Star Wars Day 2018

As we patiently wait for the next Star Wars film to come out we have some great news first off it is only about 20 days until Solo: A Star Wars Story comes out and it’s about 20 months until Episode IX.

The biggest news from Star Wars is the new animated series following in the steps of Clone Wars and Rebels comes Resistance which will be set between Empire Strikes Back and Force Awakens and is rumored to be coming this fall. The show will also have Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) in it so hopefully we will see Phasma do something perhaps become a Captain and more of Poe will be great. I’ve been a huge fan of these animated shows and there are also some rumors of perhaps another animated show as well. As long as we get some updates on everyone’s favorite characters from past animated series it will be great.

Looking forward to both films and the animated series but I hope that we hear some more about the next Star Wars story film (Obi-Wan or Boba Fett), Rian Johnson’s Star Wars trilogy and the trilogy from the guys behind Game of Thrones, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

The Mirror (1975)

Zerkalo or The Mirror is a Russian Art-House film from the mind of Andrei Tarkovsky. It is a highly regarded film and the only reason I decide to watch it was that it was on the Sight & Sound poll in 2012. It you want to watch it right away it’s on YouTube and can be found pretty easily. Spoilers might follow, perhaps.

Now this film is a bit confusing as it is a nonlinear story told by a dying man sort of reminiscing about his life. There are three specific time periods in the film the man as a child prewar (1935), an adolescent during the war (40s) and post war when he is about 40 sometime in the 60s or 70s. These era are distinct and the film also switches between color, sepia and black and white throughout, perhaps like memories. It borrows heavily from Tarkovsky’s own childhood. I find the film to be a reflection on life as a whole, sure we have the Russian elements but there is the universal commentary on life itself. The title give us the most about the film it is a reflection of life so after you watch it multiple times will get something more out of it. Perhaps this is way so many people have liked this film for so long.   Perhaps Ingmar Bergman put it the best when he said “Tarkovsky for me is the greatest (director), the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.” Life is a dream and is a reflection of society as a whole. We are the mirrors for each other as we all put on our best selves for others this sound like something that Paul Dunbar says in his poem We wear the mask.

If you haven’t watched anything by Tarkovsky perhaps this isn’t the best film to begin with. I have heard Andrei Rublev and Solaris are also great films by Andrei Tarkovsky and might be better places to start as those film have plots and are coherent. However, I would highly recommend going out of your comfort zone and watching a Russian film.

New Musicals

With Anastasia and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory already planned to open on Broadway as well as that Spongebob musical the news that they are working on adapting Moulin Rouge! for the stage makes a bunch of sense. Sure when the film came out in 2001 me and my friends would discuss how it would be wonderful if it was adapted for the stage. Something akin to talk of a stage version of Newsies, we were sure that it would eventually happen but hadn’t a clue when. It seems likely that we will continue seeing this idea adapting popular films into stage musicals going forward as it seems to have happened throughout history. I think it would be real cool if like The Prince of Egypt could somehow be adapted for the stage. It would be nice if we could get some new ideas on Broadway and touring the globe but new musicals take time to refine whereas adapting a film is perhaps easier, don’t really have a clue here, but with the story already done you just have to write up song and fit them in some place.

San Diego Comic Con 2016

This weekend is the big Comic Convention in San Diego. It started as a comic book convention but over the years it’s turned more into a movie and television expo with most of the major studios bringing cast and directors to talk about upcoming productions, sure Comics still have a large presence but I doubt it’s as comprehensive as the film and television aspect. This year, Stephen Schwartz went to Comic Con and had an interesting announcement as he is working on four new songs for the film version of the musical Wicked. This is something that’s been rumored since it opened on Broadway to happen and it’s nice to see some progress on the project.  Stay tuned this weekend for a bunch of trailers to come out, like there are new trailers for the upcoming Marvel series on Netflix (Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders) and it seem likely that we’ll be seeing something from the other Marvel show Agents of SHIELD and the CW’s DC Comic shows (Arrow, Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow) and it seems likely we will see a trailer for the Power Rangers movie and other films like that .

The Imitation Game (2014) and Yojimbo (1961)

The Imitation Game is the movie about Alan Turning and the breaking of the Enigma machine code that Nazi Germany used in World War II. It is a fascinating story as most of the time spent learning about the War this is not covered, sure I’d heard of breaking the code but in most histories that I’ve read tend to emphasize the military stealing Enigma machines from U-boats as well as the code books which indicated what the code setting would be for a certain day. One of the things that I really didn’t like about the film was the disjointed nature of it we had three different stories going on and at times I had some trouble keeping them straight. Alan Turning is a name that we all should remember as he is one of influential individual who have made the world as we know it today. Sure there is a bit of fudging history here and there in the story but it seems that a little creative license is always taken in biopics like this.

I also got around to watching  Yojimbo one of Kurosawa’s many films with Toshiro Mifune. Yojimbo is about a ronin who wanders into a town in the middle of a gang war and he decides to work both sides since he states that the town would be better off with both side dead. If this sounds familiar it was “remade” although not officially by Sergio Leone as A Fistful of Dollars with a young Clint Eastwood. Yojimbo like many Kurosawa film has been considered as an influential classic. There have been elements from this film used in countless way in the films of today. If you like movies go and see Yojimbo, sure it’s one of the lesser known Kurosawa film but it still is as good as the others.

Star Wars Force Unleashed Teaser? Trailer #2!!!!

It has finally been released and once again it looks promising. If you haven’t checked it out yet do so now. io9 also has bunch of other stuff about the Star Wars Celebration and perhaps there will be more over the weekend.  They also have a report about the whole reveal the took place before the teaser. The coolest part of this was BB-8 coming out on stage.  Watch it and re-watch it several times and have some fun this weekend. As that scruffy looking Nerf herder says “Chewie we’re home” After you watch the trailers you will feel the same this is a place we have been long waiting to come back to. Countless fans across the world are all hoping for December to come sooner.

In other movie news there is also a trailer for the Superman/Batman movie that is coming out in 2016, it doesn’t officially get released until the 20th but at a launch event it was shown and recorded and uploaded online. The trailer features Supes and Bat-fleck, it seems the wolrd has gotten tired of Superman and they want him gone. Then there is also Batman who shows up with a gravely voice and a chip on his shoulder. He is much older than we’ve seen a Batman on screen before and he might be going cruel? It looks interesting and sure I’ll be going to see it but it is still a year away and the Star Wars announcement was first and much better.

Best and Worst in Film 2015 The Oscars and Razzies recaps

On Sunday was the Academy Awards and the evening before The Golden Raspberry Awards were held they honoring the worst in film. If  only the Razzies were televised I most likely would have watch, but since it isn’t I only watched the Oscars.

Razzies: Worst Movie of the year is Saving Christmas a movie about keep Christ in Christmas or something, it was only out in limited release for like two weeks and it ‘won’ all the awards it was up for. This year there was a special awards as well it was called the Razzie Redeemer where they honored the individual who has changed the most since “winning” Ben Affleck easily won this time around becoming a perennial Oscar darling these past couple of years, has all but erased Gigli from most people’s memory.

Oscars: Neil Patrick Harris was great from the start with the opening number and I really liked the part when Jack Black join in singing about how there are like two types of movies made currently. Most of the awards weren’t that big of a surprise, since the Oscars are the last big award show of the year and we get a pretty good idea of what’s going to win before the show . The biggest winner of the night was The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman both taking home four Oscars. The only real surprise that I had was when Boyhood and\or Richard Linkleter didn’t pick up Best Director or Picture, in my Oscar picks I had them split between Birdman and Boyhood, but Birdman pick up both awards. Disney once again won for animated picture and animated short film. I guess it you want to win an Oscar for animated film you need to do it in a year where there are no Disney movies made or they do like Cars 3It was a very informative night as well I learned both Common and John Legend’s real names and that Lady Gaga is a decent singer. There were calls for us to call our parents and tell them you love them, a cry for Women’s equality in the United State, as well as nods to crisis hotlines, and recognition of people with ALS and Alzheimer’s. The one thing that I would have changed was during the In Memoriam segment I would have had Jennifer Hudson singing the song while the segment happened instead of afterward

2014 in Film

The Oscar Nominations have finally been released and for many people it seems like the same old same old, as the nominees are almost all white and male. Neil Patrick Harris will host the 87th Academy Awards on 22 February 2015.

Once again I haven’t seen any of these film before the nomination came out. It is an 8 picture race this year, but it seems like there are three that stick out Birdman, Boyhood and Grand Budapest Hotel.  American Sniper is based on Chris Kyle’s autobiography of the same name. Kyle was a decorated war hero and has been proclaimed the most lethal sniper in US military history. The film touches on PTSD and engaging solider when they come back stateside. It’s directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Bradley Cooper, they also got nominations. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virture of Ignorance) is about a washed up Hollywood actor who tries to revive his career by doing a play (writing, directing, staring) on Broadway. Michael Keaton is the washed up actor and is one of the favorites in Best Actor. Boyhood is an interesting film as it is like a documentary kind of as they filmed the movie over 12 years. it is a story of growing up and Linkleter might take home Best Director for it. The Grand Budapest Hotel is the latest Wes Anderson film and like all of his films it is a visual masterpiece. The Imitation Game is about Alan Turning and cracking the enigma code during World War II. Selma is based on the 1965 Selma Voting Rights marches. Some historians have said that the film portrays LBJ in a less than accurate way. The Theory of Everything is about Stephen Hawking and his relationship with his first wife Jane Wilde. Eddie Redmayne seems poised to take home the Best Actor for his portrayal of Hawking. Whiplash is about Jazz drumming or something. Over in the animated side is where we find the the biggest snub as the universally adored The Lego Movie was not nominated for Best animated feature and only got a single nomination for best song. Instead they have Big Hero 6 from Disney and How to Train Your Dragon 2 from Dreamworks as the most popular film. Along with a trio of lesser known films. The Boxtrolls from Lakia is a 3D stop motion film. Song of the Sea is from the guys that brought us The Book of Kells and is traditionally animated. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is from Studio Gibli and is based on The tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Since there was no Pixar movie it is really anyone to win this year

The Razzies nominees have also been announced and there is no overlap this year between it and the Oscars.  So now it is time to go and watch some of these movies before the Oscar broadcast, and fill out those Oscar ballots as well.

Star Wars Update

Well apparently the teaser trailer for the newest movie Force Awakens or whatever it’s called Episode 7 will be debuting next weekend at least according to someone on Reddit. It has been widely speculated that the trailer will be accompanying the last Hobbit movie and perhaps Into the Woods when they come out in December. The teaser will be like 90 seconds long and and tell us when it is coming out. Since the release date is next December and not in May, I believe that there is a new rule for trailers that the film need to be coming out in like the next 6 months or so, we most likely will not be getting any real footage from the film. A Thanksgiving release makes sense because Thanksgiving typically kicks off the time when big Oscar contender motion pictures come out. Where ever it appears first it will no doubtingly make it to the Internet on perhaps even on our televisions as well.

News Roundup

Musicals: This is really cool news Playbill reports that the NY Times says that the new musical by Stephen Sondheim and David Ives will be based on two Luis Bunuel films. The films are The Exterminating Angel and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, both films deal with dinner parties. This is really cool since I happen to like the films of Bunuel and have seen both of the films and happen to own Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.  This sound like an interesting musical idea and should make for some great music.

International: This story made me chuckle a bit. Over in Italy the army will be growing marijuana to keep the prices down. In Italy they legalised marijuana uses last year and are trying to keep the price down so the illegal trade doesn’t grow even more as for many people the illegal dealers are cheaper than getting the through legal methods. This seems like something that could also happen in the United States if marijuana were to be legalized. It is a smart plan since controlling the drug will make it easier for the government to tax the goods and hopefully people will have better access.

Space: News from Russia that the Russian Space Program (RKA) is going to focus on landing on the moon and then focusing on exploring the rest of the solar system. This seems like the place where every space program is hoping to send people to once again. Will this start off a new space race that captures the imagination of the people like that with the race to the moon in the 60s? Russia, China, and the US and Europe (NASA/ESA/CSA) are all working independently to reach the moon sometime in the next decade or so sending a manned mission as well. All these plans are a first step to eventually set out and explore other places in the solar system like Mars and asteroids. It seems like the US partnership and China are a bit further along with getting to the moon unless Russia is just going to be using the same program that it sent the Lunokhod  rovers up in the 70s.