Monday, December 26, 2016

The best and worst movies of 2016

I saw a lot of the movies of 2016. Here is my list for the best and worst.

Worst movies

10. The Conjuring 2

9. Blair Witch

8. Angry Birds

7. Zoolander 2

6. The Huntsman: Winter's War

5. Morgan

4. Ghostbusters

3. Indepence Day: Resurgence

2. The Forest

1. Yoga Hosers

Best movies

10. Pee Wee's Big Holiday

9. Zootopia

8. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

7. Rogue One

6. The Lobster

5. Don't Breathe

4. Arrival

3. 10 Cloverfield Lane

2. Hush

1. The Witch

Friday, December 16, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Review

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a standalone film in the Star Wars cinematic universe. The special effects are great, showing the audience the universe at the dawn of the rebellion. The performances are good and showcase the skilled actors in a variety of complex roles. If there was a flaw to this movie, it is that this tale takes the longest route to a get to the crux of the story.

Rogue One centers on the character, Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones. She is the daughter of Galen Erso who is the designer of the Death Star. After falling into the hands of the rebels, Jyn must locate her father. She meets up with an eclectic group of fighters and together they go on a mission to get the Death Star plans in the hope of finding a flaw that might be a glimmer of hope for the rebellion.

The story is dark and foreboding, fitting right in with the mood of The Empire Strikes Back. The plot meanders a bit and some scenes feel like they could have been left on the cutting room floor. There are also strange choices such as the choice not to do a text crawl in the beginning of the film. Since Star Wars has always paid homage to old serial films, like Flash Gordon, it seems like a move to change that vision. There was also the odd choice to bring General Tarkin, who was played by the deceased Peter Cushing, back in CGI form. This was not the only character change as the film includes a young Princess Leia who was also given the CGI treatment. While they look good for CGI doubles and the actors play the part well, it looks a bit odd and the effect took me out of the movie.

Felicity Jones plays a great lead and the rest of the cast show a level of skill needed to make the scenes have the depth needed for a darker Star Wars film. It was fun to see Darth Vader again on screen and hear the voice by James Earl Jones in all its glory. The special effects are solid and exciting but sometimes have the look of a video game cut scene. This was especially evident during the space battles. The robot character K-2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk, often steals the scene with his wry humor.

I recommend this movie for Star Wars fans. For others who might be new to the franchise it might be a bit confusing. The theme of heroism and sacrifice during war is still relevant and takes a unique approach to the subject of the horrors of war and hope. It takes the universe that many of us enjoy and looks at it from a different angle, which may or may not be compelling depending solely on your point of view. As Obi Wan once said, “Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”