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Top 10 Horror Films Of 2019 (Dr. Zaius’s Picks)
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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The Shining Sequel Doctor Sleep

Overall I thought 2019 was a great year for film all around and horror did not disappoint. There was great horror everywhere you looked in 2019. Mainstream horror hit the theaters and the indie horror scene continued to grow and improve. The streaming world made amazing contributions to horror with Netflix producing several great movies and Shudder continuing to dominate the genre with their Shudder Exclusives and foreign imports. And I need to shout out Hulu and Blumhouse for their spectacular Into the Dark series, in which the streaming service puts out a new seasonal horror film every month. So let’s jump in and see which horror films made the cut…

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What The ‘Star Wars’ Legacy Means To The Cast and Crew Of ‘The Rise Of Skywalker’
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Crew

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is the final chapter of the epic nine-film story arc that took over 40 years to complete. Though each generation has its trilogy, the entire Skywalker Saga belongs to everyone who has been a part of the Star Wars pantheon in any sort of capacity, whether it is through the films, TV series, video games, books, etc. Of course, fans will be interested in seeing how it will all come to an end and if it will meet or exceed their high expectations.

While Geeks of Doom and a group of selected journalists were able attend a press conference for Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, where the cast and crew talked about the film’s legacy and what they would like to leave behind knowing that they are the ones to close the book on the Skywalker saga. Check out what they had to say here below.

Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker

Director J.J. Abrams immediately recognized the pressures that Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker had as it would bring an epic conclusion to over 40 years’ worth of storytelling. Though it has only been four years since he directed The Force Awakens, he says the difference between now and then is that the pressure has shifted, because he, Disney, and Lucasfilm did not know what kind of film they would have when they started this endeavor with Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac.

“This is wrapping up not one film, not three films, but nine,” Abrams said. “The responsibility was significant and the movie. The scale of the movie is pretty enormous, and we knew none of that would matter and none of that would work if we didn’t care deeply about the people. So the most important thing, the people, we were good with. We knew we had this incredible cast who I think has gone above and beyond anyone’s expectations and are truly spectacular in the film.”

And if there is anything a Star Wars film has, it is a combination of action, drama, heart, and humor. Finding someone who can balance that throughout the entirety of one film is difficult, and it is one of the reasons why Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy wanted Abrams to return because she believed he was one of those who could find that balance and bring the saga to a satisfying conclusion.

“The one thing I know about Star Wars and the one thing I know about these kinds of tentpole movies is this unique combination of needing dramatic storytelling, gravitas, and a great sense of humor,” Kennedy said. “I think there are a few filmmakers that really embody all of those things and also have the capability to manage something this huge, and J.J. was my first choice.”

Abrams then talked about how Star Wars, as a whole, was something more than just another blockbuster tentpole popcorn flick. It was something that represented hope in a time of despair when the underdog had their backs against the wall, and it was about bringing people together.

“I like to think that when you are working on something, especially something, and I say something like this as if these kinds of things come along all the time, and they never do, and I am still grateful for that call from Kathy, the truth is that there is the movie that you know you’re presenting to the world, and then there is the thing that you are doing not necessarily secretly but meaningfully,” Abrams said. “We live in a crazy world. We live in a crazy time. Star Wars for me was about hope, it was about community, it was about the underdog, and it was about bringing people together.”

Star Wars: TROS

While Star Wars has been a huge part of everyone’s lives, there is no doubt the franchise wouldn’t be where it is today without its core characters from the Original Trilogy. One of those characters is Princess Leia, who was played by the late Carrie Fisher. Though she may not have been alive to see her character’s story completed, Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose Tico, spoke about what Fisher meant to the franchise, the new trilogy, and how they felt it was their duty to make sure they do it right.

“I can only speak for myself, there is sort of this idea that J.J. has talked about ending this in nine films, and Carrie was such a big part of all that,” Tran said. “So, I think for me, personally, there was a lot of wanting to honor this thing and do right by this thing. And I think she is pretty effing incredible in this movie.”

Star Wars: TROS

And Leia was always going to be an intricate part to the new trilogy, with her role increasing with every film. Though she passed before production for The Rise Of Skywalker could start, Abrams had another plan to have her be a part of the film. One that would not involve cheap gimmicks like holograms or superimpose.

“Like everyone here who knew her, loved Carrie, and I knew her for a long time but not very well, but for a while before The Force Awakens,” Abrams said. “Obviously, as we discussed continuing the story without Leia was an impossibility, and there was no way we were going to do a digital Leia, there was no way we were going to of course recast her, but we couldn’t do it without her. So when we looked back the scenes we didn’t use in The Force Awakens, what we realized is that we had an opportunity and we could use that footage and the lines that she was saying and the lighting…”

He added,

“We knew we had the opportunity to use the footage to create scenes that Leia would be in. Of course, had Carrie been around, and it is still impossible for me to believe she isn’t because we have been editing with her for about a year, and she has been very much alive with us in every scene. If we had Carrie around, would we have done things differently here and there? Of course, we would have. But we had an opportunity to have Carrie in the movie. Working with all the actors, including Billie Lourd, her daughter, who’s in scenes with her, we were able to, I think, do something Carrie herself would be happy with. She’s great in the movie, of course. It’s emotional and moving to think of her and how sad we all are that she’s not sitting here with us today.”

For Anthony Daniels, who has plays C-3PO, being a part of all three trilogies has given him a very unique perspective on the iconic cinematic franchise.

“I just realized, in the last few months, something that I haven’t gotten before because I have been in all the movies. The questions I really don’t like is ‘what was it like?’ or ‘how does it feel to be in Star Wars?’ Well, I only just realized because I have been in all of them and all of the spinoffs and stuff, I am so close to it it’s like having your nose up against the planet. You can’t see how big the planet is. And gradually I am beginning to get a perspective on it and that comes from talking to fans and people who say what Star Wars meant to them. It has meant something completely different to me. It’s a job, it’s kind of fun, awkward sometimes, as well all know, it’s not a smooth ride, but finally, I get to see it from the other perspective and that is the perspective of the audience who have been there all this time and I am really glad to have survived all of this long enough to get this perspective.”

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Rey and Kylo battle

Even though Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is the end of an incredible nine-film story arc, it will remain one of the greatest stories told in a cinematic form. But the films themselves are representative of something that is greater than that, which is something Ridley is proud to be a part of.

“I think, in itself, to be part of something, like a lot of people in cinema are talking about representation and change and aren’t doing it,” Ridley said. “So I think, in itself, being part of a team of people that look a little different, that are from different places, like in whatever form that is – gender, race, whatever it is – I think that, in itself, is a legacy to be proud of.”

She added,

“Like J.J. was saying, this is a film of hope. And I think we are reflective of the world at large. There are a lot of people up against magnificent forces that are fighting the good fight. And, you know, the characters aren’t real, but what they’re doing is perilous in cinema. So to be able to portray even a tiny part of that in this crazy world is very special.”

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker opened in theaters on December 20, 2019.

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The Road To ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Star Trek TMP teaser poster

Star Trek: The Motion Picture turned 40 years old this year. Perhaps one of the least-loved, yet utterly successful films that spawned multiple sequels in the last few decades, The Motion Picture is a bit of conundrum. While it is rooted in the same universe as shows and movies that came before and after it, it has a markedly different look and feel than much of the rest of the Star Trek canon. This makes it something of an odd man out. At the same time, it’s a movie that tried to express a number of character and plot ideas that were used again with much more success in other adventures in the Star Trek universe.

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Movie Review: The Two Popes
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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The Two Popes

The Two Popes
Director: Fernando Meirelles
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce
Distributor: Netflix
Rated PG-13 | Minutes: 126
Release Date: November 27, 2019 (Limited) | December 20, 2019 (Netflix)

It’s amazing what could be accomplished when two people of differing ideologies could come together to simply sit down and listen to each other. That kind of consideration and respect is hard to come by, especially in this day and age. But when it happens, it reminds us of the power of empathy and tolerance. Fernando Meirelles’ The Two Popes is just that film. Based on true events, The Two Popes is a strong call to action for those who may not agree with others to simply understand their point of view. Check out my review below.

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Movie Review: Queen And Slim
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Queen and Slim

Queen And Slim
Director: Melina Matsoukas
Writer: Lena Waithe
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Bokeem Woodbine, Indya Moore
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated: R | Minutes: 132
Release Date: November 27, 2019

If art is a reflection of society, then Queen And Slim is a serious call to action to address the societal damages that police brutality and systemic racism cause when it is allowed to continue to fester across America. Melina Matsoukas, who makes her directorial debut using a script written by Lena Waithe, reimagines the outlaws on the run from the law story by adding timely real-world social themes that we see making news headlines too often. Though a film will not completely change the hearts and minds of those who may not see these dangers, it can be a powerful reminder that it still continues to exist and if it isn’t taken care of, these senseless deaths will continue to happen. My review below.

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Movie Review: Knives Out
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Knives Out

Knives Out
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer
Distributor: Lionsgate
Rated PG-13 | Minutes: 130
Release Date: November 27, 2019

Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out is a deliciously twisted whodunit murder mystery in the same vein of an Agatha Christie novel, but with a modern touch. Though it does rely on many of those Christie tropes of a detective warning the audience about foul play, marking everyone as a suspect, and deliberately setting up all of the clues in plain sight. And true to form, though the film holds the audience’s attention by giving them a well-crafted intrigue that is set up by Johnson, the political subtext allows it to be much more than just a simple murder mystery. And it is able to stay constantly entertaining as it is full of unlikeable and very suspect characters, who are wonderfully played by an all-star cast, that not only keeps things funny, but will also have us guessing until the very end. My full review below.

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‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’ Character Posters Introduces Us To New and Old Faces
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker Kylo Ren

For every major blockbuster film out there, you can be sure that the studio marketing team will have a set of character posters printed and ready for release.

For every major blockbuster film out there, you can be sure that the studio marketing team will have a set of character posters printed and ready for release. With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker just a few more weeks away from hitting theaters, we will start to see more and more print and videos from the marketing campaign. Case in point, these new character posters which see familiar faces and some newer characters. Check them out below.

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Watch: First Trailer For ‘Antebellum’ Starring Janelle Monáe
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The Movie God   |  @   |  
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Antebellum Movie

Lionsgate Movies has released a teaser trailer for Antebellum, an upcoming mystery thriller starring Janelle Monáe (Hidden Figures, Moonlight).

The movie is written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, also known as Bush+Renz, who are making their feature debut. Kiersey Clemons, Jena Malone, Jack Huston, Eric Lange, Marque Richardson, Lily Cowles, Tongayi Chirisa, Robert Aramayo, and Academy Award nominee Gabourey Sidibe star alongside Monáe.

You can continue below for a synopsis for Antebellum, and to check out the first trailer and a trio of posters.

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Warner Bros. May Or May Not Be Talking To Todd Phillips About A ‘Joker’ Sequel
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Joker Movie

It’s become almost commonplace for a studio to release some sort of follow-up to a film that is both a commercial and critical success. And that may be happening with Warner Bros.’ Joker. The film, which was directed by Todd Phillips, starred Joaquin Phoenix in the title role which was an origins story for the Clown Prince of Crime. The film opened to the tune of $96.2 million in its debut weekend, and has passed the monumental $1 billion mark since then. So it’s only natural that WB would want to keep that momentum going.

According to some trades Phillips has met with Warner Bros. about taking on a sequel. But this particular news bit isn’t so straight forward. There is a conflicting report from another trade which says there are no current talks regarding the potential sequel. More on the reports below.

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‘The Call Of The Wild’ Trailer: Harrison Ford and His Dog Go On A Frontier Adventure
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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The Call Of The Wild Movie

20th Century Fox has released the first trailer for Call of the Wild, starring Harrison Ford.

The film, based on the Jack London novel of the same name, centers on Buck, a domesticated dog who is stolen from his home and placed in the wilderness of the Alaskan Yukon during the height of the Gold Rush of the 1890s. He then befriends John Thornton, who adds him to his dog sledding team. And together they go on an adventure unlike any other. Check out the trailer below.

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