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.

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REVIEW: THERE BE DRAGONS

CAST

Charlie Cox (Daredevil)
Dougray Scott (Mission Impossible II)
Wes Bentley (Ghost Rider)
Golshifteh Farahani (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Olga Kurylenko (Oblivion)
Rodrigo Santoro (300)
Derek Jacobi (The King’s Speech)
Lily Cole (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus)

A young journalist long ago rejected by his now aged and dying father finds himself investigating one of his father’s former friends, a candidate for canonization. Uncovering the two men’s complicated relationship from childhood through the horrors of the Spanish Civil War unveils a compelling drama filled with passion, betrayal, love and religion. An action packed story set during a murderous time in history that ultimately serves the present by revealing the importance and timeless power of forgiveness.The film explores the senseless nature of war and its consequences, the spiral of hatred that slowly engulfs men, the repentance for terrible mistakes and the struggle to forgive them. Each character follows a path filled with dilemmas and suffering at the end of which they must fight themselves and their dragons. Do not expect an action packed war film. For those who have interest in the roots of Opus Dei, this film will not help you there. It deals with the repercussions of war and strife in people, it does not deal with the grander scale of things. there Be Dragons is a deeply personal and spiritual film. It is very intense and reflects unapologetically the worst side of humanity.

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS

CAST

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Lily Cole (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Johnny Depp (Public Enemies)
Colin Farrell (Intermission)
Jude Law (Spy)
Christopher Plummer (The Last Station)
Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Verne Troyer (Austin Powers 2 & 3)
Tom Waits (Mystery Men)

Doctor Parnassus’ theater troupe, which includes sleight of hand expert Anton, confidant Percy, and Parnassus’ daughter Valentina, performs outside a London pub. The troupe’s main attraction is a magical “Imaginarium”, which offers whoever enters it a choice between difficult self-fulfillment or easy ignorance. After a drunkard is swayed to the latter, Parnassus says he has lost another one to Mr. Nick, a suave personification of the Devil. Mr. Nick reminds Parnassus that in three days Valentina turns 16, and her soul will be his. Hundreds of years ago Mr. Nick tricked Parnassus into gaining immortality, after making a wager similar to his current predicament.As the troupe crosses a bridge, Anton spies someone hanging beneath it. They rescue the man, who spits out a golden pipe when revived. Claiming to have amnesia, he joins the troupe as a barker. Parnassus becomes despondent over the impending loss of his daughter. Mr. Nick visits Parnassus, revealing the hanging man is a disgraced philanthropist named “Tony”. He offers Parnassus a wager: Valentina can stay with whoever wins five souls first.Tony convinces the troupe to remodel the show into a more modern act. While performing, Tony lures a posh woman into the Imaginarium and follows her, where they enter a pastel-coloured dream-world representing the woman’s imagination. The woman’s imagination also changes Tony’s face; upon discovering this, he dances elegantly with her, and they spy a motel run by Mr. Nick. Tony convinces the woman to take a gondola toward a pyramid alone, winning a soul for Parnassus. Tony falls back out of the Imaginarium, returning his face to normal; the woman exits shortly after and gives the troupe a vast sum of money. When three other women enter, each emerges elated; and thus Parnassus wins three more souls. Four Russian gangsters, to whom Tony owes money, are taken by Mr. Nick when they chase Tony into the Imaginarium. The score becomes four souls apiece.With the bet nearing its end, Parnassus reveals Valentina’s conception to her: after ageing from immortality, Parnassus made a new pact with Mr. Nick to be youthful again, in order to win the heart of a woman he loved. In exchange, any child he fathered would become Mr. Nick’s property at age 16. Valentina attempts to run away, but Tony enters the Imaginarium to give his soul to Parnassus; in exchange, Parnassus must teach him the trance that powers the dream world. Valentina returns as he tries to enter the mirror, but Anton blocks them, having discovered that Tony is a fraudulent charity scammer.Tony fights off Anton, pushes Valentina into the Imaginarium and joins her. Influenced by Valentina’s desires, Tony’s face changes again, and they float along a beautiful river in a gondola. After an impoverished child disrupts their boat trip, Tony transforms into a philanthropist speaking at a fundraiser. Anton, following the pair into the Imaginarium, appears as an outspoken child and exposes Tony as a fraud. A mob pursues Tony as the landscape disintegrates, causing Anton to fall into a void. Distraught and angry over her father’s bargain and a lifetime of hiding of the truth from her, Valentina gives her soul to Mr. Nick. Disillusioned by the easy victory, Mr. Nick offers Parnassus to trade Valentina for Tony. Chased by the mob, Tony flees to a gallows, but Parnassus confronts him, holding Tony’s pipe and a copy. Parnassus challenges Tony to choose which pipe is genuine. He chooses wrongly, inserts the copy in his windpipe, and is hanged. Mr. Nick keeps his word and Valentina is freed, but Parnassus is not told where she is, and is abandoned to wander in the Imaginarium.Parnassus emerges years later, finding Valentina is married to Anton and they have a daughter. He watches them from outside a restaurant window, but when tempted to join them, he is stopped by Percy. Teaming up once more, Parnassus and Percy sell toy theatre replicas of the Imaginarium and the troupe on a street corner. Mr. Nick invites Parnassus over to him, but Percy puts an end to the temptation.The acting is good, with Lily Cole surprisingly impressive and old hands Christopher Plummer and Tom Waits leading by example. Terry Gilliam direction combines the fantastical and the ordinary in a way that only he can. It is the first time he has participated in the writing process for two decades and this film has an autobiographical feel as Doctor Parnassus tries to entice with stories and the imagination only to be met by cynical crowds. This effort to wow the public may not move them away from CGI and is short of his best, but it is still entertaining and favourable over films which lack charm, imagination and storytelling.

REVIEW: SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN

 

CAST

Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Charlize Theron (Hancock)
Sam Clafin (The Quiet Ones)
Sam Spruell (The Hurt Locker)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Bob Hoskins (Hollywoodland)
Ray Winstone (The Departed)
Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz)
Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Johnny Harris (Atonement)
Vincent Regan (300)
Lily Cole (The Moth Diaries)

While admiring a rose blooming in the winter, Queen Eleanor of the Kingdom of Tabor pricks her finger on one of its thorns. Three drops of blood fall onto the snow-covered ground, and she wishes for a daughter as white as the snow, with lips as red as the blood, hair as black as a raven’s wings and a heart as strong and defiant as the rose. Queen Eleanor gives birth to her daughter Snow White, but soon after falls ill and dies. After her death, Snow White’s father, King Magnus, and his army battle an invading Dark Army of demonic glass soldiers. Upon rescuing their prisoner Ravenna, he becomes enchanted with her beauty and marries her.

Ravenna, who is in fact a powerful sorceress and the Dark Army’s master, kills Magnus on their wedding night. On the night, Magnus, enchanted, throws Ravenna into the bed and proceeds to make love. Ravenna confesses there was a king much like Magnus that spoiled her. During foreplay, she declares she cannot be a weak queen and kills Magnus. Snow White’s childhood friend William and his father Duke Hammond escape the castle but are unable to rescue her, and she is captured by Ravenna’s brother Finn, and locked away in the north tower of the castle for many years.

Tabor is ruined under Queen Ravenna’s rule as she periodically drains the youth from the kingdom’s young women in order to maintain a spell cast over her as a child by her mother which allows her to keep her youthful beauty. When Snow White comes of age, Queen Ravenna learns from her Magic Mirror, in the form of a golden, reflective liquid shaped like a man, that her stepdaughter Snow White is destined to destroy her unless Queen Ravenna consumes the young girl’s heart, which will make her truly immortal. Queen Ravenna orders Finn to bring her Snow White’s heart, but she escapes into the Dark Forest, where Ravenna has no power. Queen Ravenna makes a bargain with Eric the Huntsman, a widower and drunkard, to capture Snow White, promising to bring his wife back to life in exchange. The Huntsman tracks down Snow White, but when Finn reveals that Queen Ravenna does not actually have the power to do what she promised, the Huntsman fights him and his men while Snow White runs away. When the Huntsman catches up with her, she promises him gold if he will escort her to Duke Hammond’s castle. Meanwhile, Finn gathers another band of men to find her, and Duke Hammond and his son William learn that she is alive. William leaves the castle on his own to find her, joining Finn’s band as a bowman.

The Huntsman and Snow White leave the Dark Forest, where she saves his life by charming a huge troll that attacks them. They make their way to a fishing village populated by women who have disfigured themselves to save their own lives, becoming useless to Queen Ravenna. While there, the Huntsman learns Snow White’s true identity, and initially leaves her in the care of the women. He soon returns when he sees the village being burned down by Finn’s men. Snow White and the Huntsman evade them and eventually meet a band of eight dwarves named Beith, Muir, Quert, Coll, Duir, Gort, Nion, and Gus. The blind Muir perceives that Snow White is the daughter of the former king, and the only person who can defeat Ravenna and end her reign.

As they travel through a fairy sanctuary, the group is attacked by Finn and his men. The Huntsman battles Finn and kills him, and William reveals himself and helps defeat Finn’s men. However, Gus is killed when he sacrifices himself to take an arrow meant for Snow White. William joins the group which continues the journey to Hammond’s castle.

Halfway to Duke Hammond’s castle, Queen Ravenna disguises herself as William and tempts Snow White into eating a poisoned apple, but is forced to flee when the Huntsman and William discover her. William kisses Snow White, whom he believes to be dead. She is taken to Hammond’s castle. As she lies in repose, the Huntsman professes his regret for not saving Snow White, who reminds him of his late wife, Sara, and he kisses her, breaking the spell. She awakens and walks into the courtyard, and rallies the Duke’s army to mount a siege against Queen Ravenna.

The dwarves infiltrate the castle through the sewers and open the gates, allowing the Duke’s army inside. Snow White confronts Queen Ravenna, but is overpowered. Queen Ravenna is about to kill Snow White and consume her heart, but Snow White uses a move the Huntsman taught her and seemingly kills Queen Ravenna, and Duke Hammond’s army is victorious. With Queen Ravenna defeated and dead, the kingdom once again enjoys peace and harmony as Snow White is crowned Queen and she and the Huntsman exchange looks before it cuts to chants of “Hail to the queen!”

This film is not going to win many awards, nor will it be a favorite of the year, but it is entirely a good movie. Stunning visual effects, many great landscape shots, good acting, great action, and a believable storyline. This is not the Disney film you are used to, but a much grittier and more mature take on the original tale.