Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars’

Media Update 12/28/17

December 28, 2017


Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Another controversial blockbuster genre movie but this time I fall on the positive side of things. I remember watching what is now called Episode IV as a little kid (on VHS, of course) and I was instantly enamored. I had a truckload of toys which I could have sold to buy a car if my family had kept them. For a while, Empire Strikes Back was my favorite of the franchise until it was replaced by The Force Awakens last year. Episode VII was a mix of nostalgia and really fun new stuff. This movie felt like it expanded on the new stuff while giving us a fun yet darker movie. This new movie leaned more on the Disney-created characters rather than the old guard which is good. We have spent so much time with those characters that it is time for them to pass the torch. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac continue to provide interesting characters. We got new characters from Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran. Both of them are awesome and I am looking forward to more from Tran. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher provide the nostalgia but also show us how their characters have grown over the years. Adam Driver and Andy Serkis are the main villains but we also got brief appearances from Domhnall Gleeson and Gwendoline Christie again. I feel like this was a great step forward for the franchise to help differentiate it from the original trilogy while still being a great movie. I definitely recommend it.


Bright

It was late on December 22 and I decided to watch this movie because the trailer intrigued me. Also, calls of it being “The Worst Movie of the Year” intrigued me because this year also produced Boss Baby and The Emoji Movie. The movie is directed by David Ayers and it was written by Max Landis, both have a weird track record. For the record, I did not know that Landis was accused of sexual assault before I watched the movie. This is a movie that is basically set in a world where Dungeons and Dragons was real and then time progressed to 2017. So, it is the story of a human cop saddled with an affirmative hire Orc cop. I’m sure there’s some message about race here but it is kind of lost in the story and probably should not be delivered by Max Landis. I actually liked the movie. It felt like one part D&D, one part Training Day, and one part Warriors. Will Smith was great as he was less his usual cocky self and more curmudgeonly and more of a reluctant hero. Joel Edgerton was great as the dumb but loyal orc cop. The movie was a little long and dragged here and there but there was some excellent world-building and I am a sucker for fantasy settings. I recommend it but it may not be up everyone’s alley.


Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

I am a huge fan of Luc Besson. He is a great director and goes into great detail creating his worlds whether they are more mundane or fantastic. My two favorites of his are Fifth Element and Leon: The Professional. He has a way of bringing interesting characters to life in fun and/or interesting situations. When I saw trailers for this movie, I figured it looked more like The Fifth Element and, in some ways, I was right. Dane DeHaan plays the titular Major Valerian, a secret military agent. His partner, Laureline, is played by Cara Delevigne. The two of them use high tech gadgetry and combat expertise to save the day. At first, they seemed a little bland to me but when I got into the rhythm of their straight-faced performance I saw their personalities come out. The story, apparently based on a comic book, is a little frantic and hard to follow at first. Once it settles in, the movie is way better and is driven by the characters trying to find their way through craziness. The world-building is off the charts with hundreds of aliens created and dozens of cultures shown. The other characters we meet are interesting and whole. The only real problem I had with the movie was that it was a bit too long and Besson could have probably cut out around 10 – 20 minutes. Still, I recommend this one if for no other reason than the awesome special effects and action sequences.

Music of the Week:
Getter – Rip N Dip

Selena Gomez, Marshmello – Wolves

Sia – Cheap Thrills

AWOLNATION – Sail

Cold Crush Brothers – The Weekend

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “Teamwork in Genre Films”
– I started watching Little Witch Academia Season 2
– I continued watching Longmire Season 3
– I watched more of Fate/Apocrypha
– I watched more of Blue Exorcist Season 1
– I finished The Crown Season 2

Advertisements

Media Update 12/22/2016

December 22, 2016


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I went to Rogue One this past Saturday because I could not stand leaving it until later for fear of spoilers. Also, a whole bunch of my friends were going and we had assigned seats in a very cushy movie theater in Columbia. I had been hyped about Rogue One since the first inklings of a plot had been released. Most Star Wars movies have been sweeping epic fantasy movies that deal with the most important people in huge political conflicts. This movie pays more attention to the regular people in the Rebellion and the Empire. The heroine is important but she’s long been overlooked by everyone around her. The main villain is a sycophantic bureaucrat with high-minded aspirations of greatness. This is a darker, dirtier story about doing what it takes to spark the flames of hope in people ground down by the evil in the universe. This movie was exactly what I needed it to be. It had humor, it had sadness, it had triumph. It also had a lot of allusions or direct references to the rest of the Star Wars movies but nothing felt too forced or overdone. The ragtag group of heroes felt like they grew together and fought their hearts out. I do not want to spoil it too much because I definitely recommend you go see it. I do like Star Wars VII better but that is only because I feel like the normal Star Wars movies are a little happier.


Magnificent Seven (2016)

I am a big fan of the original movie but it has honestly been a while since I have seen it. The original was modeled after The Seven Samurai and both of those films are classics. When the trailer for the remake was released, I was definitely interested. A remake is not necessarily a bad thing. The True Grit remake was a lot better than the original. If you attach good writers, good directors and good actors to a project, it can succeed remake or not and this movie is proof. This version is a great story about people who have every reason to hate each other, gathering to fight for a just cause. The whole cast is excellent, as you would expect for a movie designed to be an ensemble affair. Of the cast, Chris Pratt was the one who drew me in first. He is proving that he is not only fun but he is a great actor as well. Of course, once I found out Denzel Washington was involved, I was even more excited. I really liked the friendship between Byung-hun Lee and Ethan Hawke. Vincent D’Onofrio once again plays a weirdo but this time with a heart of gold. To round it out, Martin Sensmeier is a great silent killer and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo is funny. On top of the seven, Haley Bennett is great as a widow with revenge on her mind. Peter Sarsgaard is a great, purely evil villain. I definitely recommend this one as it is a great tribute and companion to the original movie.


Female Agents

This movie is a dark but interesting tale set in 1944 in war-torn France in the Spring before the Normandy landings. A British agent has been captured and it is up to five female agents to rescue him from Nazi-occupied France. Since this was made recently, the women are portrayed realistically. So this is not a Charlie’s Angels type affair. This is more like an all-girl Dirty Dozen with each woman having a bit of a specialty that can help on the mission. They are all brave women but not all of them are badasses but they are all women who have had a hard life. The movie was made in France and the whole thing is in French with English subtitles which add to the movie. I like when I get to see a story about a region that is actually told by the country where it happened. The agents in question are from a few countries, the leader is a British agent but she teams up with French women and an Italian Jewish lady. The real title of this movie is actually The Women of the Shadows and that better describes the feel of this movie. War is Hell and it shows with the decisions these women (and their male allies) have to make in order to serve their countries against a greater evil. The actresses all have strong personalities and great characters who all come to the story from different directions. I was surprised by how interesting this movie was especially after I found out that it is based on a bunch of true stories. In fact, the story it details is very fascinating. I definitely recommend it as it is very dramatic and has a lot of twists and turns that I did not expect.

Music of the Week:
Vince Vance and the Valiants- All I Want For Christmas Is You

Bing Crosby & David Bowie – Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

Harvey Fierstein and Michael Mckean – Heat Miser and Snow Miser

John Lennon – Happy Christmas (War is Over)

Twisted Sister – Silver Bells

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Hope in the Face of Evil”
– Happy Holidays. Keep safe and be happy.
– I got to Season 5 of The Office and it actually gets better as it goes
– I rewatched Nightmare Before Christmas, as I do every year
– I am on Season 3 of Parks and Recreation
– I am almost done Season 2 of Dark Matter

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

December 22, 2015

Star Wars has been around my entire life. A New Hope came out 5 and a half years before I was born. The Empire Strikes Back came out two and a half years before I was born. I was five months old when Return of the Jedi came out. I don’t remember exactly when I eventually watched the original trilogy but I think it probably wasn’t at 5 months. I do know that when I watched the movies, I liked them a lot. Even as a kid I was a fantasy fan more than I was a sci-fiction fan but I did love space (I wanted to be an astronaut). Star Wars was able to give me both Fantasy and Space in sufficient portions. I liked the cocky smirk on Han Solo’s face. Luke’s lightsaber, Leia’s fire, Ben’s wisdom and Vader’s spookiness. I never really cared for the droids but hey neither did most of the characters in the movie. I had a huge pile of Star Wars action figures and I read some of the expanded universe stuff as I got older.

I eventually saw the original trilogy in theaters when they released the special editions and the magic that had faded was renewed. On the heels of that gift, they started to release the Prequel trilogy and now I was old enough to eagerly greet the movies in theaters. They were disappointing but they got better as they went along. I defended those prequels the best I could but eventually my enthusiasm cooled and I packed Star Wars away except for watching The Clone Wars tv show now and then.

So it was with a great mixed emotion when Disney announced that they were planning their own Star Wars trilogy now that they owned the property. Several franchises had flourished under Disney including Pixar, Marvel and The Muppets just to name a few. Still, I was concerned because the original trilogy was not perfect but the prequels had definitely tarnished a lot of what was good in the franchise. Were the original actors too old to come back? Would JJ Abrams lose his way and create something less than good? Was there even anything left to mine in the Star Wars universe? There were just too many questions. I had been hurt before, so why try again? Because the trailer was interesting and new and nostalgic all at once. Moreover, I felt obligated to see it out of geek pride. Also, my friends said it was good on Saturday. So all of this was in my mind as I stepped into a movie theater at 3 in the afternoon in Martinsburg, WV.

I will stop here to give a fair warning that, although I’m earnestly trying not to spoil anything, I understand if you stop reading now. Go watch the movie and come back here later. I try not to include spoilers but I know even the slightest thing can be a spoiler for some people.

From the very beginning I was hit with nostalgia and then I was very intrigued. The movie did a great job of mixing the new with the familiar. One of the greatest faults of the The Phantom Menace was that it started with a boring scene about trade negotiations. Every Star Wars film before or since has started with some sort of interesting and/or action-packed sequence. They definitely fully regained that ability to grab you right away and pull you into the story. I definitely felt pulled in and the movie didn’t let me go until the credits rolled. I walked away humming the music, just barely able to keep the humming under my breath. I was smiling pretty hard during and after film. Honestly, the film felt a little like coming home. Sure things were different but most of those things were better and all the things you liked were still there.

It was so good to see Han Solo again. I know Harrison Ford doesn’t really understand the impact of the character and doesn’t enjoy it but he really pulled it off. Carrie Fisher was even more likeable as Ex-Princess Leia and she was a sight for sore eyes. Thankfully BB-8 wasn’t annoying at all after months of having him shoved down my throat. John Boyega was a total surprise hit as I was intrigued about his character in the trailer but was unsure how it would work out. Daisy Ridley is absolutely the actress and character we all deserved for being fans all of these years. Both of them work so well together and separately and I’m excited to see where their story goes. Everybody was absolutely great in their roles even all the bit characters and the CGI characters were so well done that it didn’t feel artificial like the prequels. The whole thing was written by two people. JJ Abrams has come a long way from the mess that was Lost and has even come a long way from the Star Trek reboot. Lawrence Kasdan wrote The Empire Strikes Back which was, until today, my favorite Star Wars movie and his work showed in this one.

Go see this movie whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not. There’s so much I loved in this movie that I just can’t talk about openly. I don’t want to ruin it for somebody who hasn’t seen it yet. I want to tell everybody I know to see it and everybody I don’t know as well.

Fanboys (2009)

June 12, 2014

It is now time for a long overdue movie review.  I’ve been a huge fan of Kristen Bell since I discovered Veronica Mars years ago.  As I absorbed the series, I became a bigger and bigger fan.  When I realized that season 4 was not going to happen, I was crushed but I knew I would always support the alumni of the show.  That’s what caused me watch the show Flashpoint (which is awesome) and made me love Moonlight a little more than I would have.  I’m even going to get around to watching Party Down if I ever get the chance.

I was flipping channels today as I tried to beat the heat and came upon a little movie called Fanboys.  Now, I had heard a little bit about Fanboys in the past but I never got around to watching it.  What caught my interest was that in the scene I happened upon, Kristen Bell was front and center.  Consider my interest piqued.  I hit record on the DVR and decided to watch it later since the movie was almost over

The movie is about four guys trying to travel from Ohio to San Francisco to break into Skywalker Ranch to see an early screening of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.  The four friends are lifelong fans of Star Wars (although, like me they weren’t yet born when A New Hope came out) One of them has cancer and is not expected to stay alive until the movie actually comes out.

Although the movie is mostly an ensemble movie,  Sam Huntingdon plays Eric who is arguably the lead.  For a minute, I thought it was Shia Lebouf in this part but Sam Huntingdon is way better and was also in Veronica Mars. (Bonus!)  Eric is facing a dilemma in that he always wanted to pursue being a comic book creator but fell into working at his dad’s car dealership in order to make a living.

Chris Marquette plays Linus who has cancer and was always best friends with Eric.  He’s disappointed in Eric for giving up his dream but also mad at Eric for not talking to him for three years.  He’s not ready to forgive Eric for leaving his friends behind.  He drew up a plan for a road trip to Skywalker Ranch when he and the gang were in elementary school.  He is also struggling with accepting his own mortality.

Dan Fogler plays Hutch, the requisite uber-fanboy man-child.  He likes to “bitchslap some trekkies” and will punch a man for demeaning Han Solo.  He is constantly trying to use jedi mind tricks on women and delights in embarassing and bullying his friends.  Despite all that, he’s actually really enjoyable to watch as I have definitely had friends like him.  The kind of guy that you’re friends with for no clear reason.

Jay Baruchel plays uber-nerd Windows and his name is never explained.  He is teased by the other three for having an internet girlfriend until said girlfriend is able to get them blueprints to Skywalker Ranch.  His journey is one of self-discovery and becoming comfortable with who he is and what he really wants.  On top of that, he has some of the funniest lines in the whole movie.

Kristen Bell plays Zoe, the geek girl of the group.  Somehow they avoid her being a complete stereotype and she is a lot of fun in this movie.  I don’t know if Kristen Bell has geeky pursuits in real life or not but it does not matter as she pulls off a believable comic book/sci-fi geek here.  She is also hands down the toughest character and the funniest performance of the movie which is actually saying a lot.  I won’t spoil her journey in the film.

There is plenty more to love in the film.  There’s cameos from Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher and Ray Park all of whom are Star Wars alumni.  There’s a surprise Star Trek cameo as well which I won’t spoil.  There’s a cameo from Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith at one point as well.  Seth Rogen plays three funny characters, the first of which took me three minutes to realize it was him.

The movie really surprised me at how good it was.  It was not great cinema but it was an enjoyable road picture where the characters actually experienced growth.  The general feel of the movie reminded me of Detroit Rock City, a movie I actually remember liking a lot.  I don’t remember if it was ever stated in the movie but the characters are around college aged.  Though it is mentioned that Windows owns a comic book shop and Eric does have a serious job so maybe they’re closer to 30 than 20.

Apparently there was controversy over the editing of this film and the movie was delayed for years so they could do some reshoots.  Executive meddling almost cut out the whole cancer storyline which would have torn the heart right out of the movie.  I vaguely remember the protests and campaign against producer Harvey Weinstein so I’m happy the director/writer got as much of his original script as possible up on screen.

It was obvious that Lucasfilms was heavily involved in the movie but not enough to actually meddle in it.  It looks like they gave a lot of access and permissions for a lot of licensed stuff.  On the other hand, Viacom/Paramount gave absolutely no permission for Star Trek images or logos.  It makes the Star Trek stuff a little awkward but it still gets the point across.

I definitely recommend this movie.  Go ahead and watch it.


Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

An Artist's Path

A space for creative seekers.

Silence Killed The Dinosaurs

Comics, Stories, Dinosaurs, Cats

Daily (w)rite

Author Site for Damyanti Biswas

The Empire of Carane

Where fiction comes to life

DMing With Charisma

Stories, Reviews and Opinions!

half a 1000 miles

cringeworthy (adj) -- causing feelings of awkwardness or embarrassment

kayrayiam

Adventures of a Gypsy Nurse with a Cryptic Past

Abbs Abroad

27 Months with a Maryland Girl in Senegal

Princess of Dragons

A world of imagination, writing and dragons

the eye of the beholder

(a place where beauty is found)

%d bloggers like this: