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Star Wars Episode IX has gone through some director changes, but J.J. Abrams has now been tapped to take over writing and directing duties.  Abrams was at the helm of 2015’s The Force Awakens and is the executive producer of the upcoming The Last Jedi.  The announcement was made on StarWars.com.

The changes have forced Disney to push back the film to December 20, 2019.

#StarWarsIX #JJAbrams

 

The Short Drop is the first of a series of three novels with protagonist Gibson Vaughan.  It is also the first novel from Matthew Fitzsimmons.  It was published by Thomas & Mercer in 2015.

The plot is this: Gibson Vaughan is a computer programmer, hacker, and a former Marine who is having trouble finding a job after a little legal trouble.  When he’s approached by the head of a security agency to help find the long-lost daughter of the Vice President himself, he’s in no position to turn the offer down.  He’s especially intrigued because the teenager who disappeared was a good friend of his.  Little does he know at the outset that there are some powerful forces inside and outside of the government who are willing to go to great lengths to make sure a secret stays buried.

I’d give the book 4 out of 5 stars.  It was well written (Fitzsimmons is a former English literature teacher) and had enough twists and turns to keep it interesting, even if the ending wasn’t entirely surprising.  I liked it well enough to continue on with the second book in the series, Poisonfeather, which was released in 2016.  The third in the series, Cold Harbor, is due this October.

#TheShortDrop

I’m a huge fan of Agatha Christie.  Having said that, I’m not really a Hercule Poirot fan, I’m a Miss Marple kind of girl, and I also like her one-offs without either of her more famous detectives.  Her best mystery, in my opinion, is And Then There Were None.  Christie admitted she had no small amount of trouble working out the plot for that one.  If I could only come up with something half that brilliant in execution I’d be happy to only write that one book in my lifetime.

With all the superhero films (of which I’m also a fan), sci-fi franchises (ditto) and action movies (eh, depends…), you would think that it would be tough to get the green light from a studio for a film based on a 1934 mystery that had so many previous adaptations.  But Twentieth Century Fox bit, and with a cast that includes Kenneth Branagh as Poirot, Johnny Depp as Samuel Ratchett, Michelle Pfeiffer as Mrs. Hubbard, Daisy Ridley as Mary Debenham, and Judi Dench as Princess Dragomiroff, it’s bound to be fun.  Branagh also directs.

For those who may not know, the Orient Express was a luxury passenger train service which began in 1883 and had Paris and Constantinople as its end-points.  Only the wealthy could afford it.  In Christie’s book one of the passengers is the imminent detective Hercule Poirot.  When a man is murdered on board the train, Poirot works out who the culprit is when a timely avalanche stops them on the tracks, giving him a finite, if rather large, group of suspects.

Below is a trailer for the film:


#AgathaChristie #MurderOnTheOrientExpress

Upcoming TV Premieres

Fall is coming, and with it the anticipated premieres of some television shows that will hopefully get us out of the late summer doldrums.  There hasn’t been much going on in the theater.  I did see The Hitman’s Bodyguard, but didn’t end up reviewing it.  (Long story short: if you really need to go to the movies it’s OK, but the scene stealer in that film is Salma Hayek.)

Anyway, below are some series (and mini-series) I’m looking forward to or that I thought you might be.  Hit the Calendar page also for other upcoming dates of interest.  Entertainment Weekly has a comprehensive list here.

Outlander – Starz – Sunday, Sept. 10

Star Trek: Discovery – CBS All Access – Sunday, Sept. 24; Netflix will show the series outside of the U.S. and Canada, including the U.K., the day after it airs here

The Voice – NBC – Monday, Sept. 25/Tuesday, Sept. 26

Lethal Weapon – Fox – Tuesday, Sept. 26

LiarSundance Wednesday, Sept. 27, ITV Monday, Sept. 11

The Blacklist – NBC – Wednesday, Sept. 27

Will & Grace – NBC – Thursday, Sept. 28

Marvel’s Inhumans – ABC – Friday, Sept. 29

Poldark series 3 – PBS Masterpiece – Sunday, Oct. 1

Marvel’s Runaways – Hulu – Tuesday, Nov. 21

#Fall2017TV #LethalWeapon #StarTrekDiscovery

As reported in Radio Times, Allison Williams (Girls) has been cast in the five-part series Melrose alongside star Benedict Cumberbatch.  Cumberbatch will also executive produce under his SunnyMarch banner.

Also in the cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh and Hugo Weaving.

The series is based on the Edward St. Aubyn Patrick Melrose novels.  Melrose was born into the English aristocracy, but struggles with an abusive father and a feckless mother.  He becomes a womanizer and substance abuser, but eventually comes out on the other side.  While this sounds like a very depressing read, the novels are also said to be very funny at times and gives the reader a look into the peculiar world of the British upper classes.

Melrose will be shown in the U.K. on Sky and in the U.S. on Showtime, where it’s expected to premiere sometime next year.

If you would like to read the novels, be aware that there are five, not four.  There are compilations out there of the novels, but some fail to include the final one, At Last.

#Melrose #BenedictCumberbatch

I’m not bitter at ABC for cancelling Ioan Gruffudd’s Forever, nor for cancelling Pushing Daisies, a perennial favorite on the list of Shows That Were Cancelled Too Soon.  OK, maybe a little bitter.  Scratch that – still a lot bitter.

Anyway, the stars of those shows went on to other things (in Lee Pace’s case, he became an elf king, not a bad gig).  As mentioned in the post below, Ioan Gruffudd will be starring in a six-episode series on the Sundance Channel with Joanne Froggatt.

ABC is redeeming themselves a little bit in Gruffudd’s case.  He will be making a series in Australia for ABC Studios International, Harrow.  The show is in partnership with the Australian Broadcasting Company.  Gruffudd will once again be playing a forensic pathologist with a secret to hide.  The series will be shown here in the U.S.  You can find additional info here on Deadline.

If you haven’t been watching Halt and Catch Fire on AMC, you should go to their website and catch up before the fourth and final season starts on Saturday, August 19th.  Set in the early 1990’s the fourth season centers around a Really Big Thing that is about to happen… something called the internet.  The show stars Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis and Kerry Bishe.  Below is a teaser.

#IoanGruffudd #LeePace #HarrowMorgue #HaltAndCatchFire

If you’ve been missing Joanne Froggatt  (Downton Abbey) and Ioan Gruffudd (Forever) on your television screens, you’re about to be a happy camper.

According to USA Today, the two will star in a six-episode series called Liar for the Sundance channel.

The synopsis is described in the article:

Froggatt stars as Laura Nielson, a school teacher who goes out on a seemingly innocent date with Andrew Earlham, a surgeon played by Gruffudd. When something goes wrong, the two of them get caught in a mix of accusations, lies, secrets and possible crimes.

Sounds intriguing.

The series premieres on September 27th.

#JoanneFroggatt #IoanGruffudd

Yes, someone in the crowd at Hall H filmed the trailer for Avengers: Infinity War and it has leaked online.  I don’t post footage unless it’s been officially released by Marvel for sharing, so if you want to see it you’ll have to Google it for yourself.  I suspect Marvel will be putting it out there soon since it’s leaked anyway.  This is the same footage that was shown at Disney’s D23 a few days ago.

In the meantime, ScreenRant has helpfully given us a rundown of what’s in the trailer here, if you want to know.

Footage for Black Panther was also released, but it has also not been loaded online yet.  ScreenRant‘s description of that trailer is here.  Below is the teaser trailer that was officially released last month.  Love the suit.  That is something that could have gone so wrong but Marvel got it right.  Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman.  It will be released on February 16th.

#InfinityWar #BlackPanther

New Thor: Ragnarok Trailer

At San Diego Comic-Con Marvel unveiled a new trailer for Thor: Ragnarok.  It stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster (brother of the Collector), Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk and Cate Blanchett as Hela.

The film debuts October 27th in the U.K. and November 3rd in the U.S.

#ThorRagnarok

Emmy Nominations 2017

Emmy nominations came out yesterday.  The big winners were Westworld (although the biggest snub, in my opinion, was Ed Harris being left out) and SNL.

Sherlock: The Lying Detective was nominated as well as star Benedict Cumberbatch.

The late Carrie Fisher was nominated in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series category for her appearance on Amazon’s Catastrophe.

The awards show will air on September 17th and will be hosted by Stephen Colbert.

You can see the entire list of nominees here on the Emmy website.  Congrats to all!

#Emmys2017 #Sherlock #BenedictCumberbatch

Despicable Me 3 Review

Steve Carell is back as Gru with Kristen Wiig as wife Lucy.  New villain Balthazar Bratt is voiced by Trey Parker.  This time around Carell is doubling as Gru’s twin brother, Dru.

The setup: Bratt is a former child star of a 1980’s television show who hasn’t gotten over his slide into obscurity.  Now a villain armed with serious skills and some awesome dance music, he’s got his sights set on a humongous pink diamond.  Gru and Lucy are assigned to stop him, but things don’t go quite as planned.  In the meantime, Gru discovers a previously unknown twin brother, who wants Gru to get back in touch with his villain side.

Will Gru be able to resist his inclinations to join his brother in crime?  Will Lucy find out what Dru is trying to get her new husband to do?  Will Agnes find her unicorn?

And what, pray tell, are the minions doing in prison?  For most of the movie they’re off on their own little adventure, away from the main action.  It’s like the writers decided to make two movies and smoosh them together.

This is the weakest entry in the franchise, in my opinion.  That being said, there are some good laughs to be had.  If you liked the first two you may end up a teensy bit disappointed in this one, but it’s still fun.  At an hour and a half long, it won’t take up your entire afternoon.  Unless you’re a huge fan I’d go for the matinee price.

Besides, there is one really great thing about this franchise… since it’s animated, Agnes never has to grow up.

#DespicableMe3

Han, you’ll always be my favorite scoundrel

The standalone Han Solo Star Wars film (still without a title) is getting a new director.

As posted on StarWars.com, Ron Howard is stepping in after the duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller left via the ubiquitous “creative differences.”

Alden Ehrenreich (whom I will once again mention looks nothing like Harrison Ford) will take on the role of Han.  Co-stars include Woody Harrelson and Emilia Clarke.  Joonas Suotamo is replacing Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca.

The film is due May 25th of next year.

#StarWars #HanSolo

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Downton Abbey The Movie

If you’ve been missing the Crawleys you will be able to get your Downton Abbey fix.  In 2018, according to Variety.

Sounds like this was news to cast members, though!  So if it happens it will be filming next year.  Work is continuing on a script.

#DowntonAbbey

A “new” book from J.R.R. Tolkien has now been published, according to BBC.com.  Written 100 years ago, it has illustrations by Alan Lee, some of which are shown in the article.  Lee also worked on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

The book is published by HarperCollins and the title is Beren and Luthien.  It is a romance!  As  mentioned in the article, Beren and Luthien are names that are carved into Tolkien’s gravestone.

The book is now available on Amazon and through other sellers.  It does beg the question… could another film possibly happen?  Hmmm….

#JRRTolkien #BerenAndLuthien #LordOfTheRings

News Roundup 5/23

It’s been a month since I posted!  With all the crap going on around the world and at home I wasn’t particularly inspired, plus there wasn’t a lot of news to report.  I saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 but after a lot of other folks, and frankly I didn’t write up a review on it because I actually liked the first one a lot better.  I imagine that’s a minority view, but that’s my opinion!

So now I’m going to post a couple of news tidbits from the last few days.

The first is a sad bit of news.  Sir Roger Moore has passed away at the age of 89 from cancer.  Moore was, of course, the third James Bond.  He did seven of the films, including Live and Let Die, The Man With The Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me.  Prior to playing 007 he was Simon Templar, The Saint, for six seasons.  It was his work as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, however, that earned him his knighthood in 2003.  He leaves his wife Kristina and three children.

There are four Star Wars magazine covers I want to mention, and they’re not from EmpireVanity Fair will release in early June covers of The Last Jedi actors in costume, photographed by Annie Leibovitz.  One shows Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill; the second is of Gwendolyn Christie, Domhnall Gleeson and Adam Driver; Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran grace the third cover, and the fourth has the late Carrie Fisher by herself.  You can see the covers here on VF’s website.

For Downton Abbey fans there’s news of two of the show’s leading ladies.  Joanne Froggatt plays a serial killer in Dark Angel.  The first episode was last Sunday, but you can still catch it online here on PBS’ website.  Elizabeth McGovern will star in The Chaperone, a film written by Downtown creator Julian Fellowes.  After its run in theaters it will be shown on PBS.

#RogerMoore #StarWars #TheLastJedi #DowntonAbbey

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