Review : Star Wars – The Last Jedi

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“Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.”

It’s finally here, and even when that opening crawl started, I still felt kind like it wasn’t real, but it was, and …wow. This movie gave me so much of what I wanted, while also not giving me so much of what I wanted, and it truly feels like an entirely new entry in the saga (also steel pan is officially canon in Star Wars). This is most definitely the most different Star Wars ever made, and even when you look at the character development from The Force Awakens to now (which isn’t actually that much time), they take so many of these characters in such different places that I would have never seen coming. Rian Johnson also was able to do something that we don’t often get with these kind of movies, and that’s that he was able to do and show us things that we have never seen in a Star Wars movie before (its also super funny). And that was truly a sight to behold, especially since some of those things, are things we may have considered before, but we have never gotten any canonical version of them, but here, we do. It feels almost needless to say, but this movie is absolutely stunning in its visuals, and it also does some things with its visuals, that no other Star Wars movie has ever done either, and they literally had my entire screen gasp, and to have that happen more than once, was really impressive to see. He also lends I think, the most distinct directorial voice ever in a Star Wars movie. That voice also stretches clearly into the story here, and the story elements that he adds to this long mythology. There really is soooooo much here to dig into, and so many complex situations and decisions, that whether or not you like those decisions, you have no choice I think but to respect the boldness of them. Even down to the Force itself, and what the Force means, is given new and slightly different life here. There is A LOT here I really can’t go into without going over copious spoilers, but just know there are many many surprises in here, and its best to try your best to go into the movie as fresh as possible. A huge part of this movie is also of course the characters, and there really is a great deal of character development here for so many of the characters. And this movie isn’t afraid to make characters make bold decisions and then stick by them. That in itself, is probably the best way to describe this entire movie, and thats Bold. The same way many people found Force Awakens polarising for being very similar to episode 4, many people I feel might also have a similar issue with this movie but in the opposite direction. Carrie Fisher I think also really delivers an amazing performance here that operates on multiple levels, and was really touching and saddening to see given her tragic and untimely death. This movie however, is going to derive most of its controversy from the way it portrays and handles Luke Skywalker. I can’t go over it here, but I definitely will post separately about it. All in all, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an amazing movie, but as a Star Wars movie, is going to be polarising because of its creative choices, and even I’m not fully sure how I feel about many of those moments.

Review Score : 9 out of 10

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Review : Coco

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“Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to work out the mystery.”

Coco is the latest in the long and storied history of Pixar the animation studio, and like most everything they lay their hands on, it turns to gold. Coco, named for one of the main characters in the movie, takes us on a cultural, gripping, emotional and entertaining story about family. This movie really does play like a valentine to Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican celebration of the day of the dead. It represents the day on which families give thanks and remembrance to their ancestors who have gone before them. Coco also does a fantastic job in teaching anyone who isn’t aware of the celebration and what that all entails, in a manner that comes across as sincere, and never felt like it was watering or dumbing down the material for a wider audience. It pulls you into the world of Miguel and his family, and then takes you on a journey with him, from this world to another, with some really great twists and turns that are earned and genuinely well done. The animation is gorgeous, and they take full advantage of the added visual style that the day of the dead inspires and allows. The added lore also creates a great bed to lay this story on, especially because this celebration is based around family, and at its core, thats what this movie is really about. It is about music, it is about being an artist, and what it truly takes to be an artist in this world, but everything is swirling around this core of family, and what family means. And it all feels so authentic, and it is. The voice talent here is all on point, and they all do really well with their singing, as well as they do sound like a real family, and one that really cares for each member. The only thing keeping this movie from reaching the peak though are the songs. Not the music, the guitar work here is really amazing, but the original songs are good, but there isn’t that stand out, or song that will really break through, and I really wish it did, to give is this movie the extra exposure it deserves. All in all, Coco is a fantastic movie for any member or the whole family, and is worth seeing on the big screen with some popcorn.

Review Score : 9 out of 10

Trailer of the Week!

This weeks trailer of the week goes to:

Coco (Trailer 1)

Now I know what you’re thinking, “I’ve seen this movie before, and it was called the Book of Life”, and you’re not really wrong. Coco comes to us from the heavy hitters that are Disney Pixar, who are known for a a laundry list of amazing films, so I think as much as this idea might seem to be taken, I think we have to give this film the benefit of the doubt that it will one of real quality.

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Coco follows a young boy, who find himself on the wrong side of the tracks after the annual Day of the Dead celebrations, putting him in a place where no living person has set foot before. The movie also uses a mostly hispanic cast of voice talent to lend  a lot of authenticity to this project. The movie is directed by two directors who have been main stays in many of the previous Pixar movie line up, getting their bump up to full time directors for Coco. Though this trailer is mostly an introductory teaser trailer, we can really get a scene for the visual style, and their take on the classic Day of the dead imagery, and is a slight departure from the generally more photo-realistic styles used in pervious Pixar films. Are you excited to see Coco, or think its just gonna be a Book of Life knock off?

Review : Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Men Tell No Tales

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“Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.”

When the first Pirates movie came out in 2003, it was a real surprise, partly because it had a real magic to it, and in large part because of Johnny Depp’s turn as Captain Jack Sparrow. And its the character of Caption Jack Sparrow, that has been the driving force of the pirates series ever since. Fast forward to 2017, and there has been a change in our beloved Captain, and not a change I like. This movie in particular brings to character to his lowest low, and relegates him to much more of a bumbling drunk that gets by solely on luck, when before Jack certain had his way with rum, but he was also always the most clever person in the room. The plot of this movie is there, and it makes sense mostly, but it also seems a lot more convoluted that it needed to be, and it felt like most of it really didn’t matter. There are even some characters in here, that just honestly didn’t feel like they needed to be, more would it matter if you cut them out of the movie. Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar is a well done (looks wise) character, and he’s a lot of fun when he’s on screen and he certainly does bring a certain presence to the role. There are nice appearances from some of the original cast here also, but don’t look for them too much. All in all, Pirates 5 is a fun movie with some nice looking big set pieces, but it all feels a bit soulless.

Review Score : 5 out of 10

Review : Beauty and the Beast

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“An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.”

Its no secret that the original 1991 Beauty and the Beast movie is a great movie. It was even the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, so no one is disputing its quality. That means that the 2017 live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast has a head start on being a good movie, but it also has some really big shoes to fill. This new version of the movie is a hard one to review. For one thing, this movie has some new magic to it, and some that it loses. It has the benefit of modern technology that even allows a live action version of this movie to exist. That technology allows for this movie to be extremely lavish and detailed in its setting and environments with an attention to detail that traditional animation could have never achieved. That same modernity however robs the ability of it to truly have some of the moments of awe because we’ve simply seen them before. As much as the rolling hills of France looked amazing, I can’t help but know I’ve seen this scene before. This effect does come and go however, because some of the moments as much as I know them, are still a wonder to behold can actually be something new and different because of the actual acting that we can have here. This version of the movie also allows for them to pause on some of the more tender moments of the story, which does help add to the splendor and magic of this classic tale. All in all, Beauty and the Beast the modern retelling, is a real and true fantasy in most every way possible, and it does definitely bring to life this age old animation even it’s just short of being able to replace it and usurp it.

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10

Review : Doctor Strange

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“A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.”

Doctor Strange is the 14th movie in the ever expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it brings for the first time, true magic and mysticism into the MCU. And it does this without fail and in some serious style. The look of the magic, and the way in which it was used was nailed 110%. They really sold that there was a physicality and a heft to using magic, and it wasn’t simply a point and spell situation. It also does extremely well to introduce and create these other, multiple dimensions and astral plains and the like. Part of that was because of the actors reactions to things they obviously weren’t seeing, and then the visual effects themselves were done spectacularly. This movie also does a really good job with the action and those action set pieces, and each characters choreography. The characters themselves were all very well played, and it was their commitment to their individual roles that really sold them and the story line here. Some people might find the villain here more of the same from the marvel villains thus far, and I both agree and disagree with that, but I can’t go to bat for it being an amazing villain either. We do however, get a look ahead at the probably next villain for Dr Steven Strange to combat, and that ones seems like a more likely candidate for a really memorable villain if we do indeed get a sequel about the sorcerer supreme. All in all Doctor Strange is very well put together movie with amazing visuals from top to bottom, but it maybe doesn’t get to the heights of movies like Cap 2.

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10

Review : Finding Dory

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“The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.”

Straight off, is this movie better than Finding Nemo? Nope. Is this a good movie? It most definitely is. Finding Dory does a good job at building on the story of the first movie, while also introducing some very good and very memorable new characters that for the most part actually out shone the call back characters in my opinion. So whats the problem then? Well problem maybe isn’t the best word, but this movie does struggle to deliver and story of the same scope and gravity of its predecessor. And thats the real story here, Finding Dory is good, but it almost always is grasping at the might and legend of Finding Nemo. This movie is totally worth your viewing however, don’t take what I’ve said as me saying you shouldn’t see this movie. The animation and new characters alone are worth I think the price of admission, Hank the octopus ESPECIALLY, is worth the trip to the cinema. This movie, like all Pixar movies, does well to tug on the heart strings when they want or need to, and tug they do, trust me. All in all, if you’re a fan of the original, just want to see this movie, or have younger ones who want you to take them, you really should go.

Review Score : 8 out of 10