Review- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

by Armando Vanegas

To begin, I’m a casual Star Wars fan. I enjoy them enough to say that I have fun just going along for the ride with the characters. I can’t say that I know all the minor characters and can name all the different ships and the droids. I don’t watch the cartoons or read the Extended Universe books. I will say though that The Mandalorian is doing a nice job at being a fun Western story that just happens to take place in the Star Wars universe. Star Wars is just a thing to me that exists that I have no ownership to and that doesn’t owe it to me to give me what I want. But in this day and age, the internet has allowed people to complain about many things, including movies. We can’t even go through watching sci-fi action movies made for the family without causing controversy these days. The Last Jedi wasn’t amazing to me, but it was a movie that made some interesting choices. I liked what it was doing with the universe and director Rian Johnson gave the franchise a chance to go in a new direction. But, no one can be happy with what they have and Disney decided to bring back J.J. Abrams to direct the last movie of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Let’s see if this movie was willing to continue on the path that TLJ laid out or they were going to backtrack and attempt to correct what never needed correcting. Spoiler alert: they end up doing the latter. Continue reading

Review – Marriage Story (2019)

by Armando Vanegas

After watching this movie, I’ve decided to retire from being a fan of movies because Noah Baumbach’s latest movie Marriage Story  finally did what I’ve wanted from movies and nothing else will compare. The Squid and the Whale was one of the movies that made me a fan of movies because it made me realize you can talk about real things like marital issues onscreen and it can impact the audience talking about those things. It doesn’t have to make you laugh, be scared, or excite you. It can also stick with you on a more personal level. Writer/director Noah Baumbach had that special touch, even back then. I think since Squid, I’ve wanted Baumbach to keep going into that well. Perhaps, I have personal things that made me want this. It also was helpful to learn that he was a child of divorce and that it was a semi-autobiographical look at his parents’ marriage. How he touched on divorce in Squid made me feel like I was seen. Marriage Story didn’t exactly fulfill those satisfactions if only because I didn’t need that itch scratched anymore. I’m young and I just want to enjoy whatever’s out there. When I saw Squid, I wanted more time in that world with these characters because it was so engrossing to me. Logically, there’s no way for this to continue because it felt complete enough even though the ending could be stronger. The movie gods have answered as this is essentially a spiritual sequel to The Squid and the Whale and it has that incredibly written Baumbach dialogue to listen to for 2 hours. It seems that he’s gotten his takes on how divorce sucks out of his system and I did as well.  As far as I can tell, movies are now dead and I will leave this movie life and become a cobbler. But before I do, I’ll talk about Marriage Story. Semi-based on Baumbach’s previous relationship, the movie deals with a theater couple who decide to go through with a divorce. As they realize, this process is extremely difficult and rough as they deal with ruthless lawyers and surprise reveals about each other. If The Squid and the Whale was the breakthrough EP, then Marriage Story is the mic drop and the surefire hit that defines  Baumbach as one of the great American directors of his time.

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Oscars 2019 – Predictions

by Kevin Muller

What a complicated path this has been to this year’s Oscars.  First, the Academy tried to shoehorn a category in ,“Popular Film,” that was quickly taken out after much outcry.  Then, Kevin Hart was hired then fired after his anti-gay tweets surfaced. Finally, the Academy wanted to cut certain awards that always had their time to shine, but quickly walked back, and put them back in. We haven’t even gotten to the ceremony where some celebrities are going to be annoying with their political beliefs that no one asked to hear. Anyway, the Oscars have always been a second Superbowl to me, without the high ratings. I love movies, and even though I don’t always agree with the picks, Chicago winning best picture comes to mind, I always like to see what/who wins.   Let’s get to it…

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Review – BlacKkKlansman (2018)

by Armando Vanegas

It’s a been a bittersweet time in this country that’s been mostly bitter in ways thanks to the current political state here in America. However, part of what’s been sweet about this year is that whether it’s coincidence or not, a lot of black voices have been able to get a chance to express themselves in such original ways as Black Panther, Sorry to Bother You, Atlanta, and now Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. For the most part, Lee succeeds with what he attempts to put on the screen. It’s a Spike Lee movie so you can definitely say that it’s not boring. The plot of the movie concerning Colorado Springs’ first black police officer in the 1970’s posing as a prospective KKK member who then recruits a Jewish officer to pose as the member in person to infiltrate the Klan. This is pretty unusual and to the movie’s credit, it does a lot with it by using it as a springboard to comment on recent political issues or social commentary that concerns the black community that may have been said before, but needs to reiterated for those who still aren’t able to get the message. For the most part, it never bothered me because it seems to come from a genuine place. While Lee is still Lee, this seem to be more mature and relatively calm to his other movies in its approach to its many ideas. It’s still very ambitious and maybe has too much to say. But it’s at least got some verve to it that I admire for bringing something to the table that will inspire some great food for thought, while simultaneously being an entertaining time at the movies.

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Review – Silence (2016)

silence_lead

by Old King Clancy

When Scorsese came out with Wolf of Wall Street a few years ago he showed everyone that even at 70 he had the energy and the madness to fuel a 3 hour mess of excess and still have it be one of his best works. Now in 2016 Scorsese slows things down in order to return to a passion project of his, Silence based on the 1966 novel of the same name, a story about Jesuit Priests who travel to 17th Century Japan to spread the word of Christianity only to be met with suffering and persecution. Scorsese’s past in the priesthood is well-documented and the fact that he’s been trying for this project off the ground for 25 years means that this was always going to be an experience worth having.

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