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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Paul Walker (1973-2013)

Rest In Peace, Mr. Walker... The Fast and the Furious films (the last three sequels, to be exact) wouldn't have been the awesome, high-octane action flicks they were if he wasn't in it.

Walker was 40-years-old before today's tragic car accident (which also claimed the life of one of his friends who was riding in the vehicle as well) in Valencia, California.

Paul Walker in 2011's FAST FIVE.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Transformers: Age of Extinction

In tradition with the first two Transformers sequels, Optimus Prime is the first Autobot to officially be revealed as his redesigned robot mode graces the cover of Empire magazine's January 2014 issue. Director Michael Bay wrapped filming on Transformers: Age of Extinction about three weeks ago...but it remains to be seen when we'll get a glimpse of Optimus, Bumblebee, Nicola Peltz (oh, and Mark Wahlberg) and company confronting the Decepticons in a teaser trailer. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug looks like a great flick to give us our first big screen preview of Age of Extinction before this year is over, but there have been no ramblings online as to whether this is close to being the case. If it's anything like Revenge of the Fallen, the first time we'll see Bayhem—TF4-style—will be during Super Bowl XLVIII next February. Carry on.

Optimus Prime, Jack Reynor, Nicola Peltz and Mark Wahlberg will grace the cover of Empire magazine's January 2014 issue...which features an article on TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire...

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) are surrounded by Peacekeepers in THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE.

I watched the latest action-adventure flick starring Jennifer Lawrence earlier today, and in the same vein that The Dark Knight was an improvement over Batman Begins (which was still very good) and The Empire Strikes Back was a worthy successor to Star Wars, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was more intense and cerebral than its 2012 predecessor. As Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence did a great job conveying the anguish that the character experienced throughout the majority of the film...especially after President Snow (Donald Sutherland) was so bent on eliminating Everdeen that he had all former winners/survivors of The Hunger Games (who were previously exempted from taking part in the barbaric competition ever again) participate in another savage battle royale one last time. Philip Seymour Hoffman added intrigue to Catching Fire as Plutarch Heavensbee...President Snow's Head Gamemaker who wasn't all that he's cracked up to be by the final scene of the movie. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) was apparently the Han Solo of Catching Fire; you'd have to watch The Empire Strikes Back and the finale of The Hunger Games sequel to know what I'm talking about.

President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) discuss the fate of Katniss Everdeen in THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE.

Other noteworthy aspects of Catching Fire were the redesigned suits of the Peacekeepers, who looked like a cross between the competitors of Tron (Tron: Legacy to be exact) and Imperial Stormtroopers. The aircraft that the Capitol used to send participants to The Hunger Game arena (and retrieve the corpses of unlucky warriors during the death match) looked pretty cool—and were definitely reminiscent of the ships you'd see in Star Wars and Star Trek. I'm looking forward to how the revolution against the Capitol begins in The Hungers Games, with Part 1 of Mockingjay getting released in theaters next November and Part 2 being unleashed in cinemas during the Year of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars: Episode VII. I'm referring to 2015, of course. That is all.

Katniss Everdeen is ready for another battle royale in THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gearing Up for Star Wars: Episode VII...

There is no visual clue in the photo below as to what he has in store for Star Wars fans come Christmas time in 2015, but it's nice to know that J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and company are hard at work in preparing for Episode VII's production shoot—which starts around spring of next year. The fact that R2-D2's presence in this image showing that he should be making another appearance in the seventh Star Wars live-action flick is cool... The fact that there is no sign of a maquette or artwork depicting a Jar Jar-like character for this movie is awesome. I'm well aware that this could change soon.

STAR WARS: EPISODE VII director J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and two staff members pose with R2-D2.
Photo courtesy of Bad Robot - Twitter.com

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thor: The Dark World...

THOR pokes fun at the old CBS TV show, CSI: MIAMI.

I saw the latest Marvel comic book flick yesterday, and it was just as enjoyable (moreso, actually) as the 2011 installment. Tom Hiddleston as Loki steals the show (along with Kat Dennings—who amusingly channeled her character Max from the hit CBS TV sitcom, 2 Broke Girls), Natalie Portman gave a much more commendable performance in Thor: The Dark World...it didn't look like she was phonin' it in like in the Star Wars prequels or something. Though the question remains: Who was Benicio Del Toro playing in that scene during the end credits? (Just Googled it right now, and he is The Collector.) And will he show up in the third film? Carry on.

Thor and his fellow Asgardians do battle in THOR: THE DARK WORLD.

Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), despite missing Thor's presence, goes out on a blind date in THOR: THE DARK WORLD.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is amused as Asgard falls under attack in THOR: THE DARK WORLD.

Thor and his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) endure a family tragedy in THOR: THE DARK WORLD.

Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston) and his Dark Elves search for a weapon that will bring Asgard and other worlds to their knees in THOR: THE DARK WORLD.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Star Wars: Episode VII Gets A Release Date!

A fan-made poster for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII.

December 18, 2015... That's the date that Disney and Lucasfilm have officially penciled in as the day when the newest installment in the Star Wars saga will make its debut at theaters nationwide. While the casting of Episode VII actors has not yet been announced, the unveiling of the release date is good news. Based on reports that I read online last week—where Disney originally wanted a Spring 2015 release for J.J. Abrams' upcoming movie, and Lucasfilm wanted to push the debut back to 2016 to give Abrams more time to shoot the flick and work on what will most assuredly be extensive visual effects sequences during postproduction—it is nice to know that George Lucas' former company and its new owner reached a compromise on when to roll out the sequel trilogy to the public. The final Hobbit film, There and Back Again, comes out at theaters in December of next year; what are the chances that Abrams will create a Star Wars flick that will at least be as critically and artistically received as any of Peter Jackson's newest Tolkien films...let alone the original Lord of the Rings trilogy? No need for Episode VII to fall victim to what one of my (former) friends labeled The Lord of the Rings when The Fellowship of the Ring was released back in late 2001: A "Star Wars killer." Carry on.

STAR WARS creator George Lucas confers with STAR WARS: EPISODE VII director J.J. Abrams.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo...

IRON MAN maquettes on display at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo in downtown Los Angeles, on November 2, 2013.

Just thought I'd share these cool pics that I took of the costumes and props used in the Iron Man trilogy at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo yesterday. Speaking of costumes, a lot of other fans showed up in the coolest home-made disguises I've ever seen at a comic book convention (okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but these get-ups were still really kick-ass). Of course, the fact that there was a costume contest during the expo was a pretty good reason why this was the case. Anyways, click here to see photos that I took of some of the celebrities—including Stan the Man himself—at the L.A. Convention Center yesterday. Hopefully there will be just as many awesome celebs and movie exhibits at Comikaze next year!

Posing with the Mark 45 and Iron Patriot from IRON MAN 3...at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo in downtown Los Angeles, on November 2, 2013.

Iron Monger (from the first IRON MAN movie), the Mark 45 and Iron Patriot on display at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo in downtown Los Angeles, on November 2, 2013.

War Machine (from IRON MAN 2) on display at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo in downtown Los Angeles, on November 2, 2013.

Darth Maul and a Jedi Knight whose name I forgot strike a pose at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo in downtown Los Angeles, on November 2, 2013.

A Stormtrooper and...a character I've never seen before (in STAR WARS or anywhere else) strike a pose at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo in downtown Los Angeles, on November 2, 2013.

The Ecto-1 from GHOSTBUSTERS at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo in downtown Los Angeles, on November 2, 2013.

Even fake Bumblebee can get the girls (with the one to Bee's right looking KINDA like Megan Fox) at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo in downtown Los Angeles, on November 2, 2013.