Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018

Solo is the latest in the Star Wars Story anthology series of films it is about Han Solo and answers all the questions that we all needed to have answered is out. Now we know how all about the Kessel Run and how Han got the Falcon. One of the biggest questions that people have is when is this taking place, it is roughly 10 before the Battle of Yavin and 6 before the latest Animated series Rebels as well as 9 after Episode III (although the prologue scene of Solo is set 3 years before the events of the movie). Spoilers to follow.

The film beings on Corellia, Han (Alden Ehrenreich) is an orphan who has to scavenge for everything for Lady Proxima who runs the White Worms, she had Han go out to deliver some Space Fuel which is a real important thing in this movie but ditches after being double crossed he steals a speeder and with Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) his ‘girl friend’ they decide to run off and escape their life. it turns out that only Han get away before Qi’ra is caught. Han joins the Imperial Navy and hope to become the best pilot and come back for Qi’ra. Three Years later Han is in the Infantry after being expelled from Flight school for insubordination, he runs into a gang of criminals run by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). Han tries to join this crew but Tobias has him arrested for dissertation and thrown into a pit with a monster who hasn’t eaten for days. It’s Chewbacca! finally a sort of familiar face. They escape the pit and join Beckett’s crew for a big heist they are going to steal a bunch of Space fuel (coaxium). This doesn’t go well Beckett’s crew is killed he’s only got Han and Chewie now, but a big problem he’s got to steal some more coaxium for Crimson Dawn and Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) or they will die, either from the raw coaxium from Kessel or from Vos himself.

They need a ship so they get the help of Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) who owns the Millennium Falcon, he agrees to join the crew. It’s Beckett, Han, Chewie, Qi’ra, and Lando with his robot L3. At Kessel they get the coaxium and on the way back Han makes the Kessel Run in 12 or so parsecs. See that’s something everyone wanted to see. So they make it to the refinery and make the coaxium usable, Vos shows up and things get interesting. The movie then end with scene where Han wins the Falcon from Lando in a game of Sabacc before they leave for Tatooine to hear about a gangster who needs a crew.

The movie is decent it does get a bit long at some points but that just seems to be all movies nowadays. The acting is decent with a few high points (Glover, Bettany) but there really wasn’t  major threat in the film we know Han and Lando make it to the Original Trilogy so they can’t die and neither one really has an arc to speak of things happen to them but they don’t change.  If this was due to the concerns that the Lord/Miller film that wasn’t fixed who knows. There are lots of places where it looks like they want to continue on with the story like what happens with Qi’ra , Han and Jabba meeting on friendly terms and perhaps even a Lando movie. There are plans to make a Boba Fett movie, hopefully a post ROTJ film with Temuera Morrison and rumor is still an Obi-Wan film with Ewan McGregor will hopefully see the light of day along with two more trilogies of films and perhaps an official sequel to Solo.  There are a lot of Star Wars films to come. This one might not be the best but it’s decent but the biggest problem is that it was released so soon after the last film.

 

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Trois couleurs: Rouge (1994)

The final film in the Three Colors trilogy is Red, this is also the final film that Krzysztof Kieślowski ever made. The first one Blue is about Liberty (liberté), the second one White is about Equality (egalité), and Red is about Fraternity (fraternité). Rouge is the anti-romance of the three film. As Roger Ebert put it in his review of Red “This is the kind of film that makes you feel intensely alive while you’re watching it, and sends you out into the streets afterwards eager to talk deeply and urgently, to the person you are with. Whoever that happens to be.” Spoilers to follow.

The film is a bit complicated to explain, the basic premise is communication. The main character is a student in Geneva, Valentine Dussault (Irène Jacob) who is a part time model as well, she has a giant ad for chewing gum (which gets referenced later). She runs over a dog and meets a retired judge, Joseph Kern (Jean-Louis Trintignant), he owns the dog and doesn’t care what happens with it so Valentine takes the dog to a vet and takes it. Several days later money is delivered to Valentine’s place and she takes the dog for a walk, it runs off back to Kern’s house. Valentine learn that he sent the money and Kern is secretly listening to his neighbor’s phone calls. One of the phone calls that we hear is from one of Valentine’s other neighbors Auguste (Jean-Pierre Lorit) who is studying to become a judge, talking with his girlfriend. Valentine confronts Kern about eavesdropping on his neighbors. Valentine and Kern develop a nice friendship. More things happen and all the main characters from the trilogy end up on a ferry that capsizes in the English channel and they, Julie and Olivier from Blue, Karol and Dominique from White and Auguste and Valentine from Red, are among the seven survivors. The film is about relationship and how we are all connected and who know when our paths will collide as Valentine and Auguste live across the street from one another but it isn’t until the end when they finally meet. It’s a nice film and provides a happy ending to all three films.  Now to watch one of these film is to put the others on your to watch list.

Justice League (2017)

Justice League the DC Extended Universe version of the Avengers is assembled at least the beginning of it. The DC Comics movie universe is the second one to get off the ground with Marvel having started a decade ago and basically owning movie theaters for about the same time. DC Comics movie universe has only been around for five years and that is the same amount of time that the MCU had before the Avengers showed up. So I don’t see the big deal with them going this quickly sure they only dealt with Superman and Wonder Woman along with Batman sort of however those are the biggest name from DC Comics so why not team them up the basically did it in the second movie (BvS:Dawn of Justice). Spoilers to follow, although we basically all know how this movie was going to end before it was made it’s the title.

Now, remember that in Batman v Superman, Superman died and was buried. Batman is doing his thing in Gotham, and Wonder Woman is restoring art or something in Paris. The film begins thousands of years in the past with Steppenwolf trying to turn Earth into his home world, by pushing together three “mother boxes” Steppenwolf’s plan is foiled by a group of Olympian Gods, Amazons, Atlanteans, mankind, and the Green Lantern Corps.  They separate the three boxes one going to the Amazons another to the Atlanteans and the third hidden somewhere on Earth by men. Steppenwolf returns and takes the box from the Amazons. Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince go about getting a crew together to try to stop Steppenwolf from getting the other boxes. Bruce Wayne makes a trip to find Arthur Curry (Aquaman) and Barry Allen (The Flash) asking them to join up while Diana Prince goes to find Victor Stone (Cyborg) and asks him to join. Out of this first go round only Allen agrees to join up. Aquaman goes back to Atlantis where Steppenwolf is attacking and takes the second box. This prompts Aquaman to join the fight. Cyborg reluctantly joins after his father and other S.T.A.R. Labs employees are kidnapped by Steppenwolf to try and find the last box, the one hidden by mankind.

With the team assembled they learn that Cyborg’s dad used the mother box to save his son. Bruce Wayne decides that the mother box could be used to resurrect Superman. So Superman is back after a grand total of a movie being dead. There is more but it’s just what you’d expect Superman is revived and joins the team Bruce and Diana get a Justice League HQ and Lex Luthor show up at the end and prompts the idea of a Legion of Doom.

The movie isn’t as bad as many people make it out to be. It is a decent film and has some highlights Gal Gadot  shines as Wonder Woman yet again and Ezra Miller is pretty funny as Barry Allen. Sure Batfleck seems over it all already in only his second film. The biggest problem the film has is that it has to try and straighten the course after the disappointing previous movies were blown out of the water by the mega blockbuster Wonder Woman, making it a bit lighter and hopefully this trend continues with Aquaman coming this winter and Shazam! coming next year.

 

Bugsy Malone (1976)

Now Bugsy Malone is a movie that is very unique, to start off it is a musical loosely based on events in New York and Chicago from the early 1920s to 1931 during Prohibition, specifically Al Capone and Bugs Moran. The content is lightened up for the children who are the only actors in the film, most of which were under the age of 16. The film has a wide variety of people in it from the likes of Jodie Foster, who won two BAFTAs for her role (with Taxi Driver), and Scott Baio to the Florrie Dugger and Jeffery Stevens.  The film itself was very popular in the UK and Japan but didn’t receive the same notice in America. It is 353rd on the Empire list of 500 best films from 2008 and 19th of the 100 greatest musicals chosen by Channel 4 viewers in 2003 as well as being one of the most screened films in secondary schools in the UK. The film eventually was adapted for stage.  I first learned about this in “Crocodile” the third episode of fourth series of Black Mirror which featured a song at the end of the episode. Spoilers to follow.

The film begins with a member of Fat Sam’s gang getting “splurged” by members of Dandy Dan’s gang, using rapid-fire cream-shooting “splurge guns” (this was to make the film children friendly). Fat Sam (John Cassisi) introduces us to Bugsy Malone (Scott Baio) as well as Blousey Brown (Florrie Dugger), an aspiring singer who wants to audition for Fat Sam’s speakeasy. Bugsy runs into Blousey and is smitten at once. Fat Sam sends his gang to try and find some of these “splurge guns” but this ends up not so well as they are splurged. We find out Sam’s girlfriend Tallulah (Jodie Foster) is the lead singer at Sam’s Club, she flirts with Bugsy and plants a kiss on him when Blousey shows up for an audition.  She gets hired, but refuses to speak with Bugsy. Sam gets Bugsy to drive him to meet with Dandy Dan, but it turns out to be a trap. After safety getting Fat Sam out of there he gives Bugsy $200. Bugsy and Blousey reconcile and Bugsy promises to take her to Hollywood. Bugsy get beat up and his money stolen he is saved by Leroy Smith, a black tramp with a talent for boxing. Bugsy brings Leroy to Cagey Joe to help train him. Sam calls up Bugsy for another small job offering him $400 to steal some “splurge guns”. Bugsy gets the guns with the help of a soup kitchen filled with down and out workers. They bring them back to the speakeasy just before Dandy Dan’s gang show up there is a huge “splurge gun” fight with everyone getting covered with cream, both gangs realize that they can all be friends, and Bugsy and Blousey leave for Hollywood.

That is the plot more or less. On top of this remember it’s a musical as well so we’ve got some crazy music from Paul Williams with adults singing the songs with them coming from the kids voices. Looking back on the film both Paul Williams and director Alan Parker aren’t sure if this was the best idea. If you are in for a weird film this is one to look up. It’s got some real cool things in it as well like those cars are pretty awesome, they are peddle cars that look like old cars. As well as the idea of having kids play all the roles I doubt that anyone would have approved of this if it were made today. It is by far the best G-rated gangster film I have ever seen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They realize they can all be friends, and Bugsy and Blousey leave for Hollywood.

Trois couleurs : Blanc (1994)

Blanc is the second of the well regarded Three Colors Trilogy by Krzysztof Kieślowski. The first one is Blue based on Liberty (liberté), this one is White and based on Equality (egalité), and the next one Red is based on Fraternity (fraternité). Roger Ebert calls it an “anti-comedy between the anti-tragedy (Blue) and the anti-romance (Red)”, which seems to be the best description of the film that I can find. Spoilers to follow.

This time around the main character is a shy man Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski), an immigrant from Poland. We meet him before going into a divorce hearing and despite his limited knowledge of French he learns that, his wife, Dominique (Julie Delpy), doesn’t love him and that the reason for the divorce is that the marriage hasn’t been consummated. Humiliated by his wife Karol has lost everything but a 2 franc coin. He is left to busk in the Métro de Paris where another Pole, Mikołaj (Janusz Gajos). recognizes a song Karol is playing on his comb harmonica and they become friends. Mikolaj offers Karol a job to kill someone. They make their way back to Poland with Karol smuggled in a suitcase. Now back in Poland Karol become a wealthy man and decides to humiliate his ex-wife to get back at her for all that she did to drive him from Paris.

I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

I Am Not Your Negro is a documentary film about the African American Experience in America. It is based on the James Baldwin unfinished novel, Remember This House, which was a manuscript which contained the personal recollections of Baldwin on civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. Now this should be a film that everyone goes out and watch or it should be added to like high school history classes. It could help kids figure out how broken the world still is even though “we solved racism” by electing President Obama. Racism will exist for awhile longer, but I believe that Rodgers and Hammerstein were right in their song You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught “that it’s not born in you, it happens after you’re born.”

The film itself was rather interesting as in most history classes that I’ve taken you hardly get to the Civil Rights era or they gloss over it talking about Martin Luther King and Civil Rights Act of 1964 in like the final weeks of class. So it was nice to learn a bit more about these figures Evers, Malcolm X and MLK. It is available to watch on PBS until the end of the month so make some time to watch it.

Star Wars: Episode VIII-The Last Jedi

To begin i will be talking about things that happened in The Last Jedi so there will be spoilers. If you are trying to avoid them please turn away. SPOILERS TO FOLLOW

The latest film from the Star Wars Universe begins with the Resistance packing up from their base as the First Order is about to start bombing it. As the Resistance escapes Kylo Ren and the First Order try to destroy the ships yet Kylo hesitates as he senses his mother and doesn’t want to destroy her, but a TIE fighter hits the bridge of the ship killing several leaders like Admiral Akbar. Thankfully they aren’t all killed as Leia uses some of her Jedi abilities to save herself, but she was still injured and leaves Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) in charge over Poe.

While this is going on Rey is on Ahch-To with Luke, we return with Rey presenting the Lightsaber to him only for him to refuse to come help. We dive into what the force is something like Midi-chlorians that are in all things that bind us all together, check on the last couple of episodes from The Clone Wars animated series. They lean on the spiritual side of the force which is great as well.

Back in the great space chase the Resistance get there own resistance as Poe wants to mutiny over Holdo when he discovers that Holdo’s plan is to use small transports to escape from the First Order on to an old rebel base on Crait. Poe thinks this is dumb and has Finn and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) go on a secret mission to find a code breaker to get them on the First Order ship to stop their ability to track the rebel fleet. They (Finn and Rose) have to go to Canto Blight to find a hacker to get them in. After finding DJ (Benicio del Toro) who steals a ship to get them back we learn that the rich are financing both sides of the war, so who are the good guys and who are bad. Oh and Nien Nunb is still alive.

This is all I’m going to say here as the needs to be something that you need to learn from going to see the film. It has some great action set pieces and I have no clue where the next film will be going JJ Abrams has his work cut out for himself, especially with the death of Carrie Fisher last year.  Another thing that I am glad is back is the humor at times The Force Awakens was a bit too serious. All in all it was another Star Wars film and I doubt that I could be that disappointed with one of them, as I am one of the few it seems still find some positives in the prequels which get derided by just about all the fanboys, who are out there complaining about this new trilogy as well. One of the coolest things about the film was the creature the Porgs are there because Skellig Michael has a bunch of puffins on it so the Porgs are there to cover that issue. Also, I am looking forward to what stories Rian Johnson has to tell in his trilogy.

Shin Godzilla (2016)

Shin Gojira (Godzilla: Resurgence) was a film that I was really looking forward to watching this film. This is Japan’s latest Godzilla movie, the 31st overall and the third reboot in the franchise. This is a wonderfully amazing film and everyone should take some time and watch it. Like the original film which was written in the aftermath of WWII and the atomic bomb this film was written in the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami and the Fukshima Daiichi nuclear disaster. As always spoilers to follow.

Shin Godzilla is a full reboot as it is the first time that Godzilla has appeared in this world. The film is a nonstop ride, it begins with something happening in Tokyo Bay, an abandoned yacht being investigated by the Coast Guard is sunk by an eruption of gas of some sort and the Aqua-line (bridge/tunnel) is flooded. We head to government meetings with the cabinet and PM who want to claim it’s only a volcano or underwater steam vent nothing more. Only to discover through news reports that it is some sort of creature as a massive tail comes out of the ocean. It begins moving inland and after the Prime Minister says it can’t come on land it does just that. It evolves while on land into a standing creature before it returns to the water.

From here we go into a bunch of meetings with the government focused on military strategy and civilian safety, while a task force is put together to research the creature. The United States sends in an envoy to the task force when they learn that they could exploit this discovery. The creature now named Godzilla by the Americans reappears and again heads toward Tokyo. The Japanese Self-Defense Force is mobilized and they try to shoot it down, it doesn’t work, they turn to the US who fly B-2s to bomb it this causes some damage but ultimately nothing comes of it. It doesn’t seem that there is anything that can stop this monster.

Here the movie turns again we get the United States and United Nations pushes for nuking the thing nothing can live in one of those explosions. However, Japan doesn’t want to be nuked again so they try their own thing, it some sort of cooling thing, but can they get it done before the world blows up Tokyo. Take some time and watch this movie to find out. There is a sequel planned for some time after 2020 so that can sort of tell you what all happens in the end.

Doctor Stranger (2016)

The latest Superhero to join Marvel’s fold is Dr. Stephen Strange. Marvel has dipped some toes in the mystical/magical with Vision and Scarlet Witch but here they dive right in. There are some Tony Stark vibes going on with Strange, a brash egotistical guy who wants everything for himself. Sure, this is the about the 14th film in the MCU and Robert Downey Jr. is nearing the end of his time as Iron Man so they are looking for  a new “star” to fill the role. Clearly Benedict Cumberbatch is a very likeable person and we’ve seen him in just about everything the past couple of year. Spoilers to follow.

The film begins with a monk stealing some pages from a book and then we are introduced to Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch), he is a brilliant neurosurgeon and his hands are his life. Unfortunately on the way to a speaking engagement he is talking on his phone and subsequently crashes his car and his hand go through the dashboard. It’s not looking nice until one day at therapy Strange hears about a paraplegic Jonathan Pangborn who went away and came back able to walk, he searches Pangborn out and finds out about Kamar-Taj. This lead Strange to go on a journey to find Kamar-Taj. He finds it and learn from the Ancient One (Tida Swindon) about the general idea of mystical things, Strange is taught by Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) how to harness these powers. The bad guy who stole the pages from the book at the beginning are trying to connect with the dark dimension to overthrow the Ancient One. Things happen and Strange learns how to be a sorcerer, but we all expected that to happen in the film. Other things happen as well but Dr. Strange will return in the new Thor movie this November and the next Avengers film next May.

I enjoyed this film more than the Guardians Vol. 2  but perhaps that’s just the cool action bits in this one provide a better story. You should probably see this one before the next Thor or at least before the big team up film coming next May.

Silence (2016)

Silence is the Martin Scorsese film based on the Shusaku Endo book of the same name. I have previously written about the book and it bring out some big questions. Spoilers to follow. So I was looking forward to seeing a film adaptation of the novel. According to Wikipedia this film is the third in Scorsese’s trilogy of film epics about religious figures struggling with challenges to faith with Last Temptation of Christ and Kundun. Scorsese has said that the film is about “the necessity of belief fighting the voice of experience”.

The film follows the plot of the book but adds parts of the appendix to tell the whole story of Father Rodrigues.  We begin the film with news coming in about Father Ferreira (Liam Nesson) being lost, rumor has it he has apostatized. Fathers Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver) are tasked with finding out if there is any truth to these rumors. Rodrigues and Garupe set off from China with Kichijuro (Yōsuke Kubozuka) a drunken Japanese fisherman. They arrive in Japan and the Padres minister to the Christians hearing confessions and celebrating all the other sacraments as well. This is the story of the hidden Christians of Japan. Eventually, the Padres are separated and both captured and forced to refute their beliefs and step on an image of Christ “Fumi-e”. The story is Father Rodrigues as we follow him as the Inquisitor tries to get him to deny his faith and using the other Christians that they captured and pawns to get him to refute as they would be set free if and when Rodrigues refutes his faith.

This would be a great film to watch during Lent or if you have some passing interest in Japanese history or religion. Sure people have compared it with The Mission but it’s a completely different story told a world away. This is a book that is a great read so if you watch the film maybe take some time and read the book as well.