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What to Watch: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Still from Avengers: Age of Ultron via IMDB

Still from Avengers: Age of Ultron via IMDB

The year 2012 was the climax of one of Disney’s most audacious ventures. Comic book films had been done before but they tended to exist in their own bubble with superheroes never crossing over between films the way they did in the comics. That all changed when Avengers hit the big screen. Not only could Disney breathe a big sigh of relief knowing that their investment would pay off, they had placed the final brick in the foundation of what can now be called the “Superhero Genre.” This Friday, or Thursday night in select cities, the much anticipated sequel hopes to launch “Phase Three” of Marvel’s movie series and continue the monumental financial success.  Continue reading

Did You Know: Harrison Ford

Photo by Murray Close/Getty Images - © 2011 Murray Close

Photo by Murray Close/Getty Images – © 2011 Murray Close

There have been few iconic Hollywood actors with the resume of Harrison Ford. Not only is he remembered as the gun-slinging galactic smuggler Han Solo but also as the tomb raiding Indiana Jones. With a career that spans nearly half a century, Ford has become a master of navigating the spotlight while selecting the right roles to keep his legendary career intact. This week we look at a few things you may not have known about Ford and his historic career.  Continue reading

What to Watch: Age of Adaline

Photo by Diyah Pera - © 2015  Lionsgate

Photo by Diyah Pera – © 2015 Lionsgate

If you were intrigued enough to venture from your warm cave and into the wintery wilderness to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, you will probably be inclined to take a light spring stroll to your local movie theater to see The Age of Adaline, coming to movie screens this Friday. Packed with more romance and a bit more youth, this “curse of immortality” romance fantasy takes many of its points from the successful David Fincher film but certainly looks to pack far more melodrama into a much shorter running time.  Continue reading

Did You Know: Mark Hamill

film still via  IMDB

film still via IMDB

There are few actors in the history of Hollywood who have been linked to their iconic character portrayals as much as Mark Hamill. His work in Star Wars as Luke Skywalker not only made him a household name but also would come to dominate a good portion of his career. Still, Hamill managed to do some incredible things in entertainment that many people may not know about. Not only has his work spanned efforts in front of the screen, but also behind it and in various different mediums. This week, we look to shed some light on a few of the more obscure facts you already knew but may have never associated with Mark Hamill.

Hamill has had an Extensive Career in the World of Comics

Many people know of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker but his contribution to the comicbook world is equally as epic. In the 90’s, Hamill made his first major mark as the voice of The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series. The show lasted only two seasons but the character and his personification of it lived on in six other Batman series as well as Superman and Justice League cartoons. He also jumped ship for a short period voicing the evil Hobgoblin in several Spider-Man animated adventures throughout the late 90’s.

His work in the comic world eventually spilled over as he became a writer for the Dark Horse comic series The Black Pearl. He also became a familiar face at comicbook conventions as his celebrity in Star Wars wasn’t the only reason people wanted to see him anymore. As an avid collector, Hamill has always enjoyed comics and has taken any opportunity to place his stamp in that world. While many may not be aware, he also played the DC villain The Trickster in the original Flash live action series.

The Car Accident that Nearly Ended it All

Shortly after filming Star Wars, Hamill was involved in a terrible car accident that nearly ended his career. His condition required plastic surgery to repair the damage and affected his appearance in the sequel The Empire Strikes Back. Early on in that film, Luke is attacked by a snow beast and scarred across his face, giving an easy explanation to Hamill’s appearance. Many have said that it was subtle but when viewing the film series back to back, the changes to Hamill’s face in such a short time frame are very noticeable.

The accident itself is a bit of a mystery. Hamill’s recollection of the event in a recorded interview with Gossip magazine is a bit vague. He claims to have been distracted in his BMW, missing an off ramp and being unable to navigate a four lane highway. Reports of his condition after the crash varied greatly from needed full facial reconstruction to minor, yet noticeable plastic surgery.

Making History

Mark Hamill has a very special distinction, shared only with Joe Mantegna and Elizabeth Taylor. These three not only played fictional characters on the long-running show The Simpsons but also played themselves on different occasions. He shared the screen with Mantegna in the episode Mayored to the Mob. Hamill also had the distinction of playing the role of Luke Skywalker for the NPR radio play version of Star Wars in 1981 and in The Empire Strikes Back in 1983. He was unable to finish off the trilogy a few years later as a scheduling conflict made it impossible.

Hamill will rejoin original Star Wars cast members Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher in the latest installment of the franchise entitled Episode VII: The Force Awakens due out in theaters later this year.

How Real is Too Real?: Exploring “Reality” in Film and Television

The Real World logo via Wikipedia

The Real World logo via Wikipedia

While some of the most successful films at the box office have swept audiences off into galaxies far far away filled with incredible creatures, there are some audiences that crave a more real experience. As evidenced by the rampant success of animated films as well as their live-action comicbook-based counterparts, some degree of fantasy is still alive and well. However, within that fantasy, sometimes we seek some degree of realism. Do the characters react in a realistic manner? Do the fight scenes seem plausible? And what about the world they exist in — does that look like a world we can immerse ourselves in? Achieving the right degree of realism, however, is a delicate balance and can often find us questioning: how much is too real?  Continue reading

What to Watch: Unfriended

image via  IMDB

image via IMDB

The long history of horror movies trying to find new ways to weave the supernatural into everyday life has led us to this week’s release from notorious horror movie studio Blumhouse Productions. Unfriended will bow in over 2,600 theaters and hope to snatch up the people who have already seen Furious 7 and have little interest in other releases like Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Blumhouse Production’s record to this point has been impeccable, leading them to being seen as the 21st century version of such classic horror film companies as Hammer and, to a lesser extent, Troma.  Continue reading

Looking Back at the 14th annual Tribeca Film Festival

There are many film festivals across the country and a critical mass occurring in New York City alone. Perhaps none of the NYC festivals is met with more buzz than the Tribeca Film Festival which, now in its fourteenth year, has achieved the status of the long-running Sundance Film Festival. In short, appearing in the Tribeca Film Festival is a feat as the festival represents some of the best upcoming films. And speaking of the films, here are some highlights to which you can look forward, or look back at depending on how you think about it, when the festival opens next week.  Continue reading

Did You Know: Clint Eastwood

Few artists have made the transition from actor to director as seamlessly and as successfully as Clint Eastwood. His career has spanned over fifty years with double digits in acting roles and directing. The awards garnered during that time are also staggering as he has won Academy Awards for directing with both  Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven. Throughout all of this he has remained an icon in Hollywood and one of the most active artists throughout the changing trends in decades. This week we hope to enlighten you with a few bits of information that you may not know about Clint Eastwood and his expansive career.  Continue reading

Best of the Worst: Guilty Pleasure Movies

Still of Alicia Silverstone and Brittany Murphy in Clueless (1995) via IMDB.com

Still of Alicia Silverstone and Brittany Murphy in Clueless (1995) via IMDB.com

While we spend a lot of time here talking about great movies, the truth is that not every watchable movie is great. In fact, some are actually pretty terrible in some ways but provide enormous entertainment value — and sometimes not in the way the original filmmakers intended. These are essentially our “guilty pleasure” movies. Though we may not always want to admit to watching, or even liking the movies, we can’t deny tuning in when they happen to be on television or when we happen upon them while browsing streaming services like Netflix.  Continue reading

What to Watch: The Longest Ride

image via  IMDB

image via IMDB

The second weekend of April is yet another set of dates on the calendar where little is being offered in the way of new releases. Holdovers from previous weeks, namely Furious 7, should hold strong but Fox is hoping to capitalize on the lack of new releases with yet another Nicholas Sparks adaptation in The Longest Ride. The romantic drama sees Scott Eastwood, son of famed actor/director Clint Eastwood, and Britt Robertson battling cultural boundaries in an attempt to find love. Needless to say the producers are hoping to grab the female audience members who may not be so quick to see the testosterone-filled action flick Furious 7 this weekend.  Continue reading