Tuesday, 24 October 2017

stranger things 2 illustrated poster



There's just a few days to go now before we return to the upside down world in Strangers 2.  To heighten your anticipation for this popular Netflix series they have released a new illustrated poster that seems to tip its hat to the classic 80's movie posters that we all love.  Drew Struzan would be proud.

The residents of Hawkins, Indiana are just getting over the horror of the first season and it seems they won't have time to relax as the new series continues.  Set in 1984 expect more glorious retro references and a wonderful soundtrack by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein.

The new series returns on October 27th and we will be reviewing the new series.


The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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Monday, 23 October 2017

harrison ford indiana jones total film

Top Movie magazine, Total Film have run a poll called the Greatest Movie Characters Ever.  8000 votes have been cast from movie lovers and Indiana Jones has been revealed as the greatest movie character.  In fact Harrison Ford is represented twice in the top three with Han Solo coming in third.  Princess Leia rounds up the top ten making it three characters in the top ten from a George Lucas movie.

The editor of Total Film, Matt Maytum said: "Great characters make great movies: it's that simple. So it was about time we held another poll to find out who is considered the greatest movie character of all time. It was fascinating seeing which movie stars were as popular as ever, as well as the dominant new franchises that are shaping the film landscape, and the classic cinematic icons that are still revered and respected. We're hoping that the list will inspire the same heated debated for our readers as we had in the office. Whoever your personal favourite is, there will be a cover for everyone."

Total Film are celebrating the poll by creating 100 different covers for the magazine which went on sale 20th October and is available for £4.99.

Total Film's 100 Greatest Movie Characters Top 10:

1. Indiana Jones

2. Batman

3. Han Solo

4. Ellen Ripley

5. James Bond

6. Travis Bickle

7. Hannibal Lecter

8. Gandalf

9. The Joker

10. Princess Leia

The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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CLICK HERE FOR FACTS ON JOHN WILLIAMS

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Cover art for Michael Klastorin's book
  Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Ultimate Visual History


Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Ultimate Visual History 

By Michael Klastorin

Pre-Order on Amazon.com










Out of Four
Reviewed by Paul Gibbs



Close Encounters has always held a special place in my heart among Spielberg's not films, not just because of its cinematic excellence, but because at the age of 12 I immersed myself in the story of its production by reading Bob Balaban's excellent Close Encounters of the Third Kind Diary, easily one of the most engaging and entertaining books ever written about filmmaking. This was essential in the development of my understanding of the filmmaking process, and as such I probably know more about the making of Close Encounters than any other feature film (with the exception of the cult classic schlock film Troll 2, in which I appeared as one of the evil vegetarian goblins.). In September of this year, I was chosen to be part of a panel at Salt Lake Comic Con called Close Encounters of the Third Kind at 40, in which a group of writers and filmmakers looked back at the film and its impact. While I may have been the second most wonky CE3K geek on the panel, my knowledge was far surpassed by our moderator, Michael Klastorin, a career unit publicist who informed us that his book Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Ultimate Visual History would be published in the fall. Finding Klastorin a delightful, articulate and intelligent person with a wealth of knowledge, I was itching to read the book, and a few weeks ago he was kind enough to email me and offer me the chance to review it in advance for The Bearded Trio. Having spent the last week devouring and savoring this superb work, I can tell you it's one any serious Spielberg fan (and especially CE3K  fans) will want to own.


Pages from the book
Exhaustively researched,cohesively organized and extremely engaging, The Ultimate Visual History belongs right alongside Balaban's book as the definitive accounts of the making of the film. Tracing it from early development (even going back as far as the moment in Spielberg's childhood when his father woke him up and took him out to see the Orionid meteor shower, creating his lifelong love of the night sky), and going all the way to the eventual completion of the 1997 Director's Edition, Klastorin's book is brimming over with information, but still manages to be a fast and eminently enjoyable read. From insight into the individual contributions of the various uncredited screeplay contributors to detailed looks at Joe Alves' set designs, the book actually contains plenty of material that was new to me.

Extensive interviews with Steven Spielberg himself provides detailed insight into all stages and facets of the film's production, and are augmented by interviews with many of the surviving cast and crew (regrettably, legendary cinematographer Vilmosz Zsigmond passed away in 2016.). Best of all are the interviews with Cary Guffey, the 4-year old who so beautifully portrayed young Barry Guiler. Guffey, now a financial analyst who ojky appeared in a few more films, tells delightful stories about the techniques Spielberg used to elicit  his performance, which are all the more amusing (and sometimes poignant, as in the story of how a misunderstanding got authentic tears from the child as he watched the aliens leave  ) told in his own words. Guffey's memory of the emotions of the experience is remarkable, and he paints a vivid picture of what it was like. Melinda Dillon also contributes some great anecdotes about the unfortunate injuries she suffered (and kept secret on set for fear of being replaced.).

Some of the gorgeous production stills
As Close Encounters was a ground-breaking work of visual effects, detailed descriptions of how Douglas Trumbull and his crew created astonishing visuals are real highlight (in particular, the process for creating the clouds that appear when Barry is abducted fascinated me.). And the book is visually dazzling, with gorgeous color and black and white behind the scenes photos (and stills from the film}, as well storyboards, script pages  with notes from Spielberg, and even a telgram to Spielberg from Francois Truffaut .

Far from being a mere piece publicity cash-in on the 40th anniversary, this is top notch piece research and writing that enhances our knowledge and love of the film, and our celebration of this milestone.  It's a book I'm sure I'll re-read many times in years to come, and it has me anxious to read some of Klastorin's other works (such as his Back to the Future visual history). If your the kind of fasn who, well, reads The Bearded Trio, you'll want to read this book.




The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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Saturday, 21 October 2017

adam sadler howard stern

Adam Sandler got a call from Steven Spielberg while he was filming "Schindler's List," who wanted to offer praise for the "Red Hooded Sweatshirt" sketch on "SNL" which helped him laugh on an otherwise depressing movie set. See more: https://goo.gl/Y8lIaj



The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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CLICK HERE FOR FACTS ON JOHN WILLIAMS

Friday, 20 October 2017


George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.  Two names that seem to have been connected for as long as I can remember.  Even their seemingly everlasting friendship is an inspiration of this very website, or at least two-thirds anyway.  For decades the two directors have had a locked-in friendship but actually that wasn't always the case.  In the early days it was rivalry and jealously that preceded the friendship that we've come to know.

They first met in 1967 when an eighteen year old Spielberg watched THX-1138.  The George Lucas movie debuted at a student film festival at UCLA (University of California LA) the same place he got rejected from.  Spielberg was blown away by what he had seen.  He said:

"I realized that there was an entire generation coming out of NYU, USC and
UCLA.  THX-1138, made me jealous to the marrow of my bones. I was eighteen years old and had directed fifteen short films by that time, and this little movie was better than all of my movies combined."

Around the same time George Lucas had watched Steven Spielberg's Amblin and instead of feeling jealous or impressed by the young director's work he actually thought it was “saccharine.”

It wasn’t until four years later that they crossed paths again when Lucas was at Francis Ford Coppola's house.  A screening of Steven Spielberg's Duel was taking place and Lucas thought he would catch ten minutes of the movie to see what it was all about.  Lucas said:

"Since I'd met Steven, I was curious about the movie and thought I'd sneak upstairs and catch 10 or 15 minutes. Once I started watching I couldn't tear myself away.  I thought, This guy is really sharp. I've got to get to know him better."

Spielberg's mild jealousy of Lucas seemed to be still with him even after American Graffiti and admitted in a later interview that "I was admiring and jealous of his style and proximity to audiences."  The admiration for the director was made public however when he called American Graffiti "the best American movie" he had ever seen.

The rivalry was still there when Star Wars was at the centre of Lucas's attention but by now they also had huge respect for one another and a working relationship that came about due to their love for the industry.  In fact it was Spielberg who defended the movie after some high profile people had run it down in previews.  Spielberg even offered to help on the movie and do some second unit work but unfortunately Lucas said no.  Star Wars was his project and the rejection left Spielberg disappointed.


George Lucas believed in Star Wars but maybe not the box office success.  He even joked with Spielberg saying that some day he would beat Jaws.  It seemed Spielberg had more faith in the success of Star Wars than George Lucas did.  In fact Spielberg still makes money on Star Wars over thirty years after making a bet with George Lucas. Lucas was so sure it would be a flop in 1977, he offered Spielberg a percentage of the takings from his sci-fi epic, in exchange for the same percentage from Close Encounters of the Third Kind which was directed by Spielberg and released the same year as Star Wars.  Spielberg recalls

“George came back from Star Wars a nervous wreck. He didn’t feel Star Wars came up to the vision he initially had. He felt he had just made this little kids’ movie. He came to Mobile, Alabama, where I was shooting Close Encounters on this humongous set and hung out with me for a couple of days.  He said, Oh my God, your movie is going to be so much more successful than Star Wars. This is gonna be the biggest hit of all time.  You want to trade some points? I’ll give you two and a half per cent of Star Wars, if you give me two and a half per cent of Close Encounters. I said Sure, I’ll gamble with that, great. And I think I came out on top of that bet.  Close Encounters made so much money, it rescued Columbia from bankruptcy. It was the most money I had ever made, but it was a meagre success story. Star Wars was a phenomenon and I was the happy beneficiary of a couple of points from that movie which I am still seeing money on today.”

letter from steven spielberg to george lucas

We mentioned that Close Encounters and Star Wars was released in the same year, well this caused some stress for Spielberg.  Close Encounters producer Michael Phillips recalls:

"Steven felt really upset about the fact that they (Star Wars) were coming out ahead of us.  Star Wars was our rival."

Even listening to previews of the Star Wars soundtrack caused stress for Steven.  He had introduced John Williams to George Lucas and after listening to his pieces thought that George had got the best out of the composer.


After 1977 the paths of the two directors were coming together and instead of two rivals that respected each other they became friends and allies to benefit movie viewers and ultimately movie makers all over the world.

After Star Wars and Close Encounters the two decided to take a vacation to Hawaii where they ultimately decided to make a movie together.  That of course was the birth of Indiana Smith which was promptly changed by Spielberg to Indiana Jones.

the relationship of steven spielberg and george lucas

Two talents working together brought about by their rivalry, respect and love for movies and instead of these emotions getting in the way of their creative process, they built on them and turned them into an asset.  It's hard to think that their relationship started with one feeling jealous and the other not impressed with their work. Today we see George Lucas and Steven Spielberg as best of friends who had the same passion for the movie industry and were motivated by the same goals, making good movies.

Rob Wainfur
@thebeardedtrio







The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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ONLY THE BRAVE
    Starring Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges
      James Badge Dale,  Taylor Kitsch, Jennifer Connelly
Written by Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer
Directed by Joseph Kozinki



















Reviewed by Patrick & Paul Gibbs


 Out of Four


Director Joseph Kosinksi made a name for himself with 2010's Tron: Legacy, but it wasn't necessarily a good name (in fairness, his name was "Kosinski" to begin with.). It was more of a mixed name - a guy who could create loud spectacles and give us eye popping visuals, but couldn't deliver substance or a cohesive story line -  and that mixed named only continued with Oblivion, which we maintain was an entertaining (if disposable) movie that unfortunately just felt far too much like too many genuine sci fi classics, from the overall Ray Bradbury feel to the surprise twist that it turned out we were actually watching Duncan Jones' indie classic Moon the whole time.

The new recruit (Miles Teller) listens as the Cowboy Fireman (Josh Brolin)
that every man wanted to be when they were a kid (or an aspiring member
    of The Village People) learns him a thing or two about fightin' faaars, bein'
part of a team and other life lessons in the drama
 Only The Brave.
(Image Courtesy Black Label Media and Sony Pictures)

.
  
Now, before he moves on to taking the place of the late Tony Scott on Top Gun: Maverick, Kosinki has delivered the "based on a true story" firefighter drama Only The Brave, the story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite group of men trained to fight wildfires from the ground. If there are two film genres (aside from military movies) that are constantly in danger of getting bogged down in maudlin and macho hero worship, it's true life dramas and firefighter movies. Backdraft was cheesy and unabashedly sentimental but earnest and exciting, but Ladder 49 should not be viewed while operating heavy machinery, if you get our drift. This looked like an American cowboy, rugged "real men" movie that was going to be tough to sit through, and especially with the title itself dripping with testosterone, we went in with pretty low expectations. And it is indeed full of rugged cowboy types and a strong (though not overplayed) sense of Americana. But it's also very engaging, moving and surprisingly thoughtful, and shot with a keen eye without every trying too hard to dazzle us. It marks Kozinki's arrival as a director with range and an ability to tell good a story, and to get top flight performances from a cast. We've gone from wondering if he can pull off Top Gun to being excited to see what he chooses as a follow up.

The story centers around Eric "Supe" Marsh (Josh Brolin) , the leader of the outfit and a man so devoted to his job/obsession that has little room for anything else, barely fitting in his wife Amanda (Jennifer Connelly.). Marsh eats, sleeps and breathes fire (he's actually up for a small role in How To Train Your Dragon 3) and  he expects nothing less from his crew. But when Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller) - a young recovering drug addict who needs needs a chance to become a better person and provide for his newly born daughter - wants to join the team, Marsh surprises everyone by giving the kid a chance. When the out of shape Brendan joins the team for a long run, only to throw up more than once and finish more than an hour later than the others, he earns the nickname "Donut" from a group of guys who don't want or trust him as they prepare to certify as the first Hotshot team in their region. But Brendan is determined to stick with it, especially when it becomes clear that no one believes he will.

He came out of the woods, looking for unsuspecting campers
with pic-a-nic baskets,  and hell  followed with him.

(Image Courtesy Black Label Media and Sony Pictures)
The story is quite formulaic and largely devoid of surprises (though when it does offer them, they really do surprise) and doesn't do anything to brake the mold. But that ends up being a very strong choice, as Kosinki is very comfortable letting it be a movie with a strong sense of itself, and it keeps the audience hooked by making you care about the characters because they feel like real people (even when they are filling in all of the requisite character types.).

It should come as a surprise to no one that the stellar cast is what makes this so special, with Brolin leading the way by making his manly man gruff leader so vulnerable and human, and Teller daringly playing Brendan as the unexceptional guy he is, without superstar charisma or anything screaming out "this kid is the lead in a movie", which makes us care about him so much more as he strives to find his better self.  The friction turned friendship between Donut and Mack (Taylor Kitsch, in what is easily his most comfortable and solid big screen performance) is very predictable, but it couldn't play much better if it tried to (and again, Kosinki's masterstroke with this film is in knowing just where the line of trying too hard is and almost never crossing it.). The perennially underrated James Badge Dale adds great support as Jesse Steed, Marsh's trusted second in command, and Jeff Bridges (seemingly here in a somewhat thankless supporting role because he fights for his user, Kosinski) manages to finally break out of his pattern of just repeating his Rooster Cogburn performance (he slips closer to the voice at some times than others, but keeps it grounded) while being so country he even wears a cowboy hat at times.


The Granite Mountain Hotshots prepare to do battle with the Yarnell wildfire.
(Image Courtesy Black Label Media and Sony Pictures)
But the standout here is Jennifer Connelly, who has become one of the best "in the moment" actors in the business. Connelly's ability to portray strong emotions by refuse to "emote:, but instead just letting her character react honestly to what is going on around her is remarkable, and she can find the truth in even the over the top moments. She a prime example of what the Meisner' method can do when it's done right.

Probably the biggest major flaw to the movie is that it assumes too much in terms the audience's understanding of the techniques used to fight wildfires. While the choice to avoid talking down to the audience is appreciated, we very freely admit that it took us some time to figure out why these guys were literally fighting fire with fire. Looking back the next day, the film teaches you a lot about the subject, but it can be quite frustrating at times while watching it for the first time.

Only The Brave is well worth your time and the price of  a ticket, and if you're in an area where it is playing in IMAX, so much the better.


The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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Thursday, 19 October 2017

spielberg doc uk date

HBO's impressive documentary on Steven Spielberg has been shown to glowing praise over in the United States while the rest of us cross our hands and wait impatiently.  Over here in the UK The Bearded Trio has been trying to get a date of Sky Atlantic for the last few weeks and yesterday we got one. 

Set your Sky planners for 29th October at 9pm.

Here's our tweet and the reply from @SkyAtlantic









The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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Land Speeder in "Science and Star Wars"

Lucasfilm and Disney have released the fourth episode of Science and Star Wars, the popular digital series that answers how close real-world science has come to our favorite Star Wars technology. Today’s episode explores Hover Vehicle Technology.

The team is joined by Diana Williams of Lucasfilm Story Group -- one of the four people responsible for determining all Star Wars canon -- to help construct (and test drive) an actual human-sized land speeder made out of plywood, cardboard and leaf blowers.     


With modern science, there are two major ways engineers can replicate ‘speeders’ from the Star Wars films and pop culture: 1) through the use of compressed air to “hover” hardware; and 2) the use of repellent magnetic forces to levitate objects for a faster, smoother ride. Both are discussed by experts in their respective fields, including USC professor of aeronautical engineering David Barnhart and magnetoelectronics expert Kevin Roche.

Over the course of the next six episodes, Science and Star Wars will continue to explore science fantasy, science fact, and the gray area in between, Tuesdays on the official Star Wars Facebook page.

Land Speeder in "Science and Star Wars"


Land Speeder in "Science and Star Wars"


The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.


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CLICK HERE FOR FACTS ON JOHN WILLIAMS

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Inline image 1

As members of the Rebel Alliance, Ezra and the Ghost crew must accept a mission to spy on an Imperial outpost they'd rather destroy. After being separated from Hera and Kanan, Ezra and Sabine join the desperate quest of Saw Gerrera (voiced by Forest Whitaker)​ to hunt down the Empire's elusive secret super weapon.
Saw Gerrera returns to "Star Wars Rebels" on MONDAY, OCTOBER 23 with five airings of a one-hour block of back-to-back episodes "In the Name of the Rebellion: Parts One and Two"throughout the day (12:30am, 3:00am, 7:30am, 5:30pm and 9pm EDT/PDT) on Disney XD and the DisneyNow App.
Binge-watch every episode of "Star Wars Rebels" available now on the DisneyNow  App.



star wars rebels saw gerrera

star wars rebels saw gerrera

star wars rebels saw gerrera

star wars rebels saw gerrera

star wars rebels saw gerrera

star wars rebels saw gerrera



The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The Philadelphia Orchestra john williams

Mr. Williams and Stéphane Denève to Lead Orchestra
in Program of the Composer’s Film and Concert Music
Orchestra Subscribers Get First Access to Tickets Starting Today
John Williams to join @PhilaOrchestra for special benefit concert featuring some of his most beloved film and concert music 4/18
The Philadelphia Orchestra is delighted to welcome back five-time Academy Award- and 23-time Grammy Award-winning composer John Williams for a special one-night-only benefit concert on Wednesday, April 18, 2017 at Verizon Hall, curated specifically to celebrate the connection he shares with the Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève. Mr. Williams and Mr. Denève will share the podium for the performance, which will feature the composer's popular Tuba Concerto (led by Mr. Denève on the first half of the concert and featuring Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Tuba Carol Jantsch) and selections from his film scores including Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Star Wars and others (led by Mr. Williams on the second half of the concert). Philadelphia Orchestra subscribers get priority access to tickets beginning today. Single tickets will go on sale to the general public at a later date.
"I have been so proud to hear from the great John Williams how much he enjoyed conducting The Philadelphia Orchestra during our celebration of his music in 2016,” said Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève. “His return to Verizon Hall to conduct some of his most famous film scores is an extremely rare and inspiring occasion. It will be an immense honor and a deep joy for me to share the stage with him that night and to interpret his fabulous Tuba Concerto with soloist Carol Jantsch.”
“Over the past 10 years, I have had the privilege to develop a close relationship with John Williams, to discover that this precious man is as wondrous as his music is,” continued Denève. “I treasure this beautiful friendship and I am thrilled to share my admiration for both his concert and film music with Philadelphia audiences."
John Williams, Stéphane Denève, and the musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra are graciously donating their services for this concert.
 

John Williams in Concert

April 18 at 7:30 PM––Wednesday evening––Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

John Williams Conductor
Stéphane Denève Conductor
Carol Jantsch Tuba

Selections from film scores including:
Indiana Jones
Harry Potter
Star Wars
JFK

Plus: Tuba Concerto featuring Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Tuba Carol Jantsch

*Program subject to change; additional details to be announced at a later date
 


The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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solo title revealed

Shooting for the upcoming Han Solo movie has wrapped and director, Ron Howard today revealed the title of the film.  You ready for this?  It's called Solo: A Star Wars Story.  That must have taken an age to come up with.  Seriously though, it's nice and simple and does the job.  No need to over complicate things.

Here's the official press release and Ron Howard announcing the title.

DIRECTOR RON HOWARD WRAPS SHOOTING AND ANNOUNCES THE MOVIE’S MUCH-ANTICIPATED TITLE.

It’s time to set your hyperspace coordinates.

In a surprise announcement today, director Ron Howard revealed the official name of the untitled Han Solo film: Solo: A Star Wars Story. The announcement came in a post in which the acclaimed filmmaker (with a little help from an anonymous Wookiee) thanked his cast and crew as principal photography wrapped.

Check out his special message below:




I'll delete this logo then.  Not going to be needing it.


Rob Wainfur
@thebeardedtrio


The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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Monday, 16 October 2017

steven spielberg studying film

In this video clip, director Steven Spielberg talks about the importance of studying films beyond the recent past, how films of the CITIZEN KANE era influenced him and his filmmaking contemporaries, and how he requires his own children to watch "the classics."



The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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jaws behind the scenes beach


A long tracking shot is assured from this behind the scenes shot from Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975)

The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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CLICK HERE FOR FACTS ON JOHN WILLIAMS

Sunday, 15 October 2017

jaws steven spielberg shark poster phone


Steven Spielberg makes a phone call in front of Jaws Artwork.  Probably telling the producers the shark isn't working...Again

Saturday, 14 October 2017

stranger things 2 trailer

The latest and final trailer for Stranger Things Season 2 has been released.  Stranger Things 2 as the creators, Matt and Ross Duffer prefer to call it will be released on Netflix, 27th October just in time for Halloween.

The new series will pick up a year later and of course all kinds of weird goings on is still on the menu along with Eggos.  There's some weird spider cloud creature, telekinesis, strange dimensions and Eleven is back looking more sinister than ever.  The old gang seem to have a 'Lost Boys' confidence about them from the vibe in the trailer but we'll have to wait and see if that lasts throughout the season. 

One thing is for sure we are destined for more glorious retro 80's surroundings and a gripping story that has a tinge of Spielberg, King and Lovecraft.

The world turns Upside Down on October 27 on Netflix



The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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CLICK HERE FOR FACTS ON JOHN WILLIAMS
star wars secrets of the empire

A galaxy far, far away needs your help. In teams of four, be transported with family and friends in a brand new hyper-reality experience from Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB and The VOID.

Under the orders of the budding rebellion, your team will travel to the molten planet of Mustafar. Your mission is to recover Imperial intelligence vital to the rebellion’s survival. Alongside the pragmatic droid K-2S0, your team must navigate through an enemy facility walking into danger at every turn. Disguised as stormtroopers, grab your blaster, solve puzzles, and fight giant lava monsters in an effort to fulfill your team's orders.

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Friday, 13 October 2017


THE FOREIGNER 
Starring Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, 
Charlie Murphy, Orla Brady, Rory Fleck Byrne and Katie Leung
Based on the novel The Chinaman 
by Stephen Leather
Screenplay by David Marconi
Directed by Martin Campbell

















Reviewed by Patrick and Paul Gibbs

 Out Of Four


A thriller can be many things. But one thing it is not is 2 hours of people whining and griping at each other punctuated by what adds up to about 14 minutes of  fighting and explosions. And sadly, that's about all that The Foreigner has to offer as a film.

Based on the novel The Chinaman by Stephen Leather,  the film ostensibly is about Ngoc Minh Quan  (Jackie Chan) a Vietnamese retired Navy SEAL who is now a small business owner living in England, whose world is shattered when a bombing by a group calling themselves "The Authentic IRA" kills his daughter Fan (Katie Leung, best known as Cho Chang, Harry Potter's first girlfriend.) Determined to find the people responsible, Quan starts hounding Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), a former IRA member turned government official liaison between the British and Irish, charged with managing Irish affairs and helping to keep the peace. Quan believes that Hennessy either knows who is responsible for the attack or can lead him to someone who does, and refuses to let up until he gets answers. Eventually, he has to use his proverbial "very particular set of skills" to get results.

This sounds like a workable enough premise, even if the IRA doesn't feel like the most topical subject, and the casting of Brosnan and Chan, combined with the presence of Martin Campbell., director of GoldenEye and Casino Royale, two of the best films in the 007 franchise, gives plenty of reason to go into The Foreigner expecting a very solid action picture. So what went wrong?

Rare, never before seen footage of Jackie Chan's audition for Showgirls.
(Image Courtesy STX Films)
First of all, though Chan is given top billing and sold as a brooding, kick ass Asian Liam Neeson, he isn't the lead in this movie. In fact, when you put all of his scenes together it adds up to maybe 20 minutes of screen time. The vast majority of the film follows Bronsan's Hennessy, who is established right away as a vile man who is cheating on his wife and not particularly loyal to any cause save his own career. Brosnan gives his performance his level best, but he spends the bulk of the film either denying things or having yelling matches with other characters (most of whom are named Sean or Patrick) about who is the most Irish Irishman. In fact, the Emerald Isle clichés are piled so heavily and at such a constant pace that we kept waiting for a scene showing Brosnan listening to U2 or Sinéad O'Connor while cutting up pieces of potato to put in his bowl of Lucky Charms cereal.

A riveting example of the breakneck pacing and nonstop thrills in The Foreigner.
(Image Courtesy STX Films)
Chan does some solid acting in the very limited time he is given, indicating that the idea of putting him in a serious action thriller was not a bad one, but his underuse here is really quite startling, and while we were not adverse to the idea of keeping the action more grounded in reality, you don't go to a Jackie Chan movie to watch him fire a machine gun. Meanwhile, the various Seans and Patricks in the supporting cast make little to no impression, including the bland Rory Fleck Byrne as Hennesy's nephew, Sean, an Iraq war Special Ops vet who is working for his uncle but sleeping with his aunt (Orla Brady); Niall MacNamee as Patrick O'Reilly, the stoic terrorist who built the bomb that killed Fan, or Michael McElhatton and Dermot Crowley as Sean "Patrick Shaunessy and Patrick "Sean" Kilpatrick, Hennessy's right hand and his top IRA contact, respectively (it's possible we made up those last two character names.). As for the women in the film, the only two of note that aren't there to be sleeping with Henessy or Sean are Leung, who is one scene and almost succeeds in covering up her thick Scottish accent, and Lia Williams as Katherine Davies, the British official who Hennesy reports to, who gives a credible enough "which Redgrave am I thinking of right now?" performance but doesn't exactly make a lasting impression.

The amazingly creative "fight on a staircase' sequence that has
never before been seen in a spy thriller prior to The Foreigner.
(Image Courtesy STX Films)
Campbell does his best with what he has been given to work worth, which includes a limited budget and a truly terrible script by David Marconi (whose research seems to have consisted of watching Patriot Games several times.). The moments where the professional soldiers and other analysts thoughtfully make laughably obvious conclusions such as "it sounds like he must have had training" after hearing that Quan fought off multiple armed assailants and set off a home made bomb in the embassy, or "he's probably in those woods" come often enough that it is hard not to think of Charles Durning and Menelaus "Pappy" O'Daniel interacting with his idiot sons/advisers in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

In terms of Campbell's filmography, this isn't even up there with Edge of Darkness, much less Casino Royale, but honestly, even the extras are unlikely to point to this one as one a career highlight. Whomever had primary final creative control here (there are no less than 26 credited producers, executive producers and associate producers)  dropped enough balls here to rival Brett Favre's all time NFL fumbling record. This was Campbell's chance to finally get out of movie jail after the Green Lantern debacle, but it's not likely to do much for his career one way or the other, because it will be largely forgotten by next weekend.


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