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: 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: ZATHURA

CAST

Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Jonah Bobo (Around The Bend)
Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Tim Robbins (Antitrust)
Dax Shepard (Hit and Run)
Frank Oz (The Muppet Show)
Derek Mears (The Flash)
Douglas Tait (Star Trek)

Dax Shepard and Josh Hutcherson in Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)Walter and his younger brother Danny do not get along with each other or their older sister, Lisa. While their divorced father is away at work and Lisa, whom he left in charge, is napping, Danny discovers an old space-themed board game called “Zathura” in the basement. He convinces Walter to play the game with him, the goal of which is to become the first player to reach the final space on the board. Each turn, a player turns a key and presses a button, causing the board to move the player’s piece a random number of spaces and spit out an event card. When Danny’s first turn causes a meteor shower inside the living room, Walter and Danny realize playing the game has altered reality.Kristen Stewart, Josh Hutcherson, and Jonah Bobo in Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)The boys discover their father’s house is floating in space. Lisa, unaware of the situation, wakes up and begins preparing for her date that evening, but is frozen stiff when another card turns the bathroom into a cryonic chamber. Walter concludes the only way to end the game and return everything to normal is to win the game. As they continue to play, Walter and Danny must overcome the dangers presented by the game cards, including the appearance of a defective robot and an attack on the house by a race of reptilian aliens called Zorgons. Another of Danny’s turns produces an astronaut, who methodically eliminates the house’s heat sources and lures the Zorgons’ ship away by ejecting the boys’ father’s couch after setting it on fire.Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo in Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)Walter asks the astronaut to leave, but Danny chooses to let him stay. Growing increasingly agitated, Walter accuses Danny of cheating by moving his piece prematurely; when Walter tries to move the piece back and takes his next turn, the game accuses Walter of cheating and ejects him from the house into the vacuum of space, but the astronaut retrieves him. On Walter’s next turn, he receives a card that allows him to make a wish. The astronaut warns Walter not to make a wish out of anger. Fearing the worst, he is relieved to discover that Walter wished merely for an autographed football. He explains that he and his brother had played the game fifteen years before, and he wished his brother away, causing him to be stuck in the game without a second player.Dax Shepard, Josh Hutcherson, and Jonah Bobo in Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)Lisa awakens from her stasis, and still oblivious to the situation, turns up the heat. This causes the Zorgons to return and anchor their ships to the house. Lisa finally discovers their predicament, and the four hide upstairs, but realize they left the game behind. The astronaut uses the house’s dumbwaiter to lower Danny to retrieve the game. Danny finds the game aboard one of the Zorgon ships, but is seen by the Zorgons. Walter uses a “Reprogram” card he drew earlier to fix the malfunctioning robot, who attacks the Zorgons instead, and the aliens retreat. Walter receives another wish card; he uses it to bring back the astronaut’s brother, causing a doppelgänger of Danny to appear. The astronaut reveals he is actually Walter, and commends his younger self for making a better choice than he did 15 years ago of his timeline, and the astronaut and the alternate Danny disappear.Astronaut_(Zathura)The Zorgons return to the house with a large fleet, intent on destroying it. Danny makes a final move, landing on Zathura, and wins, creating a black hole that sucks up the Zorgon fleet and the house. The siblings awaken in the house as it was before the brothers started the game, just as their father arrives home. Their bond renewed, and after they leave with their mother, Danny’s bicycle, which had been orbiting their house, falls from the sky.zathura-2005-lizard-zorgon-danny-walter-jonah-bobo-josh-hutchersonZathura is first class entertainment. An under-appreciated gem with lots to enjoy, and a fine example of how one film with an identical plot line can be adapted into something quite different.

 

REVIEW: KNIVES OUT

 

Starring

Daniel Craig (Layer Cake)
Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)
Don Johnson (Watchmen TV)
Chris Evans (Captain America: Civil War)
Toni Collette (Krampus)
Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why)
Michael Shannon (Man of Steel)
Riki Lindhome (The Lego Batman Movie)
Jaeden Martell (IT)
K Callan (Lois & Clark)
Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049)
Edi Patterson (Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves)
M. Emmet Walsh (The Scorpion King 4)
Lakeith Stanfield (uncit Gems)
Noah Segan (Chain Letter)
Frank Oz (Star Wars)
Marlene Forte (Marvel’s Runaways)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)

Daniel Craig in Knives Out (2019)Wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey invites his family to his Massachusetts mansion for his 85th birthday party. The next morning, Harlan’s housekeeper Fran finds him dead, with his throat slit. The police are convinced that Harlan’s death is a suicide, but an anonymous party pays private detective Benoit Blanc to investigate.Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Riki Lindhome, Jaeden Martell, and Katherine Langford in Knives Out (2019)Blanc learns that Harlan’s relationships with his family had become strained: he threatened to expose his son-in-law Richard for cheating on his wife Linda, cut off his daughter-in-law Joni’s allowance for stealing from him, fired his younger son Walt from his publishing company, and had an altercation with his grandson Ransom. Unknown to Blanc, after the party, Harlan’s nurse, Marta Cabrera, accidentally administered him an overdose of morphine instead of his usual medication and could not find the antidote, leaving Harlan minutes to live. To protect Marta, Harlan gave her instructions to create a false alibi to avoid suspicion over his death; he then slit his own throat. Marta carried out Harlan’s instructions, but Harlan’s elderly mother saw her and mistook her for Ransom.Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, K Callan, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Riki Lindhome, Ana de Armas, Jaeden Martell, and Katherine Langford in Knives Out (2019)Marta cannot lie without vomiting, so she gives true but incomplete answers when Blanc questions her. Blanc asks her to assist his investigation. As they search the property, Marta attempts to conceal evidence. Harlan’s will is read: he left everything to Marta, to her astonishment as well as the family’s. They turn on her, but Ransom helps her escape. Ransom persuades Marta to confess to him and offers to help her in exchange for his share of the inheritance. The other Thrombeys try to persuade Marta to renounce her inheritance; Walt threatens to expose her mother as an undocumented immigrant.Marta receives an anonymous blackmail note with a partial photocopy of Harlan’s toxicology report. She and Ransom drive to the medical examiner’s office, but it has been destroyed in a fire. Marta receives an anonymous email with a time and address to meet the blackmailer. Blanc and the police, also investigating the destroyed medical examiner’s office, spot Marta and Ransom. After a brief car chase, the police arrest Ransom; Blanc explains to Marta that Harlan’s mother saw Ransom climbing down from Harlan’s room on the night of his death.Marta goes to the address in the email and discovers Fran drugged, along with her missing medical case. Marta hesitates, realizing that Fran can link her to the crime, but performs CPR on Fran and calls 911. Marta confesses to Blanc, but Ransom has already informed on her. At the house, Marta finds a copy of the full toxicology report hidden in Fran’s cannabis stash. Marta is about to confess to the family that she caused Harlan’s death, but Blanc interrupts her after reading the report.Daniel Craig, Noah Segan, and LaKeith Stanfield in Knives Out (2019)Blanc reveals his deductions to Marta, Ransom, and the police: After Ransom learned at the party that Harlan was leaving everything to Marta, he swapped the contents of Marta’s medication vials and stole the antidote so she would kill Harlan with an overdose of morphine, making her ineligible to claim the inheritance by the slayer rule. However, Marta actually administered the correct medicine without reading the labels, recognizing it by the weight and viscosity of the fluid, and is therefore innocent of Harlan’s death. After the death was reported as a suicide, Ransom anonymously hired Blanc to discover Marta’s guilt. Fran later saw Ransom stealing Marta’s medical case to hide the fact that the contents of the vials had been switched, and sent him the blackmail note. Realizing that Marta had unknowingly given Harlan the correct medication, Ransom forwarded the blackmail note to Marta. He burned down the medical examiner’s office to destroy evidence of Marta’s innocence. Finally, he drugged Fran with an overdose of morphine and emailed her location to Marta, planning to frame Marta for Fran’s murder.Marta tricks Ransom into confessing by lying that Fran has survived and will implicate him; after he confesses and vows revenge, she vomits on him, revealing the lie. Enraged, he attacks her with a knife but discovers it is a retractable stage knife. The police have recorded Ransom’s confession, and he is taken into custody as Marta watches the Thrombeys depart from what is now her mansion.Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Chris Evans, Noah Segan, Michael Shannon, Riki Lindhome, LaKeith Stanfield, Jaeden Martell, and Katherine Langford in Knives Out (2019)Generally speaking you tend to find more murder mystery TV shows than movies, this is partially since it’s hard to build a complete mystery in the allotted movie running time. This movie builds this murder beautifully by showing the different points of views of the suspects. It has a different take than other movies since it gives the viewer a little too much details mid-movie which leaves you questioning everything to the last minute. The acting was brilliant and I didn’t feel the number of characters was overdoing it at any stage.

REVIEW: INSIDE OUT

CAST (VOICES)

Amy Poehler (Mean Girls)
Phyllis Smith (Bad Teacher)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Lewis Black (Hannah and Her Sisters)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Mindy Kaling (OCean’s 8)
Kaitlyn Dias (The Shifting)
Diane Lane (Batman V Superman)
Kyle MacLachlan (Dune)
Paula Poundstone (Home Movies)
Bobby Moynihan (Grown Ups 2)
Dave Goelz (Fraggle Rock)
Frank Oz (Star Wars)
John Ratzenberger (Cheers)
Lori Alan (Family Guy)
Rashida Jones (Cop Out)
Carlos Alazraqui (Family Guy)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Dawnn Lewis (Futurama)

Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith in Inside Out (2015)Riley Andersen is born in Minnesota and within her mind, five personifications of her basic emotions—Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger—gradually come to life and influence her actions via a console in her mind’s Headquarters. As she grows up, her experiences become memories, stored in colored orbs, with each color corresponding to an emotion, which are sent into long-term memory each night. Her five most important “core memories” (all of which are happy ones) are housed in a hub; each powers an aspect of her personality which takes the form of floating islands. In the Headquarters, Joy acts as a de facto leader to maintain Riley’s cheerful childhood, but since she and the other emotions do not understand Sadness’ purpose, she frequently tries to keep Sadness away from the console.Kaitlyn Dias in Inside Out (2015)At the age of 11, Riley and her parents move to San Francisco for her father’s new business. Riley has poor first experiences: the new house is cramped and old, the moving van with all their belongings is misdirected, her father is under stress from his business, and a poor encounter at a pizza restaurant leaves her disheartened. When Sadness begins touching Riley’s happy memories, turning them sad, Joy tries to guard them by isolating her. On Riley’s first day at her new school, Sadness accidentally causes Riley to cry in front of her class, creating a sad core memory. Joy, panicking, tries to dispose of it, but accidentally knocks the other core memories loose during a struggle with Sadness, deactivating the personality islands. Joy, Sadness, and the core memories are sucked out of Headquarters and taken to the maze-like storage area of long-term memory.Lewis Black, Bill Hader, and Mindy Kaling in Inside Out (2015)The other emotions, Anger, Fear, and Disgust try to maintain Riley’s happiness in Joy’s absence with disastrous results, distancing her from her parents (whom she fought over at dinner), friends, and hobbies (she stormed off during a hockey trial due to her subpar performance). As a result, her personality islands gradually crumble and fall, one by one, into the “Memory Dump”, an abyss where memories are forgotten. In desperation, Anger inserts an idea into the console, prompting Riley to run away, believing that her returning to Minnesota will enable her to make new happy core memories.Richard Kind, Amy Poehler, and Phyllis Smith in Inside Out (2015)While navigating through the long-term memory region, Joy and Sadness encounter Bing Bong, Riley’s long-forgotten childhood imaginary friend, who suggests riding the train of thought back to Headquarters. En route to the train station, Bing Bong tearfully watches his rainbow wagon rocket being thrown into the memory dump along with other childish artifacts which are out of use as Sadness consoles him and gets him up on his feet by sympathizing his loss, which astonishes Joy. The three eventually catch the train, but it is halted when Riley falls asleep. They succeed in manipulating Riley’s dreams to wake her and restart the train, but it is derailed when the “Honesty Island” collapses (when Riley steals her mother’s credit card and begins to run away). In desperation, Joy tries to ride a “recall tube” back to Headquarters, but abandons Sadness since close proximity to Sadness will cause the core memories to turn sad, which Joy believes will hurt Riley. But as she takes off, the ground below the tube collapses, breaking the tube and plunging Joy and Bing Bong into the Memory Dump. At the bottom of the abyss, Joy begins to lose hope and breaks into tears, but comes to a realization when she discovers a sad memory of an ice hockey game that turned happy when Riley’s parents and friends comforted her. Joy realizes that Sadness serves an important purpose: to induce empathy in others, prompting them to reach out to Riley when she is emotionally overwhelmed and needs help.Amy Poehler in Inside Out (2015)Joy and Bing Bong try to use Bing Bong’s old wagon rocket to escape the Memory Dump. After several tries, Bing Bong realizes their combined weight is too much and jumps out to allow Joy to escape; having sacrificed himself, Bing Bong fades away completely. In the meantime, Riley bought a one-way bus ticket to Minnesota while her parents grew increasingly worried over her disappearance. Joy reunites with a despondent Sadness and manages to get them to Headquarters, only to discover that Anger’s idea has disabled the console, rendering Riley apathetic. To the surprise of the others, Joy hands control of the console to Sadness, who is able to successfully extract the idea, reactivating the console and prompting Riley to alight from the bus and to return home.Amy Poehler in Inside Out (2015)As Sadness re-installs the core memories, turning them sad, Riley arrives home to her parents and tearfully confesses that she misses Minnesota and her old life. As her parents comfort her, they emotionally admit they, too, miss Minnesota as much as she does. Joy and Sadness work the console together, creating a new amalgamated bitter-sweet core memory in Riley’s Headquarters; a new island forms, representing Riley’s acceptance of her new life in San Francisco. A year later at the age of 12, Riley has adapted to her new home, made new friends, returned to her old hobbies while adopting a few new ones, fueled by new, more nuanced core memories from combinations of her emotions. Inside the Headquarters, her emotions all work together on a newly expanded console with room for them all, allowing Riley to lead a more emotionally complex life.Lewis Black, Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, and Mindy Kaling in Inside Out (2015)The majority of the complaints I saw were that the film was ‘too depressing for a children’s film’, but whilst I see where they are coming from in some regards, every child who I have seen watch this film has absolutely loved it, and laughed out loud almost constantly. They are not old enough to realise the message the film is trying to convey: that life isn’t all about happiness. I applaud the attempt from Pixar to make a film that is not only hilarious in places, but is also a major comment on what life is like to be a younger teenager, transitioning through one of the most important moments of life.

REVIEW: THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN

CAST

Jim Henson (Fragle Rock)
Frank Oz (The Empire Strikes Back)
Jerry Nelson (Sesane Street)
Richard Hunt (Trading Places)
Dave Goelz (The Dark Crystal)
Steve Whitmore (Labyrinth)
Louis Zorich (Fiddler on The Roof)
Juliana Donald (Dragnet)
Lonny Price (A Class Act)
Gates McFadden (Star Trek: TNG)
Graham Brown (Malcolm X)
Frances Bergen (Interlude)
Art Carney (Last Action Hero)
James Coco (Only When I Laugh)
Dabney Coleman (Sworn to Silence)
Elliott Gould (Ocena’s Eleven)
Gregory Hines (Eve of Destruction)
John Landis (1941)
Linda Lavin (Alice)
Liza Minnelli (Arthur)
Joan Rivers (Spaceballs)
Brooke Shields (Freeway)

Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and the rest of the Muppets have graduated from Danhurst College by entertaining their fellow graduates with their theatrical production of Manhattan Melodies. Upon the suggestion of taking the show to Broadway, the Muppets proceed with the idea, certain they will become stars instantly. Arriving in Manhattan, the group meet producer Martin Price but the police arrive and reveal he is a wanted con artist named Murray Plotsky. Plotsky is arrested, leaving the Muppets’s hopes dashed. They try other theatrical producers to no avail, leading to their morale and finances taking a nosedive.untitledThinking they are becoming a burden to Kermit when he snaps at them, the rest of the Muppets agree to go their separate ways for new occupations, though Miss Piggy secretly remains in Manhattan to keep an eye on Kermit. Though disappointed by the development, Kermit vows to make the show a hit and enlists the assistance of diner owner Pete, his daughter Jenny who is an aspiring fashion designer, and the diner’s staff of rats led by Rizzo. Attempting to promote the show, Kermit first poses as an eccentric producer bragging about the musical’s quality but the producer he meets discards the script after Kermit makes his exit. Kermit then poses as a famous playwright, having the rats insert a caricature picture at Sardi’s restaurant by replacing Liza Minnelli’s picture with it. When Liza Minnelli comes in and notices it missing, she asks Vincent Sardi Jr. if she did something wrong to get it removed. When the rats are exposed, Vincent Sardi Jr. discover Liza’s picture near Kermit. This causes Kermit and the rats to get thrown out of the restaurant.muppets-take-manhattan-3-586While in Central Park, Jenny comforts Kermit about his losses, while an envious Miss Piggy observes. When a thief steals her purse, Miss Piggy borrows a pair of rollerskates and furiously gives chase until she captures him, but reunites with Kermit in the process and they make up. Piggy takes a job at Pete’s diner while Kermit receives several letters from his friends who have taken up numerous jobs around the United States. He then receives a letter from producer Bernard Crawford who is interested in the musical. However, the letter was actually written by his son, Ronnie Crawford, who is struggling to prove himself as a producer and admits “Manhattan Melodies” is good. Bernard himself is hesitant but agrees to fund the show. A thrilled Kermit heads back to the diner but is so happy that he walks into oncoming traffic and is immobilized when he gets struck by a passing motorcar.mtmThe rest of the Muppets are summoned back to New York, only to discover that Kermit has disappeared. At the hospital, Kermit’s doctor discovers that he has lost memory of his life. He makes his way to Madison Avenue, where he finds a trio of frogs who work in advertising, and offer him a job when he comes up with a slogan and thinks of himself as “Phil”. The rest of the Muppets search for Kermit where one attempt involved Gonzo trying to persuade Mayor Edward I. Koch to assist. Bill, Gill, Jill, and Kermit end up visiting Pete’s diner where Kermit’s friends recognize him when he plays the show’s opening number with spoons. At the Biltmore Theatre on opening night, the Muppets try to help Kermit remember, but it only works when Miss Piggy punches him for insulting their past romance. Kermit regains his memories and, realizing the show needs more Muppets, requests the Madison Avenue frogs, the dogs, the bears, the chickens, and others to become supernumeracies. The show is a success, culminating in what is intended to be a staged wedding between Kermit and Miss Piggy’s characters, only for a real minister to appear (instead of Gonzo as Kermit planned). With all of the Muppets, the characters from Sesame Street, and Uncle Traveling Matt from Fraggle Rock present, Kermit and Miss Piggy get married as the film ends.JennyWhile not as totally original in scope as the Muppet Movie, it’s got many catchy and memorable songs, excellent locations all over Manhattan, and even some intonations of inter-species dating (and marriage)! So get ready to sing-along, or just have a lot of big laughs and romantic (yes romantic) times with one of the best Muppet movies

 

REVIEW: LABYRINTH

CAST

David Bowie (The Last Temptation of Christ)
Jennifer Connelly (Hulk)
Christopher Malcolm (Highlander)
Shelley Thompson (Trailer Park Boys)
Frank Oz (The Empire Strikes Back)
Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf)
Kenny Baker (Star Wars)

Fifteen-year-old Sarah Williams rehearses a play in the park with her dog Merlin but becomes distracted by a line she is unable to remember while being watched by a barn owl. Realizing she is late to babysit her baby brother Toby, she rushes home and is confronted by her stepmother Irene before she and her father Robert leave for dinner. Sarah has many toys that she has grown out of and realizes that Toby is in possession of her treasured teddy bear Lancelot. Frustrated by this and his constant crying, Sarah rashly wishes Toby be taken away by the Goblin King Jareth, a character in the play she is rehearsing. She is shocked when Toby disappears and the Goblin King confronts her then transports her to his kingdom. He refuses to return the baby, but gives Sarah thirteen hours to solve his Labyrinth and find him before Toby is turned into a goblin forever. Sarah meets a dwarfish man named Hoggle, who aids her in entering the Labyrinth. She has trouble finding turns and corners but then meets a talking worm who inadvertently sends her in the wrong direction.Sarah ends up in an oubliette where she reunites with Hoggle. After they confront Jareth and escape one of his traps, the two encounter a large beast named Ludo. Hoggle cowardly flees while Sarah befriends Ludo. After another riddle, she loses him in a forest. Hoggle encounters Jareth, who gives him a peach and instructs him to give it to Sarah, calling his loyalty into question as he was supposed to lead her out of the maze. Sarah is assaulted by a group of creatures called Firies with detachable body parts who try to remove her head, but Hoggle comes to her aid. She kisses him, and Jareth magically sends them to the swamp of the Bog of Eternal Stench as punishment, where they reunite with Ludo. Sarah, Hoggle, and Ludo meet a guard of the bridge out of the swamp named Sir Didymus, an anthropomorphic Fox Terrier and his Old English Sheepdog steed named Ambrosius. After Ludo howls and summons a trail of rocks to save Sarah from falling into the bog, Didymus joins the group (Her three new friends are just like some of the toys in her room). After the group gets hungry, Hoggle gives Sarah the peach and runs away as she falls into a trance and begins to lose her memories. She has a dream where Jareth comes to her at a masquerade ball, proclaiming his love for her, but she begins to remember and escapes, falling into a junkyard. After an old Junk Lady fails to brainwash her and her memory is jogged, she is rescued by Ludo and Didymus, and they are right outside Goblin City near Jareth’s castle. They are confronted by the gate guard, but Hoggle bravely comes to their rescue. Despite his feeling unworthy of forgiveness for his betrayal, Sarah and the others welcome him back, and they enter the city together.

Jareth is alerted to their presence and sends his goblin army to stop them, but Ludo howls and summons a mountain of rocks to chase the guards away, and they enter the castle. Sarah insists she must face Jareth alone and promises to call the others if needed. In a room modeled after an Escher staircase, she confronts Jareth while trying to retrieve Toby. She recites the lines from her play, that have told her adventure to that point, but still cannot remember the last line. As Jareth begs her to obey him and he will love her, she remembers the line, “You have no power over me!” Defeated at the last second, Jareth returns Sarah and Toby home safely and turns into a barn owl, flying away.

Realizing how important Toby is to her, she gives him Lancelot and returns to her room. After she hears her father and stepmother come in, she sees her friends in the mirror and realizes even though she is growing up, she still needs them in her life every now and again. In an instant, all of the major characters from the Labyrinth appear in her room for a raucous celebration, and she reunites with Hoggle, Ludo, Didymus, and Ambrosius. As they celebrate, Jareth, in his owl form, watches from outside and then flies away into the night.This film is great, it is what makes, or made fantasy films of this time really enchanting. Real artistry was involved, there was exuberance and charm to it and it has lasted a long time. It is a firm fan favourite and still gains new young fans