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Rogue One and News Around the Net! UPDATED with Doctor Strange Trailer!

I suspect by now you’ve all watched the first teaser trailer for Rogue One, perhaps (like me!) several times:

That’s a pretty terrific trailer.  Not as instantly iconic as any of the magnificent trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but still pretty great.  It’s a far more substantial look at the movie than I had expected for a first teaser trailer.

My main question is: why the heck isn’t this film called Star Wars: Rogue One?  Because Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a heck of a mouthful.  I guess we’re going to be saddled with this “A Star Wars Story” business for all of the non-official-“Episode” spin-off Star Wars films to come.  I think that’s a big mistake.  Just call all of these films Star Wars: Whatever You Want Your Title To Be.  Isn’t that much more simple and direct?

As for the peek at the content of the film itself: well, I am on-record as hating prequels, but while I am absolutely DREADING the in-the-works “young Han Solo” movie, I am sort of taken with the idea of telling the story of the secret mission to steal the Death Star plans that must have happened right before the events of the first Star Wars.  That’s a pretty big piece of Star Wars back-story about which we know nothing at all, and it seems like a cool idea for a movie.

And while we all know that you can’t judge a film by its trailer, this first trailer is pretty terrific.  I love that, like The Force Awakens, this Star Wars film seems to be anchored by a strong female character in the lead.  I really enjoyed Felicity Jones’ work in Like Crazy, and she looks terrific here in the lead as Jyn Erso (I had to look that up on-line).  I like the Seven Samurai type feel to the film, of a motley crew of criminals and scum gathered together for a mission.  (It’s interesting that Warner Brothers’ next big DC Universe movie, Suicide Squad, is also based on a similar premise.  I am curious to see how similar those two films wind up being.)

It’s pretty cool to see those shots of Star Destroyers and the Death Star being assembled.  I’ve heard rumors that Darth Vader will be appearing in this film (which would be awesome if done right), but so far they have kept him hidden in this trailer.  (There is a shot of a figure in black kneeling before a pillar of light which resembles how Vader would communicate with the Emperor but that figure doesn’t look like Vader to me.)

I’m eager to learn more about the many new characters glimpsed in this trailer, and also the many characters who aren’t.  (Apparently the great Alan Tudyk is playing a motion-capture character, perhaps a droid, in the film.)  I am super-curious to learn more about Ben Mendelsohn’s character (he’s the Imperial dressed in white).  I love his look.

OK, I am hooked, bring on this next Star Wars film!!

In other news…

I adored the recent documentary Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, about the rise and fall of The National Lampoon, and so I could not be more excited that the great David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) is directing a film about the Lampoon’s co-founder Doug Kenney called A Futile and Stupid Gesture.  That’s a great title, and the casting announcements have been spectacular:  Will Forte as Doug Kenney.  Joel McHale as Chevy Chase.  Jon Daly (Freaks and Geeks) as Bill Murray and Rick Glassman as Harold Ramis.  Seth Green as Christopher Guest.  This film sounds amazing, and is really hitting my comedy-nerd sweet spot.  Please don’t let me down, Mr. Wain!!

I was terribly disappointed by the last James Bond film, Spectre.  One of the film’s many failures was the terrible opening song (far too slow) and bizarre title sequence.  Is it any better with Radiohead’s original, rejected title song?  You be the judge!

Here’s a new trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:

That looks like fun.  I have no real attachment to the Harry Potter universe but I enjoyed most of the films and I’m more than happy for a return visit to this universe.

Here’s a new trailer for Suicide Squad:

I’m not sure what to make of this film.  I don’t have the same attachment to these B and C-level DC Universe characters that I do to all sorts of minor characters in the Marvel Universe.  I respect the heck out of David Ayer and his team for taking some big wild choices with the look of this film and these characters, even if I find some of these designs (especially Harley and the Joker) to be not quite my cup of tea (at least from the short glimpses I have seen, I’ll reserve judgment until I have seen the finished film).  I like that the trailer opens with a direct reference to Superman.  Only a few years ago that never would have happened; I love how studios have now embraced the idea of a shared universe for these movies.  Speaking of which, it’s interesting that we see Batman in this trailer; I am curious as to whether Ben Affleck has a sizable part to play in this story or if it’s just a tiny cameo.  I was disappointed in Batman v Superman but I’d love for this next DC film to be good.

Speaking of my love for Marvel obscurity, I am head over heals for this new Dr. Strange poster, highlighting the doc’s iconic skylight window from the comics.  Glorious.

UPDATE!  A full trailer for Doctor Strange just launched!  Check it out:

Holy cow I LOVE that.  What a spectacular cast.  Can’t wait for this.

I’m bummed but not terribly surprised that Louis C.K. claims to be substantially in debt from making his recent web-series, Horace and Pete.  Personally I am eager to see it but haven’t yet gotten to it.  (There is so much great TV to be watched these days!!)  I paid for and downloaded the first episode but haven’t seen it yet.  I hope to get to this soon, I am intrigued by what Mr. C.K. has created.  I also hope he’s eventually able to make his money back, as it’s to the benefit of all that talented creators be able to go their own way and create their own projects without interference from studios or other backers.  It’s very cool what Louis C.K. has been doing, creating the stuff he wants to create and selling it directly to consumers.  I hope this model works for him and for others.  You can watch Horace and Pete by clicking here.

Speaking of great TV: They’re making a third season of Broadchurch?  That’s great.  I really need to catch up and watch seasons one and two.  This is a show I’ve been meaning to get to for quite a while.

I will leave you with this tantalizing trailer for Game of Thrones season six:

HURRY UP AND GET HERE ALREADY, GAME OF THRONES SEASON SIX!!!  I can’t take this anticipation!!!

‘Bye for now everyone!  Hope to see you back here soon.

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