The eighth story in the Star Wars series catches viewers up with what’s happened with all the characters after the last movie. Rey has sought out Luke Skywalker at Leia’s urging because he is the one person who can inspire hope in the resistance as they face their toughest challenge, Snoke and the First Order.
Ben Solo (Kylo Ren) is battling his own demons and connects with Rey as they explore the strength of their connection and the force within each of them. Sometimes it’s nice to know you are not alone.
The Last Jedi harkens back to the original trilogy with characters from the past showing up and landscapes which seem familiar but two things stand out. The Last Jedi has a strong female empowerment vibe with many of the main characters in leadership positions being women, especially in the resistance. From General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) to new leadership like Vice Admiral Holdo (played by Laura Dern) to new characters like Rose Tico and Lieutenant Connix (played by Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd).
Second, the animals steal the show. From cute little bird like creatures who make Chewy rethink being a meat-eater to the frost foxes, the animals are adorable and will be big sellers on the plush market!
A little slow off the start, the movie quickly picks up the pace as we get into the characters and their choices. The story is one of hope. Love overcoming hate and family-both those you are given and the ones you make. With sweeping landscapes and on the edge of your seat battles, the storyline keeps the series fresh while giving many nods to the past and by that I mean the first three movies which launched it all. Small pieces of humor allow The Last Jedi lighter moments than The Force Awakens. At times you won’t be sure whether to laugh or cry.
Especially touching are those moments on screen with Carrie Fisher and the closing credits which acknowledge our loss. Maybe not the best of the whole series but The Last Jedi hits the right notes with fans and new viewers.
Tommy Lee Jones and Morgan Freeman battle each other to find out who is top dog at a retirement village. What could go wrong?
Duke Diver (Morgan Freeman) juggles three women, has an amazing short game and manages the trendiest retirement village in California, but he’s about to be taken off his pedestal when a former military man, Leo (Tommy Lee Jones) arrives. As the women announce, there is new meat on the buffet.
Everyone has a secret… Duke is in witness protection after squealing on the mob, Renee Russo’s character, Suzie, is sent by corporate to fire Duke for inappropriate use of funds and Leo wants to buy the property and turn it into a mall. When the mob sets its sights on Duke, Leo and Suzie are caught in the middle of the mess.
The one-up-manship between Duke and Leo goes from the golf course to the limbo line. Each man trying to prove that they are the big dog and that the other should step aside. Duke is more interested in keeping his lady’s man lifestyle while Leo is more interested in winning Suzie’s heart. Along the way, the two men forge a friendship in order to keep the community safe from the mob.
Meant to be a partner comedy movie along the veins of Men in Black and Lethal Weapon, Just Getting Started falls flat. Tommy Lee Jones and Morgan Freeman lack the chemistry to make this a bromance. They seem more tired than funny. And Renee Russo appears as whiny and weak…so unlike what a corporate “fixer” would be. All the potential is there, but the whole movie falls flat. This is a movie I would wait to see on television rather than spending the money and time to see it this holiday season.
A dark and disturbing comedy, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri keeps you guessing as the story twists on a dime. When Mildred Hayes (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand) becomes frustrated with the local police (led by Woody Harrelson as the Chief of Police, William Willoughby) over their lack of progress on the rape and murder of her daughter, she takes matters into her own hands and pays to have three billboards put up keeping the crime in the town’s eyes.
The town of Ebbing is a small town still caught in the throes of racism and violence. The three billboards effect not only Mrs. Hayes and the Chief of Police but everyone in town, as sides are taken in a showdown between the lovable and dying Willoughby and the angry, bitter Mrs. Hayes.
It’s filled with characters such as the man in charge at the billboard office (Red Welby played by Caleb Landry Jones) who is trying to win the heart of his secretary. A dwarf (played by Peter Dinklage) who is willing to lie to the police in order to win the love of Mrs. Hayes, as well as the second-in-command Officer Dixon (played by Sam Rockwell) is a violent and immature mama's boy, who ends up becoming a better man in the end.
No one in the town is a typical character. Not only is Mildred dealing with the death of her daughter, she’s divorced from her abusive husband and feels guilty for her daughter’s death, all the while trying to maintain the day to day life of a working single mom. It’s her guilt which pushes her to find the real killer so she can finally be free of the guilt. Chief Willoughby is a wonderful father and police officer who is dealing with pancreatic cancer and the pain and suffering that he will face as well as the loss of his own life. He’s determined to find the killer but his time is running out. Officer Dixon’s violence appears to be a result of the death of his father and living with his angry mother who prompts him to violence in order to help the South rise again. But when he learns the sharp sting of violence, he puts his life on the line to gather evidence in an effort to find the killer.
Written and directed by Academy Award winner, Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards sends you down a twisted trail. Just when you think you know what will happen, slam, the story changes. Filled with enough swear words to fill a swear jar, Three Billboards also leaves many questions unanswered at the end of the movie. No you won’t have everything tied up in a holiday bow but that’s okay. Life is messy and sometimes doesn’t go the way you want it to. It’s not a holiday movie, nor is it one you necessarily have to see in the theater but I urge you to see it. The acting is brilliant and the story keeps you hoping for that happy ending.
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