Lots of fans are still talking about and debating over Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In the process, director Rian Johnson continues to explain why he made the choices that he made with the film. I don't think I've ever seen a director have to explain so many things about a movie before. As much as I loved the film, I don't think he needs to explain himself, and I kinda wish he would just stop.
Anyway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who starred in Johnson's Brick and Looper finally got a chance to see the film for himself, and after watching it, he wrote an essay that was posted on Medium defending the film and how Luke Skywalker was handled called "A New Old Skywalker". It's actually a really good write up, but I doubt it will change any of the haters minds.
He starts out by saying that even though he is good friends with Johnson, he is not speaking for him with this essay and says that this is just his opinion. He also wanted to make sure to point out that he's not telling anyone they are wrong in their opinions.
"In our ever more gamified culture, with endless awards shows, publicized box office figures, and the all-knowing Tomatometer, it seems conversations about movies are more and more often put into quantified terms of good and bad, best and worst, right and wrong. And then there’s the twitface-insta-fueled tribalism, people taking sides, pointing fingers and spitting venom at the other guys. There seems to be a lot of that going around right now from both lovers and haters of this movie. Dear oh dear, folks. This isn’t politics or sports. The fruit is in the subjectivity. If you feel differently than I do, I’m 100% cool with that. I think it’s often in these very differences of perspective that movies can be at their most enlightening, helping us learn something about each other and ourselves."
From here, he gets into his opinion of what happened to Luke Skywalker. After going into a little background of Luke's past and the way he was in the previous films, Gordon-Levitt dives into it, saying:
The way I see it, The Last Jedi takes two big risks in its depiction of Luke. 1) He’s different than he used to be. 2) Not only is he different, he’s changed for the worse.
As for the first risk, he didn’t have to be different. He’s one of the most iconic movie characters ever. A safer bet would have been to bring him back and make him just like he always was. This is what The Force Awakens did exceedingly well. For example, the Han Solo we meet in that movie is pretty much the same charmingly roguish character we loved in the original trilogy. Yes, he’s gotten older, had a kid, but it hardly seems to have changed him much. And that was fine by me. Seeing him again after so many years felt like a sweet reunion with an old friend. So, why not do the same for Luke?
Leaving Luke unchanged would have been a huge missed opportunity. Think about how rare this is. A trilogy of movies is made with a young protagonist played by an actor in his 20s. Then, no fewer than 40 YEARS LATER (A New Hope came out in 1977) this actor gets to play the same character as an older man. I don’t know how many times that has ever happened in the history of movies. Has it ever happened?
This gives the filmmaker and the actor an extraordinary opportunity to tell a story about one of the most universal truths in human experience — getting older. We all get older, and those of us who are lucky enough to survive our youth all face the joys, the terrors, the puzzles, the pitfalls, the surprises, and the inevitabilities that come along with doing so. Re-meeting our beloved protagonist decades after we last saw him, only to learn that the passing years have changed some of his most fundamental qualities, I’ll admit, it’s almost hard to see. But in that glaring contrast between the Luke of old and the new Old Luke, The Last Jedi offers a uniquely fascinating portrayal of a man’s life marching inescapably forward.
Time changes us. Go talk to anybody in their sixties and ask if they feel very different than they did in their twenties. The look on their face will almost surely speak volumes. As do so many such looks from Mark Hamill in what I feel is a beautifully nuanced and heartfelt performance.
The second big risk I mentioned was that Luke has not only changed, he’s changed for the worse. But to me, the obvious response here is that movie characters are usually better when they’re flawed. Speaking as an actor, when I’m considering whether or not I want to play a certain character, I’m always looking for a healthy balance of virtues and shortcomings. Otherwise, it doesn’t feel real. No one is a perfect hero or a perfect villain, we’re more complicated than that, every one of us. Flawless characters feel thin. And forgive me if I blaspheme, but the young Luke Skywalker always did feel just a little light to me, which is why it was so cool this time around to see him fill out into a more imperfect human being.
A flawed main character is one of the main distinctions between a story with substance and a gratuitous spectacle. It’s often through a character overcoming their flaws that a movie can really say something. Yes, when the movie begins, Luke has grown cynical. He’s lost faith in what it means to be a Jedi. He’s let fear of the Dark Side of the Force corner him into isolation and inaction. But he needs to start there, so that he can overcome this grave deficit.
To me, this is a story about not losing faith: faith in the outside world, faith in your allies as well as your enemies, in the future as well as the past, in the next generation that will take your place, and yes, faith in your own damn self. Luke has made mistakes that had terrible consequences, and his regret is so strong that he wants to give up. We need to see that despair, hidden under a crusty front of indifference, so that when he finally decides to put himself out there and make the ultimate sacrifice, it means something. It means more than just stalling the First Order to let the remainder of the Resistance escape. Our protagonist has arrived at the end of his journey. He’s re-found his faith, both in the past and the future of the Jedi Order, and even more importantly, in himself. Again, it’s in that glaring contrast between a journey’s beginnings and its end where we find a story’s meaning.
And so, speaking of faith, I’ll end on a bit of a meta note here. It feels to me like a good chunk of the backlash against The Last Jedi is about exactly that. Star Wars has a certain sanctity for a great many of us, and it’s understandable why current circumstances might rattle a fan’s faith. The ultimate authority in this world, its auteur, George Lucas, has recently passed the torch onto the next generation. The new owner of Lucasfilm is a massive media conglomerate. But I think the new Luke Skywalker of Episode VIII gives us good reason to feel reassured.
That a big Hollywood studio would take such risks on such a big property — again, to present their central hero in a drastically different light than ever before, to unflinchingly deliver the ominous message that even the most pure-hearted idealists can struggle through darkness and doubt — these are not the kinds of decisions that get made when short-term profitability is prioritized above all else. These are risks taken in the interest of building a world that is not only good for selling popcorn and action figures this year, but that thrives in the long-run on a bed of literary substance and artistic dignity. As a fan, I take it as a sign of respect that the movie was not only a good time, but a provocative challenge. A lot of studios and filmmakers don’t think so highly of their audiences. In the end, to me, The Last Jedi demonstrates not only that we can still have faith in Star Wars, but that Star Wars still has faith in us.
I completely agree with Gordon-Levitt's thoughts on this topic. It's a well thought out piece that will help keep the conversation going while we wait to see what J.J. Abrams ends up doing with Episode IX. What do you think about what Gordon-Levitt had to say here?
Amazon Prime has released a new trailer for their upcoming historical fantasy series called Britannia. The show is set in 43AD during the Roman invasion of Celtic Britain and the Roman army is being led by a general named Aulus Plautius, who is played by The Walking Dead’s Governor, David Morrissey. He's on a mission to conquer the Celtic heart of Britannia which is filled with warrior women, magical forces, and sexy druid raves. Here's a description:
Britannia begins in 43AD as the Roman Army, determined and terrified in equal measure, returns to crush the Celtic heart of Britannia, a mysterious land ruled by warrior women and powerful druids who can channel the mysterious forces of the Underworld. Arch Celtic rivals Kerra and Antedia must face the Roman invasion led by Aulus Plautius as it cuts a swathe through the Celtic Resistance.
As you'll see, they are trying to give the series a fresh and modern feel by blasting rock music throughout the trailer. I'm not sure how I feel about what I'm seeing here. It looks like it might be good, at the same time it looks like it could suck. We'll just have to wait and see. I'll definitely give it a shot.
The series also stars Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes), Zoë Wanamaker (Madame Hooch from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), and Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars), who is taking on the role of King Pellenor.
The series is being produced by Sky Atlantic and it's set to be released on January 18th. Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think. I also included a previously released Red-Band trailer to watch, just in case you missed it.
Did you know that the eighth and most recent film in the Saw franchise, Jigsaw, was a huge success? The film was made on a budget of $10 million and it made over $100 million at the box office. That's an epic profit. So it shouldn't come as a surprise to you to learn that Lionsgate wants to make another sequel.
Even though Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) was killed off in Saw III, his horrific legend lives on and the studio just won't him really die. According to Bloody-Disgusting, Twisted Pictures is planning a ninth Saw movie and as of right now things are just in conversation mode. One thing they seem to know for sure is that Jigsaw directors Michael and Peter Spierig will not be returning to direct the film.
Jigsaw turned out to be an okay sequel, although it's pretty much more of the same. I just think they should just move on from the franchise and try to create something new. But the Saw franchise is still bringing in the big money, so as long as that continues to happen, we'll continue to see Saw movies.
Are you a fan of the Saw franchise and are you excited to hear that you will probably see a ninth film?
I've got some cool news for fans of the Alien franchise! It was recently announced that FoxNet had acquired the video game developer company Cold Iron Studios. They have created games such as City of Heroes, BioShock: Infinite, Metroid Prime 3, Star Trek Online, and Neverwinter. They also recently revealed a new game called Marvel Strike Force, which will be released later this year.
It's also been revealed that they are currently developing a PC and console shooter that is set in the Alien cinematic universe! There are no story details for the game yet, but it's still exciting! I love the Alien franchise and I've enjoyed playing most of the video games that have been released in the past, so I can't wait to see how this new game turns out. Cold Iron CEO Craig Zinkievich had this to say in a press release:
"We believe in FoxNext’s vision and we are thrilled about the opportunity to explore an amazing and rich universe. Our background in building online worlds and taking established franchises to the next level in interactive entertainment is a precise fit with our product roadmap ahead; we can’t wait to share more information soon."
Judging from that statement, I guess we can expect this new game to be built as an interactive online world, which should be interesting. The game will also be developed on the Unreal Engine 4. Aaron Loeb, President of Studios, FoxNext Games went on to say:
"Cold Iron Studios has amazing design, craftsmanship and development talent that we are excited to welcome at FoxNext Games as we pursue our goal to build a multi-platform, multi-genre portfolio of great games. I am a personal fan of Cold Iron’s previous work and all of us at FoxNext Games are thrilled to be working with them as they create an action-packed persistent world, steeped in the mysteries of this beloved Alien universe."
To give you an idea of the style of Cold Iron Studios and the kind of stuff they are doing, here's the trailer for their upcoming game Marvel Strike Force. Watch that and then imagine it as a shooter with Colonial Marines battling Xenomorphs. This could end up being a lot of fun!
In DC Comics' Batman #39, The Dark Knight sports a brand new suit that has a Medieval flare to it. Some people aren't a big fan of the new look, including Catwoman, who tells Batman in the comic that he looks ridiculous!
In the story, we find out that Batman and Wonder Woman made an eternal vow to a warrior known as The Gentle Man, who fights off the hordes of Gehenna. As a way to honor their vow, Batman wears the new Bat-Knight gear. Batman even admits that he's not the biggest fan of it.
Check out a couple excerpts from the comic below and let us know what you think about Batman's new look!
Batman #39 is written by Tom King with pencils by Joelle Jones and colors by Jordie Bellaire. The official description is listed below.
SUPERFRIENDS finale! Since the beginning, the friendship between Batman and Wonder Woman has stood at the heart of the DC Universe. Now that friendship is coming apart, and as it does the universe itself begins to crumble. Don’t miss the conclusion of Batman’s epic team-up with Wonder Woman!
Yesterday it was announced that Spider-Man: Homecoming writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein were hired to direct the DC film Flashpoint for Warner Bros. It shouldn't come as a surprise to you that these directors weren't the studio's first choice.
According to Variety, on top of Robert Zemeckis, the studio also initially wanted Ben Affleck to direct the movie but he ended up turning down the offer. I actually wouldn't have minded seeing Affleck direct the film! He might have done a great job, but now we'll never know.
As you know, Affleck was attached to direct The Batman before he was replaced by Matt Reeves. Regardless of that, a few weeks ago, Ben Affleck did say that he was still interested in directing a Batman movie, but The Flash isn't Batman, so I guess he's allowed to say no. However, Batman is rumored to be playing a prominent role in the story for the Flashpoint film. I think most of the heroes in the Justice League team would have to be included in this story arc, but we'll just have to wait and see how everything comes together now that the film actually has directors.
WIth John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein coming on board to direct the movie, it makes me think that the film will have a lighter and more humorous tone. Whatever they have planned, I hope they can pull it off and give fans a great Flashpoint movie!
Do you think they have the skills or would you have rather seen Ben Affleck take on the job?
J.J. Abrams has another sci-fi TV project that he's developing and it sounds awesome! The filmmaker is currently shopping around the spec script that he wrote to the networks. According to THR, Apple and HBO are both in the running to pick up the untitled project.
The sci-fi drama centers around a family and it will take audiences to another world. The family consists of a mother who works as a scientist, her husband and their young daughter. They end up getting into a terrible car accident. "After the mother winds up in a coma, her daughter begins digging through her experiments in the basement and winds up transporting to another land amid a world's battle against a monstrous, oppressive force. Her father then follows her into this new world."
I love this concept! If it gets picked up, this will be the first TV project since 2008's Fringe that Abrams created and wrote. Abrams also created/co-created Felicity, Alias, and Lost all of which were great shows. I hope this series gets picked up because it sounds like it would make for a great series that will hook audiences.
Abrams is also currently writing and directing Star Wars: Episode IX for Lucasfilm.
FX has released a red-band trailer for their upcoming series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. This is the second season of the American Crime Story anthology series that started with The People Vs. OJ Simpson. If you're a fan of true crime stories, then this is one that you won't want to miss.
This new trailer offers a lot more insight into the fascinating and disturbing story behind the fashion mogul's murder and the deceitful man who killed him, Andrew Cunanan.
The series is based on Maureen Orth’s "heavily researched and authenticated non-fiction bestseller "Vulgar Favors" which examined the true life crime spree of Andrew Cunanan." Here is the synopsis from the book:
Two months before Gianni Versace was murdered on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion by Andrew Cunanan, award-winning journalist Maureen Orth was investigating a major story on the serial killer for Vanity Fair. Culled from interviews with more than four hundred people and insights from thousands of pages of police reports, Orth tells the complete story of Cunanan, his unwitting victims, and the moneyed, hedonistic world in which they lived . . . and died.
In fascinating detail, she reveals how Cunanan met his superstar victim, why police and the FBI repeatedly failed to catch Cunanan, and why other victims’ families stonewalled the investigation, as well as the controversial findings of the Versace autopsy report. Here is a gripping odyssey that races across America—from California’s wealthy gay underworld to modest Midwestern homes of families mourning the loss of their sons to South Beach and its unapologetic decadence. Vulgar Favors is at once a masterwork of investigative journalism and a riveting account of a sociopath, his crimes, and the mysteries he left along the way.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story was written by Tom Rob Smith, and producer and creator Ryan Murphy directed the premiere episode of the series, which stars Edgar Ramirez, Darren Criss, Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz.
The series premieres tonight, January 17th on FX. Watch the trailer and let us know if you'll be tuning in to watch it.
"Thrill as each child's fear preys on them in a unique form, where the kid will go off on their own, notice something out of the ordinary, and slowly walk towards it... until a monster pops out!"
Here it is! Screen Junkies has released their latest Honest Trailers video and it takes aim at the recent feature film adaptation of Stephen King's IT. This was my number one favorite movie of 2017 and it's pretty funny watching Screen Junkies have their way with it. There are some funny laughable moments and they also actually make some really good points with some of their criticism. But, it's still my favorite movie!
This is one of the better Honest Trailers that has been released, so enjoy!
Well, Warner Bros. has finally officially hired a couple of directors to take on the DC film Flashpoint. The screenwriting duo behind Spider-Man: Homecoming, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, have crossed over to DC Entertainment to take on the challenge, and that could be great!
The two previously directed Vacation and the upcoming film Game Night, which looks hilarious. I'll admit, I was really hoping that Robert Zemeckis would do it, but obviously, things didn't work out that way. I think Daley and Goldstein could end up doing a good job, though. We'll just ahve to wait and see. After all, this will be their biggest directing project to date.
Ezra Miller is set to reprise his role as Barry Allen in the film and I'm sure that Billy Crudup will be back to play his dad. We've also heard rumors that Ben Affleck's Batman will be heavily involved with the story and I assume Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman will also be involved. It would make sense to see many of these Justice League characters involved because the whole Flashpoint story arc involves all these DC heroes.
The story that the comic tell takes place in a world where Barry Allen wakes up and the world has changed. Captain Cold is considered a hero and Bruce Wayne is dead. His father Thomas Wayne is Batman and Wonder Woman and Aquaman are in a battle for world dominance. Everything is just completely messed up. It's a great storyline that has some fascinating elemets, and I'm curious to see how this creative team handles it.
I'm not sure how they are going to squeeze this whole story into one film. It seems like it would work better as a trilogy or something. We'll just have to wait and see what they do.
Before Daley and Goldstein came on board, Dope director Rick Famuyiwa was attached and after he left Seth Grahame-Smith, who had written the script, jumped on to the project. They left due to creative differences.
Do you think the guys they got to direct the movie will do a good job!?