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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Belko Experiment...

Adria Arjona plays Leandra Flores in THE BELKO EXPERIMENT.

I watched the horror flick that was written by James Gunn (of Guardians of the Galaxy fame) at the theater today, and just have a few quick observations about it: 1.) Mike Milch (played by The Newsroom's John Gallagher Jr.) is totally badass... 2.) And so is Leandra Flores (played by Emerald City's Adria Arjona). *Thinks about the film's climax* Leandra, nooooo! 3.) Who the hell would take a job that requires having a mysterious chip placed inside the back of their head? A red flag right there, folks. 4.) The Belko Experiment is this decade's Saw movie—though I never watched any of the Saw flicks (nor do I intend to), and 5.) Orion Pictures still exists?

80 employees are forced to take part in a sadistic experiment inside a Colombian high-rise office building in THE BELKO EXPERIMENT.

So what's my verdict on The Belko Experiment, you ask? Well... It's blood-churning and it's bloody awesome! I can't wait for the sequel— You know that the final shot in this film is hinting at one. (Like The Purge movies, Belko's sequel can obviously focus on other folks who survived this hideous, violent experiment.) Carry on!

Bud (Michael Rooker) and Lonny (David Dastmalchian) try to find a way to free their fellow employees from the Colombian high-rise building in THE BELKO EXPERIMENT.

Barry Norris (Tony Goldwyn), Wendell Dukes (John C. McGinley) and Terry Winter (Owain Yeoman) will do anything it takes to get out of that office building alive in THE BELKO EXPERIMENT.

Mike Milch (John Gallagher Jr.) and Leandra Flores try to survive the murderous attempts made on their lives by fellow employees in THE BELKO EXPERIMENT.

Mike Milch is out for blood in THE BELKO EXPERIMENT.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Oscars 2017: After a Snafu, MOONLIGHT Gets Its Time to Shine...

The cast and crew of MOONLIGHT celebrate on stage after winning Best Picture at the 89th Annual Academy Awards...on February 26, 2017.

Congratulations to the cast and crew of Moonlight after (eventually) winning Best Picture at the 89th Annual Academy Awards last night! Even though her movie didn't win the top prize after some goofball handed Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope to read, it is awesome that Emma Stone won Best Actress for her performance as Mia Dolan in La La Land [which also won Best Director (for Damien Chazelle), Original Score, Original Song, Cinematography and Production Design]. Along with Best Picture, Moonlight also took home statuettes for Best Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actor...for Mahershala Ali in his role as Juan, the Cuban crack dealer. In regards to the other acting categories, Viola Davis won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Rose Lee Maxson in Fences and Casey Affleck won Best Actor for his performance as Lee Chandler in Manchester By The Sea.

Emma Stone gives her speech after winning the Best Actress trophy for her role in LA LA LAND...on February 26, 2017.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story lost Best Visual Effects to fellow Disney film The Jungle Book (as predicted) and lost Best Sound Mixing to Mel Gibson's World War II epic Hacksaw Ridge...which also won an award for Best Film Editing. The sci-fi hit Arrival won an Oscar for Best Sound Editing, while the NASA biopic Hidden Figures unfortunately came away empty-handed. Warner Bros' Suicide Squad won the Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, while its fellow comic book flick Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice "won" four awards at the Razzies the night before.

Auli'i Cravalho sings her Oscar-nominated song 'How Far I'll Go' from the Oscar-nominated Pixar film MOANA...on February 26, 2017.

Last night's ceremony was very memorable. Here's hoping that the Jimmy Kimmel-Matt Damon feud continues (assuming, of course, that Kimmel will be re-invited to host the Oscars again), Moana's Auli'i Cravalho will get to do more Oscar-nominated songs and sing them live during the Academy Awards, and that next year's Best Picture winner won't be revealed after the wrong film is announced. Oh, and that Emma Stone will turn down roles where she is cast as an Asian. Yes, I remember that movie Aloha. Moonlight won Best Picture one year after the film Spotlight took home the top prize at the Academy Awards. Expect the upcoming Kevin Sorbo flick Let There Be Light, which gets released this Christmas, to make waves at the Oscars next March. Carry on!

As Warren Beatty and Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel look on, LA LA LAND producer Jordan Horowitz announces that MOONLIGHT won Best Picture...on February 26, 2017.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

RIP, Bill Paxton (1955-2017)...

Just heard the very sad news that Bill Paxton—who was in such movies as Aliens, Apollo 13, Titanic, True Lies and Twister—passed away due to complications after heart surgery last night. He was 61. Farewell, Mr. Paxton... Titanic, Apollo 13 and True Lies are some of my favorite films of all time. I had the chance to be on set with Paxton when I worked on his new CBS TV show Training Day late last year. As expected, he was a very nice guy who got along with the crew, fellow cast members and background actors that day.

Rest In Peace, Mr. Paxton... You will be missed.

Bill Paxton as NASA astronaut Fred Haise in the 1995 Oscar-nominated film APOLLO 13.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Photo of the Day: Han Solo Begins His STAR WARS STORY...

Just thought I'd share this group photo of the untitled Han Solo film cast...who gathered together as the next Star Wars spin-off flick began principal photography in London today. The Han Solo movie [directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and featuring Alden Ehrenreich (as Han Solo), Donald Glover (as Lando Calrissian), Joonas Suotamo (as Chewbacca), Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Phoebe Waller-Bridge], which takes place before the events of Episode IV - A New Hope (just like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story did), is set to open in theaters on May 25, 2018. That's a little over five months after the theatrical release of Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (on December 15 of this year) and exactly 41 years after A New Hope hit cinemas nationwide. The Star Wars juggernaut continues!

The main cast of the untitled Han Solo spin-off film pose inside the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

THE LAST JEDI Update: Rey's New Look Is Revealed!

An image of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) on an empty toy box for STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.

Earlier today, StarWars.com posted this article mentioning that Force Friday II—the official sequel to the day that The Force Awakens merchandise was released in stores worldwide on September 4, 2015—will take place on September 1st of this year. To commemorate this announcement, Lucasfilm also revealed this photo of an empty box featuring Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) at the top of this package. While the outfits of Poe and Finn look similar to what they wore in Star Wars: Episode VII (for the most part), it's clearly obvious that Rey will evolve the most in The Last Jedi. She let her hair down, there are subtle changes to her outfit (RE: a black garment visible underneath her collar), her expression in this image suggesting stronger confidence and determination and...she has a slight bruise near her left eye. What could that be from?

It remains to be seen if Rey will be welding Luke Skywalker's lightsaber for most of The Last Jedi. Though I'd hope that if/when she does build her own Jedi weapon, it will have a different color to its blade. Leave the green laser sword to Luke himself. Apart from that, I can't wait for Force Friday II to arrive this summer! I'm wondering what toy will be inside this box that Lucasfilm revealed, and if I'll buy said toy. We'll see. Happy Thursday!

An image of Poe Dameron, Rey and Finn on an empty toy box for STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Talking Sports on My Film Blog...

My favorite movie ad that aired during Super Bowl LI this evening was the one for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Absolutely amazing footage! This TV spot was shown before the Atlanta Falcons' trophy presentation.

...

If you watched the Big Game tonight you'd find that funny.

Rey would've found the dig I made at the Atlanta Falcons funny... Maybe.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Photos of the Day: The STAR WARS: SPECIAL EDITION...

Stormtroopers search for C-3PO and R2-D2 on Tatooine in the STAR WARS: SPECIAL EDITION...which opened in theaters on January 31, 1997.

Just thought I'd commemorate the 20-year anniversary of the Star Wars: Special Edition—which opened on January 31, 1997—with these screenshots from the revamped version of George Lucas' classic film. I was a junior in high school when the original Star Wars trilogy returned to theaters that year, and it was so cool to see Luke, Han, Leia and Darth Vader finally on the big screen. (Up until this period, I would watch the original films on VHS tapes almost every weekend since I became a Star Wars fan in early 1995...after Lucas announced that he was gonna make the prequel trilogy.) Such a memorable time... I remember running into my cute classmate Liz, who was in my homeroom at school, just as she was about to exit the theater where I was gonna watch A New Hope on opening night (though I'm sure Star Wars wasn't the film that Liz saw that evening). And I remember when Howard Stern fumed that Return of the Jedi beat his movie Private Parts at the box office on opening weekend! Totally hilarious.

Han Solo confers with Jabba the Hutt (whose computer-generated look was revamped for the 2004 DVD releases of the original trilogy) on Tatooine in the STAR WARS: SPECIAL EDITION.

It's amazing that 10 years later, I'd be lookin' forward to a brand-new Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, which gets released this December. Five new Star Wars movies have been released since the Return of the Jedi: Special Edition opened in theaters on March 14, 1997. Revenge of the Sith ended up being the only installment that I liked among the prequels, The Force Awakens ended up being the highest-grossing domestic film in U.S. history (at $937 million), and Rogue One ended up being a satisfying tale about how the plans for the first Death Star were obtained by the Rebel Alliance. Thanks for continuing the magic (a.k.a. the Force), Disney! And also no thanks. I'd elaborate on that last part, but that's a blog entry for another day. Live long and prosper!

That was intentional.

A revamped version of Rebel X-Wing and Y-Wing fighters approaching the Death Star in the STAR WARS: SPECIAL EDITION.

A revamped version of the Death Star exploding in the STAR WARS: SPECIAL EDITION.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII Title Has Been Revealed!

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI hits theaters nationwide on December 15 of this year.

The Last Jedi... That will be the name for this December's eighth installment in the Star Wars saga. For the most part, I like it. Of course, I like anything Star Wars-related that doesn't involve Jar Jar Binks or post-Phantom Menace Darth Maul. I was hoping for a more sinister title like Fall of the Resistance or Death to the Resistance—especially considering that these would-be titles are consistent with the four-worded format for previous middle episodes Attack of the Clones and The Empire Strikes Back. Oh well.

And on a more humorous matter, Transformers fans around the Internet are probably joking that Michael Bay wants his title back! ('Cause you know, The Last Knight hits theaters nationwide on June 23?) I guess this is Lucasfilm's revenge for 2009's Revenge of the Fallen (there was an online joke that George Lucas wanted his title back for that one...in reference to 2005's Revenge of the Sith). Or not. Can't wait for The Last Jedi's first trailer to be unveiled soon! Happy Monday.

Fan-made artwork of Rey (Daisy Ridley) as she embraces her Jedi destiny in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The LEGO Batman Movie...

A giant display of Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) from THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE inside Edwards Cinema at the Irvine Spectrum...on December 31, 2016.

Happy New Year, everyone! Just thought I'd share these pics I took of a cool display for next month's The LEGO Batman Movie that was set up at a theater I visited in Orange County yesterday. (I watched Rogue One: A Star Wars Story again. In IMAX 3-D.) If it's anything like 2014's The LEGO Movie, then this one will be an absolute delight that will be a major hit at the box office and get kids to try to persuade their parents to buy them LEGO figures of Batman, Robin, the Joker and/or other DC characters afterwards. Of course, we'll overlook the fact that the film featuring Will Arnett as the voice of the computer-generated Dark Knight will probably get better reviews than this November's Justice League flick featuring Ben Affleck as the live-action Caped Crusader. I'm still gonna watch the Zack Snyder film, though. Anyways— Have a wonderful 2017, folks!

The LEGO Batman Movie hits theaters nationwide on February 10.

A giant display of Batman from THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE inside Edwards Cinema at the Irvine Spectrum...on December 31, 2016.

A giant display of Batman from THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE inside Edwards Cinema at the Irvine Spectrum...on December 31, 2016.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

She Is One With The Force. The Force Is With Her.

Rest In Peace, Carrie Fisher. While we lost a lot of amazing people this year (David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Florence Henderson, Kenny Baker and other wonderful folks), the tragic news that came in this morning hit me the most considering my all-out passion for Star Wars and how iconic Leia Organa was. Trying to hold back some tears right now... I'm serious. Other beloved individuals will leave us next year, but 2016 really needs to end. Sunday can't come soon enough.

Rest In Peace, Carrie. The Force will be with you, always.