Star Wars 4K Exists, According to Gareth Edwards

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards told Little White Lies that he watched a 4K Ultra HD version of Star Wars: A New Hope. Confirmation that Star Wars 4K exists is huge news for fans of the series. That said, there are several questions that fans will still want the answers to. Which version of the movie was converted to 4K? And when will Star Wars 4K be available? Before I dive into those questions, here are Edwards’ exact words.

We were in Lucasfilm in San Francisco with Industrial Light and Magic and John Knowles, our supervisor, he said that they’ve got a brand new 4K restoration print of A New Hope — it had literally just been finished.

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Not a Review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a fantastic movie, but for fans that grew up watching the original trilogy, it’s something more. Rogue One has a Star Wars feel, but with more mature and more evolved sensibilities. For those longtime Star Wars fans that were kids when they first saw the originals, it’s a stellar experience. As their tastes have developed and matured, moviemaking has developed and matured. While I recommend the movie to anyone that’s the least bit nerdy, it’s a must-see (and see again) for sci-fi nerds of a certain age.

Having said all that, I had some minor issues with the film. As great as Rogue One was, I can’t help but wonder if it would have been a better movie with the original writers and without the reshoots. There were also some minor details that were convenient to the plot, but bothered me as a rational human being. That means, of course, it’s time for some random thoughts on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Lock your S-foils in spoiler formation and let’s blow this thing (and go home?).

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Celebrate the Ridiculousness of Dwayne Johnson (Fast 8, Baywatch)

Former WWE Superstar and current sexiest man alive Dwayne Johnson recently appeared in a pair of new trailers. Both clips celebrate his status as the top leading man in Hollywood and the king of ludicrous movies. Both trailers are wonderfully absurd vertical slices of (what should be) wonderfully preposterous movies. Check ’em out below.

Let’s start with the first trailer for The Fate of the Furious, the movie formerly known as Fast 8. Like the previous Fast and the Furious movies, this one appears to have crazy race scenes, impossible action, a dangerous amount of testosterone, enjoyably bad acting, and overuse of the word “family.” The Fate of the Furious ups the ante by cleverly using a tank, a submarine, and a gorgeous South African woman (Charlize Theron).

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Spider-Man Homecoming Trailer One Feels Right

Marvel has unveiled a pair of official trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming — a US version and an international clip. After a stellar debut in Captain America: Civil War, everyone’s favorite superhero with the proportional strength and agility of a spider is set for an all-new, all-different (and all-rebooted) solo film. Although most fanboys were delighted by Tom Holland’s take on Spider-Man in Civil War, the character has an uneven cinematic history, which made some fans temper their excitement with caution. If the trailers (embedded below for your convenience) are any indication, that caution is unnecessary. The Spider-Man: Homecoming trailers just feels right.

Naturally, it’s time for some random thoughts on the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailers using the RPadTV binary system. Let’s do this!

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New Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Teaser Trailer

The latest teaser trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (embedded below) is glorious. It has elements of what people loved about the original movie, but with several new twists. Since we’re still in the “teaser trailer” stage, you don’t have to worry about spoilers or clips that give away too much (the latter of which is a concern of several RPadholics). The new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a fun video that doesn’t give away the farm. Now it’s time for some random thoughts on teaser trailer two!

Batista Brings It: It pains me to say it, but Dave Batista shines in this clip as Drax the Destroyer. As much as I hated his WWE career, he’s been utterly delightful in Guardians of the Galaxy. From cursing the skies to his hilarious comedic bit at the end, Batista was my favorite part of the new teaser trailer. Considering how much I disliked him as pro-wrestler, I never imagined Batista being my favorite part of anything. Well done, Sir.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Teaser Trailer

After a supremely successful cinematic debut, the Guardians of the Galaxy will return to the big screen next year. Slated for a May 5, 2017 release date, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 brings the lovable intergalactic rogues back together for an all-new adventure. As you can see from the trailer below, it looks like Peter Quill’s crew will be teaming up with some old friends (frenemies?) this time around. I’m super-psyched for the Guardians sequel and it’s most definitely on my must-watch list for next year. For those of you that aren’t averse to trailers, kindly check out the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 teaser trailer and let me know what you think (please!).

Harry Potter Films Coming to IMAX October 13

The Harry Potter films are coming to an IMAX theater near you! It’s true, my dear wizards and witches. Warner Bros. and IMAX have announced that all eight Harry Potter movies will be getting a limited release. While these fine movies are great for getting into the Halloween spirit, the promotion is obviously an attempt to drum up interest for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

To be completely honest (as opposed to all those stories where I’ve partially lied to you), I’m only semi-interested in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I am super-interested in seeing some of the original Harry Potter movies on the big screen. The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire are almost definitely the first ones I’ll see. After that…I think I’m good marathoning the rest at home in 1080p. Seeing my two favorite Harry Potter films in IMAX is going to be a wonderful treat (even though Las Vegas only has those bullsh*t Lie-MAX screens and not the full-on IMAX experience).

Out of curiosity, what are your favorite Harry Potter movies? Please leave your favorites and why you chose them in the comments section. As for me, The Goblet of Fire was what finally drew me into the Harry Potter universe (yeah, I was totally LTTP). The Prisoner of Azkaban is the best all-around film in the series. From The Half-Blood Prince on, I didn’t enjoy the movies as much. The directing wasn’t as good and the music got worse.

(And no, my love for The Prisoner of Azkaban has nothing at all to do with the movie making me realize that Emma Watson was going to grow up to become a total hottie — nothing at all!) Now don’t make me cast “stupify” on you. Fire away in the comments section (please!).

Emma Watson Bling Ring

Source

Jeff Hilbert Interview (DICE Europe 2016)

It was fun chatting with Jeff Hilbert, founder and CEO of Starting Point. One of the oldest agents and managers in the videogame business (in terms of experience, not chronologically), Jeff Hilbert was also the founder of Digital Development Management (DDM). Think of him as the Ari Gold of videogame agents…but with less tantrums and profanity. At DICE Europe 2016, Jeff Hilbert will be talking about “Realistic Opportunities in AR/VR.” In addition to touching on that subject, he spoke to me about traditional movie and television agents entering the videogame business. My favorite part of the conversation was when he spoke about aspects of Hollywood he’d like to see come to games. Here’s an excerpt from my conversation with Jeff Hilbert.

I’m indifferent to Hollywood talent coming into games, to be honest with you. I don’t really see any individual that makes me care whether they make a game or don’t make a game. I just don’t care.

Now, there are some IPs I’d love to see in gaming. I love the fact that Robotech is being discussed. I think that would be awesome! I love that Marvel, DC, and Tolkien have been coming in. That’s been spectacular! I don’t see Kim Kardashian as an individual because of the way that she’s managed herself. She’s done a brilliant job managing herself as a brand and that’s great to have in gaming.

So, I’m not really into individuals coming in as much as I am into the brands. I love when new brands are introduced into the gaming industry, because they bring in new people that didn’t realize that they love playing games.

Additionally, he mentioned some videogame properties he’d like to see get a second chance in movies and television. He also had some great stories of the attitudes some Hollwood talent had when entering the gaming world.

Kindly check out my full conversation with Jeff Hilbert when you have a moment.

Full Interview

Suicide Squad: Grading the Cast

Suicide Squad is Warner Bros.’ latest attempt at breathing life into its DC Comics cinematic universe. The movie has been getting a lot of attention, and most of it isn’t the kind the studio wants. Several friends and colleagues that I respect hated the movie. I didn’t think it was that bad. It certainly wasn’t a great superhero movie, but I’d watch it again on cable. Compared to this year’s superhero movies, I found it much better than Batman v Superman (aka Murderous Batman vs. Mopey-Ass Superman), but not nearly as good as Deadpool or Captain America: Civil War.

Having said that, I don’t feel like writing a proper movie review. Instead, I’m going to rate the Suicide Squad team members (as well as the puppet master and villains) individually. Let’s do this!

[Activate your spoiler shields, please.]

Suicide Squad Deadshot Harley Quinn
Suicide Squad: Deadshot and Harley Quinn

Deadshot (Will Smith) F: For me, Will Smith’s portrayal of Deadshot was the worst part of Suicide Squad. I’m a big fan of the character — both from the Suicide Squad and the Secret Six books. Smith’s performance was incredibly lazy and uninspired. He acted like Will Smith instead of Floyd Lawton. The guy that played Deadshot on Arrow did a much better job with the character. It’s amazing that a huge Hollywood star was considerably outperformed by a television actor on a CW show — a frickin’ CW show!

Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) B+: Robbie is unbelievably sexy and gets an extra half-grade for that. Heterosexual male bias aside, she was one of the best parts of Suicide Squad. She did a fine job at portraying Harley as equal parts keenly intelligent and mentally unstable. While the accent was similar to the one she used in The Wolf of Wall Street, it totally worked for the character. I appreciated how she turned the severity of the accent up and down situationally throughout the movie. The biggest problem I had with her character had nothing to do with the actress, but how she was written and directed. Super Harley — the one that deftly dispatched supernatural beings with her fists and a baseball bat — threw me for a loop. When the hell did Harley become psychotic Wonder Woman?!?

Suicide Squad Amanda Waller
Suicide Squad Amanda Waller

Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) A: Suicide Squad’s government puppet master was outstanding. Davis completely owned this role, serving up a Waller that was razor sharp, manipulative, and terrifying. She left you with a feeling of, “You do not want to f*ck with this woman.” From the comfort of the other side of the screen, it was fun enjoying her cold and calculating portrayal. Waller is one of my favorite characters in the DCU and I was thrilled that David brought her to life so perfectly.

The Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) B-: Again, my heterosexual maleness requires me to give an extra half-grade boost to Miss Delevingne for being astonishingly beautiful. She also gets another half-grade for coming from a wealthy family. In my dreams, Cara Delevingne makes me a kept man. In Suicide Squad, she was a little bit silly. She played the victim, June Moon, well enough. As the Enchantress, the director had her doing some ridiculous things. While I was mostly enjoying watching her gyrate like a stripper as she was casting spells, there was a point where I thought, “Come on man. You’re just exploiting her hotness.” Still, she’s gorgeous, she’s rich, and she has incredible eyebrows; it’s tough for me to criticize anything she does. #truth

Suicide Squad Joker
Suicide Squad Joker

The Joker (Jared Leto) B+: Several of my friends have bashed Leto’s performance as the Joker, but I loved it. He gave the Clown Prince of Crime a modern and edgy feel. I found Leto’s Joker much scarier and more realistic than Ledger’s Joker. I’d love to see more of him in a proper Batman movie.

Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) C: I’m actually not sure what to do with this grade. I am of the opinion that Jai Courtney sucks and has the best management team in Hollywood. I’m baffled that he gets so many big roles with such little talent. My friend Solomon pointed out that Captain Boomerang sucks in the comics (many writers have portrayed Boomer as a joke among DC villains). From that perspective, hiring an actor that sucks to play a villain that sucks could be considered inspired casting. However, I’m certain that the studio didn’t think that deeply. Courtney was surprisingly acceptable in this limited role, which is probably his best “acting” to date.

Suicide Squad Rick Flag
Suicide Squad Rick Flag

Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) B: I’ve never seen this actor before, but left the movie impressed by his performance. He did a good job of playing the straight-laced protagonist surrounded by insane people. His role might of been the trickiest of all, because Suicide Squad is all about letting the villains shine. He had his moments when appropriate, but otherwise let the baddies do their thing.

On a side note, Kinnaman kind of looks like WWE Edge. Whenever Flag popped up onscreen I thought, “You think you know me.”

Katana (Karen Fukuhara) D+: As a Katana fan, this performance was disappointing. She added nothing to Suicide Squad. Take out all of her scenes and the movie is pretty much the same. You’re not given a reason to care about Katana, so when she had her big crying scene, it felt empty. She added nothing of consequence to the movie, which is a shame because Tatsu is a cool character. Similar to movie Deadshot, movie Katana is inferior to CW Arrow Katana.

Diablo (Jay Hernandez) C+: I liked this character up until the end of the movie. He was fun as the super-powerful but reluctant villain enlisted to do good. I’m not sure how, but hours (in movie time) of doing nothing and whining caused him to think of the other Suicide Squad members as family. Uh…okay. Expectedly, he got all sentimental and sacrificial, but his face turn lacked weight.

Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) C-: The character looked really cool, so he gets an extra half-grade on behalf of the makeup team. However, he was almost as useless as Katana. He was instrumental in a scene that required swimming…and that’s about it.

Slipknot (Adam Beach) Incomplete: I love that the movie played on Slipknot’s mishap with the implants from the comics (but in a much deadlier way), with Captain Boomerang as the impetus. In the immortal words of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, “Bwahahahahahaha!!!”

Random Thoughts on Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War is the best Avengers movie Marvel Studios has made. That was an easy conclusion to arrive to. It’s quite possibly the best or, at the very least, one of the three best movies from the studio. After seeing the movie last night, that seemed like a reasonable opinion, but I wanted to sleep on it in order to give my movierection (a medical term) a chance to settle down. After reflecting a bit on Captain America: Civil War, I can totally understand the argument that it’s the best Marvel Studios film to date and also accept the opinion that it’s not. Let’s keep the examination going, with the RPadTV binary not-a-review of Captain America: Civil War.

[Turn on your spoiler shields!]

It’s An Avengers Movie, Not a Cap Movie (Good): Although he’s the titular character in Captain America: Civil War, this is very much an ensemble movie. Sure, Cap and Iron Man are at the forefront, but many characters get a chance to shine. Some help drive the plot forward (The Winter Soldier, Black Panther), while others are comedic scene stealers (Ant-Man, Spider-Man). Whatever the case may be, this is definitely an Avengers film…and the best one ever, at that.

Scarlet Witch Still Sucks (Bad): I’ve been high on Elizabeth Olsen for years, but was puzzled by her portrayal of the Scarlet Witch in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Once you get past her hotness, I’m not sure what she does for the movie. Speaking with a bad accent and doing funny things with her fingers doesn’t add much to the film. That said, these are very minor criticisms of Captain America: Civil War. That’s how good the movie is — you have to actively look for flaws and it’s difficult to find anything significant.

Tony Stark is a Dick (Good): Similar to his heel turn in the Civil War comics, Iron Man is pretty much a dick in the movie. His emotions are manipulated (perhaps too easily), leading to irrational thoughts and actions. I suppose your political leanings come into play on whether you’re #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan, but to me, Tony is clearly the villain in Captain America: Civil War.

Captain America Civil War
Avengers, Disassemble!

Wonderfully Diverse Comedy (Good): I loved the humor in this movie. It’s frequent and diverse, without getting in the way of a serious conflict. Ant-Man’s bits were wonderful. Spider-Man will win the hearts of millions. I even enjoyed the deadpan rapport between Falcon and Winter Soldier. For me, this is what separates Captain America: Civil War from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Many cite the latter as Marvel Studios’ best, but I prefer Civil War. I won’t argue with anyone that thinks The Winter Soldier is Better, because that’s an understandable opinion, but I’ll watch Civil War exponentially more in the future, simply because the comedy balances the drama. Also, the jokes about Marisa Tomei’s age and beauty were excellent…though I’m still not sure the world is ready for Hot Aunt May.

Lack of Anger Management (Bad): While I understand that they needed to be Cap’s antagonists, it was somewhat disappointing to see Iron Man and Black Panther suffer from ridiculous mad-ons. The former is supposed to be one of the smartest people in the world, while the latter is supposed to be one of the noblest Avengers. For most of the movie, both gave into their anger and went full Sith. Much of the conflict would have been avoided if everyone — those two in particular — calmed down and applied some rational thought to the situation. Of course, the movie would have been much shorter….

The New Guys (Good): Although he was irrationally angry for much of the film, Black Panther was pretty frickin’ cool. His fight scenes were dynamic and his costume looked great. Ant-Man (new in The Avengers movie sense) was pretty awesome on several levels. I mentioned his comedic bits before, but I love the way the movies portray his shrinking powers and it was brilliant to see him as Giant Man for a bit. Spider-Man lived up to his comic-book adjectives — amazing and spectacular. Spidey’s CG was fantastic and it was fun having an innocent character around for a heavy conflict.

You're either #TeamCap or a communist traitor
You’re either #TeamCap or a communist traitor

Second Comings (Good): Winter Soldier and Falcon have grown into their characters nicely. I’m a huge mark for the comics version of Winter Soldier and Bucky Cap. Sebastian Stan was very good in that role. Falcon, who’s pretty lame in the comics, was great in the movie. Anthony Mackie did an admirable job as the Avenger’s birdman. His new tech made him look cool and he brought a confidence to the role that makes him much more than Captain America’s token African-American friend. That said, I will always see him as Papa Doc from 8-Mile. It would have been awesome if the Civil War conflict came down to a freestyle rap battle between Falcon and Vision.

Wanton Violence (Good): In previous Avengers movies, the good guys spent most of their time beating up aliens and robots. You never really felt the weight of the violence. Seeing Captain America and Iron Man bloodied, bruised, and battered hit much closer to home. The violence was borderline shocking, especially because former friends and allies were truly taking it to each other.

Best Action Ever (Good): Marvel Studios has really upped the ante on its action sequences. Whether it’s visceral melee combat, thrilling chase scenes, or fanboy-squeal inducing super-power sequences, Captain America: Civil War has raised the bar for Marvel action. I enjoyed every bit of action in the movie and will certainly pay to see it again.

Masterful Pacing (Good): I was shocked to see that the runtime of Captain America: Civil War is 146 minutes. The directors and writers did an incredible job of weaving action and comedy into a dramatic conflict, allowing the film to move at a zippy pace. While I loved Captain America: The Winter Soldier, that movie feels like it’s 136 minutes.

Captain America Civil War Spider-Man
Spidey-Cap?

Bottom Line: As I was leaving the movie, I said to my excellent friend Paul, “It’s hard to think of anything wrong with that movie.” While I understand that abandoning logic was necessary for the hero vs. hero conflict, the worst thing I can say about Captain America: Civil War is that Scarlet Witch’s accent and finger motions were silly. For me, it’s definitely in my top three Marvel Studios films, along with Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There’s a good chance that it’ll end up being my favorite (I need to see it a few more times). Its combination of amazing action, excellent comedy, and a weighty conflict completely worked for me.

For another take on Captain America: Civil War, check out this PaulSemel.com review.