The Last of the Old Guard

Star Wars: The Last Jedi  M Star 2017

Theaters:  December 2017

Streaming:  March 2018

Rated:  PG-13

Runtime:  152 minutes

Genre:  Action – Fantasy – Science Fiction

els:  6.0/10

IMDB:  7.4/10

Amazon:  3.5/5 stars

Rotten Tomatoes Critics:  8.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience:  3.0/5

Metacritic Metascore:  85/100

Metacritic User Score:  4.5/10

Awards:  NA

Directed by:  Rian Johnson

Written by:  Rian Johnson (screenplay), George Lucas (characters)

Music by:  John Williams

Cast:  Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Andy Serkis, Benicio del Toro

Film Locations:  Bolivia, Croatia, England, Ireland

Budget:  $200,000,000

Worldwide Box Office:  $1,322,000,00

Resistance forces are fleeing their home base while the First Order fleet prepares to destroy them.  Attempting to buy some time for the evacuation, the Resistance attacks and destroys a First Order dreadnought, aka battleship, allowing the rest of the evacuation forces to escape into hyperspace. The Resistance, after their jump, believing they had bought themselves some time, soon learn that their enemy can track them through hyperspace, leaving them with but a few hours to bring about a miracle or perish.

Meanwhile Rey (Ridley) travels to Luke’s (Hamill) planet for some badly needed lessons in light sabre use, force projection, and dark side avoidance. Luke has other ideas.

Rian Johnson, writer and director of the original, exciting, thought-provoking, and well received Looper movie, takes his turn in the revolving Star Wars franchise door, by writing and directing The Last Jedi.  He succeeds in producing warm milk.  Not horrible, but he definitely is not going down in the annuals of great Star Wars directors and writers.  Then again George Lucas couldn’t direct a golf cart to the first tee either. Johnson brings together some of the elements of a great space opera; breath-taking special and visual effects, great acting, and a wonderful score but the story is just a tedious collection snippets strung together to produce a very long movie. Ok, some of the snippets are quite good such as DJ’s (del Toro) bit pieces of breaking in and out of places that he shouldn’t be able to break in and out of.

This movie is the last that will contain elements of the old guard.  Harrison Ford killed himself off in VII, Carrie Fisher passed away, and Hamill, he can act–who knew, will not be returning for IX, so Johnson spends an inordinate amount of time on character development of all the new faces. It’s all so unnecessary, mostly immaterial and boring.  The development of the players can be spread out over the life of the franchise, no need to force-feed the audience the entire buffet in one sitting.

In the end this is a fair movie; there just wasn’t enough story to hold you for 2 hours and 32 minutes.

Visions of the End

Apocalypse M Apocalypse 2015

Theaters:  NA (TV Movie – 2000)

Streaming:  April, 2004

Rated:  NR

Runtime:  96 minutes

Genre:  Drama – Faith – Religion

els:  3.0/10

IMDB:  6.4/10

Amazon:  4.3/5 stars

Rotten Tomatoes Critics:  NA/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience:  2.9/5

Metacritic Metascore:  NA/100

Metacritic User Score:  NA/10

Awards:

Directed by:  Raffaele Mertes

Written by:  Francesco Contaldo, Raffaele Mertes, Gianmario Pagano

Music by:  Marco Frisina

Cast:  Richard Harris, Vittoria Belvedere, Benjamin Sadler, Bruce Payne

Film Locations:  NA

Budget:  $ NA Low-Budget, Made for TV

Worldwide Box Office:  $ NA

St. John, John the Apostle, John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, John the Elder (Harris) is held in the Aegean island prison of Patmos as a scribe for his Roman jailers.   God speaks to John and commands him to disseminate, as letters, the visions he sends him. The letters are be sent to the 7 churches of Asia Minor.  The visions include truths and admonishment to the churches and how the beginning of the end of times will transpire.

This is a made for TV movie that exhibits its low-budget pedigree in almost every scene.  But the movie wasn’t made to garner any awards, rather it was made to educate the public about the Book of Revelations, the last book of the Bible. It does accomplish this but the story is out of sequence and the method is clunky and amateurish.

The supporting actors are all bad with the atrocious acting trophy going to the Bruce Payne playing the Roman Emperor Domitian. Moving from bad to worse, the special effects were categorically dreadful.  If there is an award for worst special effects this movie would win. The movie’s effects were on par with what passed as realistic in the 1958 movie: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor. Spending a few dollars more on marginally better special effects very likely would have taken this movie from ugh awful to mildly entertaining.

The only true shining light in this movie is Richard Harris, he can’t save the movie, but he is a joy to watch.  The kindly Dumbledore persona comes through in every scene. A natural teacher with a gentle soul.  Interestingly, his full name is Richard St John Harris.

 

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