Friday, December 18, 2015

Movie Review - STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS - 9.4 Stars! Spoiler Free!!

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OK it's time! I've only seen STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (SWTFA) once, but it was in IMAX 3D so it was a premium theater and the brightness of the projection was ample and the sound was magnificent.

First off, if you haven't seen the original three movies (Ep. IV, V and VI) I think you should do so before seeing VII. Secondly if you haven't already seen those movies - what are you thinking? :-) SWTFA can certainly stand on it's own, but much of the past 'soap opera' fill in the blanks are missing.

So let me tell you right from the get-go, JJ Abrams knocked this thing out of the park. I was truly worried he wouldn't capture the spirit of the original movies - the 'je ne c'est quoi' - that makes the original trilogy what it is to millions of fans. But he did it. There are elements in the movie that are certainly "Abrams'esque", and you'll know when you see them, but nothing pulled me out of the movie to think about it.

In many ways, it's the best Star Wars film to date. I don't take those words lightly. It's not a perfect movie by any means, but given what Abrams was able to deliver within the scope of this universe - BRAVO!

I won't talk about specifics because the movie just opened and many haven't been able to see it yet obviously, but I will say this: 

1. The 3D was great. Not perfect (it's a conversion) but I could tell effort was made to produce this movie for 3D from the beginning and that was refreshing. There was only one shot that was jarring and I'll bet it was a Disney executive's call to do it. I don't think a creative would have. Anyway, it was a brief shot and we can discuss in the comments (where spoilers can and do exist!).

2. The score and sound effects were absolutely stellar. Go see it for the audio alone!! Just breathtaking.

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3. JJ Abrams directing has seemingly jumped to the next level here. Truly, an awesome display of blockbuster showmanship and I didn't know he could rise to this level. He certainly has. We're talking close to the caliber of Spielberg, Cameron, Lucas here for SciFi. Yes, he's that good now. And I've had plenty of reservations about him before (STAR TREK in particular).

By the way, there was NO STAR TREK TRAILER pre-rolling last night. I was very disappointed. (Cineplex IMAX in Canada)

4. GO NOW. Go while the truest Star Wars fans are there watching. Nothing, NOTHING beats being the middle of fans like this. The impromptu clapping, laughter, gasps and pointing. It's experiences like this that will keep movie theaters alive in this era.

I'll talk about more in the comments. Again - THE COMMENTS WILL HAVE SPOILERS!! Don't read them unless you want to be clued in on aspects of the movie. You've been warned! Let me know your thoughts on the movie guys!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

China's 3D Influence: James Cameron's TERMINATOR 2 Getting 3D Treatment!

James Cameron has partnered with DMG Entertainment and Studiocanal to relaunch TERMINATOR 2 into worldwide theaters with a digitally remastered 3D version. This is amazing news as I really enjoyed the TITANIC re-release in 3D and I'm expecting the same level of mastery performed here. 

Stereo D will handle the conversion duties and I'm confident in their abilities when they're given the proper time and resources (Marvel conversions for example). Cameron will personally oversee the work, so yes, it'll be awesome.

They're aiming for 2016 and China is the main catalyst for the move. China absolutely is in love with 3D and as the second largest market (and will eventually become the largest) they command and deserve Hollywood's attention.

Says Cameron: "Next year marks the 25th anniversary of Terminator 2 and that seemed like the perfect time to bring it back but this time in an all-new 3D version. If you’ve never seen it, this will be the version you want to see and remember."

Can't wait for this. If there's anything from Tinseltown that's sublime, it's a Cameron 3D movie. 

Source: THR

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Check The First Trailer For Emmerich's INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

As if 2016 didn't have enough awesome movies coming our way, here comes INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE - Roland Emmerich's sequel to his 1996 hit - 20 years later. I wasn't expecting too much as with all that time passing and Will Smith not involved. Now, after seeing the trailer I'm thinking Smith has made a mistake not being in it! It's looking very interesting indeed.

I won't spoil the trailer for you, but do yourself a favor and check it out. Emmerich is known for end of the world scenarios and obviously this fits the bill. Speaking of bills, Bill Pullman is back as President Whitmore (obviously still not sitting in office) and his voice rings throughout the trailer.

My friend Dean Devlin produces once again, along with Emmerich and Harald Kloser.

Here's the boilerplate for the movie:
We always knew they were coming back. After INDEPENDENCE DAY redefined the event movie genre, the next epic chapter delivers global spectacle on an unimaginable scale. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.

Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox, Brent Spiner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward

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INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE opens on June 24, 2016 in Real D 3D and IMAX 3.

Friday, December 11, 2015


Usually I'm restrained in my early comments about X-men movies as I've been let down, but also thrilled with past releases. This time though with X-MEN: APOCALYSE - wow. Director Bryan Singer has seemingly stepped up his game here and improved upon what was already a great movie in DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.

Note the character development especially in the trailer. I love the correlations they assert and while I'm growing very tired of superhero movies that present the end of the world, this looks like a very entertaining shot at it.

APOCALYSE stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Olivia Munn, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Lucas Till, Josh Helman, Lana Condor and Ben Hardy.

Here's the synopsis for the movie:
Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE is slated for release on May 18, 2016. More when I get it - and I'm really looking forward to see what's next for marketing.

Monday, December 07, 2015

What Can You Expect Before And After STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS At The Theater?

Well you should arrive early as word has it the first trailer for STAR TREK BEYOND is attached to pre-roll in front of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS :-) I'm very happy to hear that and hopefully it includes some shots of the movie too and not just an I'm coming soon text laden visual.

As far as after SWTFA, I'm a firm believer in watching all the end credits of a movie I truly enjoy and I fully expect to do so with this movie - but there won't be any mid or end credit scenes to wait for according to director JJ Abrams himself.

But... do stay to honor all those that worked on the movie if you enjoyed it. You can be sometimes very surprised who you see up there to begin with and it's the ethical thing to do :-) Credit where credit is due.

So join me opening weekend for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS in 3D! Can't wait. I'll be seeing it in multiple formats and the first will be IMAX followed closely by REALD (UltraAVX). Stay tuned for my review!

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS opens on December 18. STAR TREK BEYOND is slated for release on July 22, 2016.

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