Monthly Archives: December 2016

We Review: Rogue One, IMAX 3D “An awesome compliment to the franchise.” – MR

Rogue One

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Rogue One, A Star Wars Story poster.png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on Characters
by George Lucas
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Greig Fraser
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
Running time
133 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200 million[2][3]
Box office $323.5 million[3]

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (or simply Rogue One) is a 2016 Americanepicspace opera film directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Chris Weitzand Tony Gilroy, from a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta. It is the first stand-alone film in the Star WarsAnthology series. Rogue One stars Felicity Jones,Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker, and follows Jyn Erso, the daughter of the unwilling designer of the Galactic Empire‘s superweapon, the Death Star, and her quest to retrieve his plans for destroying it.

Produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the film is chronologically set after the events of Revenge of the Sith and immediately before the events of A New Hope. Principal photography began atElstree Studios near London during early August 2015 and wrapped in February 2016, with reshoots and additional filming taking place in mid-June 2016. Rogue One premiered in Los Angeles on December 10, 2016, and was released in the United States on December 16, 2016. The film has received mostly positive reviews with Donnie Yen’s performance, the action scenes, visual effects, and Giacchino’s score being singled out for praise. It has grossed $323 million worldwide.

 

Plot

Research scientist Galen Erso and his family are in hiding when Imperialweapons developer Orson Krennic arrives to force him to return to work on the unfinished Death Star project, a space station-based superweapon capable of destroying entire planets. Galen is taken away and his wife is killed in the confrontation, but their daughter Jyn escapes and is taken to safety by Rebelextremist Saw Gerrera.

Fifteen years later pilot Bodhi Rook defects from the Empire, smuggling a holographic message from Galen to Gerrera on the moon of Jedha. Jyn is freed from Imperial captivity by the Rebels, who plan to use her to track down her father. However, General Draven covertly orders Rebel intelligence officer Cassian Andor to kill Galen rather than extract him.

Jyn, Andor, and his droid K-2SO travel to Jedha, where the Empire is mining Kyber crystals to power the superweapon; Gerrera and his partisans are engaged in an armed insurgency against them. With the aid of blind warrior Chirrut Îmwe and mercenary Baze Malbus, Jyn makes contact with Gerrera, who is holding Rook captive. Gerrera shows her the hologram, in which her father explains that he has covertly compromised the Death Star’s reactor design, directing them to find the plans at an Imperial high-security data bank on the planet Scarif.

Grand Moff Tarkin meets with Krennic on the Death Star and expresses skepticism about the project and its management. As a demonstration, Krennic uses a low-powered shot from the weapon to destroy Jedha’s capital and crush Gerrera’s insurgency, forcing Jyn and her group to flee; Gerrera elects to remain behind and die rather than run. Tarkin uses security breaches under Krennic’s command as a pretext to take control of the project. Krennic travels to Mustafar to seek support from Darth Vaderand the Emperor, but Vader ignores his appeals.

The Rebels track Galen to an Imperial research facility on the planet Eadu….

Cast

Our Thoughts

I didn’t realize this was the story of how the rebellion got the plans for the Death Star from the very first movie. I remember the one sentence spoken about it, but this elaboration was a compliment to the franchise and, I believe it will be cherished by fans. One of my gripes about Star Wars has always been the over abundance of alien types. Disney will take this to new extremes because they are a merchandising machine and, who can blame them. I would rather it all be a bit more realistic ie: seven or eight alien races in all, and with more realistic, graphic depictions, of the violence. There is very little blood in Star Wars. I completely understand why it is the way it is, and I still love it. I highly recommend this movie and believe it is well worth the price of a premium ticket. We saw it in IMAX 3D and were blown away. 5 stars – MR

 

Find Rogue One and see the new trailer here.


We Review: Office Christmas Party “It is what it is… FUNNY!” – MR

Office Christmas Party

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Office Christmas Party
Office Christmas Party.png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Starring
Music by Theodore Shapiro
Cinematography Jeff Cutter
Edited by
  • Jeff Groth
  • Evan Henke
Production
companies
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • December 5, 2016(New York City)
  • December 9, 2016(United States)
Running time
105 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $45 million[2]
Box office $33.3 million[2]

Office Christmas Party is a 2016 American Christmascomedy film directed byJosh Gordon & Will Speck and written by Justin Malen and Laura Solon, based on a story by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. The film stars an ensemble cast, including Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T. J. Miller, Jillian Bell, Vanessa Bayer,Courtney B. Vance, Rob Corddry, Sam Richardson, Randall Park, Kate McKinnon and Jennifer Aniston, and was released on December 9, 2016 byParamount Pictures. It received mixed reviews and has grossed $33 million.

Plot

Josh Parker (Jason Bateman), Chief Technical Officer of Zenotek’s Chicago branch, meets with his lawyer to finalize his divorce in time for the holidays. Zenotek meanwhile has failed to meet its quarterly quota, and intermediate CEO Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston) threatens to lay off forty percent of the staff, cut bonuses, and cancel the annual Christmas party. Her brother, and branch manager Clay (T. J. Miller), is desperate to keep his staff. Carol harbors resentment toward Clay, whom she believed was her father’s favorite, and threatens to shut down the branch. Josh and Clay, along with Josh’s head of tech, Tracey (Olivia Munn) propose partnering with financial giant Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance), whom they are having lunch with later that day, and Carol gives them the chance to win his business. Walter is pleased with the pitch, but concerned with another recent branch closure at Zenotek, feeling that the company is more about the budget than their people. Clay invites him to their Christmas party in hopes of showing him that their company is in good standing. Before leaving town, Carol offers Josh a position at her New York headquarters, confident her brother will fail.

Clay funds an exorbitant Christmas party, much to the chagrin of Head of Human Resources Mary (Kate McKinnon). Joel (Sam Richardson) takes DJ duty, but the party struggles to pick up. Though initially reluctant, Walter is inadvertently doused with cocaine when it is accidentally fed into a snow machine and succumbs to his free-spirited nature. Throughout the party various employees cut loose: Nate (Karan Soni) tries to impress two of his staff by hiring an escort named Savannah (Abbey Lee Kershaw) to pretend to be his girlfriend, though Nate is found out when she gives a handjob to a fellow employee; Clay’s assistant and single-mom Allison (Vanessa Bayer) attempts to hook up with new hire Fred (Randall Park) but stops when he reveals he has a mom-baby fetish; and Customer Service supervisor Jeremy (Rob Corddry) cuts loose on the dance floor with Mary, whom he previously despised. Josh and Tracey get stuck on the roof and nearly kiss before Jeremy interrupts them. Back on the dance floor Clay wins over Walter’s business, and Clay promises everyone they’ll keep their jobs and receive their bonuses.

Carol’s flight is cancelled due to weather, and when she discovers the party is happening in a conversation with her driver after she took people to the party, she rushes back to the office.

Our Thoughts

This movie was funny. I laughed out loud at least a dozen times, and so did everyone else around me. There is nothing special about the plot or the settings, but the acting is spot on. These are funny people, doing funny stuff, and I loved it. 4 stars It is what it is… FUNNY! – MR

Find: Office Christmas Party and see the new trailer here.


We Review Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them IMAX 3D “All in all I give it 4.5 stars.” – MR

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them poster.png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Yates
Produced by
Written by J. K. Rowling
Based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
by J. K. Rowling
Starring
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Philippe Rousselot
Edited by Mark Day
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • 10 November 2016(New York City)
  • 18 November 2016(United Kingdom & United States)
Running time
133 minutes[1]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States[2]
Language English
Budget $180 million[3]
Box office $479.7 million[4]

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2016 fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. A prequel of the Harry Potter film series, the film was produced and written by J. K. Rowling, in her screenwriting debut, and inspired by her book of the same name. The film stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander with Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo, Ron Perlman and Colin Farrell in supporting roles. It is the first instalment in the Fantastic Beasts series, and the ninth overall in J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Principal photography began at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden on 17 August 2015. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiered in New York City on 10 November 2016 and was released worldwide on 18 November 2016 in 3D, IMAX 4K Laser and other large format theatres. It received generally positive reviews from critics and has grossed over $479 million worldwide.

Plot

In 1926, British wizard Newt Scamander arrives by boat to New York City en route to Arizona. He encounters Mary Lou Barebone, a non-magical woman (“No-Maj” or “muggle“) who heads the New Salem Philanthropic Society, which claims that witches and wizards are real and dangerous. As Newt listens to her speak, a Niffler escapes from his magically-expanded suitcase, which houses multiple magical creatures. As he attempts to capture it, he meets No-Maj cannery worker and aspiring baker Jacob Kowalski and they accidentally swap suitcases. Demoted Auror Tina Goldstein arrests Newt for being an unregistered wizard and takes him to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) headquarters, hoping to regain her former position. However, President Seraphina Picquery and Director of the Magical Security Percival Graves dismiss the case. At Jacob’s apartment, several creatures escape from Newt’s suitcase.

Graves approaches Credence Barebone, Mary Lou’s adopted son, and offers to free him from his abusive mother in exchange for his finding the host of an Obscurus, a dark, destructive force inadvertently manifested by young magical children forced to conceal their powers. The force can be unleashed during periods of anger and stress; Graves believes that it has caused several mysterious destructive incidents around the city.

After Tina and Newt find Jacob and the suitcase, Tina takes them to her apartment and introduces them to Queenie, her Legilimens sister. Queenie and Jacob are mutually attracted, though American wizards are forbidden to marry No-Majs or interact with them. Newt takes Jacob inside his magically-expanded suitcase, where Jacob encounters a contained Obscurus that Newt recently extracted from a girl who died. Newt persuades Jacob to help search for the missing creatures. After re-capturing two of the three escaped beasts, they re-enter the suitcase, which Tina takes to MACUSA. Officials arrest them, believing one of Newt’s beasts to be responsible for killing Senator Henry Shaw Jr., and decide to destroy Newt’s suitcase and obliviate Jacob’s memory. Graves interrogates Newt and Tina and accuses Newt of conspiring with the infamous dark wizardGellert Grindelwald. Newt and Tina are immediately sentenced to death, but they escape and meet up with Queenie and Jacob; the foursome then capture the last of the creatures after receiving a tip from the goblin gangster Gnarlack.

Credence finds a wand under his adopted sister Modesty’s bed. Mary Lou assumes the wand is Credence’s, but Modesty claims it is hers. When she is about to be punished, the Obscurus is unleashed, killing everyone except Modesty and Credence. Graves arrives and dismisses Credence as being a Squib (a non-magical person of wizard ancestry), and refuses to tutor him in magic after they enter Modesty’s biological family’s home. Credence then reveals himself as the host of the Obscurus, the real cause of Shaw’s death, and unleashes it upon the city in a rage.

In a subway tunnel, Newt talks to Credence but is attacked by Graves. Tina, who knows Credence, arrives and attempts to calm him, while Graves tries to convince Credence to listen to him instead. As Credence begins to settle into human form, Picquery arrives with Aurors and decides Credence’s life must be forfeited to keep the existence of magic hidden. The Aurors apparently disintegrate him, but Newt notices a tiny wisp of the Obscurus fleeing.

Cast

Director David Yates and the cast of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con International.
  • Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander:[5] an eccentric, introverted wizard, magizoologist and an employee at the Ministry of Magic. Scamander is the future author of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry standard textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
  • Katherine Waterston as Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein:[6] a grounded, down-to-earth witch and a former Auror employed by the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). She longs to fight for what is right, but was demoted to a position well below her skill level.
  • Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski: a genial No-Maj cannery worker and aspiring baker who is accidentally exposed to the New York City magical community after meeting Newt.[7]
  • Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein:[8][9] Porpentina’s younger sister and roommate, described as a bombshell, free-spirited, and big-hearted, and is accomplished in Legilimency.
  • Colin Farrell as Percival Graves:[10] a high-ranking Auror and Director of Magical Security for MACUSA. He is charged with the protection of wizards and assigned to track down Newt.
  • Carmen Ejogo as Seraphina Picquery: the President of MACUSA.
  • Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone:[11][12][13] Mary Lou’s troubled and mysterious adopted son.
  • Samantha Morton as Mary Lou Barebone:[14] a narrow-minded No-Maj and the sinister leader of the New Salem Philanthropic Society (the NSPS, or “The Second-Salemers”), an extremist group whose goals include exposing and killing wizards and witches.
  • Ron Perlman[15] as Gnarlack: a goblin gangster who owns a speakeasy nightclub called The Blind Pig.
  • Jon Voight[16] as Henry Shaw Sr.: the father of U.S. senator Henry Shaw Jr. and Langdon Shaw.
  • Josh Cowdery as Henry Shaw Jr.: a U.S. senator who holds a rally picketed by the New Salem Philanthropic Society.
  • Ronan Raftery as Langdon Shaw: the youngest of Henry Shaw Sr.’s sons, who begins to believe in magic.
  • Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty Barebone:[17] a haunted young girl and the youngest of Mary Lou’s adopted children.
  • Jenn Murray as Chastity Barebone: the eldest of Mary Lou’s adopted children[11][18]
  • Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald: one of the most dangerous dark wizards of all time.
  • Zoë Kravitz[19] as Leta Lestrange: Newt’s former love while the two attended Hogwarts. Leta betrayed his trust, leaving him bitter, but he still carries her picture.

Our Thoughts

While I liked the story, and I love anything to do with magic, the special effects (which are amazing) are of the previously “over used” sort.  It was like watching a Marvel Comics movie. The terrible Obscurus looked like a modulating Transformer, or those evil aliens from The Avengers and many of the little tricks that would have seemed amazing if this was the first time I’d seen them, well, as I said before…. They have been “over used.” I am sure they will continue to use these type of effects in all movies, until something better comes along. I did like the way they reconstructed the city at the end. The unbending of iron beams, and how they fit together was spot on. Too bad the effect was wasted on a closing scene.

This story is great. But just like in Harry Potter,  the bad guys poof away when they are ended, and the good guys never even hardly kiss the girl.  I suffered through the kiddie parts, though. Fantastic Beasts was a bit more adult-ish, and I appreciate that. My two main complaints are…  JK Rowling has no business creating a little plant guy that is basically Groot, re-imagined. He was so much like Groot that it irritated me.  (I am talking about the baby Groot at the end of GOTG.) And then there was the twist at the end. One of my favorite actors will be in the sequel and that is my other gripe. No one told me Johnny Depp was in this. And he will be in the rest of the followups, because he is Grindelwald.

All in all I give it 4.5 stars, taking the half star away for using something too much like Groot. – MR

See the latest trailer here.