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There hasn’t been anything interesting to post about for a while, unless you’re a Tom Hiddleston fan, in which case you may want to check out these uhhh… interesting photos from High Rise (via Collider).

Speaking of Hiddleston, the rumor that he will show up in Sherlock series 4 as the third Holmes brother continues to swirl.  Universe, make it happen already!

In other news, today the list of performers for Letters Live was released, and Benedict Cumberbatch will again be one of the readers.  Gillian Anderson, Russell Brand, Ian McKellen and Jude Law are among the others who will appear.  The performers read letters from famous people.  For example, last year Benedict read a letter from Alan Turing, whom he portrayed in The Imitation Game.

This year the event will run from March 10th through the 15th at Freemason’s Hall in London.

Letters Live supports literacy charities.  You can get more information here on the official website.

#LettersLive #BenedictCumberbatch #TomHiddleston

I usually keep this blog pretty light, but I have to get up on the old soapbox for just a bit.  Feel free to skip this post if you’re not interested in any controversies, but since I think I probably retweeted something about the Sherlocked convention at some point, I feel the need to put out this post.  The official convention will again take place in London, in September.  This is the second annual event, last year’s having been a big success.

I love BBC’s Sherlock as much as anybody, and when it comes to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, anyone who reads this blog knows I’m a fan of both.  The event is by Hartswood Films, the company behind Sherlock, and the producers and creators of that show will be attending the event.  That includes Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue.  The other guest that has been confirmed at this point is Natasha O’Keeffe, from the recent Victorian-era special The Abominable Bride.

You will notice that Benedict and Martin have not been confirmed to be appearing.

Regular one-day passes for the event are 35 British pounds, or around $50 American.  Already a little pricey, but if you’re a big fan and are dying to go, okay.  The two highest types of tickets, however, are causing quite a ruckus, particularly the VIP pass.  This three-day pass guarantees the buyer autographs and photo shoots with the guests, along with a lot of swag and special VIP treatment.  All for the low, low price of 3,000 pounds, or $4,280.  Any way you cut it, that’s a lotta cabbage.

If you buy a ticket on the hopes that the two main stars will be there, it’s a big gamble.  If Benedict and/or Martin cannot appear due to work commitments (very highly likely), then there are no refunds.  Now, as nice as it would be to meet Steven and Sue and Mark and anybody else who signs up, you know that if someone pays over $4k for a VIP ticket, they really want to meet the two main stars.  And from the comments I’ve seen, there are folks out there who are willing to break the bank to fly out to London (already a lot of dough), and fork over that much money.

Unless you have money to burn, and I mean the loss of $4,000 to you isn’t worth balancing your checkbook for, then please think twice — or four times — about buying a VIP ticket!  For one thing, there are other ways to meet the stars if you’re just dying to (Benedict, for instance, does theater upon occasion and almost always signs autographs at the door).

If you still want to go and take the chance on who will be appearing, there is a somewhat cheaper alternative ticket, and that is the Platinum Pass, which still gives you an autograph and a photo shoot with the guests (just not as many as the VIP ticket), and goes for 595 pounds, or just shy of $850.  Still pricey, but at least it’s not as much as the down payment on a house.

You can get more details about the event here on the official website.  It looks like a lot of fun, but just fair warning to be careful and make sure you know what it is you’re buying.  You can see a complete list of all each ticket level buys you when you click on that level, so make sure to check it all out before purchasing.  Nonrefundable is nonrefundable!

While $4,000+ is a lot of money, I have to say that unfortunately it’s not unusual for celebrity meet and greets to come with huge price tags.  In listening to a podcast a while back I learned that the podcaster shelled out $2,500 to get a picture taken with Britney Spears.  Seriously.  I can’t remember the last time Britney Spears was actually relevant (catty, I know, but true).  I can’t help but think how much better it would be if that money had gone to an animal rescue group instead.

#SherlockBBC #SherlockedEvent #BenedictCumberbatch #Martin Freeman

Star Wars VIII Postponed

Amid rumors of script rewrites, according to Entertainment Weekly, the follow-up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens will now be moved from May, 2017 to December 15, 2017.

The fifth Pirates of the Caribbean will be released in May instead.

Moving Star Wars VIII to December will put it in direct competition with the rumored release date of the Avatar sequel.  Battle of the giants!

Let’s just hope this time that Disney actually puts an appropriate percentage of Rey toys out there.  Ahem.

#StarWars #StarWarsVIII

Alan Rickman 1946-2016

ARickman_via_imdbAlan Rickman passed away of cancer today at the age of 69.  He was a very versatile and much loved actor, starring in the Harry Potter films as Severus Snape, a villain in Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Emma Thompson’s significant other in Love, Actually, to name just a few.  He starred alongside Thompson several times, including as the lovesick and heroic Col. Brandon in Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility.

His last film was Alice Through The Looking Glass, where he voiced the Blue Caterpillar.

He leaves his wife, Rima Horton, and a legion of fans.

Image via imdb.com

#AlanRickman

Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie will face off in AMC’s miniseries The Night Manager.

TH_TheNightMgr_AMCVia Collider, here’s the official synopsis:

A contemporary interpretation of John le Carré’s espionage drama, the series follows former British soldier Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston), who is recruited by intelligence operative Angela Burr (Olivia Colman) to infiltrate the inner circle of international businessman Richard Onslow Roper (Hugh Laurie) and detonate the unholy alliance he has ministered between the intelligence community and the secret arms trade. To get to the heart of Roper’s vast empire, Pine must withstand the suspicious interrogations of his venal chief of staff Major Corkoran (Tom Hollander) and the allure of his beautiful girlfriend Jed (Elizabeth Debicki). In his quest to do the right thing, Pine must first become a criminal himself. 

There will be six episodes, beginning Tuesday, April 19th.  If you don’t have AMC they will likely have each ep up on the website the day after, as they do with Halt and Catch Fire.

#TheNightManager #TomHiddleston #HughLaurie

Many, many spoilers are included here.  If you haven’t seen Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, read on at your own risk!

When I first heard that Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were using a holiday one-off special to take Sherlock and Watson back to the 19th century, I thought it could either go very right, or very, very wrong.  Fortunately, I am relieved to say that not only was this one of the best episodes ever, but it also managed to move forward — at least a little bit — the modern-day storyline at the same time.  Let me just take a minute to appreciate the writing genius of Moffat and Gatiss, because it’s my opinion that you can have the very best actors in the world, a virtually unlimited budget and anything else your heart desires, but at least half of the success of a series is dependent on whether or not the writing is there.  Even actors of the caliber of Cumberbatch and Freeman can’t save a bad script.

The episode starts off with a Victorian-era parallel to the scene where Watson’s friend Stamford introduces him to Holmes as the latter is whipping a corpse in the morgue.  Also familiar is DI Lestrade’s visit to 221B, where he chugs Sherlock’s liquor and asks for his help in solving a series of crimes involving a bride who has seemingly returned to the living from having committed suicide.

It turns out the culprit, or culprits, are a group of suffragettes who have just had-it-up-to-here with being marginalized because of their gender.  They take out their frustration on the men who refuse to see them as equals by using some parlor tricks to make it appear as though the “ghost” of Victorian bride Emilia Ricoletti had been committing the crimes.  When Mycroft makes reference to “a war we must lose,” he is referring to the time having come for women to have the same rights as men.  A nice touch is his use of Mary Watson as a spy.  I also loved that they used Molly Hooper disguised as a man, Anderson, and the many nods to classic Conan Doyle stories.

When Sherlock pops back to modern day and is in Mycroft’s jet where things left off in series 3, it’s a mind-blowing moment.  We had a hint that there was a connection to the current series when Victorian Mycroft mutters something about a “virus in the data,” but the episode moves so fast that you soon forget it.  Sherlock’s mental walkabout through his own brain, sorting out a 100-year-old case in order to work out how Moriarty may have cheated death in the present day doesn’t really make a lot of logical sense, but the visit to the Victorian era is so much fun in the end you don’t really care, and I suppose it was a useful way to tie 1890’s Sherlock to the present-day series.

If you didn’t DVR the episode and would like to see it again, it will be replayed on PBS’ Masterpiece on January 10th.  You can also catch it in some theaters (in the U.S. this will be on the 5th and 6th).  Check Fandango for information.  It will be showing up on iTunes and Google’s Play Store on January 7th.  If you live in the U.K. you can catch it on BBC’s iPlayer.

Sherlock is a production of Hartswood Films, BBC One and PBS.

#Sherlock #TheAbominableBride #BenedictCumberbatch #Martin Freeman

Don’t forget Downton Abbey will have the premiere of its final season this Sunday, 1/3/16, on PBS’ Masterpiece Theater.

Below is a promo.

If you’re a fan of Michelle Dockery (Mary), she will be turning up on American televisions again.  Earlier this year she filmed a pilot for a new TNT series called Good Behavior.  This was filmed around Wilmington and Cape Fear, North Carolina, according to starnewsonline.com.  Recently StarNews also reported that nine additional episodes have been ordered, and they will once again be filming in Wilmington.

The series is based on the Letty Dobesh books by Blake Crouch.  Dockery plays a con artist who has recently been released from prison.

#DowntonAbbey #MichelleDockery #GoodBehavior #LettyDobesh

While Star Wars: The Force Awakens is still taking everyone’s money, Disney has given to Entertainment Weekly the tentative dates for the releases of five — count ’em, five — more Star Wars films.

You won’t have long to wait for the next one.  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be released December 16th, 2016.  It goes back to the days of the Galactic Empire and the Death Star, and features Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen and Alan (Firefly) Tudyk.

Star Wars: Episode VIII will pick up where The Force Awakens left off.  Hopefully this means we’ll see Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) with Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and BB-8.  Release date is penciled in as May 26th, 2017.

Tentatively titled Star Wars Anthology: Han Solo, this film will give everyone’s favorite scoundrel’s backstory.  No actors have yet been announced, and I imagine the lead role in this one will be very tough to cast.  It is scheduled for release May 25th, 2018.

We weren’t given a lot of information about Star Wars: Episode IX, except that it should be released sometime in 2019 and will be directed by Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow.

The plan is have Star Wars Anthology: Boba Fett released sometime in 2020.  There is no other information yet about that one, but I’ll make a not-so-bold prediction – this one and the Han Solo films will both be hotly anticipated.

#StarWars #TheForce Awakens #StarWarsReleaseDates

Entertainment Weekly has released some pics of Benedict Cumberbatch as well as some concept art from Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange.  EW will be producing a double issue with Cumberbatch as Strange on the cover.

Mystical-Strange-005-EWI thought maybe the costuming would be less a copy of the comic art and more just inspired by it, but it appears they’re going with a costume that’s very close to the comics.

Marvel’s Kevin Feige also confirmed in EW that Mads Mikkelsen will be playing the main villain, although he won’t give the character’s name away.  In that article Feige gives some vague indication of a storyline, saying sorcerers Strange and The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) protect humanity from “scary things” in other dimensions.  He explains Mikkelsen’s character this way:

Mads’ character is a sorcerer who breaks off into his own sect,” says the Marvel Studios boss. “[He] believes that the Ancient One is just protecting her own power base and that the world may be better off if we were to allow some of these other things through.

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams also star.

Image by Michael Muller via Entertainment Weekly

#DoctorStrange #BenedictCumberbatch

So I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens today, like about half of America did.  I live close to a little four-screen local theater, and there was quite a crowd, although the 1:10 showing I went to wasn’t quite sold out.  Full disclosure that I have seen episodes 4 (the first film, that came out in 1977), 5, 6, and 1.  I didn’t care for episode 1, The Phantom Menace, so I skipped 2 and 3.  The good news is with The Force Awakens, the best of Star Wars is back.

In case you are part of the 50% of America that hasn’t yet seen the film, I’ll try to give this review without any spoilers that you couldn’t have picked up from the trailers.  By the way, I sat through the credits so you won’t have to.  There are no extra scenes after the credits start to roll.

Old favorites return, with Han (Harrison Ford), Chewie (Peter Mayhew), Leia (Carrie Fisher), R2-D2 and C3PO (voiced by Anthony Daniels) joining a new generation of youngsters — and adorable droid  BB-8 — in fighting a revived First Order.  Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) picks up the role of black-garbed villain from Darth Vader, and with an army of stormtroopers sets out to quash the Resistance.  If it sounds like a familiar plot, it is.  This film has a lot more in common with the first film than just the storyline, though.  There are many winks and nods to the original.  And damn, is it fun to see the Millenium Falcon flying again!

Alongside the veterans are the new generation of characters.  Daisy Ridley is Rey, a scavenger eking out a living on the formidable desert-like planet Jakku.  Finn (John Boyega) is a former First Order stormtrooper who escapes after an attack of conscience, in the process rescuing Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), a hotshot pilot Leia sent to retrieve intelligence about where she could find her brother, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).  Ren also wants to know where Skywalker is, but that’s not his only task.  He’s been ordered by Supreme Leader Snoke (voiced by Andy Serkis) to finish off the Resistance once and for all.

J.J. Abrams does an excellent job at the reins of this one.  There’s a lot of action, a lot of humor, and a good mix of the original cast of characters along with the new ones.  If you’re a fan of the first film (and I am), there is a sense of a baton being passed to the new generation, especially after one particularly heart-breaking moment, but in the end it looks like the next film will still have a mix of old and new.  After all, the next generation of Jedi still have a lot to learn and it’s up to the vets to teach them.

#StarWars #TheForceAwakens

PBS’s Masterpiece is getting its own podcast!  If you’re a fan of Sherlock, Downton Abbey and other Masterpiece favorites, you can get your between-episodes fix by listening to their new podcast Masterpiece Studio.

Entertainment Weekly just tweeted the news.  On December 21st the first guest will be Sherlock writer/co-creator Mark Gatiss.  On December 28th there will be a preview of the final season of Downton.

You can follow Masterpiece’s Twitter feed at @masterpiecepbs, and host Jace Lacob at @televisionary.

Here’s the press release.

#SherlockBBC #DowntonAbbey #MasterpiecePBS #MasterpiecePodcast #BenedictCumberbatch

Star Trek Beyond Trailer

Paramount has released on YouTube the first trailer for Star Trek Beyond, which hits theaters July 22nd, 2016.

If this looks and sounds like The Fast & The Furious in space, that’s because it’s directed by F&F’s Justin Lin.  Can’t say I’m a fan of this, I might have to wait for some reviews to see if it’s worth a ticket.

#StarTrekBeyond

The first series of the Serial podcast was a runaway hit, so Sarah Koenig and her team have now begun podcasting series two.  This series will focus on Bowe Bergdahl, the Army Pfc. who walked off his post in Afghanistan in June of 2009 and ended up being captured by the Taliban.  He spent five years as their prisoner until he was released in a prisoner swap in May of 2014.

Originally hailed as a hero, his return caused controversy after questions arose as to whether he had deliberately deserted his post.  Several soldiers were killed while searching for him.  Bergdahl is currently facing two counts, desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

While there are certainly a lot of questions surrounding this story, it’s just not of particular interest to me, so I will probably skip this series.  If you find it intriguing, though, the first episode has already been released.  Personally I think this series won’t be anywhere near as popular as the last one, but we’ll see what the download numbers say.

As reported on Deadline, Serial will also have a television series on Fox.  If you’re interested watch out for that.

The first series of Serial explored the Hae Min Lee murder case from 1999.  Hae’s ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was convicted of her murder in 2000 and is serving a life sentence.  Whether or not he is really guilty of the crime is very much in doubt.  Syed family friend and Adnan supporter Rabia Chaudry approached Sarah Koenig with the idea of doing a podcast about the case, which became Serial series one.  Chaudry, along with fellow lawyers Susan Simpson and Colin Miller, created their own podcast,  Undisclosed, to continue the search for answers and to help get Syed a new trial.  This podcast digs into the evidence (and sometimes the weeds of legal mumbo-jumbo in a way us laypeople can understand) to try to get Adnan’s conviction overturned.  Bob Ruff, a fire chief and arson investigator, became so wrapped up in the Syed case that he created his own podcast, Truth & Justice (formerly called Serial Dynasty).  Both podcasts have ferreted out quite a bit of interesting information, and in fact have helped win Syed a hearing where his attorney will present new evidence to a judge in the hopes Syed will be granted a retrial.

While Serial series one was interesting storytelling for storytelling’s sake, Undisclosed and Truth & Justice have dug into the details of the case that Koenig didn’t have the time and quite frankly, the interest, to do.  Syed may very well be innocent; at the very least he shouldn’t have been convicted on the evidence the prosecution had in my opinion.  Both Undisclosed and Truth & Justice are doing very well numbers-wise in their own right as many people want to know what happens with this case as it has now become reactivated.  Sarah Koenig is nothing if not a great storyteller, however, I have to admit to being somewhat disappointed that she’s shown little interest in the case since the end of series one (although I understand she may be giving some brief updates on the case during Serial series two).  In any case kudos goes to the folks who are still fighting to get overturned what may very well have been a wrongful conviction.

#SerialPodcast #AdnanSyed #Undisclosed #TruthAndJustice

Benedict Cumberbatch just can’t resist a war movie.

maskelyne_jasper_via_magictricks_dot_comDeadline is reporting that he will headline The War Magician, portraying real-life magician turned war-time illusionist Jasper Maskelyne.  This article on magictricks.com says Maskelyne, along with some British engineers, created illusions to conceal valued targets from German bombers.  His group’s largest trick was to disguise the Suez Canal by creating a duplicate that would be realistic enough from the air, while hiding the real canal with mirrors.

The War Magician will be adapted from the 1983 David Fisher biography.  I checked and the book is still available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble if you’re interested in checking it out.

I remember having seen photos of the same kind of camouflage illusion happening in the U.S. so I looked them up.  Here on twistedsifter.com are the pictures I remember, and the article mentions that the idea for this came from England, so it’s a good bet Maskelyne’s work was the inspiration.  In the U.S. we were able to hide entire factories and bases with the help of some of the biggest Hollywood studios.

Image: Jasper Maskelyne via magictricks.com

#BenedictCumberbatch #JasperMaskelyne #TheWarMagician

 

 

Disney didn’t pay George Lucas $4 billion for the rights to Star Wars for nothing.

As if you needed another reason to visit the Mouse House, Disney World and Disneyland now have a Star Wars-themed Season of the Force experience.  IGN has some photos here.  A large expansion of the theme parks for Star Wars Land is coming also.  Star Wars Land will encompass 14 acres.

If you’re interested in a Disney cruise (I’ve been on one recently, hands down the best cruise line out there), there are cruises that include a Star Wars day at sea.  See the Disney Cruise Lines website for details.

StarWars.com has more info here.  The Disney Parks blog will also keep you up-to-date with developments.

#StarWars #TheForceAwakens #DisneyWorld #Disneyland

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