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State of Cinema

Can you recall any picture in the last 3 years that was wildly popular that didn’t include things getting smashed or blown to bits?

Have you gone to a movie or rented one that featured clever or charming dialog, let’s say in the past 24 months?

It’s OK, I can wait for your answer . . .

NO?

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Click for video

Surprise, I can think of one! La La Land which did – Worldwide: $439,020,154 (£424.7m)

That’s nothing compared to the Faster & the Even More Furious, OK, real title – The Fate of the Furious. Worldwide: $532,481,640 That’s just in the first (opening) weekend. It broke the previous record of $529m (£421.8m) taken in by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

That kind of money gets attention, which means the type of films I might find more interesting, or have longevity, are not likely to be made in the foreseeable future. That’s kind of shame, because the independent films are constantly trying to break into a market that is walled off from the public.

Why is the Fast & Furious franchise so popular?

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BBC Entertainment & Arts

That’s a question which seems easy to answer, at least on the surface. Some may say it has universal appeal to young & old, because people like to see escape fantasies of things destroyed. The protagonists and antagonists are people over the top, escaping doom or creating disasters on a grand scale with seemingly little consequence.  Have you ever picked up a sledge-hammer to help demolish a car for charity? Imagine 100’s of times greater smash, with none of the work but all of the fun.

There are other reason(s), I believe which increase its appeal. The actors in the film, identify well with an audience. Paul Walker was one of those people who seemed universally liked. Actors, Tyrese Gibson, Nathalie Emmanuel, Vin Diesel and Ludacris, all have large followings. Dwayne Johnson has starred in four of this franchise movies, and he’s brought new energy to it. Still, they’re not adverse to bringing in other major names, and stirring the pot.

Kurt Russel has been a big action adventure star for years. This time he even has a name that most of us can relate to…  Mr. Nobody.

The Fate of the Furious won’t be a movie I will pay to see, but the next film Kurt Russell will be in, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, is going to be at the top of my screening list. If I’m not there opening day, I will be soon thereafter. The last Guardians of the Galaxy anticipated their audience, adding humor to an imaginative story that grabbed a lot of eyes. This one looks to be every bit the right follow on, in one I’m least familiar as a published graphics novel.


 

Resistance is Futile

A young Bela Lugosi photo

Bela Lugosi – Dracula

The OSCARS may be the buzz that Hollywood would like us to focus on, but only momentarily. They really want us to take them seriously. There will be many brows furrowed, scoldings issued, and appeals made.

This means we’re likely going to hear more speeches on, Donald Trump outrage, immigration, civil rights, racismhuman created environmental changes (our shame – not theirs). We may be hoping to see which cinematography, musical score, writers, actors, graphics, scripts, receive awards, but rest assured, that’s not all they have planned for us.

In many ways, they’ve become an interest group concerned with moral causes and how they continue to portray themselves as super citizens.

comedy - dramaThere are changes in the making. I’m not talking about the continuing inflation of egos, rather many ‘stars’ are getting older, their expenses are going up while box office receipts are going down. Their demands for increased salaries may actually set them back.

=-=- Biggest World Wide Box Office Releases Not From Hollywood -=-=

The news for Hollywood, just like American manufacturing, it can be done elsewhere, and often for less cost with greater profits. China & Japan are having a good year for film making and box office revenue.

Joan Fontaine Cary Grant  Suspicion 1940

Joan Fontaine & Cary Grant

La La Land is a one of the movies nominated for awards, but the title and the ending suggests a bit more reality than many might immediately recognize about the traditional film industry.

A couple of last-minute notes… Greg P. Russell had his Oscar nomination rescinded on Saturday, for 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

Bill Paxton has died from complications from heart surgery. He was 61.

 
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Posted by on 26/02/2017 in Academy Awards, Actors, Attitude, Awards, Box Office, Entertainment, Finance, Hollywood, Movies, Popular Culture

 

Film Expo South Event

comedy - dramaFILM EXPO SOUTH is back Friday 3rd February 2017 at the AGEAS Bowl, Southampton to collaborate, inspire excite, stimulate and engage the film making population yet again.

Over 45 Industry Speakers are joining us to CREATE, INSPIRE & ENGAGE, view our Speakers Timetable here

  • Over 30 Workshops, Demonstrations and Seminars
  • Special Effects, Sales & Distribution, Marketing, Crowdfunding Screenings with Directors Q&A’s, Pitching, VFX and much more…
  • Stage Showcase
  • Networking
  • The Pitch Factor Script Competition
  • Entertainment

BUY TICKETS – CLICK HERE

Reduced cost offers – Expires 31st January:
Students – £20.00  (£25.00)    · ·    Professionals – £30.00  (£40.00)

JUST DAYS AWAY!

Film Expo South – is an amazing networking event for film makers and emerging film talent, organised by Gillian Tully. More lights – more camera and loads of action – we’re back!!

Speakers for this event: [CLICK HERE}

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS & DAILY EVENTS

LOCATION

The Ageas Bowl
BOTLEY ROAD
West End
S030 3XH
United Kingdom

 


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Posted by on 27/01/2017 in Actors, Movies, Production, Technology

 

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The News Isn’t Good…

silver-streakThere’s a lot of communication on the InterWebs today about the passing of Gene Wilder. We lose good people all the time, but this is one that strikes me.

When I think of these movies;

  • The Producers
  • Willy Wonka
  • Young Frankenstein
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Silver Streak
  • Stir Crazy

I smile and think of how entertaining these movies were, because he was in them. His used car salesman face, while saying an outrageously humorous line, combined with his curly wild hair, added to his comedic delivery. When he starred in a Mel Brooks movie, you knew it was going to be memorable. The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, come to mind.

If you’ve seen any of his 4 movies with Richard Pryor, you watched one of the great movie comedy pairings. Even when there were serious moments, it was movie magic, with them in it.

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Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory – Variety Online

For more information, click on this image ->

RIP Jerome Silberman / Gene Wilder
June 11, 1933 – August 29, 2016

 


 
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Posted by on 29/08/2016 in Actors, Comedy, Deaths, Entertainment, Movies, Popular Culture

 

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No More Bond – Well Maybe?

the word is BondWe’ve heard this before from Daniel Craig. He said he wouldn’t want to do another movie, after his success in portraying, Bond – James – Bond in Skyfall. He came back swinging and blowing things up in Spectre. Now, according to the Daily Mail, he’s turning down a two picture reprise of the role for somewhere in the vicinity of $100 million. That’s a very nice vicinity to be in.

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Daniel Craig – Spectre

Daniel Craig may be tired of playing the part, but as good as he is as an actor, it’s difficult to get the roles which allow you continuing success or anywhere near the perks.

He might want to look back to the first Bond, played by Sean Connery. He too was dissatisfied with the roles he was given, even more than playing Bond, and came back to play him one last time in, Never Say Never Again. That unofficial Bond, was a less than stellar outing, it didn’t have near the behind the scenes support or the authorization to use the theme music or opening of the Eon Productions films.

As a reminder, how many went to see the film Cowboys and Aliens with the two big A listers of Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford? How many viewers want their money back?

For some unexplainable reason IGN gave this movie 3.5 stars out of 5. That’ being generous.

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Idris Elba

There’s always a flurry of guesses of the next actor, when someone has brought this much success to a movie role. It’s an interesting idea to speculate who might land the role. Idris Elba might be a good choice, if you’ve seen his acting in film and television, especially Luther, the crime drama TV series, you will know he has to be considered.

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Tom Hiddleston – Jaguar Ad

 

 

 

Tom Hiddleston is also under consideration, and for those who have seen him play Loki, in the Thor and Avengers movies, you realize, this is someone with screen presence.

 

 

 

 

So what do you think? Is it time for Daniel Craig to hang up those tuxedo’s or as many may remember, his swim trunks? He’s certainly given a huge boost to ticket sales of a movie franchise more than 50 years old.

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Daniel Craig as James Bond with Aston Martin DB5


 
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Posted by on 22/05/2016 in Actors, Box Office, Entertainment, Hollywood, James Bond, Movies, Popular Culture

 

The Last Hurrah – Castle End

Castle lined up with 12th Precinct detectives

Castle with the 12th Precinct detectives.

Lets start out with a warning to anyone that watches and enjoys the TV show Castle, but hasn’t seen the last episode. Spoiler Alert! Warning! Don’t read past this point if you’re still planning on seeing the last episode and don’t want to know anything about it – including the end.

Now that’s out-of-the-way, I have to assume you want to continue to read my observations & comments. If you’re already a member of WordPress, you can add your comments below. WordPress wants to know who you are, even if you’re hiding behind an alias. No, spies don’t come here to gain access to the latest government secrets, but some Castle fans do…

Castle & Beckett disarming a bomb in NY together

Castle & Beckett disarmed a bomb in NY

Overall, last nights episode did bring some closure to the series. I must say, as a fan I was more than a little disappointed by the abbreviated ending. Clearly the last few seconds of episode 22, season 8, were rushed. It was a way of creating an ending which should have developed in several more episodes of Castle. It appeared to me they had a cliffhanger final in mind, then had to tack on the final seconds showing Beckett, Castle and children, all smiling perhaps even laughing at a dinner table together.

Castle a chill goes through her veins

Beckett & Castle working together

The season 8 writers were up against three intractable challenges. The first problem was the entire eighth season story arc revolved around a powerful shadow organization, secretly behind a prior longer story arc about the death of Kate Beckett’s mother which ran for 6 seasons. By creating this all-encompassing theme from the beginning, it obligated them to continue with it, and form a conclusion for that plot line. What they couldn’t plan on was the second big problem. Problem number two was the announcement by ABC studios, that Stana Katic and Tamala Jones wouldn’t be returning to Castle if there was a ninth season. This meant they had to write an episode explaining to the audience the reason(s) why Kate Beckett and everyone’s favorite Medical Examiner were no longer around. What could they do?

  1. Have Kate Beckett resign and leave Castle?
  2. Have a need for Kate to take time off and temporarily be away from Castle? (They sorta did that already)
  3. Have Kate Beckett appear to die in the last episode, leaving an opening for Castle to continue without her?

Beckett_sticking_her_tongue_outThere just didn’t seem to be a satisfactory way to remove Kate Beckett from the series without severe repercussions and this brings us to the final challenge. The network under a lot of pressure from the fans, announced last Thursday, May 12th, there wouldn’t be a ninth season. Do I believe the fans influenced this decision? Does the Pope reside in the Vatican? The Twitter feeds were tweeting faster and louder than Angry Birds on steroids. They were tweeting, “No Stana – No Castle!“, A petition was created to cancel the show at the end of season 8, and instructions were published throughout social media as to who should be contacted along with their business address.

Shock & Awe - faceFor a few weeks Castle fans were doing the American public a favor. They created a fire storm and were calling attention to a media phenomenon other than the U.S. Presidential bake-off. No need to thank us America, just doing our part to create a distraction from election news.

ABC had a PR nightmare on their hands which might have rolled over to other properties. The only thing at this point which they could have done to make it worse, end season 8 with Kate Beckett killed and have her on the M.E.’s table in season 9. Oh wait… they couldn’t have done that because they were getting rid of  Dr. Lanie Parish too.

If ever script writers were on the horns of a dilemma, this was that time. The writers were given 1 more hour to create an ending for the show wrapping up, LokSat and what happens to Caskett. C’mon, 1 hour?!  Well, that’s what they did. For that hour we had at least 3 episodes compressed into 1.

Beckett: I need a miracle, guys.
Ryan: Okay, you got it.
Esposito: One miracle coming up.

The episodes I’m referring to were; In the Belly of the Beast, Veritas and The Time of Our Lives. Each of them had dramatic stories with pivotal outcome.

  • In the Belly of the Beast – Beckett is recruited for a dangerous undercover operation with the aim of stopping a near-mythical drug baron.
  • Veritas – Beckett carries out an off-the-books investigation attempting to connect drug baron Vulcan Simmons to presidential candidate William Bracken
  • Time of Our Lives – Beckett and Castle marry in the Hamptons.

 

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But it was a Hollywood promise; not worth a damn. ~ Rick Castle

These were the problems in a nutshell, which the writers of this last episode of Castle needed to package together in a satisfactory bundle.

Were they successful? In my opinion, they did about as good of a job as you can ask for in approximately 43 minutes of normal run time. I have to say, I’m happy overall with what they did, but the last-minute of the show was so hurried, I’m not sure if I was looking at a dream sequence, a thought compression for the next set of books, or did they really get the happy ending we thought we saw?

What do you think?

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Some moments we loved during Castle – all rights by owner (not me)

 

How to End a Long Running Series

Well, here we are. The next to the last episode of Castle EPISODE 8×21 HELL TO PAY was broadcast in the U.S. last night.

Beckett_Castle_on_swings_discussing_futureMany fans have already given up on the series when it was announced on April 18th, Stana Katic as Captain Kate Beckett, and Tamala Jones as Medical examiner, Lanie Parish, will not be coming back, should there be a season 9. The official announcement stated it was for budgetary reasons. There have been numerous unofficial rumors which claim co-stars, Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, have an acrimonious relationship off-screen, making it difficult for them to be on set together.

Whether this is true or not doesn’t take away from the most significant point of the series. Castle was always a fantasy show. The idea that a crime/ mystery fiction writer would have a long-term professional relationship with the NYPD, as a consultant, is in itself a work of fiction. It’s not Jessica Fletcher, in Murder She Wrote, or Sherlock Holmes, but has become more like Hart to Hart or Remington Steele. Each of these comparisons, have their limits, but from the beginning, the Monday night drama, comedy, crime procedural, has and is about the initial meeting, opposites attract, relationship development, and eventual marriage between a female detective and a novelist.

Castle_looking_disgruntledSince it’s public knowledge the Kate Beckett story ends in the last episode of season 8, fans are left to speculate what the ending episode might be. How will they write the story to which millions of devoted fans have been tuning in each week to see, ending their on-screen relationship? Will there be a post-Beckett season 9? Many fans, myself included have looked at season 8 as a less than stellar collection of stories which initially separated Richard Castle from his wife, Captain Beckett, due to some evil drug & murder cartel, called LokSat. The other stories in season 8 have less on-screen together time of the superb ensemble cast, a couple of new roles with new people, with little interaction between Castle and Beckett.

If Nathan Fillion wanted more screen time and less of Stana Katic, according to rumors, his wishes were granted, however at a price. His role has been more of a dolt, an immature simpleton who manages to arrive at reasonable crime solutions, mostly through dumb luck or the able-bodied assistance of his new assistant, Toks Olagundoye as Haley Shipton. Both Toks Olagundoye and Molly Quinn (Alexis), have been taking a lot of heat as fans have taken to Twitter, using it as a platform to vent their anger toward any of the possible season 9 survivors.

The Season 8 finale airing this May 16, is entitled Crossfire in which a twist in Rick and Kate’s final pursuit of LokSat, accordingly “puts their case, and their lives, in jeopardy.”

Now that the hook has been baited, we’ll wait to see what kind of closure they can bring to this much beloved series. No official announcements from ABC indicate their commitment to a season 9, even though some contracts have been signed by the cast. The latest numbers for season 8 episode 21 are up slightly from previous weeks, and I suspect, despite all of the clamor to end the series at 8, and the requests by some to quit watching it, so there won’t be a season 9, the ending season 8 episode will probably be watched by more viewers.

All we can hope, is the last episode of Kate Beckett, will end in dignity. The premise of the show hasn’t been based on one person, it’s been about relationships, the strongest of which was that between NYPD officer Kate Beckett and writer Richard Castle. It’s difficult to conceive how this relationship can end without serious repercussions in the real world. There has been a large informal collective of fans disgruntled with the dismissal of Katic after a disappointingly written season 8. The viewership has declined, many fans attributed that to less screen time between these two actors and the “bogey-man in the corner, LokSat”, which is supposed to bring every season plot point to a dramatic end.

Show runners, Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley haven’t speculated on the renewal or cancellation of Castle for Season 9. According to interviews, they have shot two different endings for season 8 depending on whether ABC renews or cancels the show, determines which of them is broadcast.

Castle_Beckett_posedWill it end with the death of Captain Beckett? Will it end with both Castle & Beckett deciding to take a lengthy vacation, postponed honeymoon together? We shall see, however if there’s a sad ending to this series, I suspect the viewership will drastically fall off and DVD sales of season 8 to be abysmal.

The Castle finale airs Monday, May 16 at 10/9c on ABC.

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