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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Divergent Stills

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"Divergent"

"Divergent" (2014) is another young adult adventure/romance from the Summit division of Lionsgate. You know them, they're the ones that brought you the "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games" series of films.

So, "Divergent" is the latest film, soon to be a series, derived from a series of young adult novels by a young female author, Veronica Roth. We get the feisty young woman fighting against an oppressive society, attracted by a mysterious and brooding hunky guy who dominates all the other males. Everybody is either with the young woman or against her, but naturally she overcomes all opposition by virtue of being in the right when society as a whole is in the wrong. Meanwhile, the true opponents are women, while young men are shown as initially skeptical and resistant but ultimately adoring fans.

The film is set in a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. However, if you don't fit in, you are labelled "divergent." This happens to Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley). So far, so good, but when she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris turns to the mysterious Four (Theo James). Naturally, as they work together, they also fall in love.

The movie opened to the usual box office success, though not quite as much as either "Twilight" or "The Hunger Games." The formula still works, but there is the first, faint whiff of staleness in the air. Everybody involved will get filthy, stinking rich, tons of quandraries about where to your date on Saturday night will be solved for a few weeks, and we will see at least two sequels, and maybe four if business picks up for the first sequel.

These films hit the bullseye with their young female demographic, and that's terrific for them and terrific for the studio. They also are completely disposable, as it's difficult to imagine future generations returning to this type of film, which is so finely attuned to current female concerns, as some kind of enduring classic. But in truth, Hollywood is a business, and that business rolls on current profits, not tomorrow's hemming and hawing by film historians.

Now, as to whether you will like "Divergent," that is an unusually easy question to answer: did you like "Twilight"? Did you love "The Hunger Games"? If both answers are "no," don't even think of going to see "Divergent." If one answer is yes and the other is no, then go with your date if he/she (almost dead certain it will be she) expresses an interest.

If both answers are "yes," then "Divergent" is for you! Run, don't walk, to the theater, girl!


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2015

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Star Wars Behind the Scenes

Star Wars behind the scenes movieloversreviews.filminspector.com
Carrie Fisher caught at just the right moment


Every "Star Wars" fan knows that there were three original George Lucas movies starring Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guiness and a bunch of robots such as C3PO and R2D2 and colorful alien characters. The series was wildly popular and led to many later reincarnations.

Well, Peter Mayhew played one of those aliens, the loveable Chewbacca, and he collected a lot of shots behind the scenes.

Now, not all of these are necessarily from Mayhew, but enough are that we wanted to give him credit. He's posted a bunch of them on his verified Twitter account, so he wants them seen.

We see some shots of the original Tunisian set. To this day, many of the relics from that set still lie in the Tunisian sun where they were when these shots were taken, slowly wearing away.

Star Wars behind the scenes movieloversreviews.filminspector.com
The C3PO and R2D2 actors

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George Lucas with Alec Guiness

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C3PO taking a break in the Tunisian sun

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The original C3P0 costume, which thankfully was changed

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Crrie Fisher and her stunt double holding hands

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Carrie Fisher showing off her odd hairdo

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Peter Mayhew and Carrie Fisher having some fun on a backlot

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Billie Dee Williams appears to be grabbing some coffee to wake up

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The principals on location

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A script conference with Irvin Kershner, director of director of "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980)

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Kershner showing Mark Hamill where he really wants him

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Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in costume

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Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher with Anthony Daniels (C3PO) and Mayhew

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Harrison Ford acting goofy

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Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill holding hands

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George Lucas demonstrating the proper way to fire a blaster

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Director Kershner of "Return of the Jedi" getting some touch-up

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Warwick Davis played an Ewok and got to meet Carrie Fisher

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The original "Star Wars" opening weekend in 1977


Friday, March 14, 2014

"Maleficent" Trailers, starring Angelina Jolie

Maleficent movieloversreviews.filminspector.com
Note that the release date was changed to May 2014

"Maleficent' is a film from Walt Disney Pictures live action feature starring Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora, and Brenton Thwaites as Prince Phillip. The character "Maleficent" derives from "Sleeping Beauty," the 1959 classic animated feature film from Walt Disney Productions.

"Maleficent" takes a closer look at the pivotal character of the witch who causes all the trouble for Princess Aurora aka Sleeping Beauty. Adapted from the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale, "Maleficent" shows what caused the evil witch to become hardened and ultimately to place a curse on innocent young Princess Aurora.

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This film shows the reality of filming, with Angelina Jolie "flying" in the midst of the crew's parked cars

The release date for "Maleficent" is May 30, 2014 in the US and the UK. Other countries mostly within a day or two of that, with a few, such as Cambodia, Portugal, Lithuania and Serbia, about a week later. Some countries will see the film in early July: India, Japan, Peru, Mexico, Hong Kong (July 24). The release date for China is yet to be determined. The film is directed by Robert Stromberg.


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Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty"

Angelina Jolie told Entertainment Weekly about her personal connection to Maleficent:
"Maleficent was always so elegant. She was always in control. And to play her was difficult. I worked on my voice a lot. She's bigger than me. She's on a different level of performance than I have ever done. She's very still. She's very sure of her voice. I kept playing with these different types of British voices, making my voice darker and scarier. 
"I was giving my kids a bath, and I started making up other stories about Maleficent. They weren't really paying attention to me...until I started to mess around with this playful [singsongy] voice. It gets very, very dark, but it had these colors. My kids started laughing. And that's how I would rehearse my scenes.”

Below are trailers for "Maleficent," and an interesting makeup tutorial that some of you may find of interest.












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Angelina Jolie



Saturday, March 8, 2014

Eva Green Dazzles in "300: Rise of an Empire" (2014)

The Lovely Eva Green is Back!


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Eva Green as Artemisia in 300: Rise of an Empire

Eva Green is back!

No, she never really left, but she's been in between blockbusters recently. Vesper Lynd from "Casino Royale" is appearing in "300: Rise of an Empire," based on a Frank Miller graphic novel. Zack Snyder co-wrote the screenplay, while Noam Murro directs. Snyder directed the original "300," but his "Man of Steel" film got in the way. “There was no way I could do it,” the writer-director said of the 300 sequel. There is complete continuity between the two films, though, so if you liked the first one, this sequel should feel right at home.

Eva Green in 300: Rise of an Empire jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
Eva Green trained hard for the role, incurring many bruises

In "300," King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his unit of 300 Spartans were cut down by the Persians under Rodrigo Santoro at Thermopylae circa 480 B.C. In "300: Rise of an Empire," the Athenians must defend their city at sea, led by Admiral Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton). Artemisia (Eva Green) leads the Persian flee against the small, outmaned Greek fleet.


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Describing her role, Eva says:
“She is like a man in a woman’s body.She’s very ballsy and very brave, and she was traumatized as a child, so she builds this armour around her to survive. And she’s obsessed with revenge and, yes, she’s bonkers.”
We all loved Eva Green in "Casino Royale," so it is great to see her back in another high-profile adventure. She also was terrific in "The Dreamers," the sex-drenched Bernardo Bertolucci film that catapaulted Eva Green to stardom.


Eva Green in 300: Rise of an Empire jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
Eva Green

Eva trained for weeks in Sofia, Bulgaria before filming began to learn how to wield a sword. It was very physically demanding.
“You feel very powerful actually, but not straight away. The squats and the lunges were, oh my god, very painful. But after you get through it, you feel very proud of yourself.”

Eva Green in 300: Rise of an Empire jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
Artemisia bows before her king

I have a separate page devoted to Eva, with a lot of really good shots of her in and out of her previous high-profile roles, here.


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Eva Green in 300: Rise of an Empire jamesbondreview.filminspector.com

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Eva Green with costar Lena Headey


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