Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Ewan McGregor confirms he will return as Obi-Wan for new Star Wars series

August 24th, 2019
Ewan McGregor confirms he will return as Obi-Wan for new Star Wars series

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The rumors were true: there will indeed be a Star Wars spinoff series featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi, and none other than Ewan McGregor will be reprising his role as the iconic character. The actor (and Officer of the British Empire) made a surprise appearance last night at the tail-end of a showcase presentation at D23 Expo 2019, Disney's annual fan extravaganza. The series is still in the earliest stages of development, but will air on Disney+, the studio's new streaming service scheduled to launch in November. The showcase also featured several other notable projects Star Wars and Marvel fans in particular can expect to debut over the next two years.

Star Wars: The Mandalorian

The other major announcement during the Star Wars portion of the showcase was the premiere of the first official trailer for the spinoff series, The Mandalorian. Starring Pedro Pascal, the series takes place a few years "after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order,'" according to the official synopsis. Pascal's bounty hunter is "a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic."

Disney+ is also developed a Star Wars spinoff ("Untitled Spy Series") featuring Rogue One's Cassian (Diego Luna) and his best droid buddy, K2 (Alan Tudyk). Both actors made a brief appearance during the announcement. Although there's no title yet, Tudyk quipped he though it could be called K2 Fast K2 Furious. Or possibly the Untold Cassian Untitled Story. In addition, there will be a return of the hugely popular animated series, The Clone Wars, in February 2020.

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Posted in D23 Expo, Disney, Entertainment, Gaming & Culture, Marvel, Star Wars, streaming television, streaming wars, Television | Comments (0)

A lone gunman roams a galaxy in chaos in first trailer for The Mandalorian

August 24th, 2019

Pedro Pascal and Gina Carano star in The Mandalorian, a new Star Wars series debuting with Disney+ in November.

Fans went wild as Disney debuted the first trailer for its hotly antiquated original series, The Mandalorian, last night at D23, the annual fan extravaganza the studio has been organizing for the last several years. It will be released in conjunction with the company's new streaming platform, Disney+, on November 12, 2019.

Starring Pedro Pascal (Oberon Martell, aka the Red Viper, in Game of Thrones) as the Mandalorian, the series takes place a few years "after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order,'" according to the official synopsis. Pascal's bounty hunter is "a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic." Pascal delighted the assembled fans with a surprise appearance at D23, alone with co-stars Gina Carano,who plays Cara Dune, a former Rebel Shock Trooper; Carl Weathers as Greef Carga, leader of a bounty hunter guild; Giancarlo Esposito; and Taika Waititi, who voices the droid, IG-11. Ming-Na Wen (Agents of Shield) has also been cast in the series.

Showrunner and series creator Jon Favreau was also on stage for the event, and explained that after the defeat of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, there was a period of chaos and lawlessness as a new government struggled to emerge from the wreckage. The trailer plays up the space opera/spaghetti Western crossover vive. There's almost no dialogue, just scenes depicting a mysterious lone figure taking on an assignment from Carga to track something. Or someone. Could it be Han Solo trapped in carbonite?

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Posted in D23 Expo, Disney, Entertainment, Gaming & Culture, Star Wars, streaming television, streaming wars, Television, The Mandalorian | Comments (0)

Review: Pitch-perfect Ready or Not is a sharp and witty blood-soaked delight

August 21st, 2019
Samara Weaving delivers a standout performance in the new horror comedy <em>Ready or Not</em>.

Enlarge / Samara Weaving delivers a standout performance in the new horror comedy Ready or Not. (credit: Fox Searchlight)

An unsuspecting bride finds herself fighting for her life on her wedding night in Ready or Not, a wickedly funny, blood-soaked thriller that made its world premiere last month at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Toronto. I was on board in principle the moment the first trailer dropped in June, but good trailers don't always indicate a good film. Fortunately, Ready or Not lives up to its trailer.

(Some spoilers below.)

Grace (Samara Weaving, Picnic at Hanging Rock) can't believe her good fortune when she falls in love with Alex Le Domas (Mark O'Brien, Halt and Catch Fire), a member of a wealthy gaming dynasty—although the family prefers the term "dominion." After a picture-perfect wedding on the family estate, Alex informs Grace that there's just one more formality to be observed: "At midnight, you have to play a game. It's just something we do when someone joins the family." The new family member must draw a card from a mysterious box to learn which game they will be playing.

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Posted in Entertainment, film, film review, Fox Searchlight, Gaming & Culture, Ready or Not | Comments (0)

Spider-Man is out of the MCU thanks to Sony/Disney standoff [Updated]

August 20th, 2019
Face of Spider-Man is superimposed on city skyline.

Enlarge / "Mr. Feige, I don't feel so good." Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige will not be producing the next two Spider-Man films with Sony Pictures. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Marvel / Getty)

Update, August 21,2019, 11:15 AM: Sony Pictures has released an official statement via Twitter, mostly focusing on what happened with regard to Kevin Feige's producer role:

Much of today’s news about Spider-Man has mischaracterized recent discussions about Kevin Feige’s involvement in the franchise. We are disappointed, but respect Disney’s decision not to have him continue as a lead producer of our next live action Spider-Man film. We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him—including all their newly added Marvel properties—do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own. Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue.

Original story:

Deadline Hollywood reports that future blockbuster films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will likely be missing a key figure: Spider-Man. Apparently, Sony Pictures and Disney/Marvel have failed to reach new terms for the franchise acceptable to both parties. That means Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige will not be a producer on the next two Spider-Man movies reportedly in the works.

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Posted in Entertainment, film, film franchises, Gaming & Culture, marvel cinematic universe, spiderman | Comments (0)

Review: Fight scenes are the only bright spot in grim, joyless Wu Assassins

August 19th, 2019

Iko Uwais stars as Kai Jin, a Chinese-Indonesian chef in San Francisco's Chinatown who is granted a mystical power in the new Netflix series Wu Assassins.

A humble chef is granted mystical powers to hunt down five powerful warlords in Wu Assassins, a new supernatural action drama from Netflix. Unfortunately, a talented cast and terrific fight choreography can't keep the show from sinking under the weight of its leaden, uninspired script. No martial arts series should be this much of a slog.

(Some spoilers below.)

Indonesian martial-arts star Iko Uwais (The Raid, Stuber) stars as Kai Jin, a Chinese-Indonesian chef in San Francisco's Chinatown who finds himself chosen as the last of the Wu Assassins, a long line of fighters tasked with killing the five Wu Warlords. The warlords all possess elemental supernatural powers tied to fire, wood, earth, metal, and water. These powers were conferred upon them by the Wu Xing: five shards that are absorbed into the body when touched. Kai's task is to kill the current crop of Wu Warlords, reassemble the shards, and send them back to heaven where they belong, thus ridding the world of their influence. Not that the Wu Xing are necessarily evil: we learn they reflect the character of whoever possesses them. It just so happens that bad people tend to crave the immense power they confer.

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Posted in Entertainment, Gaming & Culture, Netflix, reviews, streaming television, Television, TV reviews, Wu Assassins | Comments (0)

Undead hordes rise from the sea in delightfully campy Zombie Tidal Wave

August 16th, 2019

SYFY hopes to do for zombies what all those Sharknado movies did for sharks with Zombie Tidal Wave.

Fans of SYFY's delightfully cheesy B-movies like Sharktopus and Sharknado, rejoice. This weekend, the network debuts its latest offering in the genre: Zombie Tidal Wave. The title pretty much says it all.

(Mild spoilers below.)

Director Anthony C. Ferrante is the mastermind behind the hugely popular Sharknado and its five (count 'em!) sequels—it's a franchise that now even has a theme park attraction in Malaysia called Sharknado Alive. So what's this latest movie about? The trailer (embedded above) reveals a few details. A mysterious substance oozes out from the ocean floor, and suddenly hordes of the undead are swimming to the surface, popping up in the shallows off a local beach to snack on some unsuspecting sunbathers just trying to enjoy the day.

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Posted in Entertainment, Gaming & Culture, sharknado, syfy, Television, Zombie Tidal Wave, zombies | Comments (0)

Amazon unveils first batch of casting for The Wheel of Time adaptation

August 15th, 2019
Amazon is adapting the late Robert Jordan's bestselling 14-book series of fantasy novels, <em>The Wheel of Time</em>.

Enlarge / Amazon is adapting the late Robert Jordan's bestselling 14-book series of fantasy novels, The Wheel of Time. (credit: Tor Books)

Amazon has announced its first round of casting for The Wheel of Time, the long-awaited TV adaptation of the late Robert Jordan's bestselling 14-book series of epic fantasy novels. Within that genre, Jordan's series is as popular as George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire.The last book in the series was published after Jordan died and written from Jordan's notes by bestselling author Brandon Sanderson.

The TV series will center on Moiraine (played by Oscar-nominee Rosamund Pike), a member of a powerful, all-woman organization called the Aes Sedai. (In this world, magic exists, but only certain women can use it—i.e., the members of the Aes Sedai.) She identifies five young people, one of whom could be the reincarnation of a person who prophecies say will save or destroy humanity. Together, the youngsters embark on a journey across the world.

Josha Stradowski will play Rand al'Thor, aka The Dragon Reborn, He Who Comes With the Dawn, the Coramoor, Shadowkiller, and who knows how many other monikers. He's apparently the person featured in the prophecy. Marcus Rutherford has been cast as apprentice blacksmith and dream walker Perrin Aybara. Zoe Robins will play healer Nynaeve al'Meara, and Madeleine Madden will play the powerful channeler Egwene al'Vere. Finally, Barney Harris has been cast as series comic relief, Matrim Cauthon.

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Kylo Ren makes a cameo in trailer for Star Wars Resistance season two

August 14th, 2019

The second and final season of Disney’s Star Wars Resistance takes place between the events of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.

It's safe to say that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which drops right before Christmas, is the most hotly anticipated film release of the year. In the meantime, hardcore fans can sate their hunger for all things Star Wars with season two of Star Wars Resistance. And it looks like the animated series will be coming to an early end. Along with the release of the first trailer, Disney announced that this second season will be the last for Star Wars Resistance.

(Some spoilers for season one below.)

The animated series—inspired by Japanese anime—has largely flown under the radar since its debut in October 2018, in part because it explores a part of the mythological timeline that coincides with events in the current trilogy-in-progress. Oscar Isaac and Gwendoline Christie even reprised their film roles of Poe Dameron and Captain Phasma, respectively, to voice those characters in the series. (Carolyn Hennesy voiced General Leia Organa, since we have tragically lost Carrie Fisher.)

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Posted in Disney Channel, Entertainment, Gaming & Culture, Star Wars, Star Wars resistance, Television, Trailers | Comments (0)

Sigourney Weaver, Mark Hamill lend voices to Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

August 13th, 2019

A trio of Gelflings must save Thra in the new Netflix prequel series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

Netflix has released the first full trailer for its new fantasy series, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. It's a prequel to the 1982 cult classic fantasy/adventure film The Dark Crystal and features a star-studded cast that includes Sigourney Weaver as the narrating Myth Speaker and Mark Hamill—fresh off voicing Chucky in the Child's Play reboot—as The Scientist.

(Some spoilers for the original film below.)

The original film was a marked departure for Jim Henson and his co-director Frank Oz, significantly darker in tone than his previous work. It tells the story of the planet Thra, which gets its power from a magical Crystal. That crystal cracks, producing two new species: the evil Skeksis and kindly wizards called the Mystics. The task of restoring a missing shard to heal the crystal falls to a young Gelfling named Jen, aided by a wise astronomer named Aughra and his fellow Gelfling Kira. And he's on a tight schedule: the shard must be restored before the planet's three suns align or the Skeksis will rule forever.

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First trailer for Dolemite Is My Name pays tribute to a blaxploitation legend

August 12th, 2019

Eddie Murphy stars as controversial comedian Rudy Ray Moore in Dolemite Is My Name, coming to Netflix this fall.

Eddie Murphy is all pimped out and ready to rid his community of evildoers in the first trailer for the comic biopic, Dolemite Is My Name. It's Director Craig Brewer's tribute to Rudy Ray Moore, a singer, dancer, and comedian in the 1960s and 1970s who went on to make a classic of blaxploitation film. (NB: The trailer is not entirely safe for workplace viewing.)

Moore claimed he got the idea for the Dolemite character while working in a Hollywood record store, where one of the locals used to tell obscene tall tales about a man named Dolemite. Moore adapted the persona into his act and released three albums of his frequently raunchy material accompanied by jazz and R&B musicians. Because of his delivery style (which typically involved rhyming lyrics), Moore is often called the "Godfather of Rap." (Snoop Dogg, who has a cameo in the biopic, has said, "Without Rudy Ray Moore, there would be no Snoop Dogg, and that's for real.")

Moore slowly built up a cult following, despite the fact that his albums (including the cover art) were much too vulgar to be publicly displayed in record stores. With the rise of "blaxploitation" films in the early 1970s, Moore saw an opportunity to bring the character Dolemite to the moviegoing masses. He financed his first film himself with royalties from his record sales. The result was the instant blaxploitation classic Dolemite, released in 1975, about "the ultimate ghetto hero" in the tradition of Shaft. Dolemite knew kung-fu, was a sharp dresser, was known for his sexual prowess, and was committed to ridding his neighborhood of criminal influences. The film's success spawned several sequels, although Moore's material never really made it to the mainstream.

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