Showing posts with label John Williams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Williams. Show all posts

Friday, June 30, 2023

Review: "INDIANA JONES and the Dial of Destiny" is a Wonderful Final Adventure

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 29 of 2023 (No. 1918) by Leroy Douresseaux

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (1989)
Running time:  154 minutes (2 hours, 34 minutes)
MPA – PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, language and smoking
DIRECTOR:  James Mangold
WRITERS:  Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth and David Koepp & James Mangold (based on characters created by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman)
PRODUCERS:  Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, and Simon Emanuel
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Phedon Papamichael (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker, and Dick Westervelt
COMPOSER:  John Williams


Starring:  Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Antonino Banderas, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Thomas Kretschmann, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, Olivier Richters, Ethann Isidore, Nasser Memarzia, Karen Allen, and John Rhys-Davies, 

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a 2023 action-adventure film directed by James Mangold.  It is the fifth entry in the “Indiana Jones” film franchise that began with the 1981 film, Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Dial of Destiny finds Indiana Jones racing to retrieve a legendary artifact from a Nazi who wants change the course of history.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny opens in 1944, deep inside Europe during the Allied liberation of World War II.  Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. (Harrison Ford) and his colleague and fellow archaeologist, Basil Shaw (Toby Jones), are both captured by Nazis while attempting to retrieve “the Lance of Longinus.”  This relic is also known as the “Spear of Destiny,” the lance that is alleged to have pierced the side of Jesus Christ.  Adolf Hitler believes it can save him and his dying Third Reich.

However, Nazi scientist Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) believes that he has found part of the relic that can save the Nazis, the “Antikythera”or “Archimedes's Dial,” a device created by the ancient Greek mathematician, Archimedes,  Voller believes that if he can make the device whole it is capable of locating fissures in time.  As usual, Indiana Jones foils the Nazis.

A quarter-century later, in August 1969, Jones is retiring from his position as a professor and instructor at Hunter College.  He is approached by Helena “Wombat” Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), Jones' goddaughter and Basil Shaw's daughter.  She has come looking for the Dial, but she isn't the only one.  A Nazi ghost from Indiana Jones' past also wants to retrieve the Dial and to find its missing half.  Can Indiana Jones, now an old man, find the will for one more adventure to save the world from Nazi machinations?  Can he really trust his own goddaughter's motivations?

In preparation for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, I recently watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in its entirety for the first time in over two decades.  I have seen the first film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, countless times, and I re-watched its follow-up, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), in November of last year (2022).  I have watched the fourth film in the series, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), many times since its release.

I am happy to report that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is the best Indiana Jones since Temple of Doom.  It is a bit long and drags in the middle, but when it is time to deliver the old-fashioned Indiana Jones thrills, this film brings it with renewed freshness.  The two street chases, one in New York and one in Tangier, Morocco, kept me on the edge of my seat.  Indiana Jones on a horse tearing through the streets and subways of NYC is every bit as good as it could be.

Dial of Destiny is also blessed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Helena Shaw.  The script presents a very well conceived and executed character, and Bridge turns her into a character that can match Indiana Jones step for step.  Hers is not the only high-quality supporting character, but this film could not work without Waller-Bridge playing Shaw the way she does.

The best Indiana Jones villains are the Nazis, and Mads Mikkelsen as Voller and Boyd Holbrook as Klaber, Voller's crazy and homicidal lackey, gives us Nazis worthy of not only being punched, but also of being killed.  It's good to see that the Indiana Jones franchise makes Nazis plainly and clearly evil.  There isn't any “good people on both sides here” double talk in this movie.

No, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas do not return for Dial of Destiny, being listed in the credits as “executive producers.”  James Mangold has replaced Spielberg as director, and he does a much better job with this film than I expected.  Lucas has co-written the story for the previous films doesn't for this one, but the spirit of adventure and mystery he first imagined decades ago is strong in Dial of Destiny.

I understand that some viewers may be put off by the age of Dial of Destiny's star and title character.  I like that Dial of Destiny does not hesitate to grapple with Indiana Jones' age and about the grief and regret that have become a big part of his life.  It is nice to see returning supporting characters, Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) and Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), although it is a bit off-putting not seeing them so much older.  Still, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, with its themes of time and tide, of change, of new eras, of aging, of a hero in the sunset of his life, offers a perfect good-bye to a beloved hero.  It says that there is still a story to tell, but the story we followed for so long … well, that's over.

7 of 10
★★★½ out of 4 stars

Friday, June 30, 2023

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site or blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



Thursday, June 29, 2023

Review: "INDIANA JONES and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is a Nice Coda

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 27 (of 2008) by Leroy Douresseaux

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Running time:  126 minutes (2 hours, 6 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for adventure violence and scary images
DIRECTOR:  Steven Spielberg
WRITERS:  David Koepp; from a story by George Lucas and Jeff Nathanson
PRODUCER:  Frank Marshall
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Janusz Kaminski (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Michael Kahn, A.C.E.
COMPOSER:  John Williams


Starring:  Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, and Shia LaBeouf

There is that old saying, “you can’t go home again,” but you can.  It is simply that the present does not have the cherished golden glow of cherished memories of an idealized past.  With that in mind, in 2008, we saw the return of Indiana Jones to the big screen for the first time in 19 years.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is an action-adventure film from director Steven Spielberg.  It is the fourth entry in the “Indiana Jones” film franchise that began with the 1981 film, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).  Kingdom of the Crystal Skull finds Indiana Jones fighting a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind mysterious artifacts known as the “Crystal Skulls.”

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull begins in the desert Southwest in 1957 at the height of the Cold War.  There, Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. (Harrison Ford) and his sidekick, George “Mac” McHale (Ray Winstone), encounter the icy cold Soviet beauty, Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), and her elite military unit on a remote airfield.  The Soviets want something from Indy, but in the end, he barely escapes the nefarious Soviets.

Afterwards, Indy returns to Marshall College, where he is known as “Professor Jones,” and finds that things have gone from bad to worse.  The government is suspicious of Indy’s recent activities and forced Jones’ close friend and dean of the college, Dean Charles Stanforth (Jim Broadbent), to fire him.  On his way out of town, Indy meets the rebellious young biker, Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf), who asks Indy for his help in a deeply personal mission.  If he helps Mutt, Indy could very well make one of the most spectacular archaeological finds in history – the Crystal Skull of Akator, a legendary object of fascination and superstition.

As Indy and Mutt comb the most remote corners of Peru, Spalko and the Soviet agents are also hot on the trail of the Crystal Skull, which they believe can help the Soviets dominate the world, if they can unlock its secrets.  Peru, however, is not only the home of the Crystal Skull, it is also the place where Indiana Jones makes a surprise reunion and learns an even more shocking secret, as he and his friends desperately battle to protect the powerful Crystal Skull.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull lacks the old school, B-movie serial charm of the original Raiders of the Lost Ark.  It doesn’t have the gleefully and deliberately gruesome spirit of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), nor the comic charm of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

What Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull does have is entertainment value by the truckload.  This pleasing popcorn movie has a mix of action, adventure, and nostalgia that turns it into the perfect summer romp for an afternoon at the movie theater.

Why keep pretending!?  Karen Allen, as the original Indiana Jones heroine, Marion Ravenwood, is back, and that makes this somewhat inferior Indiana Jones sequel even more enjoyable.  Throw in another secret, and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a must-see for Indy fans.  Obviously many fans had questions and concerns coming into this new film.  Chief among them would be the use of CGI.  Between the time that The Last Crusade appeared and now, CGI has, for the most part, replaced practical and physical special effects in mainstream Hollywood films.

No, the use of CGI (which the filmmakers claimed was only used on 30% of the film) to create lush jungles, impossible fight scenes (like the sword duel between Mutt and Irina, most of it on top of moving vehicles), and exotic locales doesn’t ruin Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, although this flick lacks the grit and tough guy spirit of the other films.  But let’s face it; Harrison Ford is no longer a spring chicken, so this film needs CGI slickness to give the action a manic video game feel to it.  Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a modern action movie, and all the quiet, dramatic moments are used to merely prepare us for the next death-defying chase, whereas they existed for themselves in the early films.  Still, the modern touches work.

Set in 1957, the film drops many 1950’s cultural and pop culture tropes: Elvin Presley, B-movie sci-fi, aliens, Communism, bikers, etc.  The fear of being turned into the other or being forced into a like or hive mind is prevalent, as is Steven Spielberg’s familiar motif that knowledge only robs reality of its sense of wonder (OK…).  However, the age of their star Harrison Ford required the driving force behind Indiana Jones, Spielberg and George Lucas, to accept that it’s sometimes okay to grow up.

That’s why Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is ultimately less a sequel than it is a coda or epilogue to Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, which is likely the reason that Karen Allen/Marion Ravenwood, the most beloved woman in Indy’s life, is back.  It’s time to grow up and movie on, and what a silly and fun send off this is.  Flaws and all, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a good old American summer movie blockbuster.  As the credits rolled on the film’s happy finale, I realized that Indy and I were going our separate ways, but with wonderful memories as parting gifts.

6 of 10
★★★ out of 4 stars

2009 BAFTA Awards:  1 nomination: “Best Special Visual Effects” (Pablo Helman, Marshall Richard Krasserm and Steve Rawlins)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Edited:  Saturday, November 5, 2022

You can purchase the "INDIANA JONES 4-Movie Collection" Blu-ray or DVD here at AMAZON.

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site or blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Sunday, June 25, 2023

Review: Steven Spielberg's "EMPIRE OF THE SUN"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 27 of 2023 (No. 1916) by Leroy Douresseaux

Empire of the Sun (1987)
Running time:  153 minutes (2 hours, 33 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  Steven Spielberg
WRITER:  Tom Stoppard (based on the novel by J.G. Ballard)
PRODUCERS:  Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, and Kathleen Kennedy
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Allen Daviau (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Michael Kahn
COMPOSER:  John Williams
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers, Joe Pantoliano, Leslie Phillips, Masato Ibu, Emily Richard, Rupert Frazer, Peter Gale, Takataro Kataoka, and Ben Stiller

Empire of the Sun is a 1987 wartime drama and historical film directed by Steven Spielberg.  The film is based on the 1984 semi-autobiographical novel, Empire of the Sun, from author J.G. Ballard (1930-2009).  Empire of the Sun the film focuses on a young English boy who is separated from his parents and then, struggles to survive the Japanese occupation of China during World War II

Empire of the Sun opens in 1941 in the “International Settlement,” an enclave of British and American citizens in Shanghai, ChinaJames “Jamie” Graham is the only child of an British upper middle class couple, John Graham (Rupert Frazer) and Mary Graham (Emily Richard).  Jamie enjoys a privileged life in the International Settlement, but he keeps an eye on the activities of the Japanese who have encroached on Shanghai.  After their attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese begin their occupation of the settlement.  During the family's bid to escape, Jamie is separated from his parents.

Eventually, Jamie is taken prisoner and moved into an internment camp.  He survives by befriending the American expatriate and hustler, Basie (John Malkovich), and also the kindly Englishman, Dr. Rawlins (Nigel Havers).  Now, called “Jim” by everyone, he establishes a successful trading network that keeps him with food and necessities.  As World War II drags on, however, Jim realizes that he no longer remembers what his parents look like.

Last year, I began watching and, in some cases, re-watching early Steven Spielberg films, such as Duel, Jaws, and 1941, in anticipation of Spielberg's autobiographical film, The Fabelmans, which was released in 2022.  The film has long since completed its theatrical run, but there remained Spielberg films I wanted to see.  I had been putting off watching Empire of the Sun for 36 years, and my best resource to see it, DVDNetflix, is closing soon.  So why not see Empire of the Sun now?

What can I say?  Empire of the Sun is not one of Spielberg's better films.  It does not really have a narrative center, and the plot is unfixed.  The film plays like a series of anecdotes – many, many, many anecdotes – played over a film that runs nearly two and a half hours long.  Some of the scenes have great emotional impact, such as Jim's reunion with his parents and even that last shot of the suitcase in the water.  Still, overall, the film lacks dramatic heft and emotion.  It's too cold and is disjointed.  Instead of feeling like a narrative that flows from beginning to end, Empire of the Sun feels like individual pages from a children's picture book.

If Empire of the Sun is a coming-of-age story and a boys' adventure tale, then, the film needs a great boy.  That is what actor Christian Bale is for this film.  All of 13-years-old when filming began, Bale carries Empire of the Sun with the tenacity and acting chops of an actor more than twice his age.  Bale embodies the emotional depth and dramatic depth that this film lacks as a whole.  None of the other actors' performances approach his, not because they are bad, but because neither Spielberg nor Tom Stoppard's script gives them the space and material.

Spielberg makes this film seem as if its true purpose is to be about a boy and his wartime adventures.  Thus, none of the Japanese elements really feel as if they have the force of an empire behind them.  Still, the focus on Jim Graham works because Christian Bale is the child emperor of Empire of the Sun.

6 of 10
★★★ out of 4 stars

Sunday, June 25, 2023

1988 Academy Awards, USA:  6 nominations:  “Best Cinematography” (Allen Daviau), “Best Art Direction-Set Decoration” (Norman Reynolds and Harry Cordwell), “Best Costume Design” (Bob Ringwood), “Best Sound” (Robert Knudson, Don Digirolamo, John Boyd, and Tony Dawe), “Best Film Editing” (Michael Kahn), and “Best Music, Original Score” (John Williams)

1989 BAFTA Awards:  3 wins: “Best Cinematography” (Allen Daviau), “Best Score” (John Williams), and “Best Sound” (Charles L. Campbell, Louis L. Edemann, Robert Knudson, and Tony Dawe); 3 nominations:  “Best Screenplay-Adapted” (Tom Stoppard), “Best Costume Design” (Bob Ringwood), and “Best Production Design” (Norman Reynolds)

1988 Golden Globes, USA  2 nominations: “Best Motion Picture – Drama” and “Best Original Score-Motion Picture” (John Williams)

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site or blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Sunday, December 11, 2022

A "Star Wars" Link-o-Rama 2022 by Negromancer - Update #47

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

You can support Leroy via Paypal or on Patreon.


MARVEL COMICS - From BleedingCool:  The site has news on Marvel Comics' 2023 plans for its line of "Star Wars" comic books.

FUTURE - From Deadline:   After he is finished directing "Deadpool 3" and working on the final episodes of Netflix's "Stranger Things," Shawn Levy will reportedly direct a "Star Wars" film for Lucasfilm.

ANDOR - From CBR:  Season 2 of "Star Wars: Andor" begins production Monday, Nov. 21, 2022.

FUTURE - From THR:  Apparently, Damon Lindelof ("Lost," "Watchmen") and rising screenwriting star, Justin Britt-Gibson, are writing a Star Wars movie set after the 2015-19 sequel trilogy.  Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is reportedly set to direct. December 2025 is apparently the earliest date the film would arrive.

EPISODE VI - From SFGate:   The artist Marilee Heyer helped create the look for Princess Leia in "Return of the Jedi," and she wants to finally get credit and recognition.

DARTH VADER - From ScreenRant:  Actor James Earl Jones has apparently retired as the voice of Darth Vader, which has been performing since the original film, "Star Wars" (1977).  He has assigned his voice rights to Lucasfilm and Ukranian A.I. audio company, Respeecher.

ANDOR - From RollingStone:  Showrunner Tony Gilroy and stars Diego Luna and Genevieve O’Reilly tell "Rolling Stone" why the latest Disney+ show, "Star Wars: Andor," paves new ground for the saga.

ROGUE SQUADRON - From TheWrap:  Director Patty Jenkins' "Star Wars" film, "Rogue Squadron," has pulled from Disney's release schedule.  The film was due for Dec. 2023.

TALES OF THE JEDI - From Variety:  D23 Expo reveals the six-episode first season of the new animated Star Wars series, "Tales of the Jedi."  Each episode will be 15 minutes long and will debut October 26th on Disney+.

From TheWrap:  D23 reveals new footage from "The Mandalorian" Season 3 and Baby Yoda/Grogu is back.

THE ACOLYTE - From Deadline:  "Squid Game" star, Lee Jung-jae, will play the male lead in the Disney+ "Star Wars" series, "The Acolyte."

THE LAST JEDI - From IGN:  Director Rian Johnson says he's "even more proud" of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" on its fifth anniversary than he was when it first came out.

JOHN BOYEGA - From VarietyJohn Boyea, who plays "Finn" in "Star Wars" Episodes VII to IX, says that he is done with the franchise.

ANDOR - From Deadline:  The "Rogue One" spinoff, "Andor," has a new trailer.  It will debut on Disney+ on Sept. 21st, 2022 with the premiere of the first three episodes.

COMICS - From BleedingCool:  Marvel Comics "Star Wars" titles for October 2022 are revealed.

DISNEY+ - From DeadlineAmandla Stenberg ("The Hate U Give") is reportedly playing the lead the upcoming "Star Wars" streaming series, "The Acolyte."  The Disney+ series will be set during the final days of the "High Republic" era.

COLLECTIBLES - From Gizmodo:  EFX Collectibles is showing off its animatronic Baby Yoda/Grogu.  Article includes a YouTube link.

FANDOM - From Variety:  Actor Simon Pegg says "Star Wars" fandom is the "most toxic at the moment."

STAR WARS - From IndieWire:  "A Nightmare on Elm Street" star, Robert Englund, talks about helping his friend Mark Hamill land an audition for "Star Wars."

SKELETON CREW - From Deadline:  Oscar-nominee Jude Law will headline a Disney+ Star Wars series, entitled "Skeleton Crew."  The series is from "Spider-Man" director, Jon Watts, and writer, Christopher Ford.

OBI-WAN - From ScreenRant:  The "Star Wars" Twitter feed takes on social media racism in defending "Obi-Wan Kenobi" actress, Moses Ingram, who plays the Imperial Inquisitor, "Reva Sevander."

EPISODE V - From THR:  The late Irwin Kershner, the director of "The Empire Strikes Back," had the perfect retort for those who complained about the film's ending. The film opened to U.S. theaters 42 years ago yesterday, May 21st.

OBI-WAN - From VanityFair:   The magazine gets a behind-the-scenes look at three upcoming Disney+ "Star Wars series from Lucasfilm, "Obi-Wan Kenobi," "Andor," and "Ahsoka."

THE ACOLYTE - From WeGotThisCovered:  The site has production and story details and more on "Star Wars: The Acolyte," the Star Wars project from "Russian Doll" co-creator Leslye Headland.

OBI-WAN - From Variety:  The release date of "Obi-Wan Kenobi" has been moved from Wednesday, May 25th to two days later, Friday, May 27th.  However, Disney+ will release the first two episodes that day rather than just release the first episode as planned.

From EWHayden Christensen gives an interview to "Entertainment Weekly" and says that it is a great honor to put the "Darth Vader" suit back on for the new series, "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

THE MANDALORIAN - From THR:  Actor Christopher Lloyd (the "Back to the Future" series) will guest star in the third season of the Disney+ series, "The Mandalorian."  There is currently no release date for the series' return.

OBI-WAN - From THR:  At one point, "Obi-Wan Kenobi's" production was halted and the show was overhauled.  Reportedly, one of the characters that did not make it to the revamped story is Darth MaulRay Park who played the character in "Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace," had returned to play the character, but his scenes were reportedly cut.

From Deadline:  Disney has unleashed the first trailer for "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

From EW:  The magazine has exclusive first-look photos from the Disney+ series, "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

From EW:  Get a first look at Ewan McGregor as "Obi-Wan Kenobi" on the April 2022 cover of "Entertainment Weekly," the last print issue of the magazine (after 32 years) before it becomes an all-digital media brand.


OBITS - From Deadline:  In 1973, Alan Ladd, Jr., then head of 20th Century Fox, signed a deal with George Lucas to write and direct "Star Wars," died at the age of 84, Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

COMICS - From BleedingCool:  A preview of 3 covers and 6 interior pages from Marvel's "Star Wars: The High Republic #15," which is due in comic shops March 2nd, 2022.

THE MANDALORIAN - From StarWarsMarvel Comics has announced a comic book adaptation of the Disney" series, "The Mandalorian."  The eight issue series will adapt each of the first season's eight episodes.  Rodney Barnes ("Killadelphai") will write and Georges Jeanty will draw.

OBI-WAN KENOBI - From Variety: Legendary film music composer and Oscar-winning "Star Wars" music master, John Williams, is writing the theme music for the Disney+ series, "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

From Variety:  The next Disney+ "Star Wars" series has a premiere date.  "Obi-Wan Kenobi" will premiere May 25th, 2022, which is also the 45th anniversary of the premier of the original "Star Wars" (1977).

AHSOKA - From THR:  Actor Ray Stevenson of the History Channel's "Vikings," has joined the cast of the Disney+/Lucasfilm series, "Ahsoka."

LUKE SKYWALKER - From Esquire:   "The Unbridled and Mildly Horrifying Evolution of CGI Luke Skywalker" by Brady Langmann.  And he has a synthesized voice.

MARVEL COMICS - From StarWars:  "Star Wars: Obi-Wan" is a new five-issue miniseries that will launch in May and is written by Christopher Cantwell and drawn by Ario Anindito.

From BleedingCool:  The site has a 7-cover; 6-page preview of "Star Wars: Crimson Reign #2," which is due Wed., Feb. 2nd.

From BleedingCool:  The site has a 5-cover, 6-page preview of "Star Wars: The Halcyon Legacy #1," which is due Wed., Feb. 2nd.

From BleedingCool:  The site has a 3-cover, 5-page preview of "Star Wars: The High Republic: Trail of Shadows #4," which is due shops on Wed., Jan. 26th.

AHSOKA - From THR:  Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead is joining Rosario Dawson and Hayden Christensen in the budding cast of the Disney+/Lucasfilm series, "Ahsoka."

From THRHayden Christensen will reprise his role of "Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader" in the Disney+/Lucasfilm live-action series, "Ahsoka."

MARVEL COMICS - From BleedingCool:  Here is a look at Marvel Comics' "Star Wars" comic book solicitations for April 2022.

BOBA FETT - From IGN:  "The Book of Boba Fett" star Temuera Morrison talks about filming that "Sarlacc pit scene" from the first episode of the series.

MARVEL COMICS - From BleedingCool:  In March 2022, writer Marc Guggenheim and artist David Messina launch a new ongoing "Star Wars" comic book, "Han Solo & Chewbacca."

EPISODE VI - From Deadline: "Return of the Jedi" is among 25 films that the Library of Congress has added to the "National Film Registry" for 2021.


From ComicBook:  A preview of Marvel Comics' "Star Wars: Crimson Reign #4" (April 27th) featuring the Knights of Ren.

From BleedingCool:  Here is a list of "Star Wars" related comic book titles shipping from Marvel in July 2022


STAR WARS Movie Reviews:

From Negromancer:  "Star Wars"
From Negromancer:  "The Empire Strikes Back"
From Negromancer:  "Return of the Jedi"

From Negromancer:   "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace"

From Negromancer:  "Star Wars: The Force Awakens
From Negromancer:  "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
From Negromancer:  "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"

From Negromancer:  "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" (2008 animated film)
From Negromancer:  "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"
From Negromancer:  "Solo: A Star Wars Story" 

I Reads You "Star Wars Central" comics and graphic novel review page is here.


Amazon wants me to inform you that the link below is a PAID AD, but I technically only get paid (eventually) if you click on the ad below AND buy something(s).

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Review: Spielberg's "INDIANA JONES and the Temple of Doom" Still Goes Boom! (Celebrating "The Fabelmans")

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 71 of 2022 (No. 1883) by Leroy Douresseaux

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Running time:  118 minutes (1 hour, 58 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  Steven Spielberg
WRITERS:  Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz; from a story by George Lucas
PRODUCER:  Robert Watts
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Douglas Slocombe (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Michael Kahn, A.C.E.
COMPOSER:  John Williams
Academy Awards winner


Starring:  Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan, Amrish Puri, Roy Chiao, Roshan Seth, Philip Stone, Raj Singh, D. R. Nanayakkara, Dan Aykroyd, and Pat Roach

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 action-adventure film from director Steven Spielberg.  It is the second entry in the “Indiana Jones” film franchise that began with the 1981 film, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), but it is also a prequel to Raiders.  In the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones takes on a secret cult in India in order to reclaim a sacred rock stolen from a simple Indian village.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom opens in Shanghai, 1935Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. a.k.a. “Indy” (Harrison Ford) has been hired by Lao Che (Roy Chiao), a Shanghai crime boss, to find the remains of Emperor Nurhaci.  Che betrays Indy, who goes on the run with Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw), one of Che's nightclub singers, and Short Round (Ke Huy Quan), a young Chinese orphan who is Indy's sidekick.

After surviving a plane crash orchestrated by Lao Che, the trio ends up in a small village in northern India.  The village chieftain (D. R. Nanayakkara) believes that Indy's arrival is fated, and that he will help the village with two problems.  The first is to retrieve the village's stolen “Shivalinga,” a rock the villagers hold in high esteem.  Indy believes that this rock is one of the five sacred “Sankara stones.”  The chieftain also wants Indy to find the villagers' missing children.  The chieftain informs Indy that the village's troubles began when the new Maharajá reopened the Pankot Palace in Pankot, an opening that has brought back a “dark light” to the land.

Traveling to Pankot Palace, Indy, Willie, and Short Round discover that the Maharajá of Pankot (Raj Singh) is a child, and beneath his palace, the ancient “Thuggee” cult has also been revived.  The cult leader, Mola Ram (Amrish Puri), wants to find all five Sankara stones in order to gain power from the Thuggees' goddess, Kali.  Now, Indiana Jones has taken it upon himself to stop the cult.

For years, I encountered pretentious film fans who despised Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and who insisted that I should hate it, too.  However, I have always found Temple of Doom to be endlessly entertaining, but I also understand that it has a lot to live up to.  It is the sequel (prequel) to one of the most popular movies of all time and one of the greatest films of all time (as far as I'm concerned), Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a great action-adventure film precisely because the filmmakers were not trying to make “Raiders of the Lost Ark II” so much as they were creating a franchise.  Temple of Doom is essentially world-building, as the film, especially early in the narrative, hints that Indiana Jones has had many adventures.  So before there was Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, there was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  That is what I liked most when I first saw it and still like:  Indiana Jones was not a one-time great thing; it was new universe and a new series of adventures centering on an archaeologist who was as much a cowboy as he was an professor and academic.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom also remains the most unique film in the series.  To date, it is the only entry that does not have a single moment set in the United States.  Set in China and India, it is the only film in the series in which the main cast is largely non-white.  The film has an intriguing villain to open the story, the Shanghai crime boss, Lao Che, and a superb main villain, Mola Ram, the Thuggee cult leader.  Both actors play their respective villainous roles quite well.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is also the first film in the series to suggest that Indy has a network of helpers or at least a circle of associates.  For me, Short Round is an excellent sidekick, and he fits better than Kate Capshaw's Willie Scott, who seems like nothing more than a noisy dame.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom also has excellent production values, especially its costumes, hair and make-up, and art direction and sets.  The film won an Oscar for its visual effects, which remain impressive four decades later, especially for the scenes involving the lava pit and the chase through the mine's tunnel system.

I am watching and, in some cases, re-watching early Steven Spielberg films, such as Duel, Jaws, and 1941, in anticipation of Spielberg's autobiographical film, The Fabelmans.  I have lost track of how many times I have watched at least part of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but this is the first time that I have watched the film in its entirety in decades.  Watching it again, I am sure now, more than ever, that I love this film.  Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was the first sequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and to date, it remains the best.

8 of 10
★★★★ out of 4 stars

Saturday, November 19, 2022

You can purchase the "INDIANA JONES 4-Movie Collection" Blu-ray or DVD here at AMAZON.

1985 Academy Awards, USA:  1 win: “Best Effects, Visual Effects” (Dennis Muren, Michael J. McAlister, Lorne Peterson, and George Gibbs) and 1 nomination: “Best Music, Original Score” (John Williams)

1985 BAFTA Awards:  1 win: “Best Special Visual Effects” (Dennis Muren, George Gibbs, Michael J. McAlister, and Lorne Peterson; 3 nominations: “Best Cinematography” (Douglas Slocombe), “Best Editing” (Michael Kahn), and “Best Sound” (Ben Burtt, Simon Kaye, and Laurel Ladevich)

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site or blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Saturday, November 5, 2022

Review: Spielberg's "1941" - Raiders of the Lost Invasion (Countdown to "The Fabelmans")

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 67 of 2022 (No. 1879) by Leroy Douresseaux

1941 (1979)
Running time:  118 minutes (1 hour, 58 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  Steven Spielberg
WRITERS:  Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale; from a story by Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, and John Milius
PRODUCER:  Buzz Feitshans
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  William A. Fraker (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Michael Kahn
COMPOSER:  John Williams
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Christopher Lee, Nancy Allen, Ned Beatty, John Candy, Elisha Cook, Jr., Bobby Di Cicco, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Dianne Kay, John Landis, Michael McKean, Tim Matheson, Toshiro Mifune, Dick Miller, Warren Oates, Slim Pickens, Mickey Rourke, Lionel Stander, Robert Stack, Dub Taylor, Treat Williams, and Frank McRae

1941 is a 1979 comedy, war movie, and period film directed by Steven Spielberg.  Although not as popular or critically acclaimed as Spielberg's earlier films, 1941 began to gain in popularity after an expanded version of the film aired on television.  1941 is set almost a week after the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor and finds various California residents in a state of panic about an alleged inevitable Japanese attack on the state.

1941 opens on Saturday, December 13, 1941, at 7:01 a.m. (six days after the attack on Pearl Harbor).  Surfacing off the Northern California coast is a submarine of the Imperial Japanese Fleet, commanded by Akiro Mitamura (Toshiro Mifune).  Also aboard, as an annoying advisor, is Nazi Kriegsmarine officer, Wolfgang von Kleinschmidt (Christopher Lee).  Because he did not participate in the attack on Pearl Harbor, Commander Mitamura wants to destroy something in Los Angeles, in an act or honor.  He has decided to target “Hollywood,” although he and his crew are having trouble finding the place.

Meanwhile, in Santa Monica, servicemen from the U.S. Army and Navy have overrun the town.  Wayward youth, Wally Stephens (Bobby Di Cicco), is trying to hold on to his girlfriend, Betty Douglas (Dianne Kay).  She is the target of the unwanted attentions of Corporal Chuck Sitarski (Treat Williams), a member of a 10th Armored Division tank crew.  The crew, which also consists of Sergeant Frank Tree (Dan Aykroyd) and Private First Class Foley (John Candy), is suddenly dealing with its newest member, Private Ogden Johnson Jones (Frank McRae), a Black serviceman!

In Death Valley, the cigar-chomping Captain Wild Bill Kelso (John Belushi) of the United States Army Air Forces aims his fighter plane towards L.A. where he believes he will help fight off a Japanese attack.  Everything is going crazy around everyone, and there seems to be a hundred melodramas and subplots.  Can Americans stop fighting Americans long enough prevent a real Japanese attack on Los Angeles and the surrounding area?

I recently saw 1941 for the first time in preparation for this review.  Although I am a huge fan of Steven Spielberg, 1941 was one of his films that I was not really interested in seeing.  I found a DVD copy containing a “restored version” of the film that is almost half an hour longer than the original theatrical release.  When I was a kid, 1941 was considered a “box office bomb,” which is apparently not true.  The film reportedly did make a profit, but it was not as financially or as critically well received as Spielberg's previous films, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Jaws (1975).

For what it is, 1941 is way too long, even at its original length (1 hour, 58 minutes).  Still, it is funny in many spots, and, in spite of a really large cast, all the individual subplots and comic melodramas do come together so that the film does not feel disjointed.  I like that 1941 gives me a chance to see some of my favorite actors:  Toshiro Mifune, Christopher Lee, Warren Oates, Ned Beatty, and character actors:  Dick Miller, Dub Taylor and Elisha Cook, Jr., all of whom are now deceased.  Another favorite, Robert Stack, practically steals the film as Major General Joseph W. Stillwell, a character that seems to center the film.  And I'm always happy to see Dan Aykroyd.

One thing that really stuck out to me is that much of 1941 seems like a dry run for the action sequences in my favorite Spielberg film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, which would be his next film after 1941.  The action in 1941 is conveyed in a humorous mood, and Raiders, more of an adventure film than an action film, features action scenes that are breath-taking, but are delivered with something like a wink and a nod.

Regardless of where it is positioned in Steven Spielberg's filmography, 1941 shows that, as the guy at the helm, Spielberg's most impressive talent may be his ability to gather a large cast and crew and very talented collaborators in order to make really spectacular films that are epic in scope, even in their quite and funny moments.  1941 is not a great film, but there are moments during this movie when it is obvious that one of the greatest filmmakers of all time is the guiding force and the main man behind it.

5 of 10
★★½ out of 4 stars

Saturday, November 5, 2022

1980 Academy Awards:  3 nominations: “Best Cinematography” (William A. Fraker), “Best Sound” (Robert Knudson, Robert Glass, Don MacDougall, and Gene S. Cantamessa), and “Best Effects, Visual Effects” (William A. Fraker, A.D. Flowers, and Gregory Jein)

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site or blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Friday, September 23, 2022

Review: Steven Spielberg's "JAWS" is Still Hungry For Your Ass (Countdown to "The Fabelmans")

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 54 of 2022 (No. 1866) by Leroy Douresseaux

Jaws (1975)
Running time:  124 minutes (2 hours, 4 minutes)
Rated – PG by the Classification and Ratings Administration
DIRECTOR:  Steven Spielberg
WRITERS: Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb (based on the novel by Peter Benchley)
PRODUCERS:  David Brown and Richard D. Zanuck
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Bill Butler (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Verna Fields
COMPOSER:  John Williams
Academy Award winner


Starring:  Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Chris Rebello, Jay Mello, Lee Fierro, Jeffrey Voorhees, Robert Nevin, and Susan Backlinie

Jaws is a 1974 adventure drama and thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg.  The film is based on the 1974 novel, Jaws, by author Peter Benchley, who also wrote (with Carl Gottlieb) the screenplay adapting his novel. Jaws the film is set in and around a beach community that is dealing with a killer shark and focuses on the police chief who leads a team to hunt down and kill the creature.

Jaws opens in the New England beach town of Amity Island.  During a nighttime beach party, a young woman, Christine “Chrissie” Watkins (Susan Backlinie), goes skinny dipping in the ocean.  While treading water, something unseen attacks Chrissie and pulls her under the water,  The next day, local police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) and Deputy Hendricks (Jeffrey Kramer) find the partial remains of Chrissie's body on the shore of the beach.

The medical examiner concludes that Chrissie died due to a shark attack.  Still, Amity's Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) is more concerned with the town's summer economy, which is wholly reliant on tourism, and does not want the beaches closed.  Then, the fact that a shark, specifically a “great white shark,” is hunting the waters off the island becomes reality when the shark attacks and kills a boy named Alex Kintner (Jeffrey Voorhees).

After another attack, Chief Brody takes matters into his own hands.  He joins Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), a marine biologist who specializes in shark, and Quint (Robert Shaw), a crusty old shark fisherman, on a seafaring mission to hunt and kill the shark.  But that mission proves more difficult than any of the many realized.

I have seen Jaws so many times that I have lost count.  Still, the movie seems eternally fresh to me, in a semi-sepia tone kind of way.  Jaws fascinates me because it seems to me, at least, to be like three short films merged into one film.  The first section introduces the shark attacks and Chief Brody's misgivings and investigations.  The second section pits Brody against the town fathers, led by money grubber, Mayor Vaughn, who want the beaches open at all cost.  The film's final section focuses on the boys' adventure of Brody, Matt Hooper, and Quint going shark-hunting and ending up being the hunted.  As much as I enjoy the film's final act, I find the first section of the film to be the most intriguing because of its sense of mystery.  What is really beneath the waves, coming up to chomp on young folks?

Jaws is essentially the prototypical summer blockbuster, a kind of film that is designed to get as many people into movie theaters and chomping on popcorn and guzzling soda.  The blockbuster, especially the summer kind, is the cinema of the sensations:  thrills and chills to make the viewer's body tingle and get the heart racing.  The bracing action scenes keep the viewer on the edge of his or her seat.  Steven Spielberg turned out to be the perfect director of summer blockbusters – at least for awhile.  He could press all our emotional buttons and ensnare our imaginations so that all we thought about was what he wanted us to think about – for two or so hours.

Still, Spielberg's prodigious skills as a filmmaker are evident.  He is a superb film artist and a consummate cinematic entertainer.  He gets the best out of his cast and crew and creatives – from composer John Williams' iconic and ominous shark-presence theme to Bill Butler's expansive cinematography that turns this movie into a vista of natural wonders.  Plus, Spielberg allows his talented cast to really show their dramatic chops, especially Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper and Richard Shaw as Quint.  Even Lorraine Gary gets to make the most of her moments as Ellen Brody.

If I am honest, however, Spielberg has a co-captain on this ship.  Roy Scheider (1932-2008) brings the film together and at times, holds it together.  Steady as a rock, Chief Brody epitomizes the small town law man who has to save the town not only from the bad guy – a shark in this instance – but also from themselves.  I think serious movie lovers and film fans recognize both the breath and depth of Scheider's talent and that he was a mesmerizing film presence.  If Jaws is the film that shot Spielberg's career into the stratosphere like a rocket, Scheider can certainly be described as the rocket booster.

9 of 10
★★★★+ out of 4 stars

Friday, September 23, 2022

1976 Academy Awards, USA:  3 wins:  “Best Sound” (Robert L. Hoyt, Roger Heman Jr., Earl Madery, and John R. Carter), “Best Film Editing” (Verna Fields), and “Best Music, Original Dramatic Score” (John Williams); 1 nomination: “Best Picture” (Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown)

1976 BAFTA Awards:  1 win: “Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music” (John Williams for Jaws and also The Towering Inferno); 6 nominations: “Best Actor”(Richard Dreyfuss), “Best Direction” (Steven Spielberg), “Best Film,” “Best Film Editing” (Verna Fields), “Best Screenplay” (Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb), and “Best Sound Track” (John R. Carter and Robert L. Hoyt)

1976 Golden Globes, USA:  1 win: “Best Original Score - Motion Picture” (John Williams); 3 nominations: “Best Motion Picture – Drama,” (Best Screenplay - Motion Picture” (Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb), and “Best Director - Motion Picture” (Steven Spielberg)

2001 National Film Preservation Board, USA:  1 win: “National Film Registry”

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site or blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Friday, March 20, 2020

Review: "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 5 (of 2020) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Running time:  141 minutes (2 hours, 21 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action
DIRECTOR:  J.J. Abrams
WRITERS:  Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams; from a story by Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams and Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly (based on characters created by George Lucas)
PRODUCERS:  Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Michelle Rejwan
EDITORS:  Maryann Brandon and Stefan Grube
COMPOSER:  John Williams


Starring:  Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Anthony Daniels, Ian McDiarmid, Naomi Ackie, Kelly Marie Tran, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Domhnall Gleeson, Billie Lourd, Dominic Monaghan, Warwick Davis, Denis Lawson, and Joonas Suotamo with Carrie Fisher (archive footage)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a 2019 science fiction, fantasy, and action film directed by J.J. Abrams.  It is the ninth movie in the Star Wars film franchise's “Skywalker Saga,” which began with the 1977 Oscar-winning film, Star Wars, created by George Lucas.  Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is also a direct sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017).  In The Rise of Skywalker, the surviving Resistance fighters battles the First Order as the last of the Jedi faces the most powerful of the Dark Side.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker begins one year after the “Battle of Crait” (as seen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi).  Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is now “Supreme Leader” of the First Order, and he is vexed by mysterious broadcasts that carry the voice of someone claiming to be “the Emperor.”  Determined to find this “phantom Emperor,” Kylo uses a Sith device called the “Wayfinder,” which leads him to a secret part of the galaxy and the planet, “Exegol.”

There, Kylo discovers a physically impaired Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), the Emperor of the late Galactic Empire, long thought to be dead.  Palpatine reveals that he has been manipulating things behind the scenes, including luring Kylo to the Dark Side.  He wants Kylo to find Rey (Daisy Ridley) and to bring her to him.

Meanwhile, on the world the “Resistance” calls its home, Rey continues her Jedi training under the tutelage of General Leia Organa (archive footage of the late Carrie Fisher).  Thanks to a mole/spy in the First Order, the Resistance has learned of Kylo Ren's discovery.  Now, Rey, Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), BB-8, and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) leave on a mission to find a second Wayfinder, the one for which the late Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) had once searched, one that will lead them to Exegol.

Rey, Finn, and Poe will need the help of old heroes, like Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), and new friends, like Jannah (Naomi Ackie), if they are going to stop the forces of the Dark Side.  Kylo and Palpatine are plotting something called “the Final Order,” which includes a secret armada of the most powerful “Star Destroyers” ever assembled.

Hopefully, I can keep this review from running on too long.  The reviews for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, both formal and commentary from social media, are decidedly mixed.  Some think The Rise of Skywalker is the worst Star Wars movie ever.  Others have called it mediocre or average.  Some don't like one half of it and like the other half.  Some think it is the best Star Wars movie (1) in the sequel trilogy, (2) since the original trilogy (3) or the best Star Wars movie ever.

I think Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the best Star Wars film since the end of the original Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi, which was released in 1983.  I like everything about The Rise of Skywalker.  The directing, the writing, the CGI and the science and technology, the cinematography, editing, film score, costume design, art direction and set decoration, and, of course the acting.

Co-writer-director J.J. Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio give us a satisfying resolution to the story arcs of both Rey and Kylo Ren.  Finn and Poe Dameron finally get quality screen time that allows the audience to see the best of their characters.  A number of actors who have appeared in Star Wars films over the last four decades-plus lend their voices to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.  Lando Calrissian finally returns, with Billy Dee Williams making a star turn in each of his scenes.  Their are wonderful new characters (Keri Russell's Zorri Bliss) and the delightful return of familiar characters.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker also offers the revival of old plots, and the film contains numerous references to important moments in previous films (including the execution of a feat of power displayed by Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back).  Even the last shot of the movie references an important moment in the original Star Wars film.

I love Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker without reservation...  Well, maybe I think the movie is not long enough, because I could have watched another hour of it.  It is like a dark, but fantastic fairy tale, full of symbolism and magic.  So, you, dear reader, can take my sky-high recommendation with many proverbial grains of salt.  Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is my favorite movie of the year.  It is a fine end to the “Skywalker Saga”... or it is a satisfying goodbye until we see Rey, Finn, Poe, and our favorite Star Wars characters next time.

10 of 10

2020  Academy Awards, USA:  3 nominations: “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures-Original Score” (John Williams), “Best Achievement in Visual Effects” (Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach, Dominic Tuohy, and Roger Guyett), and “Best Achievement in Sound Editing” (Matthew Wood and David Acord)

2020 BAFTA Awards 2020:  3 nominations: “Original Music” (John Williams), “Best Sound” (David Acord, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, Stuart Wilson, and Matthew Wood) and “Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects” (Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, Neal Scanlan, and Dominic Tuohy)

Friday, December 20, 2019

Edited Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved.  Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Friday, August 24, 2018

"Solo: A Star Wars Story" Link-o-Rama by Negromancer - Update #52

Posted by Leroy Doureseaux - on Patreon.

From Patreon:  Leroy's "Solo" review is here.

From YouTube:  The official trailer for "Solo:A Star Wars Story."

From YouTube:  The first official teaser from "Solo: A Star Wars Story."

From YahooEntertainment:  The "Solo" Super Bowl LII TV spot


From BleedingCool:  Marvel Comics will publish an adaptation of "Solo," and a new five-issue miniseries that examines Han's time as a... Stormtrooper? It is entitled "Star Wars: Han Solo - Imperial Cadet."

From CinemaBlend:  Solo's Timeline Has Been Revealed, Here's What That Means For Darth Maul

From TheWrap:  ‘Solo’ Is Failing Because Disney Has No Vision for the ‘Star Wars’ Franchise (Commentary)

From WeGotThisCovered:  Disney responds to disappointing opening for "Solo."

From WeGotThisCovered:  Director Ron Howard talks about the soft box office opening for "Solo."

From Variety:  Box Office: ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Headed for Underwhelming Holiday Weekend Debut

From YahooEntertainment: A list of "Solo" "Easter Eggs."

From ComicBookMovie:  Meet Erin Kellyman who plays "Enfys Nest" in "Solo"

From YahooLifestyle:  Donald Glover, Alden Ehrenreich Talk ‘Star Wars’ Fans and Critics

From YahooEntertainment:  How Donald Glover's son plays with his 'Star Wars' action figure will make you laugh

REVIEW - From NYTimes: ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Answers Questions You May Not Have Asked

From YahooEntertainment:  Yahoo has "Entertainment Tonight's" full video interview with director "Solo" director Ron Howard.

REVIEW - From LATimes: "Solo: A Star Wars Story" never gets off the ground, but don't blame Alden Ehrenreich

REVIEW - From Vulture: "Solo: A Star Wars Story Hits All Its Marks — Except for the Most Important One"

From TMZ:  Original Han chats up new Han Solo and director Ron Hward.

From YahooEntertainment:  After it's premiere, strong buzz for "Solo."

From Vulture:  Donald Glover Talks About When He Told His Dad He Was Lando

From YahooHuffPost:  Mark Hamill may have let slip that C-3PO will appear in "Solo."

From EW:  Ron Howards says George Lucas changed a scene in "Solo."

From YahooEntertainment:  Donald Glover, Lando Calrissian in "Solo," gives fans a tour of his Millennium Falcon in this video clip.

From Variety:  "Solo" tracking for a $170 Memorial Day weekend opening.

From YahooSports:  Ron Howard participates in Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft.

From MovieWeb:  Alden Ehrenreich, Han Solo in "Solo," has a three-movie deal to appear as Solo.

From BleedingCool:   A new set of "Solo" character posters have arrived - 9 in all.

From YahooEntertainment:  Director Ron Howard offers proof that his brother, Clint Howard, is in "Solo."

From WeGotThisCovered:  Ron Howard says that test audiences love "Solo."

From CinemaBlend:  A Rogue One Character Has Been Spotted In The Latest Solo Trailer

From Variety:  "Solo" will premiere in May at the Cannes Film Festival.

From YahooVulture: An unnamed actor talks to Vulture about the trouble production of "Solo," including the problems the film's original directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, had.

From CinemaBlend:  The fired directors of "Solo," Phil Lord and Chris Miller, will be credited as "executive producers.'

From WeGotThisCovered:  Has the villain of "Solo: A Star Wars Story" been revealed?

From BleedingCool:  See the new international poster for "Solo: A Star Wars Story"

From StarWars:  "Solo: A Star Wars Story" Books and Comics Revealed

From EW:  Here's how a galaxy of new books will connect to Solo: A Star Wars Story

From WeGotThisCovered:  A "Solo" news blowout.

From SlashFilm:  Actor and director Jon Favreau will provide the voice for an "important alien" in "Solo."

From Vulture:  Why do some Star Wars fans want "Solo" to flop.

From TheWrap:  George Lucas stopped by the "Solo" set and ended up directing a scene.

From WeGotThisCovered:  Ron Howard speaks about why he took the gig directing the troubled production now known as "Solo: A Star Wars Story."

From WeGotThisCovered:  The "Solo" may make some kind of appearance during the Super Bowl...

From Collider:  The first "Solo" trailer will debut next week during ABC's morning news show, "Good Morning America."

From BleedingCool:  We may get a "Solo" trailer during this Sunday's Super Bowl LII (52).

From THR:  "Solo" seems to be the most under wraps Star Wars movie yet.

From StarWars:  The official synopsis for "Solo" has been posted at the Star Wars webstie.

From WeGotThisCovered:  The first teaser trailer for "Solo" is rumored to arrive Friday, Jan. 12th, 2018 during ABC's "Good Morning America."

From WeGotThisCovered:  "Solo" Lego toy sets revealed.

From EW:  Entertainment Weekly has all the photos director Ron Howard posted from the set of "Solo."

From DigitalSpy:  Christian Bale says he was in talks to appear in "Solo" as a mentor character to Han Solo back when Phil Lord and Chris Miller were still the film's directors.

From io9:  John Williams will compose the theme for "Solo."  Williams has composed the musical score for all eight mainline "Star Wars" films.  John Powell will write the rest the score for "Solo."

From BleedingCool:  There is a rumor that Disney is prepared for its young Han Solo movie, "Solo: A Star Wars Story," to bomb.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Review: "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" Earns Love, Draws Ire

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 3 (of 2018) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Running time:  152 minutes (2 hours, 32 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for extended sequences of sci-fi action and violence
DIRECTOR:  Rian Johnson
WRITER:  Rian Johnson (based on characters created by George Lucas)
PRODUCERS:  Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Steve Yedlin (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Bob Ducsay
COMPOSER:  John Williams
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro, Frank Oz (voice), Billie Lourd, Joonas Suotamo, Amanda Lawrence, Jimmy Vee, and Justin Theroux

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a 2017 science fiction-fantasy action film written and directed by Rian Johnson.  It is the ninth movie in the Star Wars film franchise, which began with the 1977 Oscar-winning film, Star Wars, created by George Lucas.  The Last Jedi is also a direct sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and the eighth Star Wars “episode” film.  The Last Jedi focuses on a young woman who takes her first steps into the world of the Jedi and tries to unlock the mysteries of The Force and the secrets of the past.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi finds the wannabe galactic rulers, the First Order, and its Supreme Commander Snoke (Andy Serkis), ascendant.  The First Order moves to destroy the main base of its enemy, the ResistanceGeneral Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) struggles to keep the Resistance one step ahead of the First Order.  Heroic Resistance pilot, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac),  leads the charge that gives the Resistance vessels the time they need to jump into hyperspace to escape the First Order.  However, escaping the First Order will not be so easy, and now stormtropper turned Resistance fighter, Finn (John Boyega), and mechanic, Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), must execute a dangerous mission to allow the Resistance to really escape the First Order.

Meanwhile, budding Jedi, Rey (Daisy Ridley), is on the planet, Ahch-To, where she has found the long-missing Jedi Knight legend, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).  However, Luke refuses to initiate Rey into the ways of the Force and also declares that the Jedi Order must end with him.  Frustrated, Rey also discovers that she has some kind of psychic connection to Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Luke's former student who turned to the Dark Side and now serves Snoke and the Resistance.

I found Star Wars: The Last Jedi to be as entertaining and as well-made as Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  It is quite thrilling at times and kept my on the proverbial edge of my seat hoping our heroes could survive the overwhelming First Order odds against them.  The Last Jedi is not exactly a “non-stop thrill machine,” but it is thrilling.  But neither The Last Jedi nor The Force Awakens are as good as 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars film.

I thought about why I feel that way.  I thought about it, and I think that The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi both suffer because Star Wars creator George Lucas did not have direct hand in making them.

For all the criticism leveled against Lucas by critics and fans over the decades, especially because of the Lucas directed “prequel” films, (Star Wars: Episodes I to III), Lucas is a wildly imaginative and inventive filmmaker and storyteller.  Each prequel film had enough subplots, characters, settings, worlds, ideas, and creatures to power its own film trilogy.  Lucas' weakness (relatively speaking) seems to be in the execution of telling a  film story via screenplay and directing (especially in directing actors).  Visually, Lucas' films seem almost too big for even the biggest movie screens, but that size and scale comes at the cost of the narrative.

The Force Awakens (Episode VII) and The Last Jedi (Episode VIII) are disciplined and narrow in focus, in terms of plot.  The Last Jedi focuses on (1) the struggle of the Resistance to escape destruction at the hands of the First Order and (2) Rey's quest to discover the secrets of the Jedi and the Force.  The Last Jedi is so focused that it looses the sense of wonder that permeates the original Star Wars films.  Instead, The Last Jedi references and remakes scenes from Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983).  Some people complained that The Force Awakens was a kind of remake and reboot of the original Star Wars film, but The Last Jedi does not do that as much.  [Strangely, I find that Rogue One, which is a side story connected to Star Wars 1977, comes across as a fresh, new take on Star Wars, while being true to the work of George Lucas.]

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a Star Wars movie, and I will likely always love all Star Wars movies, to one extent or another.  [Every time one is on TV, I try to watch at least some of it.]  So I love The Last Jedi and will give it a high grade.  However, this final trilogy (Episodes VII to IX) is starting to seem like fan fiction, created by writers and directors who cherry pick ideas from their childhood Star Wars favorite moments.  Maybe the current owner of Star Wars, The Walt Disney Company, and the filmmakers it hires to continue the “Star Wars saga” are really afraid of new ideas or too many new ideas.  Maybe, Disney got the message; the prequel trilogy looked too different from the original trilogy and audiences, at least the vocal part of it, were pissed.  Well, the Disney-produced Star Wars films will suffer for playing it safe.

Let me summarize my thoughts and feelings this way.  If Disney replaced the title, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with something else, say Alien or Predator, I would give this film a rating of 5 or 6 out of 10 at most.  This 8 out of 10 is the kind of love you show family.

8 of 10

Sunday, December 17, 2017
Edited:  Thursday, March 15, 2018

2018 Academy Awards, USA:  4 nominations: “Best Achievement in Visual Effects” (Ben Morris, Michael Mulholland, Neal Scanlan, and Chris Corbould), “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures-Original Score” (John Williams), “Best Achievement in Sound Editing” (Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce), and” Best Achievement in Sound Mixing” (Michael Semanick, David Parker, Stuart Wilson, and Ren Klyce)

2018 BAFTA Awards:  2 nominations: “Best Sound” (Ren Klyce, Michael Semanick, Matthew Wood, David Parker, and Stuart Wilson) and “Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects”

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