Summary Thoughts on IT (2017)

So yeah, about IT. Well I saw it about a month ago and it is still resonating with me.

In general, I run hot and cold when it comes to the horror genre. Not an especially devotee of slasher/gore, I also do not take to many of the haunting psychological, other worldly horrors which are unleashed in many recent popular films (looking at you, Ringu). That is to say I do not actively seek it out or anything but I have enough of a passing interest to know what is on the landscape.

So I was aware of this film and my initial thought was “Why?” We already had a reasonably solid adaptation of Pennywise menacing a small New England town back when I was a kid. I will admit that at that time I had enough sense to bypass the miniseries although I do remember peeking into the living room as my dad (a Stephen King fan) watched on.

Enough about that … let’s talk about this version.

IT was not as ‘scary’ as I had anticipated, the horror was not such that I would stay up having night. But there was something about IT that did on occasion put the fright or chill in me. It was not immediate and something that I came to after meditating on the film in the hours and days after the screening.

What I was feeling was a sense of nostalgia about things that go bump in the night. Mine was recollection of the fright children (including me) often encounter, which is often the product or fully charged and furtive imaginations.

On the less terrifying side of this looking back, the film’s protagonists (in refreshing performances, I might add), are essentially my contemporaries, based on age and time in which this film takes place. So many of the references and artifacts of my childhood were conjured up and projected on the screen.

All of this to say, kudos to the production team for reminding me what a pleasure going to the movies can and should be. As an art form, the greatest achievement (IMO) is to be able to leave your audience walking away from your film with a variety of feelings, some rather common while others a little more personal.

In that regard and based on my experience with a nice handful of Stephen King screen adaptations, I would say that this is why IT is one of the more successful attempts, and in doing so, probably gets closer to nailing the author’s intent with this and many of his works. While there may be external forces which drive the fear and terror we experience, the real battle is very personal and internal. THAT is truly the stuff of nightmares.

July 2017 Viewing Summary

So another month has come and gone … and it was quite frankly a pretty sweet month for me at the movies.

After much delay, I finally saw Wonder Woman. This is the film that has made it 3/3 for me in the world of comic-based films (the first being this spring’s Logan and other being Spider-Man: Homecoming – more on that below).

Wonder Woman, simply put, is the superhero film I have been waiting for. It was an awesome, near-perfect balance of a standalone character backstory, packaged in a solid, compelling narrative. I will even admit that were a few moments that left me a bit verklempt.

Given the runaway success of the film, I hope that the producers take note and apply the adage If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – especially for a studio (Warner Brothers/DC Studios) whose track record with this “Justice League” franchise has been spotty to say the very least. Hint: make sure Patty Jenkins is still part of Team WW!

Next on the calendar was Spider-Man: Homecoming. Spider-Man has come home, indeed. Early reservations were immediately quelled with the Disney-fied introduction of the web-slinging teen in Captain America: Civil War. Coming into this film, I felt confident that I would enjoy it.

And boy I did. Post-screening, I was left more than satisfied.

Here are a couple of key items that Spider-Man had going for it:

  • An actual, relatable human villain. We are always told that one of the keys to a good story is a clearly motivate antagonist. We have that here.
  • Shades of John Hughes. While not always a huge fan of those “coming of age films” of the 1980s, this film did take the best of what those films have to offer to deliver a universally appealing teen story, which is the most age appropriate live-action adaptation we have seen.

Last, but not least, there is Edgar Wright’s latest outing, Baby Driver. Weeks after seeing this film, I still have The Commodores’ Easy swirling around in my head. In hindsight, this is an odd musical selection for a film which is by and large a high-octane homage and send-up of gangster films, replete with awesome car chases and snappy dialogue. Baby Driver was a fun ride with some wonderful sequences and a great soundtrack. In fact, the music plays a HUGE role in the film and it underscores and punctuates the action on the screen.

MAJOR props to the sound mixing department for at least two screens that perfectly synched with rapid-movie action sequences.

That’s all for now … as you can see, it was a pretty awesome July for me. How about you?

Bonus: just because I can …

FEUD: Bette and Joan

Here, at the outset, I will admit to the following – I was not particularly excited at the prospect of watching Ryan Murphy‘s latest televisual project on FX (FEUD: Bette and Joan). And not because of the subject (obviously). In fact, I have a great appreciation for both Ms.’s Davis and Crawford. The latter, in particular of whom I have developed a particular affinity for in recent years.

It also has nothing to do with Ryan Murphy – whose work I have generally enjoyed on level or another over the past decade.

I decided to meditate on what exactly was holding me back until I was able to figure it out. And here is my conclusion: I think it is to do with the fact that when I think of Bette and Joan, I am drawn to these screen icons and the film that serves as the series’ nexus Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? with a series of evolving emotions about it all.

In other words, while I enjoy the ‘horror’ and suspense of the film, something left me unsettled about how these women, who once were the queens of the studio era were reduced to grotesque caricatures and put on display for our derision and ridicule. All simply for the fact that they have the temerity to have aged. It is all rather disturbing and cruel on so many levels.

However, thanks to the recommendation of some friends, I put this reservation to the side and indulged in a post-TCM Film Festival binge (more to come). And boy, am I glad I did.

As the final episode of this first series has come to a close (on the East Coast), I can think of no way that this story could have been told with more empathy and movingly. FEUD is a story is a love note of sorts to women who the Hollywood studio/factory system so readily discarded and left to be footnotes in the history when they no longer saw value in their talents.

Sure, Bette and Joan’s was a well-storied feud – but to reduce it to petty machinations and entanglements of what took place does a great disservice. Thanks to some wonderful writing and acting, FEUD has really illuminated the full scale of the ‘rivalry,’ which in many ways was orchestrated and agitated by several outside influences, including the public itself.

As for the two women caught up in the tumult, Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange, in their takes on Davis and Crawford, give noteworthy performances that peel away the layers of these women to reveal how their back and forth played into and off of their personal demons and insecurities.

Granted, while FEUD is based on actual events, you have to make a few narrative allowances, such as overt exposition about what happened and a bit of melodrama. One standout event of the series is their notorious clash at the 1963 Academy Awards –  an event which Davis friend Olivia deHavilland recently dismissed as not being of much consequence. On the other hand, there is the conceit many audience members may not know the particulars and history of the Baby Jane co-stars, so a little exposition goes a long way.

It is my sincere hope that for any members of the viewing public who may have come into this story cold, I encourage you to examine these women and their careers beyond this hagsploitation (what a word) phase in their body of work.

At its best, FEUD gives its audience enough of a moving and empathetic account of the people, places and events to make us take another look at these women in particular and women in Hollywood in general (both past and present) and how they are treated.


Summary Thoughts on “Logan” (2017)

This has taken way, way too long to make its way to my blog.  But it is here now so let’s have at it – my thoughts on the recent release Logan. Stated plainly, Logan was not only a superior part of the “Hugh Jackman as Wolverine” franchise, but in general, it is a superior superhero film. Full stop. Unlike most films of its genre, which often hint at the “allegory for humanity,” Logan has a heart and pulse running through it which is distinctly relateable whether or not you are a mutant with enhanced powers.

If I am honest, I vaguely recall the actions of the preceding two films leading into this chapter (note – the previous installment was also written and directed by James Mangold). I chalk this mostly down to them essentially being pretty forgettable. As a result, I more or less was going into this third (and final) installment with no additional information save for the fact that it was a Wolverine film.

Set several years into the future, the audience is transported to a world where mutants (those uncanny X-Men) , those that are alive are basically relegated to the fringes of society. Logan (Jackman) is currently caring for an ailing Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) with the aid of fellow mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant). Of course, a quiet life in a remote location is not in the cards for our protagonists. A mysterious woman (Elizabeth Rodriguez) enters the scene requesting that Logan help her protect a young child in her charge, Laura (newcomer Dafne Keen). There are some bad men lead by Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) after her for reasons that become apparent as the movie progresses; I will spare you the details here just in case you have not seen the film.

For me, what proceeds from this point in the story is quite reminiscent of 2006’s Alfonso Cuaron project Children of Men, a tale that also involves a somewhat reluctant man traveling across an expanse with the goal of escorting someone to a destination that is a sign of hope in a world seemingly devoid of it.

Another movie reference which informs, is featured and runs parallel to the actions of Logan is the similarly eponymous title, Shane – the 1953 western drama directed by George Stevens. Now, for all my classic film buffs, this on-the-nose reference should be enough to give you a general sense of where we are likely to be headed with respect to Logan.

As I mentioned at the open, above all else, this is a story about aging, relationships and what it really means to live, love and be a part of the world (or not). Yes, it is that much 🙂 In short, Logan really packed an emotional punch.

The performances top to bottom were engaging and noteworthy. Of particular note, I would like to call out young Dafne Keen and Jackman (of course). In his final go as our favorite adamantium-infused, ‘anti-hero,’ we feel the weight of the burdens the man carries and the journey he is on throughout as he comes to terms with his place in the world.

One final note, with Logan, not only are we being offered up this wonderful character drama, but there are some pretty solid tension-filled action sequences woven into the narrative to scratch that itch. The end result is a very satisfying outing to the cinema.

Have you seen Logan? Let me know what you thought

Logan James Mangold Hugh Jackman

Umberto D. (1952): A Lovely Introduction to Italian Neorealism

Something washed over me when I was watching Umberto D., the 1952 classic Italian neorealist film directed by Vittorio De Sica.

In the wake of Ken Loach‘s masterful I, Daniel Blake, I felt a sense of deja-vu in reverse. The similarities were jarring – the tale of a poor, elderly pensioner (Carlo Battisti) for whom the social safety net has failed, resulting in him struggling to regain his footing and dignity in a seemingly indifferent world. In Umberto D., this “world” is embodied not only in the form inadequate pension compensation but also in the person of the landlady (Lina Gennari) of the Roman boarding house where Umberto resides. Due to back rent due, Umberto is facing eviction.  Through this struggle, there are a few bright spots, his loyal four-legged companion Flike and the young maid (Maria-Pia Casilio) who manages the housekeeping for the boarding house. In the latter, he finds a kindred soul for she is struggling with her own personal crises – being an unwed young woman who has fallen pregnant.

As the film progresses, so does Umberto’s desperation to try to hold onto something of a normal life and not one of absolute destitution and homelessness. The story builds and builds to a harrowing climax, which is sure to leave you on the verge, if not in a full state of tears. By the time the word Fin appears on the screen, you are left with a feeling that is part life-affirming, part uncertainty about what the future possibly holds.

I really do not know what else to say about this film – it is a simple story beautifully told and portrayed. Often, the most impactful moments are captured with the bare minimum dialogue. It’s in the quiet, still moments, when we see our characters wearing their weariness on their faces, that the story is at its most profound and poetic.

Italian neorealism is not something that I am overly familiar with except in the general knowledge that it was a popular movement in a post-war environment, punctuated by stories of the of the working- or under- class. On the heels of Umberto D., my interest is definitely piqued.

Umberto D. is available on Criterion DVD/BluRay as well as iTunes.

My Take on “Get Out” (2017)

Where does one begin with Get Out? I feel as if I can’t even put much together in terms of a critical analysis since I am, hours later, still trying not to stumble over my thoughts as to what all of it means. This alone is one reason that makes this feature, written and directed by Jordan Peele, a must-see – even if you are not a fan of the horror genre.

As was brought up to me earlier today in a conversation with a friend, Get Out has carved out a space in the horror genre which has been the often abandoned or forgotten for the splashier (pun intended) torture porn of recent years. Get Out is a psychological trip that serves as an allegory; in other words, it is not horror for the sake of horror. And that – at the end of the day – is what makes it so terrifying. It is telling us a story that is a glimpse into our own realities, whether we fully realize it or not.

DANIEL KALUUYA as Chris Washington in Universal Pictures’ “Get Out,” a speculative thriller from Blumhouse (producers of “The Visit,” “Insidious” series and “The Gift”) and the mind of Jordan Peele. When a young African-American man visits his white girlfriend’s family estate, he becomes ensnared in a more sinister real reason for the invitation.

As a critique of race relations in America, this film is a clear rebuke of how we engage and interact with one another cross-culturally, particularly when African Americans enter predominantly white spaces. In that way, Peele gives equal presentation – from trading in racial stereotypes, to the supposed more enlightened or “liberal stance” some might take. This latter attitude is most pronounced in the presentation of the protagonist Chris’ (Daniel Kaluuya) girlfriend’s parents, played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener. They are so “down,” they would have voted for Obama a third time (insert chuckle here).

But let me pause – I am getting a little ahead of myself.

From the outset, Peele frames the story by starting with a (seemingly unconnected) breadcrumb that will have some payoff a little later in the story. After this cold open, we are introduced to Chris, a young, successful photographer who is about to embark on a weekend trip to meet the aforementioned parents of his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams). Chris and Rose’s interaction includes some cute and ultimately benign dialogue where they make light of the racial dynamics of their relationship.

As I write this out, that is actually kind of where I want to leave things, plot-wise, if I am honest. Establishing that Chris and Rose are headed from the city to her parents’ crib out in the ‘burbs is enough of a setup in my opinion. Mainly because you know that things are going to take a decidedly dark turn and likely spiral into a terrifying hellscape – with this being a horror film and all … That said, the journey to this destination is worth it because not only are you getting moments that will offer up a jump scare or two, but woven into the narrative fabric are some light moments, mainly in the form of Chris’ bestie Rod (LilRel Howery). This levity has added another layer to an already entertaining and enthralling piece of filmmaking.

Of course, the centerpiece of all of this is the cleverly constructed allegory which I have previously alluded to. There are moments where it really drives home the effect that these social interactions have on the likes of Chris. One quote in particular, at a point in the story where all is essentially revealed, really is stuck in my head and probably will be there for quite some time. It might be minor in the larger arc of the story, but it is something that really resonates with me.

So as you can tell, I really enjoyed Get Out. With its blend of terror, humor and social commentary, it is an accessible piece of movie making worthy of a look.

(L to R) Missy (CATHERINE KEENER), Dean (BRADLEY WHITFORD), Rose (ALLISON WILLIAMS), Georgina (BETTY GABRIEL) and Chris (DANIEL KALUUYA) in Universal Pictures’ “Get Out,” a speculative thriller from Blumhouse (producers of “The Visit,” “Insidious” series and “The Gift”) and the mind of Jordan Peele. When a young African-American man visits his white girlfriend’s family estate, he becomes ensnared in a more sinister real reason for the invitation.

I Am Not Your Negro (2016/7)

Where does one begin with this amazing documentary and make no mistake – let’s get that out of the way – this is an AMAZING documentary that I recommend everyone seek and discover.

In these uncertain times, I have often found myself at a loss of words on how to articulate exactly what I feel as I look at the world around me. On that level alone, the Academy Award ®-nominated I Am Not Your Negro could not have come at a more perfect time. After watching this documentary, I felt as if many others and myself are given a voice through the eloquent thoughtful words of James Baldwin.

Based on a 30-page manuscript from an abandoned 1979 project wherein Baldwin set out to detail a personal account of the lives and deaths of friends and civil rights icons Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Although the project never went past these few pages, they are more than enough to be brought to life through the voice of Samuel L. Jackson.

The eloquence of the spoken words is accompanied with a wonderful visual language that director Raoul Peck has chosen to broaden out this original story to examine race relations in America.

As someone who (obviously) loves the language of film, I must say this cinematic technique was really put to good use. Archival interviews featuring Baldwin, photographs of the past and present, clips from classic Hollywood films, as well as contemporaneous images chronicling current events are beautifully woven to tell a story that is both very personal as well as serve a larger narrative purpose.

Often when you watch a documentary film, one tries to decipher what the central thesis of the work is. As the story revealed itself to me, I almost immediately registered that the filmmakers are trying to drive home one simple fact: history is not the past, it is now. Sure, some events may have happened in the past and as such, are a matter of record in the present. But never forget – the events of the past are alive and all around us, informing us as we journey through our lives. And sure enough, as the film neared its conclusion at 90 minutes, Baldwin in his own words said very much the same thing as if speaking to the audience from whatever realm he currently inhabits.

And given the dour circumstances and moments the documentary captured, there is a lovely and emotional chord of optimism struck at the end.

I Am Not Your Negro is an instructive and masterful work that will touch your heart and mind with its powerful message.

Fences (2016) – from the Great White Way to the Silver Screen

Many years ago, I had the great pleasure of seeing Denzel Washington and Viola Davis perform the August Wilson play Fences on Broadway. Fast forward a few years later, imagine my surprise (?) when news came out that they would be reprising their roles for the big screen. Of course, the cynical side of me immediately went to this being the ideal awards-bait. This status was further assured when the release date was announced. Would I allow this cynicism to deter me from seeing what is sure to be a cinematic display of tour-de-force acting (which it was, by the way)? Well, obviously I am writing about it, so I did not let this transient thought dissuade me one bit.

With a screenplay from the late playwright August Wilson and directed by star Washington, Fences is part six of Wilson’s ten-part saga (“The Pittsburgh Cycle”), which chronicles the African-American experience during each decade of the 20th century.

Set in the late 1950’s, Fences tells the story of Troy Maxson (Washington), a Pittsburgh sanitation employee married to Rose (Davis), devoted wife and mother to their teenage child Cory (Jovan Adepo). Troy is a former Negro League baseball player who showed a great deal of promise until his life takes an ill-fated turn. It is this life-altering event which forever changes Troy and leaves him with a great deal of “bitterness,” a bitterness which becomes more apparent as our story progresses.

But I am getting a little ahead of myself here. By all accounts, given the time and circumstances under which they live, the Maxsons have a rather ordinary and stable home life, which includes visits from Troy’s recently departed (from their shared home) disabled brother Gabriel (Mykelti Williamson, reprising his stage role) and Troy’s eldest son Lyons (Russel Hornsby, reprising his stage role) from a previous marriage. Another member of the extended Maxson clan is Jim Bono (Stephen McKinley Henderson, reprising his stage role), Troy’s coworker and best friend.

As earlier mentioned, eventually the combined impact of Troy’s feelings about the course of his life and a myriad of forces from the outside world collide and manifest themselves, impacting the internal life of the family; I will leave it to you to see how fences come into play.

Beyond the literal and/or figurative meaning of “fences,” we have a dynamic family drama which unfolds beyond our eyes. Maybe because of my nearly seven-year separation from seeing the stage production, I was able to simply watch and enjoy without playing that mental game of “checking off the plot points.” Not doing this allowed more than a handful of scenes to really pack a punch and emotionally resonate with me.

One thing that always makes or breaks a movie adaptation of a stage play for me is the way in which the environment that surrounds the central action is presented on screen. In other words, how much the “visual world” of the story is represented on film. At its worst, it can go either the direction of being too isolated (maintaining the “single set” feeling stage plays are generally confined to) or go way too big – this usually feels like the film production is all too aware of matters of scale and therefore attempts to remedy this by expanding the movie to what they perceive will make it better suited for the cinema. Fences strikes this balance quite well. In fact, such a personal, intimate family drama lends itself to this visual storytelling.

One final point I had made note to point out as I reviewed Fences was the physicality of Mr. Washington. This is more a credit to how well he has aged over the years than anything else in my opinion, but I do remember thinking to myself as I watched the stage show, that he looked a little young in the role. So fast forward to the film adaptation, and I have to say that just the look of him really seemed to suit the character of a world-weary Troy Maxson much better.

As I reflect on these words, I really did not anticipate that this post was going to heavily rely on me comparing my stage and screen experiences, but I guess that was inevitable, especially as I enjoyed each in its particular medium. Not sure when (and if) this play will ever return to the Great White Way, but in case it doesn’t I highly recommend you take the opportunity to catch it at your local movie theater.

Sing Street (2016)

Maybe somewhere buried in this blog (or maybe not), I have talked about my unwavering love of music from the 1980s. Hands down and without a doubt it is a favorite period of mine. Just talking about the sounds of the era automatically fill me up with a sense of nostalgia.

I guess some of my friends know me and my penchant for this period well enough because it is a mate of mine who recommended I watch the film I will be discussing (Sing Street). And boy, I am very glad I took her up on her recommendation 🙂

Sing Street, which made its premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, is written and directed by John Carney (Once, Begin Again). Set in 1985 Dublin, this musical/drama/comedy tells the story of teenaged Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), whose life is turned upside down when he is told by his parents (Aiden Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy) that due to money problems, he will have to leave his tuition fee-paying school and enroll in a local state (free) school, Synge Street CBS (Carney was a former pupil here).

Almost immediately, he finds himself on the wrong side of things with the school bully (Ian Kenny) as well as with the hard-nosed school principal, Brother Baxter (Don Wycherley).

At the same time, Conor makes an immediate connection with a beautiful yet mysterious young woman, Raphina (Lucy Boynton); he attempts to win her over by asking if she would like to feature in his band’s music video. Only problem? He doesn’t actually have a band – well not yet anyway. Conor uses this moment to set in motion the formation of a band (named “Sing Street” of the title), comprised of a few of his classmates. At the start, they primarily cover 1980’s pop songs. Then at the recommendation of his ne’er do well older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor), himself a self-proclaimed music aficionado, Conor decides to take up the task of producing original music with fellow bandmate and instrumentalist extraordinaire Eamon (Mark McKenna).

I think I will stop here in terms of providing you all with a plot synopsis 🙂 What follows is an inspiring story which has its fair share of laughter, drama, and joy. Sing Street has a heart and musical soul that will remain with you well after the credits roll.

And speaking of music – major props to the composer Gary Clark for the work he did on this film. His original music wonderfully captured the tones and the sounds of the era as they accompanied the songwriting efforts of John Carney, Ken and Carl Papenfus (of the Northern-Irish band Relish), Graham Henderson and Zamo Riffman (Source: Wikipedia).

In addition to this original music, Sing Street also features songs from established acts including The Cure, A-ha, Duran Duran, The Clash, Hall & Oates, Spandau Ballet, and The Jam. And in case you are wondering, YES – many of the songs did make it onto the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.

As I mentioned in my previous post recapping 2016, Sing Street was one of the highlights of my moviegoing year.

If you love music from the 1980s and are intrigued by “small” stories that are “big” with emotional resonance, then I cannot recommend Sing Street highly enough.

Have any of you seen this film? What did you think of it? Hit me up in the Comments section below.

Star Wars’ Rogue One – A Standout Standalone in the Galactic Series

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was just about any and everything you could hope for in a story where you (kinda?) know what the overall outcome is. Or at the very least, it is a story which will answer some of those lingering questions a Star Wars movie fan might have had, but were not addressed elsewhere.

Like most films I have gone to the theater to see as of late, I went into Rogue One actually knowing very little about it in terms of plot. Of course, I can’t take full credit for this, since it was widely reported that there were several reshoots done to “correct” some of the issues the studio (Disney) had with the movie even as information was being shared with the public. In most cases, knowing this bit of information would not leave me feeling that good about the movie’s prospects, but I was confident that Disney would spare no expense to prevent a stinker of this magnitude from being dumped into cinemas across the world. With the general popularity and acclaim which came from their first outing as outright owners of the Star Wars property (last year’s The Force Awakens), it seemed a certainty that they would not let the side down.

The only other detail I carried into the theater with me was that Rogue One sits as a bridge between Revenge of the Sith (Episode 3) and A New Hope (Episode 4). That aspect was intriguing to me because I am sure there are about a million stories they could tell that could serve the larger narrative justice – it was more a question of which one they would choose. Overall, it is a welcome addition and can provide any newbies to the franchise a reasonable excuse to gingerly pass by the largely disappointing prequels and start with this movie instead. Sure you miss some of the finer details of the Darth Vader origin story, but from this point in the story, you can figure it out and what you don’t figure out you can have filled in for you by your squad.

What Rogue One aims to do (and accomplishes in my opinion) is to set itself apart in so much as being a Star Wars story that is both familiar and new to us. In terms of setup, Rogue One is more or less a standalone episode. It is therefore essential that the filmmakers take some time to establish these new characters and contextualize them for the audience based on our prior knowledge of the Star Wars universe (or galaxy). Top to bottom, I felt connected to the cast of characters we were introduced to. Further congrats to the creatives at Disney for committing to populating the story with such a diverse array of individuals.

Of course, the challenge is to plot this out (not rushing it) but also move the story along at a pace which continues to engage the audience. My suggestion for those fans who tend to go into their sci-fi space adventures expecting wall-to-wall action packed sequences is to be patient. All of the setup we are given in the beginning culminates with a closing 45 plus minutes that has some really riveting and intense set pieces that are reminiscent of many a wartime-action epic motion picture you may have previously seen on the big screen.

We are also treated to a few “Easter Eggs” that uniquely ties the episodes together. Check your local internets to see if you found some of these gems in your viewing 🙂

Also worth noting that Rogue One is also one of, if not THE  darkest chapter in the Star Wars movie franchise to date (rivaling The Empire Strikes Back [Episode V] for that title IMO). Mind you, it totally makes sense considering where in the larger story we are, but still, be prepared. Be very prepared. Stripping away all the sci-fi and special effects, you are left with a narrative that carries a great deal of pathos and emotional weight. By the end of the proceedings, you may feel that the film’s conclusion was inevitable, but the construction and actions in the film are more than enough to capture your attention and keep you engaged up until that point.

There is probably a whole bunch else that I am leaving out of reaction to Rogue One, but I think you can tell I liked it.

What did you think? Sharing is caring – so hit the Comments section with your thoughts.