Category Archives: General
Biff Bam Pop’s Holiday Gift Guide returns for yet another year. We’ll be looking at some of our favourite things – comics, movies, video games, albums, and more – that we think the pop culture geek in your life would love under the tree this holiday season (or the Hanukkah bush as well). Trust us, we know of which we speak.
On that note, we kick things off with a return back to a galaxy far, far away…
As you may or may not recall, with Disney purchasing Lucasfilm and Star Wars a few years back, it made sense that Dark Horse Comics, who had been the rights holders for years, would eventually lose out to Marvel, another Disney-owned property. And so it was, in 2015 Marvel Comics began publishing Star Wars stories again, just as they had done back in 1977.
Two titles that have been collected into trade paperbacks are exactly where you want to start – the flagship series, Star Wars, written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by John Cassaday, and Darth Vader, from writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larocca.
Both titles are set between Star Wars – A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and, as part of official canon, allow readers to once and for all know what occurred during that timeline. Star Wars: Skywalker Strikes collects the first 6 issues of the title series, and immediately a series of action sequences that feel absolutely perfect. Cassaday’s artwork is outstanding, while Aaron crafts a compelling story of Luke, Leia and Han learning to work together. In the book, we’re also privy to the first in-canon encounter between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. It’s pretty cool stuff,never if we know that Luke makes it out live.
Darth Vader is an interesting tale itself. In the shadow of rah destruction of the Death Star, Vader is forced to deal with the scrutiny and machinations of The Emperor, who is far from pleased at the destruction of his massive toy. The story here helps give the Vader the depth that we eventually see in Empire Strikes Back. Larocca does exceptional work in conveying emotion in the character, not with facials, of course, but with movement and placement.
As we head down the road to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Marvel has been doing an exceptional job of putting together the new canon mythology, some of which I’m guessing will play out in some form in the new film. Knowing that these stories actually matter and will continue to due so moving forward in the Star Wars Universe gives them a weight that the franchised hasn’t had in some time. Fans will certainly love getting either of these titles, if not both, this holiday season.
It was a very strong holiday weekend for holdovers and new comers alike at the box office. Here’s what went down:
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 held on to the top spot for the second weekend in a row, bringing in an estimated $50.3 million over the three-day weekend. It’s total now stands at $197.1 million which, while behind the first Mockingjay, is still an outstanding number.
Opening in second place was the Disney-Pixar film The Good Dinosaur, which brought an estimated $39.5 million. Though not as high as some other Pixar films, clearly this was the pick for families over the long weekend.
Debuting in third place with $28.7 million was the critically acclaimed seventh film in the Rocky franchise, Creed, with Michael B. Jordan playing the role of Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis and Sylvester Stallone returning as Rocky Balboa in a Mickey-type role. I had the chance to see Creed Saturday night and it was, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Director and co-writer Ryan Coogler walked into the franchise as a die-hard fan of the previous films, and worked hard to get Stallone onboard for a film he would neither writer nor direct. Coogler nails everything that matters about Rocky – the heart, determination and the soul of men trying to find purpose – and delivers a superior movie. Jordan is outstanding and carries the film, though many with rogue that Stallone is an absolutely revelation. Rocky Balboa has always brought the best in Stallone and he simply delivers a heartfelt, moving performance. There’s talk of an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor and in my mind, Stallone absolutely deserves one. You can walk in blind to Creed and still get so much out of it. Highly recommended, and it’s great to see audiences responding to the film by turning out. Read the rest of this entry
It’s the Thanksgiving long weekend in the U.S., which typically means big time bucks for movie theaters. This year should prove to be no exception. Will it be a new movie or a holdover from last week that will reign at the top of the box office? Here’s our predictions:
New this weekend is The Good Dinosaur, from Disney and Pixar. With credentials like that, you know that this is going to be the choice for families celebrating the holiday weekend, even if reviews have been calling the film good but not great. Look for a first place showing for The Good Dinosaur with $60 million.
The TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto’s foremost review cinema house, is putting on an extensive stop-motion animation retrospective for the public over the next few months. Titled ‘Magic Motion: The Art of Stop-Motion Animation,’ the first screenings are set to take place this weekend. Two of the initial weekend screenings, King Kong (1933) and The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), are particularly noteworthy features in the development of cinema. Both films laid an early blueprint for the future of action-adventure motion pictures. Read the rest of this entry
We’ve got our first full clip from Star Wars: The Force Awakens right here for you, and it feels like a Star Wars movie! Take a look and let us know what you think of this taste.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on Friday, December 18th. But you knew that.
It was a biggish weekend at the box office, but not the huge one that many pundits were expecting. Here’s what went down:
As predicted, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 opened in first place with an estimated $100 million. Any time you can open with that sort of number is good news; however, this was lowest opening weekend for any of the films in the franchise. Perhaps audiences have tired of Katniss and company, as comparable films such as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 both had opening weekends that outperformed the previous entry in each franchise. However, $100 million is still a very solid opening, and Mockingjay Part 2 should play well over the coming weeks. Read the rest of this entry
It begins with an act of war. Years ago, humanity and the Cylons fought a destructive war to a draw, so the Cylons withdrew. For forty years, nobody heard a peep from them, this rebellious robot race that humans had created. Each year, the armistice dictated they would meet at a distant outpost, a lonely space station hanging in the void. Each year, humans sent a representative, and the Cylons never showed. As the pilot to the brilliant reboot of Battlestar Galactica begins, a military attaché finds himself nodding off, probably for the tenth year running, sitting at a desk contemplating the empty hallway where the Cylons have again failed to appear. He glances at a folder of specs, centurion designs, the robot soldiers familiar to viewers of the original 1978 series. With a pneumatic whoosh and a clang, the far door opens. The startled attaché stares agog as two strange new centurions march into view, forbidding machine-guns protruding from their fists. They come to attention and the guns transform into only slightly less disturbing long fingered hands. But they’re not the strangest sight. For what comes through the door next is a beautiful human woman, in a captivating red dress suit. She draws uncomfortably close, studying him intently, and asks “are you alive?” “Yes,” he says breathlessly. “Prove it,” she demands, coming in close and they kiss. Outside, the station is engulfed in the titanic shadow of a Cylon base star, a missile arcing toward it and exploding. As she kisses the now terrified man, she says “it has begun.” The deadly hook is baited, and we’re plunged into the genocidal hell of Battlestar, in my book right up there with The Wire for one of the best series of the 2000s.
You know and I know that there’s only one film this weekend that’s going to hit number one, and we both know it’s going to do it with a huge number. So let’s get right into it shall we. Here’s our prediction:
After four years, The Hunger Games saga comes to a close with Mockingjay Part 2. The film franchise that made Jennifer Lawrence into a mega-star is sure to go out with a big blockbuster bang. What kind of money are we talking about? I’m predicting that the film is going to get pretty darn close to the $150 million mark this weekend, as fans clamour to see the final hurrah of Katniss Everdeen. On that note, look for a first place showing with a massive $135 million opening.
This last summer saw the release of Vacation, the sequel cum reboot of the beloved National Lampoon’s Vacation series that starred Chevy Chase and Beverley D’Angelo. I don’t say I was a huge fan of the franchise growing up – I was actually more of a Fletch fan rather than a Vacation one. While I thought the trailers for this Vacation looked very, very funny, I just didn’t make it out to the movies to see this one. However, when a copy arrived in my mail last week, I had my chance to catch up.
The verdict: Vacation is indeed very, very funny.