Category Archives: Movies

Use The Force to control BB-8 with Sphero’s Force Band

BB-8, the lovable android from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is about to get a major upgrade. And I’m not talking about Episode 8, I’m referring to the actual BB-8 toy by Sphero! The company’s showing off a new accessory for its BB-8 called Force Band and it allows you to control the android using The Force! Okay, fine, it’s hand motions detected by a wristband–but still! In addition to pushing and pulling BB-8, the wrist-worn Force Band will also have you acting out your favorite Light Saber, blaster, and Force battles; those distinct sounds emit from the band in Combat Training mode. In addition, you can go hunting for digital “holocrons” in your environment–sound familiar? (Cough, Pokemon Go!) The Force Band is compatible with Sphero’s other robots, too. But who are they kidding? BB-8 and The Force is a perfect (Bluetooth) pairing.

Seeing is believing, so check out the Force Band in all its glorious action in the video embedded above. It comes out on September 30 for $79. Or, if you don’t have Sphero’s BB-8 yet, you can buy the android-band bundle for $199. Preorder today. Oh, and one more thing: Sphero’s made a limited edition “Battle-Worn” BB-8 sporting the wear and tear of Resistance missions. Gotta love it! He’s paired with the Force Band for $199. All the above can be preordered today. May the Force be with you, always.

‘Rogue One’ sizzle reel shows off ‘Star Wars’ practical effects (New poster inside!)

The very first standalone Star Wars movie is coming soon, and to (ahem) celebrate, Disney and Lucasfilm shared this Rogue One sizzle reel at Star Wars Celebration in London this week. The nearly three-minute reel takes you in front of and behind the camera, giving you an inside look at how much effort is going into making the world of Star Wars come to life outside the confines of the three trilogies. Episode VII director J.J. Abrams was praised for his use of practical effects in The Force Awakens, and it looks like Rogue One helmer Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) is taking a page out of Abrams’ playbook. The gritty war zones that makeup Rogue One are littered with real explosions and imaginative creature costumes. Of course, these moviemakers simply couldn’t put on the show without pushing the limits of CG animation, but it’s good to know that where possible, what we end up seeing on the big screen is the real deal.

Go on and enjoy the reel; in it you’ll also hear from the cast and crew and maybe learn a little more about the resistance fighters’ daring mission to steal the Death Star plans. Celebration attendees left the panel with the first official poster for Rogue One, and you can eyeball it after the break; that tropical locale in the teaser and sizzle reel now has a name and it’s Scarif. Also screened at the panel but not released on the Internet (yet) was the second teaser trailer for the flick; spoiler alert, it ends with the mother of all teases: Darth Vader is back!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theatres December 16, 2016. READ MORE ‘Rogue One’ sizzle reel shows off ‘Star Wars’ practical effects (New poster inside!)

Disney’s first Polynesian princess is ‘Moana’

Looks like Disney’s got another winner up its sleeve! Following ZootopiaBig Hero 6, and Frozen is Moana, the first Disney film to star a Polynesian princess. 16-year-old Moana, voiced by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho, is about to embark on an exciting adventure of self-discovery across the vast Pacific. The official logline reads:

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.

This is merely a teaser trailer, and it already looks and sounds great. Moana is directed by the filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker, the same duo behind such Disney classics as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. Original music and score is provided by Opetaia Foa’i, Mark Mancina (The Lion King), and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton). The song featured here sounds a little familiar, does it not?

Can’t wait to see more from this project. Moana splashes into theatres November 23, Thanksgiving Day. READ MORE Disney’s first Polynesian princess is ‘Moana’

Star Wars Day: Emojis tell ‘The Force Awakens’, and J.J. Abrams & Lin Manuel Miranda perform the new Cantina song

Today is May 4th and you know what that means: it’s Star Wars Day! To celebrate the annual occasion, Disney dropped this incredibly adorable version of The Force Awakens…as told by emoji! In under four minutes, the cute clip breaks down the seventh installment in the Star Wars franchise, hitting most of the major beats of the film. Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren, Han Solo, and the rest of your characters pop up throughout in emoji form, and the animation makes fun use of GIFs, apps, and recognizable iDevices. Enjoy, and May the Fourth Be With You!

Now, those of you who picked up a copy of John Williams’ score from The Force Awakens likely scratched your head and went, Huh, where’s the new Cantina song? Well, here it is now! In honor of Star Wars Day, Lucasfilm is finally making “Jabba Flow” available to stream and purchase. The track is written and performed by director J.J. Abrams and Hamilton creator and star Lin Manuel Miranda. Watch them perform it live, for the first time ever, in a video recorded earlier today; it’s embedded below. READ MORE Star Wars Day: Emojis tell ‘The Force Awakens’, and J.J. Abrams & Lin Manuel Miranda perform the new Cantina song

Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’ teaser dives headfirst into alternate dimensions

In December, we caught a mere glimpse at Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) as the next Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero, Doctor Strange. Today, we are gifted with the first teaser trailer for Marvel’s Doctor Strange and it flips the MCU on its head, quite literally, in fact. The brief official logline released by Marvel reads, “When famous neurosurgeon Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) suffers career-ending injuries in a devastating car crash, he seeks help in the furthest reaches of the world! Hoping to find cures for his injuries, Strange instead uncovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions.”

The powerful entity who teaches Strange how to harness magic and travel across dimensions is known as The Ancient One, played here by a very bald Tilda Swinton. “You’re a man looking at the world through a keyhole,” The Ancient One tells Strange. “You’ve spent your life trying to widen it. Your work saved the lives of thousands. What if I told you that reality is one of many?”

We’ve seen aliens invade Earth, we’ve traversed the The Bifröst Bridge to Asgard where gods like Thor rule the land, and we’ve even witnessed myriad mutant powered people. Doctor Strange introduces an entirely new spin on the MCU with the exciting introduction of magic and alternate dimensions, and I cannot wait to see how Stephen Strange’s transformation into the Sorcerer Supreme affects everything that has come before and will come after.

Cumberbatch and his immediately acceptable English accent is joined on screen by Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mads Mikkelsen, and Benedict Wong.

Doctor Strange, directed by Scott Derrickson (SinisterDeliver Us from Evil), hits theatres November 4. Dive into the gallery below to view not one but two epically cryptic theatrical posters.

[Via MarvelTwitter]

‘Star Wars’ spinoff ‘Rogue One’ teaser trailer arrives

UPDATE (4/7): As promised, here is the first teaser trailer for Rogue One! It debuted on Good Morning America this morning, and it packs quite the punch even for a one-minute forty-second tease. John Williams’ iconic score has a new edge here, blending his classic keys with something entirely new. It introduces Felicity Jones’ character, who we now know is named Jyn Erso. “This is a rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel,” she says and just like that she immediately wins the hearts of Star Wars fans everywhere. Ben Mendelsohn looks to be channeling his inner evil he commands so well (see Bloodline) as an Imperial villain, and Forest Whitaker comes to Jyn’s aid in stealing the Death Star plans with a warning: “If you continue to fight, what will you become?” Also, be on the lookout for exciting callbacks to the original trilogy; Mon Mothma and the AT-ATs are back, and is that The Emperor underneath a black robe? Enjoy!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theatres December 16, 2016. The initial teaser for the teaser has been moved under the fold.

PREVIOUS (4/6): Yes, it’s a teaser for a teaser but… STAR WARS! Tomorrow Disney drops the first official teaser trailer for the Star Wars spinoff movie, Rogue One. To get your blood pumping, the studio’s released this 10-second teaser of the teaser and even it cannot disappoint. You’ll hear TIE Fighters whizzing, you’ll catch a glimpse of a stormtrooper dressed in all-black armor, and that’s pretty much it! Just enough to raise the hairs on every Star Wars fanboy and fangirl out there who are surely still high off The Force Awakens. Be sure to check back here Thursday morning for the full teaser.

So here’s what we know so far about Rogue One. READ MORE ‘Star Wars’ spinoff ‘Rogue One’ teaser trailer arrives

Movie trailer round-up: Tim Burton and The Lonely Island return to the big screen, plus CG animation goes rated R

Tim Burton, the visionary director behind quirky cult oddities such as Edward ScissorhandsSweeney Todd, and Big Fish, has discovered a new fantasy land to play in with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The 2011 young adult best-selling novel by Ransom Riggs is being adapted for the big screen by Burton with stars Eva Green (Casino Royale), Asa Butterfield (Hugo), Ella Purnell, Allison Janney, Terence Stamp, Rupert Everett, Judi Dench, and Samuel L. Jackson. The peculiar tale practically begs Burton to bring it to life, and it goes like this:

When Jake discovers clues to a mystery that spans alternate realities and times, he uncovers a secret refuge known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As he learns about the residents and their unusual abilities, Jake realizes that safety is an illusion, and danger lurks in the form of powerful, hidden enemies. Jake must figure out who is real, who can be trusted, and who he really is.

The orphanage is home to children with all kinds of wild eccentricities including but certainly not limited to invisibility, a super cool eye projector, and flight. In typical Burton fashion, the movie will embark on an exhilarating adventure filled with fun and even some scares.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children opens September 30.

Jump after the break to view trailers for the next movies from The Lonely Island and Seth Rogen. Update (3/24): A fun teaser trailer for The LEGO Batman Movie came out today, and you’ll find that after the break, too.
READ MORE Movie trailer round-up: Tim Burton and The Lonely Island return to the big screen, plus CG animation goes rated R

‘Ghostbusters’ ladies are locked and loaded and shine in debut trailer

Here it is, the first official trailer for Paul Feig’s female-empowered Ghostbusters. Saturday Night Live funny women Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones plus Feig’s go-to star Melissa McCarthy (BridesmaidsThe HeatSpy) play the modern-day poltergeist pulverizers.

Sony Pictures is labeling it a reboot, though the trailer does reference the iconic original that hit theatres some thirty years ago. The studio still isn’t providing a logline, but it’s not too difficult to grasp what’s going on here. Wiig’s particle physicist Erin Gilbert utters the closest thing we may ever get to a plot description when she says, “Someone has created a device that has amplified paranormal activity and we might be the only ones who can stop it.” Among the ghoulish green horrors here is everyone’s favorite–Slimer’s back! Also making comebacks are the Ecto-1 getaway vehicle, the recognizable uniforms and proton packs, and of course, Ray Parker, Jr.’s unforgettable theme permeates throughout. Looks like loads of fun.

And if you were ever worried about Feig’s decision to swap genders, this trailer will dispel those fears. “Ghostbusters are for everybody. The first movie worked because it had four of the funniest people and I just want the funniest people–and the funniest people are these women,” the director said at a recent event reported by Deadline. McCarthy and company slip into their Ghostbusters roles with distinct ease. In fact, I want to see this movie right now! Alas…

Ghostbusters, written by The Heat‘s Katie Dippold, drops into theatres July 15. READ MORE ‘Ghostbusters’ ladies are locked and loaded and shine in debut trailer

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ comes home in April with bonus content galore

Chewie, you’re coming home. Disney’s announced that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will become available to own next month. It initially rolls out across digital platforms on April 1, followed by Blu-ray and DVD releases on April 5. A 3D version is also in the works for those of you with capable living room setups. Both the Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack and DVD releases will come packaged with lots of bonus content including a behind-the-scenes making-of documentary including exclusive interviews with the cast and filmmakers. For the full breakdown of bonus content, which also includes deleted scenes and featurettes on building BB-8 and an inside look at John Williams crafting the iconic score, pop after the break.

Now here comes some more good news (or sour news), depending on your perspective. Disney is teaming up with retailers Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and its own Disney Store to offer fans even more exclusive bonus content. Each retailer offers unique collector’s packaging and special goodies inside. For example, Target’s includes 20 minutes of new content including exclusive interviews with the cast and a special look at the movie’s costumes and weaponry. The Disney Store, on the other hand, is including a limited lithograph set inside. All of this extra stuff is welcome, but retailer-exclusives pretty much forces fans and collectors to hunt down various copies of the same movie! Be sure to click after the break where you’ll find images of these bundles and links to order them.

J.J. Abrams latest resurrection was a box office smash, breaking records left and right. It’s most significant record has to be outpacing James Cameron’s Avatar to become the highest grossing domestic film of all time. It raked in $928.79 million in North America (compared to Avatar‘s $760.51 million). It could not, however, steal the golden crown from Avatar. Cameron’s technological marvel performed better internationally and that amounted to a worldwide gross of $2.79 billion. The Force Awakens ended up resting at a still wildly impressive $2.05 billion overall gross. READ MORE ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ comes home in April with bonus content galore

Leo, ‘The Revenant’ & ‘Mad Max’ win big at 88th Oscars

Let’s not bury the lead here. Last night at the 88th Annual Academy Awards, audiences were witness to a feat once thought maddeningly impossible: Leonardo DiCaprio won the Oscar for Best Actor. We did it! His movie, Revenant, went into this years Oscars with 12 nominations and came away with 3; in addition to Leo’s momentous win, the Academy also awarded the painstakingly gritty film’s director Alejandro G. Iñárritu with his second consecutive Best Director win (see last year’s Birdman) and it also won for Best Cinematography. The film with the most wins of the night was Mad Max: Fury Road. It swept the majority of technical categories including Best Sound Mixing and Editing, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Production and Costume Design. Spotlight surprised at the end of the ceremony when it was crowned Best Picture; earlier in the night it won Best Original Screenplay. Elsewhere, Inside Out was named Best Animated Feature, 87-year-old composer Ennio Morricone was recognized for his already iconic score set to Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, and Ex Machina deservedly managed to beat out Star WarsMad MaxThe Martian, and The Revenant for Best Visual Effects. Click here for the full list of winners.

The show itself, though it ran long by 30+ minutes, was relatively entertaining throughout. Host Chris Rock ran with the #OscarsSoWhite diversity problems surrounding the telecast leading into it. No doubt his controversial monologue resonated with audiences; muted laughs and applause told the story well. Personal highlights throughout the night included surprise appearances from Star WarsToy Story, and The Minions characters and a powerfully emotional musical performance by Lady Gaga. And of course, Leo is now an Oscar-winning actor.

Cameras roll on ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ as principal photography begins (Announcement video inside!)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is smashing box office records, currently banking $2 billion in worldwide gross and rising. More importantly, its director J.J. Abrams managed to successfully reignite the aging, iconic franchise by infusing the classic characters and tropes from the original trilogy with fresh protagonists and exhilarating, awe-inspiring storytelling.

The saga continues with Star Wars: Episode VIII. Abrams is handing the reigns to Rian Johnson, and the Looper director initiated principal photography on the highly anticipated sequel at Pinewood Studios in London today. Disney and Lucasfilm welcome  Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran into the Star Wars universe. They join the talented cast from The Force Awakens including Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis. In typical Star Wars fashion, the new trio’s roles are being kept tightly under wraps.

Now, skip after the break to watch the exciting “Episode VIII Production Announcement” video. From the looks of it, we’ll be picking up right where we left off in The Force Awakens, (spoiler alert) cliffside with Rey offering a bearded Luke Skywalker his familial lightsaber.

Star Wars: Episode VIII, originally slated for a spring 2017 release, hits theatres December 15, 2017.
READ MORE Cameras roll on ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ as principal photography begins (Announcement video inside!)

Illumination ‘Sing’s its way into the holiday season with its next catchy animated film

Ahead of its next major release in The Secret Life of Pets, Illumination Entertainment–the makers of Despicable Me and Minions–is previewing Sing, the animation studio’s next picture that’s got a remarkable voice cast. Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, and Tori Kelly, just to name a few. Together they’ll be singing over 85 hit songs, some of which are included in this first official teaser. A detailed synopsis follows.

Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, Sing stars Buster Moon (McConaughey), a dapper Koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster is an eternal optimist—okay, maybe a bit of a scoundrel—who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Now facing the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

Five lead contestants emerge: A mouse (MacFarlane) who croons as smoothly as he cons, a timid teenage elephant (Kelly) with an enormous case of stage fright, an overtaxed mother (Witherspoon) run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets, a young gangster gorilla (Egerton) looking to break free of his family’s felonies, and a punk-rock porcupine (Johansson) struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo. Each animal arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life.

Not unlike its previous efforts, Sing looks like a ton of fun for kids and adults alike. The Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) written and directed pic hits theatres in time for the holidays on December 21. READ MORE Illumination ‘Sing’s its way into the holiday season with its next catchy animated film