Goodbye Richard Hatch

            

I just want to acknowledge the passing of actor Richard Hatch, best known for his role on the original Battlestar Galactica.  The show aired on television in 1978, a year after the great success of Star Wars: A New Hope.  All these years later it remains one of my all time favorite television shows.  Richard Hatch is a big reason for that.  His portrayal of Captain Apollo really helped to elevate an already great show.  Battlestar Galactica had a great cast, which included Jane Seymour, Lorne Greene and Dirk Benedict, which was led admirably by Richard Hatch.

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This great show was on the air for only one season, but what a season it was.  It goes down as one of the great science fiction shows on television. It contained great characters, great storylines and incredible special effects.  But the focal point of the show was always on the characters and their relationships with one another. I applaud  Richard Hatch’s effects over the years as he attempted to keep the show alive, despite being shot down numerous times.


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Although he had a long and varied acting career, he will forever be known to me for part in Battlestar Galactica. Goodbye Richard Hatch.

Troy T.

My Highlights Of 2016

As the year comes to a close various top ten and  best of  lists will be published. Many of these lists can be fun to read. This is not really a true top ten list, plus it contains eleven items.  It is an brief overview of some entertainment highlights that come to mind from 2016.

Unfortunately 2016 was a year full of far too much bad news, negativity, hate and division. At times during 2016 the world seemed like a very dark place. At the end of the year it’s good to reflect on some of the entertainment that brought some light into my life in 2016.

Phil Collins’ Reemergence

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Phil Collins’ slow and steady reemergence from retirement. Not one event, but a series of live appearances, interviews and the release of his autobiography Not Dead Yet. All of this is leading up to some large scale concerts in 2017. At 65 years of age Phil Collins may look a little rough around the edges. But he is still one of my favorite musical artists. The man’s music has brought a lot of light to my life over the years.

Xiphea – Once Upon A Time

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Xiphea are a fantastic symphonic metal band out of Germany. They call their brand of music Fairytale Metal. With song titles like Beauty And The King, Masquerade, Cinderella and Power Of The Dwarfs one can understand the label. Do not let the song titles fool you, this is a serious and heavy band.  Once Upon A Time is Xiphea’s third release.  So far they have released one EP and two full length albums.  The future looks bright for this band.   I plan on writing more about them in a future blog.

The Genesis Show

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The Genesis Show are an absolutely amazing and talented Phil Collins era Genesis tribute band that, for now, focuses on Genesis live circa 1976-1977. Tribute bands can be hit or miss, either really good or downright silly. The Genesis Show are a serious band that are passionate about playing the music of Genesis. I had the great pleasure of seeing them live this year. As a huge Genesis fan since 1981 I was extremely impressed by The Genesis Show. The musicianship on display was incredible. I highly recommend seeing them live.

Kansas – The Prelude Implicit

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I count Kansas among my top 20 favorite bands. Their newest release, The Prelude Implicit, is a strong argument for classic bands continuing to record new music. I would definitely place The Prelude Implicit on my top ten favorite Kansas albums list. The band’s new singer Ronnie Platt has some incredibly big shoes to fill. He does so quite well. I look forward to more new music by this great band.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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A very, very good Star Wars film that falls short of being great by playing it too safe in the second half of the movie.  But I will say that the movie contains one of my absolute favorite scenes from any Star Wars movie. I just hope that the success of this film will allow for more ambitious Star Wars movies in the future.

Arrow: Season Five

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A fantastic rebound from the disappointment of season four. It would seem that in the off season the creative team revisited the things that made the show great in the past. Half way through season five and  I would say that Arrow is back on track.  Stephen Amell, in the title role, continues to play this character with such conviction.

Metallica…Hardwired To Self-Destruct

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It’s been eight years since Death Magnetic, but overall it was worth the wait. The double disc release showcases a collection of fast and heavy songs by a rejuvenated band. Unfortunately all of the songs are not equal. I would say that if the band had trimmed the fat and lost two songs they would have had a killer single disc.

Captain America: Civil War

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A movie that contained not only great action, but also great drama. Civil War and the prior Captain America movie The Winter Soldier have really brought superhero movies to a new level. There is a lot going on in this movie, but the performances of Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. provide a solid foundation and help keep the movie grounded.

Doctor Strange

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Doctor Strange is Marvel’s latest superhero movie.  It stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role.   Benedict Cumberbatch joins the ranks of actors  like Hugh Jackman, Christopher Reeve, Harrison Ford and Patrick Stewart. What do they have in common?  It seems that they were born to bring to life certain iconic characters. Wolverine, Superman, Indiana Jones, Professor Xavier and in Cumberbatch’s case Doctor Stephen Strange. A great movie with a fantastic performance by Cumberbatch.

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

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I know it had it critics, but I loved this movie. Henry Cavill is super as Superman. Ben Affleck really nails the true essence of Bruce Wayne/Batman. His portrayal of Bruce Wayne is my favorite of any actor to date. I love Diane Lane as Martha Kent. Gal Gadot’s fantastic performance as Wonder Woman may be my biggest and most pleasant surprise of the year. The only real downside for me was Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Lex Luthor.  His was a different take on the character that did not really work for me.

Epica – The Holographic Principal

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I feel that Epica, a symphonic metal band out of the Netherlands, are the best band in their genre. The Holographic Principal is their seventh studio album and it is phenomenal. Epica continues to grow and evolve with each new album. Their unique and dense mix of thrash metal, opera, progressive rock, classical music, death metal and soundtrack scores continues to delight this metal fan a great deal.

Troy T.

Goodbye Princess Leia Organa

Wow, what can be said, Carrie Fisher has passed away. Like so many my age I can honestly say that the original Star Wars trilogy changed my life. There are not many movies that I would say that about. Seeing Star Wars in 1977 as a seven year old boy was quite an eye opening and mind expanding experience. A big part of that experience was of course due to Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. I did not have a crush on her as many fans did. I was to busy wanting to be like Luke Skywalker. But there is no doubt that she was an attractive and vibrant woman.

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A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi are films that I have viewed numerous times since their first release. I count myself fortunate that I was old enough to see the films in the theater on their initial release. I would rate them, especially The Empire Strikes Back, among my favorite movies. Princess Leia’s part is so pivotal to the films. Whether she was in the role of a member of the Imperial Senate, a leader of the Rebel Alliance, Han Solo’s love interest or Luke Skywalker’s twin sister, her part was so important to the success of the trilogy.

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The prequels and the two most recent Star Wars films have built on Leia’s legacy. They have offered portrayals of strong, confident women. Padme Amidala, Rey and most recently Jyn Erso have followed in Leia’s footsteps. However, I would say that none of them will have the same impact as Princess Leia.

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Goodbye Leia Organa.  Goodbye Carrie Fisher.  Many of us may have first met you in a galaxy far, far away…… but you have left us far too soon.

Harrison Ford’s 21st Century Trifecta

The teaser trailer for Blade Runner 2049 was just released. The trailer offers the first glimpses of  an older Rick Deckard and the movie’s release date, 10/06/2017. Upon it’s release Blade Runner 2049 will complete Harrison Ford’s 21st century trifecta. The trifecta being Ford revisiting his three most iconic movie characters: Indiana Jones in 2008, Han Solo in 2015 and now Rick Deckard in 2017.

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I welcomed his return as Indiana Jones with open arms. The original Indiana Jones trilogy was all that one could ask for in action and adventure moviemaking. Yet there was still a desire in me for more from this great character. It felt like there was some unfinished business. The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull was a fun and satisfying way to see the character off. For me his adventures, as portrayed by Harrison Ford, now felt complete. But I am open to the role being recast, with the right young actor.

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Ford’s return as Han Solo in The Force Awakens is a different story. The original Star Wars trilogy felt complete to me. There was a window of time in the late 1980’s where another trilogy, post Return Of The Jedi, felt right. But as time moved on and the actors grew older I felt that the limited window had closed. As a fan I was not clamoring to see an aging Han Solo. I understand the force of nostalgia, but I was good with the memories of a young Han Solo. The Force Awakens obviously proved that  I was in the minority. I must admit that it was good to see Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker on the big screen again. However, the only character that really made sense being involved in a new Star Wars movie was Luke Skywalker. But, that’s just one fan’s opinion.

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The world of Blade Runner is wide open with possibilities. Rick Deckard is just one of a group of Blade Runners, so the story possibilities are vast. After viewing the teaser trailer I am now a bit excited and intrigued. Seeing Ford as Deckard, at least one more time, should be a thrill. I am still keeping my expectations low, but I do look forward to this long awaited sequel. Whether he is involved in further Blade Runner movies remains to be seen.

Troy T.

 

Han Solo: A Smuggler’s Trade – A Star Wars Fan Film

I know that there are a lot of fan made films out there.  Some are excellent, some are rather cheesy, but fun. Honestly I would love to watch them all, but it is a matter of priorities and time.  Every now and then one fan made film slips through that really nails it.

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Someone recently posted this video, Han Solo: A Smugglers Trade. The title and image displayed  on the posting really caught my attention. When I initially saw the image I thought that it was the first trailer for the upcoming  young Han Solo movie. Than I realized that it was a fan made film.  Being a huge fan of  Harrison Ford and the Star Wars films  I immediately clicked on the link.  Wow, what a pleasant surprise!  Jamie Costa portrays Han Solo and he is superb. He looks like a combination of a young Harrison Ford mixed with a young Kurt Russell. He really has many of Harrison Ford’s mannerisms down.  The short film captures the feel and look of the Star Wars movies, even down to the soundtrack.

I do not want to give away the story, but this was an absolute pleasure to watch.  Kudos to those responsible for this short film.  A lot of love and passion, as well as skill, went into this production. The Force is indeed strong with this one.

Illustrator Extraordinaire: Star Wars And Beyond

Last month I published a blog  post entitled “Fan Art Featuring The Empire Strikes Back”.  The post included an absolutely striking illustration depicting a scene from Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber duel with Darth Vader.

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At the time of the original post I was unaware of the name of the artist. Thankful this morning I discovered his name and I wanted to give credit where credit is  due.  His name is Marko Manev and he is an extremely talented freelance designer and illustrator.  I have included some more of his wonderful Star Wars influenced illustrations. Check out his website at http://markomanev.com to see more of his artwork, much of it inspired  by movies and television.  

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Troy T.

Fan Art Featuring The Empire Strikes Back

There are some really excellent examples of  movie inspired  fan art too be found on the web.  I came across this striking  image online and I had to share it. I have been a Star Wars fan for most of my life.  The Empire Strikes Back is far and away my favorite Star War movie, as well as being one of my favorite movies overall. I am unsure as to who the artist is, but the work is phenomenal. I love how the image depicts a slightly different vantage point of this extremely pivotal  scene in the movie and the series. 

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