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REVIEW – Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

December 24, 2017 Leave a comment
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Ram Bergman
Written by: Rian Johnson
Edited by: Bob Ducsay
Cinematography by: Steve Yedlin
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Gwendoline Christie, Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Lupita Nyong’o
Year: 2017

 

One of the first questions I received regarding my opinion of the latest Star Wars film (after having announced to everyone on my Facebook that I had completed my first two viewings, of course) was whether or not The Last Jedi, the eighth episode of the currently main Skywalker saga of films, was made for casual fans or die-hard fans. I had to think about it a bit, not because I didn’t know the direct answer to that, but because I had to think about the context of the attitudes I’d been witnessing about the movie. It seems as though there’s a very vocal number of fans out there who… well, they didn’t really seem to like The Last Jedi, and they were making sure everyone knew it in the loudest, most entitled, and sometimes even most obnoxious possible way. Could that have been the demographic my friend was implying when he used the term “die-hard?” I never really got a follow-up to my response (I’m still waiting!), but the fact that I had to consider it at all just made me realize something: I’m kinda tired of so called “die-hard fans” in general. Also, I still think that, after two viewings and nearly non-stop hours of reading about the film and views on it, The Last Jedi is also a pretty great flick, too!

Read more…

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THEATRICAL REVIEW – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

December 18, 2016 1 comment
Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryDirected by: Gareth Edwards
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Sheamur, Simon Emanuel
Screenplay by: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy
Story by: John Knoll, Gary Whitta
Edited by: John Gilroy, Colin Goudie, Jabez Olssen
Cinematography by: Greig Fraser
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Genevieve O’Reilly, James Earl Jones, Valene Kane
Based on characters and concepts by George Lucas
Year: 2016

 

Disappointment. No, that’s not my reaction to Rogue One. Heck no! But it was the general consensus I gathered from people after they were told that the 2016 Star Wars film was not a follow-up to last year’s The Force Awakens but rather an ominously pre-A New Hope film that was mostly independent from the Skywalker family and friends’ saga. Most of that was just because they were eager to see that story continue, but, for some, there was also an added level of scorn for a film they seemed to consider… illegitimate. Which is unfortunate, as Rogue One, in both style and focus, is a much more important and bolder move forward for Disney and their still nascent new property, signaling a promising future for the franchise that isn’t beholden to repeating itself for the sake of nostalgia and familiarity. Read more…

SPECIAL REVIEW: Son of Rambow

Son of RambowDirected by: Garth Jennings
Produced by: Nick Goldsmith
Written by: Garth Jennings
Edited by: Dominic Leung
Cinematography by: Jess Hall
Music by: Joby Talbot
Starring: Bill Milner, Will Poulter, Jules Sitruk, Jessica Hynes, Neil Dudgeon, Anna Wing, Ed Westwick, Eric Sykes
Year: 2008

 

NOTE: I’ve been a bit hard pressed for time and energy lately, but I’m actually working on a new review at this moment for a certain big summer blockbuster superhero film that just released, so it’s coming but not quite ready yet. Looking back through my old notes on Facebook, however, I discovered that I’d written a couple of reviews there that I’d completely forgotten about, so I’m dusting one of them off and, apart from the images and my now standardized credits, I’m presenting it to you unedited. This review is being titled a “Special Review” as it was written quite a while ago, back in 2010, a few months after I graduated from college and almost exactly a year before I created this blog but was seriously considering it. This is a seemingly forgotten gem of a film that was among the first that I’d rented when I first got Netflix. The review here may not reflect my current opinion (though I have admittedly not seen it since), however, and I reserve the right to re-review it if I see it again and choose to do so. ‘Cause, you know, it’s my blog… That being said, I still have fond memories of this film and hope you’ll check it out, too! Read more…

REVIEW: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

May 22, 2014 2 comments
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the JediDirected by: Richard Marquand
Produced by: Howard Kazanjian
Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas
Edited by: Sean Barton, Marcia Lucas, Duwayne Dunham
Cinematography by: Alan Hume
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid, Alec Guinness, Sebastian Shaw, Denis Lawson, Kenneth Colley, Warwick Davis, Jeremy Bulloch, Caroline Blakiston
Review based on the 1983 theatrical version
Year: 1983

 

Back when recording things from TV was the only way to obtain certain movies you didn’t want to actually buy, I recall a friend of the family giving my family their collection of TV-recorded VHS tapes, most of them set to the longest recording time in order to maximize the content they had. One of these tapes contained both the original Karate Kid (save for the first couple minutes) and, yes, Return of the Jedi, making this the first time I ever actually could claim any sort of ownership over any of the Star Wars movies. Naturally, I watched it pretty often, and the mere fact that this was the only one I could watch without having to go seek out any rentals or borrow them from friends made this movie my second favorite (because there’s just no questioning the greatness of The Empire Strikes Back, kids). Now that I do own both trilogies (twice over for the original trilogy, thanks to the 2006 “limited” release of the DVDs which contained the original theatrical versions), however, the flaws of the once-final chapter in the Star Wars saga have really become rather apparent, thanks in large part to the prequels kind of bringing them out retroactively. Read more…

REVIEW: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

May 8, 2014 4 comments
Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope)Directed by: George Lucas
Produced by: Gary Kurtz
Written by: George Lucas
Edited by: Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas, Richard Chew
Cinematography by: Gilbert Taylor
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Phil Brown, Shelagh Fraser, Denis Lawson, Gerrick Hagon
Review based on the 1977 original theatrical version
Year: 1977

 

I told myself that I wouldn’t let my reviews of the Star Wars films devolve into insane fandom, and so I will attempt to keep that promise. That being said, let me start you off by letting you in on a secret that not many before now really know about me: A long time ago… I actually absolutely hated sci-fi, fantasy, and everything in between. The object of my particular ire was actually Star Trek, as my friend Tye was actually an insanely fanatical Trekkie, but coming in a close second was, yes, Star Wars. The reasoning? It had the word “star” in it, which obviously meant that it was for nerds, which I did not identify as at the time. (I so was…) Read more…

May the Force be with you – at least for about the month of May or so…

May 1, 2014 1 comment

Star Wars Saga

Hello, fellow nerds! Did you hear the news? We finally know the lead cast of Star Wars Episode VII! And it is freaking SOLID! Cannot wait! … But we’ll just have to, I guess, because it’s not coming out until December 2015… which is more than a year and a half away. GAH!

So, understandably, as a fan, I’m pretty freaking pumped about this new trilogy, and I need to get this energy out somehow. What better way than to do it publicly? So, even though I just got done doing a month of 90s nostalgia movies, I’m starting another theme month. Only… it might last a bit more than a month since I’m planning on reviewing all seven theatrically released films, and given that I might do a few theatrical films during that time frame, and with my time and energy being what they are these days, it might take longer than the standard month to get the reviews out. Oh, yeah, and that’s right — seven (7) films!

No, I did not time travel into the future to bring you the first exclusive review of Episode VII: Rise of the Gungans, and, no, I’m not reviewing The Star Wars Holiday Special, either (yet…). And, no, I’m not talking about Caravan of Courage, either. I’m including the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars in the lineup, even if it was just a theatrically released movie edit of the TV series’ first few episodes, as I feel like the series really has become a beacon of hope for what’s to come, even if it was from the pre-Disney era that we’re only just beginning to experience.

Star Wars - The Clone Wars (horizontal)

I also want you to know that these reviews will not go into esoteric things like “The Hero’s Journey,” Lucas’ personal influences that went into making the film, nor will I go (too much) into the series’ importance in shaping the landscape of Hollywood and blockbusters in general. These reviews will take the films on their own merits and pretty much strictly from my own personal perspective and enthusiasm (or even lack thereof) for each of the films. I feel like this would be the appropriate approach because, frankly, the whole Hero’s Journey thing has been played out — I even wrote my own personal essay about how the posters themselves reflect Lucas’ personal influences when I was in college.

I will also refrain as much as possible about griping about the many changes that have been enacted upon the original trilogy over the years. While I think that many of the changes were either inconsequential for for the better (better Death Star destruction, Hoth cockpit transparencies fixed, the Emperor in Empire being played by Ian McDiarmid, and, yes, even the replacing of “Yub Nub” with a more fitting galaxy-spanning montage at the end of Jedi), I will eliminate these complaints  mainly by reviewing strictly the original theatrical versions, which I do, indeed, have on DVD. (If you would like to hear my reactions on the Blu-Ray edition of the first film, please feel free to read them here.) So, yes, each review of the original trilogy films will be based on the versions where Han shoots first, the Emperor is initially portrayed by a woman with chimp eyes, Jabba doesn’t appear until Return of the Jedi, and Anakin Skywalker is strictly portrayed by Sebastian Shaw (which sadly cannot be said for any of the prequels). All that being said, while I will review all the films in the proper theatrically released order, I will still be using the newer naming structure of Star Wars Episode [#: Subtitle] for these reviews, mostly for the sake of order and unity and because of what’s to come…

Star Wars Episode VII cast roundtable

So, yeah, I think I’ve properly appeased all the fans and clarified my positions on the matter. It’s going to be a long process, but I’m looking forward to it! Wish me luck, and may the Force be with us all!

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