One Man Star Wars Trilogy

 

“The Force is strong with this one” I’m not talking about Luke Skywalker, I’m talking about One Man Star Wars writer and actor, Charles Ross. One Man Star Wars is a hysterical show where Ross singlehandedly performs highlights from the George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy.  Not only does he play the roles of the characters, he also acts out the parts of many of the ships suchs as the X-Wing fighters, TIE fighters and Imperial Walkers. One of the highlights includes Luke Skywalker’s reaction to Darth Vader when he has his helmet and mask removed, it was hysterical! Ross started touring this theatrical oddity in 2002, he has performed the show over 1,200 times in more than 180 cities across four continents and still finds a way to keep it fresh. 

Ross takes a few breaks between each movie and asks the audiences questions such as “Has anyone here watched all six Star Wars Movies in One day?” He answers the cheers with “You’re in the right place.” He said he started the show as a comedy act where he performed highlights of the first movie. The act was a huge hit and prompted him to expand the act to a full show that covered the complete trilogy. He had performed the show for a few years and came home one day to an email from Lucasfilm. The subject line said “Future project”  When he opened it the message said “We know about you, please contact us” He then realized he had never contacted Lucasfilm to ask for their permission to perform the show. He thought Boba Fett was going to show up and take him away. He sent a tape of the show but was asked to see them in CA. When he got there he was asked to perform the show at a Star Wars convention in front of thousands of die-hard fans. The fans loved it and Lucasfilm worked out a deal that allowed Ross to keep performing the show.

After the success of his Star Wars show, Ross left outer space and traveled to Middle Earth to write and perform One Man Lord of the Rings. “One ring to rule them all” or as he puts it, “One nerd to perform the whole trilogy” based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and Return of the King. This show has also been a huge hit for Charles. Sir Ian McKellan (Gandalf) himself said “If you liked Lord of the Rings, You’ll love Charlie Ross’ version.”

The Force is strong with this one, my Precious. You shall not pass… the chance to see these shows so check out www.OneManStarWars.com  and www.OneManLordoftheRings.com to see tours dates for Charles Ross’ performances.

Jim McLernon

Visit Jim McLernon’s website: http://www.leopardmanstudios.com/

2012 Hallmark Ornament Highlights

Sure it’s after Christmas, but for us fans of Hallmark ornaments it’s a fun or frustrating time (depending on how successful you are in hunting) for bargains as genre-based ornaments go on sale for half off or more.

As we’re busy gobbling up 2011’s ornaments, let’s look ahead to this year’s ornaments. Most of them will go on sale sometime in July with the rest coming out in October. Incidentally, the full lineup of Hallmark ornaments won’t be officially revealed until this spring. But for now here are the known 2012 ornaments based on cool stuff we like. In other words, this ain’t about fuzzy elves or reindeer!

Star Trek

U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Hallmark is releasing this replica of Captain Picard’s Enterprise. Collectors will know that this ship was produced in 1993. The difference between these two is that this one can be displayed on a stand (similar to Hallmark’s 2006 version of the original Enterprise) and is battery operated. Presumably it will feature lights and sounds; hopefully Jerry Goldsmith’s majestic score will also play when a button is pushed.

Dr. McCoy

The third in the Legends of Star Trek series. This figure of everyone’s favorite Starfleet doctor is a companion piece to the other entries in the series, Kirk and Spock.

Two Spocks Meet

Not sure what is the official title of this diorama. It’s a recreation of sorts (without the Star Trek delta shield logo in the background) of that scene near the end of the 2009 Star Trek film where the old Spock from the real universe meets his younger alternate self.

Star Wars

If you’re a Star Wars fan then this is your year. Without contemplating any convention exclusives, a total of five ornaments will be released by Hallmark. They include:

TIE Interceptor

Barely glimpsed in Return of the Jedi (but that’s nothing new when it comes to Star Wars merchandise), nonetheless it will be beautifully detailed as are most Hallmark ship ornaments.

Han Solo on a Tauntaun

From The Empire Strikes Back, Han sporting his winter duds on his soon-to-be doomed riding animal. For any non-fan, the animal is a tauntaun used as beasts of burden by rebel soldiers and personnel on the frozen world of Hoth. Han took this animal out at night to look for his friend Luke who…oh never mind, it looks neat! Trust me it will make a solid gift for a Star Wars fan and it won’t cost a lot either, probably selling for less than $20. Then again from looking at the fact that the ornament has a base which would fit batteries it could mean the price could be jacked up. But it’s still a good gift!

General Grievous

As a fan of this character from Revenge of the Sith and The Clone Wars cartoon, I’ve been hoping they would release this Jedi slayer, which if you’re into the villains of the movies, make a great addition to that collection or on your tree. (A fan can geek out by putting all the Star Wars villains together in one spot!) The cape and lightsabre are a nice touch. Too bad they didn’t have him with all four arms extended, but that would probably make the ornament even more fragile. Future editions can feature his raspy voice.

Darth Maul

This is Maul’s second ornament, the first one was released in 2000 a year after The Phantom Menace came out. Fortunately, the pose is different in this year’s model and not a re-issue with a new paint job. Those kinds of ornaments are reserved for convention to go on sale in the secondary markets for obscene amounts of money.

Lego Stormtrooper

Hot on the heels of the successful Lego Darth Vader ornament comes this one of the white-clad cannon fodder. Perhaps Lego droids or Yoda are up for 2013.

Waldermann Rivera

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Top 12 Most Anticipated Films Of 2012

2012 promises to be an exceptional year when it comes to sci-fi, fantasy and horror film releases. These are the top twelve picks (being that it’s 2012 “gulp!”) plus some promising runner-ups. Let’s hope these films live up to the hype.

12. Rise of the Guardians

This animated holiday offering by DreamWorkshas a fun premise; mythical characters like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost join forces to save the world from the evil Boogeyman. Release Date: November 21.

11. Wrath of the Titans

A sequel to the surprisingly good Clash of the Titans remake. Just based on the trailer, expect more heroics, monsters, angry gods, and giant cyclops, oh my! Release Date: March 30.

10. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

It’s astonishing but the placid trailer didn’t really capture the public’s eye except hardcore Tolkien fans. Lots of talking heads and makeup. But being this is Peter Jackson’s follow up to his epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, it’s sure to stand up to his previous Middle Earth saga. Release Date: December 14.

9. Chronicle

Another one of the found-footage films; this is about a trio of young men who acquire super powers. The fun they have soon gives way to dread as one of the friends lets the power get to his head. Release Date: February 3.

8. World War Z

This adaptation of Max Brooks’ zombie epic would’ve scored higher on the anticipation scale but the word that it will be a PG-13 film and changes from the novel brought about some caution. (The book is told from the point of view of many people across the world. This film seems to be more linear with Brad Pitt in the lead role.) Release Date: December 21.

7. The Cabin in the Woods

This Joss Whedon-produced film was finished a while ago but sat on the shelf until this year. Promising to turn on its ear the cliché of a remote cabin found by a some young people, the buzz surrounding this film has begun to percolate due to Whedon’s genre clout (i.e. Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly). Release Date: April 13.

6. John Carter

The trailers keep looking better and better, capturing the fantastic swashbuckling feel of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars. Directed by Andrew Stanton (who won Oscars for Pixar’s masterpieces WALL-E and Finding Nemo) the film about a Civil War vet’s adventures on the planet Mars could continue the trend of notable animators making successful transitions into live-action filmmakers (see Brad Bird with his Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol). Release Date: March 9.

5. The Amazing Spider-Man

It’s pretty obvious that Sony is cranking this too-soon reboot to hold on to the lucrative franchise but it looks very promising. Andrew Garfield has an eerie resemblance to Peter Parker, Spider-Man’s mechanical web shooters, the evident back to basics approach and Marc Webb’s distinct visual style makes this film one to keep an eye on. It could be this year’s version of X-Men: First Class. Release Date: July 3.

4. Gravity

Alonso Cuaron who directed the best sci-fi movie of the last decade (Children of Men) as well as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban helms this film about two astronauts (George Clooney and Sandra Bullock) trapped onboard a damaged space station and their efforts to return to Earth. Release Date: November 21.

3. The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan concludes his acclaimed Batman trilogy with the Caped Crusader’s greatest struggle in a Gotham that has shunned him. Meanwhile Batman’s absence leads to the rise of one of his deadliest villains, Bane and sexiest, Catwoman. Given the runaway success of The Dark Knight, this film is certain to be a monster hit. BTW, Robin (supposedly played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is rumored to make his debut in the film. Release Date: July 20.

2. The Avengers

Any fan boy’s (or girl’s) dream come true. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk team up and portrayed by the actors originating the roles (except for the Hulk). Add in other characters like Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Nick Fury and that’s a recipe for a blockbuster. While not as dark and serious like The Dark Knight Rises (just wish Marvel Studios would stop with the too-loud rock music in their trailers!), this Joss Whedon super hero mash up could be the big one for the summer. Release Date: May 4.

And the most anticipated film to be released in 2012 is (insert drumroll sound effect)….

1. Prometheus

Ridley Scott returns to science fiction in a big way with this prequel to Alien. Actually while it takes place in the same universe the ugly xenomorphs are nowhere to be found in this film. Not much is known about the plot outside of hints that it deals with astronauts trying to learn humanity’s roots and encountering the alien space jockey’s race (that creature was seen as fossilized remains in the original Alien). Once the official trailer was released, the film’s buzz level reached fever pitch. Release Date: June 8.

Others To Look Out For:

Looper (a time- travel actioner with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt); Men In Black III (Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return as Earth’s best illegal alien hunters with a time-traveling twist); The Hunger Games (based on Suzanne Collins’ novel about young people surviving deadly combat games in a brutal post-U.S.); Cloud Atlas (The Wachowski Brothers return with this centuries-spanning story with an all-star cast; significant segments of the film take place in the future); Battleship (big, splashy alien invasion tale with plenty of action, effects and military hardware, thankfully Michael Bay isn’t directing this one); Iron Sky (a zany premise involving Nazis escaping to the moon’s dark side and returning to Earth a few years from now); Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (hey if the trailer has the balls to show Ghost Rider peeing fire, then the film deserves to be checked out!), Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (adapted from the best-selling novel); Brave (Pixar’s newest film about a heroic Scottish girl in ancient times);  Skyfall (the next James Bond film is directed by Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig returns as the grittiest Bond); and The Divide (Michael Biehn stars in this claustrophobic apocalyptic thriller).

Remember all release dates are subject to change and add in a few other films (notably Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli’s delayed Area 51 that could debut anytime) that were left off or without official 2012 release dates but may impact geekdom in a huge way.

José Soto

UPDATE: Both World War Z and Gravity have been pushed to 2013. With Gravity’s case, this was due to some reported mixed reactions to a test screening.