Unless you’ve been living under a stack of rocks, you’ve spotted the news that Disney bought Lucasfilm Ltd., “Star Wars” creator George Lucas’s production company and is planning on releasing a new trilogy of “Star Wars” movies, if not more.
I am less than happy about this, and my devotion to the “Star Wars” film franchise may best be measured by the fact that I considered buying a “Greedo shot first” shirt to wear to bed. I may still ask for it for Christmas. (The line refers to a fan argument about a plot point in the updated version of the first "Star Wars" film.)
I don’t know when I first saw the original “Star Wars” trilogy, but I assume it was when I was very little. Whatever age we were when we first saw the movies, my sister and I were young enough that I distinctly remember my mother consoling my sister, who was aghast that one of the teddy bear-like Ewoks seemed to have bit the dust, and telling her that the Ewok was “only sleeping.” It wasn’t.
In any case, I went to go see “Phantom Menace” in theaters when it came out and wish I remembered the cultural phenomenon that must have surrounded it. It was a new “Star Wars” movie when fans still kind of trusted George Lucas. It was the origin story of Darth Vader, a premise that does sound fairly promising on paper. Obi-Wan was back – Liam Neeson, a respected actor, was on board as a new Jedi – and everything sounded great.
Well, one Jar Jar Binks later (an annoying aquatic creature with strange speech patterns, for the uninitiated) and the future-Darth Vader shouting “Yippee!” a few too many times, fans were distinctly unimpressed. But hey, a new actor was coming on board as Anakin Skywalker, a.k.a. future-Vader, for the next movie, so maybe this thing could be saved.
Long story short: it couldn’t. Anakin was whiny in “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” and “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith,” the final two films in the prequel trilogy. While the trilogy had a couple of good points – Ewan McGregor, playing the younger version of Alec Guinness’ Obi-Wan Kenobi, was uncannily good at imitating the older actor’s speech patterns and did as much as he could to save the movies – the three movies were, overall, a snooze.
Part of the problem with them, at least in my mind, was too many callbacks to the older films. Yes, we all love C-3PO and R2D2, protagonist Luke Skywalker’s robot sidekicks in the first three films. Did they need to be shoehorned into every important event in the prequel trilogy, though? No. Some are okay – seeing a younger version of the villain Jabba the Hutt before the “Phantom Menace” podrace isn’t terribly distracting. But throwing in old characters and references to the future films all over the place gets old and doesn’t let the new story you’re trying to build grow on its own.
(Also, George Lucas needs to reread his own scripts, because in “Return of the Jedi,” Leia says she remembers her mother, something that one would assume to be impossible if her mother died minutes after giving birth to her. But I digress.)
The extent to which the prequel trilogy relied on the beloved older films is precisely what gave me a spark of hope (a New Hope, if you will. Sorry.) when I heard the news about the upcoming movies.
While some fan sites speculated that the new movies would be based on stories already tackled in the novels written about the “Star Wars” universe after “Return of the Jedi,” E! News said a Lucasfilm source told them that the plotline of the new movies would be “original.” E! writer Leslie Gornstein writes that according to her source, the new films “will literally be nothing you've ever seen or read before from the Star Wars universe.”
So, one would assume, that means no Luke. No Han Solo. No Princess Leia. No Mara Jade (the assassin Luke falls in love with and marries in the novels, in case you were wondering). It sounds like it would be all-new characters, an all-new plotline.
Get a good director like Joss Whedon or J.J. Abrams behind the camera, take the time to work out a good, imaginative plot that isn’t retreading what you’ve done for the last six films, and this could be… not terrible.
My preference, of course, would be for everyone to drop the “Star Wars” property and back away slowly and leave fans, including me, with the memories of the fantastic first three films (and let them try to forget the last three). But if you have to make another three movies… there are worse ways to do it.
A new "Star Wars" film, so far titled only "Star Wars: Episode 7," is coming to theaters in 2015 now that Disney has bought Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company of "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, for $4.05 billion, according to reports.
And that's not all – at least two films will follow episode 7, according to chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Robert E. Iger.
"Our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years," Iger said in a statement.
"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," George Lucas said in a statement. "It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.
"I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come," Lucas continued. "Disney's reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment and consumer products."
There's no word yet on the plot of the films.
The last new "Star Wars" film was "Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith" in 2005, which concluded the prequel trilogy that began in 1999 with "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace." It was a 16-year wait for "Star Wars" fans in between the original trilogy's conclusion, 1983's "Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi."
"Star Wars" will be seen outside theaters in the future as well, according to CFO and senior executive vice president of The Walt Disney Company Jay Rasulo.
"We also expect to utilize Star Wars in other businesses including Parks & Resorts, in games and in our television business," Rasulo said.
The Walt Disney theme parks already boast one Star Wars ride, "Star Tours," which was recently revamped to include more of the franchise's beloved characters like Darth Vader and more elements from the prequel films.
There had also been rumors of a "Star Wars" TV show, which, if it existed, would presumably now air on Disney-owned network ABC. In the past, Lucasfilm had stated that writers had begun work on scripts, and Lucas said that the show would be "soap opera" with a "film noir" atmosphere.
Reaction to the news by fans has been mixed.
"I'm quietly confident that the Disney buy out will be the best thing to happen to Star Wars in decades," Telegraph film critic Robbie Collins tweeted.
"Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, who parodied the first three "Star Wars" films in three separate specials on "Family," brought up the animated film and box office disappointment released by Disney last year.
A user named Olan Rogers focused on the monetary aspect.
"I'm sad to see George Lucas, who had such great ideals about filmmaking when he started Star Wars, abandon them for money many years later," he tweeted.
Good News: NBC has announced plans to tweak their struggling sophomore laugher UP ALL NIGHT by transforming it into a traditional multi-cam sitcom for the final five episodes of its season. Bad News: NBC has yet to announce how it plans to transition their struggling sophomore laugher into one that is actually funny and watchable. [Source]
Good News: Despite a shaky start, Jeff Probst’s freshman talk show was not, as expected, the first daytime chat-fest to see its torch snuffed. Bad News: For Anderson Cooper, whose self-titled talker ANDERSON was voted off the island after Warner Brothers Studio announced that his show won’t be returning for a third season after it wraps up its second one this summer. [Source]
Good News: ABC has given full season pickups to freshman laugher THE NEIGHBORS and sophomore sudser SCANDAL. Bad News: For fans of newcomers LAST RESORT and 666 PARK AVENUE, who will more than likely have to wait until the end of the week or the beginning of next to discover the fate of their favorite respective show. [Source]
Good News: Fans of THE OFFICE will be getting a taste of Dwight Schrute’s FARM quite a bit sooner than originally expected. Bad News: For Rainn Wilson, whose proposed OFFICE spin-off will not be moving forward except to air as a stand alone episode during the hit NBC series final season. [Source]
Good News: Tonight’s television viewers have just been spared another silly guest appearance by Gold medal swimmer Ryan Lochte. Bad News: As a result of the impending arrival of Hurricane Sandy, Viacom siblings CBS and The CW have opted to air repeats and Sandy specials in lieu of their regularly scheduled primetime lineup that not only included Lochte’s guest appearance on 90210, but new episodes of GOSSIP GIRL, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, PARTNERS, 2 BROKE GIRLS, MIKE & MOLLY and HAWAII FIVE-0 as well.
The TV Addict staff blogs at The TV Addict.
From the moment that Emma broke the Storybrooke spell, we knew that nothing would ever be the same in ONCE UPON A TIME again. The whole premise viewers tuned in for was to see how a young woman was persuaded to come to a town where all the inhabitants were fairytale characters – with one significant twist: none of them knew it. It was simultaneously hilarious and intriguing to see Emma encounter each character and guess who they really were from all the classic fairytales. It was also fun watching the dubious Emma slowly discover that things were indeed not as they seemed on the surface in Storybrooke. So the lure of the show was in the discovery. We were intoxicated and addicted to solving the mysteries along with Emma.
Yet, that part of the journey came to a screeching halt as Emma kissed Henry’s forehead and the curse was broken. Initially, it was just Emma’s presence in Storybrooke that cracked the curse’s hold and time began to move forward again. Yet that powerful “true love’s kiss” broke Regina’s (aka: The Evil Queen) dastard plan to have everyone live out their lives in perpetual frozen time, unaware of who they really were. That was her dream fantasy, to reign supreme over citizens with no awareness of the lives they had lost. But Emma’s arrival definitely put a stop to that; and even before she stumbled across the way to break the curse, Emma had begun to bring people’s memories back from their deep slumber.
Season 1 of ONCE UPON A TIME was thus a fascinating adventure as we watched the chinks in the curse appear. Then when Regina’s curse finally broke, we were intrigued by the idea of what this entire town of people would do upon finding out what had been done to them and that they were trapped in Storybrooke.
However, another wrinkle was immediately thrown into the mix as Mr. Gold took out the potion he had saved made from the hairs of Snow White and Prince Charming, effectively another “true love” potion and tossed it down the Wishing Well, freeing magic in Storybrooke.
As viewers, we barely had time to process that one curse was broken and another had been enacted right before our eyes. This compounded everything at once: not only did Storybrooke residents remember exactly who they were and were anxious to find a way to get back home to their world, there was the added factor that magic was now available for those who had wielded it before. Regina and Mr. Gold were about to square off for a epic battle that could destroy everything.
But this is when things got kind of interesting: the one wrinkle was that no one could leave Storybrooke or they would lose all their memories of their former lives and who they were. It was then worth considering: was Regina’s curse truly broken? In fact, the first episode of the 2nd season was entitled “Broken.” However, what if that was not meant to imply that the curse was broken, but rather that it was not broken. For who was that man living in the city who received the message card that held only the word “broken” on it? He could not have been August (aka: Pinocchio) for August was still stuck in Storybrooke. Who else was out in the world that could understand the significance of that one word message?
Then, as if they were all not dealing with enough, the very first thing that Mr. Gold did after getting his magic back was to unleash a wraith on Regina. Why exactly did he do that? To punish Regina for keeping his beloved Belle locked away for 28 years and telling him that Belle had died? Okay, we’ll forgive him for that one, but it naturally created a situation that did not do any good; for in trying to banish the wraith, Emma and Mary-Margaret (aka: Snow) were transported through a portal and back to the fairytale land.
Nice twist. But as cool as that sounds, it separated our heroes. In season one, everyone was together in Storybrooke, and we observed their lives in flashbacks. Yet in season two, there are two actual worlds keeping everyone apart. It is confusing and difficult to track that there is the current fairytale world with Emma and Snow as they try to find a way back to Storybrooke. Then there is the Storybrooke world where David, Henry, Mr. Gold, Belle and Regina are stuck – and they all want to join Emma and Snow in the fairytale world. (Well, with the small caveat that Mr. Gold would like to find his son first. Is that the mysterious man we saw in “Broken”?) And we’re still seeing glimpses through the flashbacks to the former lives in the fairytale world. It’s three separate timelines and worlds to track.
Things in Storybrooke and the fairytale world are indeed “broken.” There is yet again a different meaning to that simple word. Maybe it was not referring to curse, but rather to the predicament that our heroes found themselves in. They are living broken lives. Cursed with memories of two lives: their original lives in the fairytale world overlaying their memories of their lives in Storybrooke for the past 28 years, each person is “broken” in a way and needs to find a way to be made whole. They are also stuck in Storybrooke. They cannot simply leave and discover the whole world outside of Storybrooke and make new lives for themselves, and they cannot return to where they lived in the fairytale world either. They are stuck, just like before – but this time they know that they are stuck. Everyone’s lives were “broken” and needs to be made whole as well.
Then there was the actual separation of the two worlds: Storybrooke and the fairytale world. Emma and Snow stuck in one and everyone else stuck in the other; also cursed to live broken, fragmented lives.
In theory, this is all very fascinating. But watching it play out, it just reminds the viewers that the show may be “broken.” It needs to find a way to bring its heroes back together again and soon. One of the most riveting aspects of the first season was the searing tension between Regina and Emma. Regina practically bristled whenever Emma was near. Then the interplay between Mr. Gold, Emma and Regina was awesome to behold. Each was a power-player and could use their influence in unexpected ways, either as a team or simply to back each other into a corner. Separating Emma from Mr. Gold and Regina creates a vacuum. For one-third of their balance of power has vanished. Throwing Emma into the fairytale world makes her feel weak and out of her depth, plus she has no nemesis to fight. She is merely a lost soul, forced to learn to survive with her mother. The mother-daughter bonding is not nearly as friction-filled and deliciously tantalizing as when it was Emma versus Regina.
It is also hard to see that after all they worked through to get to be together without their memories that Mary-Margaret and David have been separated again. This is where one starts to wonder if truly Regina’s curse was broken. For Regina wanted Henry to herself – and that came true, with Emma now separated from Henry, stuck in another world, effectively trapped in time and space — and Regina wanted her magic back, which she now has. It is as if Regina’s curse has morphed into something else, but is still alive and well.
Alas, it has set up the show in such a way that it has taken some of the allure and “magic” out of ONCE UPON A TIME. It is time to reunite everyone again and let us see if that Regina’s curse is truly broken once and for all – and hopefully repair the broken state of a cool television show that is in desperate need of some healing glue. The show’s magic is when its characters are together. We want to see Regina and Emma square off with Mr. Gold dancing in the background aligning with each as the whim suits him. We want to see if there is truly anything between Emma and Jefferson the Matt Hatter and whether there might be a bit of magic between them. We also want to see Mary-Margaret and David to have more than just a handful of minutes together after fighting for their love so tenaciously.
So let’s hope that ONCE UPON A TIME rediscovers its magic soon, and finally shows us whether the curse is truly broken. I suspect that a curse that powerful has some lingering effects that could still rise up and bite them when they least expect it. ‘Til then, we’re praying for a little more magic.
Tiffany Vogt blogs at The TV Addict.
“We don't have mistakes here,” the host of the long-running PBS program, “The Joy of Painting,” would often say as he completed a landscape painting using oils. “We just have happy accidents.” When adding items, Ross often referred to them as “happy”: the artist would dab in a “happy little cloud” or a “happy little tree.”
What made the painter so softspoken? Ross said that he promised himself he would keep his voice down after his time in the military. The artist joined the Air Force when he was 19 and was sent to Alaska, the place where he saw daily the geographic features like mountains and snow that would feature heavily in his “Joy of Painting” artwork. (Ross was originally from Florida and then went to high school in Pennsylvania.) The artist started painting landscapes on tins used for gold-panning on his lunch breaks and sold them to gift shops to make extra cash while in the military.
But it was his job as first sergeant that made Ross promise himself to never scream again when he left the Air Force.
“I was the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work,”' he told the Orlando Sentinel. “The job requires you to be a mean, tough person. And I was fed up with it. I promised myself that if I ever got away from it, it wasn't going to be that way any more.”
Ross started his public-access TV show in 1983, on which the artist was able to create a painting quickly by using the wet-on-wet oil technique. Wet-on-wet oil painting lets an artist add wet paint on top of a layer that is still wet and thus complete the artwork more quickly rather than requiring the painter to wait for one layer to dry.
Though the TV series ended in 1994, a year before Ross passed away, clips and full episodes of his shows on YouTube have individually racked up millions of hits, with one video titled “Bob Ross: Painting Mountains” boasting more than 4 million views.
“'I don't intimidate anyone,” Ross said in an interview with the Sentinel of his show. “Instead, I try to get people to believe in themselves. I tell people, 'You can do this.' And they write back and say, 'You were right. I can do this. And now I believe I can do anything.’”
Idris Elba’s star has been rising in Hollywood in recent years thanks to critically acclaimed roles on HBO’s The Wire and the BBC series, Luther. His commercial appeal is growing, too, after being cast in Thor (2011), Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (2012), and Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming Pacific Rim (2013). The question for Elba now is – what next?
Yesterday, we learned that Sam Mendes has expressed doubts about directing another James Bond film after Skyfall, which sparked a debate in the comments about who should play James Bond after Daniel Craig’s tenure ends (he’s signed on for two more Bond films at the moment). One name that continues to pop up is Idris Elba, and now there’s reason to believe that it’s more than mere speculation.
According to Elba’s co-star in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and the newest “Bond girl,” Naomie Harris – courtesy of The Huffington Post - Elba met with longtime Bond movie producer Barbara Broccoli to discuss the possibility of him becoming the first black James Bond. Check out what Harris said below:
“I didn’t realize that there was this talk and then I did a film with Idris and he said that he met Barbara Broccoli and that it does seem like there is a possibility in the future that there could very well be a black James Bond. And I would have to vote for Idris because I just finished working with him and he’s a great guy.”
Obviously, race has played a role in the discussion of whether or not Idris Elba might play James Bond, as Bond has been portrayed by a Caucasian actor over the span of 23 films and six decades. However, in October of last year, Elba dismissed skin color as a real argument against his being cast.
“I don’t want to be the black James Bond. Sean Connery wasn’t the Scottish James Bond, and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond, so if I played him, I don’t want to be called the black James Bond.”
So would Idris Elba make a quality James Bond, Screen Rant readers? He’s the right age, he has the right physical build, he’s English, and his acting talent and onscreen presence in Luther won him a 2012 Golden Globe. In our opinion, playing James Bond would be right in his wheelhouse.
Still, there’s no telling when precisely the meeting between Idris Elba and Barbara Broccoli took place, as Naomie Harris didn’t specify. It’s entirely possible those talks happened well before the studio committed to Craig for two more films.
Even if Elba doesn’t break the James Bond color barrier, fans will certainly still have plenty to look forward to with Pacific Rim , a third season of Luther, and beyond.
Daniel Johnson blogs at Screen Rant.
For those (isolated pockets of people) not overly familiar with the world of author J.R.R. Tolkien – who only know his name in association with the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy – then director Peter Jackson’s upcoming prequel trilogy, The Hobbit, will be something of a mystery. In short explanation, The Hobbit chronicles the adventures of Bilbo Baggins – the elderly uncle of Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings - and the epic adventure which he embarked upon that would, in part, alter the fate of Middle-Earth, and inspire Frodo’s mission to destroy the evil ring of Sauron.
In The Hobbit, however, the evil foe is not Sauron, but rather Smaug, an evil and ancient dragon who lays claim to the treasure-filled mountain of Erebor (aka, the Lonely Mountain). With The Hobbit being split into a trilogy of films, fans have long questioned just how much Smaug we will get in each installment. Today we have an answer to that question.
WARNING!!! HOBBIT SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!
Sherlock (BBC) star Benedict Cumberbatch is poised for a big (bad) Hollywood breakout: He will be playing the villain in Star Trek 2 and will also provide the voice of Smaug in The Hobbit. (Fans also want to see him play a comic book movie character – such as Marvel’s Ant-Man in the upcoming film from Edgar Wright.)
While doing an interview with Anne Richardson, Cumberbatch dropped a somewhat considerable spoiler about when and where we might be seeing Smaug show up in The Hobbit trilogy.
Final chance if you want to AVOID THE SPOILER!!!
As quoted from Richardson’s interview, via Cumberbatchweb:
I think my eye might open at the end of the first film and then you’ll get the rest of me in the second.
WARNING!!! HOBBIT STORY SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!
For those who know The Hobbit book, this quote from Cumberbatch (which came before the films were turned into a trilogy) hints at a pretty clear division of events between the three films:
The first movie, An Unexpected Journey, will introduce the main characters – Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the company of dwarves who accompany them – detailing their journey to the Lonely Mountain, and all the perils faced along the way.
The second film, There and Back Again (which could be re-titled), will likely cover the battle for Lake-town and the Lonely Mountain, the eventual death of Smaug, the stand-off between the Dwarves, elves and men over the treasures of the mountain, and the rise of goblin/Warg threat.
What is still unclear (in terms of specifics) is whether or not the epic “battle of the five armies” for control of the Lonely Mountain will be the climax of the second film, or a major set piece of the third. However, we do know that the latter part of the third film will use Tolkien’s epilogues and appendices from the books to construct a “bridge” between the events of The Hobbit and the events of Lord of The Rings, which occur approximately seventy years later.
It will be great to see the design and CGI modeling that Jackson and his impeccable effects house, Weta Workshop, have in store for Smaug; although it’s too bad that we won’t likely see much of it in the first film. Still, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has PLENTY of good stuff to offer while Bilbo and Co. are making their way to the Lonely Mountain – including the return of familiar faces like the elves of Riverdale (Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett reprising their Lord of the Rings roles) and another appearance by everyone’s favorite lovable mad-man, Gollum (Andy Serkis). That’s not to mention: deadly giant spiders, goblins, Wargs, and a certain magic ring, which will one day come to be the most important object on Middle-earth…
Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.
Back in 2009, Screen Rant’s Kofi Outlaw caught a preview showing of the indie-produced found-footage film Paranormal Activity – during director Oren Peli’s campaign to have viewers “demand” film screenings in their area. Positive word of mouth eventually carried the film into a wide release and on to $193 million dollars (from a $15,000 budget). Since that time, the Paranormal Activity sequels have become standard Halloween season programming at the box office and with low-cost productions and massive ticket revenue, the films now rank as some of the most profitable movies ever made.
Now the producers are back with Paranormal Activity 4, re-teaming with their Paranormal Activity 3 directors, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (Catfish). Despite some memorable scares, Paranormal Activity 3 was criticized for the way it handled the larger (albeit thin) franchise “story.” Can Joost and Schulman find a better balance this round – a film that delivers both creative scares and advances the Paranormal Activity mythos?
There’s no doubt that the filmmakers faced a tough challenge, given the series’ thin premise but nearly every element of the franchise has been watered down in part 4. The movie delivers a number of tense moments but only a few of them pay off with memorable scares. Additionally, the story, which takes place years after the events of Paranormal Activity 1 and 2, further muddles the larger franchise mythos (creating significantly more questions than answers) and, like plenty of found footage films before it, fails to deliver a fulfilling conclusion. Some viewers will defend the film for being satisfyingly spooky but, compared to the prior entries, Paranormal Activity 4 is by far the least compelling.
Ever since the original Paranormal Activity, the overarching series storyline has primarily been exploring events that led-up to the first film, jumping around in time, but number 4 finally moves the larger plot forward. Five years after Katie ruthlessly killed her boyfriend, sister, and brother-in-law as well as kidnapped her nephew, the demon-possessed woman has stopped running from the law and settled in suburban, Henderson, NV. However, despite headlining the cast, Katie is little more than a supporting character and the story once again centers on a clueless victim, Alex (Kathryn Newton), who attempts to make sense of spooky incidents in her home. Alex is a typical teenage girl, Skyping with her boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively) and playing table tennis on Xbox 360 Kinect – ignorant to the fact her new neighbors are a demon-possessed murderer and a troubled child. As the unexplained and dangerous happenings escalate, Alex comes face to face with the horrors of Paranormal Activity.
As a production concept, Paranormal Activity 4 has a lot of smart components: Alex is a welcome change of pace from the camera-obsessed young adult husbands/boyfriends in prior entries and the dynamic between the character and her “boyfriend” offer a good mix of lighthearted scenes to offset all the creepy ones. In addition, an explanation for all the cameras is smart enough; though, for viewers who have trouble suspending disbelief, the film still presents plenty of “why would you film that?” moments.
Each camera, like in parts 1-3, is built with specific production “tricks” in mind (ex. the living room is enhanced by Microsoft Kinect’s infrared laser grid). Unfortunately, none of them are nearly as entertaining as the setups that came before. For the most part, the Kinect sequences (which are essentially this installment’s “fan cam”) are a missed opportunity and, looking at the way the gimmick is used throughout the film, offers little payoff for the amount of time spent squinting through night vision shots. It’s a problem that leaks into the larger film experience – as Paranormal Activty 4 is the most meandering entry in the franchise. The pacing is stunted, especially in the final act, and the ratio of time spent in tense setups versus onscreen paranormal hijinks has noticeably lessened – resulting in scenes that are less rewarding and ultimately deliver fewer memorable payoffs.
Mythology buffs who have been hoping for a competent extension of the Paranormal Activity series story will be equally underwhelmed. As mentioned, the film finally advances the larger narrative five years into the future but, surprisingly, creates more franchise plot holes than it addresses as well as significantly convolutes the “Toby” demon lore all while riffing on Paranormal Activity 3 plot points – without adding anything fresh to the mix. Avoiding specific spoilers, it’s fair to say that Paranormal Activity 4 entirely side-steps primary questions that audiences have been asking for years, following the events of Paranormal Activity 1, 2, and 3, in service of predictable twists and a bungled ”bigger is scarier” approach in the last act.
In addition to normal screenings, Paranormal Activity 4 is playing in IMAX certified theaters but there’s absolutely no benefit in paying the premium charge. The confined in-house found footage format isn’t improved by a larger screen or louder sound and it’s hard to find any reason for Paramount’s choice to release in IMAX - aside from inflating ticket prices for a high profile film.
Whether you attend the Paranormal Activity movies for the scares or the story, part 4 is a step down for both audiences. The plot raises plenty of questions that fans will debate in the coming weeks but only because the film is extremely vague on what audiences are actually seeing minute to minute – not because Joost and Schulman create fresh directions or interesting mysteries in this installment (they don’t). That said, creative setups have long-been the franchise linchpin; unfortunately, the spooky setups aren’t particularly original this round either, rehashing familiar found footage ideas with minor twists that rarely deliver big scares. There’s little doubt we’ll see a Paranormal Activity 5 but, given the measly $14.15 million that has been spent to produce four entries in the $576 million (and counting) global franchise, it’s time for Paramount to reinvest some of that money in filmmakers who can deliver a better return on audience investment – i.e. a more satisfying set of scary movie experiences.
Ben Kendrick blogs at Screen Rant.
Will “The Colbert Report” host and Tolkien superfan Stephen Colbert be making a cameo in one of the “Hobbit” films?
Rumors are flying that Colbert may make an appearance in either the second or third movie in the trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. Colbert told Playboy that he visited the set of the movies, but would not say one way or the other whether he filmed a cameo.
“Peter Jackson invited me to the set last year,” Colbert told the magazine. “I flew out and watched them shoot some scenes and went to some locations.”
“Are you telling us you’re in the Hobbit movie?” the interviewer asked him.
According to the magazine, Colbert smiled and said, “Could be.”
The Hollywood Reporter says a source has confirmed to them that the host did indeed film a cameo.
Colbert has shown off his Tolkien knowledge before during an episode of his show in which he discussed the books with guest James Franco.
“You are not the biggest Tolkien fan,” Colbert told Franco, then asked him, “Why did Galadriel come over to Middle-Earth from Valinor?” Franco supplied an answer that Colbert told him was wrong. Later, in an interview with author Neil Gaiman, Colbert recited song lyrics sung by a character, Tom Bombadil, seen only in Tolkien’s books who did not appear in the “Lord of the Rings” movies.
It was only three weeks ago when Robert Downey Jr. returned to the set of Iron Man 3 after an injury and while principal photography resumes, so does the marketing campaign begin. We’ve known for three weeks that October 23rd would be the day the first Iron Man 3 trailer officially releases, offering a look at footage only seen so far behind-closed-doors at Comic-Con and certain trade and press events.
As a result of of fans joining the Iron Man Facebook page, a short preview of the trailer released on Sunday, followed by another earlier today to go along with the first Iron Man 3 poster and a set of photos from the film.
The media splash this week represents the first major marketing push for Iron Man 3 – and hence, the beginning of Phase Two of the Marvel cinematic universe – since Marvel Studios held a panel presentation for the film this summer at Comic-Con. At the presentation, director Shane Black, Marvel pres Kevin Feige and cast, shared several minutes of unfinished footage from the film.
In that sizzle reel, we got our very first look Ben Kingsley dressed up as the Mandarin to go along with his intimidating voiceover, a scene showcasing Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark suiting up in his new Extremis (Mark 47?) armor, and a mishmash of action bits including the destruction of Stark’s seaside mansion. While “darker in tone” has been the buzzword since Shane Black and Drew Pearce became in involved with the threequel, Iron Man 3 will not be without the series’ trademark character-driven comedic moments. In the Comic-Con footage, that was highlighted by a hilarious scene featuring Stark attempting to re-hire Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan as they reflect on the battle of New York from The Avengers.
The test trailers however – from the descriptions – focused strictly on the more intense, dramatic moments, and this trailer does exactly as described and includes the same voice over from the previous footage and the same scenes from the leaked descriptions. Watch the HD trailer on Apple. Official Iron Man 3 synopsis:
Marvel Studios’ “Iron Man 3″ pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?
Does this first detailed look at Iron Man 3 offer a promising threequel that’ll make up for Iron Man 2? Does the style and tone match your expectations for the first chapter (read: first post-Avengers film) of Phase Two of the Marvel cinematic universe? How about Mandarin’s voice?
Rob Keyes blogs at Screen Rant.