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Thursday, December 7, 2017

THE LAST JEDI Update: T-Minus 7 Days and Counting...

Rey (Daisy Ridley) uses Kylo Ren's lightsaber to take on Supreme Leader Snoke's Elite Praetorian Guards in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.

One week from today, I'll be at the local AMC Theatre catching an advance screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi at a 7 PM show. Despite the fact I wish that Disney didn't spoil the awesome shot above (sorry for the crappy quality of this pic) by putting it on a TV spot that aired during shows like The Big Bang Theory tonight, this obviously whet my appetite in terms of what happens during the rest of this scene. Of course, if these two screenshots below (from the final theatrical trailer) are any indication, Rey (Daisy Ridley) probably wished that she didn't try to pull a badass but risky move on Supreme Leader Snoke's bodyguards like that. Can't wait to see how she gets out of this sticky situation seven days from now! Happy Thursday.

Supreme Leader Snoke (voiced and motion captured by Andy Serkis) unleashes the Dark Side of the Force on Rey (off-screen) in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.
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Rey levitates and screams in agony as Supreme Leader Snoke unleashes the Dark Side of the Force on her in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.

Friday, December 1, 2017

A Return to TITANIC...

A screenshot from TITANIC...which celebrates the 20th anniversary of its original theatrical release this month.

Earlier today, I went to the local AMC Theatre to once again watch James Cameron's Oscar-winning film Titanic on the big screen. The last time I saw this movie at the theater was in the summer of 1998 (after I graduated from high school and obviously before I started my first year in college)...months after Titanic took home 11 trophies, including one for Best Picture, at the Academy Awards that year. I was planning to watch this flick when it was shown in 3-D at theaters nationwide in 2012...but health issues prevented me from doing so.

A behind-the-scenes snapshot of a miniature model of Titanic being prepped at Fox Studios in Baja, California...where TITANIC was filmed.

It was awesome to see Titanic on the big screen again—especially in Dolby Vision. The image and sound quality were absolutely crisp. Titanic was shown on 35mm film when it opened in theaters 20 years ago this month, and still looked totally amazing in digital projection this time around (though I remain a huge fan of movies that continue to be shot on celluloid). What definitely stood out to me was the music score by the late James Horner. Even to this day, his immensely powerful music, with its beautiful themes for love and tragedy, still gets to me. And the sharp audio quality of Dolby Vision only enhanced the epic scope of this memorable score.

A behind-the-scenes snapshot of director James Cameron speaking to Kate Winslet (Rose DeWitt Bukater) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Jack Dawson) during the filming of TITANIC's climactic scene.

Much like what I did during Titanic's original theatrical run in 1997-'98, I plan to see this movie additional times on the big screen during its 7-day engagement. James Cameron brought this terrific film back to theaters for its 15th anniversary in 2012 (which also marked 100 years since the actual sinking of the Titanic...on April 15, 1912) and of course, its 20th anniversary this week. I plan on watching the tragic tale of Jack and Rose on the big screen again if Titanic returns in 2022 for its 25th anniversary. Happy Friday!

A behind-the-scenes snapshot of James Cameron directing Kate Winslet during the filming of TITANIC's climactic scene.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Rian Johnson Will Helm His Own STAR WARS Trilogy!

Rian Johnson directs the late Carrie Fisher on the set of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.

Even though The Last Jedi is still 35 days away from hitting theaters nationwide (on December 15), Disney is apparently so impressed with Rian Johnson's upcoming installment in the Star Wars saga that he will be handed his own trilogy to produce! Johnson is set to write and direct the first film in the trifecta...which will not come to fruition until after Episode IX arrives in cinemas on December 20, 2019. Not only is Lucasfilm planning another trilogy—which will not deal with the Skywalker story but instead focus on a new group of characters in another corner of the galaxy—but a live-action TV show will debut on Disney's planned streaming service (which should come online in 2019) as well.

It's clearly obvious that Rian Johnson and J.J. Abrams are the two directors who have Disney's vote of confidence to continue delving with the Force on the big screen. I wouldn't be surprised if Abrams gets to direct one of the two remaining installments (after he works on Episode IX) in the Johnson trilogy! But with a new trio of Star Wars movies officially on Disney's development slate, this gives other talented directors like Joss Whedon, Patty Jenkins, Kathryn Bigelow, Christopher Nolan and even newcomer Taika Waititi (who helmed the wonderfully hilarious and action-packed Thor: Ragnarok) a chance to venture into that galaxy far, far away. Since this trilogy will not be focusing on the Skywalker saga, and presumably classic characters like Chewbacca and new ones like Rey and Kylo Ren, the pressure is off in terms of trying to continue the long-running story that started with A New Hope in 1977. But we'll see. The opportunities are numerous in terms of where the Star Wars saga is headed with a skilled filmmaker like Rian Johnson taking the reins! Happy Thursday.

Oh, and check out this TV spot for The Last Jedi:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Q&A for DETROIT...

At a Q&A screening for DETROIT at Landmark Theatres in west Los Angeles...on November 8, 2017.

A few hours ago, I went to the Landmark Theatres in west Los Angeles to attend a Q&A screening for the Kathryn Bigelow film Detroit. This is the second time I saw the movie (I watched it on opening weekend), and needless to say, it's a powerful film...especially in today's divisive atmosphere here in America. On hand to answer audience questions were actors Will Poulter, John Boyega, Tyler James Williams and Laz Alonso. During the Q&A, Boyega and Alonso mentioned how it was like to meet the actual individuals they portrayed on screen (Boyega played Melvin Dismukes, who was a security guard during the 1967 Detroit riots, while Alonzo portrayed congressman John Conyers). Will Poulter, unsurprisingly, didn't meet the officer—actually, it's officers—whose character, Krauss, was based off of. According to Poulter, most of these people haven't been seen or heard from since. Not a shock, considering that these cops should never show their faces in public again if the movie was even half as accurate as it was in portraying the disturbing events at the Algiers Motel on July 25-26, 1967.

Here's hoping that Detroit gets some recognition when the Oscar nominations are announced next January. It would be pretty disappointing, and ironic, if the #OscarsSoWhite controversy brews online again if a movie about racial injustice doesn't receive any major accolades from the Academy on January 23, 2018. That is all.

John Boyega (who portrayed real-life security guard Melvin Dismukes) answers a question during a Q&A for DETROIT at Landmark Theatres in west Los Angeles...on November 8, 2017.

Will Poulter (who portrayed a police officer named Krauss) answers a question during a Q&A for DETROIT at Landmark Theatres in west Los Angeles...on November 8, 2017.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Artwork of the Day: Rey the Jedi...

My drawing of Rey (Daisy Ridley) and her new look in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.

Just thought I'd start this month off by sharing this artwork I drew of Rey (Daisy Ridley) in her new look for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The title of this blog entry is "Rey the Jedi," but we'll see if she actually ends the movie fighting for the Light Side of the Force...or if she'll do what Luke was able to avoid with Darth Vader in the Original Trilogy and join forces with Kylo Ren and the Dark Side. Hmm. I can't believe The Last Jedi hits theaters nationwide next month (on December 15)!

Work-in-progress photos of my Rey drawing.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Artwork of the Day #3: Pennywise and His 'Kill Teeth'...

My drawing of Pennywise with his 'kill teeth' (and Georgie's raincoat) shown.

As mentioned in this previous entry, here is a drawing of Pennywise showing his "kill teeth"...which he used to lethal effect (obviously) in the hit movie It. The Dancing Clown is also holding Georgie's raincoat (but not his paper boat) in this pic, while lurking in his hellish lair that we saw towards the end of the film. Shown below is the work-in-progress photos of this artwork as well as the illustration that's featured in the post linked to at the beginning of this entry. Happy Monday!

Work-in-progress photos of my Pennywise-with-'kill teeth' drawing.

Work-in-progress photos of my original Pennywise drawing.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Artwork of the Day #2: The Last Jedi's Elite Praetorian Guard...

My drawing of an Elite Praetorian Guard from STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.

Just thought I'd share this drawing—plus its work-in-progress photos—of the Elite Praetorian Guard from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I can't wait to see this First Order sentinel in action when Episode VIII hits theaters nationwide on December 15. Though hopefully, unlike the Imperial Guard that preceded it in Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith, respectively, we'll see this red-clad sentry in a cool fighting scene. Those two Red Guards who get knocked down by Yoda before he confronts Darth Sidious in Revenge of the Sith does not count as seeing action! Happy Thursday, again.

Work-in-progress photos of my Elite Praetorian Guard drawing.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Artwork of the Day: It's Pennywise the Dancing Clown...

Just thought I'd share this drawing that I completed this morning of Pennywise from the hit movie It. I was trying to hold off on posting this artwork since I plan to draw another more sinister illustration of the Dancing Clown (it's all about those "kill teeth") and simultaneously share that along with this one, but I'm impatient as heck. I also plan to illustrate an Elite Praetorian Guard from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which should be really fun as well. Good ol' Crayola markers. Anyways, Happy Thursday!

My drawing of Pennywise the Dancing Clown from the hit movie IT.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY...

Director Ron Howard just announced this morning that next year's Han Solo spin-off flick will be titled Solo: A Star Wars Story. I'm down with it... It's brief and to the point. I preferred The Corellian: A Star Wars Story or Scuffy-Looking Nerf Herder: A Star Wars Story, but it's all good. At least the movie finally wrapped principal photography as of today, though I'm wondering when we'll see a teaser trailer for the film. Perhaps in front of Star Wars: The Last Jedi 58 days from now? Solo does get released to the world in about seven months, after all. It arrives in theaters nationwide on May 25, 2018—exactly 41 years after Star Wars: A New Hope opened to the public and made cinematic history. Carry on.

Director Ron Howard holds up a card announcing that the Han Solo spin-off film will be titled SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Marvel's BLACK PANTHER...

The theatrical poster for BLACK PANTHER.

Check out this awesome poster and the newest theatrical trailer for Marvel's Black Panther...out in theaters on February 16 of next year and once again featuring Chadwick Boseman as the armored catsuit-wearing superhero/King of Wakanda who kicked much ass in last year's Captain America: Civil War. I'd show screenshots of all of the amazing cast members who appear in this flick (such as Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong'o, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis and Michael B. Jordan), but the Black Panther suit is so badass that I had to show the best shots of it (plus the one worn by Erik Killmonger, the villain played by Michael B. Jordan) from the preview. Happy Monday!

Chadwick Boseman returns as Wakanda's hero king T'Challa in BLACK PANTHER.

Two armored suits worn by T'Challa in BLACK PANTHER.

T'Challa is ready to embark on a mission in BLACK PANTHER.

The suit worn by Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) in BLACK PANTHER.

T'Challa is ready to fight in BLACK PANTHER.