Category Archives: Featured

iEditorial | Captain America CHRIS EVANS To Hang Up His Shield

With Captain America ready to lead the Avengers in battle against the greatest threat they’ve ever faced, will one of the mightiest fall in the final moments of the Infinity War?

<span class=“dropcap”>A</span>mong the many dangling participles fans can expect from the much anticipated Avengers: Infinity War which is coming to theaters earlier than anticipated, is which one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes may not survive the onslaught brought upon them by the arrival of the Titan known as Thanos (motion captured by John Brolin). A decade in the making the latest installment in the Marvel Studios franchise will be unprecedented in that it will unite on screen the core cast of all the Marvel films characters for the two-part epic.

10 years in the making, the Marvel Cinematic Universe took off with the introduction of Robert Downey, Jr. starring in Iron Man and continued with an unlikely cameo appearance in The Incredible Hulk (2008) which then starred Edward Norton in the titular role. The cinematic continuity continued with Thor but it wasn’t until the introduction of Chris Evans as the Star-Spangled Sentinel in Captain America: The First Avenger that everything started to take shape. Suddenly a “team movie” appeared very realistic and quickly came together.

Evans may be the first casualty of the Avengers: Infinity War.

The result was Marvel’s The Avengers which brought together all the established leading players (and recast Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk); a sequel followed-up and several more solo films, but can anyone imagine the franchise continuing without Chris Evans as Captain America? That’s what reports will have us speculate — the fates of several Avengers have already been hinted at hanging in the balance — but the actor who has portrayed not only the First Avenger, but previously entered into the Marvel Universe as a member of the Fantastic Four may be calling it quits.

The actor has reported that after the next Avengers film, that is the one after Infinity War he will be leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe for good. Evans has been quoted as suggesting he’d rather “get off the train,” rather than “before they push you off.” Evans won’t be the only star that has been hinted at not returning after the climatic arc ends. Robert Downey, Jr. apparently has also hinted that this may be his last turn as the Armored Avenger Iron Man. Downey, Jr. unlike Evans has previously talked about his exit, even teased after Captain America: Civil War he’d retire.

Though nothing has yet been set in stone, the stars that lead off the spin-offs features are becoming increasingly more expensive even for a blockbuster budget, and with the new kids on the block like Black Panther raising the stakes, perhaps the timing might be perfect to bring in some new blood and give the original roster of Avengers some time off to enjoy the riches of their reward, or enter into the afterlife as true heroes! Whatever fate befalls our favorite Avengers in Infinity War it will no doubt alter the fabric of the summer blockbuster season.

The countdown has begun! Avengers: Infinity War makes planetfall on April 27.

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Poster Art Reveals an “Infinity” of AVENGERS

Fans anxiously await the arrival of AVENGERS: Infinity War and with these newest theatrical posters just released, the enormity of this blockbuster is beginning to assemble!

When the announcement was made that Avengers: Infinity War was getting moved up and its release date would be an internationally simultaneous event on April 27 to prevent the blog-world from delivering spoilers, fans sighed in relief, no longer concerned that anyone, anywhere would spoil the most anticipated blockbuster of the season. After a decade Infinity War is the culmination of nearly 20 Marvel Films, and will feature one of the largest casts ever!

Iron Man teams up with Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.

A cast so big in fact, it’s taken five distinct movie posters to get every Avenger, Guardian, web-slinger, panther and sorcerer supreme into the action! Every big screen Marvel character is represented and will be part of the story narrative of this two-part epic that promises to end this particular “phase” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and take audiences into the next 10 years. It’s no small feat for sure, as the film will follow the arrival of Thanos in search of the Infinity Stones!

Many are already speculating just how much the cinematic universe will be changed; though some of the characters like Doctor Strange and Spider-Man are largely new initiates to the Marvel Films universe, and the Black Panther has only just been featured in his first solo film, Infinity War will begin right where Captain America: Civil War ended with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in a state of disarray and Thor lost in space!

The countdown has begun! Avengers: Infinity War makes planetfall on April 27.

UnBoxing | Eaglemoss Collections STAR TREK Starships “Concept Ships” Are Here!

The farthest reaches of the Final Frontier continue to grow as Eaglemoss Collections introduces some very rare starship designs to the expanding line of models in the Official STAR TREK Starships Collection.

Eaglemoss Collections continues to prove a leading retailer of Star Trek collectibles and memorabilia, accelerating their lines of starship models to include vessels from the new series Star Trek: Discovery while ramping up their hero ships to the “XL Editions” which feature larger, more detailed releases of the popular vessels appearing throughout the Star Trek franchise. The initial product line of Official Starships Collection has passed the hundred mark, and has included several “special issue” variations including ships from the 1990 “reboot” feature films.

Recently the modelers have become far more ambition and have given fans the first-ever reproductions of starships that have been created outside of the cinematic canon of the series, including the USS Titan the ship captained by Will Riker in the popular line of novels, and the USS Aventine another starship that has itself become legendary inside of the publication of books. Far more enticing the recent additions of “concept ships” vessels that were imagined as part of the Star Trek timeline or introduced as potential designs have been introduced as models.

Among these new additions Andrew Probert’s initial design for the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-C. The ship only made one appearance in the fan-favorite episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise” which chronicled its significant final moments, but Probert, who was also instrumental in the design of The Next Generation’s NCC-1701-D, had very ambitious ideas for the predecessor to the series’ star vessel. The Ambassador-class was always imagined as a hybrid between an Excelsior-class and the inevitable Galaxy-class, and even appeared on the wall in the conference room.

Andrew Probert’s original concept art for the Ambassador-class Enterprise NCC-1701-D.

Probert’s “Concept Design” now a beautifully detailed model that can be purchased as a “Special Edition” from Eaglemoss is much more elegant and fluid than the final model that was built to appear in the episode. The Enterprise-C that meets its fate on camera was much more practically constructed and didn’t divert attention from the show’s star — the Enterprise-D. Probert’s design for the very naturally sets in with the evolution of the Federation flagship and with its longer nacelles (reminiscent of the Excelsior) makes for a formidable starship.

The model itself is nearly 5” inches in length and excellently detailed and comes with a Special Edition magazine that provides some very unique CGI perspectives of what this Enterprise might have looked like on screen.

Eaglemoss Collections Enterprise-C “Concept” model.
Eaglemoss Collections Enterprise “Phase II” Concept model.

Phase Not “2” Be

Before Star Trek The Motion Picture debuted in theaters, the studios original intention was to bring Star Trek back to television. “Phase II” has it had been entitled would reunite Kirk and his crew with the exception of a particular Vulcan science officer, and would also feature a slightly modified and more-streamlined USS Enterprise. Matt Jeffries the mastermind behind The Original Series starship design was recruited once again to append and update the Constitution-class NCC-1701 for the more savvy television audiences of the late 1970s.

Although he wasn’t all-too keen on rejoining the family, Gene Roddenberry insisted the Jeffries be instrumental in updating the Enterprise giving the ship a few very familiar looking upgrades that would inspire the final look of the ship when it finally reemerged on the big screen. Now Eaglemoss has taken Matt Jeffries notes and given Star Trek fans their first fully realized mode of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 “Phase II” Concept as it might have appeared in a brand new television series.

Applying significant details to the surface guaranteed that the ship would look much more contemporary on television, especially given that audiences were already initiated into the looks of space ships that had appeared in Star Wars and would also appear on Battlestar Galactica. Jeffries didn’t feel it was important to reinvent the wheel so he focused on the obvious giving the nacelles a new shape and added some fins to give the starship the sensation of forward momentum. The engineering section was afforded a much more substantial shape as well.

When the decision was made that Star Trek would instead go straight to features, much of Jeffries new design had already been implemented to the shooting model. Rather than start from scratch, the visual effects team simply further updated surface details and made other adjustments modifying the “Phase II” ship to the much more familiar design of the “Refit” Enterprise that appeared in the final film. Eaglemoss Collections model brings the concept design to life and even helps to place it within the context of Star Trek canon.

The model comes with a magazine that details its evolution from concept to model to eventual redesign for the feature film. Each model is available exclusive through the Eaglemoss Collections website here: https://shop.eaglemoss.com/usa/. 

Trailer | Marvel’s AVENGERS: Infinity War

So exactly how many superheroes does it take to make a blockbuster in today’s overly saturated genre market? Well, it appears that it takes all of them at least every one that’s ever appeared in a Marvel movie in the last decade. Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War has been promised all along and it is the culmination of a well marketed, ambitious and well strategized campaign by Marvel Films who set out to create a cinematic universe that began with Iron Man (2008) and has come to this; every hero coming together to bring down a mad god, the Titan Thanos!

Infinity War is based on one of the most celebrated arcs in the Marvel Comics and has been teased since the very first Avengers film when Loki bargains with an alien army to wage an invasion of the planet that results in the mighty Avengers, the world’s greatest heroes coming together to repel the threat. Thanos has been on a quest to gather the Infinity Stones a series of precious gems older than the cosmos that grant whomever possesses them ultimate power. Now the mad Titan has come to Earth, and the Avengers are our first and last defense against his tyranny.

From the scope of the latest trailer, Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War will culminate in at least one sacrifice and when the film ends, audiences will have to hold their breaths. Infinity War is the first part in a two part feature film that will reshape the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward.

Check out the trailer here: 

 

Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War will be released in theaters this April.

Trailer | FANTASTIC BEASTS: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The Wizarding World is coming alive once again as the magic of Harry Potter’s world grows by leaps and bounds in the trailer for the upcoming follow-up to Fantastic Beasts.

It was obvious from the get go…author J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World was much more than even its creator could have ever imagined. After the successful sequence of Harry Potter films based on the beloved novels, such a mythic and epic construct would eventually give way to even bigger creatures. With Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald the narrative adventures of magi-zoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) continue.

The trailer features the first glimpses of actor Jude Law who is stepping into the role of Professor Albus Dumbledore, the future headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Though many had speculated as to whether or not Warner Bros. would be able to perpetuate this franchise without the benefit of the more familiar Harry Potter at the center; with a startling complex and critically well received first installment Fantastic Beasts is on firm ground.

With Johnny Depp also taking a centrifugal role in this chapter, the stakes have certainly increased and the significance of Newt Scamander to the overall mythology is much more broadly explored.

Check out the trailer here: 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will be released in theaters in the fall of 2018.

iReview | STAR WARS The Last Jedi

The continuing adventures of a galaxy far, far away are finally coming to a Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD – Star Wars: The Last Jedi proves the most complex chapter in the ongoing saga that is the Skywalker legacy.

With the Force now awakened, STAR WARS: The Last Jedi the next chapter in the new trilogy is perhaps the most controversial narrative in the continuing adventures. As the galaxy races against time a mounting Resistance emerges to prevent the tightening totalitarian grip of the evil First Order from suffocating all that is good and right! After Disney purchased the franchise from its creator George Lucas, filmmaker J. J. Abrams was given the daunting task of reigniting the continuing saga, and went to work immediately to expanded on the universe.

In The Force Awakens Abrams introduced a new generation of heroes, the original trilogy’s cast was there too, but as a new threat to the galaxy emerges, the First Order, the Rebellion that defeated the Empire and destroyed their tyranny with the destruction of the second Death Star, has been mounting a new Resistance to stop this evil from taking root. Lead by the legendary might of General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) her ragtag group strike from hidden bases, but the First Order is growing and use a new super-weapon to destroy the New Republic.

It becomes apparent to the Resistance that if they are to defeat The First Order they must seek out Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who must once again inspire them with renewed hope. The search for Skywalker is only the beginning for a lonely young woman on a journey of discovery, Rey (Daisy Ridley) who along with her companion, First Order defector Finn (John Boyega) and the astromech droid BB-8 begin an adventure that reunites them with the ill-fated Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his trustee co-pilot Chewbacca.

Episode VII which sets in motion the events for this new trilogy, also introduced Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is the Force-wielding son of Leia and Han once known as Ben Solo. Luke Skywalker attempts to train his nephew, but loses him to the Dark Side. Rey is able to best Ren in combat as her own Force powers begin to surface, but she needs the self-exiled Luke Skywalker to help her. Once Kylo Ren mercilessly murders his own father, his path into the Dark Side becomes nearly complete, but Rey feels the conflict within him and is convinced she can save him.

After destroying Starkiller Base, The First Order’s weapon of mass destruction, the Resistance regroups, and Leia sends Rey to seek out Luke Skywalker with a map that will lead her right to him, but will Rey be able to bring the Jedi Master back into the fold, to rejoin the fight?

…in a galaxy far, far away.

Fans had waited nearly 40 years to see their favorite Rebel heroes back together! Although Abrams had sacrificed the rogue spacer Han Solo appropriately in the final act of his film; Harrison Ford had always expressed a desire to have his character meet a heroic end. Hoping to save the soul of his son, who is on the brink of complete corruption, Han exposes his vulnerability and pays the price. Abrams passed on directing the next installment and Kathleen Kennedy sought out Rian Johnson to both write and direct Star Wars: The Last Jedi the next chapter in the ongoing saga.

The filmmaker took a decidedly risky approach to expanding the universe, by elaborately deconstructing much of what Abrams had engineered to reestablish. The most obvious course for Johnson was to focus his attention on the new generation of characters specifically Rey and Kylo Ren whose fates appear intertwined. After Rey finds Luke Skywalker, the Jedi Master doesn’t live up to her expectations. Instead of a Rebel hero, she finds a cynical isolationist, who has lost the will to fight and is instead resigned to let the Jedi Order end.

Sensing the conflict within Kylo Ren, Rey uncovers secrets about the relationship between student and apprentice and the incident that leads to both their downfalls. Fearing that he’s failed his nephew as the evil influence of The First Order’s Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) Begins to take over the young Ben Solo, Luke feels he has no other alternative but to strike Ben down! The attempt delivers Ben Solo, now Kylo Ren right into the hands of Snoke, who sets his new apprentice on the path once traversed by his own grandfather Darth Vader.

For much of The Last Jedi the Resistance are at the relentless mercy of the seemingly unstoppable First Order and the advancing fleet that is slowly picking off each one of their vessels one by one. It seems foolhardy to say the least that the impressively powerful navy of the First Order doesn’t simply dispatch auxiliary ships to descend on the Resistance, giving the willful rebels an opportunity to strategize an action plan to make haste their escape. Dispatching Finn (Boyega) to the casino planet Canto Bight manufactures an opportunity to revisit a Star Wars trope indeed.

The film feels the most alien and not just because Johnson has created an entirely new world with Canto Bight, but introduced the idea of a corrupt capitalism and profiteering from war. The lines between who is good and who is bad are blurred, and even the question of whether the Jedi are necessary is questionable. These aren’t all-too new ideas within this universe, but it is the first time that they are so dynamically portrayed inside the narrative — and it is unexpected. As in The Empire Strikes Back, at the end of The Last Jedi there is a significant amount of loss.

The Resistance is decimated and ultimately make their escape aboard the Millennium Falcon; in effect all the remaining fighters fit within the smuggling ship’s seating area. Perhaps the most difficult pill to swallow is the uncharacteristic interpretation of Luke Skywalker; the actor himself, Mark Hamill had been very vocal about how disappointed he was with how the one-time Rebel hero and Jedi Knight was portrayed in what is obviously his last film. Johnson stood by his decision, even though Hamill protested. Whether it will ultimately serve the final act, has yet to be seen.

The most astounding aspect of the film is the complex relationship that is developing between Rey and Kylo Ren. How that is going to play out is still to be determined, and even now J. J. Abrams is figuring out what course to set with Episode IX, whether there is time to course correct will be determined by how much of Episode VIII, he intends to stick with; seeing as how much Johnson retconned to meet his own ends, will Star Wars Episode IX be something as obscure as The Last Jedi? Will The Force be with it?

The Blu-ray bonus features include several deleted scenes that fill out key action sequences, including pertinent dialogue that would have helped give Finn a little more bite not to mention a powerfully much more potent moment with First Order military Captain Phasma. The package also includes a specially produced documentary on the filmmaking process from Rian Johnson’s perspective that gives detailed insight to his process.

STAR WARS Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is directed by Rian Johnson and available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.