Saturday, December 22, 2018

Quick Review: BUMBLEBEE...

A theatrical movie poster for BUMBLEBEE.

I watched Bumblebee at the theater earlier today, and needless to say, it was a terrific film! Well done to Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena and everyone else involved.

I'm a big fan of Michael Bay's live-action films (well, at least three of 'em: 2007's Transformers, 2011's Dark of the Moon and 2014's Age of Extinction), and I want to point out that Travis Knight needs to direct a few more Transformers movies of his own.

That opening scene on Cybertron: A-MAZING!

5 out of 5 stars. *****

A screenshot of Optimus Prime conferring with B-127 on Cybertron in BUMBLEBEE.

A screenshot of Shockwave, Starscream and their fellow Decepticons ready to battle the Autobots (off-screen) on BUMBLEBEE.

A screenshot of Arcee, Brawn and a fellow Autobot ready to battle the Decepticons (off-screen) on BUMBLEBEE.

A screenshot of Soundwave prior to him unleashing Ravage onto Optimus Prime (off-screen) in BUMBLEBEE.

A screenshot of Optimus Prime leaping into battle on Cybertron... in BUMBLEBEE.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Quick Review: GREEN BOOK...

Viggo Mortensen as Tony Lip, and Mahershala Ali as Don Shirley in GREEN BOOK.

So I saw Green Book earlier today. Impressive film! And just as a heads-up, director Peter Farrelly also helmed the comedic masterpieces that are Dumb & Dumber and There's Something About Mary 20 years ago. I reckon Green Book should get some nice recognition when the Oscar nominees are announced next month...and so will actors Viggo Mortensen (as Tony Lip) and Mahershala Ali (as Don Shirley).

"The world is filled with lots of lonely people afraid to make the first move."
- Tony Lip in Green Book

4.5 out of 5 stars. ****1/2

Monday, September 24, 2018

The JOKER in Action at the Big Apple...

The Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) is up to no good inside a New York subway station in this snapshot from the set of JOKER.
(Picture: Backgrid)

Thanks to the paparazzi (which director Todd Phillips is currently not very fond of), new set photos have been posted online showing a scene from Joker being filmed at a New York subway station this past weekend. In the video at the very bottom of this entry, we see background actors running for their lives as the Joker (Joaquin Phoenix sporting a suit that's reminiscent of the one worn by Cesar Romero in the 1966-'68 Batman TV show) emerges from a train and discards his clown mask while genially walking away. While it's clearly obvious that the Joker make-up that I typed about in this previous entry has obviously made it into the flick, it remains to be seen if the Clown Prince will appear this way for the whole movie...or if something horrible (like say, falling into a vat of acid) will occur that gives the Joker permanent white skin, green hair and sinister-looking red lips. We'll find out on October 4, 2019.

The Joker is up to no good inside a New York subway station in this snapshot from the set of JOKER.
(Picture; Mega)

The photo below is an official behind-the-scenes snapshot of Phoenix (as pre-Joker Arthur Fleck) and Zazie Beetz (as Sophie Dumond) on the set of next year's crime drama. Happy Monday!

Joaquin Phoenix and Zazie Beetz (as Sophie Dumond) in this production still from JOKER.
(Picture: Mega)

Sunday, September 23, 2018

BUMBLEBEE Update: Three Classic Transformers Go Old-School in the Upcoming Film...

Optimus Prime (once again voiced by Peter Cullen) on his home world of Cybertron in this screenshot from BUMBLEBEE.

Sometime tomorrow, Paramount Pictures will release the newest trailer for Bumblebee...which arrives in theaters nationwide on December 21. Along with new footage of the yellow Autobot himself, as well as his human sidekick Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld), the latest Bumblebee trailer will also introduce us to earlier incarnations of Optimus Prime (once again voiced by Peter Cullen) as well as Soundwave and his Decepticon minion, Ravage (the latter was last seen in 2009's Revenge of the Fallen). As you can see in the three screenshots posted here, these earlier incarnations are a lot more faithful to the Generation 1 (G1) cartoon and toy designs that fans all know and love.

The Decepticon known as Soundwave also appears on Cybertron in this screenshot from BUMBLEBEE.

Seeing as how Bumblebee is part of the canon for the Michael Bay-directed film franchise, it's interesting how Optimus has his G1 truck mode on Cybertron in Bumblebee, but had a more alien robotic form when he, Ironhide, Jazz and Ratchet land on Earth in 2007's Transformers. Oh well. It's clearly obvious that director Travis Knight is willing to overlook that aspect of the live-action movies' storyline to give us a more faithful depiction of the Transformers in his flick. Carry on!

Ravage charges away from Soundwave in this screenshot from BUMBLEBEE.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Welcome, Arthur Fleck... A New JOKER Is Revealed!

Joaquin Phoenix (who plays a character named Arthur Fleck before he becomes the Clown Prince of Crime) dons clown make-up during a camera test for 2019's JOKER.

Several hours ago, the video below was posted online—courtesy of director Todd Phillips (of The Hangover trilogy and 2016's War Dogs) himself—of Joaquin Phoenix transforming into the Clown Prince of Crime for 2019's Joker. Personally speaking, I dig the look! Right off the bat he ranks above Jared Leto's version from 2016's Suicide Squad on the Joker scale. And I hope Arthur Fleck (the name of Phoenix's character before he dons the make-up) asks a hapless victim "Am I not merciful?" (if you watched 2000's Gladiator you'd get the reference) in the same manner that the late, great Heath Ledger would ask ""

Joker hits theaters on October 4, 2019 (which is when I um, celebrate my 40th birthday). Joining Joaquin Phoenix in this DC Comics standalone flick is Zazie Beetz (who played Domino in Deadpool 2) and Robert De Niro. And in case you're wondering, yes—Leto is set to get his own Joker movie as well. I'm more excited for the one starring Commodus, though. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The CAPTAIN MARVEL Teaser Poster and Trailer are Here!

The teaser poster for CAPTAIN MARVEL. Can you spot Chewie the Cat?

Earlier today, Marvel Studios began the hype machine for its next film (before Avengers 4) when it unveiled the teaser poster and trailer for Brie Larson's Captain Marvel. As anticipated, the new preview gave us a glimpse of a young Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and two-eyed Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), as well as Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), Carol Danvers' (Larson) teammates on her Starforce military team (including Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, seen below), the shape-shifting Skrulls and of course, Captain Marvel in her signature red, blue and gold suit. And if you stare closely at the poster above, you'll see Chewie the Cat—Danvers' furry extraterrestrial companion in the comic books—lurking in that hangar's shadow (towards the lower-left side of the image). Can't wait to see how this alien feline steals the show next year!

Captain Marvel arrives in theaters nationwide on March 8, 2019.

Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) prepare to board their fighter jets at a U.S. air force base in CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Donning a green Kree military suit, Carol Danvers gets ready for a mission with her Starforce teammates (which includes Minn-Erva, played by Gemma Chan) in CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Carol Danvers confronts a nice old lady (who is, in fact, a Skrull) on a bus in CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Carol Danvers dons her Kree battle helmet in CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Carol Danvers powers up in CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Photos of the Day: Revealing CAPTAIN MARVEL!

CAPTAIN MARVEL (Brie Larson) graces the cover of a September 2018 issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine.

Earlier today, Entertainment Weekly (EW) released new photos showcasing next March's newest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Captain Marvel. Along with getting our first glimpse of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) in her red and blue superhero outfit (as well as the green Kree suit that she wears while fighting for an alien mercenary group known as Starforce), we also got promotional stills of Jude Law as Mar-Vell, Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, Ben Mendelsohn as Talos and Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau (mother of Monica Rambeau...who originally referred to herself as Captain Marvel before going by the names of Photon and Spectrum, respectively). EW also unveiled images of a young, two-eyed Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) as well as Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou) and Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace)...who made their on-screen debuts in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy.

With the release of Captain Marvel about six months away (on March 8), we should also be getting a teaser trailer for this highly-anticipated film soon. Marvel president Kevin Feige has also hinted that the title for next April's Avengers 4 may be revealed not too long after we get our first footage of Carol Danvers in action. So as 2018 comes to a close, an exciting time awaits comic book fans as we should be getting previews and new info about two movies that mark the end of the first 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the beginning of the next decade of MCU flicks! Can't wait.

A promotional still of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) in CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Carol Danvers strikes a pose from the cockpit of an F-15 Eagle fighter jet in CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Carol Danvers and her fellow Starforce members [which consist of Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan) and Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou)] approach Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and Mar-Vell (Jude Law) in CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Director Anna Boden discusses a scene with Lee Pace (as Ronan the Accuser) and Jude Law (as Mar-Vell) on the set of CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Talos (Ben Mendelsohn, foreground) and his group of Skrulls come ashore in CAPTAIN MARVEL.

A young, two-eyed Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in CAPTAIN MARVEL.

A promotional still of F-15 fighter pilot and Carol Danvers' best friend Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) in CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Monday, August 27, 2018

"And Here...We...GO." Watching THE DARK KNIGHT on IMAX for the First Time in 10 Years!

A screenshot from THE DARK KNIGHT.

Last night, I drove down to Universal CityWalk in North Hollywood to watch The Dark Knight on IMAX for the first time since it opened at theaters nationwide in July of 2008. Needless to say, seeing the Christopher Nolan comic book/crime epic back on the (ultra-)big screen brought a smile to my face! From the opening aerial shot of that office building whose window is shattered by Joker goons as they prepare to conduct that bank heist, to Batman driving away on his Batpod after becoming a fugitive in the film's closing moments, The Dark Knight was as awesome to see at the theater yesterday as it was a decade ago. I'd go back if not for the fact that every single showing of the movie (it screened every night as of August 24; Warner Bros. extended its limited-engagement run through at least September 5) has been sold out for over a month! As it should be. We'll overlook the fact that I spent around $24 (excluding the online service fee) on the IMAX ticket!

2022 marks the 10-year anniversary since The Dark Knight Rises arrived in theaters. The movie's not a classic like the Batman Begins sequel before it, but I'd still see it on IMAX if Warner Bros. ever decides to show The Dark Knight Rises on this format four years from now. Happy Monday!

A snapshot of Warner Bros. studio (which produced THE DARK KNIGHT) as seen from Universal CityWalk...on August 26, 2018.

Getting ready to watch THE DARK KNIGHT on IMAX at Universal Cinema AMC in CityWalk...on August 26, 2018.

About to watch THE DARK KNIGHT on IMAX at Universal Cinema AMC in CityWalk...on August 26, 2018.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

EPISODE IX Tidbit: A Star Wars Fan Theory That I ACTUALLY Like...

A fan-made logo for STAR WARS: A NEW ORDER.

So for the past few days, the World Wide Web was abuzz with a rumored title for the final Star Wars episode that was conjured up by a user on Reddit before he/she deleted their account. The title that this person came up with is Star Wars: A New Order—which I actually like! Three reasons why:

1.) A New Order contains dual meanings that could apply to the First Order (now ruled by Supreme Leader Kylo Ren) and a possible new Jedi Order founded by Rey (assuming that she makes good use of the sacred Jedi texts she took from the cave on Ahch-To in The Last Jedi)...

2.) A New Order is a nice nod to the original Star Wars film, A New Hope...


3.) A New Order is consistent with the 3-worded title structure established by The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi before it.

Another rumored title for Episode IX is Spark of Hope—which is a term that actually appears in the opening crawl for the The Last Jedi. I like this title too...though it seems too feel-goody (does this phrase exist? It does now) and sounds a little obscure in regards to the story of Episode IX (which I obviously don't know yet). The Force Awakens applied to Rey unleashing her Jedi potential at the end of the film, and The Last Jedi was about Luke Skywalker...with Rey following in his footsteps by the end of this movie. Spark of Hope encompasses too many things: Rey finally becoming a Jedi, the Resistance prevailing over the First Order, Finn finally gettin' it on with Rose Tico(?), Finn finally gettin' it on with Rey(?), Ben Solo finally gettin' it on with Rey(?), or Rey finally gettin' it on with Poe Dameron. Or Poe Dameron finally gettin' it on with Fin— Nevermind.

So yea, if A New Order is the title that Lucasfilm announces as the name for the final episode in the Skywalker saga after it completes filming later this year, I'll be a happy camper. I'll be an even happier camper if J.J. Abrams chooses the title I came up with earlier this year: Battle of the Knights. (Not bloody likely!)

Hope you're having a great Tuesday.

A fan-made opening crawl for STAR WARS: A NEW ORDER.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Quick Review: ALPHA...

Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and a wolf he rescued from a severe injury look up at the stars in ALPHA.

Earlier today, I watched Alpha—an action-adventure film that depicts life in the last Ice Age, and how the canine became man's best friend. Alpha is one of those flicks that looked pretty mediocre in the trailer (which was shown in the theater for about two years before it was finally given a release date), but turned out to be a very crowd-pleasing and visually-stunning movie in the final cut. A similar flick that comes to mind is Scott Pilgrim vs. the World...which, ironically, was also released in August (of 2010). You can read my very quick review of that film here.

So the gist of this entry: I give Alpha two thumbs up. The morale of the movie's story: When in trouble, look for the nearest cave to hide in! That is all.

Keda offers water to the wolf he rescued from a severe injury in ALPHA.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

STAR WARS: EPISODE IX Has Officially Begun Filming!

STAR WARS: EPISODE IX has officially begun filming (at Pinewood Studios near London) on August 1, 2018.

Earlier today, director J.J. Abrams posted the tweet below announcing that principal photography has officially started on Star Wars: Episode IX at Pinewood Studios near London! If you look closely at the photo, you can spot John Boyega (as Finn), Joonas Suotamo (as Chewbacca) and Abrams while he's sitting on the pilot's seat inside the Millennium Falcon's cockpit. In the foreground is Panavision's Panaflex camera that will be capturing Episode IX on celluloid...just like The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi before it. So cool!

The tweet below was my response to Abrams' post. I have no expectations as to how Rey and Kylo Ren will be portrayed in the 2019 installment (except to hope that Rey finally sports a double-bladed lightsaber a la Darth Maul, and Kylo can now shoot Force lightning from his fingertips 'cause that's how Supreme Leaders roll, heheh), but hope that the First Order will finally employ non-TIE Fighters in its arsenal for the final Skywalker episode. Specifically, the Assault Gunboats that I enjoyed fighting in the old X-Wing video game that I play on my laptop. Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Photos of the Day: The New VENOM Trailer Is Here!

Tom Hardy plays Eddie Brock, a reporter who's infected with an alien Symbiote and takes on the bad guys in VENOM.

Just thought I'd end this month with these screenshots from the newest trailer for Venom...which hits theaters nationwide on October 5. Based on the new preview, Tom Hardy's take on the Symbiote is livelier and more brutal than Topher Grace's portrayal of the alien creature in 2007's Spider-Man 3. This is ironic considering the fact that Venom is an all-out villain in Sam Raimi's third and final Spidey flick, while he's an antihero in the upcoming movie. Not sure if Venom will be R-rated, but one thing's for sure, it's gonna be interesting adapting Hardy's gritty take to the PG-13 tone of Tom Holland's Spider-Man films if the Symbiote ever makes an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

Check out the trailer itself at the very bottom of this entry. That is all.

Eddie Brock confronts the Symbiote that infected him in VENOM.

Venom confronts a bad guy in VENOM.

Venom confronts a thug inside a convenience store in VENOM.

Venom clashes with Riot (Riz Ahmed) in VENOM.

The Symbiote is almost ripped away from Eddie Brock by Riot in VENOM.

Friday, July 27, 2018

STAR WARS: EPISODE IX Is Set to Begin Filming Next Wednesday! Plus More News About the Skywalker Saga Finale...

STAR WARS: EPISODE IX will hit theaters nationwide on December 20, 2019.

Star Wars: Episode IX Cast Announced (News Release)

Returning and New Cast Members Will Join Together for the Final Installment of the Skywalker Saga

Star Wars: Episode IX will begin filming at London’s Pinewood Studios on August 1, 2018. J.J. Abrams returns to direct the final installment of the Skywalker saga. Abrams co-wrote the screenplay with Chris Terrio.

Returning cast members include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd. Joining the cast of Episode IX are Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell, who will be joined by veteran Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams, who will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian.

The role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” says Abrams. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”

Composer John Williams, who has scored every chapter in the Star Wars saga since 1977’s A New Hope, will return to a galaxy far, far away with Episode IX.

Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Michelle Rejwan, and executive produced by Callum Greene and Jason McGatlin. The crew includes Dan Mindel (Director of Photography), Rick Carter and Kevin Jenkins (Co-Production Designers), Michael Kaplan (Costume Designer), Neal Scanlan (Creature and Droid FX), Maryann Brandon and Stefan Grube (Editors), Roger Guyett (VFX Supervisor), Tommy Gormley (1st AD), and Victoria Mahoney (2nd Unit Director).

Release is scheduled for December 2019.



Mark Hamill and the late Carrie Fisher, in this scene from last year's THE LAST JEDI, will return for STAR WARS: EPISODE IX...with unused footage of Fisher from 2015's THE FORCE AWAKENS being employed in next year's Skywalker saga finale.

Billy Dee Williams is set to reprise his role as Lando Calrissian in STAR WARS: EPISODE IX.

Keri Russell will venture into a galaxy far, far away in STAR WARS: EPISODE IX.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

"Why. So. SERIOUS?" Remembering THE DARK KNIGHT One Decade Later...

Batman (Christian Bale) surveys the wreckage following the death of Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) in THE DARK KNIGHT.

Today marks 10 years since Christopher Nolan unleashed The Dark Knight onto movie theaters nationwide. Click here to read my review for this game-changing comic book epic! The Dark Knight returns to the standard big screen on August 3 and 4, while it will be shown in four IMAX theaters around the country on August 24 for a one-week engagement. (In regards to where I live, the nearest IMAX screen showing this is at AMC CityWalk theater in North Hollywood.) I plan on watching this masterpiece on both re-release dates! Carry on.

The Joker (Heath Ledger) plays mind games while held inside an interrogation cell at a Gotham police THE DARK KNIGHT.

Rachel Dawes parts ways with Bruce Wayne (Bale) during a fundraiser held for Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) in THE DARK KNIGHT.

Harvey Dent, now Two-Face, in the climactic scene of THE DARK KNIGHT.