Last night during the Vikings-Bears Monday Night Football game, the latest trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi premiered during the halftime commercial run. The new film, which is written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, Breaking Bad), will follow the events of JJ Abrams’ Episode VII: The Force Awakens, and feature veterans Mark Hamill and (the late) Carrie Fisher as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. Fisher had completed filming on the project prior to her untimely death last December, but her role was expected to be expanded upon even further for Episode IX, which JJ Abrams has agreed to return for after Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed, Jurassic World) fell away from the film earlier this year. The Last Jedi will focus Rey’s Jedi training with Luke Skywalker, as well as on other Force Awakens characters like Finn and Poe as they continue their campaign against the evil First Order. Actors Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and Oscar Isaac are all reprising their roles for the new installment. You can see The Last Jedi on big screens near you this December 18th. Enjoy the trailer!
Today (May 26th) marks the 50th anniversary celebration of The Beatle’s revolutionary album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The LP was the first released by the band following their retirement from touring after their final performance at Candlestick Park in 1966. Although The Beatles had already begun a steady transition from being a more traditional pop-rock group with albums like Rubber Soul and Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s has been hailed as their ultimate creative masterpiece, followed closely perhaps by 1969’s Abbey Road. Released at the beginning of the Summer of Love, it set a new precedent for what a rock and roll record could be. The concept behind the album began following the exhaustion the group experienced after the whirlwind of Beatlemania. Paul McCartney came to Lennon, Starr, and Harrison with an idea that they would record an all new album under an alternative persona, which would free them from the weight of being the Beatles and usher in a fresh wave of musical creativity. Sgt. Pepper’s not only ushered in a new era for the Beatles; it also marked the beginning of the psychedelic rock movement that would see new groups like The Doors, Pink Floyd, and Jefferson Airplane begin to climb the pop music charts. Now, 50 years later, Sgt. Pepper’s is known not only for its conception and importance to 60s rock (and music in general), but also for the history of its production. Continue reading →
We wanted to give it a little time so that nothing would be spoiled for anybody, but if anyone is reading this that hasn’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, I suggest you either stop reading or be prepared for plot spoilers! To begin with, this was easily the best Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi was released in 1983. Director J.J. Abrams (Super 8, Star Trek: Into Darkness) brought legitimate filmmaking back to the series with this film, which looks more like old-fashioned Star Wars than anything we saw come from George Lucas in the early 2000s. His stylistic approach to filmmaking was the perfect merging of special effects and on-set principle photography, made better with the appearance of props and effects that appeared in the original film, such as the targeting view attached to the gun in the Millennium Falcon. The screenplay, written by Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi writer Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Arc, The Bodyguard), was also much better in terms of actual dialogue on the part of the actors, but the overall story imitated that of Jurassic World earlier this year, in the sense that it read almost as a mirror image of the original Star Wars in 1977, with the updated story-line in play, of course. Abrams also did a great job of resurrecting the original Star Wars universe by bringing back a lot of the old designs and symbols representing the Rebel Alliance and the Imperial Star Fleet. I also have no complaints regarding the new lineup of actors. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega had a perfect chemistry between them, and Oscar Isaac did great as the Resistance pilot Poe Dameron. Adam Driver, however, as both the bad guy AND Han Solo and Leia’s son, was not necessarily bad, he was simply miscast, and Abrams didn’t do him any favors by taking off his helmet and showing his face. And if you are wondering about Luke Skywalker, he was pretty much absent the entire movie. He literally showed up for a few seconds at the very end, having evidently pulled a “Yoda” and gone into hiding after Han’s son decided to pull an “Anakin” and join the Dark Side. Needless to say we won’t really know what Luke’s deal is until the next movie in 2017, which will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the original release in 1977. All in all, it was a great movie and gave us some glimpses into the upcoming films and how the characters will continue to develop. Some stories were closed, but many more were opened, and now we have to wait another two years to find out what happens next. Stay tuned.