REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE IX: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

Starring

Carrie Fisher (Heartbreakers)
Mark Hamill (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Adam Driver (Logan Lcuky)
Daisy Ridley (Murder on The orient Express)
John Boyega (Attack The Block)
Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year)
Anthony Daniels (THe LEgo Movie)
Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth)
Domhnall Gleeson (Mother!)
Richard E. Grant (Logan)
Lupita Nyong’o (Little Monsters)
Keri Russell (Waitress)
Kelly Marie Tran (XOXO)
Ian McDiarmid (The Lost City of Z)
Billy Dee Williams (The LEgo Batman Movie)
Billie Lourd (Scream Queens)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Harrison Ford (Raiders of The Lost Ark)
Dominic Monaghan (Lost)
Shirley Henderson (Okja)
Denis Lawson (The Machine)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns)
Jeff Garlin (Paranorman)
James Earl Jones (Conan The Barbarian)
Andy Serkis (BLack Panther)
Ewan McGreggor (Doctor SleeP)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Jennifer Hale (The Powerpuff Girls)
Samuel L. Jackson (Glass)
Ed Sheeran (Game of Thrones)
Kevin Smith (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
Hayden Christensen (Takers)
Ashley Eckstein (Sydney White)
Freddie Prinze Jr. (Scooby-Doo)
Olivia d’Abo (The Devil’s Violinist)
Frank Oz (Knives Out)

Anthony Daniels, Keri Russell, J.J. Abrams, Lynn Robertson Bruce, Oscar Isaac, Brian Herring, Dave Chapman, John Boyega, Robin Guiver, and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)Following a threat of revenge by the revived Emperor Palpatine, Kylo Ren obtains a Sith wayfinder, leading him to the uncharted planet Exegol. There, he finds Palpatine, who reveals that he created Snoke as a puppet to control the First Order and lure Kylo to the dark side. Palpatine unveils the Final Order—a secret armada of Star Destroyers—and tells Kylo to find and kill Rey, who is continuing her Jedi training under Resistance leader Leia Organa. Finn and Poe Dameron deliver intel from a spy that Palpatine is on Exegol; Rey has learned from Luke Skywalker’s notes that a Sith wayfinder can lead them there. Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca, BB-8, and C-3PO depart in the Millennium Falcon to Pasaana, where a clue to a wayfinder is hidden.Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)Kylo initiates a Force bond with Rey to discover her location; he travels to Pasaana with his warrior subordinates, the Knights of Ren. With the help of Lando Calrissian, Rey and her friends find the clue—a dagger inscribed with Sith text, which C-3PO’s programming forbids him from interpreting—and the remains of a Jedi hunter named Ochi and his ship. Sensing that Kylo is nearby, Rey goes to confront him. The First Order captures the Falcon, Chewbacca, and the dagger; attempting to save Chewbacca, Rey accidentally destroys a First Order transport with Force lightning. Believing that Chewbacca was killed, the group escapes on Ochi’s ship.Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Joonas Suotamo in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)The group travels to Kijimi where a droidsmith extracts the Sith text from C-3PO’s memory, revealing coordinates to a wayfinder. Rey senses Chewbacca is alive, and the group mounts a rescue mission to Kylo’s Star Destroyer. Rey recovers the dagger and has visions of Ochi killing her parents with it. Kylo informs her that she is Palpatine’s granddaughter; the Sith Lord had ordered Ochi to recover Rey as a child, but her parents hid her on Jakku to protect her. General Hux saves Poe, Finn, and Chewbacca from execution, revealing himself as the spy. He permits the group to escape on the Falcon, but is discovered and killed by Allegiant General Pryde.The group finds the wayfinder in the remains of the second Death Star; Rey retrieves it, but she is met by Kylo, who destroys the wayfinder and duels her. In a dying act, Leia calls to Kylo through the Force, distracting him as Rey impales him. Sensing Leia’s death, Rey heals Kylo and takes his ship to exile herself on Ahch-To. There, Luke’s Force spirit encourages Rey to face Palpatine and gives her Leia’s lightsaber. Rey leaves for Exegol in Luke’s X-wing fighter, using the wayfinder from Kylo’s ship. Meanwhile, Kylo converses with a memory of his father, Han Solo; he throws away his lightsaber and reclaims his identity as Ben Solo. Sensing Leia’s passing and Ben’s return, Palpatine sends one of the Final Order’s superlaser-equipped Star Destroyers to obliterate Kijimi. The Resistance, led by Poe and Finn, prepare to attack the Final Order fleet.Rey transmits her coordinates to R2-D2, allowing the Resistance to follow her to Exegol, where she confronts Palpatine; he demands that she kill him in order to transfer his spirit into her. Lando brings reinforcements from across the galaxy to join the battle. Ben overpowers the Knights of Ren and joins Rey, but Palpatine drains their power to rejuvenate himself. He attacks the Resistance fleet with Force lightning and incapacitates Ben. Weakened, Rey hears the voices of past Jedi, who lend her their strength. Palpatine attacks her with lightning, but Rey deflects it using the Skywalker lightsabers, killing him and herself. Ben uses the Force to revive her at the cost of his own life; Rey kisses Ben before he dies. The Resistance defeats Palpatine’s armada, while people across the galaxy rise up against the First Order. The Resistance returns to their base to celebrate. After the celebration, Rey visits Luke’s abandoned childhood home on Tatooine and buries the Skywalker lightsabers, having built her own. A passerby asks her name; as the spirits of Luke and Leia watch, she replies, “Rey Skywalker.”Overall I commend Abrams and the cast and crew of Episode IX and I recommend this movie to all fans as a fun, exciting and action packed adventure to conclude the Skywalker Saga. Although some of the movie I didn’t agree with, Abrams did fulfil his obligations to connect with the fans of the beloved franchise as best as he could, with the ending really completing the nature of the saga with carrying generation to generation.

 

REVIEW: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (2017)

CAST

Kenneth Branagh (Valkyrie)
Penélope Cruz (Grimsby)
Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man)
Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul)
Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Derek Jacobi (Cinderella)
Leslie Odom Jr. (Red Tails)
Michelle Pfeiffer (Dark Shadows)
Daisy Ridley (Star wars: The Last Jedi)
Olivia Colman (I Give It a Year)
Lucy Boynton (Miss Potter)
Tom Bateman (Into The Dark)
Adam Garcia (Coyote Ugly)

Johnny Depp in Murder on the Orient Express (2017)In 1934, famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot solves a theft at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The obsessive-compulsive—who seeks balance in life, and considers his case-solving ability to see a lie amid truth to be a curse — wants to rest in Istanbul, but must return to London for another case. His friend Bouc, director of the Simplon Orient Express, offers him a room aboard the train.Judi Dench and Olivia Colman in Murder on the Orient Express (2017)Unscrupulous businessman Edward Ratchett offers to hire Poirot as his bodyguard during the three-day journey, having received threatening letters from an unknown party, but Poirot refuses. That night, Poirot hears strange noises coming from Ratchett’s compartment, and later sees someone in a red kimono running down the hallway. An avalanche derails the train’s engine, stranding the passengers.Kenneth Branagh in Murder on the Orient Express (2017)The next morning, Poirot discovers Ratchett was murdered during the night after having been stabbed a dozen times. Poirot and Bouc investigate the other passengers as repairs begin. Evidence indicates that Ratchett was murdered by one person, and Caroline Hubbard, a fellow passenger, claims that a man had been in her compartment in the night. Poirot discovers a partially burned note connecting Ratchett to the kidnapping of Daisy Armstrong, a child who was abducted from her bedroom and held for ransom. After the ransom was paid, Daisy was found murdered. Ratchett’s true identity is revealed: he was John Cassetti, Daisy’s kidnapper and murderer. The shock of her death caused her mother Sonia to die after giving premature birth to a stillborn baby; her father, Colonel John Armstrong, then committed suicide. The family’s nursemaid Susanne was wrongly suspected of complicity, leading to her being arrested and subsequent suicide in police custody, only to be found innocent afterward.Daisy Ridley in Murder on the Orient Express (2017)More evidence is found, including a bloodstained handkerchief, and, in Mrs. Hubbard’s compartment, the button of a conductor’s uniform. The uniform is later found, as is the red kimono — in Poirot’s own suitcase. Hubbard is suddenly stabbed in the back; she survives but cannot identify the culprit. Poirot discovers many of the passengers have direct connections to the Armstrong family and uncovers their hidden pasts. While interviewing governess Mary Debenham, Doctor John Arbuthnot shoots Poirot in the shoulder, claiming responsibility for the murder, but Bouc stops him from killing Poirot. Poirot realizes that Arbuthnot — a medical doctor and former army sniper — never meant to kill him.Kenneth Branagh and Daisy Ridley in Murder on the Orient Express (2017)Poirot confronts the suspects outside the train, offering two theories of how Cassetti died. The first is simple but does not meet all of the facts: A murderer disguised as a conductor boarded the train at a previous stop, murdered Cassetti, and fled at the stop as the train left. The second is more complex: with every single suspect connected to the Armstrongs, Susanne, or her trial in some way, they all had a motive against Cassetti. Poirot predicts that they acted together. Hubbard is revealed to be Linda Arden, a former stage actress and aspiring director, and Sonia Armstrong’s mother.Michelle Pfeiffer in Murder on the Orient Express (2017)Hubbard confirms the latter, admitting that she planned the murder and had recruited everyone else to help her. All the other passengers and the Conductor, Pierre Michel (Susanne’s brother), took turns stabbing Cassetti. Mary wore the kimono, and Arbuthnot stabbed Hubbard without endangering her life, to convince Poirot of a lone killer. Poirot challenges the passengers and Michel to shoot him with a confiscated gun since he is the only one who can expose their plot; Bouc can lie, but Poirot, obsessed with truth and balance, cannot. Hubbard grabs the gun and tries to kill herself, but it is not loaded; Poirot wanted to see how the suspects would react. With the train back on track, Poirot concludes that justice is impossible in the case, as Cassetti deserved death; for the first time, Poirot will have to live with a lie and imbalance. He presents the lone killer theory to the Yugoslavian police, allowing the others to leave on the train. As he disembarks, a British Army messenger asks him to investigate a death on the Nile. Poirot accepts the case.
Kenneth Branagh in Murder on the Orient Express (2017)I love the book so I was really excited to see this, and I have to say I was not disappointed. The acting was brilliant and the film very well made. Aside from a few changes it mostly follows the book quite closely which I was pleased about and the end was especially well done. I have to confess that I haven’t actually got round to seeing any of the other adaptions of the book yet but I certainly enjoyed this one.

 

REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI

 

CAST

Mark Hamill (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Carrie Fisher (Sorority Row)
Daisy Ridley (Murder on The Orient Express)
John Boyega (Pacific Rim: Uprising)
Adam Driver (Logan Lucky)
Oscar Isaac (Mojave)
Andy Serkis (King Kong)
Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther)
Domhnall Gleeson (American Made)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones)
Kelly Marie Tran (XOXO)
Laura Dern (Jurassic Park)
Frank Oz (The Dark Crystal)
Benicio del Toro (The Wolfman)
Billie Lourd (Scream queens)
Justin Theroux (American Psycho)
Kate Dickie (Prometheus)
Lily Cole (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)

Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)Resistance forces, led by General Leia Organa, flee D’Qar when a First Order fleet arrives. Poe Dameron leads a costly counterattack that destroys a First Order dreadnought, but after the Resistance escapes to hyperspace, the First Order tracks them and attacks the Resistance convoy. Kylo Ren, Leia’s son, hesitates to fire on the lead Resistance ship after sensing his mother’s presence, but his TIE fighter wingmen destroy the bridge, incapacitating Leia. Disapproving of new leader Vice Admiral Holdo’s passive strategy, Poe helps Finn, BB-8, and mechanic Rose Tico embark on a secret mission to disable the tracking device on the lead ship.Mark Hamill in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)Meanwhile, Rey arrives on Ahch-To with Chewbacca and R2-D2 aboard the Millennium Falcon to recruit Luke Skywalker to the Resistance. Disillusioned by his failure to train Kylo as a Jedi, and under self-imposed exile from the Force, Luke refuses to help—even after he learns of Han Solo’s death at Kylo’s hands—and believes that the Jedi should become extinct. Unbeknownst to Luke, Rey and Kylo can communicate through the Force, puzzling the two enemies. As the rival Force users learn about each other, each has future visions of themselves as partners.Gwendoline Christie and James Cox in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)R2-D2 persuades Luke to train Rey. After Kylo tells Rey what happened between him and Luke that caused him to choose the dark side of the Force, Luke confesses that he momentarily contemplated killing Kylo upon sensing that Supreme Leader Snoke was corrupting him, causing Kylo to destroy Luke’s new Jedi Order in retaliation. Convinced that Kylo can be redeemed, Rey leaves Ahch-To to confront Kylo without Luke. Luke prepares to burn the Ahch-To Jedi temple and library, but hesitates. Yoda’s ghost appears and destroys the temple by summoning a thunderstorm, claiming Rey has all she needs to learn, and encourages Luke to learn from his failure.Adam Driver in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)Holdo reveals her plan to discreetly evacuate the remaining Resistance members using small transports. Believing her actions cowardly and risky, Poe leads a mutiny. Finn, Rose, and BB-8 travel to the Canto Bight casino and acquire the help of the hacker DJ, who says he can help them disable the tracking device. They infiltrate Snoke’s ship, but all but BB-8 are captured by Captain Phasma. Meanwhile, Rey lands on the ship, and Kylo brings her to Snoke, who claims that he facilitated the mental connection between her and Kylo as part of a plan to destroy Luke. Ordered to kill Rey, Kylo instead kills Snoke and, with Rey, defeats Snoke’s guards. Rey believes that Kylo has returned to the light side of the Force, but he instead invites her to rule the galaxy with him, which she refuses. They use the Force to fight for possession of Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber, which splits in two.Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)Leia recovers and stuns Poe, allowing the evacuation to begin. Holdo remains on the ship to mislead Snoke’s fleet as the others flee to an abandoned Rebel Alliance base on Crait. DJ reveals the Resistance’s plan to the First Order, and the evacuation transports are slowly destroyed. Holdo sacrifices herself by ramming Snoke’s fleet at lightspeed; Rey escapes in the chaos, while Kylo declares himself Supreme Leader. BB-8 frees Finn and Rose, who escape after defeating Phasma, and they join survivors on Crait. When the First Order arrives, Poe, Finn, and Rose attack with old speeders. Rey and Chewbacca draw the TIE fighters away with the Falcon, while Rose stops Finn from completing a suicide run against the enemy siege cannon, which penetrates the Resistance fortress.Luke appears and confronts the First Order to enable surviving Resistance members to escape. Kylo orders the First Order’s forces to fire on Luke to no effect. He then engages Luke in a lightsaber duel; upon striking Luke, Kylo realizes he has been fighting a Force projection of him. Rey uses the Force to help the Resistance escape on the Falcon. Luke, exhausted, dies peacefully on Ahch-To. His death is sensed by Rey and Leia, but Leia tells surviving rebels that the Resistance has all it needs to rise again. At Canto Bight, one of the children who helped Finn and Rose escape grabs a broom with the Force and gazes into space.Mark Hamill in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)This movie was fun, exciting, and expanded the Star Wars universe more. Since when has Star Wars been about answering all of the nitty gritty questions of how the force and the universe work. When people are upset about that, I am astounded that they “expected more” explanation from the series. Since the prequels, people have been crying that there was too much revealed, and not enough mystery, as there had been with the originals. I for one am glad that we are introduced to characters who aren’t fleshed out here, that leaves room for the imagination and the extended universe to delve into. I’ve seen some reviewers complain that the movie is too slow, some that it is too scatterbrained, but I think the nuance of the movie outweighs either of these.  I think that what they did with each character felt good, and by no means did I feel cheated by the movie. I loved the questions it left unanswered and the new questions it posed, and am excited to have months of speculative discussions again.

REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS

 

CAST
Daisy Ridley (Scrawl)
John Boyega (Attack The Block)
Oscar Isaac (Ex_Machina)
Mark Hamill (Batman: TAS)
Harrison Ford (Blade Runner)
Carrie Fisher (Sorority Row)
Adam Driver (Bluebird)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Domhnall Gleeson (The Revenant)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)
Peter Mayhew (Killer Ink)
Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones)
Simon Pegg (The World’s End)
Kiran Shah (The Hobbit)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The originals)
Warwick Davis (The Ewok Adventures)
Mark Stanley (Kajaki)
Ken Leung (Lost)
Billie Lourd (Scream Queens)
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (The Maze Runner)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Ewan McGregor (Mordecai)
Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther)
Billie Lourd (Scream Queens)
Jessica Henwick (Iron FIst)
Ben Schwartz (Sonic The Hedgehog)
Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Approximately 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the last remaining Jedi, Luke Skywalker, has disappeared. The First Order has risen from the fallen Galactic Empire and seeks to eliminate the New Republic. The Resistance, backed by the Republic and led by Luke’s twin sister, General Leia Organa, opposes them while searching for Luke to enlist his aid.
Resistance pilot Poe Dameron meets village elder Lor San Tekka on the planet Jakku to obtain a map to Luke’s location. Stormtroopers commanded by Kylo Ren destroy the village and capture Poe. Poe’s droid BB-8 escapes with the map, and encounters the scavenger Rey near a junkyard settlement. Ren tortures Poe using the Force, and learns of BB-8. Stormtrooper FN-2187, unable to bring himself to kill for the First Order, frees Poe, and they escape in a stolen TIE fighter; Poe dubs FN-2187 “Finn”. They crash on Jakku, and Finn survives but is unable to determine if Poe did as well. He encounters Rey and BB-8, but the First Order tracks them and launches an airstrike. Finn, Rey, and BB-8 flee the planet in the Millennium Falcon, which they steal from a junkyard.
The Falcon breaks down and is captured by a larger ship piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca, looking to reclaim their former vessel. Two rival gangs, seeking to settle debts with Han, board and attack, but Han and company manage to escape in the Falcon. The gangs inform the First Order of the events. At the First Order’s Starkiller Base – a planet converted into a superweapon that harnesses energy from stars – Supreme Leader Snoke orders General Hux to use the weapon for the first time. Snoke questions Ren’s ability to deal with emotions relating to his father, Han Solo; Ren replies that Han means nothing to him.
The Falcon crew views BB-8’s map and determines it is incomplete. Han explains that Luke attempted to rebuild the Jedi Order but exiled himself when an apprentice turned to the dark side. The crew travels to the planet Takodana and meet with cantina owner Maz Kanata, who offers assistance in getting BB-8 to the Resistance. Rey is drawn to a vault on the lower level and finds the lightsaber that once belonged to Luke and his father Anakin Skywalker. She experiences disturbing visions and flees into the woods. Maz gives Finn the lightsaber for safekeeping.
Starkiller Base fires and destroys the Republic capital and fleet. The First Order attacks Takodana in search of BB-8. Han, Chewbacca, and Finn are saved by Resistance X-wing fighters led by Poe, revealing that he survived the earlier crash. Leia arrives at Takodana with C-3PO and reunites with Han and Chewbacca. Meanwhile, Ren captures Rey and takes her to Starkiller Base, but when he interrogates her about the map, she is able to resist his mind-reading attempts. Discovering she can use the Force, she escapes using a Jedi mind trick on a nearby guard.
At the Resistance base on D’Qar, BB-8 finds R2-D2, who has been inactive since Luke’s disappearance. As Starkiller Base prepares to fire on D’Qar, the Resistance devises a plan to destroy the superweapon by attacking a critical facility. Leia urges Han to return their son alive. Using the Falcon, Han, Chewbacca, and Finn infiltrate the facility and plant explosives. Han confronts Ren, calling him by his birth name, Ben, and implores him to abandon the dark side. Ren kills Han, enraging Chewbacca, who fires and wounds Ren. He sets off the explosives, allowing the Resistance to attack and destroy Starkiller Base.
Ren pursues Finn and Rey to the surface. A lightsaber battle between Ren and Finn ensues, leaving Finn badly wounded. Rey takes the lightsaber and uses the Force to defeat Ren, before they are separated by a fissure as the planet begins to disintegrate. Snoke orders Hux to evacuate and bring Ren to him to complete his training. Rey and Chewbacca escape with Finn in the Falcon. On D’Qar, the Resistance celebrates while Leia, Chewbacca, and Rey mourn Han’s death. R2-D2 awakens and reveals the rest of the map, which Rey follows with R2-D2 and Chewbacca to a distant planet. She finds Luke and presents him with the lightsaber.
Packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood, The Force Awakens successfully recalls the series’ former glory while injecting it with renewed energy.