Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Makes Its Final Approach



We take a brief break from our current regular scheduled horror programming to bring in the final official trailer for the latest entry in that little space opera called Star Wars.

With just two months left before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story splashes down into theaters everywhere, the film doesn’t seem to be gathering the sort of massive hype and anticipation that last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens had leading up to its release.

Rogue One is still predicted to be the biggest film of the year. Yet, the feeling that permeates each trailer release have been one of guarded anticipation.

This latest and final full trailer oils to remedy that situation.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set for a December 16, 2016 release just in time for the holidays.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Official Trailer Finally Arrives


Rogue One

The Rogue One official trailer finally came out after weeks of fans waiting for it since last month’s Star Wars celebration over in London.

At first, people thought the trailer would be released during the celebration, but that didn’t come to pass. Then San Diego Comic-Con came and went and still no official trailer. We already seen the teaser, the sizzle reel from London celebration and even a tv spot that aired in the last week or so. Yet, there was still no full trailer. Fans were waiting with extreme patience.

Once news came down that the first official trailer will show during the Olympics the guessing game began on which day it will be. When it was confirmed that it was to be tonight people worldwide began to wait for the trailer to premiere. And waited during each Olympic event. And waited some more. I, myself, decided I needed a nap and left orders to be awoken when it finally did show.

Well, it did show just an hour into my nap and despite being groggy from being woken up that first image of the desert planet with Forest Whitaker and Felicity Jones conversing got my full attention. The wait was long, but it was well worth it and now the wait for the film’s premiere begins.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set for a December 16, 2016 release date.

Doctor Strange Trailer Arrives At SDCC 2016


Doctor Strange

San Diego Comic-Con for the past decade has always been a major mainstay for Marvel Studios when it comes to releasing their latest news and trailer for their upcoming films. There has been rumors the last couple years that Marvel Studios may skip Comic-Con and it’s venerable Hall H altogether in the near-future. Marvel Studios being owned by Disney means they have access to their parent company’s own D23 event. There’s even talk of just having a yearly Marvel Con to showcase everything Marvel.

Until that occurs many who attend San Diego Comic-Con will stand hours (some even days) to be able to get into Hall H and be the first to see what Marvel Studios has up it’s sleeves. This year we get the latest trailer on their biggest gamble to date: Doctor Strange.

A gamble in that it will delve deeply into the one aspect of the Marvel Universe it has so far avoided: magic.

One cannot make a film about Doctor Strange and not portray the magic and sorcery, the otherworldly dimensions and demons, spells and illusions. This is the bread and butter of the Sorcerer Supreme and if this latest trailer is any indication then filmmaker Scott Derrickson may have just broken the code in how to integrate this aspect of the Marvel Universe into the grounded, albeit hyper-reality, of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Doctor Strange arrives this November 4, 2016.

Doctor Strange Trailer Makes It’s First Visit


Doctor Strange

This coming November sees the arrival of not just another new character from the Marvel Comics pages onto the big-screen, but the parting of the curtains to give the Marvel Cinematic Universe it’s first glimpse at the mystical and magical.

The MCU has been mostly about advanced technology, techno-thrillers and a corner or two of the cosmic, but Feige and company has never truly explored the esoteric and occult side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the release of tonight’s teaser trailer for Doctor Strange we will finally get a glimpse into this unseen corner of the MCU.

Doctor Strange is set for a November 4, 2016 release date.

Rogue One Wakes Up the Internet with Its First Trailer


Rogue One

The world has been dying to see the first teaser trailer for the next Star Wars. The most recent one came out at the end of last year and already people wondering why this next one hasn’t already come out.

Well, it will come out this December when the public is flush with money to spend on the holidays (though we all know it’s probably to buy Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tickets as holiday gifts for themselves).

This teaser trailer shows us stuff that happened between Episode 3 and Episode 4. It also focuses on a new hero character which has raised the ire of the most vocal minority (very tiny) of the Star Wars fandom. We’re introduced to Jyn Erso played by English-actress Felicity Jones who we learn is not just a criminal of sorts, but one ready with a smartass quip.

Star Wars has another woman in the lead role! First it was Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Then just the last couple weeks, one of the few redeeming things about Batman v. Superman was the appearance of Wonder Woman. We can’t forget how last year’s Mad Max: Fury Road was being called Mad Max Furiosa Road.

The MRA mouthbreaters and Mary Sue labelers have had it up to their neckbeards of having their beloved franchises being invaded by the opposite sex. They’re already calling for boycotts and petitions to get Rogue One from being released as is. They want their fictional heroes to return to the good ol’ days of privileged, white men who rescued and kissed damsels (even if they to be their sister) in distress.

Their shouts and cries of impotent rage has been drowned out by the massive majority of even more vocal supporters of another female heroine in a fictional universe which dares to posit that dangerous question: can women be heroes? It looks like after Rey and now, with this upcoming film’s Jyn Erso the answer may be a collective and very loud “Yes, Yes, Yes.”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set for a December 16, 2016 release date or be on hold indefinitely if the MRA neckbeard mouthbreaters get their court injuction to delay its release.

Trash TV Guru : “Hannibal,” Episode 1 : “Aperitif”


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Okay, here’s the deal — if you follow my “writing” (am I being too generous already?) either here on TTSL, on my own site,  http://trashfilmguru.wordpress.com, or on other places where my “byline” (again with the generosity!) occasionally appears such as dailygrindhouse.com, geekyuniverse.com, or what have you, it’s probably become apparent to you by this point that I don’t talk TV that much. Movies? Sure, all the time. Comics? Yeah, what the hell, I opine on those plenty, as well. But TV? This is, to my knowledge, a first. A new frontier. A new era. A new beginning. A bold, vast, wide-open, new horizon.

Okay, now I know I’m being far too generous. And grandiose. So I’ll cut it the fuck out right now.

Seriously, though, there’s a reason I don’t talk TV that much — I don’t watch TV that much. Alright, fair enough — I more or less never miss a Wolves or Wild game, so what I mean to say is that I don’t watch series TV that much. It’s just not my bag. Even with DVR and cable on demand, both of which negate the need to be in front of your screen at a set time every week,  it’s fair to say that continuing, serialized television just ain’t my thang for the most part. I’m a die-hard Doctor Who fan and have been since age, I dunno, six or seven, but my absolute, long-standing love for that show precludes me from saying what I really think about its current, depressing, lowest-common-denominator iteration too publicly. And I watch The Walking Dead and Bates Motel but Arleigh and Lisa Marie, respectively, have got those bases covered around these parts already. I’d been kind of wanting to dip my toes into the metaphorical waters of TV criticism on this site for awhile now, but there just didn’t seem much to be much point.

Then, I heard that the network suits at NBC had become either adventurous or desperate enough to green-light a series based around Hannibal Lecter, and furthermore that said new series was actually good, so I figured here’s my chance. Fair enough, the new show, simply (and unimaginatively) called Hannibal, shared a title with Ridley Scott’s genuinely atrocious entry into the Lecter cinematic canon, but why hold that against it? Especially since the territory it was going to mine, the backstory set before both the very best (Michael Mann’s Manhunter) and very worst (Brett Rattner’s Red Dragon) of the cannibal shrink’s celluloid exploits, seemed ripe for mining. Plus, rumor had it that the first episode was going to be directed by David Slade, who gave us 30 Days Of Night  and Hard Candy, two films I absolutely loved (we won’t hold the Twilight flick he did against him).

So, I figured, here it was — a show I could get in on the ground floor of and review every week for the edification of you, dear Through The Shattered Lens reader, whoever you are.

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Confession time — I still missed the first episode anyway, despite my best intentions. The Wild were playing that night, so sue me. But I dutifully watched it on Comcast On Demand the next evening, and went in with pretty high hopes. It seemed that pretty much everyone liked this thing, from the most cynical corners of the internet to the most pompous and self-important to the most populist to, frankly, the dumbest (Entertainment Weekly, for instance, raved about it). Yup, everybody seemed to be in agreement — TV is bad bad for you, except for Hannibal.

So, yeah — maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I just don’t “get” how series TV works. Maybe I stupidly wanted it to look and feel like Manhunter on, probably, a fraction of that film’s budget. And maybe — just maybe — I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, but I thought that episode one of Hannibal, titled (again rather unimaginatively) “Aperitif,” sucked.

The setup, developed/dumbed down for television by series semi-creator Bryan Fuller (Thomas Harris should still get the lion’s share of the credit in my book) probably should work (and maybe on paper it does) — FBI special agent Will Graham, here played by Hugh Dancy (he of the bloodied glasses in the photo below) is paired with noted psychoanalyst Dr. Hannibal Lecter , here played by Mads Mikkelsen (he of the refined table manners pictured above) by Bureau big-shot Jack Crawford, here played by Laurence Fishburne (he  of the admittedly rather uptight appearance pictured far below). Yup, Graham and Lecter are, for all intents and purposes, partners.

Cool, right? And let’s just for the time being leave aside the fact that Dancy is no William Petersen circa the mid-1980s and that Mikkelsen is no Bryan Cox (still the best screen Lecter, I don’t care what anybody says) or Anthony Hopkins. This is TV, we gotta set our sights lower. But even making allowances for all of that, this was still a thoroughly lifeless, clinical, dull affair. Mikkelsen’s Lecter is closer to the version seen (by those who actually did bother to see it) in Hannibal Rising, which I guess makes sense given that he’s still in the early stages of his cannibalistic career here, and by that I don’t just mean that his vaguely eastern European accent is still present. I mean he’s not the older, accomplished, seen-it-and-done-it-all super-genius criminal of the Cox and Hopkins variety — he’s still, for lack of a better way of putting it, nothing but a pompous ass who happens to eat people. Which I guess makes him more interesting than a pompous ass who doesn’t eat people, but only marginally so.

Hannibal - Season 1

As far as Dancy’s interpretation of Graham goes, he probably does a better job in the role than Ed Norton did in Red Dragon, but the ultra-trendy twists Fuller gives the character — placing him somewhere in the autistic disorder spectrum, making him single so he can apparently spark up a love interest a few episodes down the line with co-star Caroline Dhavernas — are both unnecessary and, frankly, kinda patronizing. A lot of people seem to love the the way that this show has Graham mentally “re-live” the murders he’s investigating (all of which in this opening episode supposedly take place in my home state of Minnesota — probably by way of either rural California or Vancouver) by re-casting himself in the role of the killer, but I found it to be pretty gimmicky, to be honest, and already thoroughly predictable by the second time the conceit was employed.  I’ll take William Petersen’s anguished-and-angry version of the character from Manhunter any day of the week, even if I did promise not to hold the series to the same standards as the films.

And, since I opened that door anyway — one thing that both Michael Mann and Jonathan Demme understood about Hannibal Lecter that, frankly and depressingly, no one else has seemed to be able to figure out is that, underneath his civilized and erudite trappings, this is essentially a blackly comic character.  The greatest flaw of Hannibal the TV series — even greater than the lame-as-hell, wrapped-up-way-too-quickly-and-conveniently murder “mystery” here in episode one — is  its insistence on continuing the humorless, morose trend previously established by Ridley Scott, Brett Rattner, and whoever the hell it was who directed Hannibal Rising. Fuller and Slade just plain don’t seem to get this guy at anything beyond the most surface level, and that’s a shame, because apparently we’re in for 12 more weeks of this shallow, thoroughly unsatisfying interpretation of the character.

Serie 'CSI'

Or, should I say, you are. My days as an armchair TV critic are over (at least for now). Hannibal had a few good things going for it, I suppose — particularly Laurence Fishburne’s spot-on take on Jack Crawford and the nifty little scene where Lecter feeds human meat to Graham (unbeknownst to him, of course) — but not enough to get me to tune in for more.  I’m going back to what I know best. CSI with a cannibal just doesn’t do it for me. Now, Cannibal Holocaust on the other hand —

James Bond Review: Casino Royale


Welcome, one and all! Leading up to the North American release of the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, The Shattered Lens has taken on the task of reviewing each and every one of the twenty two James Bond films that precede it. Today’s is the penultimate review, Casino Royale, the first film of the series to star current-iteration Bond Daniel Craig. It serves as a reboot of the James Bond character, looking back to the beginning of his career, and entirely unconnected from all of the previous films in the series. The only returning actor is Dame Judi Dench, who reprises her role as M, in a more maternal overseer role looking out for a young Bond, despite his rash actions potentially causing trouble for MI6.

Our cold open this time has a black and white Bond confronting a crooked MI6 section chief – one who has been selling secrets to make money on the side. Bond kills both the section chief and his contact, which is enough to earn him his 00-status. The freshly minted 007 heads to Madagascar in pursuit of an international bomb maker. He attempts to find a way to apprehend the bomb maker alive, but is made, and is forced to pursue this man across the city. Bond eventually corners the bomb maker in an embassy building and kills him, blowing up part of the wall, and effecting his escape.

Back in England, M chides Bond for his itchy trigger finger, pointing out that while the world has one less small-time terrorist, they had hoped to get information which would let them fight international terrorism on the organisational level. Bond seems suitably chastened, but M goes further, asserting that she promoted Bond too early, that he is reckless, and a danger. Bond coldly replies that, since the 00-agent’s life is not typically a long one, she will not have to live with her mistake for long.

That’s the sort of Bond that we’re dealing with under the handling of Daniel Craig. While the character is still capable of being charming, he’s a very far cry from Sean Connery’s easy smile and one liners, or Pierce Brosnan’s especially terrible puns. This is sort of the crux of the movie; what controversy exists surrounding its qualities is heavily tied into how you respond to this new take on James Bond. Like all things 2000s, our hero is much grittier than before. Absent is all of Q’s high tech wizardry, and as I stated before, we are not even dealing with a seasoned killer in James Bond, but rather a freshly minted 00 agent. As a result of all these factors, this film has a distinctly different feel from every Bond produced before it. If you like the changes, everything is cool. If you don’t, you may still find yourself appreciating Casino Royale, which has a relatively simple plot, but spends quite a bit of effort on setting up and establishing its characters, including this new James Bond, for the audience.

The main plot of Casino Royale revolves around a high-stakes Texas Hold ‘Em tournament held at the titular casino, located in Montenegro. James Bond is assigned to win the tournament which is being staged by terrorist financier Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) to recoup the terrible losses he suffered when he used the money of his clients to short sell stock, predicting that a terrorist strike which he himself had planned would send prices into free fall. M hopes that by pushing Le Chiffre to the point of desperation, they can force him to cut a deal with MI6 – sanctuary in exchange for everything he knows about terrorists around the world. Bond is assisted in his goal by fellow MI6 agent Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) and Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), this iteration’s Bond girl, an agent from HM Treasury, who is assigned to manage Bond’s $10M buy-in, and to provide him with a $5M re-buy if she believes it would be a good investment. However, since a failure on Bond’s part would mean that Her Majesty’s Treasury was directly funding international terrorism, there is incentive to be cautious.

It takes us nearly an hour to begin to engage in the meat of the film, at the titular Casino Royale. Or, at least, this should be the meat of the film. However, the structure of Casino Royale is a little bit off. It feels like it has enough action, but it doesn’t feel properly paced, with the front half of the film (really just a series of subplots to get us to Montenegro) feels like classic “action Bond”. The scenes in the Casino could have been pulled (well, if Daniel Craig could smile, at any rate) from any other Bond film, as his history is littered with a rich litany of casino sequences. Before and after the casino sequences, however, are framing bits that involve idyllic locations, and if I may be so bold, it doesn’t exactly zoom along. The spacing between the casino sequences and the finale, in particular, made the final act feel very tacked on and a little out of place, even as deliberately intended setup for Quantum of Solace. This can also be off-putting, as it feels like there are two different movies going on here.

For the most part though, I think Casino Royale works. If you can live with a grimmer, grittier, low-talking James Bond, you may really appreciate this low-tech return to basics for our favourite 00-agent.

Tomorrow you’ll get a healthy dose of Quantum of Solace, but before I sign off, let me leave you with the theme from Casino Royale, one of the cooler James Bond themes in the franchise, performed by Chris Cornell.