Friday, 29 July 2016

Reviewed by Patrick and Paul Gibbs


 Out of Four

Starring Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassell, Julia Stiles
Based on the Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Screenplay by Paul Greengrass & Christopher Rouse
Directed by Paul Greengrass

There are be plenty of critics saying that "Jason Bourne" isn't up there with the very best of the series, and pleading a case that the series should have been left to end with "The Bourne Ultimatum", which is one of the best trilogy wrap ups in popular film. And they might have a very solid point, except that it didn't end there. The studio wanted more, and as such, things veered wildly off track with "The Bourne Legacy", the overlong, outlandish and largely personality free Jeremy Renner spin-off which didn't even involve Jason Bourne, but did feature very brief appearances by most of the supporting cast of "Ultimatum", who came on screen just long enough invalidate the wrap up and leave the franchise more open ended so it could be milked for more,e and "oh babe, then it fell apart." In fairness,  "Legacy" was not a genuinely terrible film, but it was a very silly story that seemed more like a setup for a superhero movie than one that took place in the gritty world of the Paul Greengrass "Bourne" sequels, and it just never had any idea where it was going. It was the feature film equivalent of that season of "The Dukes of Hazzard" where cousins Coy and Vance took over for Bo and Luke.

As such, the franchise was left in a very weak state, and "Jason Bourne" was absolutely needed to bring it back on track, whether it be for to set things up for future installments, or just to fix mistakes and leave it on a more sure footing. While the new installment plays like an epilogue to the trilogy, better to end on an epilogue than a footnote. At least it gets it back to where it's supposed to be, and does so in style.

The film begins with Jason Bourne/David Webb (Damon) living off the grid in Greece, and making his living as a brawler, fighting bigger and stronger opponents and winning through his extensive training and skills, and perhaps more than a little bit of unfocused rage. He can't forgive himself for the things he did and what he used to be, and this tortured existence is something of a self inflicted punishment. But his world is shaken up a bit with the arrival of a figure from his past: Nicky Parsons (Stiles), the Treadstone analyst with whom Jason had once had a romantic relationship. Nicky tells Bourne that just because he remembers everything now doesn't mean he knows everythin g, and that the top secret black ops program is starting up again, and she needs his help to stop it. This leads to a dazzling chase sequence in the best Bourne tradition.

To reveal much more of the story set up would  require too many spoilers, but Bourne is pitted against the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Robert Dewey (Academy Award Winner Tommy Lee Jones, who adds a thrilling presence to the proceedings) an assassin with a score to settle (Cassell), and a mysterious young rising star in the agency, Heather Lee (last year's breakout star, Alicia Vikander.).

The plot is actually pretty thin, but it all works well enough, and the action is every bit as pulse pounding as you would expect, in the raw, signature Greengrass style that has been often imitated but never duplicated. Not only does nobody do it better, quite frankly, nobody else really even comes close.

Damon commands the screen as usual, and whether he's fighting, demanding answers, or merely brooding, he' is always riveting to watch in this role. He is given able support from the rest of the cast, especially Jones and Vikander. While the screenplay by director Greengrass and Christopher Rouse, who won an Oscar for his work as editor on "Ultimatum" is lacking in any real sense of humor or many classic lines, it holds together and provides a sturdy base for the film. Still, it would have been preferable to enlist the aid of a veteran screenwriter to punch things up. This installment is intelligent and topical, with its hacking and "Wikileaks" plotline ridiculously topical at the moment, but it doesn't have the strong character connection moments or deep gazes into the moral quagmire of Bourne's world that we've gotten from the series at its best.

The biggest thing the film is missing is Joan Allen, who was almost as key a player as Greengrass in kicking things up a notch in the second film, and without her presence, we definitely found ourselves more prone to the thinking "get back to Bourne" more often than usual.

Still, there is far more that hits this mark than misses, and while "Jason Bourne" falls short of classic status, but it's still one of the most briskly entertaining movies of the summer, and is likely to leave most fans satisfied.


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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Stranger Things

Stranger Things is a Netflix original eight part TV series that is a love letter to Steven Spielberg and those 80's supernatural classics that, if you are of a certain age would eagerly pop into your family's video recorder and play over and over again.

Set in 1983 Indiana, the plot of Stranger Things begins with a young boy vanishing into thin air. As friends, family and local police search for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top­ secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one very strange little girl.

Stranger Things

Stranger Things stars: Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers), David Harbour (Chief Hopper), Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers), Millie Brown (Eleven), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), Cara Buono (Karen Wheeler) and Matthew Modine (Dr. Brenner)

The kids in Stranger Things really do steal the show and all act like your typical geeky 80's kid would act like, playing Dungeons and Dragons, riding BMX bikes and wielding walkie talkies.  In casting the kids, Ross Duffer says, “There weren’t any other kids who could do these roles. These are the kids. We searched all over the world and auditioned thousands of young actors. Once we found our four main kids, they really inspired our writing and the characters.” For instance, Gaten (Dustin) does not yet have a front teeth due to a condition called Cleidocranial dysplasia, so the Duffers incorporated this into the character’s backstory.

Stranger Things

The series is directed by The Duffer Brothers who don't have, relatively speaking a huge career behind them but Stranger Things can easily be regarded as their breakout crowning achievement.  From the opening shot of episode one to the very last scene in episode eight we are treated to a TV series that obviously has taken influences from the classic horrors of the 1980s and the Steven Spielberg connection is abundant throughout.  The strong mother, the suburban existence, a close community feel and the BMX riding kids who don't quite fit in are all present.  Matt Duffer tells us "We have so much nostalgia and love for this era. We really wanted to see something on television that was in the vein of the classic films we loved growing up: Spielberg, John Carpenter, as well as the novels of Stephen King. And to us, what makes all of these stories so great to us -- and so resonant -- is that they all explore that magical point where the ordinary meets the extraordinary. When we were growing up, we were just regular kids, living in the suburbs of North Carolina, playing Dungeons and Dragons with our nerdy friends. But when we watched these films and read these books, we felt transported. Suddenly our lives had the potential for adventure -- maybe tomorrow we would find a treasure map in the attic, maybe my brother would vanish into the TV screen. We really want to capture that feeling with Stranger Things. We want to bring that feeling to people who grew up on those films -- and we also want to bring it to a whole new generation.”

Stranger Things

Having watched the series myself, I can totally feel the Spielberg influence as well as a John Carpenter vibe especially the retro music which from time to time reminds me of Halloween or Creepshow.  The look of Stranger Things is gloriously retro with toys from the era (look out for a scene with a Kenner Millennium Falcon) and a town that seems to be taken straight from 1983.  In fact Stranger Things was filmed both on sound stages as well as on location in Atlanta.

Production designer Chris Trujillo was tasked with creating the world of Hawkins, Indiana, in Georgia and set in 1983 – was no small feat.  Trujillo says about the world the Duffer brothers wanted was “A recreation of what we remembered and loved growing up as kids in the 80s – a reinvention of classic American cinema from the early 80s. This was a dream project for me because this was my world as a kid.”

“Atlanta was actually quite the perfect location to play Hawkins because of its similar typography as well as the treasure troves of set d├ęcor we discovered at estate sales,” said Trujillo.  “We’d freak people out! We’d find these amazing homes that look like time capsules from the late 70s and early 80s and go in and go in and basically buy everything, including what was in the junk drawers.”

From Schlitz beer cans to walkie talkies to Dungeons and Dragons to wood paneled station wagons, Stranger Things evokes the 80s in subtle but meaningful ways. “We never wanted it to be ‘in-your-face’ 80s and obvious,” said Trujillo. “The lived-in look was important to us so that it would feel familiar to audiences, and not distract them.”

Stranger Things

The opening scene of Stranger Things sees a group of kid playing Dungeons and Dragons which I would like to think was a nod to Steven Spielberg's E.T. which also has a scene with the kids playing a role playing game.  However they weren't allowed to use the term Dungeons and Dragons in the 1982 Spielberg classic due to not being able to obtain the licence to do so.

The Duffers are heavily influenced by Stephen King and Steven Spielberg. Ross says, “We were obsessed with their books and movies because it felt their stories were about people we knew and you throw in the monsters, supernatural and UFOs and it then feels like you’re experiencing it yourself.  We were influenced by so many things - movies, videogames and books, and then we kind of put it in a blender and mixed it up.”

Matt adds, “What’s fun about the show is that it’s a bit of a rollercoaster - it has a little bit of everything. We follow three different generations: kids, teens, and adults. We like to think of each of these generations as existing in a different 80s universe. The adults are in a Spielberg film -- these imperfect individuals who slowly but inevitably come to realize that something very extraordinary is taking place around them. The teens are in an 80s horror film like Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street, where the pains of high school and the loss of innocence is juxtaposed with supernatural evil. And the kids are in a Stephen King novel, like Stand by Me or It: nerdy outsiders from a small town who have to band together to face this terrifying horror.”

“We want everyone to watch the show,” says Ross. “If you’re a 12-year-old, you can relate to the kids, if you’re a teenager, you can relate to Jonathan and Nancy, and if you’re an adult you can relate to Winona and David’s characters. The kids are based on who we were like as kids playing nerdy games in the basement so I think adults will also see themselves in the kids.”

Even the opening credits have a wonderful retro feel with grainy specs appearing as if you're watching on your VHS (or Betamax.)  The title sequence was inspired by the work of Richard Greenberg, who  designed a number of classic 80s title sequences (including ​ Alien, Altered States, Superman and The Goonies.)

I don't want to give anything away regarding the plot but I can say if you enjoyed the 'monster of the week' X-Files episodes then you will love Stranger Things.  Yes there is a monster but unlike most horror TV and movies, it isn't overused.  We get glimpses of the creature but a lot of the time it's left up to our imagination.  It's not until the final episodes do we truly get to see the 'thing' that is terrorizing the kids and the town.  The monster was achieved through a combination of prosthetics, animatronics,  performance, and CG.

If you've lost faith with the current state of movies and TV, if you think that there's too much CGI these days and not enough suspense and clever camera work, if you think that filmmakers carry the viewer and don't give them chance to use their own imagination then please give Stranger Things a try.  I know you won't be disappointed.  I was gripped throughout all eight episodes and along the way I had a few smiles on my face when I noticed something I had during my childhood.

If Stranger Things had been released in the 80's, I can assure you I would have recorded this on my best VHS tape, broken the recording tab and written in my best handwriting on the spine 'Do Not Record Over.'

Stranger Things is available now on Netflix



Rob Wainfur
@thebeardedtrio



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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

star wars exile

With the new wave of exciting Star Wars projects ever since Disney's purchase of LucasArts in 2012, fans have been more active than ever in creating their own content related to the franchise - and every now and then, there's a fan film that stands out as a fantastic tribute to the galaxy far, far away. Independent filmmakers and Georgia State University alumni Noel Braham and Pokey Spears are among these devoted fans, having directed and produced a new and exhilarating fan film, Star Wars: Exile - Episode 1.

Star Wars: Exile has caught the attention of fans by entailing action, drama, and twists that keep you captivated throughout, exemplifying the process of storytelling that is stirring fans to demand a continuation of the story.

An entirely fan-made story set within the Star Wars universe, here's the official synopsis:
Jedi around the galaxy are being viciously hunted and killed by the evil Galactic Empire. Aware of the imminent danger, Jedi Master Boemana Tora played by Georginna Savoye and her Padawan Makal Lori (Noel Braham), flee to the outer rim systems close to the planet of Lothal. The story begins with a dangerous chase on the planet of Endor, as the plot develops, the evil Inquisitor (Pokey Spears), a sith assassin, is sent to hunt and kill Jedi around the galaxy and those who are force sensitive. 
Star Wars: Exile has already had huge success!

Star Wars Exile made its theatrical debut in independent theaters in Los Angeles, CA and Atlanta, GA in screenings that attracted over 500 guests! Audiences went crazy over the climactic film and have been asking for more ever since its release.
The series was also digitally released on the official website on March 13, 2016 and already has over 325k views on YouTube!

Along with the attention paid by fans, the film also caught the attention of sites such as The Mary Sue, io9-Gizmodo and a plethora of Facebook communities. 

This compelling short was only shot on a two day production schedule on location and was created with a limited budget and little to no resources. Considering the budget that was used, the film impresses its audience with superb writing, acting, visual effects, cinematography, and music.
Nonetheless, this project reflects the talent, hard work, and sacrifice from an amazing crew and staff. This film also reflects a diverse cast and crew from different walks of life culture, and religion that separates Star Wars Exile from any other Star Wars fan film.

Check out the website at www.starwarsexile.com and watch the first episode below:




star wars exile

star wars exile

star wars exile

star wars exile

star wars exile


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Tuesday, 26 July 2016


Mark Rylance and director Steven Spielberg talk 'The BFG' on BBC Breakfast, July 18th 2016



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Monday, 25 July 2016

Star Trek The Classic Episodes
Celebrate 50 Years of Star Trek with the adapted tales of The Original Series in this amazing competition.

To celebrate Star Trek's 50th anniversary, The Bearded Trio are giving you a chance at winning a copy of Star Trek: The Classic Episodes by James Blish and J. A. Lawrence.

The book includes: 'Amok Time', 'The Doomsday Machine', 'The Trouble with Tribbles' and Hugo Award winners, 'The City on the Edge of Forever' and 'The Menagerie'. Brought together in a beautiful leather bound jacket with silver gilt edging this is a perfect gift for any fan of Star Trek’s Original Series.

Between 1966 and 1969, Star Trek travelled boldly through outer space and into the heart of matters that defined the human condition. This anthology collects 45 classic episodes that aired in the series' first three seasons and has been adapted by James Blish and J. A. Lawrence from scripts by Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson and other leading science fiction writers.

Star Trek The Classic Episodes

The book would be a worthy and beautiful addition to any Trekker's collection and is currently worth £40 on Amazon.

To be in with a chance at winning Star Trek The Classic Episodes, all you have to do is answer this question:

Mr Spock is half human and half what?

A - Vulcan
B - Romulan
C - Ferengi

To enter either tweet the answer to @thebeardedtrio or on our Facebook page.  Closing date for entering is Sunday 7th August 12pm GMT.  We will choose a winner at random and notify the winner where we will ask for a mailing address.  No alternative prize can be given.

Good luck.

Information on the book:

Title - Star Trek: The Classic Episodes
Author - Adapted by James Blish and J. A. Lawrence
ISBN - 9780385365246
Publisher - Barnes&Noble
Amazon Link - UK 
Amazon Link - US

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As part of their summer Retro Series, Marcus Theatres will be showcasing the work of Steven Spielberg during the month of August. The chosen films are Jurassic Park, Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Admission is only five dollars and you will have three chances to catch each film. If you missed these films on the big screen during their initial run, this is an event you won't want to miss!

The schedule is as follows:

Sundays at noon, and Mondays and Thursdays at 7p.m.

Jurassic Park -- August 7, 8, and 10

Jaws -- August 14, 15, and 17

Saving Private Ryan -- August 21, 22, and 24

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial -- August 28, 29, and 31

Also, in September, Back to the Future will be featured on the 18th, 19th, and the 21st.

For more information, visit MarcusTheatres.com

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Contact Lisa at lisad@coffeewithkenobi.com

Sunday, 24 July 2016

spielberg blue peter badge

Watch the moment legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg joins the prestigious Blue Peter 'Gold Badge Club'.



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Official First Look - Test Flight of the new USS Discovery NCC-1031

Revealed at Comic-Con 2016 by Executive Producer Bryan Fuller. Get a sneak peek of the newest ship in the "Star Trek" universe. Star Trek: Discovery premieres January 2017 on the CBS Television Network with the premiere and all subsequent episodes available exclusively on CBS All Access in the US and Canada and Netflix worldwide.




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Saturday, 23 July 2016


This is what happened when 2 guys with horns made a spontaneous decision to set up and play the Star Wars theme in front of John Williams' house on 7/11/2016! With the high part played by 13 yr. old trumpeter, Bryce Hayashi, and the lower flugelhorn part played by Michael Miller ("Mickle"), John Williams, the master himself, comes out to greet us at 01:24!



Prior to going to John Williams' house and performing Star Wars in front of his house, 13 yr. old Bryce Hayashi and Michael Miller ("Mickle") snuck in a rehearsal at a parking garage.



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Star Trek Giveaway - Win Star Trek The Classic Episodes Book Worth £40

Celebrate 50 Years of Star Trek with the adapted tales of The Original Series in this amazing competition. To celebrate Star Trek's ...

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Celebrating All the work from George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and John Williams. All the latest news updated daily. We are geeks and huge fans of their works. from Lucasarts, Lucasfilm, Star Wars, ILM, Skywalker Sound and loads more. We will try to bring all the latest everyday. Follow us on Twitter or on Facebook. Feel free to let us know what you feel about our site or if you have an article you would like us to post.

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