THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI MOVIE REVIEW

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is directed by Martin McDonagh and stars Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes, and Peter Dinklage. The plot of the movie is a mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.    I was looking forward to seeing this movie because it has a lot of talented actors in it plus I want to see as many of the awards contenders as I can before the year is up.  I did enjoy this movie, but it’s not one that I think I will ever rewatch.  The characters are all well developed. There is one scene that takes place in a police interrogation room that I thought was one of the best scenes of the movie. The chemistry between Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson is excellent. I have no doubt Frances McDormand will be nominated for an OSCAR. I did like the dark comedy, for the most part, I do think it went too far in one scene.     As for negatives I wish Lucas Hedges character had a little more to do. He plays Frances McDormand’s son.  This next thing some may not want to know about so SPOILER warning I guess. I mentioned that the dark humor for me went too far in one scene and that is when there is a flashback of Frances McDormand’s character Mildred and her daughter. Mildred won’t let her daughter have the car. So the daughter says that she will walk home and jokes that she will be raped than Mildred say that she hopes her daughter is raped. I know it was said out of anger, but it made me go from liking Mildred to hating her.  Out of all the awards contenders I have watched I enjoyed this one the most.   3 out of 5 stars for Three Billboards Outside, Ebbing Missouri.

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LADY BIRD MOVIE REVIEW

Lady Bird is directed by Greta Gerwig and stars Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothee Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Lois Smith.  The plot of the movie is in the early 2000s, an artistically-inclined seventeen-year-old comes of age in Sacramento, California.    This was another movie that was getting awards buzz.  Like most films that get awards buzz, I found this movie boring and hard to get through. I thought the main character Lady Bird was extremely unlikable. She came off as a spoiled brat it made the movie difficult to sit through. I do think that the actress Saoirse Ronan did a great job in the role.    The other characters didn’t bother me, but I am not going to remember any of them in a day or two. The rest of the cast did a fine job, but no one stands out as being the best. The movie is very slow paced as well. Usually, with films that are getting awards buzz, I can see why even if I don’t like the movie, but I can’t with this one.    1 out of 5 stars for Lady Bird. I hope you enjoyed my review and I hope it helped you decide whether to see the movie or not

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THE GREATEST SHOWMAN MOVIE REVIEW

The Greatest Showman is directed by Michael Gracey and stars Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya. Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.    This was a film that I was really looking forward to. I loved this movie. The lead actors are fantastic. Hugh Jackman is wonderful as always he just lights up the screen when he shows up. Michelle Williams is fantastic as his wife. I used to think Zac Efron was a terrible actor. He has grown a lot and he is great. One of my favorite scenes is when Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron are singing and dancing in this bar. Zendaya is fantastic in the movie. I loved her part in Spider-man: Homecoming and I loved her part in this also her career is off to a great start and I am excited to see what she does next.  Every musical scene in this movie fantastic. I love this soundtrack. In my opinion, it is the best soundtrack of the year and will be listening to it many times.  This film looks beautiful and reminds me why I have great respect for film.   5 out of 5 stars for The Greatest Showman. I hope you enjoyed my review and I hope it helped you decide whether to see the movie or not.

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CALL ME BY YOUR NAME MOVIE REVIEW

Call Me By Your Name is directed by Luca Guadagnino and stars Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, and Victoire Du Bois. The plot of the movie is in Northern Italy in 1983,  seventeen-year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father’s research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape.    This film has been at many film festivals it is being nominated for a lot of awards and I can see why, but this movie bored the hell out of me.  The film looks very good Italy looks beautiful. I think the two lead actors do a wonderful job.  This film is so fucking slow I almost fell out of my chair from boredom. I didn’t care about any of these characters. I didn’t care about the relationship between Elio and Oliver.    I can see why this is getting awards buzz, but it just wasn’t for me. 1 out of 5 stars for Call Me By Your Name. I hope you enjoyed my review and I hope it helped you decide whether to see the movie or not.

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STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI MOVIE REVIEW

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is directed by Rian Johnson and stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro. I am not going to tell you anything about the plot. I want you to go into it knowing as little as possible. The Last Jedi is an amazing movie. It’s great to see a squeal that not only lives up to the hype but also surpasses the previous film.  This is a unique Star Wars film that fits in with the saga but is also able to stand on its own. I think out of all the Star Wars films this one takes the most risks. It does things I wasn’t expecting.  There’s a lot of twist and turns, there’s some great storytelling and the performances are all fantastic.    My Biggest problem with The Force Awakens was the character Kylo Ren I couldn’t take him seriously. Thankfully that problem has been fixed. He is actually very intimidating and thankfully he doesn’t act like a whiny bitch this time. Adam Driver did a wonderful job and he has some of the best scenes in this movie. Daisy Ridley knocks it out of the park as Ray once again. She gets a lot more screen time with Kylo Ren which I loved some great stuff between the two of them including my favorite scene in the movie. I wish I could go more into that. Daisy Ridley is my new celebrity crush.  John Boyega is back as Finn and he gets a lot more to do this time. Oscar Issac as Poe also gets a lot more screen time and he was one of my favorites of the new characters in Force Awakens. Mark Hamill finally gets to speak as Luke Skywalker. I think this is his best performance as Luke.    You also have some new cast members Laura Dern is really great in this film. Benicio del Toro is fantastic. Also returning is Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma and Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux. I wasn’t thrilled with either character in The Force Awakens.  Thankfully that was another problem that was fixed. Phasma gets a great action scene and Hux gets one of the funniest scenes at the beginning of the movie.  Andy Serkis is back as Supreme Leader Snoke. I thought Snoke looked a lot better in person than he did as a hologram in the last movie. Finally, the late Carrie Fisher is back as Leia. Just like Mark Hamill, this is her best performance as Leia.    Visually this is the most beautiful Star Wars movie especially towards the latter half with the big climax that takes place on this planet were the dirt is red and it contrasts beautifully with the white.  There is a lot of phenomenal action and director Rian Johnson handles it very well. Also, the score by John Williams is especially good this time there was some great new stuff with some old stuff sprinkled in.  There is a lot of humor and all of it works I laughed many times.  The real reason why I love this film so much is there are great emotional stakes. All of these relationships have been so well developed. The story is completely engaging. There are certain things that you expect to happen in a Star Wars film. Certain sequences take place in a certain order, but this movie blows that right out of the water. I had no idea where this movie was going to go and I loved that.   I have only given two Star Wars movies my highest grade well now it’s three.  5 out of 5 stars for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. I hope you enjoyed my review and I hope it helped you decide whether to see the movie or not.

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STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS MOVIE REVIEW

As you know I have been reviewing Star Wars Episodes 1-7 leading up to The Last Jedi. I am seeing The Last Jedi tonight the review will be up tomorrow.  For the final time, this review will contain SPOILERS so if you have not seen The Force Awakens that is your warning.  The movie starts off With Poe Dameron looking for Luke Skywalker on the planet Jakku. He has gotten a piece of a map and he is trying to get that back to the resistance. He is not able to get it to them right away. He is captured by Kylo Ren and that is also the moment we meet Finn.  Finn is a really great character I didn’t know how much I was going to like Finn just because he’s a former stormtrooper. He’s got so many quirky personality traits it’s endearing. When we see him wake up and refuse to kill a bunch of innocents I thought this guy is turning out to be more interesting than I originally thought. When we see Kylo Ren enter the movie for the first time I thought that he looked like a guy in a cheap Halloween custom the mask looked ridiculous. When he spoke with the mask on I had to try hard not to burst out laughing it was so funny I did not take him seriously at all. When he throws his little temper tantrum all I could think of was whenever the villains lost in Power Ranger and they would also throw temper tantrums.   Later on, in the movie, we find out that Kylo is actually Ben Solo the son of Han and Leia. I also did not like this we’ve seen this before with Darth Vader being Luke’s father. Do something different not every character in these movies has to be related.  Anyway, this is why Luke has vanished he feels like a failure because Ben Solo went to the dark side.    Poe is being tortured for information about where the map to Luke is. He is rescued by Finn. Finn and Poe have really great on-screen chemistry they don’t have a lot of scenes together, but the scenes they do have are fantastic.  Now on to Rey, she is such a cool character. She is a  scavenger on Jakku. She saves the droid BB8 from another scavenger. Just like Anakin, we find out that she knows how to do a lot of stuff and she’s shocking herself because she’s never done them before.  We see Rey and Finn team up and try to bring BB8 back to the resistance because BB8 has the map to Luke.    Along the way, they meet up with Han and Chewbacca and those two are just how they always were. When Rey and Finn tell Han and Chewbacca that they have a piece of a map that will lead them to Luke he pretty quickly agrees to help them get the map to the resistance.  Han takes them to Maz Kanata this character is completely CG and sticks out like a sore thumb. The CGI was unacceptable it looked like not much time was spent on it at all. There was one amazing scene in that part of the movie where Rey finds Luke’s lightsaber and has all these visions. The First Order shows up to where they are and Rey is captured by Kylo. Then the resistance arrives and we get a nice little reunion with Han and Leia.    Supreme Leader Snoke is another character smaller to Maz Kanata that is completely CG and also looks terrible and like it was rushed. Hopefully, he looks better when we see him in person in The Last Jedi.  When Kylo was interrogating Rey and trying to get information out of her I was afraid we would find out that they are related. I’m glad we did not get that. That may come is episode 8 or 9, but I really hope not. She gets Kylo to take off his mask and when he does he looked like and goth high school kid I still was not able to take him seriously.  The best part of Rey’s escape was the fact that we really saw how the force works because the first two times she tried to get the stormtrooper to release her she was very emotional. When he finally walked in front of her and she was speaking to him straight on deadpan face she turned her emotions off and told him what to do and he did it.  One character we do not see enough of is Captain Phasma. There was a really funny scene with Han and chewie where they decide to put her in a trash compactor.    The final act of the movie is where I was taken out of the movie for a little bit and that was when Han Solo was killed. It seemed like it was an idea clearly fueled by Harrison Ford since he wanted Han Solo to die in Return of the Jedi. The way he died in this movie was so lame and you could see it coming. I didn’t even react I just thought wow that was very predictable. The only emotional moment in that scene is when Chewie cried out also when you see that Leia sensed it.  We also see in this scene Kylo Ren zero in on Finn and Rey and I really think that was a key moment for the future of this series. The lightsaber battle at the end with Rey, Finn, and Kylo was beautifully done. What I really loved was when Rey finally picked up that lightsaber and battled Kylo. People said that the final scene when Ray finds Luke was disappointing because there wasn’t enough Luke. I thought it was fine that he didn’t have a line. Luke was never on any of the promotional material so I expected something like that to happen and this helps build anticipation for The Last Jedi.    I did really enjoy this movie. My one big issue is Kylo Ren he comes off as that goth kid in high school who throws a fit when he can’t find his eyeliner. All of the other new characters were great. It was fun to see the original characters back.   4 out of 5 stars for The Force Awakens.

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STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI MOVIE REVIEW

Recently I have heard from a lot of people that Return of the Jedi is their favorite Star Wars movie For the majority of time people have considered Jedi to be not a bad movie by any means, but the least favorite of the original trilogy. I might get a lot of hate for this, but I happen to fall into that group of people who fell that this is the weakest of the original trilogy. By no means do I hate this movie though. With this review, I hope to explain my very high positives for it as well as my slight negatives for this movie. Just like my other reviews in this series, this will contain SPOILERS.    The movie opens a bit similar to A New Hope where we have C-3PO and R2-D2 on Tatooine. This time they are approaching the palace of Jabba the Hut because Han Solo is trapped in there in carbonite. They are waiting for Luke to meet up with them. Starting off with the droids on Tatooine is a nice callback, but the one major issue I have with this movie is there is a lot of exposition. What I mean by that is C-3PO and R2-D2 seem to fill that void of recapping the events of The Empire Strikes Back by filling us in that Han Solo is trapped in carbonite this is Jabba the Hut’s palace. Now I don’t hate C-3PO at all, but this feels like a very expository scene. They didn’t even need to mention that Solo was in carbonite because if you saw Return of the Jedi you would have seen Empire Strikes Back and because of how much of a cliffhanger that was the ending would still be fresh in your memory.    So one by one the group of Rebels finds their way into Jabba’s palace. Leia comes in disguised as a bounty hunter with Chewbacca. Lando is disguised as one of the guards. C-3PO and R2-D2 make their way inside the palace where they have a conversation with Jabba the Hut. Jabba is pretty gross looking and the fact that he is a puppet is great. He is such an iconic character it’s been built up that Han owes a debt to Jabba.  In the palace Leia reveals herself, she frees Han Solo and is then captured by Jabba and he makes her his slave.  Luke makes his way into the palace. You see that this is a different Luke Skywalker when he walks in he is wearing all black and he uses the force to choke the guards. It shows that he has gotten more powerful. He tries to negotiate with Jabba, but Jabba just laughs at him and pushes a button with makes Luke fall through a trapdoor into the rancor pit. We get a pretty cool action scene with Luke against the rancor he ends up outsmarting it and using the door to crush it. This results in Jabba sentencing them all to death in the Sarlacc pit.  Luke and Han are brought to the Sarlacc pit and this is where we get the first huge action scene of the movie and we get to see Luke’s new green lightsaber.  When they are travailing to the Sarlacc pit the green screen is pretty distracting and that was never an issue in A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back.  With the green screen being noticeable it made this part of the movie seem fake. I don’t know if it is because Lucas just wanted to get the movie over with.  Thankfully it doesn’t take away from this incredible fight scene. Seeing Luke with the lightsaber is awesome. Leia chocks Jabba to death with her chains that was awesome.  Most people complain about the way Boba Fett was killed off where Han just knocks into Fett’s Jetpack and he falls into the Sarlacc Pit, but like I mentioned in my last review I don’t care about Boba Fett at all.   After the battle, the gang gets on the Falcon and departs for the next part of their journey.    During this, we get to see what has been going on with the Empire and we are informed that the Emperor is finally going to be arriving to meet with Vader about the construction of the second Death Star. Everything with the Emperor in this movie is goddamn fantastic. This is way Palpatine is one of my favorite villains in movie history. After this, we do get a touching scene were Yoda and Luke finally reunite Luke returns to Dagobah to complete his training, but he finds Yoda on his deathbed. Before Yoda dies he reveals that Darth Vader is, in fact, Luke’s father for all those people who thought that it was a lie. He also says that there is another Skywalker to which Obi-Wan as a force ghost confirms that Leia is his sister.  You can tell during the writing of A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back that this was not the original plane especially with the two kissing scenes in the previous movies. It does fell that Lucas intended his sister to be a different character and if it had been nine films like originally planned it would have been. It’s still a cool scene. During this scene, Obi-Wan tells Luke that he needs to face Vader again.    While this is going on the Rebels plan to destroy the second Death Star. During this, we see that Han and Lando reconcile with no attention given to the fact that Lando sold out his best friend. Again it felt like Lucas was rushing things and if it was a nine-film saga that grudge would have lasted for a couple of films.  The Rebels have to go to the planet Endor to deactivate the shield generator which will allow them to destroy the Death Star again and finally bring down the Empire.  They set off for Endor and I do like a lot of what happens on Endor, but it is also where some of the movies biggest flaws come in. We get my favorite scene action wise and that is the speeder bike scene with Luke and Leia against two scout troopers. After that we get introduced to the Ewoks I don’t like these things I also don’t hate them. They are not Jar Jar Binks level of annoying to me. They are cute, but they are also very obnoxious and you can tell this was the first time Gorge Lucas put in something just for the kids. I like Wicket especially the scene with Leia that was cute. The rest of the stuff with the Ewoks I don’t buy it. I don’t like the stuff where they capture Luke, Han, and Leia and they try to burn them alive, but than C-3PO shows up and the Ewoks think he is some sort of god it’s funny, but it is a little childish.  Then we get a scene where I honestly don’t know if I like it or not. The  Ewokes are having a big party for their new friends and C-3PO is telling a story that just recaps the previous movies in the original trilogy. I think it is charming how he’ll be telling things and then you will hear the appropriate sound effect at the same time it’s another scene that feels very expository. Sometimes it feels like C-3PO is just walking exposition in this movie.    Then we get to the scene where Luke tells Leia that she is his sister and I like Leia’s line about her always having this feeling that Luke was her brother. It shows how close they have become and it makes the scene where she senses the Luke is in trouble at the end of Empire Strikes Back more impactful. However, another scene that makes the kissing in the other two movies uncomfortable.  Luke leaves the group he surrenders himself to Vader to try to bring his father back to the light side.  Luke though out this entire movie is set on the fact that there is still good inside of the man once known as Anakin Skywalker and he is trying to talk some sense into his father and get him to abandon the Empire and help him stop the Emperor. You do fell the father-son bond although it’s very fucked up.    Now the movie really picks up for me when Luke and Vader are in the Emperor’s throne room the movie gets really good and I love every scene with the Emperor. The Emperor is playing mind games with Luke trying to turn Luke to the dark side it is incredible. This leads to Luke and Vader igniting their lightsabers and having what I believe is the second best lightsaber battle in the entire saga after the battle at the end of Empire. I love that Vader starts taunting Luke. Luke comes out of his hiding place and starts beating the crap out of him and almost killing him. It shows that the Emperor’s influence is working on Luke.  While this is going on the Emperor reveals that the Death Star is fully operational and Luke’s friends will be destroyed.    The Ewokes and the Rebels manage to defeat the imperial forces on Endor. Which leads to the shields being taken down and Lando and his fleet being able to go into the Death Star and start their attack.  Back on the Death Star Luke is about to kill Vader and the Emperor is egging him on. Luke snaps out of it and tells the Emperor that he has failed and says that he is a Jedi just like his father once was. The Emperor then starts using the force lightning on Luke trying to kill him and you see Vader just watching his son who is slowly getting killed by his master. Luke is screaming for his father to help him. You know that there is a deep inner conflict going on within Darth Vader during this. He gets up grabs the Emperor and throws him into the reactor pit killing his master and redeeming himself.  Due to the Emperor’s force lightning, Vader is wounded he tells Luke to take his mask off even though he will die.   Luke takes off his mask and looks into his father’s eyes for the first time. It is a very powerful scene and it’s the death of one of the greatest villains of all time.   Luke escapes the Death Star, Lando, and his fleet finally destroy it and that is the end of the Empire.  Then we see the Jedi funeral of Vader that Luke has very impactful scene. Then we get the fun celebration scene with all the characters. The movie ends with Luke seeing the force ghost of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin.    Overall it’s a very good movie I did have an issue with some stuff.  First off the characters are the same ones we know and love from the other two movies in the original trilogy and they are still great. Luke firmly is established in this movie as one of the best characters in film history. Han and Leia are good. Vader is incredible in this movie and of course, Palpatine is one of the best villains in film history. The action scenes are all very well done the best action scene easily is the fight between Luke and Vader. The score by John Williams once again is brilliant.  Like I mentioned negatives are that there is a lot of exposition which is a bit of a nitpick, but it can slow the movie down. The Ewokes felt like they were just put in for the kids. There are some issues with the visual effects where it is not as good as A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back. Some things with the plot could have been handled better Han and Lando reconciling for example.    While I did have problems with Return of the Jedi I still really enjoyed watching this movie  4 out of 5 stars for Return of the Jedi.

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