Christmas is just a week away, but this year, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I’m feeling relatively calm about it – I think I’m almost looking forward to it! I’ve got every present bought and am just waiting for one to be delivered, I’ve earmarked tomorrow to get started on the wrapping, everything is in place food-wise, and Christmas Eve is on a Saturday, so I definitely won’t have to work, and any last minute errands that need running won’t be a problem. The only downside is that so far this year the closest I’ve come to watching a Christmas movie is Batman Returns! Ah well, I guess that’s something I’ll be catching up on this week to come!
Batman Returns (1992)
The LAMB’s Christmas special Movie of the Month.
Lists: Empire Top 500
Full review here.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Set before the events of Episode IV, Rogue One follows Jin Erso (Felicity Jones), the daughter of Galen Erso, the chief engineer behind the evil Empire’s greatest weapon, the Death Star. When Empire pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) turns traitor and leaves to help the Rebellion with a message for how to destroy the planet destroyer, Jin finds herself, along with a rag-tag group of other fighters, embroiled in the plan to retrieve the information and deliver it to the rebellion, at any cost. As I sit here wearing a Star Wars t-shirt (a screaming snow-speeder pilot fleeing a pursuing AT-AT/T-Rex hybrid), having just opened and assembled today’s window from my Lego Star Wars advent calendar (a GNK droid!) and looking up at my AT-AT papercut and other Star Wars knick-knacks around my desk, I think it’s fair to say that I’m a Star Wars fan, but I’m not a Star Wars super fan. I enjoy the films; I think some of them are very good, and I saw this opening night in a packed theatre, and had a good time doing so. I know the difference between a dianoga and a mynock, and that the Wookie home world of Kashyyyk is actually pronounced “Kazook”, but I still wouldn’t class myself as a massive Star Wars nerd, I just enjoy the world and like spending time with it, I even enjoy all the prequels. So the fact that we’re now going to get a new Star Wars film pretty much every year from now until roughly the end of time doesn’t fill me with dread, but I’m also not in a perpetual state of anticipatory glee. I do however appreciate the direction Disney is taking with these spin-offs. Sometimes the continued adventures of the Skywalker clan make me a bit bored – I’ve never really liked the characters of Luke or Leia, if I’m honest, and C3PO is just annoying – so the idea of setting other stories within this world, filling in holes of knowledge or just exploring excites me greatly, and our first taste of this is Rogue One, detailing just how Princess Leia got hold of those Death Star plans that she gives to R2D2 at the start of Star Wars. I’m not going to discuss this film too deeply here as I’m recording a Lambcast on it tomorrow, and we’ll go full spoilers there, but for now you should know that I enjoyed this film. I didn’t love it, it’s too early to say that, but for the most part I had a lot of fun. The last hour is pure Star Wars, there’s a lot of Return of the Jedi in the climax with several sequences occurring simultaneously for a common goal in various locales and of varying scale, and they all inter cept perfectly. Some questionable decisions have been made via CGI, with a prominent character not shown in the trailers being entirely digitally created, but not quite well enough to pull it off (it’s still very impressive, it’s just un-nerving to watch). On the plus side, all the characters are great and the cast, which also includes Mad Mikkelsen, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna and Jiang Wen, gel together nicely and for the most part all get moments to shine, espeically Yen, who might be a highlight. Alan Tudyk voices another robot, K-2SO, with a TARS-like humour to him but still with C3PO’s blunt delivery, making him an instant favourite too. I was a little disappointed in Ben Mendelsohn’s villain, mainly because I like the actor and felt he didn’t really have a great deal to work with here. Oh, and it could be argued that this entire film was created just to fix a plot hole from the original trilogy, which it does nicely. Expect more thoughts on this in an upcoming podcast. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll almost definitely at least like this. If you’re new to the franchise though, I’m not sure this is the best place to start.
Lists: 2016 Movies
Choose Film 8/10
A Matter Of Life And Death (1946)
My blind spot pick for December. It’s delightful.
Lists: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Empire’s 5-Star 500, Empire Top 500, Empire Top 301, Blind Spot Movies
Full review coming soon.
Posts you may have missed:
Lambcast #352 Batman Returns MOTM: I was joined by Bubbawheat, Jess Manzo and Richard Kirkham to discuss the not-very-Christmassy Batman Returns.
To The Escape Hatch – Favorite Scene Friday: Home Alone 2 – Suck Brick Kid!
Aim: Review 8 or 9 1001 List movies each month
Should be on: 96
On Track: No!
Aim: Review 1 “Bad” movie each month
Should be on: 11
On Track: No!
Aim: Review 1 “Blind Spot” movie each month
Should be on: 12
On Track: No!
Aim: Review 2 “Film-Makers” movies each month
Should be on: 24
On Track: No!