Review: Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)

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“Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you are meant to be.”
– Kylo Ren

SYNOPSIS: Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order. – via IMDB

Oh my gooooosh! I loved this. Yeah, I hear there is some hate, but there is a lot of love, too. I am one of those that thought this was really good. After The Force Awakens, I have been so amped to see where the story goes, and The Last Jedi totally rewarded for my excitement, for the most part (even with the little niggles).

Kylo Ren is baaaaack bitches, and he is freaking awesome! This is something my husband and I will debate for many years to come. This time around we get to see more of Adam Driver’s face and that gorgeous hair, and man, we totally got to explore more of his conflict. Imagine your legacy is Anakin and Luke Skywalker, the light side and the dark? Polar opposites. Imagine that you have been manipulated by someone and it was easy to do so because someone you trusted betrayed you (from what you could see), and you are a kid? Confusion! I love it. I could watch that battle rage forever.

There were new things introduced in this one, too. Kylo’s new plan  has definitely piqued my interest. War profiteering reared its head in here, too, so there was some social commentary on the go. I was so pleased to see BB-8 back in action, he is so adorable! Poe, too, is back in action. The Last Jedi brings up some really solid, strong moments for our female cast, and has some awesome action sequences, too. So it is great to watch like that. I quite enjoyed Beneicio del Toro’s appearance, and would like to see if he pops up again.

Let’s not deny that the movie had flaws – those freaking porgs annoyed me. Cute the first time you saw them, and then they were just jammed in all over the show. There is the super cheese between Finn and Rose, which also got a bit annoying quickly. Also, a lot of questions that JJ Abrams had set up in The Force Awakens were glibly answered here (I am hoping they go back and give us real, fleshed out answers, because if these are the answers, that is bitterly disappointing). Another thing, the story is not overly solid, and the pacing is a little off at times, but nothing too extreme. I was totally engrossed, even with the hiccups. I adore Andy Serkis, for reals, and I really wish there was more to Snoke than we eventually got – so short lived and a bit meh 😦

There is a lot of back and forth about Luke Skywalker and his role here. I expected to see more Luke Skywalker, and I didn’t think he would be quite so bitter and ready to end the Jedi lines like he has, though it brings up the notion that the Force is not just accessible by a small group of elite individuals. Not sure where this is going, but I will give them enough rope and see what they do with it. Anyway, it was strange to see him go the way he did, but I was really impressed with where his character went later on.

Continuing with unpopular opinion time, Rey is still a flat, bland, annoying character for me. I just don’t get the love man, not at all. Every time she was on screen, I felt like precious time was being wasted. I don’t like her, and it sucks that she is one of our new, major protagonists. Oh well. Also, the whole Skywalker legacy is something to wonder about – where are we going from here? I feel that the original characters have been handled a little more poorly than I expected, to be honest.

Ultimately, I still preferred Abrams’s The Force Awakens over this – it looked better, sounded better, and was handled better, though The Last Jedi is by no means a bad movie and does not deserve the hate being flung its way. There is a hell of a lot to like about it – it is fun, it is dark, there are some new concepts being introduced, and has plenty of action. I am seriously looking forward to watching it again sometime and seeing how it holds up. Maybe because I have mad Abrams love and want him to keep going with the story…

Rapid Review: The Revenant (2015)

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the revenant poster

“My heart bleeds. But revenge is in the creator’s hands.”
– Hikuc

SYNOPSIS: A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820’s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. – via IMDB

the revenant ride

GRADE 8.5So obviously you all know that I was super amped for this. DiCaprio? Sold! Tom Hardy? Sold. But DiCaprio. That was my main seller. Let me tell you, I was not in the least disappointed by this. It was brilliant. It is a long movie, but never really felt that way. The length just serves the purpose of really showing you how hopeless Glass’s situation was. It flips from a tale of survival to one of vengeance, each getting their moment to shine. Then there is the cinematography. Oh. My. Gosh. It told a whole story on its own and it was beyond beautiful to look at. There are lens flares all over the show, but it worked and didn’t annoy me (but then they seldom do, hence I never understand the flak that Abrams gets). Emmanuel Lubezki perfectly showcases the harsh and unforgiving conditions that Glass had to soldier through, but at the same time the breathtaking beauty was highlighted every step of the way. There were certain shots that I wasn’t a huge fan of, but that’s because it made my head spin and ache to try and match it, so there was that. Alejandro González Iñárritu truly realises a gorgeous film. The soundtrack suited the film down to a tee, and it all came together very well. But now on the the really big seller – the performances. They were all wonderful. Seriously, DiCaprio came in and owned Hugh Glass (but who in their right minds would have expected otherwise?). We felt for this guy, he captivated us, he drew us in with the story of his son (which, incidentally, was a major plus for me and then totally not a part of the real Glass’s life). I was backing this man all the way and I wanted to see him succeed. Credit is due to DiCaprio because his character is a man of exceptionally few words, and yet this did not stop him delivering one stellar performance. As for Tom Hardy? It was the first time I had actively despised a character of his (and he has played some dweebs), but this guy? What a douche! Domhnall Gleeson, who is just everywhere nowadays (my celebrity unsavvy fiancé even recognizes him by now), gave a damn fine performance, too, and was well worth a watch. Overall, this movie might not be for everyone due to the length and silences that fill the run time, but I feel that every aspect worked together well to draw you in and tell you a harrowing story of survival and a driving need for revenge with an absolutely stunning backdrop. Worth every second for sure, especially to see DiCaprio and Hardy united.

Rapid Review: Ex Machina (2014)

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ex machina poster

“One day the AIs are going to look back on us the same way we look at fossil skeletons on the plains of Africa. An upright ape living in dust with crude language and tools, all set for extinction.”
– Nathan

SYNOPSIS: Caleb, a 26 year old coder at the world’s largest internet company, wins a competition to spend a week at a private mountain retreat belonging to Nathan, the reclusive CEO of the company. But when Caleb arrives at the remote location he finds that he will have to participate in a strange and fascinating experiment in which he must interact with the world’s first true artificial intelligence, housed in the body of a beautiful robot girl. – via IMDB

ex machina

GRADE 8.5I have been looking forward to seeing this for a while, the concept sounded very interesting, and like something both myself and my fiancé would enjoy because it contains both of our professions/fields of study. Boy, were we in for something! Ex Machina was so much more than I expected to be, and I was engrossed pretty much from the second it started. The story reels you in and then just gets the ball rolling quickly, and before you know what it happening you are in for a serious trip. The cast is very limited, but it is perfect for this movie, it is not bogged down by a multitude of unnecessary and flat characters. We were both at the edge of our seats throughout, convinced that at some stage Alex Garland would drop the ball. That happens all too often in sci-fi… great premise, and it all starts so well, and then they manage to do something that sours it all. I just want to commend Garland for giving us a great movie. Througout, I was not completely sure what was going on, and every time you think you have a handle on things, the aspects change, and you start to rethink everything you have seen. The conclusion was great for me, I loved it. It really stretched the idea of a machine with or without emotion to the extremes, and about the validity of this Turing test that was being administered. There is so much to talk about in this movie, but I can’t really because I truly hate spoilers and don’t want to ruin anything for anyone. You have to see it at least once though. Really. I loved the way the movie was shot and how the dialogue flowed, how it got really technical in places, but never so much as to lose a viewer. The performances all round were strong ones, and their interactions with each other were wonderful. The score fit everything perfectly, too, and the slightly washed out look the movie had was so suited for the story that was told. There were so many things going on at any given moment, and your attention is demanded for every second of the film’s run time. What I do know, however, is that everyone should see this movie at least once. If you are a programmer, you are going to love it, if you are into psychology, I think you will enjoy it, and if you like sci-fi then I am sure you will be all over this. I can see,  however, how it won’t be for everyone, but those that appreciate this type of thing will really like it. Okay, that’s all I can really say without spoiling anything, though if anyone wants to talk more about this, you know where to find me! I was a fan and so was my fiancé, and he isn’t usually easily impressed by things like this. I can see myself watching this a few times to come still. What a fascinating movie!