Tag Archives: cool movies

Trailer Thursday: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

I know I’m a week late on this one, but seeing as we have watched this badass new Star Wars trailer probably a hundred times this last week alone there was just no way I could not share it here. In the past week I have been training my own little Jedi on the history and lore of the Star Wars universe and priming her for what to expect from the next chapter, J.J. Abrams hotly-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Hell, I even sat through The Return of the Jedi with her on Sunday. Greta loved it, but let me tell ya, Jedi has not aged well, amigos. There were a few scenes that were so bad they actually made me question whether The Phantom Menace really is the worst film in the series. I mean, some of those “heavy acting” scenes with Luke and Leia…yikes! Needless to say, Greta and I are ready to get this new trilogy started already! Seriously, when can we get in line?!

And now, even though you’ve probably seen it a hundred plus times already yourself, here again is the second official trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Happy Trailer Thursday!

 

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“Star Wars: Rebels”

OK, I tend to be pretty generous where Star Wars is concerned. I worshipped the original trilogy as a kid, I loved the second two prequel films (Revenge of the Sith actually made me cry at the end!) and I thought the various iterations of the animated Clone Wars series were pretty solid with a few moments of true greatness peppered throughout. But, the latest addition to the Star Wars universe, the DisneyXD animated series, Star Wars: Rebels is straight up amazing!

I never thought I would say it, but, selling Star Wars to Disney a few years back just might be the smartest thing George Lucas has done in decades! Rather than water down and Disney-fy the franchise, the influx of new ideas and behind-the-scenes talent like Clone Wars veteran Dave Filoni and Star Wars über fan, director/producer Simon Kinberg has injected new life into what many fans once saw as a creatively bankrupt franchise, at best.

I mean, sure, I've watched just about everything that's been churned out over the past decade, but that doesn't mean it's always been good. But if the rest of the season lives up to Star Wars: Rebels' thrilling, action-packed pilot “movie,” then sign my Jedi ass up!

Seriously, this is top-notch Star Wars storytelling here! Cool, beautifully crafted characters with actual backstories and emotions, awesome action set pieces and best of all, one of the coolest storylines since the original trilogy. Set five years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Rebels follows the adventures of the ragtag crew of the Ghost as they sow the seeds of rebellion in a galaxy that has begun to grow weary of the galactic empire.

I know that sounds impossibly geeky, and it is, but it's also one hell of a ride. Centered around the adventures of the newest member of the Ghost crew, a Force sensitive orphan named Ezra, Rebels really went into overdrive when they revealed that the leader of the Ghost team, Kanan Jarrus, is actually one of the last surviving Jedi knights. Cooler still is the fact that Jarrus offers to train Ezra in the ways of the Force is he joins them. Does it get any cooler than that? Seriously, Greta and I were cheering out loud when Jarrus whipped out his lightsaber for the first time. So rad!

Of course, we're only on the third episode, so, the series could totally fall apart at any minute, but for now, I'm basking in Star Wars perfection. It's been a long time since there was anything this good in the new Star Wars universe and I'm gonna enjoy it!

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Trailer Thursday: “Interstellar”

Since premiering at Comic Con a couple of weeks ago, this new, extended trailer for the upcoming flick Interstellar has been thrilling sci-fi geeks everywhere. I finally saw it yesterday without having heard anything about the movie and I was totally along for the ride based on the, pun intended, “stellar” cast involved alone.

But once I saw that the mad genius at the helm was Christopher-freaking-Nolan, well, that pretty much sealed the deal. I literally cannot wait to see this movie! So cool!!

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Trailer Thursday: “Boyhood”

I’ve been a huge fan of writer-director Richard Linklater’s work since his mid-90’s glory days of Slacker, Before Sunrise and Dazed and Confused. Hell, I even dig most of the big studio movies he directed for hire as well. For while projects like School of Rock and the hilarious Bad News Bears remake with Billy Bob Thornton might not have penned by Linklater, they are still totally infused with this distinctly Linklater-ish warmth and offbeat humor.

Of course, School of Rock was written by another one of my film geek heroes, the super cool Mike White, and features a bunch of very cute kids playing music (which Greta absolutely loves!) so, it’s got that going for it as well.

Anyway, I’m always excited to see what Linklater’s got cooking, but, this new trailer for his upcoming flick Boyhood totally threw me for a loop. Simply put, it looks amazing!

Shot over twelve years with the same actors (newcomer Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, among others) the movie follows Coltrane’s life in real time like no other movie I can think of. Sure, Michael Apted’s critically-acclaimed Up series covers similar terrain, but, those films are documentaries. Linklater’s fictional story about one boy’s coming of age looks like something totally new and boldy-original.

I can’t even imagine the level of patience something like this would take to make. Wow. And as a parent who has watched the last five years fly by, the changes in Coltrane’s appearance as he ages literally took my breath away. Wow!

So, even if the movie itself totally sucks, I applaud Linklater for tackling something so totally outside the box. Enjoy the clip and kudos to you, Mr. Linklater…long may you innovate!

 

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Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)

I don’t know about you guys, but, I’m still kind of reeling from the death yesterday of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Not only was he one of my all-time favorite actors, but he was also the kind of reliably brilliant character actor (like John Goodman) that you’d hope to see onscreen in killer parts large and small for years to come. Sadly, that was not to be…

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Although it’s little comfort right now, the fact that Hoffman left behind such a remarkable and diverse body of work is pretty awesome. He was usually my favorite character in anything he was in, and I loved him in everything, but, my favorite role of Hoffman’s is probably his turn as a home health care nurse in Paul Thomas Anderson’s crazy masterpiece Magnolia.

It’s not Hoffman’s showiest role and he could easily be eclipsed by the onscreen theatrics of his co-stars Tom Cruise and Julianne Moore, but there is a quiet grace in his performance that just kills me every time I see it. It’s like you can actually feel the things he is going through. Really amazing work in a movie busting at the seams with great actors.

I also loved him in Happiness, Boogie Nights, The Savages, Doubt, The Big Lebowski, Almost Famous, Moneyball and Pirate Radio, a movie I missed the first time around and finally saw (and loved!) this past summer. The funny thing is that when I looked up his filmography just now, some of the best stuff Hoffman did onscreen was in tiny parts in big movies that I barely remember seeing. And if you ask me, that’s the mark of a truly great actor.

Rest in peace, PSH. You left us way too soon…

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Criterion Collection 50% sale starts today!

Film geeks, rejoice! The entire Criterion Collection of DVD’s, Blu-Ray and yes, even videotapes (if you can still find them) is 50% off at Barnes & Noble stores and online. So, even if you don’t have a store near you, there’s no reason not to indulge in some classic film buying this weekend!

This has been a real banner year for Criterion, with loads of badass flicksRosemary’s Baby, Band of Outsiders, Things To Come, The Ice Storm — making their Blu-Ray debut, but I’m most excited about two movies right now. The first is Terrence Malick’s Badlands, which is not only one of my top three movies of all time, but is also the movie I stole my voice over style from when I was first learning to write. I stole from Malick’s Days of Heaven too. I mean, hey, if you’re gonna steal, steal from the best, right?

Anyway, I’m dying to see how Badlands looks in HD, those sunsets, that mythically cool burning house, the lushly beautiful segment where they’re living in the treehouse in the woods, man, I’m salivating at the thought of it! Actually, I was so excited to buy this movie that I saved up my birthday money (since April) in anticipation of this sale. Yes, I’m that cheap, but, also, if you know me well, you know that not spending my birthday money immediately is next to impossible. So, I like to think of this as a lesson in delayed gratification.

But, truth be told, I’d much rather pay $20 for a Blu-Ray than $40. Especially when there’s more than one movie I want! See, I also have had my eye on Alex Cox’s punk, sci-fi classic, Repo Man, which also made it’s Blu-Ray debut earlier this year. My brother and Dad and I watched the shit out of Repo Man when we were kids and I remember really loving it, but, I haven’t watched it all the way through in years. So, I can’t wait to see how it holds up.

All I remember are all those grungy shots of 1980’s Los Angeles, that crazy glowing light in the trunk and that killer soundtrack. Man, that record (yes, we had the LP) was like our punk rock primer back in the day, so awesome! The Blu-Ray is said to feature a couple of extras dedicated strictly to the soundtrack and even includes an interview with crusty old Iggy Pop, so, sign me up, man!

The Barnes & Noble sale ends on July 29th, so, if you’re interested in picking up some epically cool Criterion Collection Blu-Rays on the cheap for yourself, or, you know, your favorite stay-at-home-dad, get shopping!

Location:Los Angeles, CA

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Quote of the Day: James Gandolfini

I was never a regular viewer of The Sopranos when it was on, but, I saw enough episodes to know that it was, like Twin Peaks or The X-Files before it, totally game-changing television. And though I loved James Gandolfini on the show, I think I loved him even more in some of his smaller supporting roles in movies.

For instance, I don’t remember one goddamn thing about that piece of crap Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts movie The Mexican except that I loved Gandolfini in it. I also loved him in more recent stuff like Zero Dark Thirty and that crazy-good TV movie Cinema Verite with Diane Lane. He was one of those guys who just walked in, read a few lines and totally stole the movie. But, even better than that, I liked watching him on interviews where he seemed like a genuinely humble regular dude who just happened to fall into massive Hollywood fame. Guys like that don’t come around too often, and when they leave us at such a young age, man, it makes the loss even greater.

So, for that and for the fact that I totally agree with what he says about people who like to meet up for breakfast (unless it’s a late breakfast at noon, can’t stand em!), I salute the late, great James Gandolfini in his own words. RIP, Mr. Soprano.

“I read [The Sopranos pilot]. I liked it. I thought it was good. But I thought they would have to hire some good-looking guy, not George Clooney but some Italian George Clooney, and that would be that. But they called me and they said can I meet David [Chase] for breakfast at nine a.m. At the time I was younger and I stayed out late a lot, and I was like, ‘Oh, for fuck’s sake. This guy wants to eat breakfast? This guy’s going to be a pain in the ass.'”

Location:Los Angeles

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