Thursday, March 22, 2018

Rian Johnson's Trilogy Has Started - Lucasfilm Continues To Ignore The Last Jedi Backlash


I'm not sure that all those who like The Last Jedi are adopting a stupid mentality.

The plot holes are too numerous to mention and these bother me, as do the social justice warrior messages, so I agree with almost every criticism I have heard about The Last Jedi.   However, I don't mind the Luke arc because it surprised me and I find it entertaining.  It's not my story, nor is it the story I would have written for Luke, but it's their story and I enjoyed it as is.   

There is so much in the movie that I like:   All the interaction between Luke and Rey.  The force bond between Rey and Kylo.   Rey's vision.  Everything that happened in the throne room is gold, and it concludes with Ben practically proposing to Rey which is even more interesting.   The Canto Bight story is not the best, but neither does it take up as much screen time as people claim it does.  Parts of it, such as the chase scene, are interesting.  Everything that happened during the Battle of Crait was also excellent, except for the stupid Rose scene.  I liked being surprised by Luke's force projection.  His passing, or becoming one with the Force, moved me to tears.

The first time around I was a little uncertain how I felt about broom boy.  I found the scene both emotionally moving and a little cheesy, but this scene has grown on me.  It creates hope for the future.

One the first viewing of the movie, the humor made me laugh out loud several times.  It comes in surprising places.   I  knew that they were overdoing the humor, but I didn't care because it made me laugh.  The humor is so minor in places that it is hardly a distraction.  Of course, by the third viewing the jokes had lost any surprise effect and were falling flat.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Brilliant or Senseless? Rian Johnson Explains The Last Jedi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C95o0MRzBVs

Some of the best analysis I have heard. I think that there is enough good stuff in the movie to make it enjoyable, despite some really obvious flaws.

I have concluded that Rian Johnson is not a logical thinker, because in interviews he seems
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unconcerned or unaware about
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the
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plot holes,
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and
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is
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only interested in the aesthetics of the film.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi for the third time.

I saw the movie for the third time, after having seen it for the second time 10 weeks ago.

I noticed quite a bit more stuff in my second viewing and still yet more things the third time around. This is a busy movie and there is much in it that is easy to miss. Although the movie does not have the same novelty that it first did, the extra details I noticed seem to make the story feel more coherent and less like it has plot holes. I still think that there are plot holes, but I get a better sense of what the director was shooting for.

In addition, problems are a little easier to ignore on the second and third viewing. The personalities of Luke Skywalker and Admiral Holdo come across as more understandable, and in particular the acting by Mark Hamill seems more nuanced.

This feels like this is the least rewatchable of the Star Wars movies, since all of the other movies I have watched repeatedly and still enjoy them. For Star Wars: The Last Jedi, three times seems like enough. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Black Panther

My problem with superhero movies is that the main characters are able to use magic, or some sort of technology as of yet unknown to us, essentially magic, to apparently violate the laws of physics.  It is not realistic to see most of these characters do what they do, so in this respect these movies seem kind of silly, but these are fantasy films so we should make allowances.  Despite this reservation, I have enjoyed all the recent Superman movies that I have seen, because Superman is a character whose story is well ingrained into the American psyche, with the caveat I have not yet seen the recent and much maligned Justice League.  

An example of where Black Panther violates the laws of physics is that the  main character wears a suit that can absorb a huge amount of kinetic energy, and release that kinetic energy back out on demand.  This is an interesting part of the story, but I refer you to Newton's third law of motion that says for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  If the suit stops a large amount of kinetic energy, the wearer is going acquire some of that velocity.  If anything, the movie is inconsistent on how this works, because sometimes the character will recoil from blows and sometimes not.

The premise of Black Panther, where a much more technologically advanced afrocentric civilization, Wakanda, is hidden in the heart of Africa, comes across to me just as silly as other superhero movies, given that it mixes tribal customs and attire with science fiction technology.  This mixture of old and new makes the movie a fantastic visual spectacle, but stretches believability.

What makes any movie like this good is whether the characters and story are engaging enough for us to suspend our disbelief and enjoy the film.  Here Black Panther shines with its characters, and a most interesting villain.  Add to that a philosophical story that contemplates what role a more advanced civilization should play in helping others?   These elements alone would be sufficient for a pretty good movie, but the science fiction parts of the story also make the film a visual treat.  

There is a great deal of fighting in this movie, and it feels a little repetitive, like they couldn't come up with anything better to do.  However, most of these scenes are fun to watch.  

Often I felt like the characters were a little muddled on their motivations, because the central conflict of the film is whether Wakanda should remain isolationist or share its advanced technology to help the rest of the world?  One also wonders how Wakanda could be such a prosperous civilization when it is not willing to export its only real natural resource, which is a mysterious metal called vibranium?

The Hero's Journey is a type of myth going back thousands of years that follows the same pattern, where the hero goes on a journey, at some point fails and almost dies, is reborn and finally succeeds, and in some stories becomes a king on the return of his journey.  George Lucas popularized this type of storytelling in movies, but it has become repetitive and overdone.  Black Panther follows this pattern so closely that parts of the movie are predictable.

I was a little burned out on superhero movies because there have been so many of them, the result of which is that few of them have been exceptional.  Despite a few minor problems, Black Panther is different enough that it is like a breath of fresh air.

Rating:  * * * 1/2

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Ranking The Star Wars Movies

5,4,1,2,3,6,7,R1,8
.  Still like them all though.​

I listened to a 90 minute Rian Johnson interview, and concluded that he is not a logical thinker. He was more concerned with the aesthetics of the film as opposed to whether or not certain parts made sense. This is quite disappointing. 

I have hope that J.J. Abrams can fix things. What is shocking is that they pretty much admitted that they had no plan going from one movie to the next. George Lucas was completely different because he had everything mapped out.
   They had to delay episode 9 because they are still trying to figure out what the story is going to be.

Harrison Ford tutored Alden Ehrenreich on how to be Han Solo

https://youtu.be/VyqF5Re6Cqw

Friday, February 2, 2018

Why the new Star Wars trilogy is dead, and how it could have been better.

I didn't want to watch the entire 36 minute video, but his comments up to 9 minutes are dead on. 


Maybe this is beating a dead horse, since all the flaws of The Last Jedi have been pointed out ad nauseam by youtube posters.

I have commented on several videos that I think that it is possible for a movie to have many obvious flaws and still be entertaining.


Monday, January 29, 2018

The Last Jedi

I was just thinking about the scene where a very youthful looking Kylo Ren says "Let the past die.  Kill it if  you have to."    It is written for millennials.  This whole movie is a calculated attempt to appeal to millennials who Disney thinks are going to spend the most money.  I think that it disregards the old Star Wars fans, or at least has less regard for them.  I already knew that there was some attempt to appeal to millennials, but in thinking about it I realized just how one sided the movie is.


The Last Jedi Deserves All The Backlash!

In response to ...


If Luke changed, then that is the prerogative of the writers; it is their story. Even though it is not what I would have chosen, if everything turned out the way I expected then it would be boring.  I am much more bothered by the plot holes that you could drive a truck through.  Despite these problems, there is a great deal in the film that I do like. 


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Rian Johnson Podcast

Out of curiosity I listened to this extended interview of Rian Johnson.  It is long.  It is an hour and 47 minutes long.

Since The Last Jedi has plot holes you could drive a truck through, and after seeing the title, 'Rian Johnson Talks 'The Last Jedi' Criticism, Says He "Wouldn't Change a Thing"', I had to know how Rian Johnson responds to criticism about the plot holes.

Well, after listening, I conclude that Rian Johnson doesn't have a clue as to why these things are plot holes, and why those things might turn off the audience.  I can only guess that he looks at the story from an artistic point of view and not a logical one.  And to think that he is going to be directing the next trilogy?

Unfortunately the interview doesn't talk about Social Justice Warrior messages, which would have been a very interesting topic.


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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Last Jedi

I saw The Last Jedi on December 14nth and then again 2 weeks after that. After another 4 weeks, I would like to see it for a third time, either this week or next.

As for all the people who didn't like it, the movie was designed to defy what everyone expected and that was too much for some people. It turns the Star Wars mythology on its head, and it has a few plot holes. My position is that a movie can have a few flaws and still be pretty entertaining, which it is.

Monday, January 22, 2018

How people's expectations affect their reaction to a movie.


'I am really glad that you brought up expectations and how that biases people when judging a movie, which is a concept that I hadn't thought much about. I suspect that the reason so many people are negative on The Phantom Menace is because of their expectations. Personally, I had a blast with the movie and I think that it is almost as entertaining as the best Star Wars films. Although episodes 7 and 8 have some plot holes you could drive a truck through, I still enjoyed these movies. There is enough good stuff to make them worthwhile. What people didn't like about episode 8, which is that the movie defied all of their expectations, made it more entertaining for me because it was something new and different.'

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Last Days in the Desert

If you want to see a low budget gem of a movie, watch "Last Days in the Desert" where Ewan McGregor plays both Jesus and Satan. There is something compelling about watching a man on a journey, especially on a journey to find himself. Actually, this is not a very religious movie. There are no miracles. The question of Jesus's divinity is left up to the viewer to decide. He could just be a crazy man wandering the desert. The final scene feels out of place, because the movie goes straight from the Crucifixion to modern day tourists taking snapshots of the same desert Jesus supposedly wandered in. Had they given us a hint of resurrection, even a slight stirring under the burial cloth, it would have given the movie a religious meaning. Such an ending, regardless of if you believe or not, would be a satisfying conclusion to the story because it would have shown that everything that went before it served a purpose. Instead the story is ambiguous.

Rating: * * * .5

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Darkest Hour


If you knew nothing about Winston Churchill, hadn't listened to his speeches, and hadn't watched other shows and documentaries about him, then you might conclude that Darkest Hour is a great inspirational movie about the man.  The problem is that it is not historically accurate, but instead revisionist, portraying Churchill as an indecisive, slightly befuddled old man, who only made up his mind to continue to fight against the Nazis, and not surrender, after an inspirational, but completely fictional ride in the subway.  This distortion of history I think is inexcusable.

The one thing that defined Churchill was his decisiveness and his resolve. 

Gary Oldman in his layers of makeup is not totally convincing to me as Churchill.

However, Oldman's performance is strong enough to make you feel like you are watching the real thing.

The movie gets some mileage out of Churchill's speeches, but only three of them, and the ones in the movie are greatly abbreviated.  Had they given the full speeches, it might have bored some people, but it would have given the audience more of a historical context, and felt more like you were there witnessing these things for the first time.  The movie finishes with his "Never Surrender" speech, which in the film is delivered like an inspirational call to battle, like a Saint Crispin's day speech.  However, if you listen to Churchill's actual delivery, it is much more somber.  Another problem with the way the movie portrayed this speech is that it shows it being broadcast on the radio at the same time that it was being delivered to Parliament.  Actually, Churchill gave the speech on the radio to the British people the day after he delivered it to Parliament.

Since the movie only covers a 30 day period, from May 1940, to June 1940, which was probably one of the most critical months in England's history, I feel that there was so much more that they could have given us about Churchill and the remainder of the war.  There are other shows and documentaries that have been far move informative, such as Into The Storm.  Even Netflix's The Crown has some interesting things to say about Churchill.

It is not a complete trainwreck of a movie.  The story of Churchill is inspiring in any context, and Oldman's performance is noteworthy and might even win an Oscar.  Much of the movie centers on how Churchill's own cabinet and even the king opposed him, thus giving us a story worth watching.

The film ties in well with the movie Dunkirk, which is far better, since the events of both films take place during the same period.

Rating:  * * *