Tag Archives: robert rodriguez

TV Review: The Mandalorian S2E6 “Chapter 14: The Tragedy”

THE MANDALORIAN S2E6 "CHAPTER 14: THE TRAGEDY"

After staging a cold open that is entirely Mando and Grogu being adorable and exuding father/son vibes as they descend upon the mysterious planet of Tython, you know that director Robert Rodriguez and writer Jon Favreau are ready to tear viewers apart in “Chapter 14: The Tragedy“. But, before getting to the super emotional bits, they tug on a plot thread from “The Marshal” with our old buddy, Slave I, careening through space as Grogu starts to commune with the force. Emerging from the Lego set I never got as a child is Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), the assassin from last season, who is back from the dead with the help of some cybernetics. In true Rodriguez style, this leads to a Mexican standoff with Fett wanting his Beskar armor back in return for helping Mando protect The Child from the other folks in the galaxy, who are out to get them.

And speaking of these folks, two shiploads of stormtroopers land on Tython, and the episode turns into a shoot ’em up. Mando is incapacitated for most of the fight as he keeps trying to run into the capital-F force field to nab Grogu so Fennec and Boba Fett do the lion’s share of the fighting. Robert Rodriguez digs into the oldest of action/Western tropes with two outlaws firing away against a neverending legion of feds as the stormtroopers bring in space-Gatling guns and rocket launchers to take them out so they can get to Grogu. Boba Fett wields a Fijian totokia in a series of brutal close combat sequences where he takes out all the pain that the Republic, Empire, Rebellion, and basically, the world has brought him on some hapless stormtroopers. Morrison plays the anguish-filled badass really well and his big return with his father’s Mandalorian armor is a true stand up and clap moment and guaranteed that Boba Fett will be venerated by yet another generation of Star Wars fans. I mean, his knee pads are a lethal weapon.

However, in this moment of triumph, Rodriguez and Jon Favreau pull an Empire Strikes Back and bring back Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and his Darktroopers to snatch up Grogu, who is passed out after communing with the Force. They destroy the Razor Crest so Mando ends up hitching a ride with Fennec and Boba Fett, who have promised to keep Grogu safe, to Nevaro where he gets information from Cara Dune about the whereabouts of Season 1 character, Mayfeld, a former Imperial sharpshooter, who can help them find Moff Gideon and Grogu. A prison break could be on its way. (Or not because of the truncated, killer, no filler length of some of these episodes.)

I geeked out on Robert Rodriguez’s action filmmaking as his fights are more brutal and violent than anything seen in The Mandalorian this season thanks to Fennec’s dead eye accuracy and Boba Fett taking things real personal. However, he builds a real connection between Mando and Fett as family men, who adhere to a code of honor and make every word count. In another brilliant moment of intertextuality, Fett nearly quotes his father Jango’s famous line from Attack of the Clones, “I’m just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe.” There’s a little more weariness in his delivery than in the 2002 film, and when Mando and Boba Fett drop the weapons and actually communicate, they find common ground as a foundling and son/clone of a foundling. Mando immediately allows Fett to keep the Beskar and reminisces about Jango’s service during the Mandalorian Civil War. They have a lot of similarities, and Pedro Pascal and Temuera Morrison imbue their characters with a dry sense of humor that will fit nicely as they continue to travel together. I’m glad that Boba Fett’s appearance won’t just be a cameo and a one-off because Morrison explores different sides of the character like his utter look of fear when he flies the Slave I close to Gideon’s ship and realizes that his old employers, the Empire, are very much still in play years after the destruction of the second Death Star.

THE MANDALORIAN S2E6 "CHAPTER 14: THE TRAGEDY"

Visually, The Mandalorian is always a show that looks good and seamlessly feels like a part of the Star Wars universe even as Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni follow the rhythms of Golden Age of Television genre storytelling (Big Bad, monster/planet of the week) while paying homage and adding to a memorable piece of 20th and 21st century American mythmaking. Robert Rodriguez takes thing up a notch by blending his Mariachi-style filmmaking with Star Wars iconography like ships in flight, stormtroopers being bad shots, and even the Force. He sets most of the action on a rocky stretch of land perfect for big time heroics like Fennec shooting her cover so that it can wreak havoc on the legion of stormtroopers Raiders of the Lost Ark style, and then having Mando use his Beskar armor to take blaster bolts that would be the end of her. Obviously, the shoot outs look cool, especially when Boba Fett finally gets to do his thing, but it also creates a brothers and sister in arm kind of bond between Mando, Fennec, and Fett that makes their decision to travel together more organic.

Even though he still doesn’t get a lot of screen time, Giancarlo Esposito gets to show a little more range as Gideon in this episode as he plays a darker version of the doting dad and shows Grogu the Darksaber after he observes him Force-choking his stormtrooper guards. However, they have no real relationship even in master/apprentice way, and Grogu is instantly clapped into irons so he can be used in Dr. Pershing’s experiments. Favreau and Rodriguez aren’t afraid to tap into the darker side of Grogu and show that the trauma that Ahsoka Tano mentioned in the previous episode and lack of proper training has him using the Force in ways that no Jedi would. Through expressive puppetry and the physical acting and dialogue timing of Pedro Pascal as Mando plus those snatches of backstory last episode, Grogu has transformed from a MacGuffin into a fully fleshed out character. It’s a wise move for Jon Favreau to make him the emotional crux of The Mandalorian’s ongoing plot as goes into its final two episodes because Grogu’s relationship with Mando, not Favreau and Dave Filoni’s lore-welding and building is this show’s biggest strength and hook.

Full disclosure: I decided to do weekly reviews of The Mandalorian once it was announced that Robert Rodriguez would be directing an episode because I have a soft spot for auteur directors going into big shared universes/mythologies and putting their own visual stamp on it. He, Jon Favreau, and Temuera Morrison show once and for all that Boba Fett is an incredibly cool and compelling character while also nailing a big moment in the relationship between Mando and Grogu. Throw in some menacing baddies and gun battles with bite, and “Chapter 14: The Tragedy” continues The Mandalorian’s momentum as it reaches the conclusion of its second season.

Overall Verdict: 9.0

Alita: Battle Angel Delivers the Goods Along with the Film

Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products is delivering a whole host of merchandise inspired by Alita: Battle Angel, the latest theatrical release from visionary filmmakers James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez.

The lineup of film-inspired products for Alita: Battle Angel includes figures, collectible prop replicas, cosplay and costumes, novelizations, making-of books and subscription gifts. Starring Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, and Keean Johnson, and based on “Gunnm,” the acclaimed manga series by Yukito Kishiro, the highly-anticipated film hits theaters worldwide beginning on February 5, 2019 and opens in the U.S. on February 14. 

From licensing partners such as FunkoWeta WorkshopTitan BooksLoot CrateHot ToysPrime 1, and Rubie’s, fans of Alita: Battle Angel can own a variety of merchandise and collectibles:

  • Available now, Funko introduces a set of Alita Pop! figures. The collection, highlighting the multiple bodies of the film’s cyborg heroine, includes Alita Motorball Body, Alita Doll Body and Alita Berserker Body figures. Plus, exclusively available at FYE stores and online an Alita Black & White Berserker Body Funko Pop!
  • Weta Workshop introduces an exciting line of Alita MINI EPICS, their cool and quirky vinyl figures from the world of film, television, gaming, and beyond. Now available for pre-order, the three Alita figures featured in the collection include:
    • Alita – Bad-Ass Battle Angel. Scrapyard-salvaged cyborg.
    • Dr. Ido – Hunter-gatherer of cybernetic scraps. And hunter-warrior against criminal cyborgs. Dr. Ido wields an iconic rocket hammer.
    • Zapan – As fractured as they come, Zapan’s part hunter-warrior, part hell-bent on revenge.

Additionally, to celebrate the film’s release, Weta Workshop harnesses its expertise in prop replica weapons and pop culture collectibles for Alita fans across the globe.  Crafted from the designs of Weta Digital – the visual effects team behind Alita: Battle Angel – The 1:1 scale cosplay prop is an exact replica of the Damascus Blade wielded on screen. The futuristic blade features the distinctive techno-detailed pattern of the lost URM Technarchy.  A super high-end stainless-steel version of the Damascus Blade is also available.

  • Hot Toys is set to release a highly-detailed Sixth Scale Figure based on the main character Alita in her Berserker Body. She includes interchangeable hands, a Damascus Blade weapon and a detailed display stand.  For all the latest details on the 1:6 scale figure, release date availability, and more please join Sideshow’s “RSVP list.”
  • Pre-order to begin soon for the Alita Berserker Quarter Scale Statue from Prime 1 Studio. The prototype of the statue was first unveiled at San Diego Comic Con 2018 and now a regular and deluxe version of the statue will be available in the coming weeks. The deluxe version comes with multiple interchangeable arms and the ability to change Alita’s expressions. Each version of the statue boasts the same impressive base — nearly 25” tall including – complete with an LED-light up feature. 
  • In 2019, fans can dress as their favorite cyborg heroine as Rubie’s is set to release Alita-inspired cosplay outfits including an Alita Doll Body Costume ($50), Alita Berserker Costume ($50), plus an Alita Wig ($30) and sword ($15). And from Rubie’s Grand Heritage collection – featuring added costume details – comes an enhanced Alita Doll Body ($150) and Alita Berserker costume ($150).
  • Key publishing partner Titan introduces an army of Alita: Battle Angel books – a novelization, prequel story, making-of book, and an in-world character journal:
    • The official prequel novel to the highly-anticipated film, Alita: Battle Angel – Iron City is now available. Hundreds of years ago, there was the Great War. The reasons for the war have been lost to time. On the shattered surface of the earth, there is a metropolis that lives amid the garbage thrown down from the inhabitants of a sky city floating above it. Welcome to Iron City.
    • Dr. Ido’s Journal – This in-world fictional journal allows fans access to the inner thoughts of cybersurgeon Dr Dyson Ido, who helps to repair the cyborgs of Iron City and reactivates the cyborg Alita after finding her remains in a scrapyard. Available February 19, 2019.
    • Alita: Battle Angel: The Art and Making of the Movie – Delve further into the world of Alita: Battle Angel, the film based on the classic manga by Yukito Kishiro. This lavish hardback, is packed with concept art, character and production designs, stills and behind-the-scenes photos, and interviews with director Robert Rodriguez, producers James Cameron and Jon Landau, and key creative talent. Available February 19, 2019.
    • Plus, The Official Movie Novelization of Alita: Battle Angel hits shelves on February 19, 2019.
  • This past summer at San Diego Comic Con, Loot Crate served as the premiere hub for the Pillars of Iron City Scavenger Hunt, rewarding fans with exclusive prizes, an Alita Meet & Greet and a special screening with the visionaries behind the film.

And now, leading up to the theatrical debut of Alita: Battle Angel, Loot Crate will be highlighting the film across a selection of their subscription boxes. Items will include an exclusive Alita Motorball figure (Loot Anime / January), an Alita Berserker figure (Loot Anime / February), an Alita Doll Body enamel pin (Loot Crate / February), a Black & White Alita Motorball variant figure (Loot Crate DX / February) and even Alita leggings (Loot Wear / February).
Additionally, Loot Crate will soon unveil details surrounding an Alita Fan Art contest for an opportunity to be showcased in a spring Loot Anime box.

Alita: Battle Angel Gets a New Trailer


Visionary filmmakers James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez create a groundbreaking new heroine in Alita: Battle Angel, an action-packed story of hope, love and empowerment based on Yukito Kishiro’s Battle Angel Alita (and in Japan as Gunnm) manga.

Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita (Rosa Salazar) is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic. When Alita awakens she has no memory of who she is, nor does she have any recognition of the world she finds herself in. Everything is new to Alita, every experience a first. As she learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield Alita from her mysterious past while her street-smart new friend, Hugo (Keean Johnson), offers instead to help trigger her memories. A growing affection develops between the two until deadly forces come after Alita and threaten her newfound relationships. It is then that Alita discovers she has extraordinary fighting abilities that could be used to save the friends and family she’s grown to love. Determined to uncover the truth behind her origin, Alita sets out on a journey that will lead her to take on the injustices of this dark, corrupt world, and discover that one young woman can change the world in which she lives.

The film is directed by Robert Rodriguez from a screenplay by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis and Robert Rodriguez. The film stars Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, and Keean Johnson.

The film comes to theaters December 21, 2018.

Alita: Battle Angel Gets Its First Trailer

Visionary filmmakers James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez create a groundbreaking new heroine in Alita: Battle Angel, an action-packed story of hope, love and empowerment based on Yukito Kishiro’s Battle Angel Alita (and in Japan as Gunnm) manga.

Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita (Rosa Salazar) is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic. When Alita awakens she has no memory of who she is, nor does she have any recognition of the world she finds herself in. Everything is new to Alita, every experience a first. As she learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield Alita from her mysterious past while her street-smart new friend, Hugo (Keean Johnson), offers instead to help trigger her memories. A growing affection develops between the two until deadly forces come after Alita and threaten her newfound relationships. It is then that Alita discovers she has extraordinary fighting abilities that could be used to save the friends and family she’s grown to love. Determined to uncover the truth behind her origin, Alita sets out on a journey that will lead her to take on the injustices of this dark, corrupt world, and discover that one young woman can change the world in which she lives.

The film is directed by Robert Rodriguez from a screenplay by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis and Robert Rodriguez. The film stars Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, and Keean Johnson.

The film comes to theaters July 20, 2018.

NYCC 2015: Kevin Eastman & Robert Rodriguez Collaborate on Cover of TMNT. Plus Signing.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creator Kevin Eastman has collaborated with maverick filmmaker and El Rey Network Founder Robert Rodriguez on the cover  of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50. Eastman penciled the cover of this special edition, Rodriguez Inked and Tomi Varga colored. This marks the first comic book cover for Rodriguez, whose first passion was drawing cartoons before he started focusing on filmmaking.

Rodriguez and Eastman will appear at New York Comic Con to sign a Special Limited Edition 48 page Variant that includes all new bonus content on Saturday, October 10 from 1:00 – 3:00pm in the IDW Booth number 1844.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50 marks the epic conclusion to over four-years worth of storylines. The Turtles stand against Shredder for one final battle that will determine the fate of NYC, and the world, for years to come.

Kevin Eastman and his wife Courtney Eastman will appear in the season finale of Rodriguez From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series airing on El Rey Network on October 27th at 9:00pm ET/PT.

ERN_RR and Eastman Inks and Cover_DP_R2

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For Red Band Trailer

Co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller reunite to bring Miller’s visually stunning Sin City graphic novels back to the screen in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Weaving together two of Miller’s classic stories with new tales, the town’s most hard boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more notorious inhabitants.

The movie hits theaters August 22.

Julia Garner Joins Sin City: A Dame To Kill For!

Julia GarnerJulia Garner has joined the cast of Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, which is now filming in Austin at Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios. Garner, an up-and-comer whose credits include Martha Marcy May Marlene and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, will play a young stripper opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Johnny in the follow-up to 2005′s Sin City, adapted from Miller’s own graphic novel series.

Also onboard for Dimension Films’ October 4, 2013 release are Josh Brolin, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Dennis Haysbert, and Juno Temple, while Sin City vets Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Michael Madsen, Rosario Dawson, Jamie King, and Clive Owen are returning.

Garner made her feature debut in Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene and nabbed roles last year in Wallflower and Not Fade Away. She recently hit Park City with Jim Mickle’s cannibal pic We Are What We Are, bought by eOne out of Sundance last week. Garner also stars as a young Mormon teenager in Rebecca Thomas’s Berlin entry Electrick Children, which Phase 4 Films will be opening theatrically this March and will next be seen in CBS Films’ horror sequel The Last Exorcism 2, in theaters March 1. She is repped by Authentic Talent & Literary Management and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.