Epic movie: Star Wars-The Rise of Skywalker

The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more as Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron’s journey continues. With the power and knowledge of generations behind them, the final battle commences.

The Star Wars has it all and was a fitting conclusion to the saga.
Rey was a worthy successor to Luke and believable in the lead role. The other characters gel well too but only minor complaint really is that Yoda didn’t make a physical appearance.

I’m sure there are still some people left in the galaxy who haven’t watched Star Wars, but for me, this is still the best series of sci-fi movies ever made and the most compelling story.

Simply appreciate the film and go in with youngster like miracle and you will turn out as glad as you came into the film.

Do you need movie tickets? Nothing simpler than Fandango.

Have a Fun !

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Movie of The Week: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

After gunning down a member of the High Table — the shadowy international assassin’s guild — legendary hit man John Wick finds himself stripped of the organization’s protective services. Now stuck with a $14 million bounty on his head, Wick must fight his way through the streets of New York as he becomes the target of the world’s most ruthless killers.

John Wick films, for all their excesses, do something interesting: They take this hyper-horrible underworld and shellac it with a veneer of quasi-religious bureaucracy.

Despite overseeing a sprawling crime network built on circumventing societal law, the High Table has plenty of rules of its own. And when the underground criminal association is discussed, it’s often in the same reverent, fearful tones that folks might’ve spoken of the Catholic Church during the Inquisition.

And certain crime enclaves, such as the Continental Hotel in New York, are treated almost like churches—places of refuge and sanctuary, where no “business” can be conducted. The organization’s language also makes generous use of religious terms to stress its spiritual tang as well as its twisted sense of morality and honor.

And when John seeks to return to serve the High Table, his “ticket” is an Eastern Cross (which, unlike our more familiar Latin cross, has a slanted beam toward the bottom). Before his quest, someone takes that cross and uses it as a branding iron—burning an inverted cross on John’s back.

A woman tells Wick that his journey back to paradise “begins in hell,” perhaps a reference to Dante’s Inferno. (All of the John Wick films occasionally seem to lift references from Dante’s work.) We hear rumination on the very word “assassin” and its roots: The speaker believes that it actually references those who are “faithful and who abide by their beliefs.”

John’s nickname, Baba Yaga, comes from Russian folklore, where she’s a bogeywoman of some renown. (John Wick: Chapter 3 is the second movie I’ve reviewed in 2019 name-checking Ms. Yaga, in fact; a more literal interpretation was found in Hellboy.)

In the Continental, the concierge is called Charon: In Greek mythology, Charon serves as a boatman ferrying souls from the land of the living to the land of the dead, and he demands a coin as payment. (Interestingly, specially made coins and tokens are used in payment throughout the Wick movies, as well.) Various scenes featuring hotel boilers or metal smelters seem intended to stress that John is in some metaphorical hellscape.

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‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ Trailer

In the sequel to 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Spencer (Alex Wolff) disappears and his friends return to Jumanji to save him in the form of their avatars. Chaos ensues when Spencer’s grandfather, Eddie (Danny DeVito), and friend, Milo (Danny Glover), get sucked into the game before any of the young characters can select their avatars. With a new quest offered to them by Nigel Billingsley (Rhys Darby), the teenage friends must help Eddie and Milo get used to their in-game avatars, help them find Spencer and escape the game.

Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas return as avatars, while Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman and Morgan Turner also reprise their roles. Awkwafina, DeVito and Glover are new to the cast.

The latest trailer opens with avatars Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Johnson), Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon (Black), Franklin “Mouse” Finbar (Hart) and Ruby Roundhouse (Gillan) waking up in a new version of Jumanji. While they are used to the jungle format of the original game, the avatars have been placed in a desert.

A clip of Spencer’s friends stopping by Eddie’s house follows. When the friends realize that Spencer is missing, they decide that they must return to the world of the game.When the trailer returns to the video game, the avatars learn that they are in new bodies. Eddie controls Bravestone, Milo plays Mouse and Fridge (Blain) is Shelly, while Martha (Turner) returns as Ruby’s avatar.

In character as Bravestone, Eddie admires his new physical appearance. When he notes that he thinks his eyes are a different color, Mouse responds, “All of you is a different color.”

The avatars set out on an epic journey to save Spencer. “This next adventure is even more challenging,” Nigel informs the players. “This time, not all of you will leave the game alive.”
Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough (Jonas) later joins the group with Bethany (Iseman), who appears in the game as a horse.

The trailer concludes with Bethany entering the game as her original avatar, Shelly. “You guys, we’re back in Jumanji,” the professor excitedly whines.

Jumanji: The Next Level will be in theaters Dec. 13. Watch the full trailer below.

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Movie of the week: Maleficent Mistress of Evil

Maleficent travels to a grand old castle to celebrate young Aurora’s upcoming wedding to Prince Phillip. While there, she meets Aurora’s future mother-in-law — a conniving queen who hatches a devious plot to destroy the land’s fairies. Hoping to stop her, Maleficent joins forces with a seasoned warrior and a group of outcasts to battle the queen and her powerful army.

First, however, we have to wade through some syrupy scenes. Aurora (Fanning) is now Queen of the Moors, the mistitled name of a mystical and mountainous fairyland, and she and Maleficent are concerned with the hunt for some kidnapped fairies.

But when Prince Phillip (Dickinson, taking over from Brenton Thwaites) proposes, Aurora must bring her scary godmother to dinner with the in-laws: King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith. It goes, as you might expect, disastrously for the wary, defensive fairy.

Enjoy the movie with Fandango.

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Game of Thrones continue: Series ‘House of the Dragon’ Ordered at HBO

A series based on the “Game of Thrones” companion book “Fire & Blood” has been ordered straight-to-series at the premium cabler. The series will be titled “House of the Dragon.” Set 300 years before the events of “Game of Thrones,” the series tells the story of House Targaryen. Frequent “Game of Thrones” director Miguel Sapochnik will direct the pilot and additional episodes.

The world of “Game of Thrones” will live on at HBO.

HBO has given the show a 10-episode order. George R.R. Martin co-created the series with Ryan Condal. Sapochnik and Condal will serve as co-showrunners and will also serve as executive producers along with Martin and Vince Gerardis.

This marks Sapochnik’s first project as part of an HBO overall deal where he will develop and produce content for both HBO and HBO Max. He has directed six episodes of “Game of Thrones,” including “Hardhome,” “Battle of the Bastards,” and “Winds of Winter.”

Condal previously co-created and served as showrunner on “Colony” for three seasons. He was the writer of MGM’s “Hercules” and is currently adapting the graphic novel “Analog” as a feature for Lionsgate.

“The ‘Game of Thrones’ universe is so rich with stories,” said Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming. “We look forward to exploring the origins of House Targaryen and the earlier days of Westeros along with Miguel, Ryan and George.”

The announcement was made Tuesday as part of WarnerMedia’s HBO Max presentation, at which they revealed key details about the streaming service, including the price.

The news comes just hours after it was reported that a planned prequel pilot starring Naomi Watts was not going to series at HBO. That series would have taken place thousands of years before the events of the flagship series and was one of several “Game of Thrones”-related projects that were put into development at HBO prior to the end of the series. At this time, none of the other projects are believed to be moving forward either.

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Movie of The Week: Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Initial release: December 2019 (Belgium)

The first footage from Star Wars: Episode IX was finally revealed at Star Wars Celebration 2019, and we also finally got the closely guarded title of the film: The Rise of Skywalker. Since then, fans all over the internet have analyzed every scrap of footage over and over again for clues about the film’s plot. As straightforward as much of the teaser trailer seems to be, we also know that this is a J.J. Abrams film, and J.J. Abrams loves to preserve mystery. 

That means that even though we think we understand what we’re seeing and hearing in many of the teaser’s scenes, the final film might present something very different from the conclusions we’ve drawn. That could mean that footage is edited or certain way, or digitally altered, or just presented in a context that doesn’t allow us to see the bigger picture. With that in mind, it’s time to talk about all of the possibilities contained in this footage, and all the ways in which we could be deceived by it.

The trailer for The Rise of Skywalker begins with an instantly unforgettable sequence in which Rey (Daisy Ridley) stands alone on a desert planet (which could be a new planet or a familiar one) and waits as a First Order fighter approaches. When it enters her path, she ignites her lightsaber, then runs until she’s between its wings, and leaps. The implication here is that she’s preparing to cut the ship in two with her blade aimed right for the cockpit, and the even deeper implication is that Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is the pilot of the ship.

Movies, News

The Movie a Week: Dark Phoenix

Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence fire up an all-star cast in this spectacular culmination of the X-Men saga! During a rescue mission in space, Jean Grey (Turner) is transformed into the infinitely powerful and dangerous DARK PHOENIX. As Jean spirals out of control, the X-Men must unite to face their most devastating enemy yet — one of their own.

When Jean Grey was a child, her parents died in a car accident after their daughter’s psychic powers manifested in a way that put mom to sleep behind the wheel. Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) took in the orphaned girl, knowing that he could raise her in a way that controlled her powers, and she became a part of the X-Men, played when she’s older by Sophie Turner. In an early scene in “Dark Phoenix,” the X-Men are sent on a mission to save a crew of a space shuttle that is spinning out of control. Jean Grey, Professor X, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) spring into action. What follows is actually the best sequence in the movie as the X-Men combine their powers to save the crew, giving each a brief moment to shine. Jean ends up taking the brunt of what is though to be a solar flare at first but ends up being some sort of interstellar, planet-destroying force.

And that force now lives inside Jean.

Enjoy this movie !

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Movie: Frozen 2

Frozen 2, is a 2019 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. The 58th animated film produced by the studio, it is the sequel to the 2013 film Frozen and features the return of directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, producer Peter Del Vecho, songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and composer Christophe Beck.

Lee also returns as screenwriter, penning the screenplay from a story by her, Buck, Marc E. Smith, Anderson-Lopez, and Lopez, while Byron Howard executive-produced the film. Veteran voice cast Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, and Ciarán Hinds return as their previous characters, and they are joined by newcomers Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, and Jeremy Sisto.

Elsa the Snow Queen has an extraordinary gift — the power to create ice and snow. But no matter how happy she is to be surrounded by the people of Arendelle, Elsa finds herself strangely unsettled. After hearing a mysterious voice call out to her, Elsa travels to the enchanted forests and dark seas beyond her kingdom — an adventure that soon turns into a journey of self-discovery.

Release date: November 22, 2019 Romania

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Mulan: Disney aims to win over China with second take on the legend

There won’t be songs or talking dragons, and the film’s antagonist will be a Chinese sorceress, not an evil leader of the Hun army – but Mulan is making her return to the big screen. This week Disney released a teaser trailer for the live-action remake of its 1998 classic, a story based on a legendary female warrior who disguises herself as a man to fight in place of her ailing father in China’s imperial army.

It joins a string of Disney hits from the 90s being revived for the 21st Century, including Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. The animated Mulan flopped in its birthplace when it was released more than two decades ago, but this time Disney is pulling out all stops to win China over with its version of their heroine.

Let’s get down to business

When the Disney original first aired, China was not a major market for Disney. Twenty years on, China is the second-biggest movie market in the world. Around 70% of Hollywood studios’ revenue are now generated overseas, compared with around 30% two decades ago. And Chinese audiences today are able to add millions to box office takings. “Chinese takings can make or break a movie,” said writer and cultural analyst Xueting Christine Ni.

Liu Yifei
Image captionThe new Hua Mulan is looking to slay China’s box office

And Disney knows this – which is why its spending $300m (£240m) on the film, according to one of its stars, Gong Li. “Disney is aggressively targeting China,” Stanley Rosen, a professor in political science from the University of Southern California, told the BBC. Recent Disney offerings, like Toy Story 4, failed to see Chinese box office success. In contrast, Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios, which split from Disney in 2016, had a huge hit among Chinese audiences with its Kung Fu Panda instalment.

For that film, says Prof Rosen, “they spent a lot of time in China, investing efforts in researching pandas and talking to experts”. “Chinese audiences are clearly more sophisticated now so if Disney wants to win them back, they have to nail the cultural aspects of Mulan.” That means the new movie can’t be a play-by-play of the old one.

  • Live-action Mulan trailer released – but what’s different?

“[The Disney original] was trying so hard to be Chinese, but in a stereotypical way – there’s lanterns, fireworks.. they even stuck a panda in there. The humour, the pacing the relationships, are either wholly American, or what America imagines China would be like,” Ms Ni told the BBC. In one scene for example, the emperor is seen bowing to Mulan. It would be unthinkable for the emperor, who was seen as a god-like figure in China at the time, to bow to anyone.

Making it right

Casting was always going to be critical for this film. Disney banished early fears of “whitewashing” – there were wholly unfounded rumours she was to be played by Jennifer Lawrence – by casting Chinese American actress Liu Yifei in the lead role. It then upped the show’s star power by featuring martial arts legend Jet Li as the Chinese emperor and A-list superstar Gong Li as a villainous sorceress – huge names in China who have also made it big in Western cinema.

Actress Gong Li attends a charity premier in Hong Kong
Image captionWill Chinese star power aid Disney’s quest in winning over mainland audiences?

But casting is “simply one element of better representation and inclusivity in Disney films”, said cultural expert Rebecca-Anne Rozario, a professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. So there are other factors that Disney will have to include in order to make the film a success.

Mulan is a national heroine in ancient Chinese legend. Legends of her date back to the Northern Wei dynasty, as early as around 380AD. Think less Disney princess, more Chinese Joan-of-Arc. So the new film script went back to the original 6th Century source material, the Ballad of Mulan, for inspiration. It was also filmed partly in China, and the female-centred story also has a female director in Niki Caro.

  • The woman behind the new Mulan remake

“[From the] tone of the [new] trailer, [it looks] much closer to the original legend than the 1998 animation and therefore closer to Hua Mulan as the Chinese know her – the brave young woman who upholds her duty to state and family,” said Ms Ni.

Hua Mulan, a Chinese handpainted album on silk, late 19th century
Image captionA Chinese depiction of Mulan from the late 19th Century

“I think this time round, the live action will have a much better chance of winning over Chinese audiences.”

Who is that girl I see?

The highly anticipated remake has inevitably met some criticism. “Where is the singing?” complained one disgruntled fan on Facebook. “This isn’t the Mulan I remember if we don’t hear the songs we grew up with.” Others mourned the absence of wise-cracking dragon Mushu. “We know Disney is changing a lot of things and dropping many of the original characters but Mushu was hilarious,” one said.

The heroine’s lucky cricket and sassy grandmother don’t feature either. In their place is Mulan’s new and younger sister. And some eagle-eyed people spotted historical inaccuracies in the trailer. Mulan is seen living in a tulou hut, a traditional style of roundhouse. But those are from Fujian, more than 1,000km from Henan, the northern province where Mulan was said to have originally hailed from and were built centuries after her era.

Mushu and Cri-Kee
Image captionMulan’s sidekicks sadly won’t make it to the 2020 release

But there’s been plenty of positive reaction too. People on Chinese social media have praised Liu Yifei’s debut as Mulan. An online poll on Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo also found that over 115,000 users were “satisfied” with what they knew of the film so far.

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“I would take inaccurate huts over smart mouthed dragons any day,” said one person on Weibo. “China finally has its own Disney princess, which no-one can lay claim on,” wrote another. Another person, who said she did not relate to the original animated film growing up, shared her newfound excitement. “Hua Mulan was the heroine who graced our storybooks in school. I’m happy that the trailer is setting her story up as more of a Chinese martial arts epic rather than an American cartoon.”

But high praise came from the voice of the “original” Mulan, Ming-Na Wen, who took to Twitter to praise Liu’s performance. The full film is scheduled for release in March next year. Disney would not give us any further details on it for now, but said more information would come out as the release date approached. There are suggestions some of the classic songs from the animated movie will crop up in some form, but that may end up being a secondary issue for Chinese Mulan fans. As one Weibo user put it: “China’s Mulan is back.”