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New Thor: Ragnarok Trailer

There’s a new Thor: Ragnarok trailer out.  ‘Nuff said – here it is:

And here’s a fun little featurette:

#ThorRagnarok #DoctorStrange

As reported by Deadline, The Weinstein Co. is pulling The Current War off the November schedule and pushing it into sometime in 2018, making it ineligible for this year’s Oscars.

The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse, and centers around their competition with each other (and Nikola Tesla).

The current sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein made that company’s films unpalatable.  Cumberbatch himself had slammed Weinstein publicly for his behavior, which makes one wonder if he would decide not to promote it.  In addition, the film had been reworked some after mixed reviews.

There’s no word on a new release date.

#TheCurrentWar #BenedictCumberbatch

If you haven’t seen the series finale of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, Ten of Swords, read further at your own risk.  I’m going to do this review assuming that either you’ve seen it, or that you don’t mind spoilers.  If you’d like to catch up, go here to the website to see the season four episodes.

It’s a shame that Halt never got the audience it deserved.  It got plenty of love from critics, especially in the last two seasons, but it never became a ratings blockbuster.  It had an amazing cast, with Lee Pace (one of those actors whom I believe is capable of doing literally anything), as Joe MacMillan; Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark; Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe; Kerry Bishe as Donna Clark, and Toby Huss as John (Bos) Bosworth.

It started with Joe as almost a literal wrecking ball, manipulating others into buying into whatever his vision of the moment was.  The character was an unlikeable brute when the show first began.  Cameron was a genius programmer but working with her was like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall.  Donna and Gordon, married with two small girls when the series first started and later divorced with teenagers, were supposedly the grounded ones.  Hardware was their specialty; they had invented a computer themselves, but it never got off the ground commercially.

And that seems to have been the theme with Halt.  The foursome worked on great ideas that were either never successful, or that worked for a while until someone else came up with something better.  That is, if frayed relationships between them didn’t sink a project first.

In the 1990’s technology was moving fast, maybe too fast for small companies like Mutiny and Comet to compete.  Every time they’d get their product out there someone else would come up with another that made theirs obsolete.  The company where Donna becomes the managing partner has money and isn’t dependent on just one piece of software, so it survives where Comet fails.  Rover is just one piece of the pie for them, one they can afford to jettison when it gets eclipsed by something with a funny name – Yahoo.

But Halt was not just about the emerging technology.  It’s about connecting with other people, via the Internet (remember Mutiny’s Community?), as well as the personal connections they made with each other.  As Joe liked to say, computers “weren’t the thing, they were the thing that gets you to the thing.”  And the “thing” was connecting with people.

By the second season the Cameron and Donna characters were coming to the forefront of the show.  In the last episode we see just how intertwined those two had become, when Cameron first brings up the idea that she and Donna work together again, and Cameron isn’t talking about joining Donna’s firm.  When Donna asks her if she has an idea for something new, Cameron tells her the idea will come later, she just wanted them to work together again.  In a scene where the two of them visit the now vacant Comet offices they run through the possibility, but decide that it would end up like Mutiny.  Cameron tells Donna that this time, though, it wouldn’t break their friendship.  Donna pushes the idea away, until Cameron is getting ready to pull out of town with her Airstream, and then she rushes out of the diner to stop her, with just four words: “I have an idea.”

We never find out what the idea was (something akin to Facebook maybe?), but it’s great that their friendship and partnership is going to continue.

Then we come to Joe and Gordon.  Joe needed Gordon to help carry out his ideas, and Gordon needed Joe to give them to him.  When Gordon died Joe was lost.  His relationship with Haley (Susanna Skaggs) was sweet, particularly when he recognizes that Haley is gay and gently tries to tell Gordon how to help her.  Being bisexual Joe understands the difficulties of navigating that minefield, particularly in the 90’s.  By series end Joe is almost the opposite of how he started.  He’s a big ol’ softie who realizes that his relationship with Cameron isn’t working and he’s lost his best friend Gordon.  I think he also realizes that his ideas were big, but that maybe he’s not capable of making them come to fruition, particularly now that he no longer has Gordon the hardware guy and Cameron the programming genius.  His original idea for Comet wasn’t going to work – Haley was the one who devised the actual software.  He needs a reluctant Cameron to put a fix in for Comet as he can’t do it himself, but when she does so they realize Yahoo has – gasp – toolbars, making Comet instantly obsolete.

So Joe ends up as he began, teaching.  Humanities courses of all things!  He starts the class as he did with the one where he found Cameron, with the words “Let me start by asking a question.”  He’s come full circle, but he’s not the same Joe he was then.  On his desk there are pictures of Gordon, Cameron and Haley, his makeshift family.  Also in his office is an old Cardiff computer.  He’s starting over, but this time he’s taking with him things from his past that wouldn’t have mattered to the old Joe.

It’s interesting that the writers, after the first series, started concentrating so much on the Donna and Cameron characters.  This last episode in particular was all about women in technology.  Donna has a party at her house for all the ladies in her firm, and gives a moving speech about how she has made it in that world.  Haley is taking college-level C++ classes.  Cameron’s software expertise along with Donna’s hardware know-how come into play when Haley has a problem with her computer.  Even in 2017 women can relate to how hard it can be to make it in a male-dominated field.  That co-creators Chris Rogers and Chris Cantwell are men makes an important statement.

So the series ends after four years with the best episodes of the show.  If there’s any justice in this world, there will be Emmy nominations forthcoming.

#HaltAndCatchFire #LeePace

 

Wow – all I can say, they threw everything in here!  We’ve got Luke, Rey, Kylo Ren, BB8, a porg, Captain Phasma and Leia.  And I do NOT like the last scene one little bit…

The Last Jedi is out December 15th.

#StarWars #TheLastJedi

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

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