My Most Anticipated Films of 2016

 

Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryHere is my list of most anticipated films for the year. I think I missed doing this list last year, but I wanted to make sure to put this list together for 2016. We now live in a world where there are new Star Wars films coming out regularly. I’m very excited about that, and have ranked Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as my most anticipated movie of the year. I have a feeling that’s going to be a running theme from now on. Anyway, here are my most anticipated movies of the year. Read the rest of this entry »

My Top Films of 2015

Star Wars: The Force AwakensHere’s my annual list of favorite films for the year. This year had a few surprises for me. I’m really pleased with 2015, and really excited about the films that I managed to see throughout the year. Let’s get started.

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – I’ve been waiting a decade for this. After Revenge of the Sith, I wondered if we’d get any more Star Wars films, and when it was announced that there’d be more, I couldn’t believe it… and then it was here. I almost still don’t believe it. It was everything I wanted it to be, save for one thing… I would have liked more of the old cast to have scenes together. But, as that’s a personal preference thing, and doesn’t actually reflect on the movie that we were given, it bears no weight against it. The characters, the planets, the settings, the acting, the directing, the effects… this one has it all. Including both practical and CGI elements that are seemlessly branched together. It’s also the best Star Wars film since Revenge of the Sith. The last one, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, was more of a prelude to the animated series, and not a very good example of how great that series became as it went on. The Force Awakens has a story that introduces new mysteries, adds to the mythology in important ways, and it has a female in a leading role in a way that is closer in attitude to Princess Leia whenever she carried a gun. I could write volumes about The Force Awakens. Also, to those that felt Star Wars had died with the prequels, welcome back. I’ve been here the whole time… a lot of us have… just please, leave the prequels and George Lucas alone from now on. We’ve got Star Wars films that most of us can agree on being made again… just let it go.
  2. CinderellaCinderella – At Disney’s 2013 D23 Expo they didn’t have much information about this, other than a teaser with the glass slipper. I had never seen the actress playing Cinderella before, but Cate Blanchett (Galadriel in The Hobbit Trilogy and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) was in it as the step-mother and Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) plays her mother. Plus, with Kenneth Branagh (Thor) directing, I knew it’d be at the very least visually stunning. And it was. Plus, the script brought Cinderella to life in a way that was both entertaining and memorable. The prince, this time, isn’t a soulless character without a personality. Instead, there’s a focus on his relationship with his father, the king, which lends itself well to the growth of both the prince and Cinderella. We learn much about both of them through the lens of the king. All of this leads to one of the most powerful themes being played out in just the right place: when Cinderella says her final words to her step-mother before leaving. It’s a home-run and well worth your time.
  3. Inside Out – Pixar has done it again. A film that is as wonderful as I wanted it to be. It captures your imagination and teaches the value of every emotion, including the one that we might think is a bad one: sadness. It brings me back to the lines that Gandalf speaks at the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: “I will not say, ‘do not weep,’ for not all tears are an evil.” That rings true here as well. This is a very well planned out film with an excellent story. It was a very big topic to cover, taking you into the minds of the characters. It’s funny, heart-warming, heart-breaking, and exhilarating.
  4. Jurassic World – Ever since the opening credits of the first Jurassic Park, I’ve wanted this movie. I thought, during the course of Jurassic Park, that eventually we’d get to see the park open with guests experiencing the dinosaurs. Now, three movies later, it’s here, and it’s awesome. I loved seeing the park. It felt like you could actually go there, and I wanted to. Now I can, any time, by playing this movie. I’m looking forward to the sequels, even though the director has moved on to Star Wars: Episode IX.
  5. The Avengers: Age of Ultron – This took things up another notch for Marvel, catapulting every character into new directions and introducing us to a bunch of new Avengers at the same time. It also introduced characters that will become more important as the films continue. It also put the characters into peril that it looked like they would never make it out of, and they’ve actually done some things that will have serious repercussions in the films to come… especially in Captain America: Civil War.
  6. Ant-Man – I didn’t know what to expect from this, but I really liked it. It wasn’t about saving the world, but rather a family. And that’s what made it good. Ant-Man is likely going to be a favorite character for a lot of people now, and that’s not a bad thing.
  7. The Peanuts Movie – I totally expected to be ho-hum about this movie, but the end of the movie was very sweet. I also loved how they managed to capture the right look of each of the characters while making them all very warm. The move to 3D didn’t hurt the feel of the characters at all, and when I watched the Charlie Brown Christmas special again, I wondered what it would be like if it were re-animated with the look of this movie. Probably even more magical (not that it’ll ever be done).
  8. The Good Dinosaur – Pixar’s second original film of 2015. I expected greater things from this. It had a scene that was very simple and very emotional. The movie went through a very tumultuous time of re-development, and it shows. However, near every shot of the film could be framed and put up on your wall. It’s beautiful. Not the best, but absolutely beautiful.
  9. The Hunger Games – Mockingjay: Part 2 – It’s over.. I was curious about where it was all going, and how it was all going to end, and here it is. It was kind of a doozy. After all the build-up, the wrap up, I felt, could have been a little longer, but it was fairly sufficient. I don’t think it quite had the effect I was hoping for, of elevating the first part of Mockingjay to a new level. Catching Fire is definitely the best part of the story. But it was still very high quality and well acted.

Not completely new

  1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition – Absolutely stunning. Better than it was in theaters, The Hobbit is now, actually complete. This was truly awesome and belongs on my list of top movies of the year. It was already my number 1 movie of 2014, and this just solidifies that ranking. It’s definitely the best movie to come out of 2014.

Disappointments

  1. Tomorrowland – I thought this, based on the trailer, would have a lot more set in Tomorrowland. Instead, it was about a journey to find our way into Tomorrowland… which had inexplicably fallen apart. I love the look of Tomorrowland… and really wanted the entirety of the movie to be set in Tomorrowland. It’s a shame that we couldn’t spend more time there. My own expectations aside, the movie was just okay. I wish that it was better.
  2. The Fantastic Four – The first two acts of this were fantastic. Better than the other two Fantastic Four movies. The third act was where it fell apart. The end battle with Dr. Doom was not what it should have been. It was fast and very weak. Plus, it seems that Fox has cancelled the sequel to this film. That’s a bit of a shame because the cast was great.

Missed

  1. Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom – My wife doesn’t really like monkeys so we wound up skipping this one. We’ll definitely be checking out Disneynature’s Born in China this year, though.
  2. Terminator Genisys – I meant to see this one, and I still want to. I hear a variety of things about this, both positive and negative, but until I see it for myself, I won’t know the truth.
  3. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – This was the first Mission: Impossible that I missed on the big screen. I hope to see it soon. So far, only 3 and 4 are any good, so I’m hoping that this fifth one continues that.
  4. The Visit – I don’t like when M. Night Shyamalan does straight up horror, so I intentionally skipped this one in theaters. I’ll watch it at home, but I don’t have very high hopes. I’m really looking forward to another great thriller from him.
  5. Everest – This looked interesting, but I’m not sure if I’ll be seeing this anytime soon.

Not on my radar / simply haven’t seen / couldn’t be bothered

  1. Furious 7 (Haven’t seen any of the others, why start now?)
  2. Minions (…)
  3. The Martian (Hear it was better than Interstellar, which isn’t saying much. Maybe will see it. Maybe not.)
  4. Spectre (I’ve not really seen much Bond. At all.)
  5. San Andreas (I like this kind of movie, so I’ll be watching this soon. Picked up the Blu-ray on sale.)
  6. Mad Max: Fury Road (Not a fan.)
  7. Creed (Curious about this. Maybe someday.)
  8. Taken 3 (haven’t seen any of them)
  9. Maze Runner 2 (haven’t seen Maze Runner 1)
  10. Paddington (Hear it was great. I’ll be watching this soon.)
  11. Bridge of Spies (Spielberg. I’ll be watching this soon-ish.)
  12. Ex Machina (Been hearing people talk highly of this. Has two cast members from the best movie of the year.)
  13. Shaun the Sheep Movie (Love Wallace and Gromit… this is a spin off.)
  14. Divergent: Insurgent (Series feels like a Hunger Games light.. probably will see this one someday.)

What happened after the Battle of Endor? Find out in Aftermath

Star Wars: AftermathAftermath, a Star Wars novel set after Return of the Jedi, was written by Chuck Wendig. It will be released on September 4th, 2015, just over three months before Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases to theaters.

If you’ve been curious about what happened after the Battle of Endor, especially since the Expanded Universe has been retconned, this is a book that you’ll want to read. And this is the new canon in the Star Wars universe.

From StarWars.com:

The second Death Star has been destroyed. Rumors are flying that the Emperor and his enforcer, Darth Vader, are dead. A new government is forming to replace the Empire. But the galaxy is a big place, and the fallout of this cataclysm will affect different worlds in different ways. Does everyone accept the fall of Imperial rule? Has everyone even heard the life-altering news? What rushes in to fill the vacuum the Empire has left? And who will try to stop them?

Order Star Wars: Aftermath from Amazon.com

From Amazon:

Journey to The Force Awakens.

The second Death Star is destroyed. The Emperor and his powerful enforcer, Darth Vader, are rumored to be dead. The Galactic Empire is in chaos.

Across the galaxy, some systems celebrate, while in others Imperial factions tighten their grip. Optimism and fear reign side by side.

And while the Rebel Alliance engages the fractured forces of the Empire, a lone Rebel scout uncovers a secret Imperial meeting. . . .

Ghostbusters Cinematic Universe is coming from Sony Pictures’ Ghost Corps

Dan Aykroyd and Ivan ReitmanI’ve been a big fan of Ghostbusters for as long as I can remember. Director Paul Feig is currently making a movie featuring four women as Ghostbusters, and they’re shooting for a PG-13 rating (which I’m kind of worried about). I had been upset with the direction that the new movie was taking. I’m not against the idea of women being Ghostbusters at all. I would rather not have an entire team composed of women exclusively. I’d have been fine with any combination of men and women on the team, as has happened in the comics and cartoons over the years. I have been hoping for a Ghostbusters 3 since the credits rolled on Ghostbusters 2 when I saw it on the big screen as a kid. I’m never really against getting a sequel to a great movie, because if it’s great there’s more to love. If it’s awful, it’s easily ignored. I also own more Ghostbusters collectibles than anyone probably should.

Now I have reason to hope once more. After Sony made their deal with Disney’s Marvel Studios to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they were left with a load of release dates from cancelled Spider-Man related projects. Everything from The Amazing Spider-Man 3 to Venom to The Sinister Six, as well as a potential Black Cat movie (or another female lead Spider-Man spin-off) and a potential Aunt May film that sounded kind of like Agent Carter. It would have been interesting to see how this Spider-Man Cinematic Universe would have looked, but Marvel Studios didn’t want to over-crowd cinemas with their movies, for possibly because it could weaken the comic book movie brand considerably.

Sony took a good look at the properties they had in development, and decided that they’d finally attempt to create something they can legitimately call their own, without fear of losing it to another studio. That could have been something like Men in Black, and there are rumors about that as well.

For now, they’ve created a studio called Ghost Corps (pronounced Ghost Core), which features original Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd and Ghostbusters 1 & 2 director Ivan Reitman. Their goal is to bring Ghostbusters to a larger scale, with a larger cinematic universe, television and merchandising. And it all starts with Paul Feig’s movie.

After that, there’s a possible male-lead Ghostbusters film that is rumored to star Channing Tatum and Chris Pratt (and I personally hope that Bill Hader and Emma Stone join that team). That film could be directed by the Russo’s (Captain America: The Winter SoldierCaptain America: Civil War), and would probably be shot during the summer of 2016. The film currently lists Channing Tatum as a producer, with no actors attached, and the Tatum/Pratt team-up could be related to the leaked Sony e-mails from Tatum in which he wanted to make a Ghostbusters film in which he and Pratt would star.

The next film would be an Avengers style team up, to take on a larger supernatural threat. And I’ve also read that a fourth film would possibly be a prequel to all of these movies. This prequel likely would not include the surviving original Ghostbusters, because of the red tape due to the rights to the characters. However, seeing as Aykroyd and Reitman are involved, I wouldn’t count that possibility out entirely.

There is also the possibility of the return of the comics, hopefully with the return of the same creative team behind the IDW line that was so excellent. It also could mean another animated series, which is something else that I’m really excited about (and another reason why I question that the use of the characters from the original movie could be much of a rights issue). IDW is currently preparing their second mini-series since the cancellation of the on-going series. Hopefully they maintain the rights to the brand well into the future, as their work has been excellent.

Sony is serious enough about this that Reitman is moving his entire staff of his production banner The Montecito Picture Co. onto the studio lot to focus on this endeavor. Montecito and Ghost Corps will be separate entities, however.

“We want to expand the Ghostbusters universe in ways that will include different films, TV shows, merchandise, all things that are part of modern filmed entertainment,” Reitman said. “This is a branded entertainment, a scary supernatural premise mixed with comedy. Paul Feig’s film will be the first version of that, shooting in June to come out in July 2016. He’s got four of the funniest women in the world, and there will be other surprises to come. The second film has a wonderful idea that builds on that. Drew will start writing and the hope is to be ready for the Russo Brothers’ next window next summer to shoot, with the movie coming out the following year. It’s just the beginning of what I hope will be a lot of wonderful movies. My primary focus will be to build the Ghostbusters into the universe it always promised it might become. The original film is beloved, as is the cast, and we hope to create films we will continue to love.”

What do you think of the idea of the Ghostbusters Cinematic Universe?

tl;dr: Sony Pictures created a production company called Ghost Corps. Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd are part of that company. They’re creating a Ghostbusters Cinematic Universe starting with Paul Feig’s movie. A second movie could be directed by the Russo’s starring Channing Tatum and Chris Pratt, with a third film being a team-up, and a fourth being a prequel. Ghost Corps is also creating other outlets for the brand including TV and merchandise.

New Ghostbusters Comic Book Mini-series gets ‘Real’

Ghostbusters Get RealSince the end of the on-going Ghostbusters comic book from IDW, they’ve been keeping things going a bit with mini-series. It started pretty much immediately with their four part team up: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / Ghostbusters. There had been nothing new since then, but now we have another mini-series coming that will bring the team together with The Real Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters Gets Real is expected to ship in June.

Ghostbusters: Get Real #1 (of 4)—GEM OF THE MONTH
Erik Burnham (w) • Dan Schoening (a & c)
When a confrontation with the elder God Proteus goes awry, Peter, Ray, Winston and Egon will meet… THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Ghostbusters: Get Real #1 (of 4)—Subscription Variant
Erik Burnham (w) • Dan Schoening (a) • Erica Henderson (c)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
•Featuring the creative team of the smash hit Ghostbusters Ongoing and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters series!
•Check out the variant cover from Erica “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” Henderson!

via GhostbustersNews

Nintendo’s Next Console is Codenamed ‘NX’; And they’re going Mobile

Link in Zelda for Wii UNintendo announced today that they’re teaming up with a company called DeNA to bring their characters to mobile platforms. It’s going to be huge for the company, as their characters are well loved and the primary reason that most people still buy Nintendo consoles. It’s the reason I do. I don’t have an Xbox One or a PS4, but I do own a Wii U. It’s pretty much all that I play because it’s got great games and its’ backwards compatible with my large collection of Wii titles.

Nintendo’s chief Satoru Iwata commented: “As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename ‘NX.'”

Details about the new console will be revealed in 2016. Nintendo is very good at coming up with game-changing ways to play, and the addition of motion control gaming with the Wii was a significant change in the gaming world.

One interesting thing is that you could see where Nintendo was headed almost before they went there. I remember when I got the Wii, and they had motion control, I wondered what was next. I thought they would do something that would allow them to bring DS games to the virtual console. Then they showed the game pad for the Wii U console at an E3 show. But this time there are not precedent setting things, that they’re doing.

Here’s are a few thoughts:

VR/AR: Seems to be the hot direction right now in tech. They did try a while back with Virtual Boy, but that was their only real fail.

3D: Now that the New Nintendo 3DS has eye tracking, it could be included here.

New Wii U gamepad: It could be a new Gamepad to replace the one that currently comes with Wii U, that has all of the above included.

Nintendo

The chart above makes me feel that Nintendo is, in fact, going to create a new dedicated system which will act as a successor to Wii U.

Supergirl Costume Revealed

SupergirlThey’ve revealed the costume that Supergirl will wear in the pilot for what could become a television series next fall. It’s actually a good and modest costume that is faithful to the source material. There have been many costumes for Supergirl, but this one seems to be a good blend of the iconic costumes she’s worn.

She also has the proper amount of innocence to her, and you can practically read her personality with only the look on her face. Supergirl is played by Melissa Benoist in for the TV series. I’ve never seen her in anything before, but recognize the names of some of the shows and movies that she’s a part of.

If the show is picked up to series, it will air on CBS starting this fall. DC is really firing on all cylinders these days, with a cinematic universe kicking off in earnest with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016. Since Smallville went off the air, they’ve successfully launched Arrow and The Flash, and made some attempts at bringing Wonder Woman back to the small screen, with one attempt a few years ago, followed by another called Amazon.

I read a run of Supergirl comics by Peter David back in the 90s that I enjoyed.

SUPERGIRL_First_Look_1_embed

New Ghostbusters Trading Cards are Coming

Ghostbusters BinderAs a massive fan of Ghostbusters, it’s been exciting to see all of the new things being released over the past seven years or so. There have been tons of action figures, pop vinyl, video games, comic books, and more, all leading up to the eventual release of more movies. This year there was also a Kickstarter for Ghostbusters: The Board Game.  The company behind that game is also creating a set of Ghostbusters Trading Cards.

The base set contains 63 cards with images from the original Ghostbusters motion picture. While it is unclear what else is going to be included, the listing on their website says that it will contain images from the fan favorite films, so that could mean Ghostbusters 2 as well, in some regard. It also mentions The Real Ghostbusters and the IDW comic book series.

There will also be randomly inserted autographed cards, hand-drawn sketch cards and authentic animation cel cards. Plus, they are also going to release a binder that includes an exclusive card that you’ll only find there.

Here are the details about the set:

Packs: 5 Cards per pack, 24 packs per box

Base Set: 63 card base set

Chase Sets: (TBD)

Parallel Sets: Printing Plates (insertion rate to be determined)

Inserts: Autograph cards (TBD); Hand-drawn Sketch cards (TBD); The Real Ghostbusters Animation Cel cards (TBD)

Binder: 1″ binder contains an exclusive card

Release: The 3rd Quarter of 2015