Harrison Ford

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Spoiler Free Review)

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Spoiler Free Review)

On May 25, 1977 the realm of film, science fiction and the real world itself changed: the first Star Wars film was unleashed on an unsuspecting public, and nothing has even been the same since. It changed the entire medium for the better and became the film anthem for entire generation. On May 19th, 1999 filmmakers took us back to the universe of Star Wars: also changing the world as we know it, just not in the way any fan could ever imagine. Hate them or love them, the prequels are an endless conversation for the old and new generations.

The third times the charm; as of December 18, 2015 I can safely say the world has changed yet again. As the wind blows back toward something amazing, an era of greatness begins once more for fans from any generation.

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SDCC 2015 – Star Wars in Hall H

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SDCC 2015 – Star Wars in Hall H

We were standing in the Hall H press cage (no really, that’s what it’s called, it’s a little pen by the side of the stage, they keep us quarantined) waiting for the panel to start, and we heard the guys from TheConGuy.com say that this was going to be the biggest event in Comic-Con history.

Thinking it over, they’re right. No disrespect to any other well-loved franchise, but what else can compare to the 15 years we’ve waited for this movie? Sure we had Comic-Con announcements before the Prequels, but we knew none of the original cast would be in those films. This time is different. The footage we’ve seen gives us hope, the interviews sound promising, and we know that the three characters we know best, played by the three actors who gave them life the first time around, are going to be a part of it all.

And the panel at Hall H lived up to everything we’d hoped for.

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Star Wars Episode VII Cast Announced

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Good news for Star Wars fans: Lucasfilm has posted our first look at the cast of the upcoming Episode VII. From the post on the official site:

The Star Wars team is thrilled to announce the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.

Director J.J. Abrams says, “We are so excited to finally share the case of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer. The movie opens worldwide on December 18, 2015.

The website also posted a photo of the cast doing a read-through of the script.

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Movie Issues: Ender’s Game

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Movie Issues: Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game is based on the 1985 science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card, where after an alien race attacks Earth without cause or mercy, the International Fleet prepares for the next invasion by training the best young children to find the future candidate to lead the Fleet into victory. Enter Ender Wiggin, a brilliant young mind, who is recruited and trained to lead his fellow soldiers into a battle that will determine the Earth’s future.

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[SDCC 2013] Divergent and Ender’s Game panel

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[SDCC 2013] Divergent and Ender’s Game panel

For one hour San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H was the stomping ground of two movies based on best-selling novels. The first was Veronica Roth’s Divergent, and the second the long-anticipated Ender’s Game.

The cast and crew of both movies, plus moderator Chris Hardwick, met to show exclusive footage and answer fan questions.

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“Cowboys and Aliens” Trailer Released

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“Cowboys and Aliens” Trailer Released

Cowboys and Aliens is a graphic novel released in 2006 about aliens landing in the Wild West in order to enslave humanity. It was inevitable this story would get a film adaptation.  Yesterday, the very first trailer for the movie, Cowboys and Aliens directed by Jon Favreau, was released. The movie stars Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde; it is produced by Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg. Check out the trailer below:

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Comments Off on K-19: The Widowmaker

K-19: The Widowmaker

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I am disappointed that more people did not like this film. I took copious notes so I know why I liked it. First of all, you can’t complain about the outcome because it is based on recently declassified actual events. It was also co-produced by National Geographic so you probably can’t fault the research. Can I just say, the props alone were enough to send me into a tizzy, and the story is too good to be fiction.

All political and pacifist/patriot notions to the side for a moment, but considering technologically where the US was in 1961, never mind the woefully underfunded Soviet Union, it is absolutely stunning, amazing, what these (and our) sailors were able to achieve with these submarines. Truly amazing. At times I would step out of the story and marvel at the navigational accuracy with no computers, the engineering, the sheer scale of the achievement. Wisely, although it was too sobering at the moment, my companion noted how much could have been achieved in other arenas if all that knowledge and energy and funding had been directed elsewhere, but I refuse to let that too-true notion destroy my appreciation of this film.

I’ll get this out of the way now: it is totally weird hearing Harrison Ford do a Russian accent. He’s no Meryl Streep, but he’s no John Malkovich either, but he was the President of the United States (Air Force One) for goodness’ sake! But he is still the volk of the sea. Liam Neeson, speaking as he always does, was somehow more believable. However, still, not so distracting that I could not enjoy it.

Submarine movies come with their own built-in tension – narrow, confined spaces, the pressure of the ocean depths above you, the terrifying need for silence and careful movement. It’s enough to make you go ga-ga. Add to that the great K-19’s many, many mechnical failures (some due to the excess pride and/or determination to prove himself of her captain, Ford), and the curse-like atmosphere of her launch, and you have got yourself some nail biting moments!

Seriously, I had sweaty palms almost the whole film. Disaster heaps upon disaster – human and mechanical errors compound potential problems, and then it just gets worse, I really was stuck to the screen. The sound and music was also very effective, the tense dives and crushing sea water, the emotional thrum and the increasing hopelessness and panic. By the end, and I mean the “years later” end, I was quite stirred and moved. (And the makeup was great.) Maybe I am easily manipulated, but I was feeling the fear big time during the bulk of the action. It’s a drama, not an action movie. Director Kathryn Bigelow (the hateful Strange Days) knows how brutal men can be to other people, mentally or physically, and she takes them all there.

One of my favorite of the crew members was Vadim Radtchenko, played by Peter Saarsgaard; his performance brought out a lot of my own empathies. Liam and Harrison have their little swordfights and they are well-acted but nothing as spectacular is Saarsgaard’s blubbering 3rd act. Love it! Check it out.

MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 7/19/02
Time in minutes 140
Director Kathryn Bigelow
Studio Paramount

Comments Off on The Devil's Own

The Devil's Own

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Two superstars. A lengthy politically charged plot about IRA terrorists and their human side. Two hours of excellent performances and deep character development. If you don’t know anything about the IRA, you won’t learn anything. Harrison Ford looks ready to pass the marquee stud boy mantle along to Brad Pitt, but then he leaps in and is a great hero like he always is.

I took a while deciding what I thought about this movie, because it was interesting, but at the same time, I didn’t walk away with anything. My butt was sore and I needed to go to the bathroom, but I am glad I saw it.

Some of you may have heard press on interstellar tensions on the set between Ford and Pitt, but on screen they have great chemistry. It’s fairly violent, and some of the Irish accents can get pretty deep if you aren’t used to hearing them. Some folks I have talked to (who might know better, I don’t know) said that they head Brad’s accent was in and out. I thought it was very consistent and fit him well.

This is a much shorter review because it’s one of those movies I just don’t know how I feel about. It’s definitely not a waste of time, but if you have to choose between this and something else (like Sling Blade!) maybe you could rent this later. It will not lose anything but noise and power to the small screen, but it does merit a matinee viewing.

It does not suck, it just doesn’t stick. Like Chinese Food.

MPAA Rating R for strong brutal violence, and for language.
Release date 4/8/97
Time in minutes 110
Director Alan J. Pakula
Studio Columbia Tristar