film word


 

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The Force Awakens is full of pomp and circumstance and it is not a particularly good movie but it is a good Star Wars movie. The Force is out of balance in this one. The CGI gets a B-, the diversity angle gets and A, the feminist angle gets an A+ and those angles weren’t thrown in the audience’s face. Everything else was rather sketchy the plot, the pacing, the dialogue, even the damn secrets.

Where to begin…Kylo Ren. This badass can freeze a laser blast with his back turned. He can sense his father’s presence when he lands on a planet, but he walks blindly down a scaffold searching for his father who is hiding 20 feet away from him. Ren spends half the film literally throwing tantrums while wearing a vocorder mask that he doesn’t need. Darth Vader had a mask on because he had asthma; Ren wears it try to be something he’s not. Even Han Solo says “Take off that mask, you don’t need it.”

The fact that Kylo Ren abilities allows him to kill Luke Skywalker’s Jedi pupils, but he battles the kindhearted storm trooper in a 5 minute lightsaber battle, should be enough to make any righteous Star Wars fan vomit in their mouth…just a little bit. Then Ren is bested by Rey, who may be strong with the Force but has never used the force, never been trained and who moments earlier said that the force was all a myth.

I know those are but minor quibbles…right, we finally got a good Star Wars film…just be happy. You could just be happy with your mediocre job, your mediocre car and your mediocre love life or you could want more, you could want better or you could just settle. That’s not all of the flaws you could take every major character and write a paragraph or two of WTF’s on them…really.

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The Star Killer base took forever to fire, and I mean forever. It was probably the longest 15 minutes in science fiction film history. A legend dies and their love ones just move on, you don’t even feel the loss.The dedicated Captain Phasma the platinum boss storm trooper just lowers the planet’s shields because, ex-storm trooper, Finn points a blaster at her while he asks her to.

After Han and Leia find each other Leia shows more warmth to Rey and Chewie than to her husband. Every scene Han with Leia seemed forced even that one tepid hug. Their chemistry is colder than the Hoth planet.

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Midnight: Rise of the Black Vampires is Part Novel, Part Graphic Novel, All Vampire

If the Republic was reorganized after Episode VI, then The First Order would be a ‘terrorist’ organization, and referred to as resistance. In The Force Awakens there are two separate resistance groups, one affiliated with the dark side of the force which can build starships, huge planet destroying machines and amasses great armies, the other affiliated with the light side of the force, which in 30 years haven’t changed the X-Wing fighter much, nor have they developed a missile, bomb or any other large scale weapon, also they seem to like to hide in jungles and dirty caves… So why are make a film about them again?

The Force Awakens foes produce an even greater respect for the first Star Wars films. All of the characters in The Force Awakens just seem conflicted; you don’t feel the evil just oozing out of Ren, just like you don’t feel the love coming from Leia. I don’t know why they needed Andy Serkis to play the Supreme Leader Snoke, he really doesn’t do much. I do know why…name recognition.

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Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Leia and Mark Hamill as Skywalker all perform admirably when they aren’t on screen together…especially Ford. Daisy Ridley’s performance as Rey is strong and vulnerable. The Force Awaken is a remix and homage, perhaps too much, of the original films.

The Force Awakens is one big trailer for the new few films in the Disney franchise anyway. The film is nonsensical, predictable, it’s fun and it moves along quickly, but it’s not enjoyable the way the original “Star Wars” was. The dialogue, comaradery and witticisms are nowhere on par with The Empire Strikes Back. If the producers didn’t want The Force Awakens to be compared with those legendary films, they wouldn’t have borrowed everything this film is from them. After you see The Force Awakens go back and watch Episodes IV and V if nothing else.

The first half of the film is pretty much littered with bullshit and nostalgia. The second half is really the meat of the film. The film gets a solid C because it’s fun and all of the characters have their moments, especially Finn, played by John Boyega and Rey. There is a bit of hope that those two get together but political correctness already has Finn in a coma and Rey rolling around the galaxy with Chewbacca.

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No matter how dire the situation is Rey never really needs any help, think Richard B. Riddick in 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick. Rey who has never flown can pilot a starship like an expert, Finn can shoot blasters and laser turrets like a pro. Rey can mind probe, mind trick and lightsaber duel better than Yoda…talk about being overpowered.

It will take a few more films for people to realize Luke Skywalker was really just some asshole living on an island planet, playing with people’s minds so he can use them as conduits for the force.

Through the prequels we have come to know the Jedi and the Sith as arrogant, ill-prepared bumblers, cowards and dark cloak wearing idiots… The best thing about The Force Awakens is that none of that exist here. There are moments in the second half of the film that manage to capture the magic of the original film, but even those moments are fleeting.

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Half way through the film Han Solo implores his new companions “Don’t stare!”, when all the director wants the audience to do is stare. This is how easy a mark the movie going public has become. Director J.J. Abrams wants to piss people off, he’s like Quentin Tarantino in a way. They both do things in a movies just because they can, not because those things are necessary. Abrams gives us views of  hollowed out AT AT’s, imperial cruisers wrecked in the desert and a mangled, burned and ripped up Vader mask as message to Star Wars fans; that message… you are boldly going where you haven’t gone before.

After seeing this film, you should realize that those singular Star Wars moments were never meant to be captured again.

 

‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’, is the sequel to Tyler Perry’s 2007 movie “Why Did I Get Married”. As many of my readers my know I try not to review Tyler Perry’s films because I have previously been compared to him, in some regard, and most of my reviews, while honest  have not been flattering.  The formula here is the same, couples bickering, exploiting emotions, and all of the marriage challenged have moral, ethical and relationship issues that usually get resolved by the time the movie is over and always with one character who is so horribly flawed that they are beyond redemption.

Honestly, Why Did I Get Married (2007) is when I thought that Tyler Perry had finally shown growth as a director, so I wanted to see this movie. The sequel’s story, though predictable, moves better than most of his films and the subject matter is still shallow. His films have marginally gotten better, but here we are almost 10 movies in and still Tyler Perry refuses to enlist real help with his film making.

This film picks up three years after the first movie, the four couples have moved on with their lives and are now taking their annual vacation. The location this time? The beautiful Bahamas. The couples all seen to be doing fine. Therapist Patricia (Janet Jackson) and her husband Gavin (Malik Yoba) have the perfect marriage and are moving on after the tragic death of their baby boy Noah. The workaholic Dianne (Sharon Leal) and her husband Terry (Tyler Perry) now have a little boy after Dianne had surgery to reverse the tubal ligation. Troy (Lamman Rucker) and Sheila (Jill Scott) are newlyweds and have moved from Colorado to Atlanta and have a little boy. Troy’s inability to land a job has put stress on the couple a matter which is complicated when Sheila’s ex-husband Mike (Richard T Jones) crashes their vacation. The ever mouthy Angela (Tasha Smith) and Marcus (Michael Jai White) are dealing with infidelity issues.

‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’ shows each of these couples attempting to portray that they have happy marriages, but before the vacation is over as we find out that real trouble is brewing. When the couples return home is where the couples face their problems head on.  Janet Jackson gives a nod to Tiger Woods in some very dramatic scenes. This film is where Janet turns in what I think is her best performance as an actress, sadly their isn’t much to see here. Now before you start thinking “he’s hating”, let me finish.

To say that this movie is cliché  and over the top are understatements, but what did you expect?  Sometimes the dialogue falls flat and the characters feel like they are on a stage instead of a beautiful island. There are several moments in this movie that will tug at your heart strings and tickle your funny bone. This is a film about relationships, love lost and found. Mr. Perry has continually assaulted my film experience since his arrival, and this movie is not totally good news for those waiting for the recently announced film “For Colored Girls”.  I said all of that to say that there is something about seeing the screen full of black actors and actresses that is refreshing… liberating even. There is something special about black people not being afraid of being black. This fact is something my fellow film critics will never get. Yes the Tyler Perry brand is formulaic and there are many things that can be said about his directing, writing  and acting. However, there is one word I have never heard someone say in regard to Tyler Perry, and that word is “Fearless”. And fearless is exactly what Tyler Perry is.  That is what ‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’ fully shows.  Fearless is what Mo’Nique showed by acting in Precious. Fearless is what Lee Daniels showed for directing that movie. They are all unafraid. So in that regard Tyler Perry thank you.

This movie gets a 7 out of 10 and that’s my Film Word.

This film is in theaters.

The Book of Eli is another post-apocalyptic films. However, this one leaves you with some pungent reflections. The movie follows Eli, Denzel Washington, as he heads west on a divine mission. The world is now 30 years after the big war and the planet is inhabited by gun-toting, motorcycling riding, violent, illiterate desperados. Picture Road Warrior and Fahrenheit 451 meet Border town from Beyond Thunderdome. The camera work in this film is excellent and it is good to see the Hughes Brothers back directing. With a backdrop of crushed building, abandoned towns, and sun bleached road, our hero Eli walks west.
Eli happens upon a small broken down town run by Carnegie, Gary Oldman. Carnegie runs the desperados I mentioned earlier. Carnegie’s life long quest has been searching for is one rumored sacred book, the book of power. He daily sends out these road warriors to collect books and of course kill. And wouldn’t you know it Eli just happens to be carrying the very book Carnegie has been seeking all these years. It is at this moment that The Book of Eli’s brilliance and it’s faults come into play. Eli escapses Carnegie’s clutches, but he has now picked up an extra traveler, Solara, Mila Kunis, and they head west together. The movie up until this point is quite simply amazing, really. I won’t say that the addition of Solar as eye-candy was unnecessary, but Hollywood’s tradition of marketing action films with a minority lead by populating movies with youthful looking mainstream additions is so Pre-Obama. So instead I will say that Solara was miscast.
With the addition of Solora the story struggles to regain its brilliance. This movie gets 15 out of 10 for simply having the guts to deal with religion on this level. Sure we get Carnegie’s name from the Latin root, yes we get the mission that Eli is on, of course we get the zealotry and social commentary, but what we don’t get is how the characters run out of bullets but never gas. I hazzar to say that this movie is more biblical than The Ten Commandments. The ending of the movie will leave you with questions, but the themes that run through the movie will stay with you long after the movie is over. High powered explosions, computer generated creatures, over the top villains be damned this is the type of movie Hollywood should be making. Denzel Washington’s low key performance is simply one of his best. If it weren’t for pandering to mainstream America this movie would have gotten 10 out of 10, but as it is MG give it 8 of 10.

The Book of Eli is in theaters now