Showing posts with label star wars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label star wars. Show all posts

Monday, September 9, 2019

PODCAST! "Empire Strikes Back" (1980) - What is Love? #4 w/ Jamie and Ryan


Watched:  07/28/2019
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Oh, gosh...
Decade:  1980's

We turned to our wife of more than 19 years and realized we were heading into tricky territory as we asked "What is Love?" Fortunately, she came back with "Star Wars". Join Jamie and me as we use The Force and talk what was maybe the first great movie romance a lot of us clicked to: Leia, Han, a broken down ship and some mynochs to keep it interesting.



Music
Han Solo and The Princess (Love Theme) - John Williams, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back OST
Han & Leia Suite (Theme) - John Williams, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back OST


"What is Love?" Podcast Series



And, snowsuit Leia

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Peter Mayhew Has Merged With The Infinite

Peter Mayhew during filming of Star Wars

Peter Mayhew, actor who brought Chewbacca to life, has passed.

I was just over two years old when I saw Star Wars in the theater, and - like everyone - I loved Chewbacca.  How could you not?  A giant with a heart of gold, a loyal best pal, a co-pilot and a strong right hand - Chewie was the ideal buddy in a galaxy where you needed someone you could trust at your side, watching your back.

The scene I probably remember best from Star Wars as a kid was realizing how *tall* Chewbacca was when he was in shackles beside Han and Luke in the Death Star, and realizing the man inside that yak-hair suit was pretty much that tall, too.  I recall being about seven and measuring out how tall he would be with a ruler against my friend's bedroom wall while we stood on chairs (I have no idea how or where we got the figure for Chewbacca's height).

The other scene I recalled was Chewbacca and pretty much everything about the trash compactor.  Even as a wee kid, I found that bit terrific.  Ford and Mayhew had their schtick down pat.

In 2000 I saw Peter Mayhew for the first time in person - he was signing autographs in a longline at a Disney theme park where Jamie and I were honeymooning.  I didn't stand in line then, and I regretted it later.  Flash forward to about four years ago, and the same happened at a comic convention in San Antonio - and as I walked out, regretted I hadn't jumped in line. 

That I didn't wait is odd, in retrospect - when The Force Awakens was announced, I was possibly more excited to see Chewbacca and R2 back on the screen than General Leia or Han Solo - they would be the aged versions of themselves, but Chewie could be ageless, walking through these movies, one after another, no silver showing up in that fur. 

But, of course, the man who brought Chewbacca to life was now not a kid himself, and I was aware his large frame had aged hard - I'd seen him in a wheelchair, and gravity is a bear for us over-six-foot-humans.  I was not surprised when I heard he had a stand-in for all the walking scenes and was mostly the one playing the seated bits.  But I still figured Peter Mayhew would be online, a pleasantly upbeat and chirpy presence - that he'd put on a tux jacket for a premier somewhere in LA. and maybe I'd see him at some other con and get his signature this time.

I'm genuinely sorry he's gone, but I am grateful that he spent the last few decades as a genuine celebrity, knowing his face and name meant (almost) as much to Star Wars fans as the fellow he brought to life, and that he got to be a part of it all over again in both the Prequels and the latest trilogy. 

My understanding is that Peter Mayhew was an orderly in a hospital before being cast as Chewbacca in Star Wars.  It's funny how a single casting call and some luck can change everything. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Today Marks the 40th Anniversary of the release of the "Star Wars Holiday Special"

If I'm reading the internet correctly, today marks the 40th Anniversary of the release of The Star Wars Holiday Special.


We look back now at the Star Wars Holiday Special as the trainwreck that it, indeed, is.  But I also think it's worth mentioning what a @#$%ing miracle Star Wars itself was when it was released, and that these same actors in the same wardrobe were totally capable of making something absolutely, insanely awful.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Star Wars Watch: The Last Jedi



If I tend to do extra-sized posts for big, monumental movies that fit into the Venn Diagram of the kinds of movies which I'll cover these days - one of the things I liked quite a bit about Star Wars: The Last Jedi is that there's so much to talk about.  And, as happened with Blade Runner 2049 and a few other movies of late, I entered with zero expectations and found myself so fully immersed for the film's runtime, I know I didn't catch it all.  I am glad to say that this movie bears a second viewing, something I was ready to do at the very moment I finished my Tuesday night screening.

Like a lot of folks, I was pleased when the reviews came out and pulled a mid 90th percentile on RottenTomatoes. And, when the movie then pulled a 50-something percent in audience reviews on RT, I said to Max, "well, this probably means I'm going to love it."*  After all, you can kind of count on people with overly strong reactions to be the most vocal and actually take to the internets to voice their opinions (this is why Yelp! reviews are nearly useless).

And the movie is both a very, very conservative Star Wars movie and something that knows the series cannot just be retreads of the original trilogy in perpetuity.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Happy 80th Birthday to Billy Dee Williams


Happy 80th Birthday to the guy who gave me very specific ideas of what a cool guy was supposed to be like when I was about 5.

Mom never did let me wear that cape.

Just noticed - Finn has Lando's blaster in The Force Awakens.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Star Wars Re-Watch: Rogue One - a Star Wars Story (2016)



My last movie of the year I knew about well ahead of time.  Way back in September or so, SimonUK and I made a pledge to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) together, and by November realized that it wasn't going to be us hand-in-hand on opening night as SimonUK actually works at the Alamo Drafthouse, and would be taking orders and whatnot during the first week, more or less non-stop.  So, we made a date for New Year's Eve Day.

I knew I'd see this movie again in the theater unless it dropped to Episode I depths (the only Star Wars I've only seen through once is Revenge of the Sith).

I've already written this movie up, so I'll keep my comments to what I noticed on the second screening.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saying Good-Bye Double Bill: Star Wars (1977) and Singin' In The Rain (1952)


Before the year (and my break) ended, I wanted to watch a couple of films as we say good-bye to a pair of women we're all going to miss.

No write up.  It was actually great seeing them both in their pivotal roles again.  We'll have these films forever, even if we've lost the women who made them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher Merges With The Infinite



We are devastated to say that actor and author Carrie Fisher has passed.

Man.

I can't say I knew much about Fisher as a person - same things as everyone else.  The Hollywood pedigree, the issues with substance abuse, the biting wit, her dog, Gary.

It had been a very, very long time since I'd re-watched Star Wars, which I did when The Force Awakens was released, and it's amazing to see how darn good she was in that first movie, fluctuating accent and all.  I love all the main characters of Star Wars, no doubt, but if my personal collection of Star Wars stuff is any indication, and as longtime readers will probably have figured out, I'm a fan of Princess Leia first and foremost.  



And, of course, her life seemed to be on such an upswing of late.  She would make Star Wars Episodes VII, VIII and IX, she had a book out that seemed to be moving a lot of copies, and from what I could see on social media, there was a generation of young women who were calling her "Space Mom", properly idolizing the character she'd imbued with tremendous strength, and building her social media army as she embraced them back.

She's leaving behind her daughter, Billie Lourd, a talented actress from what I hear.  Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, famed actress of the 20th Century.  Gary, too, of course.  And all of us, a planet of people who wished her the best not just as Princess Leia, but as Carrie Fisher, too.

I'm shocked she went so young and so suddenly, and I'm genuinely very sad.  You'd think this year would have toughened me up a bit.  I'm going to miss her on the talk show circuits, freaking out the robo-hosts when she goes on a tangent or drops some truth that makes them uncomfortable, or curls up on one of their over-stuffed couches, her shoes on the floor.  I liked this era of Carrie Fisher and General Leia.

She'll always be royalty to me.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Wishing Carrie Fisher the Best


Like all of you, I saw the news about Carrie Fisher earlier today, and, yes, I also am heartbroken to hear she's ill.

I hope the love we *all* have for Ms. Fisher reaches her, can help her and speeds her recovery.  It can't hurt to have everyone on the face of the Earth pulling for you.

Here's to the lady who carries hope with her.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Star Wars Watch: Rogue One - a Star Wars Story (2016)



When those of us who grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy thought of what might happen in the long-awaited prequels, I strongly suspect most of us expected something a bit more like Rogue One (2016).   We'd only received glimpses of the pre-Luke Skywalker past, embedded in the story we'd heard about the Clone Wars, an Anakin Skywalker who was supposed to be some sort of edgy fighter pilot who becomes a Jedi...  I was expecting three movies that took place against the backdrop of The Clone Wars, which always sounded pretty rough, at least in my head.

I'd also observe - Much as the superhero comics we read grew up with us, I think maybe I was expecting a Star Wars that acknowledged the conflict from which Episode IV sprang and maybe cut a little deeper - maybe had a bit of a rough and tumble edge that Ewok-laden finales may have foregone.

So, I think it's true that the content and execution of the three Prequel films surprised a lot of us.

Rogue One, the second of these films directed by the generation that grew up on them, expands upon what we know, creating far less continuity difficulty than Lucas introduced in the Prequels, brings back familiar sights and sounds, while filling in gaps and giving us all new adventures and characters.  In this, I think you can say it succeeds with a solid A-, B+ (I spotted an issue or two, and my pal Matt brought one up I thought actually a pretty salient point).

That's not to say Rogue One hits all the right notes or was exactly what I was expecting (it wasn't).   It's interesting to see Disney seeking to expand upon the seemingly vast universe Star Wars always promised, but which we could only visit in 150 minute increments.  Here, they risk tonal differences, deliver only bits of familiar characters and try something a little uncomfortable, and, for the most part, they succeed.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Star Wars Watch: Return of the Jedi (1983)


For no particular reason, we watched Return of the Jedi this evening.

It seems dumb to write up a Star Wars movie, so I won't.  We were going to watch A New Hope, but decided to wait til after Rogue One.

But, man, Luke is the world's biggest back-seat driver.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Kenny Baker Merges With The Infinite


The Guardian is reporting that actor Kenny Baker has merged with The Infinite.

From a very young age, I was aware that there was a guy sitting in R2-D2 and driving him around, and like most everyone else, I suddenly got why the trashcan had so much personality.  There was an actual person putting actual thought into what was going on with that bucket of bolts.

Baker appeared in a lot of genre film, and seemed to be game for re-appearing as R2 in both film and in TV specials.

By the time The Phantom Menace rolled around, the technology was there to let Baker drive R2 around via remote control, and that continuity between the movies and R2's was a highlight of the prequels for me.  I mean, who doesn't like R2-D2?

We'll miss you, Mr. Baker.  You gave all of us a robot buddy.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

New Trailer for "Star Wars: Rogue One" Is HERE (and looks @#$%ing awesome)



AGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Still pretty jazzed about "Rogue One"



I forgot to post the new footage shared at the Star Wars Celebration. I've only really talked to JuanD about the footage so far.

But it's safe to say my enthusiasm remains for this offshoot first film.

While it's becoming an increasingly remote possibility that this movie is all X-Wing action, and, in fact, seems to have no X-Wing action, everything else about this makes me happy as a fan of the original Star Wars trilogy, the new trilogy and film-making.

The decision Kathleen Kennedy seems to have made to make these movies on real locations and with constructed sets rather than against green screens has given the actors the tools to imagine their scenarios and give the universe the lived in, semi-plausible concrete world of living beings that was always part of the Star Wars aesthetic.  While the culture is a mish-mash from planet to planet, seeing trees and buildings actually constructed - seeing Storm Troopers on a beach - it's all part of the scope and scale of war and war films.

While we use the words "star" and "wars" together, we sort of more think of this as a cosmic family drama/ buddy adevnture, but by pulling out and following this band of literal rebels, we're going to get another peek at the greater Star Wars Universe in filmic form, and see this as a war film.  To me, that's exciting as hell.




Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Happy Star Wars Day!



Oh, what a difference a year makes.

Last Star Wars Day, I kind of shrugged.  16 years or so of ambivalence regarding Star Wars had drained me of any enthusiasm for the movies.  At most, I think, I mustered a picture of Princess Leia.

On Monday, I hung a print of the above X-Wing image in my office at work.  That's how I roll.

But, hey, The Force Awakens brought me back in to the Star Wars fold, something I, frankly, thought impossible.  I figured that even if I liked it, it'd still feel like something of an echo of something else I used to like.  But, instead, I'm as excited about Star Wars now as I was in college.

So, here's to a Star Wars day I can feel is mine, too!  And to celebrate, here's some artwork promoting the movie!  And, heck, here's to Rogue One, coming soon!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

John Williams Appreciation Post: Rey's Theme from The Force Awakens (2015)



There were many things I enjoyed in the Star Wars prequels, but the parts could never quite match the whole of what I was hoping for.  Among the bits I enjoyed - Williams' scores stayed up to snuff.  But I figured when Disney picked up the franchise, he'd be retired.  Little did I know.

I was delighted that, in his 80's, he was willing to come back to Star Wars.  He's not a kid, and we should be quite grateful that he's not just alive, but still, if the Force Awakens score is any indication, still as good as ever.

I loved Rey's theme.

It's difficult to talk about, as I lack the vocabulary for discussing music properly, but it has a Williams-ian adventure hook, but it's also got some lighter bit in the woodwinds, "feminine", lighter, more "humble" than anything.  She's a - as the track is called on the soundtrack "Scavenger".  She's one of these desert people scraping by.  She doesn't even have an Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru and pleasantly domestic existence - but she also can't leave, even if she doesn't entirely understand why.  Luke sought the great expanse beyond his twin suns.  Rey wants someone to come to her, but, instead, she has to go.

The music goes from simple woodwinds to orchestral sweeps, just as she goes out upon her adventure.  It's a complex piece, to my ear, as Rey is perhaps a more complex character than Luke was before her - at least at the beginning of her story in comparison to his own in Episode IV.  There's a lot more going on there for her here in Episode VII, with 6 movies of history preceding her, and a history that's taken place between those films.

As Luke's theme was what we think of as "The Force" theme, Rey's theme merges with The Force, and the next part of the Star Wars saga begins in earnest.