May the 4th Needs a Fifth, I Think

Yeah, yeah. I kind of don’t like the over-celebrating thing when it comes to some stuff I appreciate, but that’s the way things are these days. Still, a little tribute is in order to a film that deserves it (well, in its original format), so here’s mine.

Perspective from an old fart who knows stuff: There was not a hint of internet nor the sort of over-speculation we suffer though today way back in 1976 when I was sitting in a movie theater and saw this teaser for the first time:

(Thanks, thecoolman!)

I vaguely recall being really curious about this upcoming film because it looked completely different than anything I could recall seeing (hey, I was only 12 at the time), yet it seemed really familiar in a few ways to stuff I’d seen on the local PBS station. At that point, I had zero idea of what a homage was or a way to grasp that George Lucas was borrowing from the past to create his own futuristic adventure (what was curiously, set in the distant past). Anyway, I noted the non-date and filed the film away in the memory banks as something to look forward to seeing. Those school friends I knew were either not interested at all or worse, had a low opinion of sci-fi films that extended to books and comics of the period. So only a rare few of the kids I knew even cared about this film before and to some extent, after it was released.

The most amusing modern thing in regards to this teaser is the Official Star Wars YT channel has an (intentionally?) embarrassing low quality teaser while other non-official sites have not only better quality ones, but one that’s been redone to include footage found in the actual release print. Granted, while MUCH prettier, I find that clip problematic because it’s redone history that erases the fact that the teaser was supposed to be cruder thanks to the film still being nowhere near completion a about a year out from its eventual release date. Sure, film fans didn’t know this and other that tiny bits (VERY tiny) of information dropped in a few sci-fi mags of the era. But that all changed as 1977 rolled around and more info as well as the successful Star Wars comic book appeared. I avoided the comic for a while, but eventually collected most of its run over time, enjoying a good deal of what I was reading (including stuff now FAR outside the current canon)

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer – Rey of Hope? Maybe Nope?

SW_TLJ_MP

Yep, as Yoda would say, pretty good, it looks… but I won’t do any big speculation at all on this nifty trailer because it’s useless (at least as far as I see it). Trailers are made to missile guide viewers into overthinking stuff and too many fall into that trap and end up theorizing themselves into corners up until a movie lands in theaters. PROTIP: for a big, honkin’ tent pole film such as this, the less you flop around on the floor like Shemp about stuff you see (that very likely won’t be in the same order in the final cut or hell, not in the film at all) the more you’ll actually enjoy it.

Well, that’s MY personal train of thought about these trailers and it’s yet to fail me.

I guess I’ll confess (once again) that I’m not a “superfan” to the point that I’ll gargle out copious pages of notes based upon watching every second of a trailer every day for a week and end up being disappointed that my 1600 theories have all been proven wrong. On the other hand, I’m a “superfan” who wants to go in totally cold and get my fill based on NOT knowing or wanting to know any more than what I was teased with in that possibly not quite all true trailer. That poster is nice as well, but it’s kind of hard to mess up a Star Wars poster (much).

-GW

Tiny Bubbles: On Computers, Trailers, Cabbages, and Kings (Or Something Like That)

(Thanks, joanbeque!)

TRUTH. If you click off your computing device for long enough to get outside the bubble you’ve put yourselves in, de-stress for a spell AND stay away from your phone other than anything other than it’s initially Alexander Graham Bell’d purpose (just phone calls, folks!), you’ll probably become happier. At least temporarily. Granted, many people you don’t really know in real life but are your “online friends” will think you’ve died or have had an accident… but won’t check up on you because they’re busy with other stuff like catching up on their favorite reality shows and other important things.

Now, I’ve actually been in the midst of a few too many projects, had an eye allergy bug me for a bit and as of this writing have like 49 movies to catch up on (my movie watching partner tapped out thanks to personal issues I won’t discuss here because they’re Nunya Bizness… or mine, for that matter) and a bunch of half-scribed reviews and such piling up. Those will get done, latest Windows updates aside.

That particular nightmare first and foremost – Windows 10 is making me (and probably you) nuts.
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Carrie Fisher: Our Princess Is In Another Castle*

cf
 

“Hey Mark, It’s Carrie. Where are you? We’re waiting for you… hurry up!”

So, back in 1983 (I believe it was during midsummer), Carrie Fisher mis-dialed a phone number and called the place I was staying at on West 95th Street to leave that message. Everyone I played it back to recognized the voice and through a bit of deductive reasoning it was figured out she may have been ringing up Mark Hamill. At the time it was believed he also lived somewhere on the West Side (I recall he was a frequent West Side Comics customer), so it was entirely possible his phone number started with that popular 864 exchange and Carrie got one or more of the last four numbers scrambled. There were no cellphones back then and I don’t think you could have an operator redial from an answering machine, so this was just another NYC thing to us. Celebrity sightings were commonplace back then with a walk up or down the West Side in any weather often yielding some pleasant surprises (yes, I have stories. No, not now, please).

Anyway, that tape was a hot thing for a while among friends until interest faded and we moved on to whatever life slipped our ways. But every so often I’d want to pop up at one of her book signings and ask my one question or I thought about just writing a quick note (or much later, email) to find out if she recalled mistakenly calling me. Of course I never got around to it, supremely trivial matter that it was in the grand scheme of things. Today’s yet another not good one, particularly as I’d been very much avoiding the internet for its rolling out of crappy real news, really fake news and a Pandora’s Box of all-too predictable downhill results of a rather unbalanced political season.

Here’s a funny – I’m also in the middle of replacing or updating important to lesser bits of my movie collection, so I only have Star Wars episodes 4-6 on VCD. As in Fox’s official overseas box set from VideoVan circa 2000. Ha and ha-ha. Well, I think I can run them on the laptop. Either that or go through a few bins looking for my Magnavox CD-i system. Or, hell… maybe I’ll just watch The Blues Brothers for the what, 30th or so time? Yeah, sure… that’ll do.

(thanks, rumblingthunder!)
 

*Or, that damn Empire. It loses all the time… but always wins over the long run, doesn’t it? Boo.
-GW

READS: Star Wars Works Spectacularly As A Scrolling Infographic

SWANH_start

Many movie fans all know what follows this memorable opening image, but thanks to Zurich-based artist Martin Panchaud, we now have quite possibly the best illustrated retelling of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope to date. While not flawless (there are a few incorrectly translated lines), the scrolling infographic absolutely nails the storytelling beats, but from a top down perspective and using colored dots for human and alien characters. If you’re a big enough fan of the film, I’d bet you’ll be hearing that phenomenal John Williams score in your head at all the right moments. Go check it out (if this hasn’t been forwarded to your own inbox already today).

Also, someone call Guinness (no, not the ghost of Alec, silly!)- I think at 123 meters (or 403.543307 feet), it just may be the longest infographic you’ll see for a while. Anyway, go revisit a classic film from 1977 in a whole new way.

ELSTREE 1976: This Is The Documentary You’re Looking For

Elstree 1976 CA
 

I thought I was done with Star Wars references for the day, but my inbox has other ideas in the form of this new documentary I now NEED to see. Ellstree 1976 will start a US theatrical run on May 6th in select cities including Los Angeles and New York City (a full list of theaters and ticket information are here). My inner 14-year old self just popped out and recalled all those magazines and newspaper clippings I’d collected back then. Everything Star Wars! Anyway, here’s some info on the film as well as its trailer:

ELSTREE 1976 explores the lives of the actors and extras behind one of the most celebrated Science Fiction films in cinematic history, Star Wars.

From the man behind film’s most iconic villain, to the actor whose character was completely cut from the final film, the documentary delves into the eccentric community these individuals have formed and how the Star Wars franchise – which spans five decades from A New Hope to The Force Awakens – continues to impact their lives decades later.

Many of the minor characters were merely part of the set design, but eventually gained recognition as the Star Wars universe expanded into books, comics, etc. Fans learned the history of masked characters like Boba Fett and Greedo, but the sci-fi blockbuster also had a lasting impact on the people inside the costumes.

 

And if you can’t make it to that theater near or not so near you, guess what? MVD Entertainment Group will be getting the doc out on DVD June 28th via MVD Entertainment’s online shop as well as Amazon. SOLD!

All I need to do is step into this carbonite chamber I got cheap on eBay and freeze myself for just over a month and I’m set. What? Not a good idea? The guy who sold it said it was only used once and worked REALLY well.

Oh Yeah. It’s May The Fourth, Sooooo…

Dave Brubeck Day 

So let’s celebrate now, shall we:

(thanks, elucian!) 

Cool, huh? Yeah, that Brubeck was an awesome musician. Darn kids and their auto-tuned hippin’ and hoppin’ need to get off my lawn (and I don’t even have a lawn!), grrrr!

Time Out

You all need to buy a copy of Time Out, pop in into or on your player of choice and just chill for a spell. Open a window if you can’t catch the breeze this platter is blowin’, I say. Chillll.

Oh, alright, alright… here:

Star Wars Day 

Late to the party am I. Busy day I had. Happen again, it won’t! Well, unless I need to introduce some more of you to something not so poppy and cultural that it’s treated as an ACTUAL holiday. Um, take it away, Han:

(Thanks, QuoteTheGuy!)

That and hey, The 4th MAY be with you, but Vader celebrates the return of the FIFTH. Oops, you Rebel scum… Yeah, you know how this sentence ends.

Working The Force Hard (For Better or Worse)

star_wars_episode_vii__the_force_awakens_ver3_xlgOkay, I can get behind a few product tie-ins for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but others are both annoying and baffling once you take off the fan blinders. The obvious ton-plus of licensed toys based directly on the film and that Sphero BB-8 app-enabled robot that have been flying off store shelves? Yeah, those are givens any fan should run someone over with a landspeeder to get. I’ll even give it up for the assorted Star Wars food products from cereal to fruit snacks and beverages to the somewhat expensive Ample Hills Ice Cream I’ve yet to try because I can’t justify paying $36 for four pints and waiting almost a month to pick up or have delivered due to high demand.

Yeah, yeah. I’m not some major news network or big site, so I know I won’t get a shipment of free ice cream to try out like a bunch of local outlets have, so I’ll have to use my imagination (and the Force!) to get an idea of how well all those ingredients come together. Wait, what was I talking about? Ice cream thoughts lead way down the rabbit hole of distraction… oh, right. Continue reading

Super Star Wars Lands on PS4, Vita: The Force Is Strong With This One

SSW_001 

It feels 100% weird to say this, but there’s an old Super Nintendo game on a new Sony console and not so new handheld that’s a nice surprise for any Star Wars fan. Granted, Super Star Wars was also on the eShop for the Wii back in 2009, but this updated version for the PS4 and Vita offers a number of tweaks that include new save features, leaderboards, trophies, and updated display and controller options. Nope, it didn’t get a big HD visual overhaul at all, so hopefully you’re happy with the original 1992 SNES visuals in all their 2D and Mode 7 pseudo 3D glory:

SSW_002 SSW_003 SSW_004 SSW_005 SSW_006 SSW_007 SSW_008 SSW_009 SSW_010

 

if you’re grinning like a loon because you have a PSN account, a PS4 or Vita (the game is Cross Buy, by the way) and $9.99 ready to fly out of your wallet, you’re already buying this before you’ve finished this sentence. Me, I’m still a little freaked that there’s a SNES game on a non-Nintendo platform and the earth hasn’t exploded from that fact. Oh,and new players to this one will find it hard as hell and a bit janky in spots. But it’s still a ton of challenging fun as well as a nice nostalgic trip into the past. Whatever strings Disney pulled to get this to happen (I’m thinking that this was a Sony Imagesoft-produced game back then may have helped) sure worked out alright although it would have been a better deal to get the SSW trilogy out for something like $20 or so.

Eh, we’ll see what the future brings for those ancient games about a galaxy far, far away. This new deal has me hoping that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic I and II show up on a Sony console at some point. Playing both of those classics on my Vita would be a total mind-blowing thing to see happen in the near future..

Star Wars Episode VII Seems Even Cooler in Japan

Let’s see now… This:

Versus this:

Both are great trailers, but I give the edge to the Japanese edit for its slightly more spoiler-iffic moments. Um, that is all (for now) as I prefer to wait until the movie is actually out before judging anything else.