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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bad Santa 2...

Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox) watches as Willie Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) mingles with Diane Hastings (Christina Hendricks) in BAD SANTA 2.

Last Sunday, I watched the sequel to the 2003 sleeper hit Bad Santa, and needless to say, Bad Santa 2 had its moments. Billy Bob Thornton was back to playing Willie Soke, the hilariously repulsive alcoholic who disguises himself as Saint Nicholas to commit heists, with Tony Cox reprising his role as Marcus Skidmore, the disgruntled and conniving elf assistant. Brett Kelly didn't miss a beat playing the happily oblivious and naive Thurman Merman once more, while Kathy Bates was game at sporting tattoos as Sunny Soke, and calling Willie (her son) a "sh*t-stick" in almost every other line in the film. Of course, while Bad Santa 2 had lots of funny moments...it was also a lot more raunchier and irreverent than the 2003 original—which isn't necessarily a good thing. Case in point: Reference to the Immaculate Conception as the Ejaculate Conception... I'm not a devout Catholic, but yea, other Christian folks may have rolled their eyes to that one. Assuming, of course, that die-hard religious individuals actually went out to see this movie. If its opening weekend box office gross is any indication, then no—they did not.

Just like his younger self in 2003's BAD SANTA, Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) is as happy and naive as Sunny Soke (Kathy Bates) is conniving in BAD SANTA 2.

Bad Santa 2 basically fell victim to the pitfalls that prevented 2014's Dumber and Dumber To from being as successful as its 1994 predecessor...those pitfalls being that the sequels were released far too long after the first movies came out in theaters, and the sequels having to resort to very raunchy gags in an attempt to re-capture the humorous feel of the originals. A long gap between a hit film and a sequel is okay when it comes to animated flicks and action or sci-fi epics [case in point: Pixar's Finding Dory (a follow-up to 2003's Finding Nemo) and the new Star Wars trilogy (seven uber-successful live-action movies in 39 years and counting), but sadly not Independence Day: Resurgence (the follow-up to the highest grossing film of 1996)], but this seldom applies to comedy flicks. Moviegoers' tastes in comedies evolve over time. The humor in American Pie was game-changing back in 1999...but that sort of comedy is now commonplace in today's TV shows such as the CBS sitcoms 2 Broke Girls and The Big Bang Theory.

Diane Hastings runs a Chicago-based charity organization that is the target of a heist by Willie Soke and Marcus Skidmore in BAD SANTA 2.

If there was one reason to re-watch Bad Santa 2, it would be due to the charm of Christina Hendricks. I've never seen the now-defunct AMC TV show Mad Men, but yea, Hendricks' character Diane Hastings is sweet and delightful in one scene and um, romantically voracious in another. "Romantically" isn't the actual word I wanna use here, what with her moments with Willie Sokes capturing just how bad Bad Santa could be (I'm referring to Soke himself). I just wished that Bad Santa 2 overall was closer to being as memorable as the original film. Maybe it would've been if Bernie Mac and John Ritter were still here to reprise their roles as Gin and Bob Chipeska, respectively. Well, maybe not Gin—since Marcus killed him in the first movie, but Bob. Rest in peace, Mr. Mac and Mr. Ritter... Carry on.

Willie Soke goes postal on another Santa in BAD SANTA 2.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

ROGUE ONE Tickets Are Now On Sale!

I can't wait to go to my local AMC Theatre on December 15 to watch Rogue One: A Star Wars Story! I secured my ticket only minutes after tix officially became available (at 9:01 PM, Pacific Standard Time) on AMCTheatres.com, Fandango and other movie ticketing websites tonight. I'll be going to the 7:00 PM 2-D show on the 15th...the IMAX 3-D screening(s) will come later. Less than 18 days till we see how Jyn Erso and company stole the plans to the Death Star!

Artwork for ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY.

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Photo Op at The Grove...

At The Grove's Barnes & Noble bookstore in Los Angeles to attend a photo op by actress Anna Kendrick...on November 21, 2016.

A few hours ago, I went to The Grove near Beverly Hills to get a photo op with actress Anna Kendrick...who promoted her new book Scrappy Little Nobody at the Barnes & Noble bookstore tonight. Ms. Kendrick was very nice in person—considering the fact that there were about 400 people (including myself) waiting in line to meet her! And in case you read this whole entry but don't know what she worked on, Anna Kendrick starred alongside George Clooney in the 2009 Best Picture Oscar nominee Up in the Air, rubbed elbows with Elizabeth Banks (so to speak) in the Pitch Perfect series (Pitch Perfect 3 is currently set to hit theaters nationwide on December 22, 2017), and escaped danger while hangin' out with Ben Affleck in last month's action thriller The Accountant. Oh, and she voiced an animated character in this month's Trolls. Hope you had a great day!

Anna Kendrick is about to greet the next person who bought her new book SCRAPPY LITTLE NOBODY at The Grove's Barnes & Noble bookstore in Los Angeles...on November 21, 2016.

A photo I took with Anna Kendrick inside the Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove in Los Angeles...on November 21, 2016.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Welcome to the Star Wars Universe, Daenerys Targaryen!

Emilia Clarke, best known as Daenerys Targaryen on HBO's GAME OF THRONES, will appear in 2018's untitled Han Solo STAR WARS movie.

Emilia Clarke Joins the Han Solo Stand-Alone Film (News Release)

The Game Of Thrones Star Comes To The Star Wars Galaxy.

Emilia Clarke is heading to a galaxy far, far away — and she’s going to meet Han and Chewie.

StarWars.com is excited to announce that Clarke, known for her stirring portrayal of Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, will join the upcoming untitled Han Solo Star Wars movie. Clarke’s role will round out a dynamic cast of characters that Han and Chewie will encounter on their adventures.

Clarke joins Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover — previously cast as Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, respectively — in the highly-anticipated film, which is set prior to the original Star Wars trilogy.

The untitled Han Solo movie, helmed by directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, is set for release in 2018.

Source: StarWars.com

****

Alden Ehrenreich, who appeared in such movies as HAIL, CAESAR! and RULES DON'T APPLY, will play Han Solo himself in 2018's untitled Han Solo Star Wars movie.

Donald Glover, who appears on the FX TV show ATLANTA, will play Lando Calrissian in 2018's untitled Han Solo Star Wars movie.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Photos of the Day: Adam Driver Discusses Jim Jarmusch's Newest Film PATERSON...

At a Q&A screening for PATERSON at Landmark Theatres in west Los Angeles...on November 14, 2016.

Just thought I'd share these pics that I took during the Q&A session held by Adam Driver following a screening of his newest film, the Jim Jarmusch-directed comedy Paterson, at the Landmark Theatres in Los Angeles last night. It was a really good movie...a genial flick about a New Jersey bus driver named Paterson (played by Driver) who writes poetry during his spare time while Laura, his overly-ambitious girlfriend/fiancĂ©e/wife/the-movie-doesn't-really-say, jots out plans ranging from starting her own cupcake business to buying a guitar and becoming a country music singer (FYI, Laura is played by lovely Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani). The film has a slice-of-life-type storyline—spanning seven days as we see Paterson engage with his fellow citizens (which includes such folks as Method Man) in the city of um, Paterson on a daily basis. Whether it's on his bus route or when he's mingling with fellow bar patrons at the local tavern at night, Paterson's life is more amusing that his job and living situation would attest (and let's not forget Paterson and Laura's lovable bulldog Marvin...played by Nellie, who sadly passed away earlier this year). Very simplistic but feel-good; you need to check out Paterson once it hits theaters nationwide on December 26.

Adam Driver does a Q&A session for PATERSON at Landmark Theatres in west Los Angeles...on November 14, 2016.

And in case you're wondering, yes, Driver did mention Star Wars during the Q&A. But no, he didn't bring up any details about Kylo Ren and what he's up to at the beginning of next year's Episode VIII. Happy Tuesday!

Adam Driver does a Q&A session for PATERSON at Landmark Theatres in west Los Angeles...on November 14, 2016.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Images of the Day: Captain Phasma Is Ready for Action...

My drawing of Captain Phasma from THE FORCE AWAKENS and STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII.

As mentioned in this earlier entry, Captain Phasma was gonna be the next Star Wars character that I draw after completing this artwork of a Death Trooper from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story less than a week ago. Unlike the Death Trooper, Phasma was a bit easier to illustrate. Look at the Death Trooper's helmet and you see so many complex angles and features on the mouthpiece that were tough to draw—due to the fact that I wanted to make sure details on both sides of the helmet were properly symmetrical. In the case of Phasma, the hardest thing to draw was her blaster; the armor on her suit was very elegant and simple to illustrate and color...despite the fact that I used Crayola markers and there were only two shades (and not fifty, ba-dum-bum) of gray that I had at my disposal for this artwork.

As per tradition, I also posted the work-in-progress images below. In terms of my next drawing? It'll probably be a non-Star Wars character like...Marvel's Ghost Rider (most likely the Nicolas Cage version and not the one seen in this season of ABC TV's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Don't know when I'll begin this illustration, but stay tuned.

Click on the image below to enlarge.

Work-in-progress photos of my Captain Phasma drawing.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

ROGUE ONE Artwork: Beware of the Death Trooper...

My drawing of the Imperial Death Trooper from ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY.

Yesterday, I completed this drawing of the Imperial Death Trooper that will make his debut (along with TIE Strikers and the return of the Death Star) in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 42 days from now (41 if you live in the UK...). Seeing as how this soldier wears all-black armor, it was tricky in terms of what color I was going to employ to interpret the dark outfit since I used Crayola markers (which has a limited palette) instead of digitally coloring this artwork via Photoshop and other editing software. Purple? Gray? Blue? Well, the final result speaks for itself.

Below are work-in-progress photos that I took of the drawing before it was complete. Now I'm trying to think of who I'll draw next... K-2SO (the droid voiced by Alan Tudyk in Rogue One)? A non-Star Wars character like Marvel's Ghost Rider (I've been watching the new season of ABC TV's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.—which features the antihero who was played by Nicolas Cage on the big screen almost a decade ago)? Or Captain Phasma from The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Episode VIII? I'm currently on a Star Wars binge (my previous artwork was the Seventh Sister from Disney XD's Star Wars Rebels), so I think it'll be Phasma. Happy Thursday!

Work-in-progress photos of my Death Trooper drawing.