Film Review: SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (USA 2018) ***1/2

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Solo: A Star Wars Story Poster
During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.

Director:

Ron Howard

 

(The review contains a few plot points. that should not spoil ones enjoyment of the film) 

Han Solo, is the space outlaw made famous by Harrison Ford ever since the first blockbuster STAR WARS wowed the world is.  It would be a treat for Star Wars fans if Ford made an appearance in this movie.

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY is the second of the Star Wars anthology films following ROGUE ONE in 2016.  The film is a stand-alone instalment set prior to the events of A NEW HOPE.  As the title implies, the film follows the adventures of the beginnings of Solo (played this time around by a younger Alden Ehrenreich) before he joins forces with Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker.  The film is written by Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan and directed by Ron Howard taking over the direction after Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were let go owing what the studio cited as ‘artistic differences’.  Lord and Miller are still credited as executive producers.

A good exercise watching the film would be to guess which section was directed by Lord and Miller and which were taken over by Howard.  The former made the crazy LEGO MOVIE, which might have been too much for the Star Wars franchise.

The film opens with young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) fighting for survival on a desolate planet while having the dream of becoming a pilot to fly his ship among the stars.  But first he has to get out of the hell hole.  He and his love, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) attempt to but she is captured at the last minute, Solo escaping promising to return to the planet to save her.  This opening escape sequence (with the introduction of great sets, odd creatures and stunning alien landscape) is done really well and sets up the stage for an exciting film, which fortunately director Howard delivers.  The story goes on to Solo meeting with a master criminal, Beckett (Woody Harrelson) who becomes Solo’s mentor.  They eventually embark on a task to aid Master Criminal Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) steal prized fuel from a distant planet.  Along the way, other new characters are introduced including Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), Solo’s Wookiee sidekick and best friend.  

The film introduces new terms like gravity well, hyper fuel, Crimson Dawn just to list a few.  The film reveals (good for Star Wars paraphernalia) how Han Solo got his name, how he and Chewbacca originally met and how he got his first starship to fly.

Alden Ehrenreich, a star in the making, creates an excellent Han Solo,  the new super young action hero, the space outlaw who will gradually grow into Harrison Ford in the later films.  The other new actors like Clarke and Donald Golver as Lando Calrissian also prove their worth standing besides veterans like Harrelson and Bettany.

The film contains all the elements of a good action movie – betrayal, love, sacrifice and exciting action set-pieces.  There is the classic climatic fight between hero (Solo) and villain, Dryden.  The ending includes both a plot twist and a western-like showdown.

SOLO: A STAR WARS film turns out to be another solid action space western in the Star Wars franchise, another winner for director Ron Howard, translating to lots of money for Disney studios.

Trailer: https://www.google.ca/search?q=solo+trailer&oq=solo+trailer&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.2271j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

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TV REVIEW: GAME OF THRONES – SEASON 07 – EPISODE 06

beyond_the_wall_1.jpgEpisode Titled: Beyond the Wall

Jon and his team go beyond the wall to capture a wight. Daenerys has to make a tough decision.

Director: Alan Taylor
Writers: David Benioff
Stars: Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington

Review by Mary Cox

As predicted, Jon Snow’s northbound traipse has ended in absolute disaster. Not only is Daenerys down a dragon, but now, the Night King has added Viserion to the ranks of the White Walkers. Killing the Undead is hard enough as it is! Real talk: why did Dany take all three dragons up North in the first place? When her Dothraki Horde went up against the Lannister Army, she only brought along Drogon.

The only clear explanation is that Dany’s got a crush on a certain boring brooding bastard. Daenerys’ conversation with Tyrion regarding naming an heir for her kingdom is yet another sign that the plot of this season is clumsily stomping towards a hookup between Jon and Dany.

This was an episode that proves that nobody in this show ever learns anything. Sansa, who somehow can’t seem to remember how this situation ended up for her father, is sending Brienne of Tarth to her death by making her respond to a summons at King’s Landing. Sansa’s poor strategic and leadership skills are starting to get a little exhausting.

Once again: what the hell does Littlefinger want, other than to stir the pot? In past seasons, his motivations have been a little clearer, as it’s established that he carried a serious torch for the previous Lady of Winterfell, but ever since Catelyn’s downfall at the Red Wedding, Littlefinger has been slouching and scheming around the Seven Kingdoms with no Modus Operandi other than a vague
interest in boning Sansa.

Predictions for next week’s season finale: at least one of our important major characters is going to die.

Knowing how this series works, there’s no way all of these characters are going to live until next year’s premiere. My money is on Brienne when she goes to King’s Landing, or possibly Cersei at the hands of Jaime. The White Walkers, armed with their new dragon, are going to successfully attempt to storm the
Wall. Sansa is going to continue making irresponsible decisions, and Littlefinger is going to lurk menacingly around a corner.
 
beyond_the_wall_2.jpg

******
“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”t

Happy Birthday: Emilia Clarke

emiliaclarke.jpgEmilia Clarke

Born: October 23, 1986 in London, England, UK

[on her Game of Thrones (2011) character] I felt for Daenerys. I felt for her situation as a woman. Being in such a male-dominated society, where she was being abused by the men around her–it was that sort of sympathy, I suppose it started off as that. But then as you track her story, the problems that she overcomes and the way that she deals with them with such grace and the way that she deals with them when she has no training. The only thing that she has is herself and her iron will–that’s just a fabulous, incredible side to her character, really. And the fact that you watch her fall in love. You know, she meets the man that she loves more than anything else. She goes through painful events but she is still this strong, independent woman. And I think that, as a female, is what I really connected with.

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MOVIE POSTERDOM HEMINGWAY
2014
dir. Richard Shepard
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