The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi is written and directed by our good friend, Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is scheduled for release December 15, 2017.

Carrie Fisher: 1956 – 2016

The galaxy mourns as it’s beloved princess became one with The Force on Tuesday morning at the age of 60; succumbing to complications following a cardiac arrest suffered last Friday while aboard an airline flight en route to Los Angeles.

Family spokesman read a statement from Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, confirming the sad news. “It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” reads the statement. “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly,” says Lourd, 24. “Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”

Fisher was obviously best known for her iconic hair buns and sass-talking to the Evil Galactic Empire as the charismatic, Princess Leia in 1977’s Star Wars. At just 19 years of age it launched her acting career at full throttle and solidified her as a household name. She went on to star in other films such as The Blues Brothers, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Cinecast’s darling The ‘burbs and one of my personal favorites from my youth, Under the Rainbow.

Fisher herself would be the first to admit she had some flaws and weaknesses. Over time, she overcame many of those weaknesses and became a soldier for good as a spokesperson and promoter of mental health awareness and drug rehabilitation. In short, besides her snappy sense of humor, wonderful writing abilities (cleaning up a lot of screenplays in her day) and natural good looks, she was a good and generous person with a purpose that gave a lot to the people on this planet.

Luminous beings are we; not this crude matter.”
– Yoda

Everyone has been bashing 2016 since about mid-August for all of the precious lives departing this Earth this year. But for me, this one stings the most. A lifelong passion, friend and damn near religion, The Star Wars saga has always been for me. And Carrie Fisher is no small part of that kinship. Not too many people sass off and down right defy Vader as her character does and live to talk about it. Fewer still look good doing it. And don’t even get me started on the funny feeling my eight year-old self got on Jabba’s sail barge. I can’t imagine that character being played by anyone else.

In December of 2015 I teared up a little bit at the site of a hunk of metal zooming over a desert surface. In 2017, with Episode VIII in the Star Wars Saga releasing close to Christmas, the tears will be a bit more Organa-ic and unfortunately not out of joy, but out of sadness and loss. Fair warning to whoever sits next to me; it’ll happen.

We’ll miss you Carrie. May the force be with you.

 

Super Ticket Episode 8 – Rowgue Three

Mamo and Cinecast unite to form the Super Ticket! We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and may the force be with you!

 

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Friday One Sheet: Alien Covenant

One simply cannot argue with the simplicity of the teaser poster for the latest (8th?) entry in the Alien franchise.

Lots of negative space, the Alien hiding so close in the dark, this could be an image taken directly from the first, and still classic, film. When Ridley Scott went the prequel route with Prometheus, the marketing was very coy about whether or not the film was connected to the franchise, and in this prequel-sequel (second prequel?) they are being as clear as possible. The Xenomorph outside of perhaps Frankenstein, Dracula, and Godzilla, is the one of the most iconic creatures in popular culture, and it certainly makes a lot of sense to maximize its use at this point.

Also, most succinct tagline ever: “Run.”

Friday One Sheet: Rogue One (Japanese Character Posters)

A handsome set of blue-white character posters for Star Wars: Rogue One has been put out for the Japanese market. And while the design is somewhat ‘floaty heads’ (or at least floaty torso and up), one cannot help be consider just how damn good Ben Mendelsohn looks as an Imperial Director. Also, the Star Wars marketing team has gone ‘all in’ on the tropical beach imagery for this advertising campaign, both in Japan and in the USA.

You can find the rest of the posters over at ImpAwards.

Trailer: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

ben-nedohlson-SWRO

We just live in this world now. A world in which we’ll be getting a new Star Wars trailer about every four months or so. And I think most of us are fine with that. Perhaps the most exciting thing for fans with this awakening of The Force (that is capitalized is it not?), is the names of the directors being asked to help guide the projects. We’re finally going into some (hopefully) new directions, creatively speaking, with the series in names like Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper) and Phil Lord & Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street) taking the helm.

Also for the first time, we’re getting major studio versions of what we might call “spin-offs” from the series. It’s the same universe and larger over-arcing story, but new characters and personal stories that fit into the battle of dark vs. light that don’t necessarily revolve around the Skywalker lineage. Case in point, 2016’s Rogue One will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla); cashing in on his ability to work with Kaiju in favor of All-Terrain Armored Transports.

Rogue One casts a whole slew of recognizable names including Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Diego Luna and more! This international cast brings more than just interesting faces, it brings some newer ideas to the table as well such as old school martial arts.

As glossy as portions of this trailer are, it hints at a darker look at Star Wars as well; a grittiness if you will. I hope to see that sort of creative look and feel to the Star Wars universe over the next few years. When churning out a new Star Wars film every year for the foreseeable future, there is certainly a risk of going into the Marvel (i.e. “vanilla”) territory. Hopefully, these names will be allowed to be a little bit more creative as time goes on. I think this trailer does flirt with that notion just a bit.

Ladies and Gentlemen… Rogue One: A Star Wars Story…

Super Ticket Episode 7 – The Death Gantry

sw-super-ticket

The dream has become a reality. We now live in a world in which the sequel to Return of the Jedi is actually in existence. New heroes, old Jedi. Wookies, story board decisions, gender politics. Poor casting, use of CGI vs practical, box offfice numbers. Prognostication, the generational differences, the marketing. And it’s cold outside, so put on your coat!

Yes, there’s so much to get into with the latest installment of the Star Wars saga from director J.J. Abrams so we cover as much as we can in 75 minutes. The majority of the Super Ticket cast was completely enamored and in true wonder with the spectacle; but there is a vocal minority in here and he will not be silenced. Come forth young Padawans and receive your lesson for the day from Mamo! and The Cinecast. This is The Super Ticket: Episode VII.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and may the force be with you!

 

 
 

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Eat Your Warmed Over Sugar Porridge That Came In The Fancy Box: Musings on Star Wars 7

Kurt killjoys the Star Wars euphoria of the masses. And, yea *SPOILERS* are ahead.

The movie-magic for me, was not in any way ‘awakened’ by this ‘new’ story in the most popular corner of fandom. I believe the title, The Force Awakens is meant to indicate a return to (original trilogy) form to a certain type of Star Wars geek. I am older, and if not particularly wiser, my tastes have, over time, simply evolved out of this universe. One which boils down the massive diversity of species and life of and massive galactic empire where everyone of any importance is directly related to everyone else of importance a single bloodline dynasty rife with convenient coincidences. In the vast reaches of space, millions of worlds (sadly, each one consisting of only a single climate) with trillions of sentient folks struggling about their lives, the Skywalker brood (and ancestors) are the only damn thing that enacts change. The ‘Balancing Of The Force’ is a convenient reason, but ask yourself, doesn’t it feel a bit small when everyone of importance is related to everyone else of importance in this galaxy far, far, away?

The endless merchandising, from bedsheets and lunch boxes to laptops and cellphones, and fumbled prequel trilogy, which at the turn of the century put perhaps too much emphasis on technology patents and too little on delivering fun. I am old enough to have seen all the original films in the theatre and this 2015 chapter is looking a lot like a glossy, lazy re-do of Star Wars (or for younglings, Episode IV: A New Hope.) I cannot think of a smaller, more timid way to ‘win back the four quadrants of movie-goer’ after the prequels. This is not visual myth-making, this is a 10 year corporate business plan, and the only way in which the new film is at odds with Lucas’ originals, which were in the sprit of classic movie serials and the samurai films of Kurosawa, but also, very much an original vision with surprising twists and turns along the way.

In the fuzzy 21st century fashion of reboots, remakes, and re-envisioning, we get J.J. Abrams, a fan-first, filmmaker-second who does renovated homage with a high sheen on it, rather than pushing out new ideas, concepts. The story line is so utterly familiar, the beats so well known that the ‘surprises’ it attempts fall flat, not to mention obligatory. This all seems so familiar: A droid carrying plans hooks up with a spunky orphan (now a girl instead of a boy) on a desert planet, to be whisked away on the Millennium Falcon, a stop-over in a kooky smuggler bar, Hitler inspired baddies blowing up planets (here 5 instead of one), the marshaling of a rag-tag rebel army on a planet targeted for destruction by (bigger) Death Star. Apparently the force is the all powerful force that surrounds us, and keeps the powers that be doing the same goddamn thing, with only the slightest cosmetic changes and updated special effects. A lightsaber with electric cross-guards, a new decree-by-hologram Emperor, A conflicted black-caped wearing villain, Domhnall Gleeson poorly imitating Peter Cushing, a lady-Yoda, Tunisian sunsets, and the death of a mentor as witnessed by wide-eyed young things. The destruction of Coruscant, or whatever anonymous city planet here also feels like the lazy destruction of Spock’s home-world in the Star Trek reboots (also courtesy by Mr. Abrams, how favours ‘cool and fast’ over ‘smart and considered’ every time).

I paid to see the most expensive fan film that money can buy. Slavery to ‘the rules’ is no way to make a movie, no matter how good the characters are. In this chapter’s defence, Poe, Rey, Ren, BB8 and Fin are all wonderful new faces and their short three-letter handles, memorable and instantly iconic; they go a long way to making the universe a little more inclusive of race and gender. No matter how sharp the one liners, nor how beautiful the cinematography, this is fan service on the $250 million dollar scale, to be lapped up by an undemanding audience. Who ever made the They Live mashup of the poster for this film was a genius.

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