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Friday, November 28, 2014

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS' Teaser Trailer is Here!

An unknown Sith Lord (played by Adam Driver?) takes out his 'Crucifix-Saber' to get ready to fight in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

After watching the trailer countless of times online, plus twice on the big screen a few hours ago (in front of Horrible Bosses 2 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 at the Irvine Spectrum in Orange County, CA), just thought I'd finally post the teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens here! My two cents: The new Sith Lord (presumably played by Adam Driver?) and his 'Crucifix-Saber' for the win! It's great to see John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac in their respective Episode VII roles as well, plus the new Stormtroopers and X-Wings in official cinematic action during this 88-second spot. I definitely can't wait till the next trailer comes out...and we'll hopefully take our first glimpse of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa (I assume that she moved up from the title of princess 30 years after Return of the Jedi) as they take on the forces of evil even though Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader are long gone. In the meantime, here are some screenshots for ya—plus the trailer in all of its Youtube glory. Enjoy!

A Stormtrooper played by John Boyega realizes that he may have really bad sunburn after waking up on the sands of Tatooine(?) in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

A 'soccer-ball droid' that presumably belongs to 'Kira' (played by Daisy Ridley) is on the prowl in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

Stormtroopers get ready to go on the attack in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

Kira prepares to zoom away on her speeder in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

An X-Wing pilot played by Oscar Isaac is focused on the mission at hand in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

Three X-Wings skim the water as they head towards their target in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

The Millennium Falcon does fancy aerial moves as she confronts two TIE Fighters in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

INDEPENDENCE DAY 2 Is Coming!

Alien attackers strike a military airbase in INDEPENDENCE DAY.

Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone!!! Just thought I'd marked this holiday by posting these screenshots from the 1996 sci-fi hit, Independence Day. In case you guys didn't know yet, 20th Century Fox has just given the green light to commencing production on Independence Day 2! Known as ID Forever Part I (though Part II is dependent on how well the first installment will do at the box office), this sequel is due to invade theaters nationwide on June 24, 2016. This is another film to look forward to that year...which is already loaded with surefire blockbusters such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Avatar 2 and of course, the first Star Wars spin-off movie that will be directed by Godzilla director Gareth Edwards. But this entry is about the film that made blowing up the White House popular (on the big screen, that is). What iconic building still left standing from the first flick will be obliterated in this one? We'll see.

An alien destroyer emerges over New York City in INDEPENDENCE DAY.

The White House is destroyed by an alien destroyer in INDEPENDENCE DAY.

An evil alien being in INDEPENDENCE DAY.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Movie Review: The Theory of Everything...

Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones) share a moment at the Cambridge May Ball in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING.

Two weeks ago, I attended a special Hollywood screening of the Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory of Everything...which included a Q&A session once the movie ended with the main actors, Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Needless to say, the two talented cast members received a standing ovation when they entered the auditorium about a minute after the film concluded, and the ovation was worth it. The Theory of Everything is definitely one of my favorite movies of this year (if not THE favorite movie of the year for me)—with Redmayne doing a phenomenal job portraying the world-renowned physicist, and the lovely Ms. Jones being terrific as Jane Wilde, Dr. Hawking's former first wife. Redmayne and Jones had great chemistry together in James Marsh's film, which was very crucial in that the couple's relationship played a pivotal role in how Dr. Hawking coped with motor neuron disease (also known as MND, or Lou Gehrig's disease) once it started to take effect on him during his college days at Cambridge University.

Stephen Hawking is devastated by the news that he may only have two more years to live after learning that he has motor neuron disease (MND) in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING.

While The Theory of Everything obviously focused on Dr. Hawking's brilliant work on the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, the movie primarily dealt with Hawking's budding romance with Wilde. It was heartbreaking to see the couple go from sharing a dance at the Cambridge May Ball to Jane being teary-eyed as she watched Hawking struggle walking around while the two played a game of croquet together. The fact that Wilde stayed with Hawking and ultimately married him shows how love can overcome all obstacles (not to sound cheesy)...though Wilde rode things out with Hawking on the initial belief that the physicist only had two more years to live. The fact that their marriage would last a couple of decades [the magnitude of Hawking's illness would eventually prompt him to go about his separate way so Jane could live a normal life—which she eventually does with her second husband, Jonathan Hellyer Jones (played by Charlie Cox)] testifies to how anything can happen in life...and that we should enjoy every minute of it till it's really over.

Jane Wilde watches as Stephen Hawking struggles with the effects of MND while playing a game of croquet in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING.

It should definitely be a given that The Theory of Everything will be a front-runner at the Academy Awards next year. The movie should be nominated for Best Picture, James Marsh should be recognized as Best Director, Anthony McCarten should get a nom for Best Adapted Screenplay (since it's based on Jane Wilde's book, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen), Eddie Redmayne should definitely get Best Actor kudos for his convincing performance as Dr. Hawking (especially seeing as how Redmayne visited actual MND clinics to get a better understanding of how the disease worked), and Felicity Jones should get a nod for Best Actress. Technical awards such as Best Film Editing and maybe Costume Design also seem likely...though it's safe to say that The Theory of Everything will inevitably be mentioned in the more prestigious award categories. But Oscar or no Oscar, this movie is a must-see. Understanding cosmology and the other works of Dr. Hawking is a bonus, but see this film to watch how a man who was inflicted with one of the most devastating of diseases can still find a way to be with the woman he loves. Not to sound cheesy, again. That is all.

Stephen Hawking and Jane Wilde Hawking pose for a wedding photo after the two get married in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Movie Review: Dumb and Dumber To!

Even Billy the bird-lover is still around to be tormented by Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) in DUMB AND DUMBER TO.

So I saw the newest sequel to the Farrelly brothers' 1994 hit (the first sequel being the 2003 prequel, Dumb and Dumberer...which Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels didn't work on), and all I can say is, Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne are back! Dumb and Dumber To wasn't as hilarious as the first flick, but it's nice to see Rhode Island's most imbecilic duo still wreaking havoc and being as moronic as ever! The main note I have of this film: For a nitwit who was 'stuck' in the nuthouse for 20 years, Lloyd sure knows his way around cellphones (unless he had access to the device during all the years that Harry stopped by to change Lloyd's urine bag and um, wipe his arse). In one scene, he quickly knew which button to press on a camera phone to take a photo of a picture of Harry's supposed daughter (Penny Pichlow, played by the lovely Rachel Melvin)...but in another scene, Lloyd is idiotic enough to climb out onto the front of a moving car to wipe a smudge off the windshield (the smudge was on the inside of the windshield, FYI). (Let's also not forget the fact that Lloyd didn't know that we landed on the Moon till '94!) This crazy fool is all over the place! Anyways, seeing as how the end credits (no spoilers here) featured side-by-side shots from the first Dumb and Dumber and the latest movie to show how much Lloyd and Harry changed (or didn't) over the last two decades, methinks that this was a one-shot deal for Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. Oh well. Somewhere out there, Mary Samsonite is glad that the two buffoons who returned her suitcase in Aspen, Colorado are still having a good time. Carry on.

Lloyd and Harry find out that Harry may have a daughter with Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner) in DUMB AND DUMBER TO.

Penny Pichlow (Rachel Melvin) is amused by Lloyd's antics in DUMB AND DUMBER TO.

Lloyd made Harry do this for the last 20 years...as a practical joke in DUMB AND DUMBER TO.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Movie Review: Interstellar...

Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) leads a small group of astronauts into a wormhole to find a suitable planet that will be the new home for Earth's doomed inhabitants in INTERSTELLAR.

"Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here." Such was the memorable line by Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) in Interstellar...Christopher Nolan's latest sci-fi flick that is an epic tale about environmental disasters, space exploration, love, familial relationships and the theory of relativity. Just like his 2010 Best Picture nominee Inception, Interstellar is another thought-provoking film by Nolan that makes one wonder about the possibilities made by scientific breakthroughs. In Inception's case, it was the ability to enter other people's dreams and use them to alter their behavior out in the real world. In Interstellar's case, it was the ability to use wormholes to visit other locales in the universe (which isn't an original idea, I know) and black holes to gain access to a particular moment in time and utilize it to change the future. The fact that Chris Nolan employed the help of a well-known physicist (Kip Thorne) to bring plausibility to his story shows just what an extraordinary filmmaker that the director is. Nolan is always conveying cinematic tales that carry social messages...whether it's the themes of anarchy and not losing one's self to madness in The Dark Knight, the ability to let go of anger and the past to seek happiness and contentment in The Dark Knight Rises, and to going to the ends of the earth (or in this case, the universe) to save loved ones and reunite with family members in Interstellar.

The space station Endurance passes by Saturn on its way to a wormhole in INTERSTELLAR.

The only downsides of Interstellar were the lengthy running time and the movie's sound mix. The flaws of Inception and this film were that there are lots of expository dialogue explaining the concept of Nolan's stories...and the movies didn't get quite interesting or action-packed till the third act of the films. In regards to the sound mix, Interstellar suffered from a loud music score (even though it's by the capable hands of Hans Zimmer) that at times overshadowed crucial dialogue scenes in the flick...which was also the case in Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. While it is a likely chance that I'll buy this sci-fi opus on DVD next year, I don't relish the thought of having to constantly turn the volume up and down (and vice versa) when I watch it on TV—which is what I've been doing with Nolan's last two Batman movies and Inception. Other than that, Interstellar is a very intelligent movie—and one that should gain a couple of Oscar nominations early next year. As a space enthusiast, I appreciate Nolan's attempt at pro-space advocacy with this movie. Though I must ask: How many space geeks reading this review wanted Cooper to smack that teacher (played by the talented Collette Wolfe) who asserted that the Apollo Moon landings were a hoax meant to bankrupt the Soviet Union? I hope I wasn't the only one pissed off by that scene (which I'm sure is what Nolan intended)... That is all.

An unnamed world orbits a huge black hole known as Gargantua in INTERSTELLAR.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Star Wars: Episode VII Finally Gets A (Sub)Title!

The main logo for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII - THE FORCE AWAKENS.

I like this name. It's obviously very different from the title Empire of Ruin that I conjured up a few months ago, but that moniker only made sense if a villain named Darth Ruin does indeed appear in The Force Awakens. With principal photography now officially wrapped on next year's Star Wars installment, it's time for the teaser trailer to be released... Bring it, Disney and Lucasfilm!

What we'll see on the big screen in December of 2015 (but with more stars in the background).