The Last Jedi Continues Disney’s Streak!

There was so much hype surrounding Star Wars: The Last Jedi that it would have been impossible to fulfil everyone’s expectations, but it gets very, very close.  Some slight pacing issues keep The Last Jedi from overtaking A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, but it comfortably vaults the rest of the films in the franchise.

The Last Jedi picks up directly after The Force Awakens.  The Resistance needs to flee their base, and Rey (Daisy Ridley) needs to convince Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to join The Resistance to help combat the evil Snoke (Andy Serkis) and his apprentice Kylo Ren(Adam Driver).

It may sound like The Last Jedi uses a lot of the same story beats as The Empire Strikes Back, and it does, but it turns those beats on their heads in some fascinating ways.  Sadly, I can’t talk about any of them without giving away massive spoilers, but for all those afraid that The Last Jedi just copies Empire the same way The Force Awakens copied A New Hope, fear not.  The Last Jedi is its own movie.  I so much want to give examples of how The Last Jedi subverts some of Star War’s tropes, but for your sake, I will just say that it does.

It is no wonder that after Disney executives saw this film they gave Rian Johnson the keys to the franchise’s future.  Signing him up for three more films.  The Last Jedi is gorgeous and lovingly shot.  I only wish that I hadn’t had to sit in the front row, so I could have taken it all in better.  If he finds a better editor, I am sure his new Star Wars movies will be fabulous.

Which brings about The Last Jedi’s biggest flaw.  It is long, and it feels long.  It is showing us some amazing stuff, so I understand the desire to linger a bit, but it could have been tightened up and been a much better film.  However,  that is my only complaint.  Other than that, The Last Jedi is everything I hoped it would be, so if you don’t have plans to see The Last Jedi like the rest of the world, you may want to go get your tickets.  Just show up a littler earlier to the theater than I did.

They Really Had To Streach For Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom…

So the movie is about saving the dinosaurs from a volcano?  I can only hope that they jump sharks as well.  I mean what the heck?!  Did they get a twelve year old to come up with this script.  That is the sort of thing twelve year old me would have come up with.  Then me and the dinos would jump from couch to couch so that we didn’t fall in the lava.  We can only hope Blue eats Owen.  That at least would be a surprise.  If nothing else it looks like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will have lots of action.  Big, dumb, action.

Hang Out With Coco’s Dead Family!

It used to be that every Pixar movie was a sure thing.  Then Cars came along, and after three mediocre Cars movies, a Bad Dinosaur, and an okay princess, people are wondering if Pixar can still deliver the goods.  Coco is here to prove that they can.  It is fun, heartwarming and it will make you cry like the finest films Pixar has ever produced, so please spend some time with Coco’s family both living and dead.

Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) wants to play guitar like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), but due to some unfortunate family history, music is not allowed in his household.  However, there is a big talent show on Dia los Muertos, but instead of playing in the show like he plans, he takes a detour to the Land of the Dead.

I have to admit the setup for the movie is its weakest link.  Banning a kid from playing guitar over something that happened generations ago is far fetched at best, and down right mean at worst.  However, once Miguel gets to the underworld this movie really takes off story wise.  Having Miguel deal with his issues while dealing with his dead family’s issues just works, and ended up being some of Pixar’s best work.

Speaking of Pixar’s best work, Coco is visually arresting.  It has to be one of Pixar’s best looking films, and it is one of the prettiest animated movies in existence.  The rich colorful world they created will be hard to forget, and I am sure that it will ignite the imaginations of children young and old for years to come.

Honestly the only real complaint I have about this movie is the twenty minute Frozen ‘short’ that is shown before the movie.  With Coco being so good, it is a shame that it is weighed down with one of Disney’s least inspired Christmas specials, and that is saying something.  At twenty minutes, the Frozen mini-movie is at least ten minutes too long.  Though it does get somewhat better as it goes along.

Another issue that some people may have is for those worried about Dia los Muertos’ pagan roots, and I don’t have a lot reassure you.  It depicts a pretty straight up version of the holiday, so you can decide if that is right for you and your family or not.  All that being said, I loved this movie, and the people at Pixar and Disney should be proud of this film.  I hope Coco is a return to form for Pixar as a studio because I am really looking forward to Incredibles 2!

The Justice League Has Finally Been United!

It has been a long time coming, but the Justice League has finally made their big screen debut, and for nerds like me it was a pretty great moment, but for everyone else it was probably just ‘fine’.  The movie had too many things to do and not enough time to do it, but the characters themselves were awesome.  Showing that if nothing else DC has a great casting director.

The movie starts pretty soon after Batman v Superman, and the world is still mourning the loss of Superman (Henry Cavill).  AKA The monster that everyone hated after Man of Steel because he destroyed Metropolis, but I guess you don’t know what you got until it is gone.  Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) has decided to take Lex Luthor’s (Jesse Eisenberg) advice seriously and get ready for an invasion, so he has to get a very special team together.

The team is far and away the best part of the Justice League.  Ezra Miller and Jason Momoa are great as The Flash and Aquaman.  Bringing their characters to life with so much fun and flare.  Ray Fisher was fine as Cyborg, but he wasn’t given much to do other then brood, so I will need to see more of him before I pass final judgement.  Gal Godot as Wonder Woman continued to be great, but the movie needed to pick up the camera off the floor when filming her scenes.  We get it, she has a nice butt.  Ben Affleck was given most of the heavy lifting in this movie to try and connect everything together, so sadly a lot of his dialog was exposition, and his character suffers for it.  Making him the least convincing member of the League.  I am not going to say much about Superman, other than he finally gets to genuinely smile, and it is fabulous.

Unfortunately the movie built around this great cast was not great, and honestly unlike everyone else I am not upset about the fact their villain was another gray blob.  When introducing three new characters you don’t have time to develop a villain, so random angry alien guy makes sense.  The problem was this movie was rushed.  The special effects are garbage.  The reshot scenes seemed to be filmed with a different type of camera on cheaper sets, so they stand out in bad way.  All in all this movie needed more time, and Warner Brothers/DC will no doubt pay the price for not delaying Justice League until early next year.

The fantastic cast of well acted characters made the Justice League work for me.  It has been a lifelong dream to see the League all together on screen, and slapdash special effects and poorly edited added scenes were not enough to ruin that for me.  For other people, maybe wait to rent or stream Justice League.  Though you will want to see it.  If only to get ready for Aquaman because after Jason Momoa’s fun performance you will be as pumped for it as I am.

Did Rotten Tomatoes Forget That Metacritic Exists?

So by now I am sure that you have heard that Rotten Tomatoes is withholding Justice League critic reviews and the ‘Tomato Score’ until it streams its new show ‘See It/Skip It’, and if Rotten Tomatoes was the only critic aggregating site in town it might make sense to use its popularity to promote its new show this way, but guess what?  It is not.  If you want to go see a bunch of reviews with an average score just click on over to Metacritic.

I can save you some clicking and just tell you that Justice League is doing okay.  Not great, but much better than Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad.  Apparently the story is rushed nonsense, but the characters are great, so if you love Bats and Wondy, there is a good chance you will like this movie because they act like their true selves.  In other words, the dialog works, so it sounds like the Joss Whedon part of the flick works.  I will find out myself on Friday and then let you know what I think on Monday.  If things work out as planned that is.

Anyway, if Rotten Tomatoes makes this delaying the reviews thing a normal deal.  There are other, and some may say better, places to get the same info.  In this case, Metacritic.com.