Pennywise Robot

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, director Steven S. DeKnight breaks down part of an action sequence from Pacific Rim Uprising. Plus, go behind the scenes of Broadway’s “secret laboratory” where all the latest musicals like Frozen are rehearsing for the stage, and check out a massive Pennywise the Dancing Clown robot that will haunt your dreams. Read More »

Pacific Rim Anime Recommendations

From the beginning, Pacific Rim has been a franchise built on the hopes and dreams of Japanese Animation and pop culture fanatics. Filled with tributes and references to anime, director Guillermo del Toro took his passion for Gundam and Kaiju films and smashed it all together into an explosion of ridiculous antics, one-liner friendly characters, and tons of pure popcorn fun. And with the new installment in the series, Steven S. DeKnight’s Pacific Rim Uprisingthe love for celebrating the legacy of Otaku friendly titles hasn’t stopped in the slightest.

It’s time for a quick crash course on some anime you should check out after seeing the new movie. If you dug what you saw on the big screen, these will not disappoint.

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Pacific Rim Uprising Charlie Day

It’s fair to say that Charlie Day has carved out a niche for himself as an actor. He tends to play the same kinds of characters over and over again: goofy, nervous, guys who aren’t always super confident about the decisions they’re making. In 2013’s Pacific Rim, he switched things up a little by playing Newton Geiszler, a fast-talking scientist with an academic appreciation of the monstrous kaiju emerging from another dimension.

Day is back to reprise that role in Pacific Rim Uprising, and at the movie’s press junket, I spoke with writer/director Steven S. DeKnight about working with Day and the evolution of Geiszler’s character in the sequel. Read More »

Pacific Rim Uprising Spoiler Review

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Steven S. DeKnight’s Pacific Rim Uprising.)

When it was announced that Guillermo del Toro wouldn’t be coming back for a sequel to his 2013 sci-fi action adventure Pacific Rim, fans of the original movie were understandably worried. Sure, the idea of giant monsters called kaiju battling against giant pilot-controlled robots sounds like it sells itself, but del Toro brought his signature style and passion for monsters and epic fantastical imagery to bring it to life in spectacular fashion.

Pacific Rim Uprising is certainly not a Guillermo del Toro movie, but it benefits from taking place in a world he created that’s rich with mythology. Thankfully, Steven S. DeKnight, along with co-writers Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder and T.S. Nowlin, jumps into this sandbox with an engaging expansion of that mythology, advancements of the wild sci-fi concepts introduced in the first movie, some scrappy new characters, and tremendous action sequences that surpass the thrills and excitement of the first film’s monstrous battles. Read More »

Guillermo del Toro is a celebrated filmmaker whose stock has only risen that much more since he won the Academy Award for Best Director earlier this month. Years before he won, del Toro already had a loyal following among cinephiles, with admirers of his output banging the drum loudly for him as a visionary director, a true auteur. But even after seeing Pan’s Labyrinth and his three comic book movies — Blade 2, Hellboy, and Hellboy: The Golden Army — I remained somewhat aloof about del Toro and his work. Everyone probably has one of those critically acclaimed filmmakers or films, some well-regarded name, that they view across an emotional distance like that. The name might hold a certain academic interest for you as a movie-lover, but for whatever reason, it just doesn’t match your taste.

For me, del Toro was that guy. I could appreciate the films of his that I had seen without ever nurturing any particular fondness for them — not even enough, really, to call myself a casual fan. It wasn’t until 2013 that the unlikeliest of Del Toro movies would come along to break me out of that clinical detachment.

Monsters, misunderstood and otherwise, are a recurring motif in Del Toro’s filmography, but it wasn’t until he scaled the monsters up and employed the concept on the world stage with a big crazy kaiju-versus-mechs movie that I suddenly found myself responding to his vision. All it took was a summer popcorn flick called Pacific Rim — whose sequel, Pacific Rim: Uprising, is out today — to finally catch me in the web of his creature and ghost-filled tales of dark fantasy and gothic horror.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

John Boyega interview

Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost cast a long shadow in 2013’s Pacific Rim. He was a military man willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good. But Jake Pentecost is not like his father. In Pacific Rim Uprising, Jake is a scavenger who’s happy to ignore his father’s sacrifice – until he’s thrust into battle himself.

For 25-year-old John Boyega, Jake is different from Finn (Star Wars), Moses (Attack the Block), or any character he’s played yet. At the movie’s press junket earlier this month, I sat down with Boyega at the Universal Studios lot to talk about Jake’s swagger, the notion of legacy, the challenges of producing a sequel of this size, and his personal favorite ice cream toppings (it’ll make sense when you see the movie). Read More »

Pacific Rim Uprising TV spot Jaegers

Somewhere around the halfway mark of director Steven S. DeKnight‘s Pacific Rim Uprising, my groans of exasperation turned into gasps of delight. I can pinpoint the exact moment in which my opinion of the movie changed, but so as not to spoil what is genuinely one of the strangest scenes in a blockbuster in recent memory, let me just say that once Pacific Rim Uprising really starts drinking its own Kool-Aid, it’s an absolute joy. Given the visually and narratively incoherent mess that is the Transformers franchise (the closest thing that Pacific Rim has to a genre competitor except perhaps Power Rangers), I’d call it a feat. It’s just a wonder that the Toei Animation logo isn’t slapped all over it.

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Oh Hello on Portlandia

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, John Mulaney and Nick Kroll‘s characters from their Oh, Hello show on Broadway stop by Portlandia. Plus, take a look back at the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from 1990, and watch as the cast of Pacific Rim Uprising tries to answer the most Googled questions about kaiju. Read More »

Steven S DeKnight interview

Steven S. DeKnight has been a steady presence in television since the late ’90s, working on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Smallville, Spartacus, and most recently, Marvel’s Daredevil. And while he directed episodes of most of those shows over the years, Pacific Rim Uprising marks his feature directorial debut.

Earlier this month, I spoke with DeKnight in an air-conditioned trailer on the Universal Studios lot, where he talked about how the movie changed after Guillermo del Toro stepped out of the director’s chair, how his background in TV inspired him to craft a writers’ room approach to this script, the pop culture that influenced him (Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot, anyone?), working with the cinematographer of Star Wars: The Force Awakens to bring this jaeger-sized sequel to life, and a whole lot more. Read More »

After five years of waiting, Pacific Rim Uprising is finally hitting theaters. The sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 sci-fi action extravaganza brings Star Wars lead John Boyega into the mix as Jake Pentecost, the son of Idris Elba’s deceased character from the first film. This time, the humans are prepared for the return of the giant, city-demolishing monsters known as kaiju, but are critics prepared for a sequel that is out of the hands of monster master Guillermo del Toro?

The first Pacific Rim Uprising reviews are in, and it sounds like the sequel from director Steven S. DeKnight may not be as good as its predecessor, but fans will still have a good time in the end. However, they apparently have to suffer through a boring first half before they get there. Get the full scoop with the Pacific Rim Uprising early buzz below. Read More »