So as most of you all have probably heard by now, ‘The Last Jedi’ was a pretty divisive film to say the least. Star Wars will likely never be quite the same because of it, to some that’s a good thing, but to most the movie was seen as a huge disappointment. A lot now rides on the shoulders of JJ’s upcoming Episode 9 and many seem to think the damage to the franchise simply can’t be repaired. I myself was not a fan of ‘The Last Jedi’ in the least, which was perplexing as the original trailer made the movie appear to be something completely different from what we ultimately ended up with. The treatment of beloved classic characters like Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Leia & Admiral Ackbar enraged longtime fans & shoddy storytelling paired with jarring attempts at comedy helped to sink Episode 8 to new depths most haven’t seen since the days of the prequels. Luckily someone has stepped up to the plate to entirely re-edit the movie, Ivan Ortega (who edits movies for a living), whom I’ve been following since the start of his Youtube channel ‘Film Fix’ has been working hard on this for the better part of 2018.
He’s shown several times on his channel edits he’s done that drastically alter the narrative of the movie and seemingly breath new life into The Last Jedi. His approach puts a heavier focus upon Luke Skywalker, something many fans including myself had been hoping for all along since this latest trilogy was announced . Ortega though has not just re-edited The Last Jedi, he’s also apparently filmed new material, one being an extended fight sequence between Luke & Kylo, one where lightsabers actually clash and real contact is made between the two combatants. He’s also given Admiral Ackbar more screen time and true purpose in this new version. I suggest checking out his channel to see exactly how it’s being done as it’s truly fascinating. The new Edit is very close to completion and today we get the official ‘re-edit trailer’ for his labor of love. I’m so damn excited to check out the full version, as it seems his approach is more in line with Lucas’ original vision, given the material he had to work with. Check this out and watch closely for all the changes that were made to shift the movie more in line with the spirit of the original trilogy!!
I’d have thought by now that we might have already gotten a teaser trailer for the upcoming Hellboy reboot film set to drop next year. However it’s now been moved back another 3 months for an April 12th, 2019 release date. But, we did just get this brand new Hellboy poster that seems to feature David Harbour as the legendary character, though it’s a bit hard to tell if this is indeed an actually photograph or perhaps a CGI enhanced image. Whatever the case it does indeed show some true promise and perhaps a closer adaptation to the comic book than what we saw with the lighter hearted more comedic take of Guillermo Del Toro.
Clearly Harbour like Ron Perlman is covered heavily with prosthetics and likely a muscle suit, which is far better than CG-ing the character. Interesting as well here is the portrayal of Hellboy with his full set of horns rather than the sawed off look. Word is also that this movie will be based on an actual Hellboy tale from the comics called ‘The Wild Hunt‘. I’m really liking what I’ve seen and heard so far with the reboot, I’m especially excited to see what they do with the BPRD members it will feature. Having Neil Marshall on board as well is super exciting, as he did a couple of the best, imo, 2000’s horror movies ‘Dog Soldiers’ and ‘The Descent’. I’m hoping for a teaser trailer soon, so we can really get the feel of what tone this one’s really aiming for.
Wow, my mind has officially been blown by Panos Cosmatos’ second feature film ‘Mandy’! I was lucky enough to catch it this crazy ass flick last Sunday evening at Cinema 21 here in Portland with a rowdy packed theater. I’m damn glad I decided to make a run to the cinema rather than renting this online ‘cuz in my opinion that’s the absolute best way to see this one for the first time. After watching the steaming pile of crap that was ‘The Predator’ at a matinee Friday, a movie like Mandy was a complete and total breath of fresh air. I guess the best thing to say here is this movie may not be for everyone, but if you’re ready to take one of the craziest mind bending cinematic journeys of the last couple decades then you’re gonna fucking love it. Hell even the poster is awesome!
Mandy is a completely insane revenge flick set in the early 80’s and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before. I’m so used to seeing big crappy Hollywood blockbusters in the theater, so this was a bit of of a welcome shock to my noggin. The whole movie plays out like an uncomfortable fever dream, with Nicholas Cage as a logger named “Red” who lives out in the Pacific Northwest with his beautiful but eerily mesmerizing girlfriend Mandy. They live a quiet, serene life in an incredibly strange home in the middle of the woods, with large glass walls that bring to mind elements of a real life fairy tale. Everything’s dark yet overly drenched in vibrant hues of reds, purples & thick lush colors creating a surreal landscape that feels like a dream put right on the screen in front of you. It’s a spectacle to behold and it’s clear from the start that Red & Mandy have been through a lot together, sharing a truly special bond in their secluded life. Mandy works at a nearby convenience store, wears cool heavy metal tees and loses herself in fantasy novels while Red spends his time chopping down trees with his chainsaw. The two of them are pictured intently watching 80’s horror flicks together (NIGHTBEAST!), chatting about what their favorite planets are, showing they’re living a rather sweet, simple and innocent life together at this point.
Well shit majorly hits the fan when a crazy van full of uber religious cult members roll into the area and their leader spots the oddly beautiful Mandy walking on the road one day. The cult leader is seemingly hypnotized by her and quickly declares that he must have her for his own. The first hour of the movie is pretty slow moving but in the best way possible, though we don’t get much backstory, we do get a clear picture of the love Mandy & Red share for each other, which makes what follows all that more intensely heartbreaking. I don’t want to spoil anything here, but let’s just say this cult goes the full distance to send Nicholas Cage into a fully batshit crazy journey that’s part Evil Dead, part Hellraiser and part LSD drenched revenge fantasy. I know people have a sort of ironic love for Nicholas Cage these days but seriously Cage fully shines here in easily one of his best performances of his career. He’s awesome and not in some ridiculous sort of way. The movie goes to some truly bizarre places, the violence plentiful and there are a ton of oddball surprises all along the way.
The movie even has a sense of humor as well, though it feels like an unsettling waking nightmare most of it’s run time, there’s something truly comforting about having Nic Cage there with you as your guide through the mayhem of it all. It gives you a sense of hope that just maybe you’ll make it out of it all alive somehow. There’s also a strong heavy metal vibe to film, not just in it’s imagery but also in the score, which is completely breathtaking in it’s thunderous doom metal delivery through the hellish otherworldly landscapes. The music here is incredible and liley half of the charm of why Mandy works so damn well honestly.
There’s also cool hand drawn animated interludes that bring to mind the 1981 cult classic “Heavy Metal” in the best ways possible. Add in amazing practical fx work, crazy gore, epic weapon crafting, chainsaws, Goblin Mac & Cheese (just wait and see), drugs galore, demonic cenobite like bikers and a sweet ass cameo from Predator’s Bill Duke and you’ve got yourself one truly freaky epic horror masterpiece unlike anything you’ve like ever seen before. I can’t say enuff good things about this movie, it’s still floating around in my head four days after viewing it. I can though easily say that Mandy thus far is my favorite movie of 2018!
One of the most wild & unpredictable filmmakers of all time hands down has got to be Hong Kong’s Lam Ngai Kai aka Lam Nai-choi, Most well known for his mega cult classic ‘RIKI-OH/The Story of Riki’ it’s clear this guy is, in my opinion one of the most underrated directors in the horror genre. Imagine if Sam Raimi made movies as consistently awesome as the Evil Dead trilogy, well that’s a good way to sum up this guy’s catalogue of crazy ass films. I’ve been fully surprised at how many people love ‘Riki-Oh’ yet aren’t familiar with anything else this guy’s done.
It probably doesn’t help that he completely disappeared off the movie map in 1992 for unknown reasons. Perhaps he realized he’d unlikely ever be able to top the craziness of his back catalogue of bizarre flicks. I’d love to know what he’s up to today and what I’d love even more would be his return to filmmaking. There’s however, literally zero info on why he stopped his film career and what the dude’s been up to these days. That being said let’s take a quick look at some of his coolest flicks you may not have even known existed! First if you’ve never seen Riki-Oh from 1991 it’s easily one of the wildest action/horror hybrid movies out there and totally on par with the awesomeness of Evil Dead 2. It features some of the most over the top action/gore of all time:
Next is another equally crazy ass flick from 1986 called ‘The Seventh Curse‘ which is like Indiana Jones on acid fighting monsters and exploring some truly epic locations. It features Chow Young Fat in a small role and continues with totally frantic action sequences that never slows it’s pace right to the very end. A true hidden gem of a movie that many 80’s horror fans have completely missed out on over the years. Seek this out asap as it’s more proof this guy’s got chops on par with the likes of early Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi & Don Coscarelli.
Kai’s got more under his belt too if you want another horror adventure that’s a true spectacle to behold check out ‘The Peacock King‘ from 1988. A totally unique movie that’s also a full on FX extravaganza. This one literally utilizes nearly every 80’s special fx in the book, from stop motion monsters, to animatronic creatures etc. etc. etc. you name it, this movie will take you on tour of the bizarre set to a super fun, dark yet equally light hearted adventure. Check it out: Continue reading
Ok so here’s an interesting clip! You remember that old Star Wars holiday special that George Lucas wants to pretend never happened? Well here’s another bizarre moment in retro Star Wars history, all the way back in 1980 Hamill made an appearance on German television making a cameo on a musical Star Wars themed variety show, recently Hamill shared the video and commented on it also saying “I remember not wanting to wear a gold jumpsuit like a rejected member of ABBA or if I could memorize dialogue in a foreign language-but thought “Who cares? No one outside of Germany will ever see this!” Thanks to the internet-NOTHING EVER GOES AWAY. Who knew?”
I’ve never seen this before but I’ll say it’s quite a treat for any true fan of the beloved series. In case you missed this one here it is in all of it’s glory!
Ok total click bait headline right? Well I have to admit upon seeing the most recent teaser trailer the thought of Harrison Ford dubbing his voice didn’t seem like all that bad of an idea at first. Now first I’ve gotta say, that Superbowl teaser was pretty damn cool. Visually it had some excellent moments that had me suddenly feeling the excitement of a this new “Han Solo” prequel origin flick. However yesterday upon seeing the longer teaser trailer there was one big ass thing that had me a bit worried. My first impression of this new “Han Solo” played by Alden Ehrenreich, I just wasn’t feeling it was Han. That’s a big worry for a movie called ‘Solo’ I think.
Now don’t get me wrong, these two teasers look pretty cool and I think there’s some serious potential for something really fun. I know a lot of Star Wars fans proclaim they weren’t asking for a new Han Solo movie, but I’ve been cool with it as I’ve seen a young Captain Kirk and crew played by younger actors work quite nicely in the modern TOS Star Trek movies for the most part. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Karl Urban (who fuckin’ perfectly nailed McCoy!!) all did a splendid job as the iconic characters. So I still have faith Alden could possibly pull it off. This first trailer though, as cool as it came off didn’t scream ‘Han Solo’ to me. It felt to me like an adventure in the Star Wars universe with all new characters with the exception of Chewy. Let me just add, thank god we’ll be getting a ton more of Chewy, as the iconic character has been cast aside like the family dog in The Last Jedi, only seemingly there to interact with the Porgs for comic relief sporadically throughout the movie.
So maybe Alden doesn’t look much like the Han we’ve known for all these years and he certainly doesn’t sound like him. Recasting legendary cinematic characters is a seriously tuff fucking thing to do and sometimes it’s just maybe not the best idea to attempt do so. I had my doubts though with Chris Pine as Kirk, despite the fact he at least, looked the part. Though he doesn’t attempt blatant Shatner-isms he does to a certain degree subtly slip them in from time to time without most even noticing. He mostly emulates Kirk’s true spirit very similar to the way that Shatner did without actually trying to be Shatner and some how by some miracle, he’s totally believable in the role and it just worked.
So it’s hard to tell if ‘Solo’ will resonate with fans, so far I’ve got my doubts about Alden. This one definitely feels as if it’s taken some lessons from JJ’s 2009 Star Trek movie. From the ‘SOLO’ teaser it’s kinda like ‘Star Trek Beyond’ meets Modern ‘Star Wars’ meets ‘The Fast & The Furious’. For me it could really go either way, I liked ‘Star Trek Beyond’ for the most part and I’ll admit I was quite ready to hate on it before I saw it (I can’t stand those Fast & Furious movies) but again I really like the actors who were cast in the original roles. They kinda saved it for me and now I’m looking forward to yet another Star Trek cinematic adventure. So while I’m hopeful that ‘Solo’ is going to be a ton of fun, it’s success however is totally dependent on Alden’s performance as Han and if he can convince the crowd that HE is indeed the legendary gunslinger. If not then oh boy, Disney’s got another Star Wars mess on it’s hands, and maybe my idea of Harrsion Ford overdubbing Alden’s lines just might not have sounded like such a crazy idea after all….
Joining or starting a new Dungeons & Dragons or table top RPG? Wanna make sure you have a great time? Here are 10 things to seriously consider as a player character (PC) or Dungeon Master before committing to the grand adventure. Some of them you might think are common sense but you’d be surprised how many people overlook these important guidelines. I’ve been playing for years on both sides of the table and have found from my experience in the dungeon that a recipe for a successful RPG adventure isn’t quite as simple to achieve as some might be lead to believe. There are a lot of factors that seriously enhance or hinder the experience from becoming the ultimate form of escapism many of us role playing nerds deeply desire. So let’s get started!!
10. Like Minded Adventurers:
Ok, over the years I’ve learned this is easily one of the most important factors for having a truly amazing experience playing table top RPGs. It’s extremely important to really think about just who it is that you’ll be spending hours of your time with trying to trudge through the dangerous and magical realms of the dungeon. I’m not talking about whether or not someone is going to be a wizard or a paladin. I’m talking about the real people you choose to add to the group or the group you join. Make sure everyone who’s joining wants the same thing from the experience.
It’s totally cool to have a group of people who’re getting together to party, hang out and casually roll some dice BUT if you’ve got a mixture of people, some who’re looking to pay attention to the details and really immerse themselves into the story you’re likely to have some unhappy campers among the group. This can also be extremely frustrating for the DM when preparing specific details & important plot points to have a crew of people partying too damn hard to remember what happened the prior week. Make sure everyone in the group is looking for a similar experience. Whether it’s a lighter party style game or a more serious role playing session. Talk this over before starting and maybe keep the first adventure short with a new crew to make sure everyone is on the same page. If you don’t address this it could make for some awkward moments later down the line and likely some seriously frustrated gamers.
9. A Bad Ass Dungeon Master: