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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

Everyone’s favorite potty-mouthed superhero will be back in Deadpool 2 on June 1, 2018.

Josh Brolin has been added as Nathan Summers/Cable (note in the trailer below the graffiti on the phone booth). Brianna Hildebrand is back as Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Zazie Beetz will be Domino.

If you haven’t plugged into Reynolds’ Twitter feed (@VancityReynolds) you’re missing the funniest thing out there.  His kids won’t be able to read it until they’re 21, but…

Here’s the first trailer for Deadpool 2.  Note the graffiti on the phone booth:

If you can’t wait until June of 2018 for a Reynolds fix, you can catch him with Samuel L. Jackson in The Hitman’s Bodyguard this coming August 18th.  The trailer is restricted but Reynolds has it up on his Twitter feed.  Yet another thing his kids can’t see!  Love the references to 1992’s The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston.  I hope Reynolds got extra pay for this lift:

#Deadpool2 #RyanReynolds #HitmansBodyguard

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Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn announced via Twitter that he would be returning to write and direct the third installment of the franchise.

In the meantime, Vol. 2 will be arriving on May 5th, and tickets are already on sale.  It’s tracking to have a huge opening, so fair warning that you may want to preorder your tix.

#GotGVol2

Without further ado, here’s the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi that was just released by Disney.

The film opens December 15th in the both the U.S. and the U.K.

#StarWars #TheLastJedi

I don’t normally post about music on this blog, outside of a mention here and there of The Voice.  But the 2017 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – the ceremony was Friday – deserve some attention. They are: Joan Baez, Yes, Journey (finally!), Pearl Jam, Electric Light Orchestra (a.k.a. ELO), Tupac and producer Nile Rodgers.

Below is a video from the Hall’s official YouTube account:

Of the aforementioned I am a bigger fan of ELO and Journey than the others. It took forever for Journey, who was eligible 17 years ago, to be inducted. When they did something very special happened – former lead singer Steve Perry, who was inducted with the rest of the original lineup – showed up to accept his award (which you can find on YouTube if you search, but since it’s not an official Hall of Fame video I didn’t include here), still looking damn good at age 68. He received a standing ovation and gave a great speech, even giving a shout-out to his Journey replacement, Arnel Pineda. And he brought with him some news! He will be releasing a new solo album this year. This one may be a heartbreaker, as he wrote it after he lost his girlfriend to cancer four years ago.

Everyone knows Journey’s stuff (their albums Escape, The Essential Journey and Journey: Greatest Hits are perennial best-sellers) but if you haven’t heard Perry’s solo stuff beyond Oh, Sherrie and Foolish Heart you should look it up.  For The Love of Strange Medicine was his last solo album, released in 1994, and it has one of the best ballads I’ve ever heard, Missing You.

There’s a reason you hear classic rock everywhere you go, when some of it is 40 or 50 years old.  It’s because it holds up over time.  Just look at the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack from a couple of years ago.  Go All The Way by The Raspberries was released in 1972.  Hooked On A Feeling was first recorded in 1968 and covered by Blue Swede in 1974.  Come And Get Your Love was also released in 1974.  It was cool then, and it’s still cool now.

Congratulations to all the inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Keep on rockin’.

#RockHall2017 #StevePerry #Journey

Beauty and The Beast Review

Magical.  The live-action version of Disney’s animated classic Beauty and the Beast is simply magical.  For those of you who thought they couldn’t do justice to the original, I would say that this one stands on its own and can be enjoyed without taking anything away from the animated version.

It stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Prince/Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou.  The household accessories include Emma Watson as Mrs. Potts, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere and Ian McKellen as Cogsworth.  All were wonderful.

It’s a faithful adaptation of the original animated film, with a few extra scenes thrown in.  It can’t have been easy to take on a new version of such a beloved classic, but Disney (and director Bill Condon) got it right, and by the estimated $170 million haul it has made so far (and the fact that tickets were selling like hotcakes) I’d say this will go down as a huge success.

There are the original songs as well as some new ones, including one for the Beast called Evermore.  And yes, Dan Stevens really does sing it.  All the cast members did their own singing.  Some of them, like Luke Evans, are old pros at it.  Evans told CinemaBlend they recorded the songs but also sang live on set and he doesn’t know which version they used.

Speaking of sets, if there isn’t an Oscar nomination for set design that would truly be a shame, but let’s have a word about the costumes.  The iconic yellow dress is amazing.  And yes, it is a little odd that the story is set in France, yet the actors are by and large British.  From what I can tell the timeframe is supposed to be mid-1700’s, and the French upper class wore very… umm… over the top (dare I say foppish) clothes.  I would have brought the clothes down just a tad, particularly for the Prince, and had him forego the wig with side curls for a simple ponytail with a ribbon, for instance.  That said, the original story is a French fairy tale published in 1740 (according to Wikipedia), so I suppose Disney was at least being historically accurate.  That is the tiny, and only, complaint I have.

So by all means go if this is at all your kind of thing.  I saw it in 2D, but it’s also out in 3D and IMAX.  I’d rate it well worth a full-price ticket.  Don’t forget to bring the tissues!

Image via imdb.com

#BeautyAndTheBeast

The BBC and ITV have teamed up to start a new streaming service, BritBox, according to Variety.

For us Anglophiles stuck here in the U.S. this is good news!  Many of us have been able to watch some British TV through, say, Netflix (hello, Midsomer Murders!) or if PBS decides to collaborate with or piggyback onto the BBC’s content, but have been frustrated that we’re unable to get ahold of some shows that are up online in the U.K. but are blocked for us viewers here in the States.

Enter BritBox, which brings a mixture of classic and current television.  Old favorites such as Blackadder, Fawlty Towers and The Office are available now, as are back episodes of current shows such as EastEnders and Casualty.  New episodes of those are loaded up the day after they air in the U.K.

If you like detective stories and mysteries, there’s Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes, Helen Mirren’s Prime Suspect, Joan Hickson as Miss Marple and Rosemary and Thyme, among others.

Bleak House, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Upstairs, Downstairs (both the original 1971 version and the 2010 remake) are part of the historical drama contingent.

Right now the offerings are a little thin, but I would imagine that’s due to the BBC and ITV wanting to see if this takes off before adding more.  I would love to see Coupling on here, maybe Graham Norton, and possibly some game shows.

The service starts with a 7-day free trial and is $6.99 monthly thereafter.  To sign up go to BritBox.com.

#BritBox #BritishTelevision

Marvel released the second trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

We see Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha and Kurt Russell as Ego, Star-Lord’s dad.

And of course, we get more of pint-sized scene stealer Baby Groot. One can never have enough Baby Groot!

The song is The Chain from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors. If director James Gunn ever decides to quit making films I have a sneaking suspicion he could get a gig as a DJ somewhere…

Enjoy!


#GotGVol2

I confess I didn’t stay up for the Oscars, but this morning all the news was about a huge gaffe when it came time for Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway to announce the winner for Best Picture.

By this morning what happened and how it happened had come out.  Here’s how it went down: Beatty was to announce the winner, tore open the envelope, looked confused, looked over at Dunaway and handed her the envelope, and she confidently said “La La Land.”  That picture’s producers and cast got  up on stage, and were well into their thank-yous when you could see some people come up behind them and take a look at the announcement card.  The audience was then told there had been an error, and that Moonlight was the actual winner.

So now we know how all this happened.  There are two sets of envelopes with the winner’s cards, one set stage left and one set stage right.  The announcers are given the (hopefully correct) envelope from whichever side they’re coming from.  The previous category to be announced was Actress in a Leading Role, which went to La La Land’s Emma Stone.  When Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway left to go onstage to announce the Best Picture winner, they were apparently handed the second copy of Stone’s card.  This has been confirmed by a close-up photo of the envelope which had the Actress in a Leading Role category on the outside.

Hence Beatty’s confusion when he saw the card, which read “Emma Stone” and “La La Land.”  Dunaway simply read the film name from the card.

So, congratulations to Moonlight, which I have not seen but I hear was a deserving winner.  I have seen La La Land, and it was good, but I think a lot of people were dazzled by the fact that we just don’t see throwback films like this any more.

Other winners last night were Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea, Viola Davis for her supporting role in Fences, and Mahershala Ali for his role in Moonlight.  Disney’s Zootopia won the award for Animated Feature Film, and their adorable short Piper from Disney/Pixar won in the Short Film (Animated) category.  For the trifecta, The Jungle Book also won for Best Visual Effects.

You can see the remainder of the nominees and winners here on the official Oscar website.

Congratulations!

#Oscars2017 #Moonlight #LaLaLand

Bill Paxton, 1955-2017

Actor Bill Paxton passed away yesterday from complications after surgery.

He had a long list of successful films, including Titanic, Apollo 13, Twister, Aliens and The Terminator.

Paxton also did a lot of television work.  His current small-screen project was the CBS television series Training Day.  His son James was to co-star with him in an upcoming episode.  He had also appeared in several episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and miniseries Hatfields & McCoys and Texas Rising, among many other roles.

His last film was The Circle with Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, which is in post-production.  That film will be released in the U.S. on April 28th.

Paxton leaves his wife Louise and a daughter in addition to son James.  Condolences to all.

#BillPaxton

News Roundup

Some snippets of news for your Friday…

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Fox has given Lethal Weapon a renewal for season 2.  If you haven’t been watching this show you’re missing out.  And if someone doesn’t give Clayne Crawford some kind of award then there’s something wrong somewhere.  He’s done an incredible job all year taking on a very difficult role.  Love the rest of the cast also.

To almost everyone’s surprise, NBC has given Days Of Our Lives a renewal for its 52nd season.  Low ratings, Megyn Kelly and writing team shakeups notwithstanding, there will be more sand flowing through the hourglass!  While I only check in on my old soap occasionally, I would be very sad to see it go.  It’s like that old teddy bear in the box stuffed in the back of a closet… you may not look at it often, but you know it’s there if you want to.

Benedict Cumberbatch has another new project coming up, and surprisingly, this one is for the BBC and PBS’ Masterpiece.  According to Deadline, he will star as Stephen Lewis in The Child In Time, adapting the novel by Ian McEwan.  Benedict will also executive produce under his SunnyMarch TV banner.  The plot revolves around Lewis and his wife, and the difficulties they face after their daughter goes missing.

Benedict is filming The Current War, where he plays Thomas Edison to Michael Shannon’s George Westinghouse.  He’ll also be putting on the Cloak of Levitation again in Thor: Ragnarok and the sequel to Doctor Strange.  One busy man.

If you’re a Dan Stevens fan (and you’ve forgiven him for leaving Downton Abbey) then you can catch him in FX’s Legion as David Haller.  This is one of the more obscure X-Men characters.  The role is a big departure for Stevens from Downton and his upcoming princely role in the live-action Beauty and the Beast.

#LethalWeapon #DaysOfOurLives #TheCurrentWar #BenedictCumberbatch #LegionFX #DanStevens

Disney has released the final trailer for the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a doozy.

The film stars Dan Stevens as the Beast, Emma Watson as Belle, and Luke Evans as Gaston.  It also stars Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, and Ian McKellen as Cogsworth.

They have also released moving posters of the major characters.  Buzzfeed has them all here.  Be aware, though, that the final poster (NOT moving) is of Dan Stevens as the Prince, so if you don’t want to know what he’ll look like when the curse is broken, stop after the Beast one.

The film arrives on March 17th in both the U.S. and the U.K.

#BeautyAndTheBeast #DanStevens #EmmaWatson #LukeEvans

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