saturday, July 25 @ 3:30p (Room 6DE)

12. Entertainment Weekly: The Visionaries

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Last year one of the most unsung panels was EW’s Visionaries panel, which included intimate moments with the likes of Zack Snyder, Frank Miller and Judd Apatow. This year the volume is being cranked up to 11, with the duo of James Cameron and Peter Jackson talking about the film narrative and how technology and global culture will alter the art of on-screen storytelling in the next 20 years. If these two guys can’t get you into a room, I don’t know what will. Friday, July 24 @ 6:30p (Hall H)

11. Terry Gilliam: Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

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Another slightly overlooked panel, but one that should be on the radar of any true film fan. Legendary animator and director Terry Gilliam will not only be on hand to show off scenes from his latest film The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, which includes the final appearance of Heath Ledger, he will also be dedicating time to celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Monty Python. And if it’s Python, we’re there. You should be, too. Thursday, July 23 @ 4:30p (Hall H)

10. Black Dynamite

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On a personal note, I must draw your attention to one of my favorite little films of the year — which also happens to be at Comic Con. When “the man” starts flooding his local orphanages with smack and his streets with crime, one man must strike back in the most badass of ways. Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight) kicks some serious ass in a movie that was clearly a lot of fun to make. And that usually leads to a fun panel, in my opinion. Saturday, July 25 @ 6:30p (Room 5AB)

9. Kick-Ass

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Nicolas Cage is your big daddy, Matthew Vaughn is your master of ceremonies and the kids are taking over the badassery business. This is your chance to see the world premiere of footage from Vaughn’s upcoming kid-hero adventure, complete with Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad’s McLovin) beating down a few bad guys. Also in attendance, the always colorful Mark Millar. Thursday, July 23 @ 5:30p (Hall H)

8. Masters of the Web Panel

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Some of our friends and neighbors from around the movie blogosphere — including our great friend Vic Holterman from Screen Rant (a true gentleman and a scholar) — will be talking about what it’s like to run a major movie website these days. We’re not sure about all that, but we do know this: the participants will be amped up, contentious and they will have some new footage from Kevin Munroe’s (TMNT) new film Dead of Night, which is based on the Dylan Dog comics. Stars Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington will also be in attendance. I say come for the footage, stay for the witty, sexually repressed movie geek banter. Thursday, July 23 @ 10:00a (Room 32AB)

7. Mystery Team

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By my estimation, Ballroom 20 on Sunday is actually a pretty lucky spot. Last year, Friday the 13th wowed remaining fans with early footage. This year our friends from Derrick Comedy are going to be Sunday’s main event, showing off footage from their awesomely dark, twisted comedy Mystery Team to whomever is still hanging around on the Con’s final day. If you’re still in San Diego, this is one panel you won’t want to miss. Sunday, July 26 @ 1:00p (Ballroom 20)

6. Warner Bros. Presents Where the Wild Things Are and More

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The folks at Warner Bros. seem to be keeping a low profile this year, but word on the street is that there will be plenty of cast in attendance when they present footage from Sherlock Holmes, Where the Wild Things Are, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Box and Jonah Hex. Look for Robert Downey Jr. to be British, Spike Jonze to bring the awesome and Megan Fox in slutty gear — also, they may show footage from Jonah Hex. Not to mention: doesn’t anyone else want to see the first shots of Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger? Friday, July 24 @ 10:00a (Hall H)

5. Focus Features: 9

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Small, but highly buzzed about movie, big lineup of panelists. Producers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov will be on hand with stars Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly as director Shane Acker shows off extended footage of his upcoming debut 9. You’re likely to convert to a life filled with steampunk-styled clothing, but it will be worth it. Trust us. Friday, July 24 @ 2:30p (Hall H)

4. Disney: 3D Panel (Tron, Christmas Carol and Alice in Wonderland) / Disney/Pixar Animation Panel: Toy Story 3

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Last year director Joseph Kosinski surprised audiences with a test reel from his upcoming Tron sequel, using the footage he made to sell himself to Disney to sell his vision to fans, as well. This year he’s bringing actual footage from his currently-in-production Tron sequel. He will be joined in the Disney slot by Tim Burton, who will present what we can only assume will be startling footage from Alice in Wonderland; and Robert Zemekis, who will give audiences a first look at his upcoming CG-animated tale, A Christmas Carol. All in all, Disney should give Hall H a good run, in 3D. On Friday night, Patton Oswalt will be moderating a Disney Animation and Pixar Panel that will include a look at Toy Story 3. Disney 3D Panel: Thursday, July 23 @ 11:00a (Hall H), Disney Animation Panel: Friday, July 24 @ 12:45p (Hall H)

3. Sony Pictures Entertainment: District 9

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As I mentioned above when I listed EW’s Visionaries panel, Peter Jackson is in the house this year for the Con. He’s there because he’s producing Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, a film that will look familiar to Con attendees (last year, all of the restrooms at the convention center had “Humans Only” signs, the film’s first marketing effort). It tells the story of aliens who are relegated to second class citizenship in South Africa after accidentally landing on Earth. It is a story of civil rights, and awesome robotic alien suits. Be there, seriously. Friday, July 24 @ 3:45p (Hall H)

2. 20th Century Fox Presents James Cameron’s Avatar

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Here she is, Comic-Con 2009’s supposed main event. Director James Cameron brings his long-gestating project Avatar to San Diego having shown little to no footage ever before on this planet (we’re not sure about that Convention on the Moon he attended last month). Needless to say, everyone’s going to be hustling into Hall H on Thursday, beating off Twilight fans with their swag bags and donning their 3D glasses in anticipation of the awesome. And for my money, I hope the awesome is afoot. However, the unknown is what keeps this at number two… I may have to go with a sure thing for number one. Thursday, July 23 @ 3:00p (Hall H)

1. Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment: Iron Man 2

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Even though the shadows of James Cameron and Peter Jackson loom large over San Diego this year, the real star is a showman by the name of Jon Favreau. Constant Con attendees will note that even in a year when The Dark Knight was spreading like a virus, Favreau stole the entire Con two years ago. Everyone was talking about Iron Man, Iron Man, Iron Man… And I have a feeling that Favs, alongside stars Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke, is primed and ready for a repeat performance with Iron Man 2. Saturday, July 25 @ 4:00p (Hall H)

For more from San Diego, keep an eye on our Comic-Con 2009 Homepage.


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