New Star Wars Trailer

I case you were looking here is a link to the new trailer for Star War: The Last Jedi. It comes out in December. Sure Rian Johnson was expressed some wishes for people to come into the film with no idea of what’s coming but the film comes out in two months and I am sure that most of us are going to forget much of what happens in the trailer in a couple of weeks. Also this is just a reminder that the final season of Star Wars Rebels returns in about a week on DisneyXD.

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Shin Godzilla (2016)

Shin Gojira (Godzilla: Resurgence) was a film that I was really looking forward to watching this film. This is Japan’s latest Godzilla movie, the 31st overall and the third reboot in the franchise. This is a wonderfully amazing film and everyone should take some time and watch it. Like the original film which was written in the aftermath of WWII and the atomic bomb this film was written in the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami and the Fukshima Daiichi nuclear disaster. As always spoilers to follow.

Shin Godzilla is a full reboot as it is the first time that Godzilla has appeared in this world. The film is a nonstop ride, it begins with something happening in Tokyo Bay, an abandoned yacht being investigated by the Coast Guard is sunk by an eruption of gas of some sort and the Aqua-line (bridge/tunnel) is flooded. We head to government meetings with the cabinet and PM who want to claim it’s only a volcano or underwater steam vent nothing more. Only to discover through news reports that it is some sort of creature as a massive tail comes out of the ocean. It begins moving inland and after the Prime Minister says it can’t come on land it does just that. It evolves while on land into a standing creature before it returns to the water.

From here we go into a bunch of meetings with the government focused on military strategy and civilian safety, while a task force is put together to research the creature. The United States sends in an envoy to the task force when they learn that they could exploit this discovery. The creature now named Godzilla by the Americans reappears and again heads toward Tokyo. The Japanese Self-Defense Force is mobilized and they try to shoot it down, it doesn’t work, they turn to the US who fly B-2s to bomb it this causes some damage but ultimately nothing comes of it. It doesn’t seem that there is anything that can stop this monster.

Here the movie turns again we get the United States and United Nations pushes for nuking the thing nothing can live in one of those explosions. However, Japan doesn’t want to be nuked again so they try their own thing, it some sort of cooling thing, but can they get it done before the world blows up Tokyo. Take some time and watch this movie to find out. There is a sequel planned for some time after 2020 so that can sort of tell you what all happens in the end.

Star Wars IX news

Well there is now news that the finale of the sequel trilogy is going to have a new director. Colin “what’s his name” Trevorrow the Jurassic World/Safety Not Guaranteed director has according to the report has “stepped down due to creative differences” however this was long speculated since his most recent film The Book of Henry did poorly at the box office. This is the third time in recent films that Star Wars has pulled the director from the film most recently Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the Han Solo film for making it funny and Josh Trank who was attached to some Star War Story film. All of these directors have some big indie film  and a blockbuster to their names but that’s it. This was the issue for some of them and they were announced years before they began shooting anything this hopefully changes the way that directors are chosen in the subsequent Star Wars films. The biggest rumor of replacement is Rian Johnson taking over and writing/directing again or even George Lucas coming out to direct. Who ever it turns out to be they will be a known commodity with a decent track record directing films

Scorsese on his film Silence and OKNOTOK

American Magazine has a nice little write up about an event at The Catholic Media Convention up in Quebec City where Martin Scorsese received a lifetime achievement award for excellence in filmmaking from Signis and the Catholic Press Association. Before he got his award they screened his latest film Silence. After which Scorsese answered some questions and reflected on his years of working in film. If you are a fan of his works it is a quick read. It was interesting to read a little of what was behind some of the decision in the film and there is some cool information about The Last Temptation of Christ as well.  Way back in December when the film was released Scorsese and Fr James Martin SJ sat down and talked about faith and the film. If you haven’t read that it is worth the read.

In completely unrelated news the Radiohead re-release of OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997-2017 is now out digitally. The reissue includes a remastered version of OK Computer with a bonus disc which includes eight B-sides and three previously unreleased tracks: “I Promise,” “Man of War”, and “Lift”. Now if you are a big Radiohead fan you might as well get this just for the bonus stuff especially if you spring for the boxed edition. Otherwise it is a pretty amazing album even 20 years later the bonus disc offers some interesting new songs as well. Now the biggest question here is if you should put down money to buy an album you already own, I’d call it a solid maybe right now give me a couple more listens to the bonus disc before I decide. It is available to listen to on Spotify and I guess other streaming music places.

Han Solo movie directors gone

This has to be one of the weirdest stories that I’ve seen recently the Han Solo film being only like 3 week away from finishing filming and the directors leave. Now according to several sources Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have left the project, being fired because of creative differences. As Kathleen Kennedy stated in an official statement “Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are talented filmmakers who have assembled an incredible cast and crew, but it’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we’ve decided to part ways. A new director will be announced soon.” Lord and Miller are the guys behind the cartoon Clone High, the Jump Street movies and the animated films The Lego Movie as well as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. According to The Hollywood Reporter they were fired for going “off-script” and not really making Lawrence Kasdan the screenwriter, who knows Han Solo better than just about anyone, happy with their decisions. Hopefully this can be figured out quickly and that this doesn’t delay the release until December of 2018.

Doctor Stranger (2016)

The latest Superhero to join Marvel’s fold is Dr. Stephen Strange. Marvel has dipped some toes in the mystical/magical with Vision and Scarlet Witch but here they dive right in. There are some Tony Stark vibes going on with Strange, a brash egotistical guy who wants everything for himself. Sure, this is the about the 14th film in the MCU and Robert Downey Jr. is nearing the end of his time as Iron Man so they are looking for  a new “star” to fill the role. Clearly Benedict Cumberbatch is a very likeable person and we’ve seen him in just about everything the past couple of year. Spoilers to follow.

The film begins with a monk stealing some pages from a book and then we are introduced to Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch), he is a brilliant neurosurgeon and his hands are his life. Unfortunately on the way to a speaking engagement he is talking on his phone and subsequently crashes his car and his hand go through the dashboard. It’s not looking nice until one day at therapy Strange hears about a paraplegic Jonathan Pangborn who went away and came back able to walk, he searches Pangborn out and finds out about Kamar-Taj. This lead Strange to go on a journey to find Kamar-Taj. He finds it and learn from the Ancient One (Tida Swindon) about the general idea of mystical things, Strange is taught by Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) how to harness these powers. The bad guy who stole the pages from the book at the beginning are trying to connect with the dark dimension to overthrow the Ancient One. Things happen and Strange learns how to be a sorcerer, but we all expected that to happen in the film. Other things happen as well but Dr. Strange will return in the new Thor movie this November and the next Avengers film next May.

I enjoyed this film more than the Guardians Vol. 2  but perhaps that’s just the cool action bits in this one provide a better story. You should probably see this one before the next Thor or at least before the big team up film coming next May.

40 years of Star Wars

It has been officially 40 years since Star War, subsequently named, A New Hope and all the follows. I’ve been a fan of this film series for as long as I have been alive it seems. I don’t remember when I first watched it but me and my sisters would routinely watch a film, often Return of the Jedi, of the trilogy, while our parents went out for the evening. So much has come from this one film seven other feature films, those Ewok movies, a great cartoon series, as well as a horrible Holiday Special all set in the Star Wars Universe and then there is the space comedy Spaceballs, and the rumors of a Spaceballs sequel and even the Star Trek movies have a debt to pay to Star Wars.

Take some time this upcoming weekend and watch some Star Wars or even read some if that’s more your pace. I for one still have to get Rogue One before any marathon happens.

Silence (2016)

Silence is the Martin Scorsese film based on the Shusaku Endo book of the same name. I have previously written about the book and it bring out some big questions. Spoilers to follow. So I was looking forward to seeing a film adaptation of the novel. According to Wikipedia this film is the third in Scorsese’s trilogy of film epics about religious figures struggling with challenges to faith with Last Temptation of Christ and Kundun. Scorsese has said that the film is about “the necessity of belief fighting the voice of experience”.

The film follows the plot of the book but adds parts of the appendix to tell the whole story of Father Rodrigues.  We begin the film with news coming in about Father Ferreira (Liam Nesson) being lost, rumor has it he has apostatized. Fathers Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver) are tasked with finding out if there is any truth to these rumors. Rodrigues and Garupe set off from China with Kichijuro (Yōsuke Kubozuka) a drunken Japanese fisherman. They arrive in Japan and the Padres minister to the Christians hearing confessions and celebrating all the other sacraments as well. This is the story of the hidden Christians of Japan. Eventually, the Padres are separated and both captured and forced to refute their beliefs and step on an image of Christ “Fumi-e”. The story is Father Rodrigues as we follow him as the Inquisitor tries to get him to deny his faith and using the other Christians that they captured and pawns to get him to refute as they would be set free if and when Rodrigues refutes his faith.

This would be a great film to watch during Lent or if you have some passing interest in Japanese history or religion. Sure people have compared it with The Mission but it’s a completely different story told a world away. This is a book that is a great read so if you watch the film maybe take some time and read the book as well.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

The sequel to the surprise hit film from 2014 came out on Friday and it has been getting decent reviews from just about everywhere but most note that the sequel doesn’t live up to the original being weighed down by expectations, narrative problems and CGI bloat.  So I went to see it this weekend. Spoilers to follow.

The film is about family and who makes up a family we’ve got almost all characters doubting who they are. The movie begins with the team tasked on a mission by the Sovereign to protect some batteries from an inter-dimensional beast.  They win in the end and are thanked for their help, but Rocket steals some of the batteries and as they leave this leads to the team being chased after by the Sovereign’s ships, they are all destroyed by a mystery man “who is about an inch tall.” After the team’s ship crash lands, we learn that it was Star-Lord’s father who helped them escape. The team breaks up with Peter, Drax and Gamora going with Ego, Peter’s father to Ego’s world while Rocket and Groot are left to repair the ship and watch on their prisoner Nebula, Gamora’s sister. It’s a bit complicated as Ego want Peter to help him re-make the universe in his image. I find this bit the central problem of the film they never really explain why Ego needs to remake the world (or did they) I mean he can live forever until the light of his world is gone why not continue to do that instead of conquering the known universe. As expected The Guardians win in the end and will return in Vol 3 with music from a Zune.

The music is great and there are a few funny bit but the movie felt over done complete with the five mid/post credit scenes. There were several places where it should have been trimmed like the bit with Groot going and coming back several times to get Yondu’s fin. The film was fun and better than the over-bloated Avengers 2 (Ultron). There are two more Marvel movies this year (Spider-Man and Thor) and three more a year until 2020 perhaps we should slow down with these films and get some smaller films a chance to do something. It also seems like unconventional families seem to be the it thing to do in films nowadays.

Five Came Back (2017)

The latest documentary Five Came Back on Netflix focuses on five directors who went to and fought in World War II and came back from it alive. This documentary was interesting as when it comes to World War II we some 70 years out all know the broad strokes of it, there Hitler takes power, Pearl Harbor, D-Day, Holocaust, Bombings at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Sure HBO’s two brilliant miniseries focusing on the Army (Band of Brothers) and the Marines (The Pacific) telling the stories of the two theaters of war and there are a bunch of great films on World War II but this documentary tells an interesting story of the people who went to war and how it changed them.

Five Came Back focuses on John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens all of whom are directors who joined the War effort Ford joined the Navy while Wyler, Huston, Capra and Stevens all were members of the Army Signal Corp. All of them were involved in filming World War II. The documentary features famous directors all talking about one individual Steven Spielberg talks about Wyler, Francis Ford Coppola talks about Huston, Guillermo del Toro talks about Capra, Paul Greengrass talks about Ford, and Lawrence Kasdan talks about Stevens. In the first hour we hear about how they made names for themselves before the war, the second hours is about their time at war and the third hours from D-Day to after the war and what became of them afterwards. If you are a fan of film history this is a very interesting film to watch.

One of the coolest things that I’ve discovered after watching is that you can watch the films that they made during WWII which were talked about in the documentary on Netflix as they have a handful available to watch. If you have some time I would recommend that everyone watch this.