Tuesday, December 27, 2016

RIP Carrie Fisher (1956 –2016)

Absolutely heartbroken over the death of actress and author Carrie Fisher...

As Princess Leia she was strong feisty and fun as was Fisher herself--like a lot of you--a piece of my childhood was ripped from me today. Sure she will live on in the Star Wars films that she completed, including Star Wars: Episode VIII out next year...

Beyond the "galaxy far, far away" there was so much more to her. Click here for details about her extraordinary life and career.

Fisher once said that no matter how she dies, all obituaries should read that her cause of death be listed as having “drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra”.

Rest well....And Thank You....The world will miss your talent wit and wisdom

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Review

I was a big skeptic of this new Disney phase of the Star Wars franchise, but Rogue One has won me over. Here’s why…

(Note: this review is aimed to be as spoiler-free as possible, however it’s pretty hard to talk about this movie without spoiling at least parts of it, so if you’re intent on avoiding any and all details, I advise you skip reading this and just go watch it yourself.)

On a scale of “Casual Fan” to “Grandiose Star Wars Nerd”, I fall squarely into the second category.

Being an OCD completionist since childhood, I have an obsession with continuity, so when it came to Star Wars I’ve always felt compelled to know it all.

People like me live for the insider thrill of knowing the secret history of an alien in the background, and sneaky cameos were pretty much the only redeeming quality of the prequel trilogy for me.

So naturally, the child in me died a little when he found out that Disney was re-setting the entire millennia-spanning storyline surrounding the actual movies. But what about the First Sith Empire? The iconic blue-skinned Admiral Thrawn? Han and Leia’s twin Jedi children?? Poof, gone.

At least, gone in the sense that they no longer count towards any new films or franchise content. And that’s a deep blow to someone who can tell you who originally stole the Death Star plans. (It was Kyle Katarn, in case you were wondering.)

There’s a point to this self-aggrandizing, and it’s this: people like me are among Disney’s toughest customers when it comes to the Star Wars franchise. It was going to take a whole lot to get me on board with this “new” Star Wars universe, and The Force Awakens didn’t quite manage it. Episode VII felt like a recycle of A New Hope, right down to a force-sensitive orphan starting on a desert planet suspiciously like Tatooine and a quest to destroy another super weapon.

Rogue One finally offers a large-scale exploration of this ‘new’ universe without being tied to the Skywalker storyline, and it’s arguably the biggest departure from any previous movies. No Jedi here: just desperate soldiers in a fight for survival.

In particular, we get a really good look at the Rebel Alliance beyond the glossy do-gooder sheen of the original trilogy. This is an Alliance on the verge of internal collapse, full of infighting and radical factions that threaten to turn the whole uprising inside out. Even some of the ‘heroes’ have done a few things they aren’t proud of in the name of taking down the Empire.

The closest thing we even get to a Jedi is Chirrut Imwe (played by martial arts movie star Donnie Yen), once a protector of the ancient Jedi ruins on the planet Jedha, now cast adrift by the Imperial occupation. His lifetime devotion to the Jedi and his blindness offer him some access to the powers of the Force, but even those are very limited (think of it as a toned-down Daredevil ninja sense).

The characters in this story don’t have the benefit of ghostly Jedi appearing to give them clues or Force powers to open locked doors, either. They have to rely on their wits, luck, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to finish the job—even dying.

Speaking of which, the plot-armor of ‘destiny’ is not totally active on these characters; people die in this film, and not just extras. This adds a much-needed level of tension because we obviously know they’re going to find the Death Star plans, since we’ve all seen Episode IV. However, that certainty is overshadowed by the realization that yes, they do find the plans, but at what cost?

This film certainly has its flaws. The absence of any real planning before the final assault feels very unrealistic. The CGI face of Peter Cushing sits too deep in the uncanny valley (the place where things are just real enough to be creepy, but not convincing). There’s a whole lot of planet jumping, and yet we somehow still end up spending too much time on yet another desert planet. I could go on.

But, even with my inherent disappointment in the franchise handover, and even with all its flaws, I was willing to put aside all of my skepticism within the first 20 minutes because the loving care taken in world-building made me feel like I was getting another insider glimpse into the larger Star Wars world.

And, at the end of the day, that’s all fans like me really want.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Spider-Man: Homecoming Peeks

The first trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming dropped on Jimmy Kimmel Live

The film stars Tom Holland Robert Downey Jr., , Marisa Tomei, Logan Marshall-Green, Donald Glover, Kenneth Choi, Hannibal Buress, Michael Mando, Bokeem Woodbine, Abraham Attah, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, Michael Barbieri, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Zendaya, and Jon Favreau.

The story takes Peter back to High School and follows events chronicled in Captain America: Civil War where Holland made his debut as the wall-crawler as he takes on the Vulture played by Keaton 

The Sony Pictures and Marvel reboot is being directed by Jon Watts from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jonathan GoldsteinJohn Francis DaleyChristopher FordChris McKenna and Erik Sommers.

The movie is currently set to be released on July 7th, next year.

An International trailer was also released:

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Baywatch Teaser Trailer: "You Don't Get To Say That"

I am back as the first trailer for the Baywatch movie drops...and with that the peek promises the summer event plans to deliver as advertised...

The film puts a comedic spin on the worldwide success of the TV show that ran from 1989–2001 charting the exploits and rescues of a team of lifeguards--ala 21 Jump Street

Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera, Priyanka Chopra, Hannibal Buress, , Izabel Goulart, Charlotte McKinney and  all star in the film.

 Series stars David Hassehoff and Pamela Anderson are both set to appear.

In late 2011 "Rescue Me" co-creator Peter Tolan and Jeremy Garelick had reportedly finished their script then--Reno 911 creators and stars Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant were attached to work on the pic at one point as well In June 2012, JustinTimberlake was linked to play a disgraced former Olympic swimmer forced to join the Baywatch crew as part of a community service. But that fell apart and now Efron fills those swim trunks

Justin Malen did a rewrite but Damian Shannon and Mark Swift wrote the latest draft of the script

Seth Gordon directed the picture.

Ivan Reitman, Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson are producing the pic.

The Paramount release is set to hit theaters on May 26, 2017.