Monthly Archives: December 2017

We Review, Star Wars: The Last Jedi “Highly Recommended, and great, but only 4 stars” -MR

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars The Last Jedi.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rian Johnson
Produced by
Written by Rian Johnson
Based on Characters
by George Lucas
Starring
Music by John Williams[1]
Cinematography Steve Yedlin[2]
Edited by Bob Ducsay[2]
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • December 9, 2017(Los Angeles)
  • December 15, 2017(United States)
Running time
152 minutes[3]
Country United States
Language English
Box office $105.8 million[4][5]

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi[6]) is a 2017 American epicspace opera film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It is the second film in the Star Warssequel trilogy, following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). The film is produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It stars Mark HamillCarrie FisherAdam DriverDaisy RidleyJohn BoyegaOscar IsaacAndy SerkisLupita Nyong’oDomhnall GleesonAnthony Daniels, and Gwendoline Christie in returning roles, with Kelly Marie TranLaura Dern, and Benicio del Toro joining the cast. It also marks the final performance of Fisher, who died in December 2016, with the film being dedicated in her memory.

The film was announced after Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012. It is produced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman, with Force Awakens director J. J. Abrams as an executive producer. John Williams, composer for the previous seven films, returns to compose the score. Scenes that required shooting at Skellig Michael in Ireland were filmed during pre-production in September 2015, with principal photography beginning at Pinewood Studios in England in February 2016 and ending in July 2016. Post-production wrapped up in September 2017.[7]

The Last Jedi had its world premiere in Los Angeles on December 9, 2017, and was released in the United States on December 15, 2017. The film received highly positive reviews, with praise for its plot, ensemble cast, action scenes, visual effects, musical score and emotional weight. Some critics considered it the best film of the franchise since The Empire Strikes Back.[8][9][10][11][12] A sequel, provisionally titled Star Wars: Episode IX, is scheduled for release on December 20, 2019.

Plot

Resistance fighters led by General Leia Organa evacuate their main base when a First Order fleet reaches the Resistance base on D’Qar. Poe Dameron‘s X-wings and bombers lead a preemptive attack, neutralizing their enemies’ offensive power. The Resistance vessels regroup and jump into hyperspace to escape, but the First Order gives pursuit using a tracking device. During an attack, Leia’s son, Kylo Ren, hesitates to fire at the lead Resistance ship after sensing his mother’s presence on board, but TIE fighters destroy the bridge of the ship, killing many Resistance leaders. Leia saves herself using the Force but is incapacitated, leaving Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo in command. Disapproving of her passive strategy, Poe, FinnBB-8, and mechanic Rose Tico embark on a secret plan to disable the tracking device.

Meanwhile, having arrived on Ahch-To with Chewbacca and R2-D2 aboard the Millennium FalconRey meets Luke Skywalker. Luke refuses to initiate her in the ways of the Force because of his past failure with teaching Kylo, even after learning of Han Solo‘s death. Unbeknownst to Luke, Rey and Kylo begin communicating with each other through visions. Prompted by R2-D2, Luke eventually agrees to teach Rey. Luke and Kylo give Rey differing accounts of the incident that swayed Kylo toward the dark side of the Force, with Luke confessing that he contemplated killing Kylo upon discovering his corruption at the hands of Supreme Leader Snoke. Unable to convince Luke to join the Resistance, Rey leaves Ahch-To without him to confront Kylo. Luke sees the ghost of Yoda, who destroys the Ahch-To Jedi temple for him and tells him that failure is the greatest teacher.

Holdo reveals her plan to discreetly evacuate the remaining Resistance members using small transports. Believing her actions to be cowardly and risky, Poe instigates a mutiny.

Our Thoughts

This was a great action and adventure sci-fi film, as all of the Star Wars movies are. There is a lot going on in this one, and I was excited for most of the film. Then toward the end, something happened that made me say, “Ughhh really?” One of the most glaring plot holes in all of movie history. This did not ruin the movie for me, because, well, just because, but it sort of ruined the premise and plot of several past movies, because: SPOILER ALERT: To destroy a fleet of massive and powerful pursuing enemy ships all they ever had to do was put a droid in a personnel carrier and jump it into light speed into the lead ship. The way it happened in this movie, it was no droid, but a dying rebel leader trying to help her friends escape. They could have made this same move long before most of the rebel ships ran out of fuel and their passengers died, but they didn’t. They waited until the very last moment, when most of the ships and people they were trying to save were dead, and then a human made the move instead of a droid. The amount of destruction she caused by jumping into light speed into the enemy ship was enough that they could have probably ordered C3PO to do the same thing right into the Death Star at the beginning of episode IV and killed Darth Vader while he was sleeping. No need for flying down the canyon to put two in the vent shaft was ever needed. To destroy any of the intimidating vessels that have plagued them in the past, all that was ever needed was just a small personnel carrier and a light speed jump. END OF SPOILER

Glaring plot hole aside, I did like Luke Skywalker’s return and the new characters are great. The rest of the story was fun and exciting for all ages. I highly recommend The Last Jedi, but I can only give it 4 stars. My reason is stated above. -MR

 

Find The Last Jedi and see the new trailer here.

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We Review, Thor: Ragnarok “A rip-roaring blast of a movie. 5 stars” -MR

Thor: Ragnarok

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Thor: Ragnarok
Thor Ragnarok poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Taika Waititi
Produced by Kevin Feige
Screenplay by
Based on
Starring
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh
Cinematography Javier Aguirresarobe
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
Running time
130 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $180 million[2][3]
Box office $818.5 million[2]
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Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Thor, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2011’s Thor and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, and is the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Taika Waititi from a screenplay by Eric Pearson and the writing team of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, and stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor alongside Tom HiddlestonCate BlanchettIdris ElbaJeff GoldblumTessa ThompsonKarl UrbanMark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor must escape the alien planet Sakaar in time to save Asgard from Hela and the impending Ragnarök.

A third Thor film was confirmed in January 2014, with Kyle and Yost beginning work on the screenplay. The involvement of Hemsworth and Hiddleston was announced that October. Waititi joined the film as director a year later, after The Dark World director Alan Taylor chose not to return. Ruffalo joined the cast reprising the role of Hulk from previous MCU films, which allowed elements of the 2006 comic storyline “Planet Hulk” to be adapted for Ragnarok. The rest of the cast, including Blanchett as Hela, was confirmed in May 2016, with Pearson’s involvement revealed at the start of filming in July 2016. Principal photography took place in Brisbane and SydneyAustralia, with the film also having exclusive use of Village Roadshow Studios in Oxenford, concluding in October 2016.

Thor: Ragnarok premiered in Los Angeles on October 10, 2017, and was released in the United States on November 3, 2017, in 3D, IMAX, and IMAX 3D. The film received largely positive reviews, with many critics declaring it the best film of the Thor trilogy and praising Waititi’s direction, the cast, action sequences, soundtrack, and humor. It has grossed more than $818 million, making it the highest-grossing film of the Thor series and eighth highest-grossing film of 2017.

Plot

Two years after the battle at Sokovia,[N 1] Thor has been unsuccessfully searching for information regarding the Infinity Stones, and is now imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur in Muspelheim. Surtur reveals that Thor’s father Odin is no longer on Asgard, and that the realm will soon be destroyed in the prophesied Ragnarök, once Surtur unites his crown with the Eternal Flame that burns in Odin’s vault. Thor defeats Surtur and claims his crown, believing he has prevented Ragnarök.

Thor returns to Asgard to find his brother Loki posing as Odin. Thor forces Loki to help him find their father, and with directions from Stephen Strange on Earth, they locate Odin in Norway. Odin explains that he is dying, and that his passing will allow his firstborn child, Hela, to escape from a prison she was sealed in long ago. Hela had been the leader of Asgard’s armies, and had conquered the Nine Realms with Odin, but had been imprisoned and written out of history after Odin feared that she had become too ambitious. Odin subsequently dies, and Hela, released from her imprisonment, appears. She destroys Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, and when Thor and Loki attempt to flee through the Bifröst Bridge, she pursues them and forces them out into space to die. Hela arrives in Asgard, destroying its army and killing the Warriors Three; resurrects the ancient dead who once fought with her, including her giant wolf Fenris; and appoints the Asgardian Skurge as her executioner. She plans to use the Bifröst to expand Asgard’s empire, but Heimdall covertly steals the sword that controls the Bridge, and hides away with the rest of Asgard’s citizens.

Thor crash-lands on Sakaar, a garbage planet surrounded by wormholes. He is captured by a bounty hunter named Scrapper 142, and taken to serve as a gladiator for the planet’s ruler, the Grandmaster, with whom Loki has already become ingratiated. Thor recognizes 142 as one of the Valkyrior, a legendary force of female warriors who were killed defending Asgard from Hela long ago. Thor is forced to compete in the Grandmaster’s Contest of Champions, facing his old friend Hulk. Summoning lightning, Thor almost defeats Hulk but the Grandmaster sabotages the fight to ensure Hulk’s victory. Still enslaved, Thor attempts to convince Hulk and 142 to help him save Asgard, but neither is willing. He soon manages to escape the palace and finds the Quinjet that brought Hulk to Sakaar. Hulk follows Thor to the Quinjet, where a recording of Natasha Romanoff makes him transform back into Bruce Banner for the first time since Sokovia.

The Grandmaster orders 142 and Loki to find Thor and Hulk, but the pair come to blows and Loki forces her to relive the deaths of her fellow Valkyrie at the hands of Hela. Deciding to help Thor, she takes Loki captive to prove her goodwill. Unwilling to be left behind, Loki provides the group with the means to steal one of the Grandmaster’s ships. They then liberate the other gladiators who, led by Korg and Miek, stage a rebellion. Loki attempts to betray his brother to gain a reward from the Grandmaster, but Thor anticipates this and leaves him behind, where Korg and the gladiators soon find him. Thor, Banner, and 142 escape through a wormhole to Asgard, where Hela’s forces are attacking Heimdall and Asgard’s citizens. Banner becomes Hulk again, fighting Fenris, while Thor and 142 battle Skurge and the resurrected warriors.

Our Thoughts

I went into this movie not thinking I would like it. Boy was I wrong. First the use of color in the city scenes, and sets is simply amazing. The story was pretty cool too. Who knew Thor and Loki had a big sister? Well, I did, but I didn’t think her story would be all that entertaining. The side characters, Korg and Meik are fantastic comedic relief, and the whole thing from start to finish, is pretty much non-stop. I highly recommend this rip-roaring blast of a movie. 5 stars. -MR

Find Thor: Ragnarok and see the new trailer here.


We Review: Justice League “I wanted to like it more, but couldn’t 3.5 stars” – MR

Justice League

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Justice League
Justice League film poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Zack Snyder
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Chris Terrio
  • Zack Snyder
Based on Justice League
by Gardner Fox
Starring
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Fabian Wagner
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • October 26, 2017 (Beijing)
  • November 17, 2017(United States)
Running time
120 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $300 million[2]
Box office $570.3 million[3]


Justice League
 is a 2017 American superhero film based on the DC Comicssuperhero team of the same name, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The fifth installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), the film is directed by Zack Snyder with a screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, from a story by Terrio and Snyder. It features an ensemble cast that includes Ben AffleckHenry CavillAmy AdamsGal GadotEzra MillerJason MomoaRay FisherJeremy IronsDiane LaneConnie Nielsen, and J. K. Simmons. In Justice League, the titular superhero team, consisting of BatmanWonder WomanFlashAquaman, and Cyborg, forms to honor Supermanfollowing his death and to save the planet from the catastrophic threat of Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons.

The film was announced in October 2014 with Snyder on board to direct and Terrio attached to write the script. Initially announced as Justice League Part One, with a second part to follow in 2019, the second film was indefinitely delayed to accommodate a standalone Batman film with Affleck. Principal photography commenced in April 2016 and ended in October 2016. Snyder then hired Joss Whedon to write scenes that would be filmed during reshoots; however, Snyder left the project in May 2017 following the death of his daughter. Whedon was hired to oversee the remainder of post-production, including directing additional scenes written by himself. Snyder received sole director credit for the film, with Whedon receiving a screenplay credit.

With an estimated production budget of $300 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever madeJustice League premiered in Beijing on October 26, 2017, and was released in the United States in 2D, 3D, and IMAX on November 17, 2017. It has currently grossed over $570 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics; the action sequences and performances (particularly Gadot and Miller) were praised while what was perceived as a thin plot, weak villain, and overuse of CGI were criticized. The film’s tone was met with a polarized reception, with some praising it for being lighter than previous DCEU installments, while others noted it as inconsistent.

Plot

Thousands of years ago, Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons attempt to conquer Earth through the combined energies of three Mother Boxes. They are foiled by a unified army that included the Olympian GodsAmazonsAtlanteans, Mankind, and Green Lanterns. After repelling Steppenwolf’s army, the Mother Boxes are separated and hidden in locations around the planet.

In the present, the world is in mourning after the death of Superman. This triggers the Mother Boxes to reactivate and Steppenwolf’s return to Earth in an effort to regain favor with his master, Darkseid. Steppenwolf manages to retrieve the Mother Box from Themyscira, prompting Queen Hippolyta to warn her daughter Diana Prince of Steppenwolf’s return by lighting the invasion fire. Prince joins Bruce Wayne in his attempt to unite other metahumans to their cause, with Wayne going after Arthur Curry and Barry Allen, while Prince tries to locate Victor Stone. The two of them fail to persuade Curry and Stone, but manage to recruit an enthusiastic Allen onto the team. Stone later joins the team after his father Silas is kidnapped, along with several other S.T.A.R. Labs employees, by Steppenwolf seeking to acquire the Mother Box from them.

Meanwhile, Steppenwolf attacks Atlantis to retrieve the next Mother Box, forcing Curry to take action. The team receives intel from Commissioner James Gordon leading them to Steppenwolf’s army, based in an abandoned facility under Gotham Harbor. Although the group manages to rescue the kidnapped employees, the facility is flooded during combat, which traps the team until Curry helps delay the flood so they can escape. Stone retrieves the last Mother Box, which he had hidden, for the group to analyze. Stone reveals that his father used the Mother Box to rebuild Stone’s body after an accident almost cost him his life. Wayne decides to use the Mother Box to resurrect Superman, not only to help them fight off Steppenwolf’s army, but also to restore hope to mankind. Prince and Curry are hesitant about the idea, but Wayne forms a secret contingency plan in case Superman returns as a nemesis.

Our Thoughts

The movie was almost exactly as expected, and entertaining. BUT: The voice of the antagonist Steppenwolf sounded just like Optimus Prime, which was pretty annoying. Flash and Aqua man were cool additions to the group and the only surprise is a major spoiler so I’ll let you find out for yourself. I wanted this to be better. I wanted to like it as much as I did Wonder Woman, but the bad guys weren’t even scary, and the Russian civilian side story was simply lame. I have to give it 3.5 stars, but I do recommend it. It entertained me, but when I leave a movie disappointed, I cant give it 4 or 5 stars. I just can’t. I wanted to like it more, but couldn’t 3.5 stars – MR

Find Justice League and see the new trailer here.