I’ve been re-watching the original Star Wars trilogy lately (along with the prequels which are still pretty damn hard to sit through) and been thinking a lot about the latest trilogy’s aggressive backlash since ‘The Last Jedi’. It’s clearly evident there’s something that the originals had that these new movies are missing the boat on. Those first three films had a serious feeling of camaraderie along with strong totally relatable bonds between it’s diverse cast of characters, something that the latest movies seem to be struggling quite a bit with. I like the new cast but they really haven’t been given the screen time they deserve to fully develop into the tight knit unit that the original crew became so iconic as.
Let’s face it, the gang in the original had a certain chemistry among them that for some odd reason has been incredibly hard for ‘Disney’ Star Wars to replicate. In the late 70’s & 80s films were paced quite a bit differently as well and characters were given more actual story & screen time to be fleshed out, making their friendships all the more believable. We definitely got some tender moments in The Force Awakens between Finn, Rey, Poe, Leia & Han but it felt like ‘The Last Jedi’ just wasn’t able capture much real emotion amongst it’s large cast. Finn & Rose felt pretty forced, Rey and Luke lacked any chemistry, while Holdo and Leia really weren’t given the time together for their relationship to mean much of anything to the audience. Most of the main three new characters barely spent much time onscreen together at all. Think for a second about the way Luke, Han, Leia, Chewy, C3PO & R2 all felt together on an adventure onscreen, their friendships were a wonder to behold. They were all like family, I often compare them to the main characters in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. You really feel something genuine for them all that really warms the heart.
Well now we’ve got one LAST movie left of the “Skywalker saga”, Episode 9 has got a lot riding on it’s back since the huge division amongst rabid Star Wars fans. It’s got to unite all fans again and there’s really an easy way to do exactly that, however it seems for some reason Disney just can’t wrap their heads around exactly what will please both new & old fans alike. To me it’s obvious, first off avoid making this last installment a copy of ‘Return of the Jedi’. Devise a bit more of an original story, because as much as Rian Johnson thinks his movie was divisive because it was “so different than any of the previous movies” in actuality it really did borrow a ton of it’s “unique” plot points from Empire & Return of the Jedi. Secondly it’s clear, Star Wars fans STILL love the old characters-I keep hearing everyone in the movie industry saying-it’s not the old characters story anymore, it’s about the new. My question is, why can’t the story truly be about both the old and the new? Continue reading
Most of the big cinema Hollywood horror movies churned out these days are pretty damn forgettable but every so often we get a shiny gem thrown in our direction, this is most certainly the case with “A Quiet Place”. Yep, this one delivers on all levels, it’s an awesome tale of survival, a freaky creature feature and a totally tense original thriller all wrapped into one sweet package. John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe & Millicent Simmonds are a family trying to survive in total isolation in a house in countryside. In the surrounding forest the wrath of big blind alien creatures that hunt by sound look for their next meal. Get ready for the extremes between complete silence and jarring monster attacks to jolt you right the fuck out of your theater seat. Most of the movie is completely serene except for some of the score that creeps in and out from time to time and that’s what will keep you on your toes. I’d love to see a version of the movie that takes out the score completely as that’d certainly add even more tension to the sonic experiment at play here.
It’s really quite a great concept for a big cinema flick and if you’re chomping on popcorn and candy during the movie you’re likely to be heard by all around, the movie’s so quiet at times it can be a bit unsettling in a large theater full of people. This of course brings the audience directly into the tension and it’s done quite well cuz when the shit hits the fan from time to time it makes the tense action sequences that much more powerful. It also features the most awkward sequence of being stalked by a monster, one where Emily Blunt tries to escape being killed by one of these creatures while simultaneously going into labor! Damn-could it get an worse-yes it surely does..
The small cast also adds to the feeling of dread and isolation as danger lurks behind every noise presented on screen. The setting as well is lush and beautiful as most of it takes place on and around the old farm and a creepy ass cornfield, the perfect place for monsters to creep all about. Speaking of the monsters, we don’t really get any solid explanation about where they came from or why they’re here, maybe upon a second viewing it’d be easier to piece it all together from various newspaper clippings that are shown here and there. It’s been said this movie was also, in it’s early stages given the possibility to have a connection to Cloverfield, which also would have worked quite nicely. 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!
So this September we’re getting a brand new sequel to the ‘Predator’ franchise and it’s been stated that this new installment directed by Shane Black (who also starred in the original) would be a direct sequel to the first two. This lead people to believe we might be seeing Arnold Schwarzenneger return to his iconic role once more as cigar chompin’ Dutch.
What we were then told was that he was indeed approached by Shane Black and even met with him about returning. However it was quickly revealed the meeting went south and Arnold simply didn’t like the script, as he was featured in just a small cameo therefore declining to be in the movie altogether. I was a bit surprised to hear that, as Arnold hasn’t really been in anything that was a “hit” since he returned to acting after his time as Governor. In fact I my guts been telling me we’re indeed going to see Dutch return, I think the whole “passing because of the script” thing is just a well planned diversion.
Today we’ve learned there are reshoots taking place right now for ‘The Predator’ and my gut feeling is that these just may indeed be Dutch’s scenes. I highly doubt Arnie would turn down even a cameo and having him in the Predator series again would be very similar to Mark Hamill returning recently to the Star Wars franchise. If Dutch does indeed return it’d be a gift to all the Predator fans and I highly doubt Shane Black is oblivious to this. It’d be quite a twist if he did appear to help kick some Predator butt, especially because of his statements about turning down the role in the new movie. We also have to mention though ‘The Predator’ did receive some mixed reviews to test screenings saying the heavy handed humor was tonally off so perhaps they’re just reshooting some scene’s to level out the comedy? Hmmm….
Regardless I’m hoping to see Dutch return AND how awesome would it be if Danny Glover from ‘Predator 2’ returned as well to help out? That’d be just too good to be true, interestingly enough though, the new movie has a direct link to ‘Predator 2’ as Jake Busy is actually returning as Gary Busey’s Predator 2’s characters son. Soooooo anything is possible. I don’t imagine anyone would pass up the opportunity to at least feature Dutch again one more time in the franchise, let’s face it Arnold is getting old and isn’t going to be around forever…
I’ve noticed a bit of a trend lately in Hollywood that gives me some hope for the future of sci-fi movies, a slight return to intelligent and engaging genre stories have been slowly materializing on the big screen again. Recent movies like Arrival, Get Out and especially Blade Runner: 2049 have seriously made going to the movies a bit of a different experience in the best way possible. A return to cerebral science fiction mysteries is something I’ve been hoping for for quite some time and the trend continues on with the latest, ‘Annihilation’ in a big way.
Annihilation is quite a mind bender indeed that explores a bizarre alien atmosphere that suddenly yet quietly appears down in the Florida Everglades near a lighthouse on the coast. Referred to in the movie as ‘the shimmer’, this truly strange, rapidly growing area creates a surreal glistening layer to the landscape it encompasses. It’s up to a team of scientists/mercenaries to enter inside it to figure out just what the hell is going on and what happened to the previous team that never returned. A great cast heads this one as well, led by Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh (it’s nice to see her back!), Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and also Oscar “Poe Dameron” Isaac in a chilling supporting role.
I liked the dynamic of having a fully female team of researchers that enter within the shimmer, as once inside, the movie quickly becomes a full on dream like journey into a beautifully bizarre landscape where it’s uncertain exactly what lies ahead. One of the best things about it is indeed the atmosphere and setting of the Everglades as the shimmer has transformed much of it into an eerie colorful creepy spectacle to behold. It really does feel like you’ve entered into an onscreen fever dream that’s peacefully quiet but at the same time incredibly unsettling.
Of course there’s plenty of danger inside and it doesn’t take too long before shit gets crazy, as quiet and introspective as this movie at first seems it also has some pretty intense scenes that cross fully over into the horror genre. It’s horror elements reminding me a bit at times of ‘Event Horizon’ & ‘The Thing’, there’s plenty to behold inside the shimmer. some unexpected gore and even some genuinely frightening monsters enter the equation. In fact there’s one unforgettably frightening creature that pretty much steals the show and is something born of nightmares. So yeah that’s always a plus for me.
Annihilation leaves a lot of room for discussion once the credits begin to role as it’s finale is so strange it’s likely to leave many leaving the theater scratching their heads. That though I feel is the appeal of a movie like this, it’s got a real story to tell that requires you to pay close attention to detail something a lot of science fiction movies used to do way back when. It seems however that the masses today have a hard time digesting movies like this, most everything today is edited so quickly and largely requires our brains to be turned off almost entirely. Movies these days largely feel as if they’re made for our mega short attention span culture so it certainly feels quite special to enter the theater and be pleasantly surprised by a totally different experience all together. Annihilation like Blade Runner:2049 likely won’t do great at the box office, but if you long for those classic stories of cerebral science fiction they way that I often do, you definitely won’t be disappointed with Annihilation.
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….
After expressing my disappointment in The Last Jedi I’ve been thinking a lot about what to expect next in Episode 9. We’ll have JJ Abrams back in the writer/directors chair to complete the story he started. It felt to me like, Rian Johnson wasn’t a fan of the plot points JJ set up and maybe wished that he himself would have wrote & directed The Force Awakens. The problem I think is that it just didn’t feel like a cohesive story was being planned by these two directors and as we now know there never was a real solid story for this trilogy. JJ wrote the first installment and Rian Johnson took over the second, literally writing whatever his heart desired to continue the story. Sadly it really shows when watching both movies in succession. The trilogy should have had a planned story, instead they’re seriously making shit up as they go. So it leads me to a legit question of Episode 9: Is Luke Skywalker REALLY dead?
Of course, everyone has come to the logical conclusion that Luke Skywalker died at the end of TLJ and that he will return in the next installment as a good ol’ trusty Force ghost. BUT, I think that there’s a damn good chance we could indeed see Luke in the flesh again. First, let’s consider the backlash TLJ has gotten, there’s a large portion of that backlash that’s incredibly upset with the handling of Luke. So taking the fan backlash about this character into consideration, I think JJ could indeed tastefully retcon his “supposed” death. Let’s face it, if Luke returning in the flesh for Episode 9 will elate the fans and make some seriously big bucks, it as a possibility, is totally, 100% on the table. I think these movies are way more about the money these days than the actual story telling. So Luke returning in human form is most definitely a very serious possibility even if you think it’d be bad storytelling and wanna call me some crazy ass fan who needs to let go of the past. You need to realize 99.9% of this is, at the very end of the day about MONEY. Continue reading