Appealing both to a new generation of viewers and fans of the series since the beginning, this 30-years-later sequel to 1983's Return of the Jedi is a thrilling adventure. Filmmaker J.J. Abrams has managed to capture the tone of the original trilogy while telling a story about young, vibrant new characters whose connection to the overall saga deepens intriguingly as events unfurl.
Over the past three decades, the Empire has regrouped, forming the First Order to crush the Old Republic for good. And the plucky Rebellion hasn't offered much resistance since leader Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) disappeared. The Empire's top henchman Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is searching for him just as diligently as the rebel leader General Leia (Carrie Fisher). But the real action is happening out of their grasp, as disaffected storm trooper Finn (John Boyega) teams up with rebel pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac) and then feisty scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) and expressive droid BB-8. Along the way, Han Solo and Chewbacca (Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew) find themselves back in the fray. And everyone is startled when there's a strong stirring in the force.
Abrams beautifully recreates the scruffy, clanky mechanical atmosphere of the original trilogy, infusing scenes with witty banter and John William's soaring score to throw us right back into that familiar galaxy. This includes the saga's main themes: the temptation of power, how true heroism is often accidental, and the tension between parents and children. Combine this with a plot that propels itself with a series of unexpected adventures and battles, all centred on the characters, and the film taps strongly into the teen in all of us.
Continue reading: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Review
After the victory of the Rebel Alliance over the Galactic Empire and subsequent demolition of The Death Star, you'd imaging life in a certain galaxy would be a little more subdued, but as we soon learn, life for Princess Leia, Luke and Hans wasn't exactly easy following their small yet essential victory.
30 years on and to most citizens - humanoid and alien - the stories of evil Lord Darth Vader and the Jedi Masters are just a legend, a story they tell their children that starts with the well-known overture: 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away'. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the seventh film in the Star Wars series and is an additional story to the original Star Wars outline.
The film follows a set of new characters as they join the battle and fight the evil forces once again threatening to destroy their galaxy. The Force Awakens was directed by Jj Abrams and sees a number of cast favourites return to the story including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.
For one, the film seems located in a neighborhood that's at least adjacent to the real world. For another, it features Clive Owen vs. Denzel Washington; like Batman vs. Superman but with fewer KAPOW!s. Lastly, it's got a sense of humor, remember those? There are those who will say that Spike Lee is the absolute last person you'd call up to direct a heist movie, since he'd never done anything remotely like it before. Ignore them, as he was the perfect director to bring in on this one, Inside Man being almost more a film about New York's gloriously messy welter of ethnicities than it is about a bank robbery. Though the robbery itself is something to behold, too.
Continue reading: Inside Man Review
Actually, the first to stray is the Wade family, when hippy dippy Mom (Kathy Baker) and Dad (John Savage) and their two teenage kids are forced out of their Mission rental due to rising real estate prices. They relocate to Hunter's Point, a tough gang-controlled black neighborhood where random gunfire is the norm. Mom and Dad are so full of liberal guilt that they express sympathy for the hoodlums who immediately ransack their house. Young Nick (Ben Crowley), who steals credit card numbers and deals coke at the finance office where he works, doesn't share his parents' views. Despite the fact that he likes to dress and act like a gangbanger, as so many white teens do, he considers the guys across the street to be animals.
Continue reading: Sucker Free City Review
Chan and Tucker are truly opposites. Jackie is known for his modest demeanor and amazing physical abilities, but not for his amazing grasp of the English language. Chris is boastful and outspoken, a shameless motormouth that just will not shut up. The pairing of these two actors works well. Chan provides us with the action and Tucker provides us with the witty comic relief.
Continue reading: Rush Hour Review
It's the third movie in a series that won an insane number of Oscars (The Silence of the Lambs) and was promptly followed by one of the worst films in recent memory (Hannibal). It's a prequel... and its big star (Anthony Hopkins) is about 20 years too old. And it's a remake of a minor cult classic (Manhunter), a fantastic film which will invariably stomp the crap out of Red Dragon in the history books.
Continue reading: Red Dragon Review
The life of demure, respectful teenager Kim (Bai Ling) is forever altered when, after being raped by acquaintance Daniel (Will Yun Lee), she discovers she's pregnant and is forced by her mother Mrs. Lieu (Kieu Chinh) - who blames Kim for the situation, and who's eager to minimize her own dishonor - to marry her spiteful attacker. Desperate to escape this miserable betrothed life, Kim eventually snaps, leaving the baby girl in her mother's care before fleeing for Hong Kong. Nineteen years later, Kim returns to Queens to attend her resentful daughter Genie's (Kristy Wu) high school graduation, only to find tradition-rejecting history repeating itself. Ignoring her grandmother's disapproving stance toward anything modern or American, Genie surreptitiously wears belly shirts that display her forbidden naval piercing, hangs out with non-Chinese friends, and has begun dating Michael (Anthony "Treach" Criss, frontman for Naughty by Nature), an African-American DJ whose skin color makes him, in the eyes of Genie's elderly guardian, an unacceptable boyfriend.
Continue reading: Face (2002) Review
A deftly updated homage to the screwball comedy stylings Howard Hawks, George Cukor and Billy Wilder, "Keeping the Faith" acknowledges right away that its plot, about two men of the cloth falling in love with the same girl, sounds like a lame bar joke.
It opens with the fantastic and versatile Edward Norton ("Fight Club," "American History X") playing a spiritually conflicted -- and at the moment, completely sauced -- Catholic priest, pouring his soul out to a patient bartender. "So there's this priest and this rabbi, and they're best friends, see...," he slurs into his beer.
The rest of the story goes something like this: Ben Stiller co-stars as the padre's rabbi rival for the affections of the magnetic Jenna Elfman, a long-lost friend from their shared Brooklyn childhood who pops back into their lives 20 years later, all grown up, sexy, sweet and irresistible.
Continue reading: Keeping The Faith Review
Sclock-horror maestro Roger Corman constantly reminded his writers of the vital importance of the first ten minutes of a film. That's when you capture the audience and set the tone for the entire film. Many filmmakers waste time with a useless montage or shots of a cityscape, etc. With the new horror film "Saw," we start exactly when the characters do: we suddenly wake up in a bathtub full of water in a dark room with no memory of how we got there. It's literally a birth into a new and uncertain world.
Two other recent films started this way, "Cube" and "Dark City," and both have become cult classics. "Saw" may be destined for the same.
First-time writer/director James Wan and co-writer/actor Leigh Whannell unfold their story slowly, giving information only as it's required -- or when it's unexpected. Adam (Whannell) climbs out of the bathtub and takes in his surroundings. It's a disgusting industrial bathroom with lots of huge pipes winding all over the walls and ceiling. He has no shoes on and his ankle is locked and chained to one of the pipes. A man lies in a pool of blood in the middle of the floor, a gun in one hand and a tape recorder in the other. A third man, a live one, Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) is chained to the opposite side of the room.
Continue reading: SAW Review
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