Tag Archives: Disney

Disney aquires Lucasfilm


It’s official. George Lucas will no longer be the creative force behind  the Star Wars franchise.

In a shocking development today, Disney aquired  Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. All of those funds, which include stocks and cash, will go directly  to Lucas himself, since he is the sole owner of the independent company that  never went public. In exchange, Disney now has complete ownership of the  Star Wars franchise.

What does this mean for fans? It means that we might  get a decent Star Wars
film! No longer is the franchise beholden to Lucas’ wooden dialogue and bad creative decisions that he had complete control  over. In a statement today Lucas said, “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. … It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come.”

While I am  appreciative of the Star Wars films he’s created, I am extremely excited  about the opportunity that another director and writer could have when  bringing their vision of his world to the screen. Stay tuned! This is only the start of could be many Star Wars films to come. I say that because I’m positive Disney didn’t buy it in order to shelve it away!

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

During World War II, eccentric, self-styled witch Eglantine Price (Angela Lansbury) aims to use her newfound powers to ward off a Nazi incursion of England. But she’s saddled with a trio of refugee siblings from London who need her protection, too. To win them over, she pulls off an assortment of tricks and takes them on a fantastical adventure to the Isle of Naboombu. This live-action Disney classic won an Oscar for its visual effects.

Rating: 5 out of 10

When I was kid, I adored this movie. All the witchcraft, traveling around on a flying bed, talking animals, spells, fighting Nazis. It’s the kind of imagination Disney could never use today in fear of being chased down by far right-wing religious wackos claiming the film was satanic.

This film would also never fly with this generation’s children. It’s seldom I walk into a grocery store and see children with their eyes in other places than their parent’s ipod or hand-held video game. This film was ambitious, with a running time of 2 hours 19 minutes, and full of big musical numbers — dancing and singing galore. I couldn’t see children sitting through this movie because it drags a bit, which pulled the rating down.

In truth, I struggled a bit to watch this, too. Seeing this for the first time as an adult made me notice how slow the first reel is. It took a long time to get to the best parts of this film. It made me wonder, am I a hypocrite for being this curmudgeonly? Perhaps. But I did manage to sit through this without looking at an iphone.

Tron: Legacy

While investigating the mysterious disappearance of his father, Kevin (Jeff Bridges), techie Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) lands in a beguiling computerized world of enslaved gladiators, where his dad has been living for more than 20 years. Joined by Kevin’s trusted friend (Olivia Wilde), the father and son must journey across a breathtaking — and perilous — cyberscape in this 21st-century update to the beloved 1982 sci-fi classic.

8 out of 10

Did I get a nerd boner? Of course I did. There was Jeff Bridges, computers, computer babes and Daft Punk. C’mon now!

I hate to admit this to you TMB fans, but this was the first film I saw in IMAX. I’m kind of a cheap bastard and try to not spend as much when I go to the movies. Anyway, now that my IMAX cherry is popped, I’m glad I lost it to “Tron: Legacy.” It was very much worth it. The graphics were absolutely amazing. The Grid city, light cycle chases, young Jeff Bridges, you name it and it was great.

I do want to point out that you do not need to see the original “Tron” to understand what is going on. There really isn’t much you need to know anyway. The beginning adequately explains what’s going on. Plus, the plot is no way hard to understand. The only little bugaboo I had was seeing the Programs (people in the computer) eat and drink. Seeing the Programs in a club dancing to techno is as far my imagination, in a film like this, will go; the eating and drinking was unnecessary.

Vic’s Classics: Dr. No

On a mission in Jamaica, suave Agent 007 (Sean Connery) — in the first of the James Bond films — finds mad scientist Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) plotting to derail the U.S. space program and take over the world, pushing Bond into an intimate alliance with the sexy Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress). With the help of Felix Leiter (Jack Lord), Bond battles seductive double agents and sinister villains in his quest to save the human race.

Rating: 9 out of 10

My first theatrical exposure to a genuine James Bond film was when I saw (I’m cringing right about now) MOONRAKER in 1979. Ugh. What a way to cash in on Star Wars. Well, Disney did it with “The Black Hole,” so why not UA? After the movie I felt as if I had seen all they had in the cool, neat, little package that is James Bond so I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Meh” and moved on to my next flick. My Uncle and Grandfather had insisted that Bond had a very good run of films waaaaay back even before my time. I found it incredulous but hey who was I to argue with my Grandfather and Uncle?  So this is what happened.

Right around the time I graduated high school I went down to Tower Records and Video near Soho, Manhattan and bought every Bond film to date up to Diamonds are Forever on Videocassette. When I got home I popped in “Dr. No” first and that was the beginning of a fruitful and long relationship with Sean Connery as the baddest spy to have ever walked this planet. “Dr. No” was amazing, but I was left wondering how they made “Moonraker.”  Dr. No was produced by Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman back in the early 1960s and it was after they saw Connery in “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” that they knew they had someone who could pull off their version of the hard- nosed, all business agent. But Connery brought more to the table than that. He had danger and threat lurking just behind those studly Scottish lips.

Swiss actress Ursula Andress, who was cast after being seen in a photograph just two weeks before shooting began, is my very first Bond girl. Who will ever live up to that walking out of the water onto the beach scene?  NO ONE!  And She can act, too!  I must, in all honestly,  say that Joseph Wiseman out-acts just about everyone in this film as the evil megalomaniac Dr. No who is involved in appropriate evil Cold War hi-jinks with that grand-poobah of evil global organizations S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Wiseman is chilly, dangerous and very aloof and that makes him very evil and believable. This film is just all around a must see Bond film and a must-own for spy film enthusiasts. Connery is just stunning to behold as he swaggers and assassinates his way through this very economical spy thriller. Now if only I can sell off all those Bond videocassettes…

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Films that defined us

All of us have particular movies we’ve seen, whether as an adult or child, that stay with us in a way others hadn’t before. They’re special experiences we hold onto, whether it was because you saw them with a close friend or the film connected with your life in a personal way. These are movies that define us, and we’re breaking down each by genre. Each week, one of our contributors will list their movie.


Action/Adventure: As a child, one of my favorite films was “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” I was 10 years old in the summer of 1989, the prime age for Indiana Jones, and had seen the other two Indy films on Beta Max. But this was the first one I remember seeing and experiencing in the theater. It was magical. The theme song still gives me chills and gets my heart pumping for those thrilling action sequences. Harrison Ford owned this iconic role and Sean Connery was a wonderful compliment to a script full of mystery, suspense and action.

Science-fiction: This one was easy. I can still clearly remember going to see “Return of the Jedi” for my brother’s birthday party. It’s the only Star Wars film to be released in theaters (minus the rerelease and prequels) in my lifetime, so I had to choose this one. I can remember being captivated as Luke pulled off Vader’s mask as we all got a first look at the old man within. I was glued to the screen and hooked on Star Wars for life. I felt so much angst during the fight scenes between Luke and Vader and loved watching the ewoks battle storm troopers. It’s a movie memory that will always stay with me.

Drama: I’m a huge Stanley Kubrick fan, and I could easily put a Kubrick movie in here for every category, but that’s another list. But his epic war film “Paths of Glory” is not only one of the best dramas I’ve ever seen, but one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. It’s a masterpiece from its incredible performances by Kirk Douglas and Adolphe Menjou to the incredibly smart script and stunning visuals by Kubrick. One of the most epic shots is in the opening sequence of the camera panning, seemingly forever, through the trenches of a French platoon as bullets fly overhead, wounded soldiers weep, men vomit in their helmets and soldiers prepare for battle. This is a poignant film with a clear message delivered in a powerful fashion.

Horror: I can honestly say “The Exorcist” still scares the hell out of me — no pun intended. I was 8 years old when I saw this movie. My sister was babysitting me and she rented it not knowing what and how scary it really was. We grew up Catholic. My brother told me it was real, and when I asked my mother if it was she said, “Yes, honey, it is.” That only scared me more. I didn’t take a bath alone for months or go in the basement by myself for years. This is by far the most scared I’ve ever been by a movie. Gives me the willies just thinking about it.

Animation: I think the movie that taught me to love animation for its ability to tell stories that are wild, yet refined, focused and with a heart and imagination, was Walt Disney’s classic “Alice in Wonderland.” The story is wild and spontaneous, sometimes visually scary to a small child with wicked characters who are vicious and insane. It also had a great sense of humor, was visually a masterpiece, and wildly imaginative. I devoured the books after seeing the movies and to this day I’m still a big fan. This film showed me that animation could be more than just princesses and romantic songs and it shaped my taste in animation for life.

Comedy: I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley. I love a silly but smart sense of humor, and that’s just what you get in “Airplane.” It’s the kind of movie I own and have seen dozens of times, but no matter how many times I’ve seen it, I find something new to laugh at. It’s just loaded with silly humor, spoofs, one-liners, word play, zany characters and just ridiculous gags that makes me laugh until my stomach hurts. I saw this as a child, and I missed tons of jokes, but really loved the ones I understood. This is a classic camp comedy and has withstood the test of time.

Family/Children: There are a bunch of great kids movies, like “Back to the Future” or “The Goonies.” This was a tough choice, but for me “The Karate Kid” stands out above the rest because it had such a fantastic blend of action, comedy and at its heart, a meaningful, coming-of-age drama. I think I’ve seen this movie in the theater more than any other film. It seemed like my brother and I were going to see it every weekend. We would karate kick each other silly, wear kung-fu pajamas, and I even took a karate class. But as a film, I still watch this one on a regular basis and I take something new away from it with every viewing.