As inhabitants of a routinely unfair class system, it’s only natural for us to want to live in luxury. We want the most expensive/overpriced food, drinks, services, and gizmos, attained at the expense of our hard-earned cash. Sometimes it’s nice to live a little above our income. However, sometimes we needlessly pay too much, and the less costly alternatives really wouldn’t be too much of a compromise. Here are the top 10 things we overpay for, assembled in no particular order. [Read more…]
We’re almost done with the first half of 2016, which means that we’ve already gathered what the movie industry had to offer to us so far. Whether we liked what we got is up for debate, especially if you look at the critic ratings and the audience ratings for Batman V Superman on Rotten Tomatoes. A new dawn is upon us, and we can expect next year the release of many familiar faces, new faces, and some daring faces. Here is the Top 10 New Movies Being Made To Watch Out For (scheduled for 2017).
#1 Justice League: Part One
Release Date: November 17, 2017
Speaking of familiar faces and Batman V Superman, let’s get out of the way first the one that best fits the bill. The titanic Zack Snyder confrontation between DC’s two titans was a standalone movie, as well as a film meant to pave the way for the upcoming Justice League by providing cameos of the superheroes we’ll soon see band together on the big screen.
#2 Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Release Date: May 5, 2017
As Marvel’s most surprising project, Guardians of the Galaxy made the leap from a rather unknown comic book series to a gigantic box office suffice that managed to breathe life into a cinematic world overloaded by the Avengers. The much-awaited sequel is coming soon to theaters and James Gunn promises that it will be phenomenal.
#3 Beauty & the Beast
Release Date: March 15, 2017
It seems like Disney is on a roll with their latest campaign to turn its cartoon classics into live-actions. After Cinderella managed to bring to theaters a surprising amount a people and The Jungle Book managed to establish a record by surpassing its source material, everyone is excited for Belle’s story to return to cinemas. Moreover, we have a feeling that Emma Watson was born to play the part, so we couldn’t be more excited.
#4 Star Wars Episode VIII
Release Date: May 26, 2017
When The Force Awakens was announced, fans collectively held their breaths and prayed that the revival of the Star Wars saga wouldn’t end up being just another case of “prequels.” They all breathed out in content once they realized it had lived up to their expectations. Now that it’s clear the latest trilogy wants to atone for the sins of hoarse sand, stakes are raised even higher. It’s no longer a matter of “if it’s going to be good,” but rather a matter of “how good it’ll be.”
#5 Toy Story 4
Release Date: June 16, 2017
People are torn on this one. On one hand, many of us are growing gradually tired of endless sequels (we’re looking at you, Transformers) and fear that the more of them, the lower the quality. But it’s Toy Story! It hasn’t exactly disappointed us so far and, now that the prospect of a fresh start is up ahead, we can only hope that this means good news for our favorite gang of sentient toys.
#6 Wonder Woman
Release Date: June 23, 2017
Whether you call this an attempt on DC’s part to unite their characters in the same universe in a style similar to Marvel or a rushed decision to catch up to them, we should all agree that a Wonder Woman movie is a good thing. While Marvel still has to turn one of its popular female characters into leads for their own movies, Gel Gadot will be reprising her role as the super amazon after only one appearance in Dawn of Justice.
#7 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Sequel
Release Date: July 14, 2017
The more movies are being released about Caesar’s saga, the less it makes us think back on Tim Burton’s borderline comical Planet of the Apes. At the end of the last film, it was a clear thing that there was a full-blown war brewing between humans and the apes. Wherever that all leads, it’s clear that the third movie in the saga will be filled with intensity and action.
#8 Spider-Man: Homecoming
Release Date: July 28, 2017
After a discontinued trilogy and a discontinued reboot, everyone’s favorite web-slinger confirms that the third time is a charm. True, we haven’t seen what the movie is actually like yet, but given Marvel’s track record for faithful representations and overall memorable films, we have quite a lot of trust placed in their hands. After debuting in Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland is due to take us back to a high-school Peter Parker and give us the MCU’s interpretation of his adventures.
#9 Thor: Ragnarok
Release Date: November 3, 2017
But the Marvel releases don’t end with Spider-Man. The third movie in the Thor line-up of movies is bound to hit the big screens sometime around the end of 2017. We don’t know a lot about what we’re going to see yet, but the sheer casting announcements that let us know we’ll be seeing a lot of Hollywood giants star in the motion picture is enough to get us excited. However, given how the Ragnarok symbolizes the Norse apocalypse, we know for sure that there will be a lot of strife and chaos thrown into the mix.
#10 Fifty Shades Darker
Release Date: February 10, 2017
And last but not least, the release that has people not only split in two sides, but at war with each other – the second installment of the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise. If you thought that the continuation was cancelled, you were wrong. It was temporarily delayed for 2016 because of some difficulties with the screenwriters, but fans of the steamy tale of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey will be able to delve back into their lives around Valentine’s Day in 2017.
The best way to determine the success of a product, whether it’s a movie, book, or TV show, is to pit it against the ruthless passing of time. It’s easy for a certain something to be a one-time hit that will get lost among the tides and replaced by the other future products to come. Harry Potter definitely isn’t one of those one-hit marvels. The tale about a wizard boy destined to defeat an evil wizard lord together with his wizard companions changed the world so much that no matter how many times I write the word “wizard,” I can only think about the series. Sorry, Merlin, maybe fight some basilisks, werewolves, and dementors and give it another shot.
The success of the franchise was a bit surprising, especially considering the fact that J.K. Rowling got turned down by plenty of publications when she presented them her manuscript for Sorcerer’s Stone. Not only did she continue writing six more books after that, but they were also equally brilliantly adapted in a total of eight movies. Speaking of which, it was also the first series to tackle down the now overused “split the last book into two movies” formula that was picked up by other titles of the likes of Twilight, Hunger Games, or Divergent.
But if you thought that all of those things previously mentioned are enough for Harry Potter to leave a long-lasting mark on the history of literature, you were right. However, that didn’t stop the world of witchcraft and wizardry from expanding even further, fortunately for us. As time passes, the tales of Hogwarts are slowly diving into the nostalgic category and, in no time, people who have grown up with the franchise will look back to their childhood series with bittersweet melancholy. The good news is that we can all tame this nostalgic impulse, by going on a Harry Potter London adventure.
Enter the Magical World of Hogwarts (Literally)
If you’re a Potterhead, paying a visit to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is an absolute must. The studios are the heart and foundation of the popular films and they have opened their gates to guests. In exchange for £66 tickets (£61 for children), visitors are able to trek through the original sets where the movies were shot. They showcase everything from unique costumes, props, animatronics, and special effects secrets to an environment that feels so genuine you’ll begin wondering if you’re not a muggle anymore.
There are many things that you will see on the tour, including the sets for the Great Hall, Ollivander’s Wand Shop, the Gryffindor Common Room, Dumbledore’s Office, Umbridge’s Office, Hagrid’s Hut, and plenty of other iconic locations.
To give away just a few of the secrets previously mentioned, there is one particular highlight that is bound to draw gasps from any visitor laying their eyes on it. Built to a 1:24 scale, the original model of Hogwarts is going to make you wonder how anyone could have the patience to craft it so finely and with so much attention to detail. The replica is the original that was used for shots of Hogwarts’ exterior during the first six movies. I’m certain that pretty much all of us didn’t doubt for a second that the castle didn’t actually exist, which makes the mastery of this construction all the more incredible.
If you’re curious about the way the impressive magical creatures were brought to our screens, the studio tour gives you a peek at an 18-foot wide Aragog hanging from the ceiling, an animatronic Buckbeak, and several models that have been used for Dobby the House Elf.
At the end of an eventful tour day like this, visitors that have a decent amount of money can stop at a merchandise shop, which is rich in items of the highest quality. You can buy any of the Horcruxes, polyester scarves for any of the houses, and even sweets. The cheapest item available for grabs is a £3.95 lollipop, with the most expensive one being a high-quality replica of Dumbledore’s robe, purchasable in exchange for a jaw-dropping £495.95.
Find Out if You’re One of Voldemort’s Lost Soul Pieces
Who doesn’t love a good, old trip to the zoo? It was at the Reptile House in the London Zoo where Harry discovered that he had the gift of Parseltongue when he realized he was able to communicate with a python. In many senses, this was the place where it all began. Sure, the trigger for the action was Hagrid’s legendary “Yer a wizard, Harry,” but it was thanks to this friendly reptilian that the audience started realizing something fishy was going on. Not only did it give an idea that he wasn’t an average child, but it was a foreshadowing that would only be explained in Chamber of Secrets.
If you’re planning to head to the Reptile House, you might as well take a look around the whole zoo. You may do this for as much as £24.25 for a ticket, with the cheapest being a children’s £17.60 ticket.
Jam Your Trolley Into a Wall (Don’t Actually Do It)
Good news – this one is for free. Head over to King’s Cross station and stop to snap a memorable photo next to the famous Platform 9 ¾. The platform was ingeniously designed to offer visitors the full Harry Potter experience, by having a trolley stuck in its wall. Moreover, you may even visit the Harry Potter Shop, located near the platform and decorated to resemble Ollivander’s Wand Shop.
Other than these three key locations, there are other places you may visit that not only will make you sigh deeply remembering all your childhood memories but will also offer you a small London sightseeing experience. Stop at the Leadenhall covered Victorian market to see where many of the shots for Diagon Alley were taken. Pass through Piccadilly Circus to reminiscence the place where the Golden Trio fled to after Fleur’s and Bill’s wedding got swarmed by Death Eaters. And since you need to travel to get to these places, might as well visit the Westminster Tube and follow the route to the Ministry of Magic that Harry and Arthur Weasley took in Order of the Phoenix.
Ah, yes, nothing says “box office success” quite like a movie that’s backed up by plenty of hype and expectations and doesn’t betray them. When there are these circumstances involved, the outcome can only be one of two: a complete flop or a smashing record setting picture. I can count some examples for both scenarios just off the back of my head, but luckily there are some that meet both criteria. But before we get to the Easter eggs in The Force Awakens, let’s take Jurassic Park for example: after the success of Spielberg’s original movie, everyone was eager to see what The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 could bring. But that was before we actually saw the movies and found ourselves on the verge of nearly flinging our TV’s through the window or getting up in the theater and leaving without even finishing our popcorn. Because of this, almost ten years later, the revival of the franchise came with a lot of expectations, which Jurassic World finally managed to meet, thus making it one of highest grossing movies of all time.
What does this comparison have to do with the article’s title? Easy: Star Wars followed the same formula. The franchise was brought to an insane popularity thanks to the original trilogy, people had their bars set high when the prequels rolled in, were ultimately disappointed, and almost a decade later, they were filled with a lot of expectations towards The Force Awakens. And just like in the other example, the series managed to rise from its own ashes and once more rain honor, popularity and money on the Star Wars name. But after waiting for so long for another proper Star Wars movie, some fans were left feeling as if that wasn’t enough, so they started dissecting every tiny aspect of the film in hopes of finding Easter eggs and clues for the future of the new installments. And just in case you couldn’t be bothered to pay extensive attention to every small detail, we did the work for you and compiled a list of 4 Easter Eggs In The Force Awakens.
1. Rey’s Visions And Luke’s Exile
One of the biggest mysteries that the new installments has yet to clear up involves Rey’s origins, and the question that’s on everyone’s lips is: who are Rey’s parents? It didn’t take long before speculations started spilling, with some people saying that it might be Luke himself who is her father, while others think she might not be involved with the Skywalker bloodline at all. Regardless of her relation to Luke, The Force Awakens tried to subtly let us know that some sort of connection exists. In the scene where (spoilers) Kylo Ren gets inside Rey’s head, he sees fragments of a recurring dream involving an “endless ocean” and “the island.” People have different opinions as far as interpreting this scene goes: some tie it to the possibility of Rey being indeed Luke’s daughter, while others prefer to think this is a key information for the future of the series.
2. The Opening Refers The Prequels
Speaking of disappointing follow ups of otherwise successful movies, here is something that most Star Wars fans hoped they’d never have to hear of again. Many consider the first line of Episode VII – “This will begin to make things right.” – an attempt to acknowledge the prequels and let us know that the sequels are going to try their best to make up for the mess they left behind. However, it’s not the time to start celebrating the inclusion of this alleged “meta dragging,” since many people seem to have omitted what follows after that line: “Without the Jedi there can be no balance in the Force.” I’m not saying this means they’ll be bringing the midi-chlorians back, but no matter how you look at it, it’s a definite nod and reference to a pivotal point of the prequels, that the movies to come are very likely to keep in and, even more, explore further.
3. R2-D2’s Awakening
One of the few things that left audiences with a giant question mark hanging above their heads, is the scene where R2-D2 wakes up from his slumber induced by Luke’s departure. Some things are clear: he has a part of the map leading to Luke and, therefore, he played an important part to the story in that regard. What’s not so clear, is the reason why he booted up again all of sudden, after all this time. Many people resort to simply labeling this scene as a typical “ex machina” moment, whose only purpose was to conveniently move the plot along. It could be that, yes, but it likely has to do more with the fact that R2-D2 didn’t exactly wake up for no reason: he did it when in Rey’s presence. This could have happened for many reasons: maybe it was because Rey is a powerful user of the Force or (to consolidate even further the Luke and Rey father-daughter theories) because there could be some Skywalker blood running through her veins. Either way, I’m sure the reasons behind this scene go beyond the “convenient plot advancing point” stereotype and it makes one of the nicest Easter eggs in The Force Awakens.
4. Kylo Ren’s Original Movie Reference
It seems that one of the best ways to catch on to important Easter eggs in The Force Awakens is to pay attention to the dialogue. As Kylo Ren comes to face Rey during their climatic battle, he says one interesting line: “That lightsaber belongs to me.” He obviously references the the weapon he so desperately wants to add to his Darth Vader shrine, though it also holds a bigger importance, since it seems to reference the initial script of the movie. Before its release, it was rumored that we would get to have a guest appearance from Anakin/Luke’s old lightsaber. This is more than just a rumor, as it’s strongly supported by evidence even from the final form of the movie: many aspects that have to do with the lightsaber are oddly vague and clumsily written, which, to me, reeks of last minute plan changes.
I think it’s safe to say that J.J. Abrams definitely has many things in store for Star Wars fans, which is what makes the prospect of the future Episodes even all the more exciting. There were plenty of nods and clues in The Force Awakens, some of which were paving the way for the future development of the plot. Did you catch of these 4 Easter Eggs In The Force Awakens? I’m sure there are many, many more, so until Episode VIII comes out, we have all the time in the world to rewatch the movie for the 65th time and go hunting for more.
Let’s talk about some returning actors and their stories of success, of course. Everyone has ups and downs in their lives. For instance, Michael Keaton, Jean Dujardin and Mel Gibson, stars of Birdman, The Artist and Brave Heart, have lost much of their popularity over the past years. Some others pursued roles in celebrity (reality) shows or TV series. And yet, Michael Keaton recently revived in the Spotlight movie which is an Oscar-favorite. Take a look at the top 9 returning actors in 2015.
1. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford
It’s always interesting to watch actors reprising their roles after many years and this is exactly what we will be witnessing this December in the new Star Wars movie. After their popular roles in the Star Wars trilogy, Mark Hamill pursued a very successful voice acting career, Carrie Fisher became a script doctor and Harrison Ford continued acting in both action packed movies and more serious ones. Fans are all waiting to watch them reprise their roles in the beloved franchise.
2. Colin Farrell
Colin Farrell was supposed to have an amazing comeback this year, just as Matthew McConaughey had in 2014. Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as planned as he was outshined in both True Detective and The Lobster. His best recent performance remains the one in the In Bruges movie. In spite of this, 2016 looks promising for Farrell as he will be part of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie.
3. Vincent D’Onofrio
Vincent D’Onofrio used to be known only from his roles in Men in Black and Full Metal Jacket. The actor was brought again to our attention this year through two movies. The role he played in Jurassic World was as appreciated as the movie itself. However, it was his performance as Wilson Fisk that raised his popularity again in the new Daredevil series.
4. Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp is one of the most prolific actors of our time. His popularity rose in the 1990s and reached its peak in 2005, when he played the famous pirate Jack Sparrow, whom we all know and love. However, since then he has turned into something call “box-office poison”, as his newest movies did not record a high level of viewers. This year this title might change with the Black Mass movie, where Depp threw his most recent and interesting performance as Whitey Bulger. However, his popularity is sure to rise again with the sequels for Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice in Wonderland coming out next year.
5. Jonathan Pryce
Jonathan Pryce hasn’t had a truly prominent role until 2015. The year started with the BBC drama Wolf Hall, where he had a supporting role and continued with highly praised Game of Thrones series. Pryce does a wonderful job with one of the most ambiguous characters in the story, as it is almost impossible to find out his true motives. However, that could be said of the most characters in the series. He will reprise his role as the High Sparrow in 2016.
6. Ryan Reynolds
The actor will make his comeback in Deadpool (an anti-hero with accelerated healing powers who hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life after an experiment), but in 2015 he already proved what he can do with being a nice guy. Mississippi Grind, Woman in Gold and The Voices have the prints of a remarkable performance, which surpass Green Lantern, R.I.P.D. and Safe House of the last years.
7. Sienna Miller
Well, Sienna was pretty busy with mid-films. Originally in Black Mass which would have given her a very welcome comeback, her part was unfortunately cut. Although she has a great standing (A-list), she’s not really prominent in her roles. The 2015 output includes five important movies with the most probably best personal performance in Mississippi Grind. In 2016 she’ll push the brakes a little bit, but we’ll still meet her in Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise, that after several film festivals promises to be amazing.
8. Jeff Daniels
When needed, TV was there to save actors, when the movies became either super-budgeted or small. One of the best example is Jeff Daniels. After the Dumb & Dumber comedy of the nineties he lost sparkle, but luckily there came The Newsroom drama and his remarkable comeback. This appears to lead him to Apple CEO John Sculley in Steve Jobs, but also to NASA head Teddy Sanders in The Martian (both with sharp dialogue, emotional levels and strong positions). Catchy roles. We are waiting to see him next year in Divergent.
9. Kurt Russell
His movies Escape from New York, The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China should be enough to be always remembered but it’s still time for new big hits! So, Kurt Russell comes with The Hateful Eight in which he plays a moustached hunter of a criminal. This movie reunites him with Quentin Tarantino, which can be a good passport for the Oscar. Not to forget that this year he also starred in Furious 7.