John Wick is coming to the small screen with ‘The Continental’

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If you (like many others) are impatient to see the third installment in the John Wick film series, then this should be good news: Starz is developing a television series set in that same universe. But while the films follow Keanu Reeves in his role as John Wick, the new series entitled The Continental will take place in the titular hotel that caters to the elite assassins that prowl the underworld.

I am excited at the idea of seeing more of life in this hotel. With all the assassins coming and going on a daily basis, life must surely get…interesting…for the concierge and the rest of the hotel staff. I can’t help but wonder if Lance Reddick will reprise his role as Charon from the movies (or at least make a recurring appearance), I love his dry wit and how he always seems to know what his customers are in need of. While details on the series are still sketchy, it has been confirmed that Keanu Reeves will be putting in at least one appearance as John Wick (he’s already listed as an executive producer for the series). Truthfully, I could see them doing a special episode for Wick’s appearance (assuming it happens), perhaps something that ties in to the events of the films.

One big question I have about The Continental is: when in time does this occur in relation to the films? Considering that there is only a week’s gap between the two films and the third film is yet to come, I can only assume that this series will take place sometime before the first film (at least more than five years since that’s when John “got out” to marry his wife).

I haven’t seen an anticipated release date for when The Continental will begin shooting, let alone start airing, but when it does come, I will be among those in line to check it out. What do you think about Starz creating a television series set in the John Wick universe? Are you excited or do you think the idea is redundant? Are there any characters from the film you think should make an appearance in the series? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

For more thoughts on John Wick, see also:

Thoughts on: John Wick (2014)

Thoughts on: John Wick Chapter 2 (2017)

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Netflix releases trailer for ‘Altered Carbon’

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‘Altered Carbon’ trailer

If you love the dystopian, cyberpunk worlds of Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell (the animated original not that mess from last year) then you are in luck: Netflix has released a trailer for an upcoming series entitled Altered Carbon, and it is based on all the best qualities of cyberpunk storytelling.


Altered Carbon is based on a 2002 novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan and is set five hundred years in the future, in a world where humanity has colonized several extrasolar planets and (most importantly): humans can be ‘resleeved’ when they die. Basically, humans have developed the technology to completely digitize the human consciousness: memories, behaviors and all. Upon dying, assuming one can afford it, the mind is “downloaded” from the dead body and “uploaded” into a new one, allowing life to essentially pick up where one left off. In this way, humans can technically live forever, though most choose not to as the strain of aging over and over again becomes too much for some after a few go-throughs.

The story of Altered Carbon revolves around former soldier Takeshi Kovacs who is resleeved after dying two hundred and fifty years ago in order to help solve the murder of Laurens Bancroft (who has been resleeved with no memory of the past two days, hence his belief that he was murdered). Takeshi is thus plunged into a world full of holograms, flying cars and a society where you can have multiple faces over a series of lifetimes (even Takeshi has a face that bears no resemblance to his former body). The trailer implies that this is a society full of dirty secrets that will be uncovered when Takeshi begins digging around to discover why (or even if) Bancroft was murdered.

The first season will consist of ten episodes and premieres on Netflix on February 2nd. The series will star Joel Kinnaman as the current sleeve for Takeshi Kovacs; James Purefoy as the current sleeve for Laurens Bancroft and Kristin Lehman as Miriam Bancroft. Will Yun Lee also stars in a recurring role as Takeshi Kovacs (presumably as the ‘original’ Takeshi).

What do you think of the trailer for Altered Carbon? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I haven’t had a Netflix subscription for years, but I may have to get one again just to see this series when it premieres next month.

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Let’s Go to the Oscars #12: Maurice Jarre wins Music Score-Substantially Original for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Since it is awards season, I decided it was time to return to my annual series Let’s Go to the Oscars, where I continue my journey to highlight all of the film composers who have been honored with an Academy Award for Best Original Score (and the many different names that award has taken over the decades). For example, you see in the title how I refer to Maurice Jarre’s win as “Music Score-Substantially Original”? It sounds like a mouthful but that’s what the award was called that year.

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Maurice Jarre wins for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

In this entry, at the 35th Annual Academy Awards, Ginger Rogers (longtime dance companion of Fred Astaire) presents the Oscar for “Music Score-Substantially Original” to Maurice Jarre (the award is accepted by Morris Stoloff on Jarre’s behalf) for his work on Lawrence of Arabia. This is preceded by host Frank Sinatra telling some simply awful jokes (at least I think they’re meant to be jokes).

This Oscar was one of seven that the epic film ultimately received (it was nominated for ten), the others being: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography (Color), Best Art Direction (Color), Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing.

Jarre (who died in 2009) was a French composer who won 3 Academy Awards over the course of his career out of 9 nominations (the other wins being for Doctor Zhivago (1965) and A Passage to India (1984)). Some consider Lawrence of Arabia to be one of Jarre’s greatest scores (and I’m inclined to agree). The film recounts the story of T.E. Lawrence (the titular “Lawrence of Arabia”) and his work in the Arabian Peninsula during World War I. It is considered to be one of the most influential films ever made (and certainly high up on the list of “films you must see at least once before you die.”)

I’m a little disappointed that Maurice Jarre wasn’t there to accept his award in person, since it’s always interesting to hear what the composer has to say, however briefly, about their accomplishment. At any rate, I hope you enjoyed this look back at the Oscars in the early 1960s (I can’t help but point out once again how much simpler and shorter the ceremony used to be). If you’ve seen Lawrence of Arabia, what did you think of the film and Jarre’s score? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

For more Let’s Go to the Oscars, see also:

Let’s go to the Oscars #1: Jerry Goldsmith wins Original Score with “The Omen”

Let’s go to the Oscars #2: James Horner wins Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song with “Titanic”

Let’s go to the Oscars #3: John Williams and his five Academy Awards

Let’s go to the Oscars #4: Howard Shore wins for “The Lord of the Rings”

Let’s Go to the Oscars #5: Alexandre Desplat wins Best Original Score for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Let’s Go to the Oscars #6: Michael Giacchino wins Best Original Score for Up (2009)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #7: Ennio Morricone wins Best Original Score for The Hateful Eight (2016)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #8: Tan Dun wins Best Original Score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #9: Stephen Warbeck wins Best Original Musical or Comedy Score for Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #10: Miklos Rozsa wins Best Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture for Ben-Hur (1959)

Let’s Go to the Oscars #11: John Barry wins Best Original Score for The Lion in Winter (1968)

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Winners of the 2018 Critics’ Choice Awards

Last night was the 23rd Critics’ Choice Awards which were held in Santa Monica, California, to celebrate achievements in filmmaking.

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Going in to the ceremony there was great cause for excitement as a number of films had multiple nominations: The Shape of Water led with 14; Blade Runner 2049 had 7; Lady Bird had 8; and there was cause for celebration as Logan earned 3 nominations (for Best Action Movie, Best Young Actress and Best Supporting Actor), among many others. Ultimately, The Shape of Water came out the big winner with 4 wins; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri received 3; and Coco, Darkest Hour, Get Out and I, Tonya received 2 each.

The major wins are:

Best Picture: The Shape of Water

Best Director: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)

Best Actor: Gary Oldman: Darkest Hour (as Winston Churchill)

Best Actress: Frances McDormand: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (as Mildred Hayes)

Best Original Screenplay: Jordan Peele (Get Out)

Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049)

Best Visual Effects: War for the Planet of the Apes

Best Animated Feature: Coco

Best Action Movie: Wonder Woman

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie: Get Out

Best Comedy: The Big Sick

Best Score: Alexandre Desplat (The Shape of Water)

Best Song: “Remember Me” (Coco)

It is gratifying to see Roger Deakins rewarded for his amazing cinematography in Blade Runner 2049 (and also to chalk up another accolade for the film). I’m disappointed that Logan did not win any awards (especially because Patrick Stewart was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Dafne Keen (X-23) was up for Best Young Actress) but seeing Wonder Woman win for Best Action Movie partially makes up for it.

Seeing The Shape of Water win the biggest awards of the night (both in terms of number and importance, by which I mean it won Best Picture) confirms my thinking that this film will likely sweep a large portion of the Oscars in March. If this ends up happening, I will likely have to add the film to my viewing list (though I don’t watch many del Toro films, this one does sound intriguing).

There was also no surprise that Coco won Best Animated Feature (a well deserved honor) and Best Song. I’m still hoping to see Blade Runner 2049 pick up at least one award for its music but as of right now Desplat’s score for The Shape of Water is dominating in that category.

What do you think of the big winners from The Critics’ Choice Awards? Do you disagree with any of the winners? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂

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New TV series ‘Krypton’ receives a full trailer

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Krypton trailer

Okay, I admit, I might be able to get into this series after all.

When it was first announced (what feels like a million years ago) that SyFy was producing a TV show set on Krypton and following Superman’s grandfather as a young man, my first instinct was to roll my eyes and mutter “Great, just what we need, another show to rewrite some of the backstory for Superman.” In another time, I might have been excited about the concept were it not for the fact that I consider myself overexposed to superheroes and their inevitable origin stories. Therefore, I was determined to ignore Krypton.

And then the full trailer came out. Suffice it to say I was…intrigued.

In the trailer, Seg-El (the future Superman’s grandfather) is a young man dealing with the fact that the House of El, hitherto highly respected, has now been ostracized and shamed (for reasons as yet unknown). His life is further turned upside down when he encounters Adam Strange, a time traveler from Earth, who tells Seg-El that he needs to save Krypton because in his (Adam’s) time, Seg-El’s grandson becomes “the greatest hero in the universe.” But this admission of what’s to come leaves Seg-El in a bind (one that I suspect will be the overriding arc of the series): having an idea of what’s to come, does he work to save Krypton from destruction and thereby change history…or does he work to make sure that the original timeline is preserved?

Of course, given that it would cause way too many conundrums to have Krypton be saved, we all know what Seg-El’s eventual decision will be, but I have the feeling the series will (hopefully) take some interesting turns on the way to the inevitable conclusion (aka Krypton goes BOOM!) Would it sound weird if I said I hope that a series finale includes some visuals of Krypton’s destruction? Hopefully the series gets that far, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see for now.

Krypton is currently set to premiere on March 21st, 2018 on the SyFy channel.

Are you excited to learn more about the House of El and seeing life on Krypton before it blew up? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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For more Quick and Random Thoughts, see here

2018 BAFTA Nominations

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We’re in the midst of awards season, which is always an exciting time of year for film lovers. It’s finally time to see which of our beloved new movies will get the recognition they so richly deserve (or which don’t, the latter happens all too frequently it seems).

The 71st British Academy Film Awards (or BAFTAs) will be held on February 18th, 2018 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. I believe that BAFTAs are considered the British equivalent of the American Academy Award (correct me if I’m wrong).

Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water leads with a whopping 12 nominations; Darkest Hour and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri each have 9 nominations; Blade Runner 2049 and Dunkirk both have 8 nominations; I, Tonya has 5; Call Me By Your Name and Phantom Thread have 4; Lady Bird, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool and and Paddington 2 have 3; and among the list of films with 2 nominations, I would like to highlight Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Beauty and the Beast, Get Out and Lady Macbeth.

As I commented yesterday on the blog’s Facebook page, I am thrilled to see Blade Runner 2049 get 8 BAFTA nominations. After the film received nothing at the Golden Globes (not even a single nomination), I was very worried that the critically acclaimed but unprofitable sequel would be all but ignored during the awards season. To see so many nominations therefore, makes me feel much better. Since it’s release, people have been demanding (and outright betting) that Roger Deakins will earn awards for Best Cinematography (and with my memories of that film, I hope he does).

Star Wars: The Last Jedi was only nominated for Best Special Visual Effects (no surprise) and Best Sound, which sadly does not disappoint me. Of course I’d like to see all of John Williams’ scores get nominated, but I know that can’t always happen.

As always, the categories I regularly pay attention to are: Best Animated Film; Best Original Music; Best Sound; and of course, Best Film. (of course all of the categories are important, this is just my personal preference).

For Best Animated Film, I am sure that Coco will win (as it did in the Golden Globes), though I would also like to see Loving Vincent win as well.

For Best Original Music, I am hoping Blade Runner 2049 will be recognized. I am in awe that they were able to recreate the soundscape of the Blade Runner world as well as they did.

For Best Sound, I am hoping either Blade Runner 2049 or Star Wars: The Last Jedi win this category.

For Best Film, I would like to see Dunkirk be recognized, though I have a feeling The Shape of Water is going to sweep up a lot of awards.

Which films are you hoping will win big at the BAFTA Awards in February? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

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For more Quick and Random Thoughts, see here

A full trailer for Red Sparrow is here!

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Ever since I saw the first teaser, Red Sparrow has been on my radar of films to keep an eye on. Based on the novel of the same name by Jason Matthews, the story will follow Dominika Egorova (the titular “Red Sparrow”) who is trained to spy for Russia via the art of seduction. She is also a highly talented ballerina (though whether this was a part of her life before she began training as a spy or is merely a cover is not known). Her life becomes even more complicated when she is assigned to seduce an agent from the CIA and she finds herself falling in love with him.

Red Sparrow full trailer (2018)

This story about a beautiful Russian spy (who trains at a secret spy school) who is also a talented dancer has inevitably drawn comparisons to Marvel’s Black Widow (and it’s true, the two stories share many similarities, which makes one wonder why Marvel still won’t pull the trigger on giving Natasha a film of her own, but that’s a discussion for another time). Despite the similarities, this is not (as some have thought) a Black Widow origin story in disguise, though it could easily serve as one in a perfect world.

I’m very excited about this film: it is being directed by Francis Lawrence (notable for his work on The Hunger Games series) and the music is being composed by James Newton Howard (who also composed music for The Hunger Games series, which makes Red Sparrow something of a reunion). The cast also features Jeremy Irons, one of my favorite actors, playing a Russian general, and Joel Edgerton in the role of Nathaniel Nash, the CIA agent that Dominika falls for.

Given that this is a spy film (and the multiple twists of Atomic Blonde are still relatively fresh in my mind), I have to believe that there will be some kind of twist by the end of the story. It will most likely be revealed that either Dominika or Nathaniel (or possibly both) are using the other, which will likely result in one of them winding up dead (or, in a better case scenario, they both live but they also have to contend with whatever genuine feelings they may have held). I could be wrong on all counts, but it is always fun to speculate.

Watch the trailer for Red Sparrow at the link above and let me know what you think in the comments below. Are you excited about the story? I can’t wait to see it (it’s due to come out on March 2nd).

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