“Mortal Engines” Trailer is Strange, but Intriguing.

A very…interesting…trailer released today for the movie adaptation of book 1 in a series by author Philip Reeve, titled Mortal Engines.

It’s difficult to tell what’s going on in the trailer; other than entire cities have somehow been turned into monster trucks on steroids. I’ve never heard of the series, so I had to do some research. Thanks, Wikipedia:

The book focuses on a futuristic, steampunk version of London, now a giant machine striving to survive on a world running out of resources.

If that isn’t wild enough, these giant machines have the ability to dismantle or “eat” other machines to harvest their resources.

Christian Rivers is directing, who up until now, has only been known for being a storyboard artist for many of Peter Jackson’s movies. Coincidentally, Jackson is producing this movie.

Concept art released by Peter Jackson

Concept art released by Peter Jackson.

Visually, this movie looks intriguing, and I’m always a sucker for anything in the steampunk genre. The story definitely sounds original, thats for sure. Other than that, I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

Mortal Engines releases December 14th, 2018.

Have you read the books? What are your thoughts after watching the trailer? Let me know!

The Last Jedi Frees Star Wars To Tell Truly New Stories…Which is a Good Thing!

Im going to do a spoiler post about The Last Jedi in a few days, but I just wanted to take a moment and get a couple thoughts out while they were fresh.

Like everyone else that has seen the movie, I’ve been thinking a lot about the story and the decisions that were made. Some of them resonated strongly, while others were a bit shocking.

However, one thing I’ve realized is that it’s been a long time since I’ve watched a movie and literally had no idea how it was going to end. It was such a great feeling. We also have no idea what will happen in episode 9. I love that about this movie; that it turns the status quo on its head and mixes things up. It was a brilliant choice on Rian Johnson’s part, and I hope JJ Abrams doesn’t waste the next movie “undoing” everything.

So many movies, especially in franchises, follow the same exact formula, and may be entertaining but are also predictable…not adding anything new or different to the overall story. The Last Jedi breaks that cycle; changing how we look at various themes in the Star Wars universe that have been set in stone…until now. There is so much discussion going on right now, both for and against the movie. I think that’s something that’s missing with a lot of movies today.

Star Wars has been around for decades and we love it so much; we feel entitled to have its stories told a certain way. However, there’s no way to do that and please every fan. If you were disappointed with the movie, ask yourself if that is why.

Let’s face it: I really enjoyed The Force Awakens, but it was set to tell the same type of story that has already been told countless times already.

The Last Jedi isn’t perfect, and there are some things I would change, but I’m excited to see where the franchise goes from here. For the first time in its history, I’m honestly not sure where that is…and that is a very exciting thought…

The Beautiful Refugees of Casablanca

I watched Casablanca for the first time about a month ago. This article from Silver Screenings gives some great behind the scenes info!

Silver Screenings

The beautiful people of Rick’s Cafe. Image: The Source

Look at the people in the above photo.

These are actors portraying refugees in a fashionable nightclub in French Morocco during WWII. This photo was taken in Soundstage 7-8 at Warner Bros. Studio in California.

Look at how these actors are dressed. These are refugees of Means; they are not poor. If they were poor, they would be mired in war, not sipping cocktails in Rick’s Café Américain.

Even so, these folks are stuck in the Moroccan desert, pawning jewellery and making sordid deals with local officials for a seat on The Plane to Lisbon (i.e. The Plane to Freedom). When this plane flies overhead, activity ceases while people gaze at it longingly:

Watching the plane to Lisbon. Image: The World

The film Casablanca (1942) – written in a hurry, filmed in a hurry, released in a hurry – explores the…

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Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Review

Director: Rian Johnson

Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, Andy Serkis

Watch the trailer here

With such a insanely popular movie, it’s difficult to write a satisfactory review without touching on any spoilers. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is going to be a movie that is celebrated, discussed, and debated for a long time. Luke has a line in the movie that was absolutely spot on: “This is not going to go the way you think.” Director Rian Johnson has refused to “play it safe” and crafted one of the most complex and suspenseful Star Wars movies to date, pushing the boundaries of what we expect from the franchise.

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My initial reaction included shock and even slight disappointment during some of the big moments. However, thinking about the movie the last few days I’ve realized the feelings of disappointment weren’t due to the movie being “bad”, more so that it didn’t fit into the box I had already made for the movie.

The best advice I can give is try to go into it with as few expectations as possible. Let the movie take you where it wants and then see how it makes you feel. That is a daunting task, considering we’ve all had 2 years to speculate and theorize on all the answers we want to specific questions raised in Force Awakens. If you go into The Last Jedi, expecting it to follow certain paths, you will most likely be disappointed. The degree to which you can go into the movie with an open mind will determine how much you enjoy it. It’s also a movie that will most likely need a couple viewings to catch and understand all the nuances packed into the movie.

Characters: more flawed and complex this time around.

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Almost every returning character from the last film is shown from a slightly different angle in this movie. Many of the traditional character tropes have been ignored: good guys make mistakes and are uncertain of what they should do. Plans fail. People jump to wrong assumptions. The characters are refreshingly more flawed, which causes an uncertainty that makes for great storytelling.

Mark Hamill is phenomenal as Luke Skywalker. It’s great to see him progress from naïve farm boy in A New Hope to the seasoned, yet disillusioned Jedi Master.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren is still one of the most interesting characters. His conflicted motivations create much of the suspense, as well as a couple surprises along the way.

Daisy Ridley as Rey continues with another strong performance; grappling with her new abilities, what they mean, and where she belongs.

I was a little disappointed with the arc of John Boyega’s Finn; it seemed like a bit of a repeat of The Force Awakens in some ways.

Carrie Fisher’s Leia gets much more screen time this time around and doesn’t disappoint. We still aren’t sure how the studio will end Leia’s story, after Carrie’s tragic death. It’s clear after watching this movie, she was originally intended to continue having a large role in the finale of the trilogy.

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There’s also a strong cast of supporting characters. Rose, played by Kelly Marie Tran, brings an innocent determination to the group. Laura Dern’s purple haired Vice Admiral Holdo is fantastic. Oscar Issac returns as Captain Poe Damron, whose hot shot piloting skills are looked at in a surprisingly different light. Benicio del Toro played an interesting role as well, but I won’t talk about it here to prevent spoilers

Of course I have to mention the porgs. They are as adorable as they’re meant to be, and are a cute addition to the Star Wars Universe. I’m also glad Johnson continued with the decision to use as many practical and puppet effects for the different creatures as they could. It always gives a pleasant reminder of the original trilogy (before Lucas updated them).

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Story: A little disjointed at times, but still groundbreaking.

The story was excellent for the most part: it’s very much a story driven by its character development. There were some parts in the middle, specifically with Finn and Rose that felt a little out of place at times with the rest of the film. However it all does come full circle by the end. Their arcs could have been better, but there were still some interesting new places and characters explored.

Ironically, this is a darker film than the previous, but there is also more humor. For the most part the funny moments aren’t overpowering and worked well with the exception of maybe 1 or 2 times.

The action was intense and well done, and there are two fight scenes: one in the middle and one at the end, that are some of the best in the franchise. I absolutely love the way the nature and application of the Force is expanded upon in The Last Jedi. That’s all I’ll say here…

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a departure from franchise norms in several ways. Some of departures were excellent choices, while others will require more time to mull over. Ultimately, what happens in the next movie will be the deciding factor on how the decisions made here will pay off. One thing that is true is with Rian Johnson at the helm of the next trilogy, Star Wars is sure to continue to tell new and unique stories, not held down by the pre-existing rules of the franchise…and that is an exciting thought.

Final Verdict:

9 light saber duels out of 10

Every Question I Want Answered in The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is almost upon us. After re watching episode 7, here are the most pressing questions I have going into the theater. What questions do you want answered? What do you think will happen?

What is Rey’s backstory and who are her parents?

One of the most mysterious secrets about Rey is where she came from. There are several theories: that she’s Luke’s daughter or maybe even Obi-Wan’s granddaughter are the two most common theories. Maybe she was one of Luke’s youngest students who has lost her memory of what happened? The answer to these questions will undoubtedly explain why using the force comes so naturally to her. Seems like a Skywalker trait to me…

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Will Kylo continue his path along the dark side?

While some think Kylo is too whiny, I really enjoy the character: he is the first major Star Wars villain that has been deeply conflicted with the dark side. He feels more human than the typical “bad to the bone” baddie, which makes him complex and interesting. I’m wondering if we’ll see him jump to the light and fight against Snoke before it’s all said and done.

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Who is Snoke?

Not much is known so far about Supreme Leader Snoke other than he’s the real leader behind the First Order, has trained Kylo in the ways of the dark side, hates Luke and every other Jedi, and has a horribly ugly face. There are numerous theories online, ranging the gamut from being Emperor Palpatine who somehow survived the Death Star explosion, to the very first Jedi, or even a humorous yet unlikely theory that he’s Jar Jar Binks out for revenge for the death of his best friend “Ani.”.

What has Luke been up to all this time and what role will he play now?

Luke seems like he has some major Jedi PTSD going on…and for good reason: His nephew killed all of his students, went to the dark side, and has now killed one of his dearest friends. It will be good to finally find out more details about the Jedi school Luke attempted to start, and what he’s been doing since it’s demise. Will Luke shake off his traumatic past and throw down against the dark side one last epic time? Let’s hope so.

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What role will Kelly Marie Tran’s new character play?

Kelly Marie Tran will be playing a Resistance mechanic named Rose, seen in most of the trailers. Next to nothing is known about her going into the movie. How does she factor in and how vital will she be to the overall story? We shall see.

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What are Finn’s plans after healing from his wounds?

Finn finally stopped running at the end of Force Awakens; both literally and figuratively. Clearly healed from his wounds in the trailers, what will he do with his new-found courage? Judging from the trailer, one thing he’ll do is have hopefully memorable showdown with Captain Phasma.

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What’s Captain Phasma’s deal?

Speaking of Phasma, she’s been the “Boba Fett” of this trilogy so far in that she’s a unique character who has been underutilized. To my knowledge, not only is she the first female storm trooper seen in the movies, but she’s achieved the rank of Captain. That has “badass” written all over it. It would be great to explore more of her motivations and skills. While there has been a comic series written about her, I’d like to see some of it on the big screen.

How does Leia go out?

Tragically, with the passing of Carrie Fisher, this will be the last performance as Leia. Hopefully, her exit will be a little more graceful than Han’s.

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Where is Chewy’s place after losing Han?

Han and Chewbacca were inseparable and the best of friends. Now with Han gone, what will Chewy’s role be going forward? He and Rey seem to have a connection. I really hate to say it, because he is my favorite Star Wars character, but I would not be surprised to see Chewy make the ultimate sacrifice…maybe to protect Leia from the same fate as Han.

Will someone lose a hand?

This one is more for laughs, but it is true that a Skywalker has lost a hand in the 2nd movie of both of the previous trilogies. If Rey is revealed as Luke’s daughter, she might as well kiss her hand goodbye.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse Trailer Released

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Via Sony Pictures Animation

Marvel unveiled a fantastic trailer this past weekend at the Sao Paulo, Brazil CCXP (Comic-Con Experience) for a new animated film that will release in theaters titled Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse.

You may have noticed in the trailer that this Spidey doesn’t seem to be Peter Parker. That’s because he isn’t. He’s actually a different character: Miles Morales, a fan favorite Spidey from the comics.

Image via Sony Pictures
Via Sony Pictures Animation

That’s right; more than one person has put on the mask, which is the premise of this film. To make a long story short, in an alternate universe, Miles (for different reasons, depending on which comic story you read) decides to take on the role of Spider-Man after getting similar powers from a spider bite of his own.

While it’s still not known for sure what his origin story will be here, Miles will undoubtedly stumble upon the discovery that there are countless alternate universes…a “multi-verse,” with each having it’s own version of Spider-Man. Hence the title, “Spider-Verse.” This was explored in detail by a 2014 comic story run, under the same name:

Cover art from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 Issue 13

The movie’s art style looks fascinating: a hyper-stylized blend between traditional 3D animation and comic book art style. This definitely looks like it will be one to check out for any fan.

There’s no news yet on a rating: so it will be interesting to see who the target audience is. While Marvel is the current champion of big screen movies, DC has typically fared better than Marvel with their animated features. This movie, however from Sony Pictures might be the first real contender to change that.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse will be released Christmas of 2018.

This is Heavy Doc: New Ready Player One Trailer

An incredible new trailer dropped over the weekend for the upcoming Speilberg movie, Ready Player One.

This trailer sets up more of the story which is essentially: in the year 2044, the Willy Wonka of VR has died, kicking off the world’s most outrageous scavenger hunt to determine an heir to his empire. A nobody, named Wade Watts, is the “Charlie Bucket” of the story. He’s determined to be the one to find the easter egg, and discovers some more sinister plans in play along the way.

The OAISIS looks like the definition of geek heaven. So many references to different games and movies…I can’t lie, the Back to the Future Deloron is my favorite. Also, with Spielberg at the helm, this is promising to be a fun ride.

For those who have read the book: how does this trailer look in comparison? Let me know!

From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the science fiction action adventure “Ready Player One,” based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon. The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.