WARNING – SPOILERS!!! Pac Man, Back to the Future, and Blade Runner are only a few titles that make up the 1980s cinematic nostalgia trip in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, now playing in theaters. Based on the novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One follows a young man named Wade Watts who lives in a dystopian United States in 2045. Humanity, as Wade knows it, is plagued by a failing economic system, an ominous corporate-governing body, and a tainted outdoor environment, all the result of an energy crisis caused by global warming, corporate greed, and the depletion of Earth’s fossil fuels. Since the real-world is no longer a pleasant place to spend your time, Wade, like most people, spends his days in the OASIS, an interactive virtual reality comprised of games and puzzles from every video game, movie, book, or television show made primarily between 1980 and 1990, although there are a few exceptions. The OASIS is the mind-child of James Halliday (obviously Cline’s own doppelganger) who, prior to his death, left a hidden Easter Egg inside the OASIS that, if found, provides the winner with his massive fortune and control of the corporation running the OASIS, and that’s where Wade’s (or Parzival as he is named in the OASIS) story begins. Continue reading →
Walt Disney Pictures has come a long way from making full-length animated features like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Peter Pan. In the 21st century, the company has reinvented itself with live-action blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean, state-of-the-art computer animated films like Cars and Frozen, and adaptations of children’s literary classics like Roald Dahl’s The BFG and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (out in theaters this March). In recent years, Disney has expanded into more lucrative markets like comic book blockbusters (ie. Marvel comics) and, of course, the Star Wars franchise. The latest Star Wars entry, The Last Jedi, hit the $1 billion mark in worldwide box office sales barely three weeks after its US theatrical release. With a plethora of material to work with, and plenty of money coming in, one would think Disney is far passed its tipping point, but that might not be the case at all. Continue reading →
For those die hard fans of the Star Wars film series, May 4th is always a special occasion. It was on May 25th, 1977 that A New Hope, the first ever Star Wars film from writer/director George Lucas made its theatrical debut. The event marked the beginning of a new phenomenon in modern cinema, and changed the way movies were made and even thought of from then on. Drawing from inspiration from early space adventure serials, George Lucas envisioned a modern space epic using classic themes and archetypes that would forever change the movie-going experience. His company, Industrial Lights and Magic, which would go on to create Pixar Animation in the 1990s, created new methods for special effects that gave movie-goers an experience never before seen on film. To celebrate this special fan day, here is the latest trailer for the next installation in the film series, The Last Jedi, which will feature original actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke and Leia Skywalker, along with new vets Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Adam Driver, and Domhnall Gleeson. Enjoy, and May the Fourth Be With You!
*Update – this article originally stated that A New Hope was released on May 4th, 1977, hence part of the reasoning behind “May-the-Fourth Day.” A New Hope actually hit theaters on May 25th of that year, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend. My apologies for the inaccuracy!
Last year’s Annual Academy Awards ceremony was less than glamorous. In fact, it was downright uncomfortable. You might remember Chris Rock being asked to host the #OscarsSoWhite last January, and although he made some good points and was able to put a good spin on it, the show was ultimately kind of a bust. The final announcement of Leonardo DiCaprio winning the Best Actor Oscar was just one more punch to the face of film-lovers before the ceremony was ended. Don’t get me wrong, Leonardo DiCaprio is definitely worthy of an Oscar, but like Denzel Washington and Al Pacino before him, he was given the award for the wrong role, and at a point way too far into his career. But hey, that’s Hollywood for you. Continue reading →
In light of the untimely death of Carrie Fisher, movie-makers at Disney and Lucasfilm are beginning to look to Princess Leia’s future. Although Fisher has reportedly finished filming all of her scenes for the upcoming Episode VIII release this December, Leia was expected to play a much more significant part in Episode IX, which is slated for a December 2019 release. The over-arching storyline for the upcoming films included a reunion between Leia and Luke Skywalker, as well as a confrontation between Leia and Kylo Ren, who killed his father, Harrison Ford‘s Han Solo, in Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Now with Fisher gone, the fate of the character has yet to be fully realized. Continue reading →
According to Deadline, actor Alden Ehrenreich (Blue Jasmine, Hail Caesar!) has officially signed on to star as young Captain Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars spin-off from Walt Disney Pictures. Ehrenreich beat out a number of A-list names for the role, including Miles Teller, Dave Franco, Jack Reynor, Scott Eastwood, and Emory Cohen. As with all upcoming releases from Disney/Lucasfilm, no actual details have been released on the plot, and no news about supporting cast members is yet available. The script will be written by Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan (In the Land of Women, The First Time). Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie) are expected to direct the feature. We’ll be bringing you further news as it emerges. If you can’t wait for a new space movie to see, check out the third installment in the new Star Trek series, Beyond, starring Chris Pine (Unstoppable, Into the Woods) and Zachary Quinto (Tallulah, Snowden). Enjoy the weekend!
Today in movie history, revered editor and sound engineer Walter Murch was born in New York City in 1943. Murch first gained momentum in the film industry working with Oscar-winner Francis Ford Coppola on his film The Rain People (1969) before going on to work with George Lucas on THX1138 (1971) and American Graffiti (1973). He then furthered his professional relationship with Coppola working on films like The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Conversation (1974), the latter which earned him his first Academy Award nomination. His first major contribution to film came on Coppola’s iconic Vietnam drama, Apocalypse Now (1979), for which he won his first Oscar. Murch used a multi-track recording system to create new sounds that invoked both physical tension and psychological drama against the back-drop of Coppola’s war epic. Murch went on to serve as both sound and picture editor for numerous films, winning double Oscars for The English Patient in 1996 for Best Editor and Best Sound Editor. His work with Coppola continued throughout his career, working on films like The Godfather Part III (1990) and Tetro (2009); he also received a double Oscar-nomination in 1990 for The Godfather Part III and Ghost with Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg. Continue reading →
The final trailer has arrived for director Bryan Singer‘s upcoming X-Men feature, Apocalypse. If you haven’t been following, the last X-Men movie was Days of Future Past, which found Wolverine going back in time to alter the timeline of the X-Men movies to prevent the end of the world. This new timeline picks up in what I’m guessing would be at least the the late 1980s, and finds Mystique responsible for training the new generation of X-Men to fight Apocalypse, the world’s first and most powerful mutant, who happens to be immortal. Apocalypse awakes after thousands of years and begins amassing power; having seen what humanity has become, he recruits a team of powerful mutants (including Magneto) to cleanse mankind and create a new world order. Screenwriter Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes, Fantastic Four) wrote the script from a story written by himself and director Bryan Singer (X2: X-Men United, X-Men: Days of Future Past), as well as writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris (Superman Returns, Krampus). Continue reading →
Last week Disney/Lucasfilm announced that the release of Star Wars Episode 8 would be pushed back from May to December 2017, owing to delayed production and script re-writes by director Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom, Looper). Filming on the new movie is expected to begin soon, but in the meantime, some rival production companies have had to rearrange their plans for some of their upcoming big releases. Director James Cameron (Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Titanic) is still currently set to begin filming all three of his upcoming Avatar sequels simultaneously at the end of this year, but Avatar 2, having already been moved back from release in December 2016 to December 2017, is now being pushed back again, with no release yet in sight. Continue reading →