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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Leo Finally Wins an Oscar!

The 88th Annual Academy Awards... Much props to Leonardo DiCaprio for finally winning a Best Actor trophy for his role as a vengeful bear attack victim on The Revenant tonight! Along with Brie Larson (who won Best Actress for her amazing performance in Room) and Alicia Vikander (who took home the Best Supporting Actress trophy for The Danish Girl), this makes up for The Force Awakens getting ravaged by Mad Max: Fury Road in three of the categories they were both nominated for (Best Sounding Editing, Sound Mixing and Film Editing). The Force Awakens also lost Best Visual Effects to Ex Machina and Original Film Score to The Hateful Eight. Oh well. Maybe Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will win something at the Academy Awards next year...with Episode VIII after that in February of 2018.

And Spotlight won Best Picture while Birdman's Alejandro González Iñárritu repeated as Best Director for helming The Revenant, yadda yadda yadda. If you want to win an Oscar for Best Original Song, write one for a James Bond flick. Just ask Adele for Skyfall and now Sam Smith for Spectre. Carry on.

Needless to say, Leonardo DiCaprio was much happier to be offered a trophy for his role in THE REVENANT than Luke Skywalker was for being offered his old lightsaber in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

Monday, February 15, 2016

STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII... Check Out the Video that Announced the Start of Filming!

Mark Hamill is back as Luke Skywalker in STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII.

Earlier today, Lucasfilm posted a press release which confirmed that principal photography on Star Wars: Episode VIII is now in progress. Along with featuring the video below that shows Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley re-playing the moment where Luke Skywalker and Rey meet at the end of The Force Awakens (the two actors went back to Skellig Michael in Ireland late last year to re-shoot this scene with director Rian Johnson), the press release also confirmed that Benicio Del Toro will indeed be showing up in that Galaxy far, far away next year. Joining him are Laura Dern (from Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III) and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran. Welcome aboard!

Daisy Ridley is back as Rey in STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII.

Director Rian Johnson during filming of STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII at Skellig Michael in Ireland...in October of 2015.

Director Rian Johnson and his crew clap during filming of STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII at Skellig Michael in Ireland...in October of 2015.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII Has Begun Filming!

An unofficial logo for STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII.

According to Disney CEO Bog Iger in an article by Entertainment Weekly, Lucasfilm has just begun principal photography on Star Wars: Episode VIII (out in theaters on December 15, 2017) at Pinewood Studios near London. Along with this news came word that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (out in theaters this December 16) is looking great in post-production, while pre-production has commenced on Star Wars: Episode IX (which will be released in 2019) as well as the currently-untitled Han Solo spin-off flick (to be released in cinemas in May of 2018). Also, ground is set to be broken at Disneyland in Anaheim, California and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida later this year for the amusement parks' much-anticipated Star Wars Land.

An official cast photo for ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY.
Jonathan Olley - ©Lucasfilm 2016

Unlike the announcement for The Force Awakens when it began filming in May of 2014, Disney did not precede today's news with a photo of a table read (the Episode VII table-read photo is shown below) for Episode VIII's screenplay—assuming that a read was actually held (I'm pretty sure there was...as is customary in TV and movie productions). While it is known that essentially everyone except Harrison Ford (unless the late Han Solo appears in a dream sequence or a Force-induced hallucination by Kylo Ren) will be returning for the next installment, we don't officially know which new actors and actresses will join the cast from last December's $900-million-dollar domestic grosser. Just who is Benicio Del Toro playing in Rian Johnson's science-fantasy flick? Stay tuned.

Director J.J. Abrams (sitting to the right of upper center) confers with Harrison Ford during a table read of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS in London...on April 29, 2014.

Monday, February 8, 2016

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE... Check Out Its Super Bowl TV Spot and Poster Below!

The theatrical teaser poster for INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE.

Yesterday, Twentieth Century Fox unveiled a new TV spot for Independence Day: Resurgence (IDR) during Super Bowl 50. While the 1996 TV spot that aired during the Super Bowl that year showcased the White House getting blown to pieces by a single laser beam fired by an alien destroyer hovering above, this year's ad revealed a new type of way the extraterrestrial invaders will wreak havoc on Earth: By using anti-gravity weaponry that lift entire cities into the air, only to have skyscrapers and everything else come crashing down and wiping out the populace below as a result. The new theatrical poster for IDR was unveiled (above) this morning...showing that the marketing campaign will soon hit full steam on one of this year's most highly-anticipated summer blockbusters.

Alien attackers streak over a Super Bowl game in INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE.

It would've also been cool if Disney released a teaser for this December's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story during the Big Game as well (I rooted for the Denver Broncos, by the way), but it's all good. Check out the rest of the IDR screenshots and Super Bowl spot below.

An alien-hybrid jet fighter flies toward a city being decimated by a giant alien spacecraft in INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE.

A crowd of people run away as surrounding buildings are lifted into the air by an anti-gravity device being used by an alien spacecraft hovering overhead in INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE.

Another crowd of people run away as a bridge they're on is torn apart by the anti-gravity device being used by an alien spacecraft hovering overhead in INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE.

The city of London is about to be decimated by skyscrapers and other objects lifted into the air by the anti-gravity device being used by an alien spacecraft in INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE.

David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) watches the carnage (off-screen) being wrought by an invading alien force in INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE.

London is decimated by skyscrapers and other objects lifted into the air by the anti-gravity device being used by an alien spacecraft in INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE.


Friday, February 5, 2016

THE FORCE AWAKENS: The $900 Million Threshold Will Soon Be Crossed...

Aboard a Star Destroyer bridge, General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) confer as Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) looks on in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

By the end of Super Bowl Sunday (this coming Sunday), The Force Awakens will have achieved two major milestones as it soon completes its historic theatrical run around the world. By the end of tonight, it will have crossed the $900 million domestic box office mark in the United States and Canada, while tomorrow will see J.J. Abrams' uber-successful Star Wars installment passing the $2 billion box office mark internationally. By the end of its run, The Force Awakens will possibly pass Titanic to become the second highest-grossing film worldwide (James Cameron's 1998 Best Picture winner grossed $2.19 billion globally) but fall short of Avatar's mammoth gross (at $2.78 billion) in 2010. Go to Deadline.com for more details.

On the planet Jakku, Rey (Daisy Ridley) sits next to the foot of a downed AT-AT walker in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

THE FORCE AWAKENS: The Visual Effects Society Bestows Four Awards (Including the Top Trophy) Onto the Movie!

The Millennium Falcon evades First Order TIE Fighters on the planet Jakku in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

Much props to Industrial Light & Magic for nabbing four trophies—including the top prize (for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature)—for Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the 14th annual VES Awards. The Force Awakens had to compete against other 2015 blockbusters such as Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian and Furious 7 during tonight's ceremony...which was hosted by actor Patton Oswalt and held at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills. Ridley Scott, who directed The Martian as well as the 2001 Best Picture winner Gladiator, took home the VES Lifetime Achievement Award.

The four awards that The Force Awakens won (out of a total of seven nominations) are listed below. I join my fellow Star Wars fans in hoping that this momentous night bodes well for Episode VII in regards to winning the Best Visual Effects trophy at the 88th annual Academy Awards on February 28... Carry on.

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Roger Guyett
Luke O’Byrne
Patrick Tubach
Paul Kavanagh
Chris Corbould

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Project:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Falcon Chase / Graveyard
Paul Kavanagh
Colin Benoit
Susumu Yukuhiro
Greg Salter

Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Falcon Chase / Graveyard
Yanick Dusseault
Mike Wood
Justin van der Lek
Quentin Marmier

Outstanding Models in a Photoreal or Animated Project:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens; BB-8
Joshua Lee
Matthew Denton
Landis Fields
Cyrus Jam

Courtesy of Deadline.com


BB-8 peeks out from around the corner of a wall inside the Millennium Falcon in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.