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    2015 movie preview: My most anticipated upcoming films

    870ae77d2c2310133b4fc937959c42d92b5bb4e6Every January, I like to put together a list of my most anticipated films for that upcoming year. It’s fun to peek ahead, and it’s also fun to look back at that list at the end of the year, and see how many of my “most anticipated” actually ended up on my “best of the year” list.

    This year, I narrowed my list down to my top 5, and interestingly, they all happen to be sequels. While normally I also like to include some original films with new concepts, the sequels coming out this year are unique in that many of them are high-pressure or high-risk. Will “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “James Bond: Spectre” live up to their critically and commercially well-received sequels? Will “Jurassic World” prove to be a successful reboot of a well-loved franchise? And, perhaps the biggest risk of all, will J.J. Abrams be able to successfully continue the “Star Wars” legacy?

    Here is a ranking of my top five most anticipated movies for 2015. I’d also love to hear what movies would make your list!

    5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2

    Mockingjay“Mockingjay — Part 1″ was a financial success, but didn’t rise to quite the same heights as its tense, masterfully-crafted predecessor, “Catching Fire.” “Part 1″ felt more like a prelude to “Part 2,” coming out this November — and hopefully it will be a stronger film.

    Many fans expressed frustration with the ending of “The Hunger Games” book trilogy, and it will be interesting to see how closely the film follows the book. The movie will undoubtedly be dark, featuring a difficult invasion of the Capitol and the loss of some beloved characters.

    4. Jurassic World

    Jurassic World“Jurassic Park” continues to be one of my favorite Steven Spielberg films. From the dinosaur special effects, which still hold up pretty well even today, to that soaring, iconic theme from John Williams, it’s a fun, crowd-pleasing classic. I was really skeptical about the reboot … until I saw the preview, and though I tried to resist at first, I finally had to admit that yes, the preview stirred those same feelings of excitement I had gotten while watching the first movie.

    It also will be fun to see Chris Pratt in another action role, after “Guardians of the Galaxy” made him a breakout star.

    3. “James Bond: Spectre”

    SPECTREThe last Bond film, “Skyfall,” was an elegant, stylish spy thriller, and director Sam Mendes is back for the next installment in the Bond franchise. Daniel Craig has earned himself a place near the top of the “best Bonds,” and this could be his last outing. Fans hope the film’s title is a reference to the secret terrorist organization that has shown up in past Bond films.

    While I’ll be sad to see Craig go, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for rumored Bond replacement Idris Elba.

    2. “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

    images2012’s “The Avengers” is going to be a tough act to follow — a fact director Joss Whedon seems to be well aware of. He appears to be taking the Marvel sequel in a darker direction, having the team of dysfunctional superheroes create their own worst enemy: an artificially intelligent robot called “Ultron” with a frighteningly warped sense of justice.

    Rumors about the plot are running rampant of course, including one that a major character could die in the film. I admire Whedon for his willingness to take a risk and give us a (presumably) darker film, but I hope he will be able to find a nice balance between this darker tone and the spirit of fun we’ve come to love about the Marvel films.

    1. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

    Forum-menace---an-image-f-011Most likely no one is surprised this movie ended up at the top of my “most anticipated” list. ;) “Star Wars” has long been my favorite film franchise; “The Empire Strikes Back” is my all-time favorite movie, and the series has always occupied a special place in my heart. That’s why I’m thrilled — and terrified — that the saga is continuing this December.

    I love what J.J. Abrams did for the “Star Trek” movie franchise, and I hope he can work his magic again with “Star Wars.” I loved the teaser trailer, and how it brought back the feel of the original series. I love that some of the original actors will appear in this film to pass the torch on to the next generation. This is certainly a risky project, but I hope it will be just as amazing as we all dream it will be. Here’s hoping “the force” is with J.J. Abrams and Disney this December! ;)

    The post 2015 movie preview: My most anticipated upcoming films appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.

    Fall/winter 2014 movie preview

    By Ashley Bergner
    Box Office Buzz

    35715 KS_New_hobbitAlthough 2014 seemed to get off to a slow start at the box office, there were plenty of fun movies at the theater this summer, kicking off the season early with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” in April and wrapping up with the surprise hit “Guardians of the Galaxy” in August.

    Several more big movies are slated for release this fall and winter, though I don’t think they’ll challenge “Captain America: The Winter Solider” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which are currently occupying the top two slots on my list of favorite movies of the year. Here are some of the films I’m most looking forward to later this year. What movies are you most excited about, or most looking forward to watching?

    “The Maze Runner” (Sept. 19)

    mazefeaturedBased on a popular novel, “The Maze Runner” continues the trend of dystopian young adult book-to-movie adaptations. It’s about a group of teenagers trapped inside a giant, seemingly impossible maze filled with deadly creatures. While the trailer for the film looks interesting, it faces the same risk as several other recent films with similar themes: coming across as too much like “The Hunger Games.” It will be interesting to see if the premise for this one is different enough for it to succeed at the box office.

    “Interstellar” (Nov. 7)

    interstellarLike many of director Christopher Nolan’s projects, “Interstellar” remains shrouded in mystery. We know it takes place in space and is about a team of astronauts who are searching for a way to save humanity as the Earth fails to support life. Beyond that, Nolan plans to keep us guessing. Nolan is one of my favorite directors, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he has planned for this one. The movie also has a strong ensemble cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and Jessica Chastain.

    “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1″ (Nov. 21)

    MockingjayAlthough “The Hunger Games” is one of my favorite book series, I will admit the final book in the trilogy — “Mockingjay” — is my least favorite. I’m also not sure how I feel about splitting the book into two films. Still, I’m hoping the movie will address some of the issues fans commonly seem to have with the book, and Jennifer Lawrence will likely turn in another strong performance as Katniss, the former Hunger Games victor who is forced into the role of rebel leader.

    “Exodus: Gods and Kings” (Dec. 12)

    Christian Bale Exodus Gods and KingsIt’s been more than 50 years since Cecil B. DeMille brought the Biblical epic “The Ten Commandments” to the big screen, and in December Ridley Scott will present his own version of the Old Testament story of Moses. Ridley Scott is no stranger to period epics — “Gladiator,” “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Robin Hood” — and I’m looking forward to seeing his take on this story. The costumes, set details and battle sequences look impressive so far.

    “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” (Dec. 17)

    5armiesAlthough fans will probably always debate over whether Peter Jackson should have split “The Hobbit” into three movies, the story comes to a close this year with the final chapter, “The Battle of the Five Armies.” Jackson has saved the biggest set pieces for last, with the film likely to be book-ended by Smaug’s attack on the village of Lake-town and an epic battle at the foot of the Lonely Mountain. “The Hobbit” films so far have been lighter than “The Lord of the Rings” in tone, but “The Battle of the Five Armies” will probably be the darkest of “The Hobbit” films, and the grandest in scope.

    “Into the Woods” (Dec. 25)

    Chris Pine & Anna Kendrick Film "Into The Woods"The 2012 film adaptation of “Les Misérables” proved to be a hit with audiences, and this year Disney is bringing another famous musical to the big screen: “Into the Woods.” The musical is a darker take on the adventures of favorite fairy tale characters such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. The production has caught some flak based on rumors that Disney has watered down some of the edgier elements of the plot, but film makers have promised it will be a faithful adaptation. The cast includes Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine and Emily Blunt.

    The post Fall/winter 2014 movie preview appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.

    Fall/winter 2014 movie preview

    By Ashley Bergner
    Box Office Buzz

    35715 KS_New_hobbitAlthough 2014 seemed to get off to a slow start at the box office, there were plenty of fun movies at the theater this summer, kicking off the season early with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” in April and wrapping up with the surprise hit “Guardians of the Galaxy” in August.

    Several more big movies are slated for release this fall and winter, though I don’t think they’ll challenge “Captain America: The Winter Solider” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which are currently occupying the top two slots on my list of favorite movies of the year. Here are some of the films I’m most looking forward to later this year. What movies are you most excited about, or most looking forward to watching?

    “The Maze Runner” (Sept. 19)

    mazefeaturedBased on a popular novel, “The Maze Runner” continues the trend of dystopian young adult book-to-movie adaptations. It’s about a group of teenagers trapped inside a giant, seemingly impossible maze filled with deadly creatures. While the trailer for the film looks interesting, it faces the same risk as several other recent films with similar themes: coming across as too much like “The Hunger Games.” It will be interesting to see if the premise for this one is different enough for it to succeed at the box office.

    “Interstellar” (Nov. 7)

    interstellarLike many of director Christopher Nolan’s projects, “Interstellar” remains shrouded in mystery. We know it takes place in space and is about a team of astronauts who are searching for a way to save humanity as the Earth fails to support life. Beyond that, Nolan plans to keep us guessing. Nolan is one of my favorite directors, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he has planned for this one. The movie also has a strong ensemble cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and Jessica Chastain.

    “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1″ (Nov. 21)

    MockingjayAlthough “The Hunger Games” is one of my favorite book series, I will admit the final book in the trilogy — “Mockingjay” — is my least favorite. I’m also not sure how I feel about splitting the book into two films. Still, I’m hoping the movie will address some of the issues fans commonly seem to have with the book, and Jennifer Lawrence will likely turn in another strong performance as Katniss, the former Hunger Games victor who is forced into the role of rebel leader.

    “Exodus: Gods and Kings” (Dec. 12)

    Christian Bale Exodus Gods and KingsIt’s been more than 50 years since Cecil B. DeMille brought the Biblical epic “The Ten Commandments” to the big screen, and in December Ridley Scott will present his own version of the Old Testament story of Moses. Ridley Scott is no stranger to period epics — “Gladiator,” “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Robin Hood” — and I’m looking forward to seeing his take on this story. The costumes, set details and battle sequences look impressive so far.

    “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” (Dec. 17)

    5armiesAlthough fans will probably always debate over whether Peter Jackson should have split “The Hobbit” into three movies, the story comes to a close this year with the final chapter, “The Battle of the Five Armies.” Jackson has saved the biggest set pieces for last, with the film likely to be book-ended by Smaug’s attack on the village of Lake-town and an epic battle at the foot of the Lonely Mountain. “The Hobbit” films so far have been lighter than “The Lord of the Rings” in tone, but “The Battle of the Five Armies” will probably be the darkest of “The Hobbit” films, and the grandest in scope.

    “Into the Woods” (Dec. 25)

    Chris Pine & Anna Kendrick Film "Into The Woods"The 2012 film adaptation of “Les Misérables” proved to be a hit with audiences, and this year Disney is bringing another famous musical to the big screen: “Into the Woods.” The musical is a darker take on the adventures of favorite fairy tale characters such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. The production has caught some flak based on rumors that Disney has watered down some of the edgier elements of the plot, but film makers have promised it will be a faithful adaptation. The cast includes Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine and Emily Blunt.

    The post Fall/winter 2014 movie preview appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.

    Movie preview: Will Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ gamble pay off?

    By Ashley Bergner
    Box Office Buzz

    1819 KS_New_galaxyBy this point, Marvel’s superhero movie empire seems to be pretty much bulletproof. Starting with “Iron Man” back in 2008, Marvel has managed to take B-list superheroes and turn them into blockbusters, building enough buzz for their team-up film “The Avengers” that it became the highest-grossing superhero movie of all time. It would have been easy for Marvel to settle into that comfortable pattern of hits, which is why I admire them for taking a genuine risk this summer: “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

    “Guardians of the Galaxy” — based on one of Marvel’s lesser-known comics — is a departure from the superhero films Marvel has produced in the past. The sci-fi action/adventure film involves a team of misfit rogues and criminals — a sort of anti-hero version of the Avengers — who team up (somewhat reluctantly) to save the galaxy. It’s decidedly quirky; the trailers so far indicate the film will be heavy on comedy, and two of the members of that team of misfits include a talking raccoon and a walking tree (yes, you read that right).

    It’s understandable that at first some didn’t think this was exactly the perfect recipe for a summer blockbuster. Would the concept be too strange, too obscure for audiences to connect with? Was it too much of a departure from the films audiences were used to seeing from Marvel? Would “Guardians” turn out to be Marvel’s first real flop?

    I’m hoping audiences will give this movie a chance. Of course I haven’t seen it yet, so I could change my mind after this weekend, but initial buzz is very good, and I think the marketing campaign is working. The movie has a 97 percent rating right now on Rotten Tomatoes; while that number could drop some by this weekend, it’s a great start, and the early reviews seem to be enthusiastic.

    I’ve been really pleased with the trailers released for the movie so far. The visual effects look impressive (it seems like it’s been a while since we’ve seen a film with a really good all-out space battle), and the cast seems to be having fun with their roles. I think Chris Pratt will be great as the leader of the Guardians: Peter Quill, a sort of slacker Han Solo. However, Bradley Cooper may well steal the show as the voice of the feisty, gun-toting Rocket Raccoon.

    I think Disney and Marvel also picked a good time to release the movie. Overall, this seems to be a slower summer than normal, and “Guardians” won’t have much competition by the time it hits the box office this weekend. “Guardians” looks like the perfect blend of fun (and funny) and exciting, and the uniqueness of its concept could bring people out to the theater again.

    Right now “Guardians” is tracking about $70 million, which isn’t quite as high as “Captain America’s” $90 million+ opening earlier this year but is still well above “flop” territory. If buzz continues to build and critical response remains strong, I could see this number actually going higher. Ironically, Marvel’s bigger gamble now may actually be next summer’s more conventional superhero movie “Ant-Man,” which has been plagued by some negative buzz due to director and cast departures.

    So, are you looking forward to “Guardians of the Galaxy?” Do you think it will be a hit or a miss for Marvel?

    The post Movie preview: Will Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ gamble pay off? appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.

    ESO 2014 DragonCon Khan Report Episode 5

    ESO 2014 DragonCon Khan Report Ep 5Dragon Con is less than 100 days away and Mike, Mike, Darren, and Mary are here to help! We’ve got the latest news, notes, and guest announcements, along with an in-depth discussion about whether or not the show is “family friendly.” Michelle Biddix-Simmons stops by the station to let us know there’s still time to “Drop by Dragon Con” and Kevin Batchelder introduces newbies to the all-important Pocket Program. And out Cosplay Snapshot focuses on Nicole, who has an interesting challenge this year. Better wash those buckets, because it is getting close to fillin’ time!

    We want to hear from you! If you are part of Dragon Con in any way (including just attending the show), we want to know about your weekend! Drop us a line at line at www.esopodcast.com, at the ESO Facebook Group, email us at esopodcast@gmail.com, or call us at 404-963-9057 with your comments. We just might air yours on the show!

    Links
    Official Dragoncon website
    Volunteer Info
    DragonCon Hotel Overflow info
    DragonCon Hotel Connection
    DragonCon Hotels Live Journal Blog
    Dragon*Con Newbies Facebook group
    Debriefing DragonCon podcast
    DragonCon Charaties
    Drop By DragonCon

    The post ESO 2014 DragonCon Khan Report Episode 5 appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.