Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens; 2015 (w/ Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew) – 3.25 stars – I won’t give spoilers away for this in my review, just to let you know. This is not the best Star Wars film. What happens when you take all the ideas, famous concepts, and some funny moments from the original three Star Wars films, crumple them up together, add some extra bits and pieces, chew it up, spit it back out, and try to smooth out the wrinkles? This movie. I rate it higher than three stars because I know I will want to watch it again. Daisy Ridley was brilliant and wonderful as character “Rey.” I really liked her character! However, she tinkers around on a desert like Luke Skywalker but is way cooler than he was (he was so whiny in A New Hope, right?) and dresses similarly too. We don’t know much of her story but we get a glimpse of who she is. She has a bit of Luke, Han, and Leia all in one. That is what the problem is though, there is too much homage throughout this film done to those three movies and too many less unique portions to the film. John Boyega’s “Finn” brings a new uniqueness to the character to give you the longing to do right even when you are forced to do things that you are told you have to do. He is not afraid to be called “traitor.” I found him funny but why did they not allow him to use his normal British accent and have him use an American English accent instead while you have loads of varied accents and “languages” in this movie? I don’t understand it. Kylo Ren choosing to be the person he is doesn’t really make sense considering him knowing so much of the history and having a loving family. It doesn’t make sense, especially since there SHOULD be Anakin/Darth Vader’s spirit being around like Yoda and Obiwan’s had been, all who decided to turn to the light (as shown in the end of The Return of the Jedi). I am just confused by a lot of things that don’t really make sense. My husband calls this the “most expensive fanfic ever made” and in a way he is right. When the movie ended I said, “That’s it?” because I seriously felt like there should have been more put in. Am I a fan of the new characters? Yes. Do I love the old characters? Very much so. I however don’t believe that the relationship shown between Han and Leia (who I adore deeply as a “fan girl” myself) was true to how things would have been considering all they went through in the first movies. Also my husband made a point to me that the rebellion wouldn’t be called that anymore after what happened to the empire at the end of Jedi. They’d be called something else and really the new storm troopers and all that would really end up being the new rebellion but I don’t know. . .perhaps things will be better explained in the next movie. I just want to see Luke in action as I know Mark Hamill has been on a strict diet and working out and has been preparing for the next film. I had a big Luke Skywalker crush as a little girl, so he better revive his character in a great way as well as he can for a 64 year old.
content: shooting/killing (no graphic gore but a tad bit of blood is shown), creatures eating people (also not graphic), genocide happens, mental torture, punching, kicking, smoking/drinking shown in a cantina, people being choked, language: 1″d” word, 2 misuses of the word “hell” (a thank you Harrison Ford for not using your most used swear word that you say in almost every film regularly)
Kung Fu Panda 3; 2016 (animated w/ voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Kate Hudson) – 3.75 stars – This was really good and much better than the second one, I thought. We saw this in theaters with our sons who adored it too. I think my husband would rate this higher than I because he loved the graphics especially, It was a very pretty movie. Po is on a journey to find out about a secret village where pandas like himself come from. He needs to master his “chi” as there is a new villain who has been in captivity in the “spirit world” for hundreds of years. He makes it back in and is going to destroy all the masters of kung fu. This was a cute story where we get to learn more about where Po comes from and about his family. There may be some scary sequences for really little kids (mine are 7 and 9 and they were fine).
content: kung fu fighting (so lots of kicking, throwing stars, punching, and such), there are scenes that show what happened to Po’s mom that is sad and might disturb little ones, flirting, some name calling, a little bit of potty humor, some “butt” jokes (which I am really tired of seeing in all these kid films)
He Named Me Malala; 2015 (documentary) – 4 stars – I have read Malala Yousafzai’s book and this was an amazing follow up and gives a greater look and perspective on what the life of this wonderful Pakistani girl has endured. It also gives more of a present-day life in England for her. I so enjoyed watching it. Her father is a man who truly cares and supports his daughter’s outspokenness, which I believe every father should be so encouraging of his children! The difference is that in Pakistan, many girls are silenced and are not allowed to stand up for their rights. Definitely a good one to watch to learn how one normal girl can make a difference and scare a terrorist group simply by wanting an education for herself and girls like her.
content: blood shown, dead bodies shown, violence talked about, some bad language
Suspicion; 1941 (w/ Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty) – 3.25 stars – I am a big Hitchcock fan, it is true as you have seen in following through all these years of reviews. This story is actually such a twist and unlike how a lot of the stories normally seen in his films. I really was impressed because I guess I expected a completely different ending and was surprised when it was nothing like my “suspicion” had been. Basically you take two completely different types of people portrayed in this story, one who is doomed to become an old maid and is overlooked by men regularly. One is an extremely popular bachelor. They are both from well to do lives. Somehow they start to take note of one another and their tale is interesting. It is hard to explain this one other than keeping it as that. Watch it though, and see what I mean. You start to get frustrated and annoyed with people as you watch it. I like when my emotions are revved up while seeing films.
content:kissing, some immodesty (cleavage, woman in a nightgown that is pretty modest for modern times, shoulders shown), thoughts of attempted murders
Oliver!; 1968 (w/ Mark Lester, Harry Secombe, Shani Wallis, Oliver Reed, Ron Moody, Jack Wild) – 4.5 stars – One of my very favorite musicals of all time. I love the story line and how they took the book and made a musical out of it. A little orphan boy in a work house is sold and makes his way to the streets befriending a pick-pocket gang. Fagin and Bill Sykes are in charge as they have little boys do their bidding. Oliver is so innocent and sweet and many want to protect him from harm and going into such a lifestyle while Bill Sykes wants to be tougher on him. It leads to drama and other issues. It is a great tale of what life would be like for a child in England back in 1837. I had my sons watch it with me so they can learn about what hard life is like, lessons on slavery, orphans, mistreatment of women, etc. It was a great teaching tool. Of course the music throughout this is so great. “Who Will Buy?” has always been my favorite.
content: cleavage and shoulder bearing on a down trodden woman who works at a bar, beer drinking/drunkenness, child shown smoking (as well as adults), mistreatment of women shown, death, a child is born out of wedlock, stealing (and lots of it), people slapping people, some child oppression and slavery.