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The Pros & Cons of the Five Anticipated Films of 2018

1 Jan

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By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Not every upcoming movie for 2018 will get fully embraced. To make a top five list is more challenging because the interest for these films is just not quite solid.

Whether the film involved is plagued with production problems or franchise fatigue is setting in, the reasons can vary. The worry with this first film is not because the principal directors were let go, but can reshoots fix a film? In this case, it’s the actor who defined the role than casting someone younger to take the mantle. I feel shades of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull will be on the thoughts of many considering going to see this movie.

Han Solo (May 25, 2018)
Nobody can replace Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Nobody. Not even the actors who played younger versions of the characters he made famous get remembered for these roles. Okay, Sean Patrick Flanery is wonderful in the Young Indy series when he was a teen and he put a lot of effort in the role to not only sell the show but also become quite the sex symbol himself. The age difference from a young teen on television to an adult in cinema helped make this transition work.

Alden Ehrenreich is an okay substitute to show when this scoundrel was at his best. Whether the masses will accept him is the big question. The secondary issue is when this story will take place. Since the idea is to spotlight a younger version of the character, the hive mind is most likely not going to have this film lead out to Solo travelling to Tatooine  anytime soon. Rumours suggest this movie will be a Western, and this idea can work to see this scoundrel turn saviour for the day. However, to follow up on the heels of The Last Jedi is going to be tough. Expectations will be very high, and if this film does not deliver, perhaps Disney / Lucasfilm will have to reconsider if these side-stories are needed at all.

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[Spoiler Alert] Which Stars Shine Bright in The Last Jedi?

18 Dec

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By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

After the events from The Force Awakens, both sides are in disarray. The First Order lost their planet destroyer (technically a new Death Star). The trailers and opening scroll in The Last Jedi reveal the Resistance will have to start running for their lives as the bad guys are hot on their heels.

As mentioned in my review of the previous film J.J. Abrams crafted a love letter to the fans. He offered plenty of nostalgia to enjoy and made sure the digital technology got exercised to its fullest to make those moments count. Watch it too much, and everyone will agree it’s basically A New Hope.

There’s no denying that Star Wars, in all its other iterations in the animated front, comic books and novels, are built on a lot of tropes George Lucas created and improved upon from Episode IV to VI.  They range from classic one-liners and visual moments we always get excited by. From exhilarating trench sequences, varied variations of a ‘speeder bike’ chase to crazy aerial dog fights, is it even possible to add anything new? Writer/Director Rian Johnson offers a bit of the same old thing with a great new look and injects some fantastic narrative spins not everyone saw coming.

In what I loved after a second viewing (I bought tickets for Thurs and Friday) is with how actor Benicio Del Toro chewed up the scenery. To say more and to read ahead contains major spoilers.

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Remembering the Golden Oldies with Digital Archive Websites

16 Dec

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

In the search for great comic books from the yesteryear, most aficionados will have to hit auctions and estate sales to find what they want. Titles from the Platinum Age (1897 – 1938) to the Golden Age (1939-1950), introduced the era of the superhero to more than just one generation of readers, but purchasing these comics now is near impossible. Unless you are rich, forget it.

Thankfully, not everyone is out to make an investment with an Action Comics #1 so they can wind up having a million dollar nest egg to retire on sixty-five years later. There are digital archivists actively looking to preserve this bit of the past for readers preferring online content.

To name a few, Pappy’s Golden Age Comics Blogzine and Fury Comics are two very good websites to start digging through. Another archival website is Comic Book Plus, along with the Digital Comics Museum (DCM), which boasts a wide variety of titles available for anyone to read for free (though the operators may ask for donations to help offset the costs of keeping the the website running).

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ABC’s The Phoenix Needs to be Resurrected!

30 Nov

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Back in the early 80’s, Ken Clark of UPI wrote saying the television series, The Phoenix (1982), could be a classic of its time. But up against the rigid standards set by the networks and perhaps the viewing public, it died within a month of its premiere and is more or less forgotten. More than 30 years later, I feel this program deserves a second chance, especially when many television and film studios are looking at revitalizing old classics. If the success of the new MacGuyyer is any indication and Magnum P.I. is in the works, along with Greatest American Hero, then The Phoenix deserves a look too!

According to the original series bible, the lead character Bennu (Judson Scott) is an alien sent to Earth to guide humanity’s development into becoming the next space-faring civilization. But when he and the other scientists in his expedition arrive on Earth far too early, they decide to put themselves into suspended animation until the primitives have developed far enough in the technological ladder to warrant first contact.

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