Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

Rogue One is a sequel to the prequel of the sequels of the prequels that are the originals, in which this is a prequel of, but not a sequel to the sequel of the originals. Everybody got that?

Good, because I wont be saying it again.

So how to review a film that’s already in IMDB’s top 250 and has one of the largest opening weekends of all time, meaning statistically you’ve already seen it – without doing a spoiler review?

By nitpicking!

Lets start with Lord Vader, who makes a small but fairly awesome cameo in the third act. His costume to me looked like the type you’d by from a high end costume store than from a film with a higher budget than some countries. It was distracting.

Also, this is the first Star Wars film not to have it’s music scored by the legendary John Williams (appreantely the 84 year old fancied a little break) which to my mind is to the films detriment. It just seems slightly lackluster and in dire need of a bit of oomph. I mean, this is a franchise with some of the most legendary music of all time and they don’t use it to full effect.

And the film needs to calm down a little with it’s introduction of characters and planets because even though they’ve started putting the planets names on the screen so we know where they are, the film feels slightly scatterbrained and could do with some slight streamlining.

Oh, do I need to mention that who I think is supposed to be the films main villain is about as scary as my curtains? No? Moving on.

And…

Er…

You got me.

This film is fantastic.

It’s the first Star Wars film that makes you feel the might and the power of the Empire and the seeming insignificance of the rebellion it. And the battles feel urgent and powerful. I mean the storm-troopers still seem about as threatening as a chocolate digestive to a nice cup of tea individually, but just in sheer weight of numbers are nearly unstoppable.

And the cast is uniformly amazing. From Felicity Jones star making turn as Jyn Erso, to Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera, Wash from Firefly as K-2SO, Mads Mikkelson as the man forced to build the Death Star and even Peter Cushing who died in 1994 manages to make one last amazing performance. I mean the characters are all under-developed and I have no idea what 99% of them were called, but in acting terms? Gold stars all around.

For crying out loud, even two characters that may as well have introduced themselves as ‘Not’Daredevil and The Punisher turn out to be funny, effective end deep. Hell, I want them to have their own spin off.

But, and I have to state this, this film is much less the clean cut goodies V baddies of the traditional franchise leaning more towards Saving Private Star Wars or Rogue One Down. Make no mistake this is most defiantly a war film and some scenes might be a little too much for younger viewers.

Still, for being the ‘Star Wars film that everybody worried was going to be a flop’ Rogue One is absolutely fantastic. I mean, there are little niggles- Wash’s robot screams a little too much of ‘Insert comic relief here’ but no real deal-breakers, and compared to what belched onto the screen this summer?

It’s amazing.

In special effects, in plot, in people trying to make a good film, in actors trying to do the best that they can, in the director trying to atone for  2014’s Godzilla and in showing that you can can a single paragraph and make something great out of it.

My Score- See It Now 

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Why Are Film Days A Thing?

Do you know where your towel is?

Well, you should- today (25/05) is Towel Day in remembrance of the late, great author Douglas Adams. Apparently I’m supposed to spend the day wondering around London looking like someone who’s going to try and have a shower at work/ misplaced his marbles by carrying a towel.

Not a Hitchhiker’s fan? That’s ok, there’s other ‘film days’ (for want of a better term)

Because the Americans can’t get the date right the 26 of April is now Alien day (after LV426- the planet in both Alien films) Not sure how to celebrate this one, I think I might get in trouble if I go around cutting out tourists hearts.

And then of course there’s the big one, May the Fourth- Star War’s day. (May the Fourth be with you… *sigh*) which this year extended itself into Revenge of the Fifth because of course it did.

Most importantly though is October the 1st or Dredd Day which is when fans of the 2012 classic complain online about not getting our sequel/TV show yet.

Now whilst I love all of these franchise, I don’t see why they need a day to themselves, nor do I understand why these franchises have days when say James Bond, Doctor Who and Pirates of the Caribbean do not.

Maybe I’m getting old and losing my sense of fun and adventure but these ‘days’ feel like a marketing departments wet dream, with minimal effort on their part- they get their product back in the public eye! Hell, On Towel Day 2015, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti sent a “Towel Day greeting” and read aloud a sample from The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy from the International Space Station! That’s publicity money can’t buy. (Note- There’s also a series of Firefly up there should you get bored)

They also feel isolationist, instead of using them to introduce people to something that you love, it’s an in joke. If people don’t get it, then they feel slightly judged and are probably less likely to check it out.

But what do you guys make of the whole thing?

One last ‘film day’ for you- It is a long standing tradition in all British Antarctic research stations to watch The Thing (1982) as part of their Midwinter feast and celebration held every June 21. Because… why not?

Carry On Up The Oceans 11 Remake

You ever read something and then check the date to make sure that it’s not April 1?

That’s happened to me twice today and in both times my reaction was little more than a resigned shrug because whilst in retrospect I should have expected them to happen, I guess I just figured that they were a few years down the line.

Because not only is Oceans 11 being rebooted with an all female cast, but the Carry On films are coming back.

My reactions to the Oceans 11 reboot are the same as I had for Ghostbusters. Why? How much? And, does this film really need to exist? It’s a reboot of a reboot (the Rat Pack did it first back in the sixties) And even if it does star Jennifer Lawrence (whocandonowrongever) will it copy the first one which was as cool as a Polar Bear with sunglasses or the un-watchable sequels that followed it?

Personally, I don’t care if it’s an all man/woman/turkey cast  I just want a good script, story and characters. So I’ll watch this with interest.

The other shock of the day (which sent every critic I know into sheer terror driven sobs of panic) is that the Carry On films are coming back.

For those of you unaware of this franchise (and how I envy you.) Carry On was a series of 31 low-budget ‘comedy’ pictures that lasted from 1958-1992 and can best be described as the type of humor that your uncle thinks he can get away with after a few glasses of wine.

The series peaked with Carry On Screaming in 1966 and went downhill from there. They are still shown on British TV to this day, although mostly as a warning from history.

Nowt though, the team behind second rate Friends knock off Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps are threatening to bring the series back to the big screen. Now to be fair, they have stated “We are making a new entry in the series with love and care: it isn’t a remake or an attempt to reinvent the wheel.

We’re looking to create a whole new ensemble of brilliant British comedic actors. No stunt casting. No big American stars. This will be British film at its best, as the truly remarkable heritage deserves.”

But the series humor is very much of its time with a set of stars that had their own chemistry and to be honest… this series belongs in the past. Aside from at Christmas when the nation remembers the terrible, awful things we’ve done in the name of ‘entertainment’

 

 

Presenting Young Han Solo!

And so after an exhaustive and far reaching search that has scoured the globe I present to you the star of the Young Han Solo spin off that we didn’t know we wanted. (But it will still make billions)

Presenting… Alden Ehrenreich

*Sigh*

Whats wrong with established actors that I’ve actually heard of? Does me liking an actor immediately cancel that person out from getting good roles? I mean Taron Egerton (Kingsman, Eddie The Eagle)  was right there!

Mind you the new Spider-Man is working out rather well so let me see…

According to IMDB, so he’s worked with The Coen Brothers in Hail, Caeser AND Woody Allen in Blue Jasmine. I mean, those were bit parts but at least he has some experience. He’s also been in a few stinkers but he’s worked pretty solidly in films and television. Although he seems to have had no lead roles in any project

I’m going to ignore the fact that he looks nothing like Harrison Ford as that’s what a make-up department is for.

I’m also going to ignore the fact that I have no idea why we need a Han Solo spin off film unless George Lucas needs another gold-filled swimming pool.

However I will be keeping an eye on this project.

What do you guys think?

Attack in Brussels- A Response

I don’t feel like writing about films today.

I did when I got up.

When I was in the shower.

When I was brushing my teeth and having my first cup of tea.

My friend who proofreads all my articles before I hit ‘Publish’ was good to go.

And then I turned the news.

And saw what was happening in Brussels

And all of a sudden my opinion of 10 Cloverfield Lane and High Rise (which I had spent hours crafting and perfecting) seemed… irrelevant somehow.

And, as always when I see these types of events, my heart went out to the victims, and, as always, quotes from The Siege came to my mind.

Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: Come on General, you’ve lost men, I’ve lost men, but you – you, you *can’t* do this! What, what if they don’t even want the sheik, have you considered that? What if what they really want is for us to herd our children into stadiums like we’re doing? And put soldiers on the street and have Americans looking over their shoulders? Bend the law, shred the Constitution just a little bit? Because if we torture him, General, we do that and everything we have fought, and bled, and died for is over. And they’ve won. They’ve already won!

Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: [to General Devereaux during the Mexican standoff] You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to a fair trial. You have the right not to be tortured, not to be murdered, rights that you took away from Tariq Husseini. You have those rights because of the men who came before you who wore that uniform. Because of the men and women who are standing here right now waiting for you to give them the order to fire. Give them the order, General.

Elise Kraft: It’s easy to tell the difference between right and wrong. What’s hard is choosing the wrong that’s more right.

However, like a TV show I’ve seen one to many times, I know the next few scenes. Sing with me now.

Sympathy, Muslim blaming (even though terrorists are a fraction of a fraction of a %), tighter regulations, more fear, more attacks, the wheel keeps on spinning. Long after you, me, and probably even our children are cold in the grave things like this will still keep happening.

There must be a way to stop things like this from happening. From labeling all those different to us as ‘wrong’ or ‘evil’ until then, we just do what we would normally do, we go out, eat, drink, see films. Do all the things that the people attacking us don’t wan’t us to do.

Because if we give in to fear, then the attacks today were successful

If we give in to hate then the attacks today were successful

If we blame those different to us with only our prejudice as evidence then the attacks today were successful.

These were not the first attacks on an innocent city and they will not be the last but we can make them the exercise in barbaric impotence that they deserve to be treated as.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some reviews to write.

Why Do The Oscars Matter?

All the nominations for this year’s Academy awards, which take place at the Dolby theatre in Hollywood on 28 February have been released and….

I really don’t see why this ceremony exists.

Every year with the Golden Globes, the Baftas, The Razzies (my personal favorite) and the Oscars themselves, I find myself completely indifferent.

Maybe it has something to do with the judges, who, according to the most recent information are overwhelmingly elderly, white and male. And if I want to know what old, white, people think of films then i’ll ask my dad for his opinion.

Maybe its that I believe comparing these films on a like for like basis is insanity, How do you do a direct comparison between the insane beauty of Mad Max: Fury Road and the thoughtfulness of an indie film like Room and declare one ‘better’?

And this is direct comparisons, not reviewing them months apart and on their own merits but placing them next to each other and deciding to give the award via… sheep entrails? Coin Toss? We don’t know, as the judges have never revealed how the decisions are made.

Nor do we know how they decide which ones to nominate as far as I know, there’s no transparency nor discussion, just a bunch of old white men deciding via Voodoo who made the ‘best’.

And, lets be honest. Most of us don’t watch Oscar films. The vast majority of nominated films are pretty low grossing (with a few notable exceptions) and are probably not going to sell a lot of DVD’s or even be remembered in a few years.

So why do they matter? Why do hundreds of millions of people watch a few millionaires slap each other on the back over a fraction of films that have been released that year? Is it that they have the biggest party? Because we say they matter and therefore they do?

Or am I missing something here?

 

Cinemas at Christmas?

I spent most of this Christmas in a food/alcohol come trying to follow the Doctor Who Christmas Special when I could only hear about 10% of the dialogue. The closest I got to a film was the adverts during Downton Abbey (It was either that or Quantom of Solice….) 

And yet, a few miles from where I was located, my local cinema as open for business. And i’m not sure how I feel about it.

It wasn’t that unsuccessful either. They managed to sell 3000 tickets where on Christmas Eve and Boxing day they sold roughly 5000 tickets. So for the money men safe at home it was a success, and probably something that they will do again and in a large number of cinemas.

Should I be surprised? The UK is becoming more multi-cultural and I have no issue with cinemas being open on Easter, Diwali, Eid or Bank Holidays.  It’s not illegal to open on Christmas Day, it’s a cultural thing. SO why do I feel uncomfortable?

Again, I feel it’s more a cultural thing. Christmas is the one time of year I see most of my family (and then remember why I only see them once a year) It’s also the one time of year that people who work in retail can spend time with their families without having to pray to the shift Gods/ take leave.

Because that’s where this is going. 15 years and it will be normal for shops/cinemas/ gyms to be open on Christmas Day.

I accept it. I understand that as the UK becomes less Christian, it’s holidays will slowly hold less cultural significance and that’s sad. I want to spend my Christmas in the food coma watching the Queens Speech and  Doctor Who. 

And if your waiting me to file a review on Christmas day? Keep waiting.