Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Written by Michael Diaz

It is really hard to believe that it has been over nine years since Marvel Studios premiered with the first Iron Man. When watching the brand new studio logo at the beginning of their fifteenth film, I knew I’m in for another awesome blockbuster. Just like the first, we have new set of awesome songs (no pun) and some good comedic dialog put well in serious situations. However, I was watching the film, I begin to question certain  moments throughout the film that perhaps didn’t seem right.

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Kingsman: The Golden Cirlce trailer

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Last week, 20th Century Fox released a very quick teaser trailer to the upcoming Kingsman film announcing that they would release the full trailer on the 24th of April. And when we say quick, we really mean quick! I blinked the first time I saw it and had to watch it a second time!
Well the time has come and today 20th Century Fox has revealed the first full trailer to their new [Read more…]

Top 3 Star Wars Celebration Reveals!

Star Wars Celebration happened just over the past weekend and after having a few days to absorb all of the amazing announcements they made, here are our top 3! [Read more…]

The Great Wall – The Official Movie Novelization

One of the “Wonders of the World” is the Great Wall in China.  Why was this gigantic wall built?  It was to keep out evil monsters that appear every 60 years.  This is the big budget East/West production by Legendary Pictures directed by award-winning Zhang Yimou.  “The Great Wall” stars Matt Damon as the mercenary William Garin.

In search for fame and riches, mercenary William Garin and his men find themselves in remote China.  His remaining men are tired and hungry after days of being hunted down by bandits in the region.  As they rest for the night, they encounter a mysterious creature.  William is able to fend off the beast by cutting its talon off.  William and fellow survivor Pero Tovar stumble upon the amazing gigantic structure – the Great Wall.

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The Assignment Vol. #1

From the Hard Case Crime imprint, this collects the 3 issues of Walter Hill’s The Assignment.  With the upcoming movie starring Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this trade paperback.

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The Great Wall – The Art of the Film

thegreatwallbookThis weekend Legendary Pictures releases one of their big films of the year into the multiplexes – The Great Wall starring Matt Damon.  Suppose the Great Wall in China was not just built to defend from the human element but also “monsters.”  Actor Matt Damon and the all-star Chinese cast look to defend the Great Wall and humanity from these evil beasts.  Titan Books official companion guide The Great Wall – The Art of the Film takes a behind-the-scenes at the epic production.

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xXx: Return of Xander Cage

xandercage“You know how I came up with the idea of the Triple-X program?  Skateboards and swimming pools.”  (Augustus Gibbons)

I remember watching the first Triple-X in theaters and I had to say, I enjoyed watching the Vin Diesel popcorn flick.  Bypassing Ice Cube’s xXx sequel, like Brett Ratner’s X-Men 3, Vin Diesel reprises his role as super punk-rock agent Xander Cage.  I now find myself reading xXx:  Return of Xander Cage – The Official Movie Novelization and just maybe watching this Fast and the Furious wannabe at the multiplexes.

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Frankie’s Garage: The Nissan Rogue One X-Wing SUV

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Photo: Invision for Nissan

Like the Hot Wheels X-Wing Carship, at the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story red carpet event, Nissan also had their Rogue SUV outfitted to look like a X-Wing fighter.  The Nissan Rogue SUV was painted to look like the iconic X-Wing with jet engines and laser blasters fitted onto the sides of the car.  And to top it off, an R2 Droid sat on top.

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Flash Gordon Actor Sam Jones

dsc_0068Actor Sam Jones is known for playing the iconic fictional character Flash Gordon.  Ramen host Eddie Ballar interviews Sam Jones about his career and Seth MacFarlane’s TED film appearances.

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The Stanley Kubrick Exhibition

sk002One of most iconic filmmaker in our generation was director Stanley Kubrick.  His films stood out for being strange, weird and visually artistic.  He did not make mainstream flicks like director Steven Spielberg or summer popcorn fluff like Michael Bay, Stanley Kubrick was unique.  This was the last week of “The Stanley Kubrick Exhibition” at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, so being cinema fans here at Retrenders, we stopped by the museum.

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Cinema Alchemist, A Memoir – Roger Christian

cinemaalcoverImagine yourself in 1970s Hollywood and you’re on set meeting a nobody director at the time George Lucas, who is wearing a white shirt, blue jeans and sneakers.  He talks to you about this secret script named Star Wars.  What would do?  This was before so-called “Hollywood blockbusters”, before movie franchises, before green screens, and before SFX studios like ILM.  Roger Christian accepted the gig and of course, the rest is history.  Cinema Alchemist, Designing Star Wars & Alien is a memoir by Oscar-winning Roger Christian.

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Suicide Squad – The Official Movie Novelization

suicidesquadnovelI will stay out of the critics/fans Suicide Squad movie squabble mess.  Yes, the movie had some misses, like the under-character development of various characters and the overly long 3rd act, but overall I enjoyed director David Ayer’s Suicide Squad as a just a fun summer popcorn action flick.  With the hoopla surrounding the Suicide Squad movie, I was intrigued with the Suicide Squad novelization by long-time DC comic book author Marv Wolfman.

The U.S. government appoints Amanda Waller to establish Task Force X part of the A.R.G.U.S. program to use super criminals locked-up in prison for special government missions.  Dr. June Moone aka Enchantress finds a way to raise his trap brother Incubus back into the world of the living.  Together they have a plan to destroy and rule the world.  Waller taps Colonel Rick Flag to be the liaison for this “Suicide Squad” team and assembles Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, El Diablo and Slipknot to stop the Enchantress and her brother Incubus.

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Fan Contest with Star Wars Rogue One Toys

starwarsgoroguecoverIn a new effort to PR the new Rogue One film and push out the toys, Lucasfilms and Tongal have teamed up with fans to create a series cool stop-motion shorts using Rogue One toys from Hasbro, The LEGO Group, FUNKO, JAKKS Pacific, Mattel and the Disney Store.

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ALIENS – The Set Photography

aliensartbookOne of the huge blockbuster movies that made a strong impression on me growing in the 1980s was James Cameron’s ALIENS.  It was scary with kick-ass action, had a memorable cast of actors and just a great science fiction storyline.  With a collection of artwork, on-set location pictures and behind-the-scenes photographs, author Simon Ward takes us ALIENS fans on a journey with ALIENS – The Set Photography by Titan Books.

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Poe Dameron X-Wing Prop Replica Helmet

starwarsstudioeditioncoverEarly this year, Disney announced a new line of official authentic film replicas of props from the Star Wars franchise – the Star Wars Collectibles:  Ultimate Studio Edition.  This ain’t know Burger King-style run and gun operation, these are made to order (takes around 16 weeks) with custom display pedestals and packed into wooden crates.  Different helmets, lightsabers and weapons are available to order.  These props are for the high-end Star Wars fan collector and likely used for display purposes.  Expect premium prices.

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STRANGER THINGS – A Throwback to the Best Movies of the ’80s!

Stranger Things - Netflix - RetrendersIf you haven’t seen this Netflix Series, you should!  Because I went into a sleepless night binge watching this!

Stranger Things takes place in the ’80s and with plenty of ’80s music.  It brought back so many memories of past films, this took me back to being a 5 year-old kid, because it had a little bit of The Goonies, a team of kids on bicycles. I also couldn’t help recognize the use of same dramatic theme track too.  Then there’s E.T., because of the weird girl; The Explorers, kids exploring; Stand By Me, the train track trail to find their friend; and it even had an X-Files Sci-Fi conspiracy twist that will lure you to want to watch the series until the end. Also, it’s worth mentioning, if you love Dungeons and Dragons, you’ll appreciate this series!

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The Art & Making of Independence Day: Resurgence

independencedayartbookI remember sitting at the Cornet Theater, an iconic large single-screen theater in San Francisco, before all the crazy IMAX 3D stuff and mega-mall multiplexes watching the summer blockbuster Independence Day.  Twenty years have past with a new sequel ID4 Resurgence.  The nasty aliens are back to drain Earth’s natural resources.  Okay, I admit Resurgence may not measure up to the classic summer hit ID4, but if you want some popcorn action with no thinking – then you might want to see ID4 Resurgence.  Along with the movie, Titan Books has released The Art & Making of Independence Day Resurgence.

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Warcraft: Durotan

durotanBefore we start this review, let us take a moment to explain that I’m not a Warcraft fanatic or even a Starcraft hardcore gamer.  In college, I was more of a Command & Conquer fan and played a lot of it, especially during final weeks from what I remember.  With the release of the live-action Warcraft film this weekend, this paperback novel Warcraft: Durotan is the prequel storyline for the Warcraft movie.

This tale begins with the young Durotan learning how to be a leader of the Frostwolves orc clan from his dad Garad and mother Geyah.  For generations, the Frostwolves have been living in Frostfire Ridge near the Greatfather Mountain, which provide food and shelter.  A mysterious warlock Gul’dan appears and tells of a new evil coming to destroy their lands.  Gul’dan asks Garad to join their united orc clans – the Horde.  He promises a land to the South where there is much food, fresh water and better lands.  Chieftain Garad dismisses Gul’dan as evil, but over the years the area of Frostfire Ridge becomes increasingly harder to hunt for food with harsher summers and winters.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – The Art of the Film

batmanvsupermanartofthefilmHave you been hiding under a rock or hibernating underground?  Go and watch Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Critics and haters be damned!  It’s a solid movie by director Zach Synder, though I did have some issues as a comic book fanboy, but I digress.  What I’m here to talk about is Titan Books latest behind-the-scenes movie book, this is the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – The Art of the Film book series by author Peter E. Aperlo.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Tech Manual

batmantechmanualcoverWhenever there is a new Batman flick, like James Bond, Batman always has cool new toys to use on the bad guys.  In Batman v Superman:  Dawn of Justice, Batman has a new Batsuit, Batmobile and Batplane to get all the fanboys excited.  Well, almost everything you need to know about all the Bat-vehicles and Bat-gadgets, and even Superman’s suit and Wonder Woman’s uniform and weapons are in this book by Titan Books, it’s the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Tech Manual.

bvs003If you’ve seen the movie, Batman is a mix of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight and as director Zach Snyder explains: “My Batman is the late 40s, and war weary” (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Tech Manual, page 19).  Zach and the design team not only focused on Batman’s overall Batsuit, but went into detail about the body armor, the tech inside the cowl/mask, the cape and the utility belt.

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The Little Prince: The Art of the Movie

alittleprincecoverThe Little Prince animated film is based on a 1943 story by author Antoine de Saint-Exupery about a pilot meeting a boy from another planet.  Author Ramin Zahed takes us on a journey with writer/director Mark Osborne known for his Kung-fu Panda animated hit on the challenge of making a classic story with new twist and animating it.  This is Titan Books’ The Little Prince – The Art of the Movie.

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Viral Video Friday: Jailbreak by Aaron Sorenson

jailbreakcoverA nice quick animated short for this Friday.  This is “Jailbreak” by Aaron Sorenson.  A prisoner is looking look to break out of jail but is bought back with an “adult” ironic twist.

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Dawn of Justice Batmobile

batmanvsupermanbatmobileDC All Access gets an in-depth tour of the new Batmobile from the upcoming Batman v Superman:  Dawn of Justice flick.  All Access interviews production designer Patrick Tatopoulos about Batman’s new ride and design-style.

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Meet the Stormtrooper Prop Master

stormtrooperpropdudeMeet Hollywood prop maker Andrew Ainsworth.  You might ask, “Who is he?”  Well, he’s the creator of the most iconic character helmets in film – the original Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet.

 

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Star Wars Launch Bay @ Disney World

starwarslaunchbaycoverThere’s a time to head to Disneyland in SoCal and a time to head to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  Disney World has just opened the Star Wars Launch Bay area and it’s great for Star Wars fans.

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