16 items from 2014
With almost 40 years of history - encompassing films, TV, comic books, video games and novels - there's a wealth of interesting facts and information about the vast universe hatched by George Lucas.
Here are ten fast facts we've discovered from a galaxy far, far away…
1. Inspired by the swashbuckling Flash Gordon adventures that began in the '30s, a young George Lucas initially wanted to bring that serial to the big screen, but found the rights to the character difficult to untangle. From there he began to fashion his own space epic - a project that would eventually become the Star Wars we know and love.
However, things could have been a lot different as Lucas's first draft script was »
"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."
It appears as if director J.J. Abrams is planning on revisiting some of the most iconic alien worlds depicted in the original Star Wars trilogy in Star Wars: Episode VII. According to Icelandic website visir, via metro, Abrams is sending a second unit crew to Iceland to shoot landscape "plate shots" for what could be a return to the ice planet of Hoth, which served as a Rebel Alliance base in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back before falling to Darth Vader's At-at assault. And, according to reliable scooper Drew Faraci of BadAssDigest, the first unit crew led by Abrams will begin shooting in Morocco on May 14th, at or near sites that were originally constructed to depict Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine. Many of the structures originally created for Episode IV: A New Hope are still standing, though »
- BJSprecher Sprecher
Washington, April 2: A new featurette has revealed how the iconic lightsabers were created for the 'Star Wars' franchise.
The 15-minute video, which was first seen as a special feature on the original Star Wars trilogy's DVD boxset in 2004, shows how production staff planned and choreographed the movies' complex fight sequences, the Verge reported.
The video also features lightsabers' inventor George Lucas, who explains and how he was inspired to include hand-to-hand combat by movie swashbuckling and historical Asian swordplay.
- Amith Ostwal
On slate this month for screening events at AMPAS – A trilogy of documentaries tailor-made for fans of the L.A. music scene in the early 80’s and two of the most fascinating characters to come out of the “Kennedy’s Camelot” era in American History.
Penelope Spheeris’ Decline Of Western Civilization films (I, II, and III) are a great walk down memory lane for music fans that came of age during the early 80’s in Los Angeles. 1 and 3 cover the early days of punk rock and 2, “the metal years” is an eye-opening look into the hair-bands that were struggling to make it on the famed Sunset Strip.
Grey Gardens, you just have to see to believe. Funny, sad, hilarious and sometimes shocking, this classic Maysles Brothers film documents a branch of the Kennedy family tree most people don’t know even existed.
- Melissa Thompson
If you were to stop 100 movie geeks on the street and ask them what fictional weapon they’d choose if they could have anything they wanted, we're willing to bet that at least 90 of them would say a lightsaber. The iconic weapon of the Jedi Knights is, as Ben Kenobi put it, “an elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.” Plus, being able to slice through pretty much anything is just flat-out awesome. A few years back, LucasFilm created a brief documentary on the history of the galaxy’s most revered weapon – a peek behind the curtain to see how George Lucas and his team created movie magic. Now, that documentary has turned up on YouTube -- where you can see it for yourself. Lucas, Mark Hamill, and sound designer Ben Burtt spend roughly...
- Mike Bracken
A Star Wars featurette about the birth of the lightsaber has popped up online. It includes interviews with George Lucas, Mark Hamill, and sound designer Ben Burtt as they discuss the concept and creation of the Jedi weapon of choice. The video also includes rare behind-the-scenes footage from the films, including Luke Skywalker battling Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi. The featurette is 15-minutes long and worth the time for any Star Wars fan.
- Joey Paur
Over the thirty-five years since it flew into cinemas so much has been made about how Star Wars changed the industry. And we’re not going to deny that it had a massive influence, finishing off what Jaws started and setting up the blockbuster as the genre-defying future of cinema. But there was also a smaller, no less potent effect it.
Sci-fi in the seventies had been one-sided predictions; it was either clean distant futures or rough dystopias. What Star Wars did was, ironic for a series set far away and in the past, down to Earth. The world of George Lucas’ space fantasy was lived in, full of advanced science that had been used and showed its age. It was a design shift that without there’d never have been the equally important genre-shaping of Alien or Blade Runner.
A lot of praise tends to go to the visuals, »
- Alex Leadbeater
The official Star Wars youtube channel has debuted the vintage featurette 'The Birth of the Lightsaber'. This informative and entertaining short documentary debuted when the original trilogy first hit DVD way back in 2004, exactly ten years ago. Star Wars creator George Lucas, actor Mark Hamill, and sound designer Ben Burtt discuss the concept and creation of the lightsaber in this 15 minute look at the Jedi's greatest weapon aside from the Force.
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope was released May 25th, 1977 and stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew. The film is directed by George Lucas. »
The announcement that George Lucas had sold his beloved Star Wars franchise to Disney two years ago took the internet by storm, and more than a few by surprise. Star Wars was seemingly done with the big screen, as Lucas’s enthusiasm had been dulled by the hostile reception of the prequel trilogy – and rightly so – and it seemed as if the future of Star Wars was to be confined to the novels of the Expanded Universe, numerous video games, and the comic books.
When it was announced that Disney now owned the franchise, speculation was rampant over what the company would do with their new toy, and although a sequel trilogy was part of the announcement, no one really knew what the next phase of series would cover, who would direct it, or which characters would appear in it. Some wondered if their favourite minor characters »
- Paul Sorrells
With Star Wars VII seemingly lost in a galaxy far, far away, the series' producers are holding fans' interest on what may be the final frontier: Instagram. In the months since Darth Vader posted his first selfie, the galactic franchise's account has been posting a steady mix of iconic portraiture and behind-the-scenes glimpses at how all six of the existing movies were made.
See Rolling Stone's Suggestions for the Upcoming Wave of 'Star Wars' Spinoffs
Among its hundreds of posts, several pictures stood out, such as ones showing »
I was watching Steven Miles' "52 Reasons I Make Movies" video when a snippet from the Luke vs. Darth Vader showdown in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back played. I haven't seen the film in some time, but I was reminded of the scene's composition and how quiet it is, choosing to rely on Ben Burtt's wonderful sound design. It isn't until about three minutes in that John Williams' score kicks in and even then it fades away to nothing more than a whisper throughout much of the rest of the sequence. There were few moments such as this to come in the next four Star Wars films and I hope, with J.J. Abrams co-writing Star Wars: Episode VII with Empire co-writer Lawrence Kasdan that memories of scenes such as this played a part in the writing process. Ideas of how to dial it back »
- Brad Brevet
Everybody knows Oscar, but they may not know his whole story.
That background is explored when Turner Classic Movies launches its annual "31 Days of Oscar" festival - consisting of films that either have won or been nominated for Academy Awards - with a new documentary titled "And the Oscar Goes to ..." Saturday, Feb. 1. Rare footage is a highlight of the program, including clips from some of the earliest ceremonies to honor a year's achievements in cinema.
Expectedly since the program is on TCM, and also since he's a longtime documenter of Hollywood whose book "85 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards" was published recently, main channel host Robert Osborne is among the interviewees.
"There's footage in this that people haven't seen for years, so it's going to be great fun for them, I think," Osborne, who was the official greeter of celebrities on the Oscar red carpet for several years, »
The 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival will honor legendary actor, filmmaker and humanitarian Jerry Lewiswith a multi-tiered celebration of his remarkable career. Highlighting the tribute, Lewis will have his hand and footprints enshrined in concrete in front of the world-famous Tcl Chinese Theatre IMAX. In addition, Lewis will be on-hand for a screening of one of his most memorable films: The Nutty Professor (1963). Marking its fifth year, the TCM Classic Film Festival will take place April 10-13, 2014, in Hollywood. The gathering will coincide with TCM’s 20th anniversary as a leading authority in classic film.
“Jerry Lewis is a very important name whenever movie comedy is discussed and enjoyed,” said TCM host Robert Osborne, who also serves as the official host of the TCM Classic Film Festival. “Jerry has provided the world with great merriment and laughter, while also showing, in such films as Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy, »
- Melissa Thompson
We all know the trope. A character, often a cunning thief or dark hero, makes a silent entrance or exit without any of the surrounding characters on screen noticing – even when they are only inches apart and nary a footstep nor a flapping cape is heard. Batman is famous for it. Jokes have been made of his stealthiness. But keep in mind the Dark Knight went through intense montage training to become a sneaky snake. He is – for all intents and purposes – a bona fide ninja.
So then it must be a skill only a ninja would possess, right? Wrong. The secret is out, dear readers. Tell your friends! Call Grandma! Alert the police! For decades there have been ninjas in plain sight without you even knowing it – until now.
Here are the 5 greatest tiptoeing masterpieces. That’s right: awesome movies you didn’t know were secretly about ninjas… »
- Mike Redlan
Cloud to Ground marks former Zeppelin member's first album in collaboration with Norwegian ambient musician Helge Sten
Minibus Pimps, the musical coupling of Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and Norwegian ambient musician Helge Sten, are set to release their debut album, Cloud to Ground. Due out on 3 March via Norwegian label SusannaSonata, the seven-track record marks the duo's debut release since they first started playing live together in 2011.
Cloud to Ground incorporates sounds generated by Kyma, a computer-based sound-design system that mutates organic instrument recordings. It was the same system that sound designer Ben Burtt used to create lonely robot Wall-e's voice in the 2008 CGI Pixar film and informs the album's electronic explorations of noise and rhythm. The new release will also feature tracks that were recorded during Minibus Pimps' live performances that have taken place in venues from Denmark to Norway to London. Sten, a prolific producer »
- Tshepo Mokoena
When Turner Classic Movies (TCM) kicks off 31 Days of Oscar®, the network’s annual celebration of the Academy Awards® in February, it will be embarking on one of the most ambitious and comprehensive editions of the month-long festival yet.
Each night’s primetime lineup from Feb. 1 through March 3 will be devoted to showcasing all the movies nominated in a particular category in a given year. Meanwhile, daytime programming will focus on specific categories, with winners and nominees from multiple years.
TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar is one of several events celebrating the network’s 20th year as a leading authority in classic film. Making the 2014 edition of 31 Days of Oscar even more spectacular will be the world premiere of And the Oscar® Goes To…, a brand-new documentary tracing the history of the Academy Awards, slated to premiere Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. (Et/Pt). CNN Films will encore the documentary onThursday, »
- Michelle McCue
16 items from 2014
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