Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Reel Facts & Opinions: Cinematic Spring Catch-up

With the calendar moving from the slow months of Winter into the busier months of Spring (and a soft opening to the Summer Movie Season), Reel Speak has been busy posting more reviews than actual blogs…for as the weather gets better, as does the release schedule. With a short break in the action, this seemed like a good time to take a look at what has been dominating the world of film news in the past few weeks.

This Blogger was very pleased to begin April with a screening of Stanly Kubrick’s classic film 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY on the big screen, as part of Cinemark Theatres’ Classic Series. This was the first time this Blogger had seen the film in the theatre, and the result was stunning. The extra-large presentation made the vastness of space all the more beautiful and terrifying, and sequences such as The Dawn of Man and the trippy Infinite were breathtaking. Every hair on an ape could be counted, and the sinister red glow of HAL the super-computer practically burned off the screen. It was a magnificent experience at the theatre and this Blogger highly recommends any release as part of Cinemark’s Classic Series.

A galaxy of another kind stole all the headlines recently when Disney and LucasFilm unleashed the first teaser-trailer for the first STAR WARS spin-off film, sub-titled ROGUE ONE. This is the one of the most interesting projects Disney has taken on since acquiring the STAR WARS franchise, as it’s the first film which (a) does not have episode-number or focus on the Skywalker family, and (b) serves as a prequel to the STAR WARS film which started it all; A NEW HOPE from 1977. In A NEW HOPE, which lands as the 4th episode in the Skywalker Saga, the plot involves Rebel forces exploiting secret plans to the Empire’s super-weapon, the DEATH STAR. ROGUE ONE seeks to tell the story of how those plans were stolen, and looks to lead right up to the events of A NEW HOPE. Call it a prequel, or call it Episode 3.5, but either way fans were enthralled at the teaser, which brought back classic characters and locations that they fell in love with nearly 40 years ago. See the trailer HERE.

As if STAR WARS wasn’t making enough headlines, Disney then dropped another bomb when the announcement that the original STAR WARS trilogy would be returning to theatres at select locations as part of a roadshow program. Dubbed The Return of the Trilogy, the show will hit the road in August in 20 cities, with all three films presented in their 1997 re-release (Special Edition) format. The triple-feature will also have specially made video content in-between films, along with contests, and “other special surprises”. For this Blogger, this is a great event to look forward to. It’s not often the original films which changed an industry; the face of pop-culture, and the lives and imaginations of so many writers filmmakers and creative people…appears in the theatre. This Blogger has massive fond memories of the 1997 release with his friends, and looks forward to another day to be long-remembered.

Making fewer headlines than STAR WARS but still some decent waves was the release of the third trailer for Warner Bros. Pictures’ upcoming adaptation of the DC Comics villain-teamup known as SUICIDE SQUAD. The trailer, which is a high-energy blast set to the rocking tune Ballroom Blitz, seems to continue an apparent adjustment in WB’s marketing approach to the film. The first trailer was a grim snoozer, and was soon followed up by a more colorful and zippy trailer set to Queen’s classic rock-tune Bohemian Rhapsody. Considering the poor reviews and box office drop of WB’s BATMAN V. SUPERMAN, there seems to be some adjusting going on behind the scenes of SUICIDE SQUAD, and that should be a good thing. See the new trailer HERE. WB wasn’t quite done making headlines, as they quickly followed up with the announcement of Ben Affleck being named as director for the upcoming solo BATMAN film, as yet un-titled, due out in 2018 or 2019. Affleck, who has a solid directing career with GONE BABY GONE, THE TOWN, and the Oscar-winning ARGO, will also star as the caped crusader…and should be considered a welcome addition to the ongoing series of connected DC Comics films.

And not to be outdone, Disney and Marvel Studios released the first trailer for this year’s adaptation of DOCTOR  STRANGE, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role. As a character who uses magic and bending reality to fight, STRANGE looks to be a different kind of film from what we’ve seen from Marvel so far…as opposed to armored guys (and women) who are combat-ready. See the new trailer HERE.


DR. STRANGE arrives November 4th.

SUICIDE SQUAD arrives August 5th.

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