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.


  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.


  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.


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

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. . . .

How the Star Wars Expanded Universe is Different Now

Heir to the Empire - LegendsA little over a year ago, I wrote an article called “What the New Star Wars Trilogy means for the Expanded Universe.” At the time I said that the current Expanded Universe is now part of an alternate timeline, and it turns out that I got that absolutely right. just reported about what the new Star Wars EU is going to be like, as well as what’s happening to the current EU. Here’s the simple explanation:

All current parts of the Expanded Universe will continue to be published as long as the demand for the content is there, under the title “Legends.” Any content that was made for film or TV is considered to be canon. Creators of future stories in the newly defined canon are allowed to use ideas and content from the Legends Universe, whenever appropriate.

Read the rest of this entry »

Disney’s Ultimate Plan: The road to Muppet Babies on DVD and Blu-ray

Muppet BabiesAbout a year ago, Disney made the ultimate purchase.  One that made my dreams of seeing more Star Wars films on the big screen possible.  They bought Lucasfilm.  It was this purchase that has actually completed a project that I am now convinced was the plan from the time they bought the Jim Henson Company back in 2004 for an undisclosed amount somewhere around $200 million.  It was actually a much longer journey as Disney had originally purchased distribution rights to all of the Jim Henson Company productions way back in 1991.  It took until September of 2008 before Disney finally rebranded the Muppets Holding Company as Muppet Studios, and placed it under new leadership.

With phase one complete, it was time to begin work on phase two: the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment.  This was a massive purchase costing $4.24 billion.  Disney needed to get control of Marvel Productions, and this was one way that they could do so.  They didn’t want to have any red-tape, even though they very likely had all of the rights they needed thanks to the acquisition of the Muppets.

Lastly, they needed the final piece of the equation.  They needed the footage that was used from both Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.  And the best way to do that?  Spend $4.06 billion on the purchase of Lucasfilm.  That brought in both franchises.

With the total cost being about $8.5 billion, Disney is very close to being able to achieve their ultimate goal: the release of Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies on DVD and Blu-ray. I had been thinking about the overall purchases that Disney was making, and one day it dawned on me that all of these things were connected.  And with a little bit of research, I found that I wasn’t the only one to think of this.

From what I can gather, the only thing left standing in their way is a simple licensing of some footage from Ghostbusters from Sony Pictures.  Unless they plan on purchasing the rights to the Ghostbusters franchise (which I’d have no problem with, as they seem to just do everything right with the franchises they acquire).  There are also bits from Star Trek: The Next Generation, which belong to Paramount, among a few other things.  It seems to me that we’re as close as ever, and so is Disney.

That’s a pretty large investment so far, though, and I hope that the eventual release of this classic masterpiece of animation works out for them, and they make back the billions they’ve spent in gathering the exclusive rights to the series.

The New Star Wars Trilogy, Episodes VII – IX: Disney and Lucasfilm Present

Star Wars - The New Trilogy - Disney and Lucasfilm PresentSince the announcement that Disney bought Lucasfilm, there has been a wide range of reactions to it, from the very optimistic and positive, to the stunningly negative and outrageous.  There are many reasons to be optimistic though, and I feel there are no valid arguments against Disney at this point.  Within the last few years, Disney has made some pretty smart moves with their acquisitions.  Let’s take a look at that to see why Star Wars is safe in the House of Mouse.

Read the rest of this entry »