Meeting the Cast of Thor: Ragnarok

Meeting the Cast of Thor: Ragnarok

By Devon Biroczky

The newest addition into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Thor: Ragnarok, the next story in which our beloved God of Thunder is trying to save Asgard from complete and utter chaos. I had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing the cast from this flashy movie and talking with them all about how it came to be.

·         Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”)

·         Mark Ruffalo (“Bruce Banner / The Hulk”)

·         Cate Blanchett (“Hela”)

·         Tom Hiddleston (“Loki”)

·         Jeff Goldblum (“Grandmaster”)

·         Tessa Thompson (“Valkyrie”)

·         Karl Urban (“Skurge”)

·         Rachel House (“Topaz”)

·         Director Taika Waititi (also “Korg”)

·         Producer Kevin Feige

Immediately into the press junket, it already started lightheartedly as the host was introducing everybody, and saved Chris Hemsworth for last, joking about how he skipped over him as we watched Chris try to squeeze himself in between everybody and the tables to get to his seat in the middle.

When you go see this movie, which opens in theaters everywhere November 3rd, you will notice what exactly I meant when I said this movie was flashy. I will be going over that more on Friday in my review, but for right now, just trust me when I tell you how lively it really is. Everybody in the cast had wonderful things to say about Taika Waititi’s style of directing and how he was able to take their shared vision and transfer it the way he did. Chris Hemsworth said it best when he was explaining it, “it all came from his crazy, wonderful brain, and his inspiration, and him pushing us every day on set, and constantly encouraging us to improvise, and explore, and take risks.”

Kevin Fiege also agreed when it came to everybody wanting to reinvent the series, taking everything that they knew about Thor and wanting to give it a new sensibility. You’ll notice that in this movie, there is more humor than in the Thor movies prior, and Kevin credits Taika again with giving the actors the confidence to be able to explore that side of them.

Especially looking at The Hulk and the role he plays in this movie. We see him much more in this movie and it inspired somebody to ask Mark Ruffalo on his thoughts about doing a stand-alone Hulk movie. Mark explained to us that he and Kevin had a discussion “well over a year ago” where Kevin had asked him what he would want to do if he had a stand-alone movie. They went back and forth and created these ideas, which they ended up implementing into Thor: Ragnarok and will be in the next two Avengers movies. Kevin goes on to explain that they’re all very excited about the upcoming character arc for The Hulk in these next three movies, so they’re going to take it one step at a time.

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The LEGO NINJAGO Movie

The LEGO NINJAGO Movie

By Erin

*This post is in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures. All thoughts and opinions remain my own*

Find the Ninja within ya. The LEGO NINJAGO Movie arrives in theaters September 22! This new animated adventure in the Warner Bros. Pictures’ LEGO® franchise features an all-star ensemble that includes Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña, Zach Woods, and the legendary Jackie Chan. Rated PG (for some mild action and rude humor). We got the chance to screen the film and meet with the cast at the press junket for the film to share with you a little more about the film as well as some cool tid-bits that the cast shared with us.

In this big-screen NINJAGO adventure, the battle for NINJAGO City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, along with his friends, who are all secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu, as wise-cracking as he is wise, they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. Pitting mech against mech and father against son, the epic showdown will test this fierce but undisciplined team of modern-day ninjas who must learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash their inner power of Spinjitzu.

Taking place in the Japanese city of NINJAGO, located on NINJAGO Island, we watch as residents wake up each morning watching “Good Morning NINJAGO” with LEGO Michael Strahan and LEGO Robin Roberts. NINJAGO is attacked almost daily by the four-armed megalomaniac Garmadon (Justin Theroux) who lives in an active volcano not far off the shore of NINJAGO. The masked teenage ninjas come to save the day every time who battle in intricate mechanical warcraft that is sure to wow kids.

The story touches on themes and values that have become the hallmark of these films. It’s about family and self-discovery as we see the conflict between the young ninja Lloyd and his father, Garmadon who is constantly trying to destroy the city Lloyd lives in. You can see Lloyd’s desire for the love and approval from his father, the feeling that he missed out on having a father in his life. Through their adventure, they tackle many obstacles that are bigger than the both of them which forces them to deal with one another, which ends up requiring a process of discovery for each of them.

So what did the cast and producers have to share with us? Here is some of the highlights.

Dan Lin spoke a little bit about how all the LEGO movies are different.

Dan Lin:  So, every one of our LEGO movies looks different. LEGO Batman was a little darker. This one’s probably our brightest, most beautiful movie yet, and we’ve incorporated lots of natural elements into it. In the LEGO movie you saw water is made out of bricks. Here we’ll see real water, real smoke, real fire, real trees and plants, so it’s really beautiful to see LEGO mixed with Mother Nature. 

Chan was asked what advice he would give to future kung fu artists and karate artists.

Jackie Chan:  Just practice. You don’t have to practice to knock somebody down, just quick. Martial arts is like exercise; good for your brain, good for your health, good for your everything. When you know martial arts, you respect everybody, your parents, your teacher, and the nature, the whole world.  I think martial art is kind of like a good exercise sport.

What was Chan’s favorite line from the movie?

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Cars 3 Review

Cars 3 Review

By Devon Biroczky

“Focus. Speed. I am speed. One winner, forty-two losers.”

Cars 3 comes out to theaters today, June 16th, and if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you need to. This movie is the third installment in the Cars series, focused especially around a steadfast racecar named Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson). Throughout the series, we’ve seen Lightning grow and associate with his friends down in Radiator Springs; now, in this third movie, we meet several more new characters.

The storyline of the movie begins in a celebrated montage of Lightning winning between first and second place repeatedly alongside his friends Bobby Swift and Cal Weathers. During one particular race, a new, never-before-seen car whizzes past them, taking first place without even blinking. This new high-tech car is introduced to us as condescending Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), who is part of the next generation of racers. Lightning quickly learns that with this new generation of racers, he is slowly having a harder and harder time keeping up, let alone winning races against Storm, and the growing number of new-gen rookies joining the competitions.

Fast forward through a few months, more losses on the racetrack, and an accident that left him less motivated than ever. Lightning has now regained his ambition through the help and pep talks from his friends in Radiator Springs. Now, we’re also introduced to his new sponsor and superfan, Sterling (Nathan Fillion), along with his new trainer with racing dreams of her own, Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo).

Cars 3 is definitely my favorite out of the series, especially seeing it go back to the roots of what really set this series apart, but delving into a deeper, more Pixar-like meaning to the story. We watch as Lightning struggles to learn the new, high-tech ways of preparing for a race, and understanding just why it’s not necessarily for him. Instead, he goes back to some of the racers of the generations to learn their secrets of the trade. While he’s learning and trying out all of these techniques for himself, he’s also getting to know Cruz more as she’s learning all of this herself. Cruz ends up revealing to Lightning that her dream is to be a racer, and she looked up to Lightning as she was growing up.

Not to mention, the Fabulous Doc Hudson is often referenced to throughout the movie, being Lightning’s biggest mentor for his entire racing career. Even though Doc is gone, Lightning meets other racers from the generations of racing before him, including Smokey, who was once Doc’s trainer. Lightning talks to him about what’s going on and Smokey agrees to help. Side by side, Lightning and Cruz both learn ways of practicing for a race, including driving within a herd of “cow-cars.” They both struggle at first, but with some practice and learning to work together, they both end up more ready than ever. That’s one of the most important themes within this movie, is that by working together, you can succeed more than you’d ever dreamed.

The movie is animated as beautifully as always – bright, awe-inspiring colors, relatable plotlines, and a fitting soundtrack that gets you in the mood for wherever the movie is about to take you. Cars 3 is a wonderful movie that will have people of all ages intrigued, so even if you don’t have children, this is definitely another one of the many amazing Pixar movies you will want to see.

In addition to all that, there is also a short film placed at the beginning of the movie called Lou. This is easily one of my favorite Pixar shorts that have been released thus far. Lou explains the story of a young bully named J.J. on a school playground who likes to take toys away from the other kids on the playground. While he has been taking toys, the lost and found box has been gradually filling up. Slowly, all of the items in the box have begun producing a creature named Lou, built up of items such as a jacket for a body, baseballs as eyes, among other odd items. Lou’s goal is to persuade J.J. to return every lost and stolen item in return for something J.J. wants as well. The short film is absolutely adorable and especially relatable when you think of how prominent bullying is in today’s times; it’s definitely a must-see, and I’m looking forward to owning it one day.

Again, Cars 3 along with Lou both release in theaters today, June 16th and it’s a wonderful way to go spend some time this Father’s Day weekend! Watch the trailer below and have a wonderful weekend!

CARS 3 is OUT in Theaters NOW! 🙂