Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Felicity Jones

Diego Luna

reviewed by Tom-Tom

starstarstarstar

I didn’t have high hopes for this movie. I mostly liked Episode Seven but in my heart, I felt that Star Wars was slowly but surely moving away from that of my generation. Change isn’t always bad but the bittersweet nostalgic sense of loss is sorely felt. For me, (and perhaps my generation), Rogue One is a very welcome return to form for the franchise. Its characters aren’t immortal or all good or bad. There is something even more valuable than this though. The Star Wars universe has existed for nearly 40 years now and the first introduction, of course, was through Episodes IV: A New Hope, a film in which the mythical Jedi and the ways of the Force were first explained and shown. That a world in which neither existed in any way preceded this film is almost impossible to fathom. At least to this reviewer’s satisfaction, the world of the Jedi and their place in the universe didn’t come across very clearly throughout the prequels. OK, they’re not soldiers, they’re not police but they show up to slice off limbs, negotiate peace, requisition tens of thousands of clone soldiers. Without a clear purpose, it is no wonder they immediately fell into the world of myth and belief in the Force became “a sad devotion to an Ancient religion.” In “A New Hope,” it is easy to believe. We see Obi-Wan cut off his quota of limbs, “change the minds” of Stormtroopers and speak to Luke from beyond the grave. But how about those with nothing to prove their beliefs, nothing to look at and say, this, this is the Force. They are true believers and their faith is the strongest.

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Shin Gojira

Hasegawa Hiroshi

Ishihara Satomi

starstarstarhalf star

 

The title for Shin Gojira is completely written in katakana, the Japanese phonetic alphabet usually reserved for foreign words or those whose Chinese character (or kanji) equivalent is so difficult, that using katakana or hiragana (the Japanese phonetic alphabet used for specifically Japanese words or words that have been in the Japanese language so long, their foreign origins have been forgotten like “tobacco”). Godzilla or gojira as he is known in Japan is also written in katakana as he has been since 1954 labeling him as something outre’, foreign, otherworldly. The use of kanji usually establishes, as with Greek or Latin roots what underlying meaning lies in any one word so the use of katakana in the shin of Shin Gojira leaves quite a lot open for interpretation. Does the film’s title mean New Godzilla, True Godzilla, Evolved Godzilla, The Relatives of Godzilla or all of the above?

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The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio

Tom Hardy

reviewed by Tom-Tom

starstarstarhalf star

 

I have seen all but one of Director Alejandro Inarritu’s notable works (or so noted as such by the Wikipedia empire). Much of his storytelling is deliberately confusing sometimes irritatingly so. Some of his films have a chopped narrative to further stymie unattentive viewers. He certainly has a unique voice although it is not for everyone. The Revenant is the first time I thought one of his films was beautiful just to watch pass by. Yes, terribly violent events are occurring but they happen in a pace of an older, calmer world. I found it relaxing just to see the falling snow and the flowing of the river. It is very well known now that Innaritu has a passion for challenges which critics may deem gimmicks. In the Academy Award Best Picture recipient Birdman, it was seemingly filming the movie all in one take. Here, it is filming in all natural light. In terms of cinematography, The Revenant is a ringing success. As for its story, that is another matter.

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