Thursday, May 31, 2018

TOP GUN: MAVERICK Has Begun Filming!

Maverick (Tom Cruise) stares at an F/A-18 Hornet on the this promo pic for 2019's TOP GUN: MAVERICK.

Last night, Tom Cruise tweeted this image showing him in his flight suit as principal photography has begun on the long-anticipated Top Gun 2, a.k.a. Top Gun: Maverick. The F-14 fighter jock memorably portrayed by Cruise in the late Tony Scott's 1986 classic will return to the big screen on July 12, 2019...this time piloting an F/A-18 Hornet, as seen in the photo above. All I can say is, had Cruise waited a few more years to shoot Top Gun: Maverick, it would be an F-35C Lightning II (shown below) that he would be staring at in this promo pic! The U.S. Navy's variant on the stealth jet is set to achieve active status (also known as 'initial operational capability' in military parlance) sometime this year.

Time to listen to Kenny Loggins' 'Danger Zone' on my MP3 player!

An F-35C Lightning II is about to touch down onto the deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln...on March 17, 2018.
Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Photos of the Day: DEADPOOL in Hollywood...

Posing with the DEADPOOL costume at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood...on May 29, 2018.

So yesterday, I drove down to ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood to check out three costumes from Deadpool 2 that were on display in the theater's main lobby. The highlight of the exhibit, of course, was the Deadpool suit worn by Ryan Reynolds himself. To the left of the 'Merc with a Mouth' was the 'Domino' outfit worn by Zazie Beetz, and the 'Bedlam' costume on the right was worn by Terry Crews.

The DEADPOOL costume on display at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood...on May 29, 2018.

I also went to the ArcLight to see the costumes worn in Solo: A Star Wars Story (which I watched for a second time at AMC Theatre before I made the trip to Hollywood), but sadly, they were nowhere to be seen when I arrived. I guess ArcLight decided to get rid of the exhibit after the not-so-stellar box office gross that Solo earned in its opening weekend. Just jokin'...maybe. Right next to the Deadpool display were the costumes worn in the upcoming Ocean's 8 instead. The necklace shown in the image at the very bottom of this entry was worn by Anne Hathaway in the movie. Carry on.

The Deadpool, Domino and Bedlam costumes from DEADPOOL 2 on display at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood...on May 29, 2018.

The 'Domino' costume worn by Zazie Beetz in DEADPOOL 2, on display at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood...on May 29, 2018.

The 'Bedlam' costume worn by Terry Crews in DEADPOOL 2, on display at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood...on May 29, 2018.

The necklace worn by Anne Hathaway in OCEAN'S 8, on display at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood...on May 29, 2018.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The SPAWN Reboot Gets Its Star...

An illustration depicting Jamie Foxx as 2019's SPAWN.

Earlier today, Todd McFarlane announced on social media that Oscar winner Jamie Foxx will portray Al Simmons and his hell-born alter ego in McFarlane's 2019 movie Spawn. Unlike the 1997 film of the same name—which starred Michael Jai White as Spawn, was rated PG-13 (the comic book itself contained R-rated material), and had a budget of $40 million—the new flick will be R-rated and presumably have a budget of around $12 million. Produced by Blumhouse (which released such memorable horror flicks as Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge, Happy Death Day and last year's Best Picture nominee Get Out), Spawn would have a story that's portrayed in the same manner as the recent hit film A Quiet Place...directed and starred by 13 Hours' John Krasinski, as well as his wife, Sicario's Emily Blunt. Much like how A Quiet Place only had two or three scenes with spoken dialogue in them, Spawn would rely mostly on non-verbal cues by Jamie Foxx to convey the brooding nature of the hellish antihero.

Since Spawn will only cost around $12 million to make, I reckon that the Violator will be too expensive to feature in the upcoming flick! With the advanced state of today's computer-generated effects, however, I'm sure that a more fearsome iteration of Spawn's demonic arch-nemesis would look better than the 1997 version (shown below). McFarlane wants his movie (which marks his big-screen directorial debut) to be like A Quiet Place... He should be inspired by how frightening the blind but sharp-fanged monsters were in Krasinski's film—and how bad-ass they looked—if he were to do a new take on the Violator! I'm lookin' forward to this flick, as Spawn is one of my all-time favorite titles from Image Comics. That is all.

Spawn (Michael Jai White) with the Violator standing behind the original 1997 film SPAWN.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Image of the Day: Finn as BLADE...

This illustration has been saved on my smartphone for the past two months (I stumbled upon it on Facebook), so just thought I'd finally share this cool image of John Boyega as Blade. Methinks that if Boyega was cast to play the Daywalker made famous by Wesley Snipes, it would be in a prequel to the Blade trilogy. Other than that, I think that Pacific Rim's Idris Elba would be perfect as an older version of the vampire hunter. Of course, considering the fact that The Dark Tower (which Elba starred in last year with Matthew McConaughey) didn't do as well critically and commercially as the other Stephen King movie adaptation—IT—a month later, I don't reckon that Elba would be interested in playing another lone antihero with mad weapon skills anytime soon. But he can prove me wrong.

So yea— The actor behind Finn of Star Wars would look pretty cool slicin'-and-dicin' vampires with a Katana sword. Carry on.

A fan-made illustration depicting John Boyega as BLADE.

Sunday, May 27, 2018


Alden Ehrenreich plays a young Han Solo in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY.

So yesterday, I watched Solo: A Star Wars Story at a local AMC Theatre, and needless to say, it's a fun new addition to the Star Wars universe! While he's no Harrison Ford, Alden Ehrenreich gave his own interesting take on Han Solo...portraying the character as one who was idealistic, so full of hope, and out to reunite with his long-lost love before turning into the cynical swashbuckling smuggler that we met inside the Mos Eisley cantina in A New Hope. The rest of the cast for Solo was exceptional...with Donald Glover stealing his scenes as a young Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke being both sweet and bad-ass as Qi'ra, Woody Harrelson giving a smooth performance as Solo's mentor Tobias Beckett, Thandie Newton being one tough chick as Val, Paul Bettany being a slimey yet suave gangster as Dryden Vos, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge delightfully playing the rebellious droid L3-37. And of course, let's not forget Joonas Suotamo—whose role as Chewbacca in this movie is the third time he played the Wookie in the Disney-era Star Wars saga (behind The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi). And the fourth time will be the extra charm when he plays Chewie again in next year's Episode IX.

Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) greets Han Solo after being separated from him for three years in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY.

In regards to the story, screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jonathan were faithful to the origin of Han Solo that Star Wars fans have known for the past three decades or so. As established in the Expanded Universe before it was revamped by Disney a few years ago, Solo was an ex-Imperial officer from Corellia who rescued Chewbacca from the Empire prior to becoming a galactic smuggler...but not before winning the Millennium Falcon in a game of Sabacc from Lando Calrissian. The Kasdans didn't really add anything new to Solo's backstory, except the fact that (Spoilers Ahead) Han got his last name from an Imperial officer on Corellia who recruited him to fight for the Empire. The twist that the Kasdans gave to Solo's history didn't involve him, but the original love of his life, Qi'ra. This plot point has already been spoiled by numerous websites since Solo's release last Thursday, but Qi'ra was not only a romantic interest of Han, but a woman who yearned to rise up the ranks of a criminal organization known as Crimson Dawn. Qi'ra's new boss in this crime syndicate [after she (Spoilers Ahead) eliminated her original superior, Dryden Vos] turned out to be someone who was last seen on the big screen in The Phantom Menace almost 20 years ago. Here's a hint of who he is: He couldn't wait to reveal himself to the Jedi. He couldn't wait to have revenge! Are those good enough clues for ya?

Lando Calrissan (Donald Glover) played a fateful game of Sabacc that cost him the Millennium Falcon in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY.

In regards to the visual effects in Solo, they looked is expected for a Star Wars movie. That ground battle that Han Solo, Beckett and Val took part in before they deserted the Empire looked intense. The dogfight between the Millennium Falcon and those TIE Fighters near Kessel looked awesome. The droid L3-37, like K-2SO in Rogue One before her, looked photo-realistic. And that firefight between Beckett and his gang, those Ranger Troopers and Enfys Nest's (Erin Kellyman) Marauders aboard the Conveyex train on Vandor was one of the best action sequences in Solo. Music-wise, composer John Powell created his own sweeping score for Ron Howard's film while obviously incorporating memorable tunes from the previous Star Wars installments—such as the Imperial March (of course), the asteroid chase theme from The Empire Strikes Back, the Rebel fanfare and...Duel of the Fates. Yet another hint as to who I'm talking about in the last two sentences in the previous paragraph! And let's not forget that John Williams himself composed the new theme for Han Solo in this movie. Can't wait to listen to it when my Solo soundtrack CD arrives in the mail next week.

Enfys Nest (Erin Kellyman) has a standoff with Han Solo (off-screen) in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY.

All-in-all, Solo: A Star Wars Story is a nice addition to the Star Wars saga. Before the movie was released, naysayers pointed out that this was a story that didn't really need to be told. While that's somewhat true, the main heist (to steal a form of hyperfuel known as coaxium) that Han and his gang pulled off in Solo was of great importance to the formation of the Rebel Alliance years later, and the revelation of who Qi'ra's new crime boss is at the end of the movie will have major ramifications for future Star Wars films. Even if the First Order is neutralized in Episode IX, Crimson Dawn will be a force (pun intended) to be reckoned with in any Star Wars flick that takes place during Solo's timeline (which is set between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One, respectively). This new crime boss could also have an effect on the Boba Fett and Obi-Wan films that Lucasfilm is currently plotting out as well. We shall see.

Standing atop the Conveyex train on Vandor, Ranger Troopers open fire in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY.

So yea, Solo is a good movie and you should check it out as soon as possible! Happy Memorial Day weekend.

4 out of 5 stars. ****

Han Solo and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) inspect the Millennium Falcon in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

More on Boba Fett...

A fan-made image of Boba Fett firing his blaster.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Writer-director James Mangold should watch the 2012 Dredd film (starring Karl Urban as Judge Dredd)—if he hasn't done so already—to see how the tone for a Boba Fett movie should be like. You can read my full review of Dredd here. That is all.

Karl Urban as Judge Dredd in 2012's DREDD.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Image of the Day: A Mandalorian Artwork...

In honor of Boba Fett getting his own Star Wars movie soon, just thought I'd share this artwork that I drew of the Mandalorian Commando 23 years ago...when I was a freshman in high school, and George Lucas recently announced that he was gonna film the prequel trilogy. The Boba Fett spin-off is set to be written and directed by James Mangold, who helmed last year's X-Men flick Logan and such movies as 1999's Girl, Interrupted, 2005's acclaimed Walk the Line and 2007's 3:10 to Yuma (one of my favorite all-time Westerns). Boba Fett, as well as Obi-Wan Kenobi, are two of the most beloved characters in the Star Wars saga who'll get their own films after Episode IX hits theaters in December of next year.

And speaking of another beloved Star Wars character, I can't wait to watch Solo: A Star Wars Story at AMC Theatres tomorrow! I'll post my (hopefully positive) review of it by this Sunday. Happy Friday.

An artwork that I drew of Boba Fett (and a couple of Jedi Knights) back in early 1995.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Godzilla, King Kong and the Marvel Cinematic Universe...

Godzilla and King Kong will face off in 2020's GODZILLA VS. KONG.

So how many of my fellow comic book/film geeks realized that not only did Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) co-star in Gareth Edwards' 2014 Godzilla movie, but Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) both appeared in last year's Kong: Skull Island...which is set in the same cinematic universe as Godzilla (leading to the King of the Monsters and the Giant Gorilla confronting each other in 2020's Godzilla vs. Kong)?

Apparently, if you want to speculate about who the next actor and actress will be to star in the MCU, just watch a monster flick that Warner Bros. (the studio that owns the American film rights to Godzilla and King Kong) churns out in the future! Carry on.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen in 2014's GODZILLA.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in 2015's AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.

Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston in 2017's KONG: SKULL ISLAND.

Tom Hiddleston's Loki holds the Tesseract in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.

Brie Larson wears a green (Kree?) warrior suit on the set of CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

VENOM: A Selfie with the Symbiote...

The theatrical poster for VENOM.

To commemorate the October release of the Spider-Man spinoff film Venom—starring Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed—Sony Pictures set up this website where you can upload a selfie and incorporate it with the Symbiote as seen in the official theatrical poster above. I recommend that you do this on your computer instead of on your you have much greater control in rotating and/or cropping your selfie to make sure it convincingly matches the size of the Symbiote in this pic. I'll probably create another image, but this time with a selfie of me pretending to look a lot angrier to make the pic more intense.

Venom arrives in theaters nationwide on October 5 (the day after my birthday). Carry on.

My selfie and the Symbiote.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Image of the Day #2: Work-in-Progress Photos of My Marvel Drawings...

Work-in-progress photos of my BLACK PANTHER drawing.

Just thought I'd share these work-in-progress pics that I took of the Black Panther, Iron Man, Spider-Man (a.k.a. 'Iron Spider' in Avengers: Infinity War) and Thanos artwork that I posted late last month. As you can see with my past couple of blog entries, I'm on a bit of a Marvel binge right now. Happy Saturday!

Work-in-progress photos of my IRON MAN drawing.

Work-in-progress photos of my SPIDER-MAN (as 'Iron Spider') drawing.

Work-in-progress photos of my Thanos drawing.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Image of the Day: Getting Ready for CAPTAIN MARVEL...

Even though this poster is fan-made (I stumbled upon it online), it totally makes me stoked to watch Captain Marvel when it hits theaters nationwide on March 8, 2019! We'll see what the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most powerful heroine (played by Oscar winner Brie Larson) has in store for Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet next year. And yes, I plan on watching Avengers: Infinity War at the theater again (I saw it last Saturday at a matinee screening). I have my tix for the 10:40 AM showing at AMC Theatres this Saturday. Carry on!

A fan-made poster for 2019's CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Back in the Day: IRON MAN Is Unveiled to the World...

IRON MAN is confronted by two F-22 Raptor fighter jets in the summer blockbuster film...which opened in theaters nationwide on May 2, 2008.

Ten years ago today, the first Iron Man film arrived in theaters nationwide and began a franchise that currently spans 19 movies and culminated in the record-breaking success of Avengers: Infinity War last weekend. Back in 2008, it was Warner Bros. and DC's The Dark Knight that took the box office crown that year (with the Chris Nolan movie earning $535 million domestically and $1 billion worldwide)...but Iron Man's "modest" success (it made $318 million domestically and $585 million worldwide) was only a precursor to the major financial windfall that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) would enjoy over the next decade.

While Warner Bros. strives to achieve the same kind of success with its future DC Expanded Universe movies like it did with last year's Wonder Woman (we'll see if Justice League 2 ever gets made, even though I enjoyed the first film last November), Disney and Marvel Studios can only ponder about the amount of box office gold they will achieve once Infinity War completes its epic run in cinemas, with this July's Ant-Man and the Wasp and next March's Captain Marvel (and of course, the still-untitled Avengers 4 next May) lurking on the horizon. But this blog entry is about the flick that started it all.

Much props should go to Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard (I hope he's not beating himself up too much over the amount of money he could've earned if he wasn't replaced by Don Cheadle as James Rhodes / War Machine before 2010's Iron Man 2), Clark Gregg and director Jon Favreau for allowing the MCU to become what it is today. Oh, and let's not forget about Samuel L. Jackson—whose end credit appearance as Nick Fury and his immortal words "I'm here to talk to you about the Avengers Initiative" would lead to cinematic history. That is all.

My illustration of IRON MAN.