Archive for December, 2015

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.


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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

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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



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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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And now for something entirely different.

Igobelknorr_sherlockco_2000f you’re a fan of BBC’s Sherlock and/or a fan of jigsaw puzzles, Germany puzzle company Heye has something fun coming up for you in 2016.

As reported on the definitive website for jigsaw lovers, jigsawjunkie.wordpress.com, Sherlock & Co. is a new, 2000-piece puzzle that will be coming out sometime next year.  The post there shows several other new 2016 jigsaws (and a link for the entire list), including some gorgeous fantasy ones and humorous cartoon images also.

Heye makes excellent quality jigsaw puzzles, and they can be found here in the U.S. online if you Google around.  Puzzle Warehouse and Amazon are a couple of places to start.

Many thanks to Jigsaw Junkie for her exhaustive work on her blog, to which I refer often!

#BBCSherlock #jigsawpuzzles

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The first full-length Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer arrived on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night and Warner has released it on YouTube.

I love that the two best chins in Hollywood Batman and Superman meet as Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne first in the trailer.  I’m not sure how scary I’m finding the villain to be, but maybe that will change when I see the film.

And there’s Wonder Woman.  And Doomsday, who could spell some serious trouble for Superman.  I would be more worried about Henry Cavill’s continuing career with the appearance of this character if it weren’t for the fact I know he’s in the Justice League flicks.  Whew.


#BatmanvSuperman #HenryCavill #BenAffleck

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Tom Hiddleston (@twhiddleston) tweeted the news that a full-length trailer for his Hank Williams biopic I Saw The Light was released today.

The film also stars Elizabeth Olsen and Bradley Whitford.  It hits theaters in the U.K. on February 5th and the U.S. on March 25th.

#ISawTheLight #TomHiddleston

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[Clicky clicky for a better look]

[Clicky clicky for a better look]

Entertainment Weekly has released its new cover featuring Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).  The latter does have a part in Captain America: Civil War, but he’s barely in the just-released trailer.

I have to hand it to Marvel, it couldn’t have been easy designing a superhero suit for a guy named after a feline.  They seem to have pulled it off, though.

The accompanying article with more info on the new (at least to the films) character is here.  Marvel.com has more on Black Panther here.  The character first appeared in the comics in 1966.

Black Panther’s own film comes out on February 16, 2018.

#CaptainAmericaCivilWar #BlackPanther

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