All posts by Cameron

Cameron is a mild mannered history teacher by day and aspiring writer by night. He has a feature length screenplay under his belt and is working on #2. Besides writing he enjoys being a husband, father and weekend warrior surfer when he finds the time.

Our Favorite Movies Of 2015

The Best Of 2015. Our Favorite Movies

There were some great movies to come out in 2015. From Mad Max: Fury Road, Inside Out, The Martian, Sicario, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it was really a tremendous year for film.  Which is why we at the Film Box would like to look back at our very favorite movies of 2015. If you missed any of these over the course of the year don’t hesitate to catch up with them at a later date. These 2015 standouts are definitely worth your time.

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Sicario

Joseph Jo: Out of all the films that were released in 2015, Sicario was eventually the one that had me in awe throughout the film. The only thing I knew about this film was Denis Villeneuve was the director where couple years back I had the chance to watch his earlier work, the Incendies, which is another one of my favorite. I’m usually one of those theater goers, where I wait until everything dies down, and thankfully I was glad I went to watch Sicario few months after the release, because this is one of those films where you just have to watch alone in the big screen without knowing nothing about it.

I knew from the movie poster that Emily Blunt was starring along with Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. Usually I don’t really care who’s in the picture, because ultimately I care about the story, structure, editing and how it was directed. And may all the deities bless the production team, because this movie made me feel exactly like Emily Blunt’s character throughout the movie, and that’s how I feel the movie was intended to be. If I had bothered to even read the tagline, I probably would have never felt the chill when Benicio’s character gave that eerie vibe when he said, “Welcome to Juarez.”

 

heart of a dog movie

Heart Of A Dog

Helen HighlyI would recommend Laurie Anderson’sHeart of a Dog” as Best Film of the Year. This 75-minute, poetic film-collage essay combines Anderson’s personal stories and musings with quotations from renowned philosophers, ink drawings on paper, printed words, animation, scratchy old 8mm home-movie clips, new footage of landscapes, surveillance camera footage with time codes, graphic images such as computer icons, and her ingenious use of music.

The movie is officially classified as a documentary and has rightfully been shortlisted (down to the final 15) for the Academy Award Best Documentary Feature. But it doesn’t feel at all like a traditional “non-fiction educational film.” It’s a playfully experimental memoir that is sometimes a meditation on how to go on living despite despair – “the purpose of death is the release of love,” an insightful (and not maudlin) reflection on America’s 9/11 attack, and also a witty tale on the nature of telling and remembering and forgetting. Ultimately, this is Laurie Anderson’s own love story – about her dog, her mother, her husband, and her city. It is uncommon and evocative film making and a true pleasure to watch

I think this may be the year of the documentary. There were so many interesting, important, and really well done documentaries that crossed over into mainstream film (or at least mainstream indie film). So I think it’s appropriate to name a documentary as “Best Of” this year. And the Laurie Anderson movie is truly beautiful and important as well as being surprisingly accessible (easy and fun to watch), once you start watching. And I also think this film has staying-power. It will still be relevant and worth-watching for years to come. It’s simply a great flick.

More of Helen Highly’s movie related rants and raves can also be found at HelenHighly.com

steve carell the big short

The Big Short

Matt Taylor: In a cinematic landscape filled with big budget disaster flicks it’s a rare thing for a movie to come along with actual, real world doom as part of it’s narrative. The Big Short is a sobering reminder, and revealing portrait, of the 2008 Economic Collapse. Directed by Adam McKay, who you may recognize as the wacky mind behind so many Will Ferrell films such as Anchorman and Talladega Nights, The Big Short presented it’s subject matter in such a lively, innovative way that it had to be my number one pick for Best Film of 2015.

The Big Short follows a handful of bankers who discovered the housing market collapse years before it happened. The film has us follow them as they attempt to expose and profit from this collapse. The irony and hypocrisy on display is what made the film compelling. Sure, there’s a few characters that are bleeding heart crusaders trying to do the right thing, but at the end of the day they’re bankers turning a profit. Even the best among those in the big banking machine are both whistle blowers and profiteers.
The film was made was with a documentary style, with none of the usual documentarian tropes i.e. interviews. The characters do break the fourth wall and address the audience to explain things, and most interesting is the directors use of celebrities and public figures to break down the really tough to grasp financial terminologies driving the story. For example there’s a quick cutaway to actress Margot Robbie in a bubble bath who explains the sub-prime mortgage problem leading up to the financial collapse. The use of cutaways, sound design, camera movement and character made this film about finance, which could have been extremely dull, a fast paced riveting look at one of the biggest disasters in American, and dare I say, World History. It is for those reasons that The Big Short is number one on my list for the year 2015.
More of Matt Taylor can be found at Twitter

the-woman-in-gold film

The Woman In Gold

Charles Soste: My favorite film for 2015 after much consideration, was The Woman In Gold. It was a well-acted, brilliantly directed story of an Austrian victim of World War II seeking to retain priceless art work that was stolen from her family by the Nazis.  The film was incredibly moving and what all great cinema should be.  Helen Mirren was at her unsurprising best in the lead role and Daniel Bruhl and Ryan Reynolds were excellent too.

I should also add that very honorable mention should go to Spotlight, Mr. Holmes and The Martian for me as well since they were all fantastic.

Rey and Finn star wars

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Cameron Dueker: Like many others, for me, my favorite movie was Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’ve been a huge Star Wars fan since I was younger and the franchise has held a special place not only in my heart but in my life because of it. I still remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news the news that Disney had bought out Lucasfilm and the doubts that crept into my head shortly after. George Lucas was out. J.J. Abrams was in. Would it follow the Expanded Universe or blaze a new trail of it’s own? Could the original actors still play a role in their old age? Any New Hope that filled me was simultaneously checked with cautious trepidation of the still  recent mixed bag of the prequels.

Maybe the years of reverence surrounding the original trilogy  had simply set the bar for any new Star Wars films too high.

As information about the new film slowly leaked out it was clear to me these concerns were also weighing heavily on the cast and crew. You could just see the amount of love and care everybody involved was putting into The Force Awakens which only rocketed expectations into the stratosphere.

And when I finally saw the film I was blown away. It was a call back to 1977 true, but what is so wrong with that? The new characters were hugely compelling, the action was great, the story was intriguing and full of mystery’s still unsolved, and the feel was spot on with how WE all want a Star Wars film to be.

The Force Awakens may not be the best Star Wars film, Empire still holds that crown, but for me it was far, far away the best film of 2015.

 

Christoph Waltz Signed For TWO More Bond Films. But ONLY If Daniel Craig Returns.

Christoph Waltz Signs For Two More Bond Films. Will Return Only If Daniel Craig Plays Bond Again

Pinch me I must be dreaming.

I’ve been a big fan of Daniel Craig’s James Bond since he first put on the dinner jacket in Casino Royale and was really worried we might not get anymore of Craig’s Bond after his much publicized threats to quit the franchise after Spectre. I believe the quote was, “I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists.” You gotta love that stiff British humor.

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One of the highlights of Spectre was seeing Christoph Waltz’s take on legendary Bond villain Blofeld. It was a lot like seeing Craig play Bond for the first time, a modern incarnation of a classic character.

Which is why it was such a shame to hear Craig was ready to drop the Walther PPK while in his prime. Rumors soon swirled around the internet at who should be the next Bond with a large group advocating Idris Elba should be next.

But never count Bond out as Waltz has reportedly signed on for at least two more cracks at Blofeld on the condition that Craig comes back as well.

if this comes to pass, and let’s all hope it does, this would set the current films up for a nice two part story to send Craig’s Bond off into the sunset properly and establish himself as the defacto version of James Bond from now on. Sorry Sean Connery, but your claim to fame may soon be in jeopardy.

Daniel Craig james bond

I never cared for James Bond before having grown up on Pierce Bronson’s increasingly campy 007 films. I just never saw the appeal. To me, Bond was just a hollow smirk wrapped in an emotionless character. Unchanging. Infallible. Boring.

But Daniel Craig’s version of James Bond was the complete opposite in every way. He was a hot head. He screwed up. His trademark confidence became over confidence, and one of his biggest character flaws. He got angry. He actually fell in love. He cried!

Now here was a version of Bond I could, and did get behind. I’m a big fan of all the latest Bond movies since, Quantum of Solace at some good scenery at least.

Recent statements by Daniel Craig seem to suggest he may be backtracking on his slit writs statements, and open to returning to Bond at least once more. But with Waltz in tow two movies, filmed back to back perhaps, may not be much of a stretch.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange Revealed

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange Is A Dead Ringer For Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme

The newest issue of Entertainment Weekly has hit the stands and has the first official photo of Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange smack dab on the cover.

Cumberbatch makes for a pretty good Doctor Strange, no?

Due for release on November 4th, 2016, Marvel’s Doctor Strange will be a Marvel movie unlike any that’s come before. As superhero movies have become more mainstream Marvel has knowingly been looking to test the boundaries of what a superhero movie can be. You can see how successful they’ve been with this strategy by looking no further than 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The film arguably has more in common with Star Wars than the Avengers but ended up being the third highest grossing film of the year. Just beating out Captain America: the Winter Soldier which was more of a political thriller than a standard superhero movie itself.

Which leaves us with, Marvel’s Doctor Strange which is taking superhero movies into the supernatural.

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But who is Doctor Strange? In the comics before he became Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Stephen Strange was a successful surgeon who had his hands severely damaged in a car accident. Desperate to regain the use of his hands, Strange traveled the world looking for any and all types of cures to repair the nerve damage in his hands which eventually lead him to the Himalayas where he was tutored by an old hermit called the Ancient One in the mystic arts. His powers amplified by the mystical amulet, the Eye of Agamotto which he wears around his neck, Doctor Strange spends most of his time fighting evil demons rather than evil businesses and world conquering organizations.

 

cumberbatch doctor strangeAs you can see, Benedict Cumberbatch’s costume is rather spot on when compared to the comic book version. The facial hair is just right and there’s even a touch of grey just above the ears in the right places. Even the powerful Eye of Agamotto is worn around his neck right where it should be. Marvel Studios really does a great job transferring the look of their characters to the silver screen with excellent casting and great costume design and Doc Strange seems to be the latest in their slam dunks.

What’s interesting is that rumors about the movie have suggested the film will do away with Strange’s origin story and start with Cumberbatch already well established as Doctor Strange when the movie begins. If you paid attention, you’ll remember there is a brief mention of Doctor Strange’s character in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a person of interest that S.H.I.E.L.D already has under surveillance. This would seem to confirm that Strange is already doing his thing and fighting demons in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the current time. Again, Marvel is looking to take superhero films in new directions and Doctor Strange may prove origin stories may be old and unnecessary in these times of mainstream superhero flicks.

We’ll have to wait and see as we get closer to November 4th and as more information and behind the scenes photos appear.

 

 

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip Review

Review: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip Is A Road Trip to Nowhere

Another year, another Chipmunks movie.

Way back in 2007 the first CGI chipmunks graced the silver screen in Alvin and the Chipmunks.

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For what it was, I thought the 2007 movie was actually pretty good. As good as a modern adaptation of the ageless trio of signing mischief making chipmunks could be. Quite impressive considering the chipmunks have been with us since 1958. The CGI was convincing in the both the look of the chipmunks and how they interacted with the world. The story was entertaining in that it was a tongue in cheek origin story focused on  the tug of war over who would take care of the boys. The caring and fatherly, Dave Seville (Jason Lee) or the despicably greedy record exec, Ian Hawke (David Cross). The script cleverly had the kiddie humor come from Alvin and his brothers while the more adult jokes came courtesy of the excellent casting of Lee and Cross.

jason lee chipmunks

In all seriousness, Jason Lee is a very good Dave Seville throughout all the chipmunk movies who plays a kind, warm and loving father to the boys. Lee does a great job of acting straight with a straight face considering his main costars are three imaginary singing chipmunks. And David Cross, who is funny in everything he does, was a great antagonist who was absurdly funny in also playing his corporate exec character in a straight and deadpan fashion against his furry adversaries.

The first film was widely successful making nearly 6 times it’s 60 million budget back which of course is a huge greenlight for sequels which came in the form of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Sqeuakquel (2009), Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011) and now Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip.

Thankfully Jason Lee is back for the 4th film, but sadly, David Cross does not return for the Road Chip which probably has to do with comments he made about his involvement in Chipwrecked in which he called the producers ant-Jew on late night TV and said the filming was one of the worst experiences of his life as he spent nearly a week on a Carnival cruise shooting scenes stuck in a pelican costume for no reason. Comments he later apologized for, but if you’ve ever seen the film you can see his misery onscreen which I only thought made his performance all the more amusing.

The Road Chip opens with Alvin trying waaaay to hard to throw a massive house party which is fitting considering that after three previous movies, the Road Chip is in the same boat. Of course Dave comes home to find his house wrecked and let loose a deafening “ALVIIIIN!” scream. Normally the boys would be super grounded but they avoid punishment as Dave is leaving for Miami on a business trip and wants to spend time with the chipmunks before he leaves.

They all go miniature golfing the next day where the boys learn Dave has a new girlfriend (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) who the boys really like, but who also has a bratty son named, Miles (Josh Green) who loves nothing more than to torment the chipmunks at every opportunity. Alvin soon discovers Dave has an engagement ring which he fears would solidify the torture Miles brings upon the boys by adding him to their family, something Miles wants no part of either. So off Miles and the chipmunks go to travel to Miami and stop Dave from proposing.

Along the way they run afoul of a power tripping air marshall played by another Arrested Development alum, Tony Hale, who goes to ludicrous lengths to bring the three chipmunks to justice for hijinks committed while flying. The boys soon find themselves on the no fly list and resort to bumming rides across the southern states to make it to Miami.

road chip

And that’s pretty much the movie. Along the way the chipmunks run into odd charterers and strange situations while trying to stay one step ahead of the crazed air marshall hot on their furry heels. But after four chipmunk movies everything is as stale as the popcorn hidden under your theater seat. The jokes this time around aren’t very funny, the problems the trio find themselves in have all been done before. That’s to be expected. But what really shows the franchise is growing old and tired already is the lack of amusing  celebrity cameos and relevant pop songs that should be easy softballs any chipmunks movie should hit out of the park. That the film can’t even get out of bed to cover these basics shows you how much lack of effort went into making the Road Chip.

Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks-The-Road-Chip

The only enjoyable parts revolve around Dave’s interaction with the boys. Jason Lee literally and figuratively carries the chipmunks on his shoulders through the film and it’s a shame he isn’t focused on more in the same way Homer has become the main focus of the Simpsons as the seasons wore on. And again, missing David Cross hurts as well.

But what do I know? I’m trying to critically break down a chipmunks movie. A movie that clearly wasn’t intended for me in the first place. Though I liked the chipmunks as a kid and admit to even owning a few of their records, they have clearly passed me by.

It only makes sense that we should go with what the film’s real audience has to say about it.

And in that case I can say that my kids loved it.

 

10 Obscure Star Wars Facts

10 Obscure Star Wars Facts Even Hardcore Fans Don’t Know

The only thing people may love more than Star Wars is talking about how much they love Star Wars.

Especially when it comes to true Star Wars fanboys (and fangirls) who can become engaged in a verbal lightsaber measuring contest for hours to figure out who the biggest fan is. Original Trilogy, Prequels, Expanded Universe, it’s all fair game when once’s nerd credentials have been challenged.

Because Star Wars is so popular, most everybody knows a lot about the films already. That Darth Vader wasn’t originally supposed to be Luke’s dad until Empire Strikes Back was written. That Lando and the Millennium Falcon were never supposed to have made it out of the 2nd Death Star alive. Or that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fischer were cast because they had the good fortune of test screening with Harrison Ford. Even though most of the public may not know these facts, it’s a safe wager that for most hardcore Star Wars fans these would all be old news.

So let’s throw out everything even a scruffy nerfherder would know and discover 10 obscure Star Wars facts even hardcore fans would be surprised to know.

How many do you think you’ll know?

Death-Star-II-Scale-Size

10. The Second Death Star was HUGE!

The first Death Star was nothing to sneeze at. Conceived as the ultimate battlestation, it was designed to bring terror to the galaxy and to crush entire star systems under  the jack boot of the Empire. And it’s worth noting it’s still the only one to ever get a planet on it’s scoresheet when Grand Moff Tarkin of so casually wiped Alderaan off the space charts as if he was shooing a fly in A New Hope. (in the movies at least)

No doubt, the first Death Star was big. So big in fact that, Han Solo first thought it was a moon upon his first glance of it.

But compared to the second Death Star, the first is a small party favor or a small children’s toy.

According to the wookieepedia entry for the Death Star (the Star Wars version of wikipedia) the first Death Star clocks in with a diameter of 160 kilometers. Pretty impressive. Most impressive actually.

That is until you compare it to the second Death Star which was built was a diameter of 900 kilometers! That’s 460% bigger than the original! That’s mind bogglingly massive!

And yet, still insignificant when compared to the power of the Force.

Did you know? In 2012 a petition to the White House was submitted asking for the construction of a Death Star as a form of economic stimulus. As the petition received over 250,000 signatures it was required to receive an official response. In 2013 he White House formally rejected the proposal citing an excessive cost of 852 quadtrillion dollars and an estimated 833,000 years to complete!

Spoiler Heavy Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Spoiler Heavy Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

WARNING! You will only get to see the new Star Wars movie for the first time once. So go see it. And if you want spoiler free reviews than you can find a bunch on the internet here, here, and here.

Once you’ve done that come back here for a spoiler heavy review and analysis. You’ve been warned.

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. When Disney bought Star Wars three years ago and announced that an Episode VII was being fast tracked into development fans around the world freaked out. One year ago the first trailer dropped and kicked anticipation into lightspeed. The hype and positive buzz surrounding the film only grew from there as the film inched closer to release.

So how does the first Star Wars film in ten years hold up against the biggest hype train we’ll all never see the likes of again?

In many aspects it holds up quite well. Exceptionally well actually considering the impossibly high expectations and circumstances surrounding it.

But in others it falls as hard as Darth Vader did to the dark side.

darth vader burnt mask

Before we start, I will say this. Given the immense hype and the smattering of trailers and TV commercials that’s bombarded the public in the recent weeks, J.J. Abrams and Disney did an amazing job dangling the movie in front of the public without ruining it. The film has some really great moments and surprises for everybody that the trailers never hinted at or showed. Even if you’ve seen them all a hundred times by now, you know who you are, the film still entertains.

And the Force Awakens does this on the strength of it’s characters. The new main characters are all spectacular, well developed and fun to watch. They were my favorite part of the film by far and will be for most viewers as you can tell the writers put a lot of thought and care into their development.

John Boyega’s Finn is one hundred times funnier than Jar Jar Binks ever wished he was. By the end of the film, he was really nothing more than a dense stormtrooper with a big heart and a conscious who got himself in way over his head. Finn’s best qualities come out when he puts himself into the greatest danger like escaping from the First Order, or on the Millennium Falcon, or in his two great lightsaber duels.

The Rebels, now the Resistance’s, hotshot pilot Poe Dameron had the smallest part of the new cast but always seemed exuberant and eager. I would have liked to see more of him  in the cockpit of his slick black X-wing, but then again I would have liked to have seen more X-wings in the film as well.

BB-8 is a scene stealer throughout the entire movie. Maybe it’s wise R2-D2 was shut down through most of the film as there’s no way he can compete with that adorable soccer ball of a droid.

Kylo Ren Force Awakens Trailer

Kylo Ren was also quite a surprise, but not for the reasons that are the most apparent. As much as he strives not to be, his character is the anti-Vader in almost every way. Emotional, witty and surprisingly funny he is also full of doubt as he finds himself pulled to the light side, something which he struggles to find the strength to combat. What a great way to flip not only Darth Vader comparisons but also the whole dichotomy of the Force and how it’s perceived in general. It’s not just the dark side that can pulls and seduce anymore, the light side is just as tempting it seems. What a great twist that takes what’s come before makes it new and interesting again. I also got quite a kick of his synthesized voice which sounded a lot like Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men and his lightsaber temper tantrums. What better way to show Kylo as the spoiled brat he is than to have him slash everything with his lightsaber. It was also a nice touch I thought that under his mask he is quite the pretty boy which made for a nice visual contrast with Vader’s scared and ruined face.

Rey The Force Awakens

The last great revelation was Daisy Ridley in her role as Rey. Like Luke, she begins the movie as a lost youth stuck trying to make ends meet on a backwards desert planet. Adventurous and resourceful, she braves the derelict ruins of Star Destroyers spelunking  for scrap she can sell for food. She waits patiently on her seemingly adopted homeworld of Jakku for the family she can’t remember to one day return to her. It’s very endearing and gives Rey some vulnerability while also keeping her tough as she needs no one to protect or rescue her in a welcome change of pace. She is also quite plucky and scrappy when she needs to be and develops a great father daughter chemistry with Han Solo that the film never quite wants to awkwardly acknowledge. She has a lot in common with Luke on the surface but I was reminded more of the good qualities she shares with Anakin Skywalker in the prequels. What does that mean, if anything? I have no idea as the film seems dead set on revealing Rey’s backstory in a “I am your father” moment in Episode VIII. Seeing her escape on her own in the Starkiller base instead of being rescued was a great  touch, and it was about time we finally see a girl kick ass with a lightsaber in a Star Wars film.

Han Solo The Force Awakens

The other main character that’s worth mentioning is Han Solo and his huge role in the film. I was worried that age would have caught up to Han Solo as it had Harrison Ford but those fears all flew out the window quickly. The Han Solo in the Force Awakens is still the lovable scoundrel he was in the original trilogy. He’s still down on his luck and constantly facing long odds with only Chewie, his blaster, and his quick wit by his side.

It sucks he had to die.

Part of the fun of watching The Force Awakens is to identify all the callbacks to the previous movies, there are many, and how director J.J. Abrams and writer Lawrence Kashdan play with them. The Force Awakens does stay awfully close to the main story structure of A New Hope. Secret plans are hidden in a droid that must be returned safely to the good guys before he falls into enemy hands. Before the plans are delireved a cantina is visited, a new planet destroying super weapon is tested and some talk about the Force’s role in all this is explained. Eventually the plans are delivered but not before our female lead is captured and rescued while a small fleet of X-wings launches a desperate attack on a looming threat.

By the time Han Solo walks out to confront his son who he’s failed to raise on the straight and narrow in front of Rey and Finn on the Death Star 3.0 you know he’ll soon be following in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s footsteps. It’s a powerful scene that hits hard because it’s so connected to A New Hope.

But it could have been amazing if the film had done anymore than wink about Han’s and Kylo’s father-son relationship. As far as the films go, (I know in the Expanded Universe this is all old hat) it’s a lot for audiences to take in that not only did Han and Leia have a child named Ben, but that he was trained to be a Jedi and eventually turned to the dark side. If we were never told these events took place we’d be hard pressed to believe them as the film never really develops their relationship to a point that’s believable.  Even cold hearted Leia treats the loss of her son to the dark side in the same stoic way as when she lost her home planet. The whole father son reveal falls flat as it seems rushed and loses any of the poignancy required for a death of this magnitude to truly resonate.

Which is another problem the film has in that the second half comes off as too rushed. Too much is happening with the X-wing attack, Rey’s rescue, the destruction of the shield generators, Kylo Ren, Han’s death, and a great lightsaber duel for any of it to stand out.

Compare that to the film’s first half which though brisk, was expertly paced and kept things interesting and moving forward. The first half is pure joy and Star Wars nostalgia as The Force Awakens fills in the gaps of the last thirty years since Return of the Jedi. Seeing Star Destroyers and TIE Fighters back on the big screen is a thrill as is reintroducing the Millennium Falcon and learning what Han and Chewie have been up to in the years since. It also helps having BB-8 around as he’s a much bigger player in the first half than the second. Actually whenever BB-8 was around the movie seemed stronger. He’s that good.

Force Awakens X-wings

A major complaint I have with the film is that it seems too interested in leaving a trail of story related bread crumbs into Episodes VIII and IX. There is a lot of blatant mystery the film sets up but flat out chooses to ignore, at least until further sequels. For instance, how did Luke’s lighstaber get into that wooden box? Who was the old man at the beginning? Who are Rey’s parents? Han and Leia? Luke perhaps? How was she able to become so proficient in the Force in such a short matter of time? What was the relationship between Luke and Ben Solo? How exactly did the Force Awaken?

There were a few small things that really bugged me. Captain Phasma got the true Boba Fett treatment in that she looks cool but doesn’t really do anything and gets taken out like a punk just the same. I didn’t like Supreme Leader Snoke though I am getting a Wizard of Oz vibe from him and his huge holographic projection. The new Death Star was taken out waaaay too easily with only a handful of X-wings and despite the hope of some kick ass space battles, my favorite, the dogfights here were over much to quickly for my liking. And Luke. It would have been nice if he would have said something or if not then at the very least end the movie right after his reveal instead of holding on his straggly beard for what seemed like an entirety in the wind.

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Don’t get me wrong, The Force Awakens was still a good film and I really enjoyed it. It’s the funniest Star Wars film by far and had great action pieces. Seeing the scale of everything filmed with actual actors and props was so effective in making the film seem as real as the originals were. I liked the final duel in the snowy woods where the trees replaced the bamboo groves of old samurai movies. Watching Rey climb the long and winding stairs towards Luke at the end for some good old fashioned Kung Fu training was fun, and seeing her wear the pistol Han Solo gave her, slung low on her hip like Han made me smile.

The acting was top notch all around and it’s clear the franchise is in good hands with this new core group of actors firmly established to take the franchise into the future for many many more years to come.

I can’t wait to see it again. The Force is strong with it.

Every Limb Ever Lost In Star Wars

Every Limb Ever Lost in Star Wars Infographic

Lightsabers are a dangerous thing. Able to cut through droids, hack off limbs and melt through security doors like a hot knife through butter. It’s no surprise then that the Star Wars films are a graveyard full of severed arms and heads from the unfortunate victims who met the business end of a lightsaber.

Here is a great infographic that shows every limb ever lost in Star Wars.

 Star Wars Limb Loss Infographic
Image Created by HalloweenCostumes.com

First picture of James Franco as Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist released

James Franco Is A Dead Ringer for The Room’s Tommy Wiseau

If you haven’t heard, one of the strangest movies ever made is being turned into an even stranger major Hollywood release, The Disaster Artist.

And now we have our first look at the film thanks to Instagram, with a recently released photo of star James Franco as Tommy Wiseau. A very accurately creepy looking first glimpse at that. The other bearded guy in the photo is James’ brother, Dave Franco, who plays Tommy’s real life friend, Greg Sinestro.

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I dunno, yeah they look a little goofy, but they also look pretty close to the real deal to me.

The Disaster Artist was a behind the scenes book written about the ill fated production of The Room. Famously celebrated as one of the worst movies ever made, the film has become a cult classic within the last few years as a movie that’s so good because it is so god awful bad.

The Room is a beautiful trainwreck written, produced, directed, and starring the mysterious Tommy Wiseau. A man of unknown origins who speaks with a near unintelligible accent, Wiseau spent millions of his own money filming The Room which was originally a play he had written,. that was turned into a book, and then finally the Citizen Kane of bad movies.

When the film was released in LA, word of mouth quickly spread about just how bad it was and soon crowds of people would come to see midnight showings of the movie to yell and laugh at the movie’s awfulness in the theater while throwing plastic spoons at the screen. (For some reasons, “the room” in which the majority of the film takes place is decorated with many framed pictures of ordinary spoons and has become an endearing  gag) Even famous Hollywood celebrities have become fans of the film and attend many of the midnight shows.

the room cameras

The film became so popular that co-star, Greg Sinestro wrote a book that goes intricate detail on the behind the scenes complications that come from working with Tommy Wiseau. For example, Wiseau who didn’t understand the difference between HD and 35mm film formats, decided to film The Room with both cameras simultaneously. Not only that, he decided to pay for the immensely expensive cameras out of pocket instead of renting them out as is the norm in the film industry. Even the simplest of lines took Wiseau numerous takes to complete and the constant script revisions and cast changes played havoc on the production. Or that Wiseau added in a ton of extended sex scenes to the movie when he cast an attractive young blond to play his character’s main love interest.

If, The Disaster Artist is HALF as funny as The Room is, we could be looking at one of the funniest movies of the year easily.