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News Around the Net

So, I assume by now you’ve all seen this:

Who knows whether the final film will be good, but that trailer is spectacular.  There is some truly gorgeous imagery (like everyone else, I went crazy for that overhead shot of the enormous toppled statue of a Jedi Knight), which “feels” like Star Wars while also being new and different than what has come before.  That is the balance this film needs to strike.  As with The Force Awakens, this film’s whole conception is steeped in nostalgia (it’s a prequel, thus allowing us to get more of what we all loved from the original Star Wars: Darth Vader, the Death Star, classic Storm troopers, Tie Fighters and X-Wings, etc.), but for the movie to work it can’t just feel like a retread of movies we’ve already seen and loved (this was the major weakness of the third act of The Force Awakens) but like a new story worth telling.  This trailer certainly strikes that balance, hopefully the actual film will as well.

By the way, this trailer’s suggestion that Mads Mikkelson’s character helps create the Death Star in order to protect his daughter (who will grown up to be the film’s main character, played by Felicity Jones), it got me thinking: was the fatal flaw of the original Death Star — that exhaust port that allowed the rebels to blow the whole thing up with just two proton torpedoes — not an accident?  Could that weakness have been built into the Death Star on purpose??  I wonder if that is going to be what Rogue One winds up suggesting!  That would be a wild recontextualization of the original Star Wars…!!

I’m enjoying Netflix’s latest Marvel show Luke Cage (full review coming soon… I still have five more episodes to go…) and while I wish Netflix would hurry up and get Jessica Jones season two in production (click here for my review of the terrific first season), I’m decently excited for their next Marvel show, Iron Fist.  Here is the latest teaser, which is the most substantial look we’ve yet gotten at this show which is coming in March:

We’re only a few days away from Netflix’s resurrection of Black Mirror (click here for my review of the first two short but mind-blowing British seasons), and this trailer suggests that the new episodes will be just as amazing and nightmare-inducing as I had hoped.  I cannot frigging wait for this:

Oh!  And!  Looks like there will also be a FOURTH season of Black Mirror from Netflix!  Praise Jebus!

Here is a very, very brief tease for the next Planet of the Apes film:

I absolutely loved the last Apes film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (click here for my review), so I am really excited for this coming sequel.  (By the way, here’s a great post from BirthMoviesDeath.com from back in 2014, listing five hopes for the next Apes film, and I agree with all five.)

I sort of love this brief backwards trailer for Doctor Strange I can’t wait for this film.

The last X-Men movie disappointed (click here for my review of X-Men: Apocalypse) but I still have some hope for the upcoming third Wolverine solo film (which will purportedly be Hugh Jackson’s final go-round as the character).  I like this new poster and the newly announced title of Logan, even though I wish they had gone with Old Man Logan, since the film will reportedly be a loose adaptation of that wonderful story-line by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven.  But there’s something poetic about the progression of titles of the three Wolverine solo films, from X-Men Origins: Wolverine (still a horrible title) to Wolverine to Logan.  The three titles sort of convey the three stages in the character’s life.  I’m also thrilled that Patrick Stewart will be in the film, too, once again playing Professor X, albeit now a very elderly version of the character.  Boy, I’d love for this film to be good.  We’ll see.

This past weekend The Simpsons aired its SIX-HUNDREDTH EPISODE!!!  Holy cow.  That is extraordinary.  It’s been a while since I have watched this show regularly, but I still DVR it every week and when I tune in I almost always enjoy it.  In honor of The Simpsons’ latest incredible milestone, here’s a pretty solid list of the show’s 25 best episodesThis is also a solid list of the show’s 28 best episodes from 28 seasons (picking a gem from every one of the show’s 28 seasons).  If you’re looking to loose more time, then from back in 2014, here is a magnificent series of posts from Hitfix.com listing the best Simpsons episodes (and explaining why they’re great) from FXX’s crazy multi-day marathon of every episode of the show.  (I couldn’t find an easy link containing all of the posts, but just change “day -1” in the url to “day-2” and “day-3” etc. to get to the rest of the posts.)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is now, apparently, the first film in a planned FIVE-FILM series??  Okay then!

I’ll admit it, I stuck with Smallville for all ten seasons.  I’m not sure I can defend that action.  But if I had to try, I’d say that back in the day I was desperate for halfway decent Superhero fun on TV or movie screens, and while Smallville was often terrible it was also often decent and sometimes, sometimes, actually pretty great.  (The season two episode “Rosetta”, featuring a guest appearance by former Superman Christopher Reeve — as well as a surprise appearance of John William’s classic Superman: The Movie score — is still fantastic.)  This lengthy article on the series, crafted as a primer on the show in honor of it’s now being available on Hulu, really made me smile.  It’s a wonderful love-letter to the show.  Nice work, Meredith Borders.  (If you’re interested, here are my thoughts on the show after the series finale aired.)

So… I guess this is really happening?  The long-rumored Blade Runner sequel is actually getting made and it’ll be called Blade Runner 2049.  I dunno, look, of course I’m curious and no doubt I will go see this film, but it just seems like a bad idea.  Blade Runner is its own bizarre and imperfectly perfect thing.  It’s hard for me to imagine any scenario in which a sequel could be any good…

In other bad news… I wrote recently about how frustrating it was that the companies responsible for releasing Star Wars and Star Trek on home media don’t seem to be treating these beloved, money-making franchises with much respect.  Now comes news of two new middle fingers to geeky fandom.  Have you read about this outrageous EIGHT-HUNDRED DOLLAR new collected edition of the Lord of the Rings films???  Peter Jackson has long spoken of his plans to create a mega-ultimate editions of the LOTR films, suggesting that he has lots of additional special features (including a wealth of never-before-seen deleted scenes from all the films).  Apparently, Peter Jackson proposed that the time had finally arrived to release this newly updated collected addition, suggesting a new documentary for EACH ONE of the LOTR films.  Oh man that would have been amazing.  But apparently, the studio balked, not wanting to invest the time or money.  Instead, they released this outrageous scheme to bilk the fans with this super-expensive new set with absolutely ZERO new content.  Bill Hunt at The Digital Bits gives more detail on the whole sorry saga.  Look, I don’t mind the existence of this $800 stupid super-set, I have a brain and I can just choose not to buy it.  But what hurts is the thought that the long-planned ultimate collected edition of the LOTR films will never see the light of day.  Meanwhile, Trek fans took another hit with the revelation that, just as Paramount did with Into Darkness, they are splitting up all of the behind-the-scenes documentaries for Star Trek Beyond among a variety of retail-specific special versions of the blu-ray.  So it’s impossible for a Trek fan to get all the behind-the-scenes content unless you’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars on five or six different versions of the blu-ray set being sold at places like Target, Amazon, Wal-Mart, itunes, etc.  Again, the great Bill Hunt has all the sorry details.  It’s a huge insult to all the fans who would like to be able to enjoy all of this behind-the-scenes content.  Sigh.

OK, let’s end on a happier tone: will more Starks be reuniting when Game of Thrones season seven arrives??  I am counting the days…

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