"Fox" will be dropped from the studios' name with near immediate effect. Variety reports that Disney will be dropping the "Fox" name of 20th Century Fox, a name in the Hollywood Industry since 1935, to simple "20th Century Studios." Fox Searchlight Pictures is also getting the fox-less rebranding of simply "Searchlight Pictures." Variety goes on to say that "those logos won’t be dramatically altered, just updated. The most notable change is that the word “Fox” has been removed from the logo marks. Otherwise, the signature elements — swirling klieg lights, monolith, triumphal fanfare — will remain the same."
No word on what, if any, changes will be made to 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios names. However changes are already being made internally with e-mail addresses already switching to the new names, and new movies poster's and logos are being upgraded currently.
Variety also learned that Disney and Peter Chernin are ending Chernin Entertainment’s long-standing film production deal with 20th Century Fox.
“I have nothing but praise for Disney,” Chernin told Variety. “They were gracious, classy and paved the way for me to continue to build the company however we want.”
Chernin Entertainment’s most recent films have been financial disappointments. The Kristen Stewart thriller, and Central Coast local director, William Eubank's “Underwater,” debuted with only $7 million domestic opening weekend, and the animated comedy “Spies in Disguise” has grossed a only $116.7 million to date.
Disney’s $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox in March 2019 included the 20th Century Fox film and TV studios, but not the Fox broadcast network or Fox News. Change to the name was seen as "inevitable" to help close the confusion on the name branding.
Variety also notes that "Disney chief Bob Iger saw his compensation for 2019 drop to $47.5 million, a 28% decline from his 2018 pay package."
"Disney’s leader earned $3 million in salary and a $21.8 million bonus, plus another $10 million in stock awards and $9.6 million in stock options, Disney disclosed in the company’s annual proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday. The $47.5 million total includes the current market value of options and stock awards that won’t be paid out for some time and thus could lose value."
Early this morning, nominations were announced for the 92nd Academy Awards. Joker takes the lead with 11 nominations with The Irishman, 1917 and Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood came in a close second with 10 nominations each.
Be sure to come to our Oscar Viewing Party to watch, at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. in Arroyo Grande. The show will be held on Sunday, February 9, 2020, at the Dolby® Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
OSCAR NOMINATIONS 2020 BY CATEGORY - 92ND AWARDS
Best motion picture of the year nominees:
FORD V FERRARI
Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and James Mangold, Producers
Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers
Carthew Neal and Taika Waititi, Producers
Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers
Amy Pascal, Producer
Noah Baumbach and David Heyman, Producers
Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougall, Producers
ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD
David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh and Quentin Tarantino, Producers
Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon Ho, Producers
Performance by an actor in a leading role nominees:
Antonio Banderas in PAIN AND GLORY
Leonardo DiCaprio in ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD
Adam Driver in MARRIAGE STORY
Joaquin Phoenix in JOKER
Jonathan Pryce in THE TWO POPES
Performance by an actor in a supporting role nominees:
Tom Hanks in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Anthony Hopkins in THE TWO POPES
Al Pacino in THE IRISHMAN
Joe Pesci in THE IRISHMAN
Brad Pitt in ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD
Performance by an actress in a leading role nominees:
Cynthia Erivo in HARRIET
Scarlett Johansson in MARRIAGE STORY
Saoirse Ronan in LITTLE WOMEN
Charlize Theron in BOMBSHELL
Renée Zellweger in JUDY
Performance by an actress in a supporting role nominees:
Kathy Bates in RICHARD JEWELL
Laura Dern in MARRIAGE STORY
Scarlett Johansson in JOJO RABBIT
Florence Pugh in LITTLE WOMEN
Margot Robbie in BOMBSHELL
Best animated feature film of the year nominees:
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis and Bonnie Arnold
I LOST MY BODY
Jérémy Clapin and Marc du Pontavice
Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh and Marisa Román
Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight
TOY STORY 4
Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera
Achievement in cinematography nominees:
ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD
Achievement in costume design nominees:
Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson
Mayes C. Rubeo
ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD
Achievement in directing nominees:
ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD
Bong Joon Ho
Best documentary feature nominees:
Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert and Jeff Reichert
Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfod and Sigrid Dyekjær
THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY
Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan
Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts
Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska and Atanas Georgiev
Best documentary short subject nominees:
IN THE ABSENCE
Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam
LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD IN A WARZONE (IF YOU’RE A GIRL)
Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva
LIFE OVERTAKES ME
John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson
ST. LOUIS SUPERMAN
Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
WALK RUN CHA-CHA
Laura Nix and Colette Sandstedt
Achievement in film editing nominees:
FORD V FERRARI
Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland
Best international feature film of the year nominees:
Directed by Jan Komasa
Directed by Ljubo Stefanov and Tamara Kotevksa
Directed by Ladj Ly
PAIN AND GLORY
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Directed by Bong Joon Ho
Achievement in makeup and hairstyling nominees:
Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker
Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou
MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL
Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten and David White
Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis and Rebecca Cole
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score) nominees:
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song) nominees:
"I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" from TOY STORY 4
Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
"(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" from ROCKETMAN
Music by Elton John
Lyric by Bernie Taupin
"I'm Standing With You" from BREAKTHROUGH
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
"Into The Unknown" from FROZEN II
Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
"Stand Up" from HARRIET
Music and Lyric by Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo
Achievement in production design nominees:
Production Design: Bob Shaw
Set Decoration: Regina Graves
Production Design: Ra Vincent
Set Decoration: Nora Sopková
Production Design: Dennis Gassner
Set Decoration: Lee Sandales
ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD
Production Design: Barbara Ling
Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
Production Design: Lee Ha Jun
Set Decoration: Cho Won Woo
Best animated short film nominees:
Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver
Rosana Sullivan and Kathryn Hendrickson
Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corre
Best live action short film nominees:
Meryam Joobeur and Maria Gracia Turgeon
NEFTA FOOTBALL CLUB
Yves Piat and Damien Megherbi
THE NEIGHBORS’ WINDOW
Bryan Buckley and Matt Lefebvre
Achievement in sound editing nominees:
FORD V FERRARI
Alan Robert Murray
Oliver Tarney and Rachael Tate
ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
Matthew Wood and David Acord
Achievement in sound mixing nominees:
Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson and Mark Ulano
FORD V FERRARI
Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Steven A. Morrow
Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic and Tod Maitland
Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson
ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD
Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler and Mark Ulano
Achievement in visual effects nominees:
Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken and Dan Sudick
Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser and Stephane Grabli
THE LION KING
Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Elliot Newman
Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler and Dominic Tuohy
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach and Dominic Tuohy
Adapted screenplay nominees:
Screenplay by Steven Zaillian
Screenplay by Taika Waititi
Written by Todd Phillips & Scott Silver
Written for the screen by Greta Gerwig
THE TWO POPES
Written by Anthony McCarten
Original screenplay nominees:
Written by Rian Johnson
Written by Noah Baumbach
Written by Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns
ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD
Written by Quentin Tarantino
Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won
Story by Bong Joon Ho
Watch the nomination announcements here:
Award season is officially here with the Golden Globes taking place last night. The Hollywood Foreign Press selects the winners of categories in both film and television. This is one of the major precussors building up to the Academy Awards.
At the Golden Globes, there were some usual fireworks that came from the stage, but the standout speech of the night came from Tom Hanks, accepting a the Cecil B. deMille award "for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment" says the official website. You can watch his top-notch and emotional speech below.
Check out the complete list of winners and nominees below.
Best Motion Picture — Drama
“The Irishman” (Netflix)
“Joker” (Warner Bros.)
“Marriage Story” (Netflix)
“1917” (Universal) (WINNER)
“The Two Popes” (Netflix)
Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy
“Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)
“Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight)
“Knives Out” (Lionsgate)
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Sony) (WINNER)
Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama
Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”)
Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”)
Saoirse Ronan (“Little Women”)
Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”)
Renée Zellweger (“Judy”) (WINNER)
Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama
Christian Bale (“Ford v Ferrari”)
Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”)
Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”)
Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”) (WINNER)
Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”)
Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy
Ana de Armas (“Knives Out”)
Awkwafina (“The Farewell”) (WINNER)
Cate Blanchett (“Where’d You Go, Bernadette”)
Beanie Feldstein (“Booksmart”)
Emma Thompson (“Late Night”)
Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy
Daniel Craig (“Knives Out”)
Roman Griffin Davis (“Jojo Rabbit”)
Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Taron Egerton (“Rocketman”) (WINNER)
Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Kathy Bates (“Richard Jewell”)
Annette Bening (“The Report”)
Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”) (WINNER)
Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”)
Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”)
Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”)
Al Pacino (“The Irishman”)
Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”)
Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) (WINNER)
Best Director — Motion Picture
Bong Joon-ho (“Parasite”)
Sam Mendes (“1917”) (WINNER)
Todd Phillips (“Joker”)
Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”)
Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Best Screenplay — Motion Picture
Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”)
Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin Won (“Parasite”)
Anthony McCarten (“The Two Popes”)
Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) (WINNER)
Steven Zaillian (“The Irishman”)
Best Motion Picture — Foreign Language
“The Farewell” (A24)
“Les Misérables” (Amazon)
“Pain and Glory” (Sony Pictures Classics)
“Parasite” (Neon) (WINNER)
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (Neon)
Best Motion Picture — Animated
“Frozen 2” (Disney)
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” (Universal)
“The Lion King” (Disney)
“Missing Link” (United Artists) (WINNER)
“Toy Story 4” (Disney)
Best Original Score — Motion Picture
Alexandre Desplat (“Little Women”)
Hildur Guðnadóttir (“Joker”) (WINNER)
Randy Newman (“Marriage Story”)
Thomas Newman (“1917”)
Daniel Pemberton (“Motherless Brooklyn”)
Best Original Song — Motion Picture
“Beautiful Ghosts” (“Cats”)
“I’m Gonna Love Me Again” (“Rocketman”) (WINNER)
“Into the Unknown” (“Frozen 2”)
“Spirit” (“The Lion King”)
“Stand Up” (“Harriet”)
Best Television Series — Drama
“Big Little Lies” (HBO)
“The Crown” (Netflix)
“Killing Eve” (BBC America)
“The Morning Show” (Apple TV Plus)
“Succession” (HBO) (WINNER)
Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy
“Fleabag” (Amazon) (WINNER)
“The Kominsky Method” (Netflix)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
“The Politician” (Netflix)
Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
“Chernobyl” (HBO) (WINNER)
The Loudest Voice (Showtime)
Best Actress in a Television Series — Drama
Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”)
Olivia Colman (“The Crown”) (WINNER)
Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”)
Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”)
Reese Witherspoon (“The Morning Show”)
Best Actor in a Television Series — Drama
Brian Cox (“Succession”) (WINNER)
Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”)
Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”)
Tobias Menzies (“The Crown”)
Billy Porter (“Pose”)
Best Actress in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy
Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”)
Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Kirsten Dunst (“On Becoming a God in Central Florida”)
Natasha Lyonne (“Russian Doll”)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”) (WINNER)
Best Actor in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy
Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”)
Bill Hader (“Barry”)
Ben Platt (“The Politician”)
Paul Rudd (“Living With Yourself”)
Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”) (WINNER)
Best Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Kaitlyn Dever (“Unbelievable”)
Joey King (“The Act”)
Helen Mirren (“Catherine the Great”)
Merritt Wever (“Unbelievable”)
Michelle Williams (“Fosse/Verdon”) (WINNER)
Best Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Christopher Abbott (“Catch-22”)
Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Spy”)
Russell Crowe (“The Loudest Voice”) (WINNER)
Jared Harris (“Chernobyl”)
Sam Rockwell (“Fosse/Verdon”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Patricia Arquette (“The Act”) (WINNER)
Helena Bonham Carter (“The Crown”)
Toni Collette (“Unbelievable”)
Meryl Streep (“Big Little Lies”)
Emily Watson (“Chernobyl”)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alan Arkin (“The Kominsky Method”)
Kieran Culkin (“Succession”)
Andrew Scott (“Fleabag”)
Stellan Skarsgård (“Chernobyl”) (WINNER)
Henry Winkler (“Barry”)
Hopefully you've read the headline for this review. This is our SPOILER filled review, which means, if you haven't seen it, you may want to go check it out before reading this. I also try to make sure any SPOILER reviews come out a week after the film has been released to make sure you have plenty of time to check out the movie. You can also check out my SPOILER FREE review if you'd like.
Okay, if you're ready, scroll on down!
What a piece of fun!
I want to start out by saying: This film is by no means anywhere near perfect. In some places, far from it. But, is it fun, mind-numbing escapism entertainment? You bet your space boots!! It's a fun conclusion to a saga running almost 40 years. And I personally believe it's not near over yet. The film does play heavy on nostalgia because, well, it has too! These stories are classic in terms of classic character archetypes, and follow classic themes of good versus evil, redemption, and family. It's what the other films have followed, and some say (for better or worse) that The Last Jedi was breaking that mold set forth by it's predecessors. But The Rise Of Skywalker brings us back (for better or worse) to what we are used to. We will get into it all a little later.
Like I said, as just going for a thrill in a theater, this movie hits the right nots, but there are still things that did not sit well with me. Some are the "fan-boy eye roll" moments, others are "filmmaker eye roll" moments. Most of my gripes with this film can be simply answered by saying, "This is Star Wars, do you really need more of an explanation?"
But let's get into the gripes first.
The Kiss That Made a Theater Groan
You know what I'm talking about, and I'm not talking about the first on-screen same-sex kiss in a Star Wars movie. I'm talking about that "Reylo" kiss. My theater did not gasp, it groaned. I saw the film a second time a few days later, and the reaction was the same. One person behind me audibly said during Rey and Ben's "buildup" moments before, "If they kiss, that's it, I'm out of here." And when they did, I was gone. I was out of the moment. I was just left thinking, "Why?" Did they really have to go there? I preferred the kiss between Rose and Finn from The Last Jedi, which has about the same amount of weight in this movie. Seriously, they kind of just ignore that ever happens. Rose is just left to be on her own. As someone said, "They Jar-Jared her." But the Rey and Ben Solo kiss should not have happened. Period.
The Knights of Who?
I think the Knights of Ren got the real shaft here. Almost like Captain Phasma did in the other movies. There was such a build up of these mysterious knights, and let's put it this way; if they were magically edited out of the movie, would it really make a difference? Nope. They showed up, were "hunting" our heroes and never really had a run-in with them, and then they were all killed in the end by Ben Solo. Which I don't mind, and I don't mind the force-teleportation of things to save him, it's a fun new way to use the force. (By the way, teleportation IS cannon in Star Wars. Just remember Luke telling C3-PO he'd like to be "teleported off this rock" in A New Hope.) But they are just killed off and not explained at all. I'm not even sure they knew how to use the force. Worthless.
There are lots of other characters that seemed to be throwaways. Dominic Monaghan, most known as a Merry in Lord of the Rings, played someone who again, if was magically edited out of the movie, would make zero change to the story. Some may say characters like this make the film seem bloated. But this also leads to my next gripe...
To Cut or Not To Cut...?
This movie is not well edited. Now, I understand that the overlords at Disney are probably ordering the filmmakers to make sure have the film fit within certain guidelines, but it's too confining. The result makes it feel rushed. We want to see longer reaction shots, especially on characters we know we'll never see again on the silver screen. I want to know how the hell Rey found a "skimmer" to go out to the Death Star wreckage. I want to know more about Rey's training and abilities she's learning from Leia. I also wanted to experience the opening crawl, not read about a mysterious broadcast. That would be scary as hell and would have been amazing to see our hero's reactions. I want to know what the hell happened to "broom boy" from The Last Jedi. I also want to know what the hell is Lando doing with Jannah? Oh yeah, and how the hell did Lando convince so many to join the fight in so little time? I mean I know he's a smooth talk and all... but come on! I also want to know what made General Hux really turn somewhat decent. It was all so sudden. But after seeing the Rise of Resistance attraction, I began to have my suspicion then about Hux. Also, anyone curious about Kylo's helmet at Galaxy's Edge and the timeline of the story? Anyways, the point is I could begin to smell the Disney behind all these choices because of...
Merchandising! Merchandising! Where the Real Money From the Movie is Made.
Synergy is real at Disney. And in an attempt to try to make a duplicate Marvel Cinematic Universe, they do it with multiple platform universe. This is where video games, comics, novels, short stories, cartoons, television shows and theme park attractions are all known as "cannon" and a part of the larger Star Wars Universe. I'll admit, I'm a huge fan of Galaxy's Edge at the Disney Parks, and the amount of backstory and detail you can get into is massive. But it's sad to see the movie suffer because disney is pushing their other platforms.
Already it's discussed how you can help put some pieces of the missing puzzles from the movie in the Visual Dictionary of the movie. Things like this will continue to come out for a while. You will have to read a novel, walk through Batuu or subscribe to Disney+ to find answers to some of these things. It's a bit nickel-and-diming if you ask me, and unfair to general movie goers. Remember when bonus material was created from the stories in the movies? Because now it seems the stories in the movies are dictated by the preplanned merchandise. Kind of sad.
But Hey, It's Star Wars
This is science fantasy after all. You have to suspend your disbelief a little bit more when watching this rather than watching, say, Star Trek.
We don't know what the force can do. We don't know what Rey has learned. We just accept it and have fun, as it is intended to be. If you're willing to "let go" and "accept" things as they're presented to you, this is going to be fun. It's fun because you get to see people die and come back, and then die again if you're Ben Solo. We get to see old friends, and closure on things like Chewie finally getting a medal from the Battle of Yavin (yet there's debate as to whom the medal really belongs to).
There are new characters that work. Zorii Bliss was fun, but needed more screen time. Babu Frik wins the best new-commer award, and General Pryde should have been Hux all along. In this film it was great to see our heroes all together for most of the adventure. It was also great to see Lando and the Emperor. I don't mind the Emperor either. I like that he was mangeled and sick. I'm sure we will figure out how he survies a high fall (like Luke and Darth Maul) and then has time to make a baby, but again, just go with it! It's fun and it's a joy! It also really doesn't deserved the 55% critic rating on RottenTomatoes.
You will have a good time. 4/5 Stars.
Well, today is the day that the galaxy has some closure. The end of the Skywalker Saga is here, and movie-goers are beyond excited (maybe even scared?) about going to see this last installment. I got a chance to see the movie, after reading a lot of critics responses to it as well. And while I'll keep this review a SPOILER FREE review and will be perfectly safe for you to read, I also want to start out by saying, "Don't read reviews for this movie!!"
Seriously, I can (and will) get into things that I loved, things that irked me, but even speaking in generalities about those things may prejudice you (towards the light or dark side). So in all honesty and respect to you as the reader, I'll tell you right now to stop reading this and go see the movie. Don't talk to your friends about it, just go. I can't even tell you how many random texts from friends I got that were, "Did you see it?" "Well...?" "Okay, what did you think?" It was like a code, a nudge-nudge, wink-wink sort of lingo while putting our toe in the water of being able to freely talk about the movie. Once you respond with "I saw the movie" then be prepared for endless conversation about the most famous film franchise in cinema history. It may be a better experience for you to just have that moment with your friends after seeing the movie.
That being said, if you're still reading, I'm going to go into my initial reactions and feels about this movie and won't talk about anything you don't already see in the trailer. So I'll say this to sum it up: "Whoa."
There's a LOT in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. And that is a blessing (and in some small ways, the curse) of this movie. There was so much we needed closure on and to have answers to, even to things we never knew we needed closure on, including things that stem back to the original 1977 film. This film was one of the best blockbuster, tent-pole, escapism film to come out since Avengers: Endgame (only just a few months ago). That's of course some cynicism, but honestly, Disney has made 2019 THE year to make some massive movie franchise finales.
The film succeeds on building the universe of Star Wars. We go to new planets, meet new characters and discover numerous new force powers. New weapons, new ships, new stormtroopers, new costumes, new looks, new villains, new heroes and a new legends that are just teased to us.
That's also where things fall apart a little, and it's not to any fault of the filmmakers. I think the biggest flaw is that this film is stretched way too thin. It's a part of the Disney "machine" that is cranking out comic books, novels, video games, a new (amazing) themed land in two parks and of course the new "TV" shows coming to Disney+. All this new content is "cannon" and exists in the Star Wars Universe. With this amount of content all connecting to this movie in some way or another (and they do in small, less than Marvel's attempt), there's a ton of small details that are to be filled in later in those smaller, more intimate settings. I think Disney executives are thinking this is a way to sell more "byproduct" of the films, but it really makes the film a bit clunky and you miss some plot details. There's a few moments of like "where did that come from?" or "how did that happen?" I felt like the editor had some Disney brass with a gun to their head making them stick to the bladder-tested time of 2 hours and 20 minutes, and the editor just cried as they had to chop up the beautiful shots and scenes that maybe had a lasting moment, or a little more explanation. Maybe there is a director's cut coming?? This movie could really use the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition treatment.
But that was me going into this movie knowing I'd soon be writing this (and a future spoiler) review. Then the 10-year-old inside of me was kicking me in the shin saying, "It's a Star Wars movie, dude!" And he was right.
Lots of things you have to let go of what you have learned, because we may forget, Star Wars is NOT science-fiction, it is science-fantasy. This means, as an audience, we must be more willing to suspend our disbelief and just go with it. Maybe it's a sign of the times, but it seems more and more people can't do that. Star Wars makes you do that, it makes you be a kid again because you're willing to accept things and just go with it. It's a fun, rollicking adventure through space that adheres to the poetry patterns of George Lucas. In a way, you're not surprised about how things end up, but for a moment, you're not sure how it's going to happen.
There was ONE thing that took me out of the movie and the story. Just one. Most people who have seen this movie probably already know what I'm talking about because it's not a small thing. It's a big moment with some of our characters we've gotten to know over these three films (and books, and theme parks, etc.), but it felt so unnecessary and out of place that the suspension of disbelief is so far out, it snaps you in the face like a rubber band at that moment. *Sigh*
But again, it's a Star Wars movie, dude! And a good one at that. Kids will love it, big kids will love it, and parents will have fun too! It's just a pure fun and a joy of a movie to go to. This movie is the reason why we love to go to the movies. Well done! I'll be posting my spoiler review soon, after another viewing or two of the film. I want to see it again! The re-watchability of this movie is great! Go see it... then go see it again.
And may the force be with you.
Walt Disney Studios has just broke a Hollywood record by crossing $10 Billion at the Global Box Office. When you look at the massive hits that they have had with Avenger's Endgame, The Lion King and Toy Story 4, it's no wonder why. Also, just take this moment to think about they could be adding even more to that total with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opening next week. But the film that put the studio over the record breaking limit was the sequel to the extremely popular animated film, Frozen. Please keep in mind there will be some spoilers ahead!
First off, Frozen II has some seriously gorgeous imagery, fun song numbers and overall an enjoyable story. In some instances, you may find yourself more mesmerized by the technical achievements, like how the fabric of the clothes are so photo-real. When looking at elements, like fire and water, those are some of the hardest things to create in a computer, but the animators do a fantastic job here. So the film shines in its technicality, it may be a little lacking during in the story telling details. Let me explain.
This film starts out like it's predecessor, in a flashback, looking at Anna and Elsa as little kids. It's an important choice because this movie focuses on who they are and what their family is like. So come to find out, their grandfather was a not so nice king that decided to build a huge dam in an enchanted forrest where magic reigns, even though I don't quite understand why, but it becomes the thing that must be destroyed to restore peace to the realms. There was a one-line explanation about it, so if you have squirmy youngsters sitting next to you and you need to tell them to not throw popcorn at strangers, you might miss critical blink-and-you-missed-it explications to things. Like, "How do you like your new permafrost, Olaf?" was a line to explain why he doesn't need a little snow cloud to follow him around anymore and never melts.
The film is short on explanations, long on over explaining "there is a mystery afoot" and still hits the right amount of music to action ratio. The musical numbers are great and fun, and yes, "Into the Unknown" is a great song, even enough to rival "Let It Go." But I enjoyed the fact that Kristoff actually had a real song to sign, however funny it was, I was not really into the sudden jump into a boy-band music video rendition.
The film does dip deep into flashbacks and dream-like sequences which ups the magical and mystery element to it. I mean, they are in an enchanted forrest, so magic is a plenty! There was a great reference to even Elsa scoffing at her past breakout song number, which was hilarious for all of us parents. There was also a nice little nod to the author responsible for these movies. There's another quick line about a "new Danish author" which if anyone has ever been to Solvang, California, could tell you this was talking about Hans Christian Andersen.
Long story, short: If you liked the original Frozen, you'll like Frozen II too. If you're a parent, just be aware that Disney realized they can sell a lot more dresses by giving the characters more costume changes, even if they really don't make any sense at all to the story. But hey, it's just a cartoon, right? If you want the "adult" version of this movie, just watch The Fifth Element, because it's basically the same story.
Rating: 3/5 Stars
The Little Mermaid is a classic story that turned 182 years old this year. Written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837, this story has been told and retold in many ways, with the most famous done in 1989 by the Walt Disney Company. Disney produced an adaptation that put Ariel in the front and center in its massive corporate branding machine, and she’s been there ever since. Disney made the original, and much darker material, into something that resonated with today’s audiences.
Today, there are multiple adaptations and retelling of that 1989 animated film, including a live-action re-make in the works, a live broadcast on ABC, theme park attractions, and even theatrical productions. This includes one playing in Santa Maria at Hancock College’s Marian Theater through Dec. 22.
PCPA goes all out in their production, and the spectacle is awe-inspiring. The play itself is based on the 1989 film, so it includes many familiar things, but also expands on the original material with new scenes and songs. Something that makes the show stand out from other PCPA productions is that this one has collaborated with New York City’s 2 Ring Circus to bring breathtaking aerial feats to life on stage. This helps make the action to look as if you’re under the sea, swimming with all the sea creatures, or on a ship watching sailors climb the tall mast. The cast is massive, which includes the 2 Ring Circus performers, and all your favorite PCPA resident artists in roles that seem custom made for them. Erik Stein is King Triton, George Walker nearly steals the show as Scuttle, and Guest Artist Katie Emerson does a great job of bringing the titular character to life. Most of all, however, Kitty Balay simply is Ursula, and they really couldn’t have anyone better for that role.
These actors are fantastic, but perhaps the real stars of the show are the costume and design teams. The costumes are bright, vibrant and just what you would expect in a production like this. I can only imagine how much fun working on the costume for Ursula was.
PCPA has another well-deserved feather in their cap for this holiday season production. It is a real crowd pleaser and one that the whole family will enjoy. Our 4-year-old daughter was enthralled throughout a recent matinee.
These shows will undoubtedly sell out. Everyone will want to see this.
Tickets are $38-$50 and performances are only at the Marian Theater in Santa Maria. Call the box office at 805-922-8313 or visit www.pcpa.org for more information.
Collider had an exciting evening at their screening of Jurassic World with director Colin Trevorrow in attendance at the Arc-Light Cinemas in Hollywood tonight. Trevorrow shared that he has found a way to reunite the three principle actors from the groundbreaking original film, Jurassic Park.
Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern have all had parts or cameos is subsequent films, but it was revealed that this time around, they will have "sizable" roles in the sequel. No other details were released. Recently, on September 15th, Trevorrow and Universal Studios released a short film called Battle at Big Rock which gives us some insight into where this new Jurassic World film will be going.
What role do you think they will have in the new film?
Also, check out Battle at Big Rock below if you haven't yet!
Disney has just released what is probably the final full trailer for Frozen 2, leading up to the film's release on November 22nd of this year.
The sequel to the highly popular original 2013 film, Frozen, is expected to be another massive hit for Disney. Judging by the look of the trailer, even on a technical level, the quality of animation continues to soar. Working on the original film, art director, Michael Giaimo, began pre-production research by reading extensively about the entire region of Scandinavia and visiting the completely Danish-themed city of Solvang on the Central Coast, but eventually zeroed in on Norway in particular because "80 percent" of the visuals that appealed to him were from Norway.
However, Solvang still has a huge Hans Christian Andersen presence, the Danish author who is responsible for creating the story behind the inspiration for Frozen with the story of The Snow Queen. He also wrote the original story for The Little Mermaid, among many others.
What do you think of the new trailer and are you excited to go back to see what magic awaits? Watch it below!
At the July 25th, 2019 Buellton City Council meeting, CCFS Board President, and Buellton resident, Raiza Giorgi, presented to the Council a request for a grant. Because CCFS' nonprofit status came in after their initial deadline for grants for 2019, the Council agreed to hear the presentation as requested by CCFS Executive Director Daniel Lahr on June 27th, 2019.
The Council was told about the CCFS' plans for the Central Coast Film Society, including family screenings, student seminars/lectures and even the Central Coast Film Festival, coming in October of 2020 to the City of Buellton. The request was for the grant was for $5,750 for audio and visual equipment to help CCFS be able to expand their screening program in a wider variety of venue locations.
In a surprise direction, it was with unanimous consent of the council to "bump it up to $6,000 to give them some wiggle room," said Councilman David King. He went on to add, "Buellton will benefit from it... I think it's public dollars well spent." Mayor Holly Sierra said, "We have had a request from our community to bring arts and culture to Buellton... and I'm for it too."
"We are so thrilled and honored to receive this grant from the City of Buellton." says Daniel Lahr, CCFS Executive Director & Founder. "The Council's vote of confidence in our organization and programs is incredibly heart warming and it will only help us continue to grow. We now shoulder the responsibility of delivering on this opportunity and to do the best events we can to further our mission of celebrating cinema on the Central Coast."
CCFS has held numerous screenings in the recent past in Buellton, including several at the local Parks Plaza Theater. This location will also be a primary location for the upcoming Central Coast Film Festival. "The entire Santa Ynez Valley community will benefit from this and we can't wait to put on more screenings in Buellton soon!" Lahr said.