Monday, September 5, 2016

A Walk in the Clouds


Sergeant Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves) has returned home from the second World War anxious to be reunited with his beloved wife Betty. Once back together in their small newlywed apartment, Paul wants to revel in the joy is being home with his wife once more...but Betty (Debra Messing) has other plans. Betty has big dreams of living a lavish, luxurious life...and Paul is going to be the one to provide that for her. So Betty has already arranged for Paul to hit the road and make his millions as a door-to-door chocolate salesman. And Paul isn't all that disappointed to go. It only takes a day together to realize that his whirlwind courtship and marriage to Betty shows that they know so little about each other...and it doesn't help that Betty openly admits to having stopped reading the letters Paul sent to her every day while he was stationed overseas. And so Paul catches a bus that'll take him across the country selling his chocolates, at least this way he'll get some peace of mind.

Paul is home from the war, but he has new issues facing him at home. 

Paul's travels quickly land him in Napa Valley, California - the heart of wine country. One afternoon, Paul notices a group of unruly men harassing a beautiful young woman who happens to be travelling alone. Paul tried to intervene politely but a fist fight quickly breaks out and results in Paul getting thrown off the bus! Without any other options, Paul starts walking along the road...and later on in the day, who does he run into but the woman he was defending on the bus! The two make their introductions and Paul learns that her name is Victoria (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon) and she is a college student returning home to her family's locally famous vineyard. But Victoria is in trouble. While away at school, Victoria fell head over heels in love with her professor...who dropped her like a bad habit when she reveals that is pregnant with his child. It's still early in her pregnancy so she isn't showing yet, but Victoria is terrified to reveal her condition to her crazy traditional, Mexican Catholic family. And that's when Paul comes up with a brilliant idea.

It's a crazy idea! ....so crazy, it just might work!

Looking for a distraction from travelling the road and eventually returning to his rushed marriage, Paul believes he can help Victoria. He offers to act as her husband! Paul quickly weaves the story of how they met and tells Victoria that he will slip away from her family's vineyard early in the morning before anyone is awake so Paul can be the bad guy to blame and Victoria can still save face! It's risky but it could also work. Paul uses one of the foil wrappers from one of his chocolates and fashions a simple wedding ring for Victoria and the two begin their long walk to the lavish, castle-like home of the Aragon family. And once there, the reception is basically how Victoria envisioned it would go. Her entire family is taken aback, but once the shock wears off both Victoria's mother (Angelica Aragon) and Grandfather (Anthony Quinn) are ecstatic and welcome Paul into their family with open arms...but it's Victoria's father (Giancarlo Giannini) who isn't convinced. Victoria's father is absolutely livid that his daughter was married to a man no one knew, to a man below her social standing...how could this be?! And this outraged father has no issue showing his true feelings.

Victoria! You've got some explaining to do!

Mr. Aragon spends the entire day and night casting hateful glances at Paul, and making snide comments. But, wanting to do right by Victoria, Paul just ignores the jabs and goes about his business...it is only one day after all! Finally, the morning comes and Paul makes his move to leave...only to be intercepted by Victoria's Grandfather who takes Paul for a walk among the grape vines and tells him all about the family, the farm, and their history. And this is how Paul gets pulled into another day on the Aragon vineyard...and another! Paul is spending more time in the lives on the Aragon family and he feels happy here...and he also feels happy with Victoria. Uh oh. Paul can't get attached - he's already a married man! But how can he possibly pull away when this faux-marriage to Victoria is everything he wishes his marriage with Betty was? Paul has to make his move soon though, for Victoria's sake and before her father discovers the truth about their relationship....

They've gotten so close after all this time...how can Paul walk away now???

This is a movie I secretly love revisiting. A Walk in the Clouds is definitely not the best romance movie out there but it still pulls on my heartstrings in all the right way. Let's just get this out in the open: Keanu Reeves's bland,boring personality is a really weird fit for a romance movie...but I still kind of like it. He's sort of sensitive, sort of vulnerable, sort of intriguing.... I don't know why it all works but it kind of does. I love the story - how it all starts out as an innocent favor but then blossoms into the love of a lifetime. Oh my heart! But I can't lie..the acting in this movie is ridiculous and really hard to take seriously. Plus A Walk in the Clouds feels reeeaaaally long for most of the movie. But I can't turn it down! I would recommend this movie as a one-time watch...but I'll secretly hope it hooks you with its strangeness, just like it hooked me.

There aren't any real concrete reasons why I love this movie...
call it fate???

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Secret Garden


Young Mary Lennox (Kate Maberly) lived a glamorous lifestyle as a young girl...but she was alone. The daughter of a British officer father and socialite mother, Mary's father was stationed in India at the turn of the twentieth century, when India was at the height of it's British occupation, and while Mary got to experience all the beauty and excitement of India her parents always handed her off to a governess to be taken care of. Mary's parents were far too busy attending parties and meetings to spend a moment with their daughter. So Mary was left to herself...and because of this she became a spoiled, sour young girl who doesn't express emotion. And then tragedy strikes.

Doesn't Mary just sound like the sweetest little girl? NOT!

One day, a massive earthquake shook the city where Mary and her family lived! Buildings crumbled and lives were lost, and sadly both of Mary's parents were both lost in the horrific accident. With no remaining family in India, Mary is sent back to England where she is to live with her last surviving family member - her distant uncle Lord Archibald Craven. At the train station in England, Mary is fetched by Mrs. Medlock (Maggie Smith), the head housekeeper of Lord Craven's home - Misselthwaite Manor. Mrs. Medlock informs Mary that she will not be waited on at Misselthwaite, she is to dress herself and stay out of the way - meaning she must stay in her room at all times. But Mary is a headstrong child, she's not likely to follow orders easily.

You had best abide by Mrs. Medlock's rules!

As Mary's stay at Misselthwaite Manor begins, she starts to notice weird happenings in the house. Because her Uncle Craven spends a great deal of time away from the Manor, Mrs. Medlock is left in charge. At night there are strange wailing noises that creep through the walls and Mary notices the staff rushing back and forth throughout the house...but when Mary tries to ask Mrs. Medlock questions, she's brushed off. Even Mary's personal maid Martha (Laura Crossley) keeps her lips tightly sealed...but she definitely lets on that there is a secret within the Manor. To keep Mary from getting underfoot and snooping around, Mrs. Medlock gives her permission to play outside in the garden. And that's when Mary learns a fascinating secret. Her Uncle Craven's long-passed wife used to have a secret garden on the grounds...but since her death it's been sealed away and forgotten. Mary makes it her mission to find the garden...and ends up discovering more secrets along the way.

Adventure awaits!

Mark befriends Dickon (Andrew Knott), her hand maid's brother who works as the stable boy at the Manor. Dickon loves animals and gardening, and when Mary reveals that she wants to find the secret garden Dickon doesn't hesitate to offer his help! Together the two scour the grounds and finally come upon a hedged wall that has a door hidden inside - at last the garden is found! It needs some love and care, but Dickon and Mary are more than excited to breathe new life into the long dead plant life. So Mary's days are spent outside sneaking in and out of the garden...but at night she is still curious about these cries and wails that soar through the air of Misselthwaite. There are many secrets to be discovered in this house, and this sour little girl might just be able to shed some sunshine and breathe new life into the tired,sad people of this dull grey Manor once more.

New friends, new adventures, a new beginning. 

This is a movie that I have been curious about for years. I tried reading the book on several different occasions...but I sadly have never been the type to be held captivated by classic literature. I know, I'm a terrible credit to my generation. But aside from reading the book, this movie was always mysterious to me because I saw it go hand-in-hand with A Little Princess...but I just never got around to seeing it myself. Well, here I am, a whopping 26 years old and what do I think? This movie is a sheer British delight! Totally falling in line with A Little Princess, The Secret Garden is overflowing with magic, whimsy, wonder...really all those elements that make childhood so special. We have incredible odds, exciting adventure, a colorful cast of characters - I'm sold! Oh, and don't forget about the tear jerker ending... I was not armed with tissues and the sleeves of my sweatshirt had to pay the price. But it was oh, so worth it!

Such a super sweet movie! 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Trainwreck


I have been putting off watching this movie for ages. I really did not want to see it. I know I'm in the minority here but I do not like Amy Schumer. I do not find her funny or interesting in the least..granted, I tend to feel this way about most women comedians. But there is something about Amy Schumer that particularly gets under my skin and I still cannot figure out what is it. So why watch a movie that she wrote and stars in? Because I'm a masochist. Because it's there. And because a small part of me dared to hope for the best. So was Trainwreck worth it? Well, almost.

Amy (Amy Schumer) is living her life to the fullest...or, at least what she feels is the fullest. When her parents divorced at an early age, Amy and her sister Kim (Brie Larson) were taught by their playboy father (Colin Quinn) that a monogamous relationship was not realistic. But both sisters absorbed this information differently. Kim grew up realizing that her father was a bitter, lonely man with skewed priorities so she went on to a marry a picture-perfect man and adopt his picture-perfect son from a previous relationship and the three of them live happily ever after. But what about Amy? Did she too break free of her father's ill-conceived notions of love and relationships? Is she blissfully happy? Um...well....that's debatable.

Happy...ish? 

Amy is an independent woman and living her own life, yes/ She rents her own apartment in Manhattan, she's a writer for a popular men's magazine, and is dating a hunky fitness junkie named Steven (John Cena - at first I hated that he was in this movie, now I adore his character)...but that isn't all. Amy is the human embodiment of a mess. She has a heavy dependency on alcohol, she won't say no to the occasional joint, her attitude sucks...oh, and she is constantly hooking up with strangers. So maybe her father's early life lesson sunk in a little too deeply with her. But her life crumbles even further inward when her boyfriend Steven finds out about Amy's extracurricular bedroom activities while the two are out on a date. Distraught and betrayed, Steven breaks up with Amy on the spot but Amy doesn't have time to worry about Steven and being single! She's got a life to live and a new assignment to focus on at work.

So long to these happy, naive days!

Amy's next project at the magazine is to write an article about an up and coming sports medicine doctor, which is actually perfect for her. Amy knows nothing about sports so there is no way she could get distracted from doing her job, and when she finally meets Dr. Aaron Conners (Bill Hader) she feels no attraction to him whatsoever. But as Amy starts to spend more time interviewing Aaron, he starts to feel an attraction toward her. Aaron manages to convince Amy to go on a date with him, which results in more dates and before long Amy realizes that they're in a relationship! Uh oh! With her father's warnings about monogamy singing in her mind, Amy starts to push Aaron away to protect herself...but maybe Aaron isn't ready to let go of Amy quite yet.

When you've got something this good, why would you want to let it go? 

When I first turned on Trainwreck, I was already in a bad place. I had a horrible attitude, was expecting the worst, and was trying my best to be as unreceptive as possible. And I do need to admit that this movie is definitely not great. You have literally no reason to like Amy Schumer's character aside from her occasional awkward jokes...but there's nothing much else to like about her. The minute her relationship with John Cena ended, I was through! But then when Amy Schumer and Bill Hader start working more together...my heart softened. I wasn't completely bowled over but there was a quirky vulnerability about this movie that kept trying to peek it's head out...but it just wasn't enough. This movie was trying too hard to be funny, edgy, and off-beat...so much so that it completely missed the mark and just felt awkward more than anything. I'm honestly not a fan. At the end, I was rooting for Amy but it definitely wasn't worth the 2-hours to get there. Yuck. It's a raunchy, awkward comedy that I guess some people might like but it's just not for me. The one thing they got spot on with this movie was definitely the title: this movie is indeed a Trainwreck.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens


THE END IS FINALLY HERE MY BELOVED READERS!!! I have successfully finished the Star Wars Saga and can retire all of these movies for a while now! You have to admit, it's been some pretty rough going. We had the monstrous mess that was the first three movies....*shudder* I solemnly swear, never again. Unless I'm drinking heavily. Then we had the  original three movies which were a major improvement, but I still wasn't the happiest until I got to watch Return of the Jedi and oogle over the adorable Ewoks. So I wasn't really super excited to watch Episode 7. But. BUT. BUT. BUT. I stand before you now a completely changed woman! I am ashamed to have waited so long to watch The Force Awakens....THIS MOVIE HAS CHANGED MY LIFE AND REVIVED MY FAITH IN THE STAR WARS FRANCHISE. CAN I GET AN AMEN? CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH??? CAN I CAN EPISODE 8 ASAP PLEASE?!?!?!

I have gone the distance and seen all 7 movies!! 
Now I plan on rotting my brain with some serious reality TV binge-watching...

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....

Luke Skywalker has vanished. In his absence, the sinister 
FIRST ORDER had risen from the ashes of the Empire and 
will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed.

With the support of the REPUBLIC, General Leia Organa leads 
a brave RESISTANCE. She is desperate to find her brother Luke 
and gain his help in restoring peace and justice to the galaxy.

Leia has sent her most daring pilot on a secret mission to Jakku,
 where an old ally has discovered a clue to Luke's whereabouts...

It's been 30 years since the Galactic Empire's second Death Star was brought down once more by the persistent Rebel Alliance, but since then there has been a shift in the galaxy. The New Republic has risen and the Galactic Empire fell away along with it's champions, The Emperor and Darth Vader...but not all is peaceful quite yet. After the Galactic Empire crumbled the First Order rose from the ashes, a movement led by mysterious, angry Sith Kylo Ren who plans to continue onward with the work of Darth Vader and The Emperor. Fighting to keep the First Order at bay, the New Republic led by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is in desperate need of help from the Jedi...but the last of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker, went into hiding once the Galactic Empire was defeated. But there might be a way to find him once more...

The First Order continues to grow...it must be stopped!

A young Resistance pilot named Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) has travelled to the desert planet Jakku to convene with a man who has the map that will lead the Resistance to Luke Skywalker's whereabouts. But while the exchange in being made, First Order ships and Storm Troopers land in the village and begin their attack. Poe stashes away the map inside of his droid - BB-8 - and tries to flee but Poe is captured by the First Order. BB-8 remains on Jakku, patiently awaiting the return of Poe...and that is when he meets Rey. Rey (Daisy Ridley) is a young girl who is also patiently waiting. Her family left Jakku years ago, and she has been waiting for them to return for her. When Rey happens upon BB-8, her warms her hardened heart and she vows to protect him when she learns that he is on a secret mission and waiting for his master to return.

Unlikely partners, but they need each other. 

Meanwhile, on the ship of the First Order where Poe was taken - Poe is held captive and interrogated by none other than Kylo Ren himself (Adam Driver), who is also searching for the map that has Luke Skywalker's whereabouts. Kylo Ren plans to convince Luke to join the Dark Side and continue onward with the work Darth Vader had started...or he will kill Luke Skywalker for refusing. Using The Force, Kylo Ren learns from Poe that he does have the map but it was left back on Jakku inside of his droid. So Kylo orders for a return to the planet. But not all within the First Order want to see these plans carried out. A malfunctioning Storm Trooper classified as FN-2187 (John Boyega) was appalled and horrified at the mass slaughter that took place on the planet Jakku while they were hunting down Poe Dameron. FN-2187 no longer wants to be apart of the First Order and wants to get as far away as possible...and maybe Poe can help him.

FN-2187 can't escape the First Order alone!

FN-2187 intercepts Poe and explains that he can help Poe get off the ship if he is allowed to come too. The pair hijack as Fighter ship and take off in a blaze of guns and glory - they become fast friends and Poe even offers FN-2187 a new name, Finn. But their time is short lived when their ship crash lands on Jakku and Poe is nowhere to be found. Wanting to honor his new friend's memory, Finn travels into the village to find BB-8 and get the droid back into the hands of the Resistance. But while Finn is trying to explain himself to BB-8 and Rey, the threesome are attacked by First Order Storm Troopers that were hot on Finn's trail the whole time! The threesome steal a ship from a junkyard and take off into outer space, leaving the Storm Troopers in their dust...but their adventure is just beginning.

DON'T TURN BACK NOW!!!

Before Finn is revealed to not really be with the Resistance, the ship they are on is intercepted by none other than Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew)! It turns out that Rey had stolen the Millennium Falcon, and Han and Chewie are here to reclaim their ship. Rey and Finn explain their situation, that they are accompanying a droid that is a key component in helping the Resistance locate Luke Skywalker...Han reluctantly takes the group to the planet Takodana where Han is friends with a Cantina owner who can help send Rey, Finn, and BB-8 where they need to go. But it's while at the cantina that something peculiar happens to Rey. She is drawn into the depths of the cantina, toward a small chest that houses none other than Luke Skywalker's lightsaber...but once she takes it in her hands she sees terrifying visions: a battle against a masked man with a red lightsaber, screaming people, buildings on fire, war, anguish, terror....it's all too much! But then Rey learns the truth about her visions.

Han and Chewie know what to do!

This wasn't happenstance, Rey had these visions because the lightsaber "called" to her. She is strong with The Force and she will be an important player in the battle against the First Order...but Rey is afraid. She is a nobody, a girl from a small planet where she should be waiting for her family to come back to her. But in this time of confusion, the First Order attacks Takadana knowing that BB-8 has come here! During the fire fight, Rey ends up being captured and finds herself too being interrogated the same way Kylo Ren interrogated Poe...but this time things are different. Now that Rey knows she is strong with The Force, she begins practicing her powers...fighting off Kylo Ren's attempts to penetrate her mind with his, reading his weaknesses...maybe she is meant for more than her small life on her small planet. But the most important thing now to keep Kylo Ren at bay and get BB-8 to the Resistance, they need Luke Skywalker and they need him NOW!!

The battle is only just beginning!!

So here we have this enormous, juggernaut of a plot...all squished into a mere 2 hours and twenty minutes. But lord was it all amazing and cohesive! I understood every single thing that was happening and why, the movie built up it's audience for success and I couldn't have been happier since I didn't have to really seek out Wikepedia for anything this go-round. We also have our characters - a perfect blend of new and old. Our returning heroes - Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and so on - all hold true to their characters from 30 years past. It was like stepping into a time warp! And our new characters?!!? I LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH!!!! I love the bromance between Finn and Poe, Rey is a little spitfire and I am rooting for her all the way! The new little droid BB-8 is just too precious for this world and I want to protect him from all the bad things. And finally we have Kylo Ren.

I mean this in the nicest, most sincere form:
Kylo Ren is my favorite Disney Princess and all around favorite Star
Wars villain. I cannot WAIT to see more of him!!!

I was so skeptical about Kylo Ren because he's played by Adam Driver, who stars in my favorite HBO series Girls. How could I look past the character Driver plays in my favorite show and accept him as a totally different entity? It turns out that Driver didn't make the transition difficult for me at all. HE WAS PERFECT AS KYLO REN!!!! So dark, mysterious, sinister, but also vulnerable and alluring at the same time. As much as I love Rey and am rooting for her, I'm secretly also rooting for Kylo Ren because he's an amazing character and I want to see more of him! Now, actors and plot aside, we still have other excellent components to this movie. The CGI and overall cinematography was SUPERB! The action was legit, and I believed every second of the lightsaber battle choreography. But most of all, this movie had heart! I feel like all 6 Star Wars movies that came before didn't give me the chance to connect with them emotionally - and most franchises that I marathon through get me all emotional. I didn't shed a single tear or a feel a moment of heartbreak until I came to Episode 7. I sobbed, I cheered, I was shocked, and I was overall amazed.... I felt so many things and keep feeling them still!! Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an excellent continuation of the franchise and I can only hope that Episodes 8 and 9 will be just as fantastic too!!

Dear Star Wars, it was tough go for a while but you made it
SO worth it in the end. Devotedly yours, Me. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi


IT'S HERE!! I'VE MADE IT!! THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY IS FINALLY BEHIND ME!! AND WHAT BETTER WAY TO CELEBRATE THAN GETTING TO WATCH MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE OF ALL THE MOVIES?! Are you really shocked that this is my favorite? I feel like Star Wars fans are divided between their favorite movie in the trilogy - either they love The Empire Strikes Back the most, or Return of the Jedi most. What can I say? I am hopelessly in love with the Ewoks and I really want one for myself. Now let's dive on it, the sooner we finish here then the sooner I can get my butt in gear and watch Episode 7 for the very first time!

6 movies later...it's been a wild ride!!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tattooine
 in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches
 of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt.

Little does Luke know that the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly
 begun construction in a new armored space station even more 
powerful than the first dreaded Death Star. 

When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the 
small band of rebels struggling to restore freedom to the galaxy...

After losing his arm in an epic battle with Sith Lord Darth Vader (played by David Prowse, and voiced by James Earl Jones), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) narrowly escapes with his life and reunites with Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) to plot their next move. Rather than instantly going to realign with the Rebel Alliance and begin their next attack on the Galactic Empire, Luke and Leia have to think of their friends. Han Solo (Harrison Ford), who had been captured alongside Princess Leia by Darth Vader, was frozen in Carbonite and was given to notorious bounty Hunter Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch). Boba Fett will be taking Han Solo's frozen form to crime lord Jabba the Hutt (voiced by Larry Ward) to collect the enormous bounty placed on Han's head...but Luke and Leia don't want to see Han turned in. So the two pair up with Han's first mate Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and friend-turned-traitor-turned-friend-again Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) to get Han back!

Time to spring into action yet again!

Leia infiltrates Jabba's palace on Tattooine while Luke distracts Jabba himself...but their plot is quickly foiled and the two are captured! Leia did manage to free Han, but she is found out, taken prisoner and chained to Jabba's side, while Luke and Han are thrown into a dungeon and planned to be fed to a formidable beast Jabba keeps within a pit in the palace. But when Luke and Han defeat the beast in the pit, Jabba comes up with a more lasting punishment for the two. Luke and Han are sent into the deserts to be fed to the Saralacc - a dreaded pit monster! However, Leia manages to strangle Jabba to death with her own chains while Luke and Han fight bravely against the guards overseeing their death sentence and win! Leia and Han escape with Chewbacca back to the Rebel base, but Luke heads back to the planet of Dagobah where he plans to continue his training with Jedi Master Yoda.

Mission Rescue Han was a success!

Upon arriving back at Dagobah, Luke comes to find Master Yoda (voiced by Franz Oz) on his deathbed. Luke tries to urge his master not to give up, but Yoda consoles the boy - he is strong and The Force is strong within him, Luke only has to believe in himself. With his last breathe, Yoda confirms what Luke learned in his last battle against Darth Vader: Darth Vader is indeed Luke's father. And something else too - Yoda reveals that there is another Skywalker, but with that he passes on. Luke is shocked! Another Skywalker? He isn't alone? But with no one to turn to for answers for the time being, Luke leaves the Dagobah system and meets once more with the Rebel Alliance who has some frightening news.

"Another Skywalker, there is..."

After the destruction of the Death Star, the Galactic Empire has begun construction on a new starship that will be far more powerful than any weapon that was built in the past, including their beloved Death Star. Construction is being overseen by The Emperor himself (Ian McDiarmid) and this time they've learned from their mistakes. The Rebel Alliance starts formulating a plan of attack only to realize that there is an impenetrable energy field encompassing the new starship...they can't do anything with that shield up. After a little research, Han and Leia travel to a small planet called Endor where the generator for the starship energy shield is stationed. The plan of attack is that Leia and Han will disable the shield and an attack will be led by Lando piloting the Millennium Falcon to take down the second Death Star for good! But naturally, there are a couple of hiccups.

The new Death Star must be destroyed!!

All seemed to be going well for Han, Leia, R2-D2, and C-3PO on Endor when suddenly they are captured by a small primitive tribe of teddy bear-like creatures called Ewoks! Luckily for Han and Leia, the Ewoks see C-3PO as some kind of Deity and they offer to help the Rebels with their plan on taking down the shield generator! While all of this is happening on Endor, Luke makes his way back to Darth Vader's ship where he plans to confront his father. If he has once been on the Light Side of The Force, there must still be some goodness left in Vader's heart...maybe Luke can persuade him to come back and to end this riff between the Empire and the Rebels. But it's never that easy. Instead, Luke will be put to the ultimate test! But if he can harness the power of The Force, he could save the galaxy once and for all!

Is victory finally at hand??

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Return of the Jedi is my absolute favorite simply because of the Ewoks...but I'm really starting to struggle with these movies at this point. Yes, Star Wars is iconic and it forever changed the face of practical effects and Sci-Fi movies forever...but I'm starting to feel like it's not all that and a bag of chips. These movies are really, really long and it gets very difficult to pay attention to the plots. Plus.... I'm trying to understand why I am having no emotional reaction to any of these movies so far? With every other franchise I've binge-watched (horror movies excluded for obvious reasons), I've started cheering and championing and crying...why not Star Wars? I can't seem to figure that part out. But, I won't deny that these movies are classics and I'm so glad that I've been able to take the time to watch all of them and rediscover them again. And now, the moment of truth is upon us! I am finally preparing for my first viewing of Star Wars: Episode 7 - The Force Awakens....this is such a big moment! I cannot wait!!

I will never not love the Ewoks, this has to be my favorite of the
original trilogy....any chance they'll make an appearance in the new movies???

Friday, August 19, 2016

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back


I am so happy to finally be watching the original Star Wars trilogy! Partly, this is because watching the prequels was just painful, but also because I literally haven't seen these movies in years! My first introduction to Star Wars actually came when I was really young and I remember bits and pieces of one of the movies being played on TV at some family gathering...at the time, I also remember seeing the VHS trilogy pack in the movie cabinet...oh how I wish I had had the good sense at the time to remember to keep my hands on those babies! But after those days, I didn't see anything Star Wars related until I watched the trilogy in high school....and that's been it. This is my 3rd ever experience with the original trilogy, thankfully it's been a wonderful revisit!

I'm getting so close to the end....oh, it's such a wonderful feeling!


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....

It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the Death Star has been 
destroyed, Imperial troops have drives the Rebel forces from their 
hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy. 

Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters led
 by Luke Skywalker have established a new secret base on the 
remote ice world of Hoth. 

The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young Skywalker,
 has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of space...

It has been three years since the Rebel Alliance claimed victory and destroyed the Galactic Empire's weapon of mass destruction: the Death Star. But this victory came at a cost. The Revel base on Yavin IV was found out so the Alliance was forced to find a new hide out...and this is where we find our brave heroes Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), at the new Revel base on the ice planet Hoth. With secrecy as their utmost priority, Luke has joind a team of scouts who patrol the surrounding ice fields for signs of Galactic Empire spies. On his latest venture, Luke is captured and taken hostage by a formidable snow beast called a Wampa. Luckily for Luke, he is able to use The Force to break free of the Wampa's clutches and tries to make his way across the ice fields and back to the base...but he is no match for the blistering cold. But some good does come out of this venture.

Don't worry Luke, you'll wiggle your way out of this one!

During his escape, Luke has a vision of his dearly passed friend, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness). Obi-Wan's spirit urges Luke to go to the planet in the far off Dagobah system where Luke must continue his training with someone called Master Yoda. Worried that Luke hadn't returned to the base, Han and his wookie co-pilot Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) go out and recover Luke's unconscious body...and find something else along the way. A Galactic Empire droid had found it's way onto Hoth, but the Rebels discover it too late! Word get back to the Empire that the Rebels are based on Hoth and battle immediately ensues! Han, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia board Han's ship - the Millennium Falcon - and flee Hoth, losing the attacking forces in an asteroid field. Meanwhile, Luke and his droid R2-D2 board their own Fighter ship and jet off for Degobah to find Master Yoda.

Safe travels friends, and may the Force be with you!

Needing a new safe space to hide, Han calls on the help of an old friend named Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). Han and his companions are received by Lando in Cloud City...who has set his own trap for them! Lando hands over Han, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia to Darth Vader (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones) himself, who intends on using them to lure Luke to his ship. But Luke has yet to pick up on the capture of his friends. Luke and R2-D2 crash land on the swampy planet of Dagobah, where his ship becomes lodged in a marsh. Without much choice and no where else to go, Luke goes looking for Master Yoda. And finds him! But Yoda isn't exactly who Luke imagined as being a great Jedi Master... Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) is a 900-year-old, tiny green creature who speaks in erratic, backwards riddles. Luke is sure now that his vision of Obi-Wan coming to him must have been a hallucination. But when Yoda starts conferring with Obi-Wan's spirit and shows Luke his true powers, then Luke knows he's come to the right place.

"Train hard, you must. If Jedi Master, you wish to become."

Luke's training begins and it is nothing short of grueling. His mind and body are pushed to their absolute limit but Yoda still pushes Luke onward. As the days go on, however, Yoda is troubled by the amount of fear in Luke's heart. If Luke cannot conquer his fear then he will never fully conquer The Force. But in the midst of their training, Luke finally senses the danger that his friends are in. Yoda pleades with Luke to stay and complete his training but Luke refuses to listen and races from Dagobah to Cloud City...where he falls right into Darth Vader's trap. The two engage in a furious lightsaber battle where Vader urges Luke to surrender his powerful mind to the Dark Side. Luke continues to refuse and bravely fends off Vader...but in the heat of battle, Darth Vader reveals an earth-shattering secret that could cause Luke's mind to wane...

Could this be it? The battle to end all battles??

Do not get me wrong, I am so happy to be watching these movies and The Empire Strikes Back is when major plot points start coming to light....but I was less than thrilled with this one for a couple of reasons. I felt like this installment felt a little too long, I got bored during much of the dialogue and drawn out battle scenes. I also was not a fan of how the Yoda character was introduced - he's supposed to be this wise, noble master teacher and yet he's flopping around like a riddle-spewing, frog? What? I like that he starts to get more serious as his relationship with Luke develops but, I still wasn't the most pleased. But aside from these minor details I was very happy with this one as well! The Empire Strikes back is another solid installment, and I'm even more excited to move on to Return of the Jedi...which means The Force Awakens is getting that much closer!! Yay!!

Return of the Jedi is coming up next, and you know what
that means....EWOKS!!!!! 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope


Now the real movies can begin!! Thank you all so much for bearing with me through the Star Wars Prequels...those were so difficult to get through. But these are the movies that truly make it worth it. Watching the Prequels was like hiking up the really steep, rocky, slippery front side of a mountain but now that I'm at the original trilogy it's like I've cruising down a well-kept path down the backside of the mountain. Nothing but smooth sailing here! While I am still a little tired of all the Science Fiction I'm trying to swallow, it helps that these are at least decent movies. The Force is strongest with these ones!

Shout out to my amazing sister-in-law Tiffany for being a fantastic
Sci-Fi nerd and letting me borrow her ultra fancy blu ray-DVD original trilogy pack!


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....

It is a period of civil war. Rebel starships, striking from a hidden 
base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies manage to steal secret plans to the 
Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored star 
station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home
 aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her
 people and restore freedom to the galaxy...

On the desert planet of Tattooine, we meet a young man named Luke Skywalker. Luke (Mark Hamill) lives with his aunt and uncle, owners of a moisture farm, and he spends his days helping with chores and tinkering with mechanical parts and pieces...but he dreams of bigger things. Like leaving this boring old Tattooine. There's nothing for him here, he wants adventure! One day, Luke and his father meet up with a race of Jawa who act as traders. Luke's father purchases two droids to help them around the farm - a bubbly little unit named R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and a formal cyborg named C-3PO (Anthony Daniels). While Luke is making conversation with C-3PO and cleaning up R2, he accidentally hits a button on R2 that triggers a message from a beautiful young woman begging for the help of a man named Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke doesn't know of an Obi-Wan, but he's heard of a loner named Ben Kenobi who lives out in the desert. Maybe it's him!

Luke could never have guessed the incredible adventure awaiting him...

The next day, Luke sets out with R2-D2 and C-3PO into the desert and sure enough, they find old Ben Kenobi...who is quick to reveal that he is really Obi-Wan when Luke explains that there is a message for him on the R2 unit. Obi-Wan watches the message, sent by Princess Leia of Alderaan who reveals that she was captured by Imperial Forces and is being held hostage by their leader - the infamous Sith Lord Darth Vader (played by David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones). Princess Leia reveals that she has stolen the plans for the Death Star - a large star station being constructed by the Galactic Empire that will have enough power to destroy whole planets - and she wants Obi-Wan to get the plans to her father so he can analyze them. Overhearing this message, Luke is confused and curious. What does all of this mean? And so Obi-Wan explains.

"Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."

Obi-Wan Kenobi reveals that he is a Jedi Knight, a keeper of the peace for the long lost Galactic Republic. Years ago, the galaxy was peaceful but the Galactic Republic was taken over by an Evil Sith Lord - a man who tapped into the Dark Side of the energy field that gave Jedi Knights their powers, an energy field known as The Force. This Sith Lord took over the Republic and transformed it into an evil empire hellbent on taking over and ruling the entire galaxy. It was he who commanded that all the Jedi be killed years and years ago, which is why Obi-Wan is one of the last of his kind. Now seeing that the forces of good - the Rebels - need his help, Obi-Wan offers Luke a chance to come with him to Alderaan to complete Princess Leia's request. Luke is hesitant at first...this seems to big for a small town kid like him. But Luke quickly changes his mind when he returns home...

There is nothing left for Luke here on Tattooine. It's time to leave home!

Having tracked down the droids carrying the stolen Death Star plans, Imperial soldiers descended on the planet of Tattooine and left complete chaos in their wake. Unable to find the droid in Luke's home while he was away finding Obi-Wan Kenobi, his home was burned to the ground and both his aunt and uncle were killed as well! Wanting to avenge their wrongful deaths, Luke finds Obi-Wan and agrees to go with him to Alderaan. And now the real adventure beings. Obi-Wan and Luke must find a ship with a pilot that are able to get them to Alderaan safely and without asking a whole lot of questions. And sure enough, they find the best pair. Han Solo (Harrison Ford), is an arrogant smuggler who works alongside his Wookie first mate named Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). The twosome agree to ferry Obi-Wan, Luke, and their droids to Alderaan for a price and a deal is struck!

On their way to Alderaan!

As they travel through space, Obi-Wan reveals to Luke that his father was a Jedi Knight too. Luke's father, a man named Anakin had fought bravely alongside Obi-Wan but was killed by Obi-Wan's pupil who had turned to the Dark Side...and that pupil was none other than Dark Vader himself! Obi-Wan offers to teach Luke the ways of The Force and begin his training as a Jedi, which Luke gladly accepts. Meanwhile, Darth Vader has grown tired of questioning Leia about where she has hidden the plans for the Death Star...the last thing he wants is for those plans to fall in Rebel hands! He may know exactly the right way to make Leia talk...it will cost millions of people their lives, but Vader has no scruples when it comes to the lives of the innocent. Will Obi-Wan make it to Alderaan to deliver the plans before Vader does something drastic or they are discovered? All Leia can do is hope!

Nothing will stop Darth Vader from getting those plans back...well, maybe. 

So much better!! I don't know why this is, but because this was the original Star Wars movie of the whole entire franchise it explains all the concepts of The Force, Jedis, and the history of the Galactic Empire in so much simpler terms than any of the three prequels ever did! I adore the simple, but interesting plot in this movie. The introduction of new characters is also great - this is the movie that first had me fall in love with Wookies - and the practical effects are definitely top notch! Anyone who plans on getting their hands on a DVD copy of the Stars Wars original trilogy should NOT skimp out on the bonus features! My only nag? The versions that I had on hand were the ones with the added CGI scenes and images...which really don't fit and totally cheapen all of the movies. Unnecessary CGI characters and robots that add some kind of stupid humor....ugh. Gag me. But aside from that discrepancy, I am finally ready and raring to go for the next two movies!

So excited to be moving upward and onward to better things. 
More precisely - The Empire Strikes Back!