Friday, December 25, 2015
MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE! Just thought I'd share these photos that I took of the outfits worn in David O. Russell's Joy and Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, respectively. I haven't seen any of these two potential Oscar contenders yet, but that didn't stop me from taking a snapshot of the movies' wardrobes—which are currently on exhibit at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood. In the photo above, a suit used by Édgar Ramírez and an outfit worn by Jennifer Lawrence are on display. (I'll quickly mention that I stood as close to the glass case holding J. Law's attire as possible to see how tall she is compared to me. It appears that J. Law is 1-2 inches taller than I am... Gotta love being Asian! *Sarcasm*) In the pic below, the Western-themed outfits worn by Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh are shown. Sam Jackson's getup looks the most slick, unsurprisingly. He's Mace Windu and killed motherf**kin snakes on a motherf**kin' plane!
Afterwards, I watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens inside the Cinerama Dome just outside the ArcLight's main theater. Just kidding, no I didn't. Would Tarantino bang a fist against his keyboard if he read this? Go on Google to see what I'm talking about... Have a good day!
Friday, December 18, 2015
So last night, I drove down to the Cinemark theater in Orange County to watch J.J. Abrams' long-awaited installment in the Star Wars franchise. So what did I think of The Force Awakens (TFA), you ask? It was awesome! The movie definitely had the energetic feel of the original trilogy, plus the clever dialogue that Lawrence Kasdan (who, along with Abrams and Michael Arndt, wrote the screenplay for TFA) originally injected into The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and non-Star Wars flick Raiders of the Lost Ark, respectively.
In regards to the new characters of Disney's Star Wars trilogy [it was surreal to see Han Solo, Luke Skywalker (briefly, but in the most memorable moment of the film), Leia Organa, Chewbacca and even Admiral Ackbar back on the big screen], they were commendable! Daisy Ridley definitely took heed of Abrams' comments when he supposedly called her acting 'wooden' on the first day of shoot for Episode VII. Daisy Ridley did a wonderful job as Rey...and her spunkiness as a Jakku scavenger plus ability to be a bad-ass with a blaster (and another, more elegant weapon in the climax) showed that she is a heroine who's not to be messed with in this new trilogy.
John Boyega did a great job as Stormtrooper-turned-Resistance fighter Finn...and the witty dialogue that he shares with Rey and Han Solo showed that he is up to the task of taking the reins from Solo (for a reason that I won't divulge here) in terms of being the wisecracking hero that fans will be able to identify with as the Light and Dark Sides of the Force clash once more.
Oscar Isaac was terrific as hotshot X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron, and set the genial tone of the film by spouting this humorous line to Kylo Ren in the opening scene: "So who talks first? You talk first? I talk first?" The million dollar question is: Who would win in a dogfight, Wedge Antilles from the original trilogy or Dameron's Black Leader? My money is on Black Leader.
And of course, not to be overlooked is Adam Driver's Kylo Ren! Contrary to Driver's comment about this Master of the Knights of Ren, Kylo is truly evil. Like his predecessor Darth Vader, Kylo wants to get rid of any trace of the Light from his soul...ordering a squad of Stormtroopers to wipe out an entire village on Jakku, using the Force to choke a fellow First Order officer after destroying an entire control room with his lightsaber in a fit of rage, using the Force to torture and interrogate captives such as Poe Dameron (you saw this in the final theatrical trailer) aboard a Star Destroyer and even at Starkiller Base, and (SPOILER ALERT) committing patricide. I wonder how much more powerful he will become once he begins training with Supreme Leader Snoke (supremely voiced by Andy Serkis) in the next movie.
In regards to nitpicking about The Force Awakens, John Williams' music score left a lot to be desired in this movie. I do feel that TFA is the second best Star Wars flick in the saga, behind The Empire Strikes Back. But just as Empire had loads of memorable music in it, TFA had few (the most noteworthy cue being—ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT—the haunting music that played as Rey ascended those steps on that island to confront a certain Jedi Master at the end of the movie). If the score for Star Wars: Episode VIII will be anything like in Episode VII, then I'm gonna sound like a heretic by saying that I won't have any issue about Williams being replaced by another composer for Rian Johnson's 2017 installment. Assuming, of course, the composer retains classic motifs such as the Force theme that defined Williams' work in the Star Wars saga for the past four decades.
Online reports state that Gwendoline Christie's Captain Phasma will have a larger role in Episode VIII. I hope that this will be the case! Assuming, of course (again), it is explained as to how she was able to escape that trash compactor on Starkiller Base. Watch the movie to know what I'm talking about.
And lastly— In terms of Rey suddenly summoning the skills to aptly take on Kylo Ren in the climactic lightsaber duel...the Force awakened! [Personally speaking, it also explains how R2-D2 awoke from his sleep after Rey proved her mettle against Kylo Ren... Abrams said that this was due to BB-8 (adorable droid) conversing to R2 as he lied dormant at the Resistance Base earlier in the third act, but it made more sense for Luke to be behind this.] It's just as Kylo said (to paraphrase): The longer that Rey was on the loose in Starkiller base, the more dangerous she was becoming as she discovered her powers.
This Sunday, I'm planning to watch The Force Awakens again in IMAX 3-D. How many times will I watch this film during what should be a long theatrical run, you ask? You would need to be able to read my mind like Kylo Ren could... May the Force be with you!
4.5 out of 5 stars. ****1/2
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Last Sunday, I hung out with some friends to attend a marathon viewing of the original Star Wars trilogy. We didn't watch the prequels since my friend who hosted the gathering isn't a huge fan of them (big surprise), but it was cool to see A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi with some buddies (I usually watch the films on DVD alone at home... I probably shouldn't have told you that). Eating pizza, popcorn, oven-baked cheeseballs and chips while doing so was pretty cool too. Anyways, I can't wait to see The Force Awakens during an advance screening on Thursday night! So stoked...
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Earlier today, Twentieth Century Fox unveiled the first preview for next year's sci-fi sequel to the hit 1996 film, Independence Day (ID4). Considering the fact that ID4 was my favorite movie of that year (I just finished my sophomore year in high school before that summer), it comes as no surprise that I am extremely stoked to finally see footage from Independence Day: Resurgence (IDR). Along with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War (but definitely Rogue One), IDR is a movie that I'm totally looking forward to seeing in 2016. And if you're excited too, you can hopefully check out the trailer in front of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the big screen as soon as this Thursday. As Captain Jimmy Wilder (played by Harry Connick Jr.) would say, "Let's kick the tires and light the fire, big daddy!" Of course, Captain Wilder would later bite the dust at the hands of an alien attacker, so maybe that wasn't such an inspiring quote. You can watch the trailer at the very bottom of this entry.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
In commemoration of the fact that I'll be attending an advance screening (in 3-D) of the next Star Wars film at a theater in Orange County 7 days from now, just thought I'd share these cool photos and screenshots from The Force Awakens articles and TV spots that were posted online over the past week. What's amazing is that even with all of these new images and footage, we still don't really know what the plot for Episode VII will be. That'll change soon enough—especially considering that the world premiere for J.J. Abrams' science-fantasy installment takes place in Hollywood this Monday, and spoilers (and maybe official reviews) will be unleashed onto the Web soon thereafter... Stay tuned.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Check out the newest trailer for Zack Snyder's upcoming film that (hopefully) paves the way for The Justice League to finally make its long-awaited appearance on the big screen less than two years from now. The shot above of the Man of Steel, Wonder Woman and Batman as they take on a mutated version of General Zod (or should I say, Doomsday) definitely increases my interest to see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice next March. And I reckon Jesse Eisenberg's wacky take on Lex Luthor (which I dig) will eventually be made more interesting once he reveals himself to be the bald-headed arch-nemesis of Superman that he is. But yea, seeing the Dark Knight and Kal-El duke it out until Doomsday shows up on the scene will be a treat to watch. Along with Gal Gadot kicking ass as the warrior princess of the Amazons...obviously. You can view the trailer at the very bottom of this entry.