Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Every generation has a legend

20192 h 22 min

The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once again as the journey of Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron continues. With the power and knowledge of generations behind them, the final battle begins.

Director J.J. Abrams
Runtime 2 h 22 min
Release Date 18 December 2019
Movie Media Cinema
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Bad
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Mark Hamill, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Greg Grunberg, Shirley Henderson, Billie Lourd, Dominic Monaghan, Hassan Taj, Lee Towersey, Brian Herring, Dave Chapman, Richard Guiver, Lynn Robertson Bruce, J.J. Abrams, Claire Roi Harvey, Richard Coombs, Matt Denton, Nick Kellington, Mandeep Dhillon, Alison Rose, Amanda Lawrence, Tanya Moodie, Simon Paisley Day, Geff Francis, Amanda Hale, Amir El-Masry, Aidan Cook, Patrick Williams, Martin Wilde, Anton Simpson-Tidy, Lukaz Leong, Tom Rodgers, Joe Kennard, Ashley Beck, Bryony Miller, Cyril Nri, Angela Christian, Indra Ové, Richard Bremmer, Mark Richard Durden Smith, Andrew Havill, Nasser Memarzia, Patrick Kennedy, Aaron Neil, Joe Hewetson, Raghad Chaar, Mimi Ndiweni, Tom Wilton, Chris Terrio, Kiran Shah, Debra Wilson, Josef Altin, Vinette Robinson, Mike Quinn, Bill Kipsang Rotich, Ann Firbank, Diana Kent, Warwick Davis, Harrison Davis, Elliot Hawkes, Philicia Saunders, John Williams, Nigel Godrich, Dhani Harrison, J.D. Dillard, Dave Hearn, Rochenda Sandall, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Andreea Diac, Liam Cook, Denis Lawson, Carolyn Hennesy, Paul Kasey, Matthew Wood, James Earl Jones, Andy Serkis, Josefine Irrera Jackson, Cailey Fleming, Jodie Comer, Billy Howle, Hayden Christensen, Olivia d'Abo, Ashley Eckstein, Jennifer Hale, Samuel L. Jackson, Ewan McGregor, Alec Guinness, Frank Oz, Angelique Perrin, Freddie Prinze Jr., Liam Neeson, Harrison Ford, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Acord, Dan Adler, Dee Bradley Baker, Verona Blue, Steve Blum, David Boat, David W. Collins, Jonathan Dixon, Terri Douglas, Robin Atkin Downes, Amanda Foreman, Janina Gavankar, Grey DeLisle, Stefan Grube, Mike Holland, Karen Huie, Tom Kane, Lex Lang, Vanessa Lengies, Logic, Yuri Lowenthal, Vanessa Marshall, Donald Mustard, Nicole Nasca Supercinski, Michelle Rejwan, Julian Stone, Tara Strong, Fred Tatasciore, James Arnold Taylor, Jessica Tuck, Karl Urban, Reggie Watts, Samuel Witwer

Ok, so there is a lot to unpack with this movie. I set a pretty low bar going into The Rise of Skywalker and it still managed to walk clear under it unimpeded. There is much, much more going wrong with this movie than can be covered in this little review here. And some things that cannot be mentioned directly due to spoilers. But it would not be too far off to compare Episode IX to Game of Thrones Season 8.

Let’s start by looking at the definition of the word continuity: the maintenance of continuous action and self-consistent detail in the various scenes of a movie or broadcast. This needs to be defined here because J.J. Abrams did not do it. Episode VIII saw Rian Johnson ignoring a lot of Abrams work from Episode VII and it seems like Abrams decided to return the favor here. A lot of pre-established information including plot development, character arcs, and world-building is just ignored or outright broken. And not just concerning Episode VII; this also includes continuity going as far back as the Original Trilogy. It is bad enough to make audiences wonder if Abrams ever watched or even read a summary of the source material.

The next most glaring issue was the dialogue. This stems in from another issue, doing too much in too little time. It felt like Abrams was attempting to squeeze and entire trilogy worth of plot into this one film. So, despite the 142-minute run time, the movie feels incredibly rushed. Almost every line of dialogue comes across as need-to-know information. The delivery makes it all so in-your-face that it almost never feels like the characters are having a regular conversation. More like they are just running down a bulleted list.

The last issue was the same problem the previous two films had: a lack of world-building. The previous two films were admittingly guilty of this too. But The Rise of Skywalker was a lot more upfront about it. Instead of a half-hearted explanation or leaving this kind of open ended so the audience could fill in the blanks, Episode IX just said, “This is the way things are. Deal with it.” The film really leaves audiences with more questions than answers given all the plot-holes.

This was the first time in my life where I honestly, truly felt bored by something Star Wars. There were plenty of bad moments in the old EU, but you still had great moments to make up for it. The new Disney trilogy has progressively gotten worse. We have gone from an Episode IV remake to a mixed bag of a film to this dumpster fire of a cash grab. It is not too much of a surprise that the franchise was run into the ground after being bought out, but what is amazing is just how quickly Disney managed to do it.

December 29, 2019

Free State of Jones

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Free State of Jones

Based on the incredible true story.

20162 h 19 min

Free State of Jones was a little misleading with its trailers, but that by no means indicates that it was not a good film. The trailer portrayed the movie as more of an action film. There are a fair number of gunfights throughout, most of which can be partially glimpsed in the trailer. But the action sequences are not what the film is about. A large portion of the story takes place during the American Civil War so of course there are going to be battles. This is by no means an action movie; nor could the brief action sequences even be intense or focused enough to call Free State of Jones a thriller. It is, at its core, a historical film.

If you are a fan of history, that is fantastic. I sincerely think that you are going to enjoy this movie. Other viewers may feel that the film just drags on and on and on. The movie has a lot of talking; characters just standing around and talking. Sometimes they talk to each other and sometimes they monologue, but talking is talking. While that may not be the best path for a giant blockbuster $$$ film, it was perfect for a historical story. War is a lot of standing around and talking with brief moments of action, just as this film portrays. Free State of Jones is meant to show another side of the Confederacy. Not everyone in the Confederate Army was up in arms ready to fight for the South. Many of them were men who were just told, “We are going to war. Consider yourself conscripted.” But Free State of Jones is not about the war itself.

For viewers who are not very familiar with the American Civil War, it will be harder to follow this film. That being said, the movie deals with a theme that is not entirely uncommon. Soldiers who are poor farmers and other simple men ask themselves, “Why are we fighting and dying for these rich folks? They are not bleeding to keep their wealth, so why should we bleed for them?” This leads to soldiers deserting and they end up being helped by runaway slaves, whom they help in return. These black men fight alongside them for freedom from the Confederacy and become fellow soldiers, brothers-in-arms. Then the war ends.

Anyone who has ever read a history book can tell you that the Emancipation Proclamation was only a baby step forward in ending slavery. When there is a war on, people are willing to let bygones be bygones so that they will not die. But once that is over, things become a racial issue again. Free State of Jones ultimately focuses not on war or even freedom, but segregation. The abolishment of segregation is an increasingly slow process that even today is still a major issue. It certainly did not come close to ending within Newton Knight’s lifetime. Nor did this one man’s action in a single county of Mississippi have a particularly remarkable impact on history. But the film portrays how the seeds were planted for those equal rights and how much of a struggle it is to have those seeds germinate. While the overall rating for Free State of Jones is not exactly 5 stars, as a historical film it is certainly worth your time.

September 25, 2016