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Friday Highlights

What You Need to See and Do Today at the Con

Above: Mike Salva's Max the Hero

Okay I completely forgot to highlight the films that played yesterday at the Comic-Con International Film Festival. And I was even a judge. The bad news is you missed three great films: "Alice is Dead" (with Adrienne Barbeau in a zombie tale), "Al's Beef" (a cleverly written revenge saga), and the brilliant doc "Died Young, Stayed Pretty" (about punk rock posters in '70s Seattle). The good news is that there are three more days of great films.

Friday brings the stop motion animation "The Bone Orchard" (12:15 p.m.); the hilarious and witty superhero spoof "Max the Hero" (2:30 p.m.) from filmmaker Mike Salva and featuring the voice talent of the MST3K alumni; the deadpan animated comedy "The Hidden Life of the Burrowing Owl" (4:55 p.m.); Bill Pympton's latest doggie toon "Horndog" (5:10 p.m.); and a pair of entertaining docs, "Zombie Girl" (7:00 p.m.) and "Monsterland" (8:40 p.m., with great segment on my favorite monster Godzilla). All films are in Room 26AB above Hall H.

In terms of panels, Image Comics has one at 11:30 a.m. in Room 5AB, and the Comic-Con 40th Anniversary panels continue at noon with That '70s Panel in Room 8 and Comic-Con in the '80s in Room 2. Lucy "Xena" Lawless makes an appearance at 12:45 p.m. in Room 6BCF for "Spartacus: Blood and Sand."

The highlight for me will be Hayao Miyazaki, the legendary Japanese animator, who will be talking about his latest film, "Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea." Con regular Robert Rodriguez holds a panel on his new family film "Shorts" at 1:45 p.m. in Room 6DE. Another program worth a look is Focus Features "9" with Tim Burton and filmmaker Shane Acker who showed a short film version of "9" a few years back at the Comic-Con film festival.

The day brings another Comic-Con virgin, director Peter Jackson. He's made videotaped appearances before but this year he'll be at the Con in the flesh for "District 9," a film he's producing. Joss Whedon will be on hand for "Dollhouse" (4:00 p.m., Ballroom 20), while Ain't It Cool News' Mark Miller holds a program on Horror Comics into Film at 6:30 p.m. in Room 30AB. And at 6:30 p.m. Entertainment Weekly holds another Visionaries panel with James Cameron and Peter Jackson in Hall H.

Then there's late night programming with live Rifftrax and a premiere screening of "Angel of Death." So remember, bring water and snacks, get in line early for the things you really want to see, and enjoy the company of people who share your interests as you wait in some long lines in the heat. It's worth it in the end.

As Buckaroo Banzai says, "No matter where you go, there you are."

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