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MV5BOTM2NTI3NTc3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzM1OTQyNTM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_What’s it all about?

During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future co-pilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the rebellion

So yes, it’s an origin story, and none the worse for that.

Why did I want to see it?

Good question. It’s a Star Wars story, so that’s good enough for me, and I really liked Alden Ehrenreich in Hail Caesar! and was interested to see what he would do with such a famous character.

What did I think of it?

I liked it. I know it’s had a bad press, what with a troubled production and a certain area of fandom muttering (well, shouting) about how their childhood was once again being sullied, and a view that Disney is milking the franchise for all that it’s worth, but I liked it. It was good fun, a caper movie in space, and had some nice jokes and references for those who cared (especially L3-37 and the Millennium Falcon).

In particular:

  • Alden Ehrenreich does a very good job I think, not trying to impersonate Harrison Ford but giving (me at any rate) the impression that with only minor squinting on the audience’s part you could see him growing into the adult Han
  • L3-37, as mentioned above, her relationship with Lando and her prickly personality; I am here for droids with attitude
  • Paul Bettany was an excellent villain, and is rapidly becoming one of my favourite actors (as you can see from my header)
  • Woody Harrelson & co – what a gang. Wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them.

Not so much:

  • Insufficient Thandie Newton; she is awesome and I would like to have seen more/better use of her
  • Insufficient Lando, because Lando, and his capes

But those are pretty small quibbles really, in what was an enjoyable adventure movie ideal for an afternoon at the cinema. Will happily watch again.

Dazzling details: watched in a recliner showing at our local multiplex, Solo is 135 minutes long, directed (eventually) by Ron Howard and rated 12A for moderate violence.

I didn’t get around to reviewing these movies properly but had Thoughts so felt the need to share 🙂

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Yes, I know this was actually released last year and I did see it at the time but felt that there was so much noise on the interwebs that I would keep my own counsel for a while. Since then I have seen it a further two times and on every viewing it just gets better. I love the new characters, especially Rose though I may also have a serious girl crush on Vice Admiral Holdo. The only quibble I really had on first viewing was the storyline involving Poe & Holdo, but I’ve come to the conclusion that he would definitely have behaved in the same way if Holdo had been a man so in establishing his character development from hothead to leader I think it worked well. Can’t wait for Episode 9!

Isle of Dogs

I have a mixed response to Wes Anderson (admittedly based on a small number of his films that I have seen), veering from absolutely adoring The Grand Budapest Hotel to loathing Fantastic Mister Fox with a passion. Pleased to say that Isle of Dogs is very much in the Grand Budapest tradition. This is such a good film, with a quirky stop-motion animation style and a story that has real heart to it and can be interpreted in a number of different ways, always the mark of a goodie as far as I’m concerned. The voice cast is brilliant and distinctive and there is so much going on visual that it begs to be seen more than once. Loved loved loved it.

Free Fire

I really didn’t get this film at all. I think I could see what director Ben Wheatley was trying to do with Free Fire, set in Boston in 1978 where a gun deal goes wrong, but I couldn’t connect with it at all. And it’s such a shame, because it is so well made, and has such a brilliant cast, and has an intriguing premise but I couldn’t engage with the humour. I just felt that there was something missing. But 10/10 for the accurate facial hair.

Gotham by Gaslight

Gaslight was one of the first Batman graphic novels I ever bought (what can I say, I was a very late adopter in the world of comics) so I was very interested to see what director Sam Liu (he of The Killing Joke which I talked about here) would make of the story. Annoyingly, there are some major changes in this adaptation which I don’t really understand, but all in all it was an enjoyable take on Jack the Ripper.



MV5BNTc4MTc3NTQ5OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTg0NjI4NA@@._V1_SY317_CR12,0,214,317_AL_I am exhausted from just typing out the title; punctuation can be such a challenge, don’t you think? But you can’t say you don’t know that this isn’t one of the original trilogy given all the information provided.

Anyway, this review isn’t going to follow my normal format because this movie is 10 years old, everyone and their cat who wants to see it has seen it and no doubt formed an opinion about it, and let’s face it, with an explanation like this from IMDb:

As the Clone Wars near an end, the Sith Lord Darth Sidious steps out of the shadows, at which time Anakin succumbs to his emotions, becoming Darth Vader and putting his relationships with Obi-Wan and Padme at risk.

it’s difficult to pretend that you don’t know what’s going to happen.

In all the excitement leading up to the new movie which is only a couple of months away (and I’m honest enough to admit that I am super excited to see it asap on release) the Book God and I got to talking about the previous Star Wars movies, and I mentioned that the one I had seen the fewest number of times was Revenge of the Sith. So, we decided to dig out the DVD and give it another spin, and as the last time I saw it was pre-blog it felt right to stick my thoughts down.

I think it’s worth saying that I don’t have a downer on the prequels. Yes, there’s lots wrong and in particular Anakin was miscast, but because I was 16 when I saw the original Star Wars film when it was first released in the UK I just don’t have the same level of emotional attachment to it as some of my friends who saw it as little kids. Just to be clear, though, this tolerance does not extend to Jar Jar Binks.

Main thoughts from this re-watch of the final film until the next one:

  • what on earth did Padme ever see in Anakin? He is played like a sulky teenager throughout and i just wanted to slap him
  • I don’t remember it being quite so bitty – it leaps backwards and forwards between the different story lines but the scenes are all pretty short so there isn’t really any flow
  • the Jedi are pretty arrogant, but that’s no excuse Anakin
  • I don’t remember ever noticing before just how quickly Anakin flipped to the Dark Side when Palpatine/Sidious made him the big offer
  • continuity is just all over the place; setting aside the whole “do you remember your mother” thing from RotJ, everyone’s ages seem really off. I mean, Luke’s just been born and he’s a youngish teenager in SW, and it may have been a harsh existence on Tatooine but would Ewan really have aged into Sir Alec in that space of time?
  • the least said about the throw away line about the return of Qui Gon Jinn the better.

However, I totally love Palpatine and could watch him for ages. He’s cool in a totally over the top downright evil way.

It was great fun watching this but I am so, so looking forward to see what JJ Abrams does with the sequels.

starwars2So here we have a two-part Clone Wars story, with episode titles “Dooku Captured” and “The Gungan General”

To cut to the chase, Count Dooku ends up being captured by Space Pirates who demand a ransom from the Republic to hand him over. Obi Wan and Anakin go off to seal the deal, get captured as well and find themselves sharing a cell and various escape plans with the Sith Lord. Meanwhile the ransom is being delivered, and one of the party is Jar Jar Binks. All manner of Binks-inspired havoc ensues, the good guys get saved and Dooku gets away, as we know he must because we’ve seen the later films.

I’ve generally been enjoying this series but I have to say that the slapstick of Jar Jar really leaves me cold. I wasn’t entirely against him in The Phantom Menace (fun for kids I thought) but whenever he appears in the Clone Wars series I find myself sighing . Even  the way he is presented here, with his clumsiness used as a weapon by the Clones, is annoying.

Still, the first episode was great, the pirates were huge fun and the animation is still really cool.