REVIEW: “STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS” (2015) Disney Pictures

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32 years after the original Star Wars exploded on our movie screens, the saga is set to continue here in The Force Awakens. Take note that this review is strictly a point of view and won’t contain to much storyline as you should see it for yourself, and definitely no spoilers. One thing before I continue on..Chewie..YOU ARE MY HERO!!!
As the opening log comes on the screen, we are immmediately taken back in time which has to be one of the happiest moments of the film. With that I will just spit it out that first and foremost, this is a good movie, though far far from a great one (It’s no Mad Max) And yes, I just said that.. So all the Star Wars fan-boys can step up now and sue me.. 😀

I’m as big a Star Wars fan as any though after Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace couldn’t even come close to comparing. Attack of the Clones was forgettable..Revenge of the Sith – didn’t even bother to see it at a theatre and actually waited for it to be on cable. And I won’t lie..I have a few issues with this film, though not all of them are bad.
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The opening 30 minutes are less than satisfying and to be completely honest was quite ‘lulz’. Here we are introduced to some new main characters Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac – who is terribly underused here). Finn is actually a stormtrooper, but get this..a stormtrooper with feelings?? no ..stormtroopers are not allowed those. But hey they are taking a risk here by doing that right – which is okay by me. Then Poe, who is head of the resistance pilots, gets captured and Finn helps him escape for which when Poe asks why, gets the answer of “Because it’s the right thing to do” what?? that’s just weak.. sorry but it is. It doesn’t fit in a Star Wars film. So as predicted they crash and it seems only Finn survives. But you also know that there is no way Poe is dead & gone, but this goes unexplained for some time, until he magically shows up later with barely a plausable explantion.

While she is no Furiosa, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has somewhat the same inplausability factor when we meet as her as she & Finn are all about saving each other within minutes of meeting. But then again, I like the risk-taking factor of appointing a strong female lead.
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Along with that part of the main cast, we are introduced to the mostly all Britsh/Irish (I guess a galaxy ‘far far away’ is now the U.K. ha!) cast of the Dark Side, notably General Hux (Domhnall Gleason), Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie – also terribly underused) to name just a few.

As expected, the robots especially BB8 (Bill Hader/Ben Schwartz – voice consultants), along with Chewbaca (Peter Mayhew) & Hans Solo (Harrison Ford) steal and deliver the best comedic one takes. While the new characters try, they fail quite miserably at trying to deliver cutesy one-liners that aren’t funny.
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While I loved the flashbacks to the Star Wars of old, including the graveyard of old spaceships, Hans Solo getting back onboard with his old ship is nothing less than classic. And who doesn’t want to see Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Solo reunite after years of separation?!! All these scenes and storylines are simply wonderful.

Another big risk and a sad heartbreaking one at that, is saying good-bye to one of the most iconic characters ever concieved in this galaxy or any other for that matter. Did it have to be done? Maybe so because it seems J.J. Abrams had to basically make us try to forget those three intermediate bad storylines and get us back on track to what is important. Though I found Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) to be one of my least favourite characters (and actors) as it just seems to simple to say Skywalker was good out of Vader’s bad, but yet Ren is bad out of Solo & Leia’s good.
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Last note: I’m not the biggest 3D fan, but this film is so enhanced by it, it’s worth it. The final scene of the movie is by far what makes it all worth-while to see this film – as it gives us something to look forward to in Episode VIII and it tells us it will be so much better.

Grade: B-
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REVIEW: “SPECTRE” (2015) MGM

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As anyone who knows me will agree that I am a massive James Bond fan..the kind that believes Bond can do no wrong, so imagine my surprise at finding myself at times here, rather bored. With a fantastic opening sequence filmed a-la Birdman style of one long shot, proved to be the most exciting highlight of the film. And it was all over in 4 minutes.
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Being SPECTRE is the 24th James Bond movie and one of the biggest, most anticipated movies of the year, I was sadly disappointed in my man James this time round.

Daniel Craig is still Agent 007 and Christoph Waltz is our main villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld. The films usual recurring characters are all present and accounted for: Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q and Naomie Harris as the ever faithful Moneypenny, while Léa Seydoux is Madeleine Swann the beautiful and dare we say it, age appropriate Monica Bellucci as Lucia are the Bond girls or better yet, ladies, this time.
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While M battles political forces to keep the 00 agent program alive, Bond infiltrates a secret meeting where he begins to slowly peel back the layers to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

Directed once again by Sam Mendes, SPECTRE falls a bit short for me from his previous fantastic endeavour the wonderful ‘Skyfall’. The film being long in the tooth with it’s storyline that at times is hard to follow and lacks the ebb & flow of a great Bond film. The Bond villains are for me, always the best because you need a villain that you love to hate and films like this ride or die on their villains. Proving my standing motto of “You’re only as good as your villain” to be true, Waltz here falls short and whether it’s the script or his performance, you feel no ooommmpha from him at all. He doesn’t make you care either way for him in the slightest. Dave Bautista as a non-speaking Hinx doesn’t add any mileage to the villain aspect either.

Eon Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony Pictures Entertainment announce the 24th James Bond adventure

Eon Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony Pictures Entertainment announce the 24th James Bond adventure ” SPECTRE. “


The cars though are magnificent as always. Aston Martin’s new coupe was created exclusively for Spectre and was unveiled in December 2014 at the official press launch of the film. Director Sam Mendes introduced the car as “the first cast member” with only ten of them being manufactured and eight of those ten being used for Spectre filming, along with two show cars.
Same with the gadgets.. though noticeably not as many as previous films we do see this fun exchange ~
Q: “And 007, one last thing for you.”
Q gives the watch to Bond.
Bond: “Does it do anything?”
Q: “It tells time.”

Sadly, Spectre is not my favorite Bond movie of recent times. It’s good although it’s truly not top-flight 007. While not terrible, it won’t add or subtract any points or do any serious damage to the franchise.

All in all..while I didn’t hate it, the film just proved to be too long, with a bit of a flimsy story line.

Grade: C+
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