Nov 262018
 

The Grinch

Directed By: Scott MosierYarrow Cheney
StarringBenedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Pharrell Williams

My Rating: 

I’m not really sure why there has to be another retelling of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The only thing I found appealing was the voice acting of Benedict Cumberbatch. If I didn’t have a 4-year-old that loves the Grinch I probably wouldn’t have spent the time (or money) to see this movie in the theater. With that said, this is my movie review of The Grinch.

I don’t think I need to provide a synopsis of the movie. You should know the story of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. This version of the classic story maintains the essence that Boris Karloff brought to life 52 years ago. Benedict Cumberbatch is brilliant, as usual, and Max is just as lovable.

Modern Twist, Missing Text

I only heard “You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch” once, and it was very brief. Also, it has a modern, hip hop twist to it that doesn’t match the essence of the story. The Grinch is not some gangster so it was just inappropriate. In the 1966 version you hear that song during the entire heist. The song is fundamental to the entire movie. It’s disappointing that its missing from a majority of the film.

Pharrell Williams is the narrator for this version, and he does a decent job. I just wish they kept all of the original text. Near the beginning of the movie you hear a lot of the original text, and they added some of their own. About half way through, it’s all new text and little to none of the original text. They keep with the Dr. Seuss prose but it begins to feel less like the beloved Grinch movie.

Overall it’s better than the Jim Carrey version of the movie. My daughter enjoyed it, which is all that matters, but I wouldn’t pay to see it again.

film_reel“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
– Stanley Kubrick

 

Nov 152018
 

RIP Stan LeeNow that we have all had time to process the heartbreaking passing of Stan Lee, it’s time to dedicate a post to his legacy. The image to the right is one of my favorite, of the thousands of memes folks are sharing since his death. The truth in the image is indescribable. Only one other being has ever created a universe as massive and powerful as the one Stan Lee created. He has been inspiring us for 95 years so he was no spring chicken. His passing should come as no surprise, but we grieve the loss of such an extraordinary man. RIP Stan Lee.

For Me, It Started with X-Men

You didn’t openly talk about comic books in high school. Even our conversations regarding Star Wars or Star Trek were clandestine. My dad was into X-Men and thus that is where I began in the Marvel Universe. X-Men are still my favorite; the comics, the animated series and, eventually, the movies. Avengers are pretty good too. Stan Lee was one of the first ones to tell us that it’s OK to be a geek. He taught us that no matter what the world thinks of us, we should never be afraid to embrace our passions.

[Being a ‘geek’] has become a badge of honor. It’s geeks who really make or break a TV show or movie or videogame. They’re the ones who are passionate about these things and who collect [the paraphernalia] and talk about them.Washington Post

And Then Came Marvel Studios

Stan Lee as a Force ghost

Stan Lee is now one with the Force

When we heard that live action films of our favorite Marvel heroes was in the works, we were all rejoicing. I know in the back of our minds we hoped it wouldn’t ruin our favorite comic books. It was a comfort to know that Stan Lee was attached to all the projects. If Stan Lee was involved then all directorial decisions had to have been approved.

I think we all remember that first Stan Lee cameo in the X-Men movie. Its been an Easter Egg hunt for him in every Marvel film since then. We all felt like we just saw our grandpa in a movie. His paternal influence and sense of humor are his most endearing qualities. When we are watching the Marvel movies again and see his cameos it’s going to tug on the heart-strings. The lamentations will be stronger knowing that those cameos will be missing in future projects. It’ll feel a bit like seeing the end of Rogue One just after Carrie Fisher died; and its going to be hard to imagine the Marvel Universe without him. Who will carry on this man’s extraordinary legacy? How do we move forward from here? I know how Stan would respond  – “Excelsior!”

RIP Stan Lee and Thank You


When I was a kid, it was a huge insult to be a geek. Now it’s a point of pride in a weird way.” – J.J. Abrams

Nov 112018
 

I’m sure many are waiting for my manbaby to emerge and tantrum after the cancellation of the Boba Fett and Obi-Wan movies. The truth is that I’m not bothered by it at all. In fact the decision makes sense. It has absolutely nothing to do with the poor box office performance of the Solo movie. As much as the butt-hurt manbabies try to rationalize, the poor performance is not the result of fan protest. Fans actually went to see the Han Solo movie! That being said, why am I not butt-hurt about the cancellations?

We Know Boba Fett’s Origin

Fan art of Boba Fett’s escape – by Deviant Art

I don’t think Disney mentioned the plot of the Boba Fett movie. The other non-Skywalker movies take place between Episode 3 and Episode 4. I really doubt that a Boba Fett origin film was planned. Attack of the Clones is essentially the origin story. He’s a clone of Jango Fett that remained unaltered. I think it would be a surprise if this was the intended plot of the movie.

So if it’s not an origin story, there is only one other logical story line. The story line that has been an enigma since Return of the Jedi. Boba Fett’s rumored escape from the Sarlacc in the Pit of Carkoon. This is the story I believe Disney would have pursued. Everyone wants to know how Boba Fett survives the Sarlacc but I’m glad we won’t. I would prefer this remain a mystery, why ruin it? Now we are left to the manifestations of our own minds, which are better than any producer, writer or director could ever imagine. Besides, we wouldn’t have as much excellent fan art and depictions.

What Would We Learn About Obi-Wan?

The bigger mystery of these two movies is what would the plot be of the Obi-Wan movie? We learn more about the Death Star plans in Rogue One. We learn about how Han and Chewie met, the Kessel Run and the Millennium Falcon in the Solo movie. What would we have learned about Obi-Wan? The prequels told us how he became a General and the Clone Wars animated series told us how he and Anakin became friends.

A couple of reports emerged that suggested the story was going to take place while Obi-Wan was in exile in the Jundland Wastes on Tatooine. He would become involved with some kind of conflict between local farmers and the Sand People. It’s not a story I was terribly excited about, therefore cancelling this movie made sense to me. Besides, I think what we all really wanted to see is Ewan McGreggor as Obi-Wan Kenobi again.

The cancellation of the Boba Fett and Obi-Wan movies was the smart move by Disney. While we all really want to see more of the two biggest bad asses in the franchise, I think it’s better they remain enigmatic. I don’t think this is the end of more “Star Wars Story” films. I would love to see Donald Glover reprise Lando in his own film, which Lucasfilm has hinted at before.

/MTFBWY

The Force. It calls to you. Just let it in.

Nov 062018
 

If you were paying attention to the news coming out of the Anaheim Convention Center then you are probably aware of the disaster that occurred this past weekend. I admit that I was anticipating a lackluster BlizzCon but I was not prepared for the nerd rage that ensued after the opening ceremonies. There is an order in which Blizzard unveils news at the opening ceremonies, the biggest news saved for last. Everyone was expecting a major Diablo announcement, the leading theory being Diablo 4. What they got was Blizzard’s Diablo epic fail.

Immortal but not Impervious

Diablo Immortal Rig

Epic Diablo Immortal Gaming Rig!

Diablo Immortal the mobile app is the “big news” from BlizzCon this year. Yes, at a convention with predominately PC gamers in attendance Blizzard announces a mobile game. A version of Diablo that is only playable on iPhone, Android and iPad. 

Now that you have let that sink it, this is the first time there was little to know cheering or clapping. In fact there was booing, and not the joking kind. Actual booing. You almost feel bad for Wyatt Cheng, who drew the short straw to make the announcement. Since BlizzCon ended, several reports are coming out from other sources that Blizzard allegedly wanted to announce Diablo 4 but they pulled it at the last-minute.

I’m not a Diablo fan but I totally understand the animosity. After being taunted with a “Diablo announcement”, I would be pissed too if a mobile game was announced. The Q&A was probably the best moment when someone actually asked if it was an “out-of-season April Fools Joke“.

Overwatch Stole the Show

I knew there wouldn’t be a lot for World of Warcraft, we did learn when the next patch and raid is coming. We also learned that the following patch we will finally fight Queen Azshara in, what might be, an underwater raid. Also, you should really check out the Lost Honor cinematic. It’s really good (from a storyline perspective.) Hearthstone will have a new expansion, Heroes of the Storm has a new hero and StarCraft 2 was so insignificant I don’t remember what they said about it. Which leaves Overwatch.

The 29th Overwatch hero, Ashe and Bob

They began with a new video called “Reunion”. It’s McCree on Route 66 and we find out who caused that train wreck. It’s his old partner Ashe. Blizzard teases many new potential heroes in this animated short. I think everyone wanted Bob, possibly more than they wanted a mobile Diablo game. The new hero, as it turns out, is Ashe but her ultimate is Bob. I cannot wait to try out this new hero. My main concern is that I’m terrible at McCree, he feels too slow and clunky. Hopefully I don’t get the same feeling about Ashe.

I still haven’t heard when Ashe will be playable so if anyone knows, please leave a comment.

Rekindling Old Memories

There is one other unveiling that I am still mildly excited about. Something that started it all for me. Warcraft III Reforged. I barely remember Warcraft 1 and 2, but I distinctly remember playing Warcraft III. It is the Blizzard title where I found myself enjoying the story and the lore. If you know anything about Warcraft III, now you know why Wrath of the Lich King is my favorite expansion. The game looks beautiful with the new graphics update. The only problem is, I’m not sure I’m ready to dole out another $40 for a game that I may only play randomly (although that Meat Wagon mount makes it awfully tempting).

And that’s it. There is nothing else, IP related, to talk about. As I said, it was a pretty lackluster BlizzCon. The nerdrage over Diablo Immortal is probably the most noteworthy thing about the convention this year. Kind of glad I didn’t get the Virtual Ticket or the Goodie Bag. I hope they make both of those more enticing next year.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on BlizzCon, Diablo Immortal or any of the other announcements in the comments.

/FOR THE ALLIANCE!

duke-nukem-sm If zombies attack the world, everyone will run and hide. Except for us gamers, of course. We’ve been waiting for this all our lives!

 

Nov 012018
 

I haven’t watched Season 8 of The Walking Dead yet. I forgot it was even available on Netflix. After seven seasons of it I’ve realized that the novelty has worn off. The tragic rumor of Season 9 is that it is Andrew Lincoln’s final season. Rick Grimes will be killed off (because that’s how a character leaves the show). Also I have not seen any statement by AMC that this is the final season. So The Walking Dead will continue on without Andrew Lincoln? That’s like killing Matt Murdock but not ending the series (don’t get any ideas Netflix!).

Just End It and Pass the Torch

If Andrew Lincoln is leaving in true Walking Dead fashion, then end it with season 9. It’s time to pass the proverbial torch. There are many new shows now that are providing that fresh mystery and thrill (e.g. Stranger Things and The Haunting of Hill House). Every season of TWD is starting to be a rehash of the prior season (find a town, encounter someone truly twisted and evil, defend the town, destroy the town).

At this point I’m starting to root for the zombies. In fact let’s just end the series with all of mankind turning to zombies. Just wipe everybody out!

By the way, if you enjoy watching thrillers then check out The Haunting of Hill House. It’s very well done!

/cheers

The things that go through my mind when I’m alone with nothing but my thoughts for entertainment is dangerous. Some might even say eccentric. Consider this your warning about today’s Random Thought of the Day

 

Oct 302018
 

For nearly two decades there has been seven new movies and two animated series (with more on the way). There are trivial details that link all of them and the brilliance lies in the minutiae. The subtle, and brilliant, connections Disney brings to the franchise is outstanding and fascinating. Perhaps “connection” might be a misnomer, considering some of these items are so subtle they’re more like “Easter Eggs”. I’ll get into that later. There are quite a few Easter Eggs in all of the movies, but these are my favorites.

Also, if you have not seen Solo or all of Clone Wars, there are mild spoilers ahead from each.

[**Spoilers Ahead**] Darth Maul’s Appearance

Darth Maul with Mechanical LegsAs you watch Solo: A Star Wars Story, they do leave you wondering what happened to Q’ira after her and Han are separated during the escape from Corellia. Her sudden appearance as a gangster’s lieutenant several years later is one of the great mysteries of the film. She’s clearly tormented by the her choices in the past leaving the audience, and Han, completely in the dark.

Her vexing relationship with Dryden Vos had us wondering if she is his mistress or concubine, like Leia was to Jabba (which would be fantastic symmetry). However, we are all stunned when Q’ira contacts Darth Maul (reprised by Ray Park) leaving us all with more questions about her past. What makes this encounter more mysterious is the fact that it’s the version of Darth Maul with his robot legs thus linking Solo to late episodes of Rebels and Clone Wars. This is one of my favorite scenes in the Han Solo movie.

Hera’s Ghost

Ghost among the fleet assaulting Scarif in Rogue One (Click to enlarge)

Before you think I’m exposing another spoiler, I’m not talking about Hera’s spiritual ghost but her ship, the Ghost. If you are unfamiliar with the animated series, Star Wars Rebels, then none of this will make sense. Hera is a Twi’lek rebellion pilot and the Ghost is a Corellian VCX-100 light freighter. She is a central character to the animated series and the formation of the Rebel Alliance.

This little Easter Egg is very similar to the Millennium Falcon Easter Eggs at various spaceports in the prequels and Clone Wars. Granted most of those are merely Corellian Corvettes and not specifically the Millennium Falcon. However, in this particular case the Ghost can be spotted among the ships preparing to attack Scarif in Rogue One. You may even hear a “General Syndulla” on the PA.

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