I found The Force Awakens more of a nostalgic retread instead of using the new trilogy as an opportunity to try something new. (Rogue One was pretty to look at but an utter waste of a cast.)The Last Jedi manages to evoke nostalgia without it feeling heavy-handed while introducing new ideas to the franchise.
That doesn’t mean that some things could’ve been executed better. Finn and Rose’s arc was a mess – I have no idea how Finn has grown in this movie and what is Rose’s role in this movie? I’m glad Rose and Kelly Marie Tran means that there’s a larger space for Asian American women but her character arc had a lot of Mary Sue elements – grieving backstory, fierce idealism, can-do ability, somehow shows a hero a reason to fight in the war? (Which I don’t buy. And the romance? Where did that come from?) Vice Admiral Holdo is used as a foil for Poe to grow into leadership but I felt like she was mostly there so she could sacrifice herself instead of Leia. While I liked Yoda coming back to grandstand Luke in force powers one more time and to tell him what to do, why have the Jedi Master Force Ghosts been letting Luke stew for a decade instead of helping him out?
I was hoping that Rey would kill Luke in this movie and explore the concept of grey Jedi (having both light and dark because the Force just wants balance, man) as well as seeing how the franchise could show redemption for both Rey and Kylo Ren but that is not to be. The Last Jedi felt more family-friendly with the abundance of porgs and reinforcing the idea that anyone could have the Force instead of another fixation on bloodline purity. I’m pretty sure I’m not the audience the new Star Wars franchise is aiming for, but that’s okay.
Now, I don’t know what Charles put in your head, but I am not whatever it is you think I am, okay? I only met you, like, a week ago. You got your Rebecca, your Delilah, your blah, blah, blah, whatever. Everything you asked for, you’ve got it! And it is better this way. Because I suck at this. Bad shit happens to people I care about, you understand me?
Logan (2017)dir. James Mangold
This was one of the more impressive movies I’ve seen this year. It’s incredibly violent and bleak but Mangold knows what story he wants to tell and does it confidently and exceptionally well.
Fast and Furious franchise: Yup, I marathoned all 7 movies with my husband this past weekend for our wedding anniversary. Quick thoughts:
Ranking, subject to change: 5, 4, 6, 2, 7, 1, 3
in a jumbled three-way tie most of the time. But I’m really glad I got
into this franchise. It is doing action in ways rarely seen.
The Fast and the Furious: it barely holds up okay for an almost 15 year old movie. But you cannot deny Vin Diesel and Paul Walker‘s chemistry.
2 Fast 2 Furious:
I have no idea why people hate this movie, it’s a straight up, entertaining action flick. Tyrese is surprisingly hilarious, the ending is a plot point straight out of The Three Amigos’ ‘Amigos Amigos Amigos’, and John Singleton gives us a rational opportunity to stare at Tyrese’ abs. Plus, bonus Devon Aoki.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift:
On one hand, I hate this movie. It is ‘white guy learns other culture ways to the point of surpassing them’ with a coming of age story. There is no tension in the last action sequence. On the other hand, the soundtrack is outstanding, the character Han is the best, and if you want to see a movie about Tokyo made by primarily white people who only know Japan through anime, this is it.
Fast and Furious:
Excellent ‘reset’ movie with most of the original TFaTF cast. One action sequence is straight out of video game design school. Characters are way more fleshed out (though sometimes inexplicably). Most cohesive story yet. This is where you begin to get alcohol poisoning if you drink every time someone says ‘family’. Oh and Liza Lapira’s in this one! I love her.
(yes, they dropped articles and then kept dropping words) This movie takes The Fugitive, GI Joe, Ocean’s 11, and Lilo & Stitch (’this is my family. it’s little and broken, but good.’) and smushes them up into something better than its parts. The Rock and Vin Diesel duke it out on who not only is the biggest, baddest, low-no hair guy as well as who can
say the most ridiculous lines. It may flag a little but the action sequences are great, especially the last one. Also, the Asian guy gets the girl! Get it, Han!
Fast & Furious Six: This is the soapiest movie of the series. Some fantastic
fight sequences (whoo Gina Carano) and the ending of the tank sequence is truly in the realm of fantasy. Yet nothing compares to the climactic sequence with the plane. It’s amazing how this series retroactively made Han even more tragic. But keep chanting family to yourselves.
There’s a lot I like about this movie. The opening few minutes are elegant in its simplicity. Jason Stratham as the villain is excellent casting, if oddly used. The action sequences reach almost Jupiter Ascending levels of amazing ridiculousness. It’s great to see these characters be outmatched in a fight and yet somehow pull it off. (C’mon, street
racers vs. special ops folk? But their victories aren’t cheap.) But damn if it doesn’t get even more male-gaze-y for a Fast & Furious movie. It definitely needs more badass women in the family. The plot reveal is a great retcon but we don’t see a character get something after getting hints of it earlier. The way the group beats the bad guys is something straight out of Watch Dogs and Saint’s Row. I honestly don’t know if the writer knows how to maintain momentum now that the family is almost out of its element of street racers vs. mercenaries/special ops.
It’s also impossible to see this movie without the shadow of Paul Walker’s death looming over it. The last few minutes basically break the fourth wall and because of how important Paul Walker was to the franchise and how unabashedly sentimental the series is, it works. You would never be able to see that in any other movie franchise.
Norway’s entry for the 2013 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
In 1947, explorer and ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl began an 8,000-kilometre voyage across the Pacific on a balsa wood raft with a rather motley and inexperienced crew, in a dangerous attempt to prove his theory that Polynesia was populated by settlers from South America, rather than Asia as widely assumed by the scientific community…A risk-taker since childhood, Heyerdahl (Pål Sverre Hagen) is one of the last examples of the scientist as adventurer. Unable to find a publisher to print his thesis about the migration of early civilizations — much of it devised during his stay on Fatu Hiva, an island in the Marquesas — he hatches his plan to cross the Pacific on raft, just like the ancient Incas before him. Unshakeable in his determination, Heyerdahl simply refuses to give up — despite the fact that the scientific community openly mocks him, he can’t find funding for the voyage, his first recruit for the raft’s crew is a somewhat stocky refrigerator salesman, and he himself can’t actually swim. (TIFF)
It’s Norway’s biggest-budget film to date and definitely has a Hollywood feel. It doesn’t hurt that the Norweigian equivalents of Ryan Gosling and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are in it as well.
How far is one willing to go for a dream? When people around you may begin to doubt and when sharks begin to circle you? It’s hard to believe what adventurers were conquering only 70 years ago. When is indomitable will a delusion and when is it not?