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Movie Review: Rogue One, Putting the War BACK into Star Wars!

First Thoughts:

I already knew a bit of the plot, but it is great to see new characters and new adventures that wrap up the what and the why of how someone “gets” to be a Rebel, why you’d want to and how sometimes it’s a one-way journey!

The story is a positive one:  a girl who loses her family at an early age discovers her father is an Imperial Engineer in the construction of the dreaded Death Star.  These events happen while Luke is still hanging out on Tatooine making his moisture farm work.  Who whodathought?

We get some cameos of R2D2 and C3PO and even an unwinnable Rebel battle against the Empire on an Imperial-owned planet, to get the plans (as mentioned in A New Hope).  The graphic violence and characters we’d begun to know all pretty much make the final sacrifice to get the plans to the Princess to make Luke possible.

Overall, an excellent entry in the Star Wars mythos.  Highly recommended! maxresdefault

Comic Books!, Event Photography, Uncategorized

San Francisco Comic Con 09/2016

What Happened?

Since Wondercon bit the dust in 2011 as the premiere Comic Book Convention in San Francisco we have been happily satisfied with the shows coming out of San Jose, Stockton and even Sacramento.

But there comes a time where eBay doesn’t do it, that you want to dive into some great comics deals, check out the cosplayers and have some fun.

Back in September 2016 I went on a Friday, the first convention in San Francisco in some years. In response the place was packed!  I got to see some old buds and made new ones.  Really liked the artist alley and even met some Golden Age of comics artists (those who were young and published in the 1940s) who are now quite elderly but have not lost their spirit.

Of course the cosplayers make the show. They were creative, inspiring and sexy.  I did note they were not all excited to get their photo taken by me, not knowing of course what an amazing cosplay photographer I am.  Hope you agree with that statement.

Tech notes: Didn’t use a flash unit this time as I normally do, and it does show, even with some white balance compensation in Lightroom 6, still not by absolute best work.

Pros: Lots to see and do, great comics deals and great cosplayers.

Cons: The Marriot Hotel at Market and 4th was not the best venue.  The panel rooms were all scattered on other floors and the maps were via iPhone only so if you didn’t have a phone you were stuck.  I really hope they find a better venue next year.

 See you at the San Francisco Comic Con!

http://sanfrancomiccon.com/

 

 

 

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Movie Review: Batman vs. Superman!

First Impressions: 

batman v superman MoonDefinitely a boy/man film.  Angst, excitement, personal conflict, personal conviction, the specific material recognized by any DC fan (Death of Superman, Dark Knight Returns), and a psychotic Lex Luthor who is nearly on par with the Joker!

Story and Plot:

The beginning of the show with Batman’s origin was really well done, the criminal (Joe Chill?) ruthless; Dad steps in front of his wife and child ready to do whatever it takes to protect them; Bruce running away and falling into a pit – a pit of bats!  Holy Flashback!

Batman’s brooding is further enhanced by Lex Luthor, a rich brat who is also a scientific genius, who plays Superman and Batman against each other, via their “secret” identities to get them both riled up to where they want to kill each other. And let’s not forget the pawns in the chessgame – Lois Lane and Superman’s mother, Martha Kent.

The whole terrorist theme was well-played, and a beautiful yet explosive car chase showing us what the Batmobile is capable of.

Alfred, played by another, more sarcastic character than in earlier Batman films, really knew his stuff and as well confided in Batman and steered him when the Bats was losing his fight with the Belfrey, if you know what I mean.

And Superman, conflicted.  Is he worshiped as a god, or is he an alien menace, or just a man who wants to do what is right.  The conversation with his Dad (Kevin Costner especially poignant acting) and the calming base of his mother, Martha (played with conviction by actress Diane Lane) come together in a mix of emotion, love, and heartache.  Quite nice!

Final Thoughts:

A movie worth watching.  The flashbacks Batman was experiencing while playing back Luthor’s drive were a bit confusing, but overall Affleck’s Batman was characterized in a way that would make writer Frank Miller proud.  The conflicted version of Superman was more real and down to earth a portrayal.  And the excitement & power of Gadot as Wonder Woman made me want a solo film of her so much more.

Well done to Zach Snyder, cast and crew!

Cast

Henry Cavill … Clark Kent / Kal-El / Superman
Amy Adams … Lois Lane
Diane Lane … Martha Kent
Laurence Fishburne … Perry White
Ben Affleck … Bruce Wayne / Batman
Gal Gadot … Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
Jesse Eisenberg … Lex Luther
Holly Hunter … U.S. Senator
Callan Mulvey
Tao Okamoto … Mercy Graves
Jeremy Irons … Alfred
Scoot McNairy
Ray Fisher … Victor Stone / Cyborg
Jason Momoa … Aquaman

 

 

 

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Movie Review:Lawrence of Arabia

LawrenceFirst Thoughts:

Lawrence of Arabia is one of those classics I’ve never watched all the way through and so I picked up a 2DVD series for a song on Amazon.com.  Though it’s rated as one of the top films of the 20th century, I was not that impressed.

Story & Plot:

Love the cinematography of this film!  The amazing desert sunrises, the mirages, the authentic costumes!  The crazy Arab played well by Anthony Quinn!  The sleek Prince played by Alec Guinness! (Yes, he did many films before Star Wars); Omar Sharif as Ali, the only character who, somewhat violent, had to keep running after Lawrence and guide him.

Peter O’Toole’s Lawrence is a bit crazy.  I mean here you are as a British soldier who nearly “goes native”, very independent, does his own thing, ignores warnings and crosses vast deserts and attempts the impossible.

It’s really sad, his character!  Lawrence is one time a hero, fancies himself ready to walk on water, then next moment he wants to throw it all away, can’t handle the responsibility of freeing Arabia and just go back to England to “get a job”.  I mean really now!

He lets a mad lust for killing take over and mows down the Turks.  Nowadays this film would push the PG rating since there’s plenty of death for the even the most die-hard film fan.

My DVD had a great interview with Steven Spielberg on how he was impressed by the film and how he met the director and picked his brains on the making of the film.  Several documentaries and lots and lots of praise for the technical quality of the film.

Final Thoughts:

It’s a hard film to watch, with an ending that is somewhat disappointing.  How a man can rise so high and crash down so hard is tough to imagine.  Excellent authentic desert scenes and a new look at Arabian culture; but the cons include Lawrence himself, a conflicted man who can’t decide if he is just an ordinary guy or an extraordinary being.

Worth the watch, won 7 Academy Awards,  but I would not clamor for it!