Look Forward to: Rogue One

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Hey there!

So, I thought about doing this post for a while but I wasn’t quite sure of it because (don’t tell anyone!) I’m not really a Star Wars kind of gal. Sure, I see the potential and the many doors the franchise opened, but all in all, it does not really push my buttons. Or at least not the right ones. 

However, I do realize that for many (many, many, many) people, it IS a big deal, so I figured that I would bring it over anyways, since it is a piece of speculative fiction after all, and that is what we do here in this little corner of the blogsphere.

So, ladies, children and nerds: Rogue One. A Star Wars Story. 

Rogue One, A Star Wars Story poster.png

What is it about?  

Kids, I really don’t think I need to answer this question, but for those of you who’ve been living in Nepal with the monks, or in Santa’s Workshop in the Pole, or under your average large rock, I’ll give a brief overview.  Rogue One is a stand-alone story within the Star Wars universe, happening sometime between episodes III and IV. It aims to introduce us for the first time to the rebel forces that have gathered after Revenge of the Sith, and that will go ahead and cradle Luke Skywalker and company for the original Star Wars. The story brings about an entirely new set of characters, along with a premise that fans are sure to love: the small, brave group of heroes who need to sneak into the heart of the empire to steal the schematics of their new (old!) terrifying weapon, the Death Star.    

Why you should give it a shot?  

Ok so, as I said, I am not a Star Wars freak. I enjoy the movies with the intellectual curiosity of any speculative fiction writer, but they are not much my cup of tea. However, there’s no denying the amazing creativity and world-building techniques this mega-saga displays. The universe of Star Wars is vast, and, considering the events of last year, quite likely to expand. While Rogue One might not directly tie in to the worshiped franchise, it’s definitely a nice morsel to include in the collection, and also an interesting test as to whether there can be value to the universe in general and not just the heart-wrenching characters. A sort of testing the waters, to put it another way. If it succeeds, we might be seeing more light sabers, Jedi knights and The Force that have nothing to do with the original franchise. Something to keep an eye on, indeed.

Fans and enthusiast of the genre certainly should give this movie a chance, because it’s sure to be a well-crafted, entertaining affair that will add value to the current sci-fi market. I, for one, am happy that speculative fiction is taking a more active part in mainstream motion-pictures, and you won’t see me complaining if more space opera films come around as a result of the Star Wars re-revolution. So bring it on!

Release date: December 16, 2016.   

 

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Look Forward to: Disney’s Moana

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Third in the month!

See? I told you I would do three of these this month. You won’t be getting anymore juice like this for a while so enjoy it while it last, guys. 

So today in our Look Forward To… we go back to my geeky, less than mature roots and take on the newest princess movie by Disney’s very capable staff, a Polynesian 3D princess with some amazing powers of her own.

Enter: Disney’s Moana. 

Moana Teaser Poster.jpgOk, readers of mine, I like Disney. That’s not a secret to anyone. I know all the songs by heart, I have them on a playlist I put on when I’m taking a shower, and when I find a Disney movie while browsing through my cable channels, I normally leave it on (and make popcorn). So sue me!

Moana comes to take the place of the newest princess movie that Frozen last held, and does it with flair by taping into a culture that is both mysterious and familiar for Americans: the far-away cousins from Hawaii we all go to see whenever beach season opens up. I, for one, find it quite the interesting approach. Disney has been trying for a while to appeal to the minorities and portray itself as a multicultural company that respects diversity. Movies like Mulan, Pocahontas and The Princess and the Frog came to help set up that notion. Disney Channel’s series Elena of Avalor, the first Latina princess in Disney history, already started this year’s effort with its July TV premiere, and now in comes Moana.  

What is it about?  

Moana is a young, adventurous teenager who leaves in Montunui Island, in the Polynesian region. Her father is the chief of their tribe and descendant of a long line of navigator that three thousand years ago traveled around the Pacific, having adventures and discovering all the island of Oceania. So when her family is suddenly put in danger, Moana doesn’t hesitate to sail on a journey to find a mysterious island that holds the key to save them. She will get more than she bargained for, though. Aided by mighty demi-god Maui and her own affinity with the ocean and the creatures that populate it, Moana will live a thrilling, dangerous adventure, encountering scary monsters, impossible odds, and fulfilling the ancient quest of her ancestors while discovering the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.   

Why you should give it a shot?  

As casting comes, Moana is hitting the little-known button for the most part. Disney tried to stay true to the film’s premise and featured a voice cast with strong Pacific Islander roots such as 15-year-old Auli’i Cravalho, making her debut with this movie, and Temuera Morrison, supporting actor from Star Wars Episode II and III.

Notable in the cast though it’s the addition of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, portraying demi-god and male lead Maui, who had to reconnect with his Samoan heritage for this part. The Rock has become a Hollywood regular for the last several years, and has won the hearts of the audience with his easy smile, warm humor and amazing charisma that brings a good dose of lightness to the hard action thrillers he normally portrays. It’s bound to be interesting to see how he uses those same assets to his full advantage in this new setting, where his impressive muscles and physical prowess is not even showcased.

 

With Disney there’s always the controversy of whether the newest movie is going to live up to the standard set up by its predecessors, and being a direct follower of Frozen, Moana has it tough, I must admit. It will take a lot for this new princess to beat the winter blockbuster of 2013 (which also premiered around Thanksgiving) and the almost 1.3 billion green bills it put into Disney’s pockets. However, there’s always hope, and even if it doesn’t manage to get as much traction as Frozen, Moana is sure to be an fun, endearing and exciting experience for the whole family.

Release date: November 23, 2016.   

Look Forward to: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Hi, everybody!

So I said this last week in another Look Forward To… post for Marvel’s Dr. Strange, but November comes bearing gifts this year, so here I am doing my job of presenting them to the eager world.

Today we speak of a very polemic release that has yet, for some reason, been quite ignored in mass media: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. 

Ok, so J. K. Rowling is big (who doesn’t know that?) but with the recent release of The Cursed Child to pretty good overall success we should probably say that she is big “again.” Reason why it comes as no surprise that this movie was finally made. Now, kids, I must confess. Neither The Cursed Child nor Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them have me jumping up and down of joy per se. Don’t get me wrong, I am as much a Harry Potter fan as the next girl, but I just don’t believe in milking the loyalty of your fans using their love for a series that (let’s face it) has nothing more to it, only to make money. Which is, I’m afraid, all this movie is going to be about. But anyways, let’s not be judgmental before actually judging, shall we?

What is it about?  

The Wizarding World has moved to North America! Newt Scamander is a wizard researcher who studies and rescues magical creatures, sometimes going so far as trapping them in his mysterious (magical!) leather case with none the wiser. He arrives at 1926 New York set on this noble task when his secret is accidentally discovered by Jacob Kowalski, a No-Maj (American form of Muggle) who opens his magic case and sets Newt’s creatures on the loose. Now, Newt, with the help of Jacob, underappreciated American Auror Tina, and Tina’s sister and roommate Queenie, must set to find and re-capture Newt’s creatures before they hurt themselves or the unsuspecting humans of New York.    

Why you should give it a shot?  

Alright so, first, let’s get casting out of the way: Eddie Redmayne. This guy you might know from hit 2012 musicale Les Misérables, 2014’s The Theory of Everything and 2015’s The Danish Girl. What do all these movies have in common? Easy, they were all Academy Award Nominated movies. Except for the error of judgement on his part called Jupiter Ascending, Eddy Redmayne can normally be trusted to deliver a stellar performance. His portrayal of world-famous scientist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, earned him an Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award all in the Best Actor category, for his incredible rendition of the ALS-riddled physicist.

Another notable figure is Colin Farrell, who will portray an Auror and the main antagonist in this particular movie. This man I think deserves no introduction as he has been part of some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters such as Alexander, Total Recall and Minority Report. It will be interesting to see this action blockbuster star explore yet another type of role with this movie.

 Now, for our second reason I present you with a question:

What did you love about Harry Potter, the characters or the world?

Could you have one without the other?

That is basically what Fantastic Creatures asks you. You have the spells, the wands, the hippogryphs… But no Hogwarts, Ministry of Magic (not even Muggles apparently!) and most importantly, no Ron, Hermione or Harry. There is no doubt J. K. Rowling is a master at World Building, and now she is overseeing the entire process from the Screenwriter’s and Producer’s chairs! Her personal involvement, coupled with the stunning effects Warner Bros company can fund, this film is sure to be something to behold. However, it remains to be seen whether the Wizarding World alone can hold its own in the eyes of the fans, and Fantastic Creatures seems like the perfect test for that. Rowling’s last attempt at publishing, The Casual Vacancy, was not the most successful endeavor for the world-famous writer. Perhaps, if Fantastic Creatures holds its own against the eager, voracious minds of the Harry Potter post-ending fans, she might just go back to the world she created and bring us some more magic to love in the future (I’m crossing my fingers for a Marauders’ Prequel series right here!).

Just for that alone, this writer hopes Fantastic Creatures ends up being the biggest blockbuster of 2016. Amen.

Release date: November 18, 2016.   

Look Forward to: Marvel’s Dr. Strange

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Hi, guys and girls!

Today I bring you yet another post in our Look Forward To… section. Things are getting interesting in the movie industry for the following months, so I predict many more posts like this one to let you know just a little of what’s going on. You’re welcome, I know!

Today we discuss one of three interesting movies to premier in the coming month of November: Marvel’s Dr. Strange.

Ok, so for those of you who are new and don’t know we rock in this part of the internet, you should know I like anything and everything that has to do with Fantasy, Science-Fiction and Speculative Fiction in general. This extends towards movies. From the masterpieces like Interstellar, The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, to the seriously flawed, seriously offending elements like, oh, I don’t know, I’m thinking Jupiter Ascending (and it had Shanning Tatum on it, I mean, come on!) and the most recent Gods of Egypt (not even the fact that I’m a mythology junkie saved this movie).

Anyways, as such, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that after Disney, Pixar and Ghibli Studio, Marvel is the other movie maker I am very fond of. I’ve been following the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) for a while now, and as such, it’s obvious I’m quite caught by this particular movie.

What is it about?  

Ok so, like all of the Marvel movies, the film is based off a comic book, in this case, telling the story of Dr. Stephen Strange, a top-grade neurosurgeon who suffers a car accident that leaves him unable to operate. As a result of this, and the shock of being rid of his one true worth (hint: Narcissistic much), Strange sets of on a journey of self-discovery and healing that takes him to the Ancient One, a Celtic mystic who teaches him about the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions.

Why you should give it a shot?  

Beyond the just stunning effects and honest entertainment Marvel movies usually deliver, there are many good things about this one. First of all, we have the leading character, Dr. Stephen Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Now, if you have not heard about Benedict Cumberbatch that’s because you’ve been living under a rock! He is the pretty face (and stunning acting) responsible for roles like Sherlock Holmes, from the hit mini-series Sherlock, Khan, from 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness, Alan Turing in Academy-Award-Nominee The Imitation Game, and he also lent his amazing, amazing voice to the dragon Smaug in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit series and the tiger Shere Khan in the recent Disney live action adaptation of The Jungle Book. 

The cast also includes many more amazing stars such as Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia 1 & 2) and Rachel McAddams (The Notebook, The Time Traveler’s Wife). All in all, the cast aligned for this piece is pretty reliable and I for once I’m glad they went with Mr. Cumberbatch for this character. All that British flair and aristocratic mien is going to go great to portray arrogant genius Dr. Strange. Fans of his performance in Sherlock are definitely in for a treat.

While it’s still not clear how this particular movie fits into the MCU, so far the creators behind this amazing project haven’t disappointed (much), so I, for one I’m willing to give them a shot (and two hours of my time) to find out just how Dr. Strange ties in with the overall story arc and how will he help further it.

Release date: November 4, 2016.   

Look Forward to: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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Ahoy, readers of mine!

I must say I don’t much visit the entertainment sanctuary that is the movie theater, mainly because not being able to yell my impressions at the characters and throw popcorn at the screen during the bad parts seriously restricts my self-expression. With this in mind, I normally wait until the movie I want to watch comes out on DVD, when I can get it at home and grunt, shout, squeal, giggle and bawl to my heart’s content. It doesn’t make for very timely reviews, but what can I say, I much enjoy my comfort.

Anyways, we are gathered here today to launch a new section: Look Forward To… Here I’ll be showing you guys trailers of movies I’ve stumbled upon and my impressions on why you should give them a shot when they come out. 

For our inaugural post I’ve taken the soon-to-be-released newest Tim Burton movie: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. 

What is it about?  

 The movie is based in the YA debut novel of the same name written by Ransom Riggs, which remained in the NYT best-seller list for 45 weeks. It tells the story of Jacob, a 16-year-old boy who goes to Wales to learn more about his grandfather, who was recently murdered, only to learn that he used to live in an old orphanage for what was known as “peculiar children.” In his journey, Jacob meets Emma, a girl with special powers that takes him back in time to meet the orphanage director, Miss Peregrine, and the rest of the “peculiar” children that live there.

Why you should give it a shot?  

Tim Burton is a name that is hard not to know when you talk movies. This writer and director has been involved with cult classics like Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, as well as blockbusters like Batman (90’s franchise) and Planet of the Apes. Recently, his catalog has been bursting with the most interesting and fascinating movies that grace international theaters, such as Disney’s 2010 live-action Alice in Wonderland, which became an international box-office success surpassing the billion dollars in revenue.

Basically, you can trust Burton to deliver an engaging (if sometimes bizarre) product that is sure to get your attention. Even though neither Johnny Depp nor Helena Bonham Carter (two regulars in Tim Burton’s movies) feature in the film, the cast of the movie it’s still stellar, with actress Eva Green (300: Rise of the EmpirePenny Dreadful…) taking on the role of Miss Peregrine, and Asa Butterfield (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Hugo, Ender’s Game…) playing the young leading character, Jacob. Hollywood’s own Samuel L. Jackson will feature as the main villain.

A good premise, an interesting story, and a trustworthy figure in the director’s chair make Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children a definite must this year. It may not be the funniest, deepest, most astonishing movie you watch, but it’s certainly going to be something to behold.

Release date: September 30, 2016.