Tag Archives: Star Wars

The Force Is Strong in This One

I’ve been sidelined this week by a physical therapy issue, but in the meantime, here is one of the most adorable and powerful kids on the planet. Only wish Carrie Fisher could still be with us to receive the plans directly.

 

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Women in Film – Part 1: 2016 Review

It’s time to get back into the topic I’ve been trying to do annually for a few years now on how female actresses are doing in box office power in the big budget action, SFF, thriller, action comedies and horror films of each year – the mostly bigger money, bigger press or “cool” films that can catapult actors into a very high tax bracket. In the previous year of 2015, women packed a lot of punch in their roles in franchises and led in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and several other quite successful films, so 2015 ended up being a bigger year for the actresses than expected. 2016 did not quite match it, perhaps, in buzz, but at the same time, it marked a genuine shift and momentum that has been developing since 2012. Actresses are still struggling with blocks to their participation in film, but have firmly established themselves in action and big budget, a trend much less likely to reverse at this point.

A good chunk of that is again due to the folks at Star Wars/Disney. Needing a placeholder movie for 2016 to tide people over till Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the end of this year, the Star Wars machine planned their first supplementary prequel film for December 2016 — Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which covers the desperate mission to obtain the plans for the Death Star taken out in the very first Star Wars movie, A New Hope. That was a bit special and the filmmakers did some rather special things with it. They first off made the story a grimmer, tragic, bitter war flick along the lines of The Dirty Dozen or The Guns of Navarone (which let’s face it, always pleases critics and fanboys.) They CGI-wizarded one of the late great actors of the original Star Wars films, Peter Cushing, into a useful cameo and made excellent use of Darth Vader, (nice to hear James Earl Jones having fun with the voice again.) They came up with my now favorite robot, K2, voiced by the beloved Alan Tudyk in full snarky form.

And they decided, even though Force Awakens had been a woman-led story, to have Rogue One be one too, with Felicity Jones playing Jyn Erso, daughter of the designer of the Death Star, who leads a rogue platoon to go get the plans and try to reach her father. They expected the film to do well in December but not quite in Force Awakens territory. But the dramatic caper was a huge hit, coming in as the second most successful movie of the year, with over a billion worldwide box office and still going. Even if you argue that Star Wars has a bit of a built-in safety factor as a franchise, that the new SW movies have both been women led and done phenomenally does more than trickle, trickle erode the argument that women can’t open big movies well. And Rogue One is also set up to have solidified the change in the toy industry after Rey in Force Awakens forced the issue – lots of Jyn action figures and related merchandise, doing very well.

“I rebel.”

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Various Geek Article Links

Some interesting bits and news from the Internet:

 

Mindy at Skepchick ponders the science of Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ Starkiller base

And speaking of Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ Starkiller base, blogger Matty Granger fisks and debunks a really obnoxious article in the Huffington Post about plot holes in the movie. Not that there weren’t any plot holes in the movie, but I agree with Granger that there’s a big difference between inattention and actual plot holes.  Plus, it’s just a fun piece if you’re a Star Wars fan.

An announcement that Vanessa Hudgens will headline a new DC Comics sitcom. Which sounds like an interesting experiment.

The New York Times digs out a business piece from 1985 expressing that laptops and mobile computers is going to be a limited market, just to show that tech prediction is frequently not very predictive about how we’ll use tech.

Author Kevin Hearne gets author Ursula Vernon to do her rant about the potato apocalypse on Twitter.

An interesting experiment based on the Harry Potter world, though she seems to have cheated a good bit.

A rundown on everything you need to know about upcoming Disney movies. (The Mouse will not be stopped!)

 

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Videos for a Rainy Friday Evening

My desk looks like a tube of paper exploded on it. So have some entertaining videos:

1) The wonderfully clever short film called Darth Baby’s Lightsaber. This is my new favorite Star Wars parody:

2) The amazing group Arstidir (close as I can get to reprinting properly,) sing an old Icelandic hymn in the stunning acoustics of a German train station:

3) Dan Newbie‘s rendering of the theme to Game of Thrones on water glasses, jugs and pans:

4) The trailer for the up-coming new t.v. show, Constantine, adapted from the comics and airing on NBC in the U.S., which looks pretty good:

5) The trailer for the new New Zealand mockumentary film about vampires, What We Do in the Shadows. I’m hoping it gets widely distributed:*    *Apparently, it’s not a film; it’s a t.v. series, which is even better.

6) And lastly, an amazing street performer reproduces Bumblebee from the Transformer movies in Michigan. I don’t know if this is the same guy as the one in New Orleans but it seems very likely, and I don’t know who he is but the special effects people in Hollywood should hire him:

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy May the 4th Everyone!

star-wars-old

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May 4, 2014 · 1:28 PM

April Fools Humor

I spent April 1st in a chocolate chip cookie coma after a crazy weekend, but others were busy making really silly April Fool’s Day jokes. Top of the list in SFFH was John Scalzi and his publisher Tor. Two years ago, Scalzi created a book cover mock-up for an imaginary epic fantasy trilogy he was supposedly writing called Shadow War of the Night Dragons. This was such a success that he wrote an imaginary prologue for the imaginary first book of the imaginary trilogy, published on Tor.com and it got nominated for a Hugo for Best Short Story. Last year, Tor paid a cover artist to do three mockups of the imaginary manga comics editions of the imaginary trilogy.  So this year, they had to top themselves. Enter the runaway trainwreck of Shadow War of the Night Dragons — the Broadway musical, complete with an audio expose of the fall-out between Scalzi and his musical collaborators, Paul and Storm, a situation exposed by an article from Tor.com that Scalzi threatens to sue them over. You can check out the fun with these links:

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/04/shadow-war-musical-john-scalzi

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/04/01/addressing-the-rumors/

http://www.paulandstorm.com/songs/#shadowwar

Also:

Amazon Announces Purchase of English:

http://www.themillions.com/2013/04/amazon-announces-purchase-of-english.html

Brent Weeks is doing children’s books:

http://www.brentweeks.com/2013/03/brents-new-childrens-book/

And the Star Wars universe has a new series:

http://star-wars.suvudu.com/2013/04/star-wars-fiction-goes-full-tilt-del-rey-to-adapt-boba-fett-pinball.html

Hope everyone had a lovely day of humor and laughter!

 

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More Hollywood Musings

When it was announced that Disney had acquired LucasFilm with George Lucas’ blessing for a tidy sum, it seemed an interesting development. Lucas’ sound and special effects shops alone made the company very valuable and the current t.v. animation and games for Star Wars certainly presented Disney with a lot of opportunities. When Disney announced that they would indeed be making the final trilogy of Star Wars movies, set later on after the success of the rebellion plot-wise — movies that Lucas had planned out long ago, but then decided would never be filmed —  there was a resounding cheer. After watching Lucas butcher his original series, albeit with great financial success, with the prequel trilogy, most Star Wars fans were happy to have the franchise in somebody else’s hands. And the sequel trilogy could go any number of places rather than be bogged down by the past mythology like the prequels, building on the groundwork laid out in the carefully coordinated tie-in novels or not, as needed. So while some were a bit uneasy about what the House of the Mouse might do to the franchise, overall the reaction was positive.

Then Disney announced that producer/director J.J. Abrams would be directing the new Star Wars movie, and I was a lot less happy. I have utterly nothing against Abrams, who has done a lot of interesting work on his own as a director/writer and also produced/mentored a whole lot more of new, young talent, particularly in the SFFH field, in both television and movies. He breathed some new life into the Mission Impossible franchise and handled the reboot of Star Trek with masterly aplomb, the newest installment for which is coming out this summer.  But that’s the point. Star Wars and Star Trek are not only the two biggest sci-fi entertainment franchises, they are the biggest world franchises ever.  A director, especially one who writes and produces, often simultaneously, leaves a distinctive imprint on his or her work. Having both major franchises have the same imprint,  at around the same time no less, leads inevitably to a blanding out of creative craft and larger obstacles for new talent to come to the fore. If Abrams had wanted to be involved with Star Wars, then as a producer with a stable of hotshot directors on hand, he could have produced and brought one of them in to direct. (Which would certainly be in the Lucas tradition.) Instead, we’ve essentially had the reins of pop culture handed over to one guy, because Hollywood seems to be under the impression that only about five people at a time should be the big guns. (For instance, Jeremy Renner — love him, can understand why they like using him, but seriously, are there no other male actors to headline in major action franchises anymore? Don’t be surprised if he pops up in Star Wars and Star Trek now too. )

However, at least I think Abrams is good at his jobs and there is the prospect of the new movies, going off in new directions. And then it was just announced that Disney will do “spin-off” movies about young Han Solo, young Boba Fett, maybe a Yoda movie. No doubt some folk will really like this idea and it’s understandable that Disney wants to milk every aspect and keep the sales of Yoda dolls up, but for me, it’s just retreading water. I will probably enjoy the new Star Wars movie, but I am a good bit less enthused about the whole thing now.

Speaking of Abrams, though, Josh Holloway, who played conman Sawyer on Abrams’ co-originated t.v. show Lost, was on that show at one point playing a cop version of Sawyer in an alternate reality that turned out to be relevant for the end of the highly mythologized show. His playing the cop version of the character was so popular that people wished there could be some sort of spin off of it. Well, Holloway is coming back to television in a new show, and while he’s not playing a cop, he is playing an intelligence operative, which is basically a spy cop. The show, Intelligence, is about a special cyber unit, and Holloway will play an agent who has been implanted with a microchip that allows him access to the whole electromagnetic spectrum. So basically science hokum, but what they will do with it should be fun. Oddly or maybe not so oddly these days, ABC Studios (owned by Disney) is producing the show but it will air on CBS.

And speaking of cops, the most excellent Andre Braugher has survived the knew-from-the-start-it-was-going-to-tank submarine treason conspiracy series Last Resort‘s cancellation to land on a sitcom pilot which is potentially the new vehicle for SNL comedian Andy Samberg. The untitled comedy is being considered by Fox and essentially rechannels the great 1970’s show Barney Miller, focusing on a division of cops. Braugher will play the precinct’s no-nonsense captain. If the show gets on, expect a lot of inside jokes about Homicide, on which Braugher so brilliantly performed as police detective Frank Pembleton. (And speaking of Barney Miller, its star Hal Linden, now about 82 years old, did a wonderful guest spot on Supernatural as a rabbi mage who fought Nazis. It was lovely to see him. He also popped up on The Mindy Project recently. Everything is connected!)

 

 

 

 

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