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‘Star Wars’ Holiday Special?

We are coming up on what’s known as a Star Wars holiday. May 4th or May the Fourth Be With You. May has been synonymous with the intergalactic franchise since day one. Every film Episode I through VI has come out in late May. But that’s about to change.

Gone are the days of “summer blockbusters.” Instead, the roll out for summer is much earlier. April, even March at times. And while November and December used to be Oscar-bait films or holiday flicks, plenty of studios are now opting to use those months for their biggest movies, like the yet-to-be-titled “Star Wars: Episode VII.

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This brings about an interesting quandary. Will superfans be willing to camp out weeks in advance to see this next installment? 

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers Jedi from the swift completion of their appointed rounds movie-going experience.

Star Wars fans aren’t the United States Postal Service, but being one myself, I could argue we may be even belligerent in our quest to see, devour and consume every detail, television show or movie Lucasfilm throws at us.

So, how will this Hoth-like dilemma play out? Will everyone have long johns under their Han Solo slacks? Could Princess Leia hair buns double as ear muffs? Or will everyone just go covered in faux fur ala Chewbacca?

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Sure, this won’t be a problem in Los Angeles. But, what about the Northeast? We just suffered through what was arguably one of the worst winters in recent memory. If Star Wars comes out on December 18th, how could we possibly go back to see it multiple times over snow and ice covered roads? Surely, a Tauntaun ride would be in order. Well, as long as I didn’t take it too close to that first marker, then that Tauntaun would probably be toast.

And let’s say you are man or woman enough to set up an igloo outside New York City’s Ziegfeld theatre and dress in a Boba Fett or Oola (look it up) costume, how many of those people are going to be wearing a Santa hat or candy cane blaster? Probably too many to fit under the Rockefeller Christmas tree.

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The cold aside, my point is this will be different. The Star Wars summer event is over. It’s still awesome to have a new film coming out, but will it really feel the same? Nostalgia can be a very powerful thing and a great number of people who grew up with the original trilogy will miss the anticipation of a May release. Still, perhaps the next generation of fans will carry the same feelings toward December. Just think warm thoughts when you queue up alongside your fellow sith lords. A jedi mind trick may be in order.

 

 

posted by Seth Szilagyi in JJ Abrams,Star Wars and have No Comments

J.J. Abrams Mysterious Trailer

The man known for his mysteries that are often more fun than the actual payoff is doing it again. JJ Abrams’ company Bad Robot has released this trailer. For what? Well, that’s the mystery.

 

In the clip, a long-haired man is seen washing ashore with what looks like broken ropes around his hands. He staggers through the ocean tide as a narrator reads the following:

“He arrived knowing nothing of himself. Who is he? Soon he will know. Because what begins at the water shall end there. And what ends there shall once more begin. This is what happens: Men become lost; men vanish; men are erased – and reborn.”

Then, a light engulfs the screen and a creepy face appears; a man with lips that are shut with stitches.

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This could be a teaser for any number of Abrams projects. This does have a very “Lost” feel to it though. I highly doubt that it’s in any way connected to that though. Could there be a “Star Wars” link? Doubtful, but this type of feel would sure give the series some legitimacy again. However, I can’t imagine a relatively kid-friendly series taking this type of turn.

The consensus seems to be that this is actually a video teaser for a book being released by JJ Abrams and author Doug Dorst. The novel “S.” apparently ties in real-life “ephemera” with the book’s characters. This is the description on publisher Mulholland’s website:

“S., conceived of and developed by Abrams and written by award-winning author Doug Dorst, is Abrams’s first foray into publishing and will be released by Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company on October 29, 2013. At the core of this multilayered literary puzzle of love and adventure is a book of mysterious provenance. In the margins, another tale unfolds—through the hand-scribbled notes, questions, and confrontations of two readers. Between the pages, online, and in the real world, you’ll find evidence of their interaction, ephemera that bring this tale vividly to life.”

It does make sense for it to be tied to this. The book comes out in two months, “S.” is the title of the book and “Stranger” was the title of the video clip. So, what do you think? Is this really for the novel? Or is this a very dark turn for “Star Wars?” Or is “Lost” back?

 

posted by Seth Szilagyi in JJ Abrams and have No Comments

‘Super 8’ Review

For most, youth carries with it a time when everything is safe, fun and interesting. There is always something new, something to look forward to; life has only just begun. I guess that’s why I see a movie like “Super 8” with both sadness and admiration. Sadness for not being able to relive those days and admiration for giving me the next best thing.


Director J.J. Abrams and his mentor producer Steven Spielberg have created a film that feels like it belongs during a different age of movies, before overrated special effects and the amount of explosions sold tickets. Films were based on characters, the special effects were secondary. Sometimes they looked good, sometimes they did not, but you accepted them because the story was strong.

And that’s where “Super 8” soars, in its characters.


Set in 1979, a group of friends witnesses a horrible train crash while trying to make a zombie flick on 8mm film. They all survive, but will the rest of the small Ohio town? The accident leads to an invasion of troops from the Air Force, bizarre disappearances and missing microwaves.

Actor Joel Courtney takes the lead as Joe Lamb. This newcomer gives audiences the perfect blend of awe and determination to make the unlikely events taking place around him believable. He reminded me a lot of the kid who played Bastian in “The Neverending Story.”

And he’s not the only star of this cast, Ryan Lee annoys you just enough as the brace-face, pyromaniac Cary; Riley Griffiths is the bossy, fat-kid directing the zombie movie-in-a-movie; Gabriel Basso was memorable as a seemingly muscular boy who is a giant wuss and Zach Mills uses his minimal screen time well, making you crack up with goofy expressions and offbeat one-liners.

The other standout, is Elle Fanning. She moves far beyond the typical damsel in distress and gives a real emotional performance as a girl coping with her father’s drinking problem and a budding romance with one of the aforementioned gents.


This teenage crew was so likeable and reminded me so much of how life was like at that age. As a viewer, you kind of wished that the whole movie was about them and their adventures, but it’s not.

As much as I enjoyed the main storyline, about these kids, the “Super 8” secret kind of got in the way. Whenever it got to a scene involving “the secret”, I just found myself yearning for more witty dialogue and funny interaction. But as with any good teen movie of the 80’s, I guess there has to be something for these kids to react to, whether it be “Monster Squad”, “Goonies” or “Gremlins.”

I obviously don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say the device used as the MacGuffin or the “Super 8 Secret” as it’s been dubbed on Twitter, is something that is growing very tired in modern cinema. And the way it’s presented to viewers makes it hard for the eventual outcome to sit well with audiences.

“Super 8” did not disappoint. It gave me what I needed. A nostalgic voyage to a simpler time, when days felt like years, a bike ride to a friend’s house was a journey you’d never forget and a first-kiss could make your head spin. I just wish it didn’t involve…(insert secret here.)


posted by Seth Szilagyi in Super 8 and have No Comments

The 2011 Buzz Movie ‘Super 8’

I’ll say this about JJ Abrams, he may not always deliver on the mysteries he starts (one needs only to point to his often intriguing, but confusing Alias series as evidence), but he does know how to create a heck of a viral marketing campaign. His latest project “Super 8” is being produced by Steven Spielberg and judging from this trailer premiering today before “Iron Man 2” in theaters, it revolves around Area 51 and aliens. Certainly not a new topic, but could be good. Check out the bootleg trailer below.

In addition, there are two websites related to the movie up and running, but neither seem to reveal much. One is just a grainy shot of an old super 8 camera, here, and the other brings up an old 80’s computer interface which allows you to type in a series of commands, but at this point doesn’t do anything. Check that out here.

A lot of people are speculating that this is somehow related to Abrams other viral hit “Cloverfield” which was also about an alien. However, that monster was much bigger than anything that could be kept on a train and Abrams has already stated that “Super 8” is not a sequel to “Cloverfield.” If you’ve never seen that trailer, check it out below. Obviously, the verdict’s still out on “Super 8”, but both trailers go to show that 90 seconds of video can often be way more exciting than 90 minutes.


posted by Seth Szilagyi in Super 8 and have No Comments