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December 29, 2017
The Greatest Showman (2017) --- "After Losing His Job A Guy Opens A Circus And Performs Catchy Songs."
Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. (1)
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Hello, Movie Buffs!
The Greatest Showman (2017) is an uplifting and joyous experience that will bring a smile to audience members’ faces. Up and coming director Michael Gracey (Ned Kelly, Visual Effects) did an amazing job and script written by Jenny Bicks (Rio 2) and Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) was perfect. There is a scene in the film where James Gordon Bennett (Paul Sparks – House of Cards), an entertainment critic who describes Barnum’s museum as a “circus of humbugs” and as a result, Barnum changes the shows name from museum to circus. Bennett asks Barnum if it bothers him that all he offers his customers is a show made up of fakes. To which Barnum replies, “Do their smiles look fake? No, they don’t.” And these smiles are reaffirmed through the ovation that audiences bestow upon this film at its conclusion.
December 27, 2017
Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) --- "Acapella Group Battle Against Instruments For The Exclusive Performance Of A Lifetime.
After the highs of winning the world championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren't job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time. (1)
Hello, Movie Buffs!
If you were a fan of Pitch Perfect (2012) and enjoyed Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) then you will find Pitch Perfect 3 to be acc-awesome. I know what people are gonna say Pitch Perfect is just a small time film and a chick flick not really a worth it film but with Christmas and New Years coming you need something fun to pick up your mood and wind down the end of the year. Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) was a very entertaining and funny film to laugh at and relax to before the New Year. There is no doubt that this film is corny and filled with cheap laughs but if it brings a smile to your face and makes you feel good then it’s done its job.
December 25, 2017
White Christmas (1954) --- "Not All Christmases Are White But Bing Crosby Sure Knows How To Make It Feel Like IT."
Singers Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) join sister act Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen) to perform a Christmas show in rural Vermont. There, they run into Gen. Waverly (Dean Jagger), the boys' commander in World War II, who, they learn, is having financial difficulties; his quaint country inn is failing. So what's the foursome to do but plan a yuletide miracle: a fun-filled musical extravaganza that's sure to put Waverly and his business in the black! (1)
Hello, Movie Buffs!
The song “White Christmas” made its first film debut in the 1942 classic, Holiday Inn starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, this was Crosby and Astaire’s second Irving Berlin (music composer) film. By 1954 the song had become a timeless holiday classic so it was inevitable that the film would be made around it and who better than Bing Crosby to be one of the main stars. Originally Fred Astaire was going to be Crosby’s co-star in White Christmas, with this being their third Irving Berlin film, but in the end, the role went to Danny Kaye and together they proved to be an auspicious blend.
December 22, 2017
A magical board game unleashes a world of adventure on siblings Peter (Bradley Pierce) and Judy Shepherd (Kirsten Dunst). While exploring an old mansion, the youngsters find a curious, jungle-themed game called Jumanji in the attic. When they start playing, they free Alan Parrish (Robin Williams), who's been stuck in the game's inner world for decades. If they win Jumanji, the kids can free Alan for good -- but that means braving giant bugs, ill-mannered monkeys and even stampeding rhinos! (1)
Hello, Movie Buffs!
Among the many classic children/family films that I have enjoyed – like The Borrowers (1997), Honey I Shrunk the Kids (1989), and The Labyrinth (1986) – Jumanji (1995) would be one of the top ranking films, not because it’s a brilliant masterpiece but because it’s a classic piece of entertainment that appeals to people of all ages. In Jumanji, audiences don’t have to suffer through a predictable plot and cheesy dialogue, like most family-friendly movies today. Now one must keep in mind that this film is rated PG (Parental Guidance) and not exactly meant for all ages. It’s not gory or terrifying but there are a few mildly scare scenes that some young viewers may find to be a bit scary, however, this is solely based on the child’s maturity level.
December 20, 2017
Luke Skywalker's peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he encounters Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of the Force. Her desire to learn the ways of the Jedi forces Luke to make a decision that changes their lives forever. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren and General Hux lead the First Order in an all-out assault against Leia and the Resistance for supremacy of the galaxy. (1)
Hello, Movie Buffs!
When Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015) came out many viewers complained about how unoriginal and safe it the film was. But now that introductions have been made and timelines have been set, we are given a sequel film that has an actual point of view and incredible style, unlike anything we have seen from the Star Wars series before. The Last Jedi is daring, fresh, original, and it makes The Force Awakens better by further exploring the story. The Star Wars franchise is one of the few that have remained loyal to its theme that good vs. evil is not always black and white because sometimes good guys come from the evil side and vice versa; the moral value of the films is always expanding.
December 18, 2017
Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. When a defector named Finn (John Boyega) crash-lands on a desert planet, he meets Rey (Daisy Ridley), a tough scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map. Together, the young duo joins forces with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to make sure the Resistance receives the intelligence concerning the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last of the Jedi Knights. (1)
Hello, Movie Buffs!
Star Wars fans who grew up with the original trilogy can watch Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015) with relief as there is little to complain about. Director and Co-Writer J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) helms this brilliant first installment in another epic Star Wars trilogy. The film generated a ton of revenue – not including merchandise and video sales – after a record-breaking opening release as well as came with a surprising amount of positive critiques. Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan resurrected the Star Wars franchise with more life and vigor than ever before. The film respects the original trilogy, brings in new characters smoothly, appeals to fans and new audience members, and lays the foundation for a new epic Star Wars trilogy. The Force Awakens is filled with everything a Star Wars fan could have wanted in a film and while it’s impossible to please everyone, the end result is almost like a love letter to the original trilogy.
December 15, 2017
Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) --- "Luke Realizes He Kissed His Sister. Can You Say Awkward."
Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) battles horrible Jabba the Hut and cruel Darth Vader to save his comrades in the Rebel Alliance and triumph over the Galactic Empire. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) reaffirm their love and team with Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), the Ewoks and the androids C-3PO and R2-D2 to aid in the disruption of the Dark Side and the defeat of the evil emperor. (1)
Hello, Movie Buffs!
In 1997 and then again in 2006 George Lucas released a new and altered version of the original trilogy in order for it to be more closely related to the prequel trilogy in 1999 -2005. So as not to spoil the film I will not say what has been changed but I can say that this new outlook allows for moviegoers and fans alike to have a greater appreciate what has often been viewed as the weakest of the original trilogy. Return of the Jedi (ROTJ) still offers a lot of content that is worth watching and is as strong as the original in its own way and in this case perspective a good thing.
December 13, 2017
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) --- "Guy Goes On A Rampage After Discovering He's Going To Be A Father. What He Does Next We All Saw Coming."
It has been three years since the Clone Wars began. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) rescue Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) from General Grievous, the commander of the droid armies, but Grievous escapes. Suspicions are raised within the Jedi Council concerning Chancellor Palpatine, with whom Anakin has formed a bond. Asked to spy on the chancellor, and full of bitterness toward the Jedi Council, Anakin embraces the Dark Side. (1)
Hello, Movie Buffs!
Since 1999 with the release of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Star Wars fans have had to put up with the somewhat less the satisfactory additions to a beloved franchise. First in Episode I: Phantom Menace (1999), there was the memorable and annoying Jar Jar Binks (played by Jake Lloyd). Then in Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) we have the somewhat stiff dialogue and a clumsy love story. As a result, it is no wonder why fans were cautious with the release of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). Well, have no fear George Lucas because all is forgiven. Revenge of the Sith is without a doubt the prequel film that fans have been waiting for since 1999. Anybody who has seen Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) knows the outcome of this film but what we don’t fully know is how it all comes together; the last few moments before Anakin turns into Darth Vader, the birth of Luke and Leia (why they were separated), and the reasoning behind Obi-Wan Kenobi’s hermit/in-the-shadows lifestyle. George Lucas weaves a very well-told story of a guy who is said to be the ‘Chosen One’ fall from grace, taking a much dark and sinister road than what was expected of him, and yet amongst all that darkness, hope endures. By the end of the film, there is still hope for the future, to the point that it almost causes a tear to roll down one’s cheek.
December 11, 2017
Star Wars II: Attack of the Clone Wars (2002) --- "Cloning Soilders May Result In Missing Body Parts And Secret Marriages."
Set ten years after the events of "The Phantom Menace," the Republic continues to be mired in strife and chaos. A separatist movement encompassing hundreds of planets and powerful corporate alliances poses new threats to the galaxy that even the Jedi cannot stem. These moves, long planned by an as yet unrevealed and powerful force, lead to the beginning of the Clone Wars -- and the beginning of the end of the Republic. (1)
Hello, Movie Buffs!
It is almost impossible to dispel a negative atmosphere around a film once it has already been established. The first Star Wars trilogy by George Lucas was well-loved by many movie-goers but now for some reason, the Lucas’ new Star Wars prequel trilogy has earned more negative reviews than its predecessors. The Phantom Menace (1999) earned a lot of attacks, more negative than positive, from just about everyone. The Phantom Menace is not my favorite film in the prequel trilogy but I don’t think it was horrible either. I have very much enjoyed all of the Star Wars films, although some in lean more towards than others, I can see why some movie-goers may not like some of the films. Perhaps it has to do with the original fans from the ’79 to ’83 growing up. When the original trilogy came out it was basically the first of its kind so it didn’t matter what the quality of acting, script writing, special effects, etc. were. What matter was that it was captivating to the fans, it was silly and fun but now those fans have grown up and I think they want Star Wars to grow-up as well with an R Rating that could satisfy the reminiscent kid inside and the now full-grown adult that they are. Personally, I am glad that Lucas kept the prequel trilogy PG-13 more so for the sake of new and younger movie fans. I enjoyed a new kind of adventure and excitement, so it’s shocking to hear people say that the prequel trilogy did not live up to the original trilogy.
December 8, 2017
Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace (1999) --- "Poor Kid Discovers He's Special After Winning A Race But His Mentor Meets An Unfortunate End."
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson); Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), who will later father Luke Skywalker and become known as Darth Vader, is just a 9-year-old boy. When the Trade Federation cuts off all routes to the planet Naboo, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are assigned to settle the matter. (1)
Hello, Movie Buffs!
I did not have the opportunity to see the original release of the first Star Wars trilogy on the account that I was not born yet but my father and his brothers did. And according to all those who did as well, it was said to be a cinematic experience unlike any other. Before Star Wars’ initial release in 1977, there never been a film that looked or sounded like this, despite being derived from past film and books. This is not very surprising because in 1977 special effects and CGI were rudimentary. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was one of the few films that made space travel convincing and plausible; alongside some of the Star Trek films before (1985). According to my father, Star Wars was something new and out of this world, audiences loved it, and it changed sci-fi films forever. Between 1978 and 1998 we had already seen countless sci-fi films with space battles, special effects, and even some space travel. Film such as (with exclusion to Star Wars and Star Trek films) Battlestar Galactica (1978), Superman (1978), Alien (1979), Flash Gordon (1980), Galactica (1980), Superman II (1980), Android (1982), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Dune (1984), The Last Starfighter (1984), Aliens (1986), Spaceballs (1987), Alien 3 (1992), Stargate (1994), Apollo 13 (1995), Independence Day (1996), Alien: Resurrection (1997), Contact (1997), The Fifth Element (1997), Starship Troopers (1997), Armageddon (1998), and Lost in Space (1998).
December 6, 2017
Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back (1980) --- “Luke Skywalker Doesn’t Know The Identity of His Father. His Reaction When He Finds Out The Truth Is Priceless.”
The adventure continues in this "Star Wars" sequel. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) face attack by the Imperial forces and its AT-AT walkers on the ice planet Hoth. While Han and Leia escape in the Millennium Falcon, Luke travels to Dagobah in search of Yoda. Only with the Jedi master's help will Luke survive when the dark side of the Force beckons him into the ultimate duel with Darth Vader (David Prowse). (1)
Hello, Movie Buffs!
Episode V returns with many of the same characters and carries the same level of fun but there is a much darker undertone this time around and as a result the ending is vastly different from Episode IV. After the events in Episode IV one would think that the Rebellion has the upper hand now but it becomes clear the power of The Empire has not been dented with the destruction of a primary ship. Consequently, this proves to be a significant blow to the Rebellion and also reveals some startling revelations about The Empire.
Following the Star Wars films has not been very easy recently, what with the disappointing prequel trilogy and some awkward timelines and dialogue contradictions. Of course, the Star Wars films go far beyond being the overdone, simple sci-fi films of old and new. In Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) viewers are treated to the iconic text scrolling on the galaxy background, describing what has transpired between Episode IV and Episode V as well as reminding viewers on a few key aspects that were mentioned, never explained, at the end of Episode IV. At first it would seem that this was a cheap way to remind viewers what had happened before and what to expect in the current film but this turned out to be a ingenious and iconic way of furthering the story. The fact that viewers are so willing to read the scroll is incredible and the film studio should forgive our inability to appreciate the quality of the series for taking care of even the smallest of details. And who knows maybe sometime in the near and distant future George Lucas could go back and make these in between scenes full length films. Perhaps Introquels?
One aspect that made Star Wars great is how connecting and valuable the characters’ relationships are within the story. Director Irvin Kershner worked effectively with the actors whilst giving them some much need time and room to develop their characters. As a result, the main characters have grown up some after the events in Episode IV. The banter between Ford (Han Solo) and Fisher (Leia) is amusing as they carry on the classic love-hate relationship. This is also our first introduced to the great Jedi master Yoda (Frank Oz – who played Yoda in all the Star Wars films) and Yoda’s interaction with Hamill’s (Luke) character helps build things up for Luke’s confrontation with Darth Vader. We also get a more interesting performance form Hamill now that Luke is continuing his journey to becoming a Jedi. Also Darth Vader is once again an awesome villain and this time we learn more about his past. The confrontation with Luke is dramatic and riveting as it adds to the mystique of Vader’s character.
Technically, The Empire Strikes Back is even more impressive than Episode IV, courtesy of the Oscar nominated Art Direction team. Production Designer Norman Reynolds took over after John Barry (A New Hope) passed away during this film’s production and he led the team pretty good. There were times when the superb creations of Dagobah1 and Hoth2 looked like sets rather than real places but some of the digital embellishments improved those scenes. This is a testament to the quality of the Star Wars films, when remarkable lapses in editing do nothing to take away from the overall quality of the film. The visual effects were so outstanding that the film rightfully won an Academy Award. With a crew consisting of: Special Effects Richard Edlund (won an Oscar for A New Hope), Special Effects Supervisor Brian Johnson (recently won Oscar for 2017 Alien), Effects Photography Dennis Muren (who later won awards for ET, Return of the Jedi, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, T2, and Jurassic Park), and Optical Photography Bruce Nicholson (who later wins an Oscar for Raiders of the Lost Ark). Writer George Lucas, although not directing this film, also deserves some credit for being a strong influence in the special effects process and created some excellent sequences, which in turn helped drive the story along. This is a tribute to the high level of perfection that Episode IV held as well as being even more innovative with the special effects than it’s predecessors and subsequently being better than is successor.
Nonetheless, despite some of the most outstanding technical contributions in film history and an amazing story, one aspect that further enhance an already interesting story is the music. Composer John Williams once again takes Episode V to the next level with another astounding musical score by creating and expanding on the original themes. For Darth Vader he creates a new and even more unforgettable theme song that carries a more militaristic overtone, while Leia and Han have more clever theme songs that highlight their evolving characters. Williams expertly weaves the score into the film so that it enhances and highlights the scenes appropriately. He pushes the excitement, stiffens the tension, stirs the thoughtfulness, deepens the mystery, and distresses the tragedy. In end we are left with an amazing musical score that will leave audiences speechless.
Overall, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is a powerful and breathtaking installment into the Star Wars series. It’s unheard of when a sequel film is released and it’s rating exceeded that of the original film. Although George Lucas was not the Director of this film he still had a hand in the Writing, Production, and Special Effects which are even more amazing than Episode IV. The music score carries some similarities to Episode IV but this time it’s more operatic and helps cement the feeling within each scene. The cast is made up of new and old characters, the later having now evolved into more matured and experienced characters. Also since the characters have matured so has the overall tone of the film. It’s almost like some of the innocence and naivety that was in Episode IV has been taken out of this film and was replaced with a more darker undertone.
BEST ORDER TO WATCH THE SERIES:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Film (2016)
Star Wars Episode IV: New Hope (1977)
Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Star Wars Episode I: Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clone Wars (2002)
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)Star Wars Episode IX (TBA)
"Love you."... "I know."
- Princess Leia and Han Solo
Worth Seeing: 4.9 of 5 star
Worth Buying: 4.9 of 5 stars
I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back (1980).
John Carter (2012)
Rogue One (2016)
Star Trek 1 (2009)
Star Trek 2: Into Darkness (2013)
Star Trek 3: Beyond (2016)
Star Wars I: Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars II: Attack of the Clone Wars (2002)
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Star Wars IV: New Hope (1977)
Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)
Cast & Crew
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Jim Bloom ... associate producer
Gary Kurtz ... producer
George Lucas ... executive producer
Rick McCallum ... producer
Robert Watts ... associate producer
Howard G. Kazanjian ... producer
Music by John Williams
Cinematography by Peter Suschitzky
Production Design by Norman Reynolds
Set Decoration by Michael Ford
Costume Design by John Mollo
Mark Hamill ... Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford ... Han Solo
Carrie Fisher ... Princess Leia
Billy Dee Williams ... Lando Calrissian
Anthony Daniels ... C-3PO
David Prowse ... Darth Vader
Peter Mayhew ... Chewbacca
Kenny Baker ... R2-D2
Frank Oz ... Yoda (voice)
Alec Guinness ... Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi
Jeremy Bulloch ... Boba Fett
John Hollis ... Lando's Aide
Jack Purvis ... Chief Ugnaught
Des Webb ... Snow Creature
Clive Revill ... Emperor (voice)
Kenneth Colley ... Admiral Piett
Julian Glover ... General Veers
Michael Sheard ... Admiral Ozzel
Michael Culver ... Captain Needa
Bruce Boa ... Rebel Force General Rieekan
Christopher Malcolm ... Rebel Force Zev (Rogue 2)
Denis Lawson ... Rebel Force Wedge (Rogue 3)
Richard Oldfield ... Rebel Force Hobbie (Rogue 4)
John Morton ... Rebel Force Dak
Ian Liston ... Rebel Force Janson (Wedge's Gunner)
John Ratzenberger ... Rebel Force Major Derlin
December 4, 2017
Star Wars IV: New Hope (1977) --- "Nothing Can Prepare You For This Farm-Boy Who Will Blow Your Mind."
The Imperial Forces -- under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse) -- hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in their efforts to quell the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), captain of the Millennium Falcon, work together with the companionable droid duo R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) to rescue the beautiful princess, help the Rebel Alliance, and restore freedom and justice to the Galaxy. (1)
Hello, Movie Buffs!
Now what really made Star Wars hugely successful? Was it the casting, the music, the imagination, the ingenuity or was it the luck? The music score by John Williams is a masterpiece and the special effects were pretty great for 1977 as well as ensuring the success of the film for many years to come. The answer varies on personal opinion but one things that is for certain, George Lucas started a new kind of sci-fi films that offers excitement and joy while introducing new worlds, creatures, and cultures. The story went beyond everyone’s expectation that no one was prepared for the aftermath of a genuine legendary film. Essentially, Lucas dropped audience members into the middle of an intergalactic war between Light and Dark that has lasted for years and left a universe on the brink of destruction. And everyone, including Lucas, expected the film to fail but instead, it is an iconic timeless classic with a deep level of symbolism. The entire movie is like a sci-fi version of a WWI or WWII documentary film. The Force symbolizes faith and hope, as well as dedication and commitment to a purpose greater then oneself. The Empire represents the Axis forces (Nazi Germany, the Empire of Japan, and the Kingdom of Italy [until 1943]), mainly the Germanic Nazi’s in the form of storm troopers. While the Rebellion is the Allied forces (mainly the "Big Four": United States [from 1941], Soviet Union [from 1941], United Kingdom, and China) who later become the United Nations & NATO.