The Force Is Middle Of The Road With This One

In A Galaxy Revisited

2017 has been a good cinematic year for geeks, nerds, and pop culture addicts. Logan, Wonder Woman, Alien: Covenant, Kong: Skull IslandJustice League, and Spider-Man: Homecoming are just a few of the films that graced the silver screen this year.  Heck, even Netflix delivered with its most expensive film production to date, the Will Smith vehicle called Bright (which I highly recommend).  But of all of these films that we’ve been offered this year, none of them were as highly anticipated as Star Wars:  The Last Jedi.



When we last visited the Star Wars trilogy of trilogies, Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) set out to find Luke Skywalker, Han was murdered by that no good, tantrum throwing Kylo Ren, and the First Order lost their shiny new Starkiller Base.  Finn was almost killed by, you guessed it, that bratty Kylo Ren, and Mark Hamill made more money with one stare than you or I will ever make in a lifetime.

Which leads us to The Last Jedi.

(Note:  Spoilers are coming, but not before my general review.)

The film opens with the Resistance in shambles and the First Order hot on their trail.  The Resistance has run out of almost everything and are hoping that Rey and Chewie return with Luke Skywalker, their “only hope” for victory.  As the film rolls along at a much slower (but intentional) pace than every other film in the Star Wars universe, Finn and a new character, Rose, head out to find a code breaker to complete their subplot mission while General Leia tries to hold the rebellion together long enough for Luke’s return.  Poe goes full wildcard on his friends in another subplot and Kylo Ren reaches out to Rey in the hopes to show her just how powerful she can be with him at her side while she attempts to get trained by Master Skywalker.


As I said before, the film moves at a very slow pace when compared to the other Star Wars films, and I can see where this might turn off some of the fans of the previous films.  There are also some actions taken by certain characters (I’ll get into this more in the spoiler section) and by the director, Rian Johnson, that I can definitely see as things that would sour the opinion of loyal fans of the galaxy far, far away.

But with that said, there’s a whole lot to like about this film.  For starters, when the action does get going, it rolls full throttle.  There are three distinct sequences in the film that were simply amazing to watch.  A fourth sequence brought out the detective in me as I tried to decipher what was really going on.


For old schoolers like myself, seeing Carrie Fisher on the screen and knowing that she’s gone meant that I held back tears almost every time she appeared on screen or said anything as did seeing her with Billie Lourd, her daughter.  One scene in particular hit me very hard, and I thought that it would be the end of our princess in the film.

Speaking of death in the film, Rian Johnson did an excellent job of making myself and others seriously doubt the safety of a lot of characters.  That’s one of the best parts of this film in my opinion, as I never truly knew who was safe and who would be pushing up galactic daisies by the end of the film.

I also really enjoyed the addition of Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran to this film.  I had doubts about both of them before seeing the film, but Tran really surprised me and Dern gave what was possibly the best performance in the film.

The returning cast did solid jobs as well, but I felt that John Boyega’s Finn and Oscar Isaac’s Poe were kind of forced into the script, as the actions of their characters (at least in my opinion) didn’t really amount to anything when the credits rolled.  That’s not to say that either actor did a bad job in the film, I just wish that they would have been given more substantial parts in the movie.

Overall, Star Wars:  The Last Jedi just seemed to be off balance for most of its run time.  There were extremely wonderful peaks and deep, divisive valleys throughout the film, and one character’s actions in particular seems to have ripped the veil in the religion that is Star Wars.  What’s funny is that this particular piece of Star Wars controversy didn’t bother me that much, but I’ll get to that soon enough.

The Last Jedi is definitely worth watching, but check your preconceived notions of what shoulda/coulda/woulda happened at the door.  A lot of people love the film and just as many hate it.  The rest of us are in the middle wondering how the next film will resolve all of the open-ended bits and pieces of this film.

That’s my general review.  Below this photo of General Hux, Kylo Ren, and Captain Phasma are my views on specific and very spoiler-infested aspects of the film.  Keep reading if you’ve seen the film.  STOP if you haven’t watched The Last Jedi yet!


Last Warning!!! Spoilers Ahead!!!

The Last Jedi was definitely interesting to watch.  The ending, which gives us a very much alive General Leia Organa, makes me wonder how her role will be played out since Carrie Fisher can no longer play the role.  Was Leia’s death scene already filmed for the next movie?  Perhaps she was supposed to die in place of Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) but they decided to shelf her death for the beginning of the next film.  If so, that’s going to be gut-wrenching for fans like myself that could barely hold back tears when Fisher was on the screen.


Speaking of holding back tears, in the moment where Holdo decides to pilot the Raddus into Snoke’s ship at hyperspeed and she and Leia stumble over “May the Force be with you,” I legitimately shed a couple of tears.  To me, that is the point in the film where Carrie Fisher truly said goodbye to her fans.  I kept waiting for her to turn around and tell Holdo that she should take her place, but that never happens.  I had a similar feeling when the Resistance evacuated Crait.  I assumed that Leia would walk out to talk with Kylo Ren in one last attempt to save him and/or her brother, Luke, but that never happened.  This more than anything makes me hungry for the next film.


I was also completely disappointed with Benicio del Toro’s role as DJ in the film.  His character was completely useless in the film.  Hopefully he’ll get a little more action in the next movie.  The whole Canto Bight (casino planet) sequence where Finn and Rose meet DJ was not needed in my opinion.  I understand that this little side adventure will most likely lead up to “a new hope” thanks to the young rebels inspired by Rose and Finn, but ultimately the only thing that this part of the film did was give Finn a reason to face off with Captain Phasma for (possibly) one last time.  I really hope that this isn’t the last we see of Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), but I have my doubts about her ever returning.

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In my opinion, Captain Phasma is the biggest waste in not only The Last Jedi, but in The Force Awakens as well.  She towered over Finn in their battle but much like Boba Fett (and possibly intentionally like Boba Fett) did in Return of the Jedi, she went out like a chump.  Gwendoline Christie deserved better in this trilogy, and I hope that she somehow managed to survive The Last Jedi.

I can’t say enough about Laura Dern’s performance in this film.  I immediately assumed that she was either A) a plant for the First Order that was intentionally making bad decisions for the Resistance, or B) Supreme Leader Snoke.  Seriously, there were multiple times in the film where Dern’s face made me question her true intentions.  I was sad to see her die in the film, because her acting chops knocked everyone else out of the galaxy.  I’ve also had a major crush on Laura Dern since I saw her in Jurassic Park, so my opinion might be a little biased.  My goodness, how beautiful is that woman??????


Another high point of the film for me was Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico.  Seeing her in all of the promotional material and in action figure form, I assumed that she would become what toy collector’s call a “peg warmer,” one of the characters that everyone tolerates but doesn’t really like and whose action figure will be found all alone on the peg long after the popular figures are gone.

Tran did such an excellent job with the role despite being included in a throwaway subplot with Boyega’s Finn and their escape sequence was one of my favorite in the entire film.  Oh, and the two other sequences that I hinted at in my general review included the battle between Rey, Kylo Ren, and the Elite Praetorian Guard (the dudes in red around Snoke), and the “battle” that takes place between Ren and Luke Skywalker.

Speaking of that battle, when Kylo screams out for the First Order to hit Skywalker with everything and then Luke knocks a little dust off of his shoulder after the attack, I knew that something was definitely up.  Sure, Luke was a powerful Jedi, but nothing like his father or even Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Based on the films alone (and not on any of the old EU novels), Luke’s use of the Force extended to blowing up the first Death Star.  Vader held back in the hopes that Luke would join him and ended up having to kill the Emperor himself when Luke refused to turn to the dark side.  Also take into consideration that Luke had attempted to detach himself from the Force because of his screw ups, and I was left wondering if Luke was a Force ghost already or doing some high level astral projection stuff.


The battle with the Elite Praetorian Guard deserves to be right up there with some of the greatest cinematic lightsaber battles in Star Wars including Kenobi versus General Grievous, Kenobi versus Anakin Skywalker, and Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn versus Darth Maul.

Now, one thing that seems to bother a lot of people about this film is how Luke attempted to murder Kylo Ren before he could turn to the dark side.  This particular plot point didn’t bother me that much.  Yes, when Luke is telling the story, I got a bad feeling at first, but when he’s almost finished with the story and comes to his senses just a tad bit too late, I can absolutely believe that he’d doing something like that.  Remember that Luke made a lot of quick decisions in the original trilogy, and other than his refusal to use his guidance system and rely on the Force to to destroy the Death Star, they often proved to be bad ones (investigating the Sand People, checking out a meteorite just before it’s quitting time on Hoth, leaving Yoda’s training to help his friends, flying along with the Rebellion to Endor, etc.).


I didn’t buy Kylo’s version of the story at all, nor did I buy his explanation of Rey’s parents being nobodies.  Of all of the new characters introduced in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, though, Kylo Ren has become the most interesting.  I absolutely believe that he wants to join forces with Rey, but he’s definitely not above lying to her to get what he wants.  I also believe that he’s leaning more and more to the light and that Rey shows a little dark side potential.

I also think that Snoke might still be around.  Remember that if Luke is powerful enough to project his image across the galaxy, Snoke might be able to as well.  This could lead up to Kylo Ren and Rey joining forces to defeat him or Rey turning to the dark side and Kylo Ren turning into the hero I’d really like to see him become.  Who knows?  The Last Jedi was an imperfect mess, but it left myself and a lot of other people with some very intriguing questions.

As always, thank you for taking time out to read my post.  Let me know how you felt about the film in the comments section or give me your own theories about what might happen next.

May the Force be with you!!!!

Ho! Ho! Horror!!!!

“Slay” Bells!

Netflix is a funny thing.  I often find myself cruising through the films and shows that are provided for my enjoyment and know right away which ones I am going to skip and which ones I’m going to watch.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched and re-watched episodes of The IT Crowd, Cheers, and Stranger Things.  I watch a lot of films more than once as well (I’m looking at you Moana and Metropolis).  But every once in awhile a film or show catches my eye that’s a little bit intriguing.   Films like The Babadook and The Daughter Of Dawn and shows such as Orange Is The New Black aren’t necessarily on my radar, but when I see them, something makes me want to watch them.  Sometimes these shows are great and sometimes they completely suck.

A Christmas Horror Story, a Canadian thriller that was released back in 2015, happened to catch my eye one evening while trying to find something new to watch.  I’m already a fan of Krampus, another Christmas thriller released in 2015, and seeing Santa Claus taking on Krampus in the preview image piqued my interest.  Digging deeper, I found that the film featured a ton of Canadian actors…..including William Shatner, Captain friggin’ Kirk!


I decided to give the film a go, especially since knowing that with Shatner in it, I was either going to be surprised at how good it turned out or have a good laugh since he is known for doing many things tongue-in-cheek.  I’ll get to his performance a little later, but let’s get into the film.


A Christmas Horror Story is actually four stories directed by Grant Harvey (Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning), Steven Hoban (producer of Ginger Snaps and Splice), and Brett Sullivan (Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed).  The Ginger Snaps films are actually some of my favorites, so it doesn’t surprise me that that I enjoyed ACHS for the most part.  Each story could stand alone, but they were tied together by certain elements and characters such as Krampus, Santa Claus, and a murder that happened at a local school.


The film opens with Santa Claus checking on his reindeer.  He’s bloody and looks like he’s been through the ringer.  There’s a massive knock on the stable door and then Santa yells, “Who’s there?”  Then we cut to Dangerous Dan (Shatner) talking about how much he loves the Christmas season at a local radio station.  Shatner’s role in the film is small, but his banter with characters off screen and his constant Christmas updates are actually very key to the film.  I won’t ruin anything, but be sure to listen carefully to Shatner whenever he’s on screen.

The stories are intertwined throughout the film.  In other words, you get a few minutes of each story and when things get a little intense, the action moves to one of the other stories.  This actually hurts the film in my opinion, with the exception of the resolution of the final story.  There’s a steady build up each time and then the viewer is whisked away to one of the other tales, cutting any tension that was built to zero.

The first story in the film features three high school students (Zoe De Grand Maison, Shannon Kook, and Alex Ozerov) who sneak into their school to investigate two brutal murders that happened a year ago.  We see a video of a cop (Adrian Holmes) going over what he and his fellow officers found at the crime scene.  This cop will be explored more in one of the other stories.  We’re also introduced to Caprice (Amy Forsyth), who is part of another story in the film.

The three students manage to get themselves locked in the basement of the school and face off against a ghost.  The story follows standard “Boo!” scares and is, at least in my opinion, the least enjoyable story.  Again, no spoilers, but the ending of this tale left me wanting.


The second story in the film is much creepier.  The cop we are introduced to early in the film (Holmes) takes his family trespassing in order to find the perfect Christmas tree. Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like going on private property and pilfering the perfect pine, right?  After cutting down the tree and walking back to their truck, the family’s young son, Will (Orion John), goes missing.  The cop and his wife (Olunike Adeliyi) frantically search for Will and do eventually find him hiding in a tree, but he’s changed….a lot.


Will begins to act out at home.  He stabs his father’s hand at the dinner table with a fork, watches his mother take a shower, and does a few more things to amp up the creep factor.  The rest of the story finds the family attempting to figure out what is wrong with Will.  Adeliyi shines in this particular story, but all of her excellent acting proves to be fruitless with the weak conclusion to this chapter of the film.


The third tale is one of the best ones in my opinion.  In it, we join the aforementioned Caprice journeying with her family to visit her Aunt Etta (Corrine Conley).  While visiting with their aunt, Etta highly recommends that they go back home as soon as possible.  Her caretaker, Gerhardt (Julian Richings), is particularly anxious for them to leave.  Before they hit the road, however, Caprice’s brother, Duncan (Percy Hynes White), manages to break a statuette of Krampus and Caprice steals a little something for herself.  Gerhardt becomes visibly annoyed by the family, and they end up leaving in a rush.

They get into an accident and (as any “smart” person in a horror film would do) decide to cut through the woods to go back to Etta’s house.  Duncan is taken by something in the forest.  Caprice and her parents end up in an old church and believe that they are safe on sacred ground.  They aren’t.  Krampus shows up and attempts to take out the family.  As Krampus deals out punishment, Caprice makes a mad dash to her aunt’s home.  A twist is thrown into the narrative at this point, and it’s this twist that makes watching ACHS worth the mediocre school tale and the creepy kid story with a bad resolution tale.


The final story in this quadrilogy features Santa (George Buza) taking on undead elves.  The elves manage to infect Mrs. Claus (Debra McCabe) as well, and Santa goes on a killing spree.  He has a feeling that Krampus is the cause of all of the chaos, and the film reaches its climax when Kringle and Krampus face off.  It’s a fa-la-la-la-fight to the death….and one more twist that ties everything up neatly with a pretty Christmas bow.

Is A Christmas Horror Story worth a look?  Yes, but probably just one or two looks.  Unlike the Ginger Snaps series of films, I don’t see myself repeatedly watching this movie.  I will say that the Krampus creature and the undead elves look great, and the elves are pretty funny with their foul mouths and violent actions.

Everyone in the film does a decent job, with Adeliyi being the only real standout cast member.  The action and horror was good but not great, and the music did its job.  This film doesn’t deserve to be on any naughty lists, but it doesn’t deserve a Nintendo Switch under the tree either.

As always, thanks for reading.  If you’ve seen any excellent Christmas horror flicks, let me know in the comments.

Have a Merry Christmas!!!


My Geeky Christmas List!


I am not ashamed to admit that Christmas is my favorite holiday.  I love the music, the cheesy Hallmark movies, the gaudy decorations, and all of the wonderful smells that range from the pine of the Christmas trees to the cinnamon of the cookies baked for the holidays.  I also love the smell of frankincense that fills my church for Advent as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Oh, and I love presents, giving and receiving them, as well!

I also enjoy making a Christmas wish list.  I have one over on Amazon (but I’m not shallow enough to link it on this post) that my friends and family use as a guide for picking out a gift for me.  I also have one that includes things that aren’t always attainable in this world, such as peace for all mankind, warm food and shelter for the homeless, and at least one gift for every child in the world, no matter how big or small it may be.

For this post I’m going to be making a Geeky Christmas List.  Feel free to list any of your own wishes in the comments section below, and let me know what you think about my list as well!


First off, I hope that the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series will be at least as good as the last few.  From what I’ve read so far, the team’s dynamic will be changed.  How?  Raphael will be the leader in this series and Leonardo will have a “rebellious heart” (whatever that means).  It looks like Donnie and Mike will remain basically the same characters.  Look for Rise of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to hit Nickelodeon next fall.  I haven’t seen any artwork for the new series, but it will supposedly follow a more traditional animation style similar to the original 1980’s cartoon.  Here’s a look at the logo:


My next wish is that I hope that the upcoming Black Panther film (February, 2018) will bring back a more serious tone to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  With the latest Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy flicks laying on the humor to annoying levels (at least in my opinion), I hope that T’Challa and the people of Wakanda  cut back on the comedy a bit and focus on getting some serious work done.  After all, it’s the last move before Avengers: Infinity War hits the big screen (May, 2018).  You can’t tell me that Marvel will make Thanos’ attempt at conquering everything a buddy comedy, right?  Let’s hope that it’s pretty serious as well.


My next wish is that the upcoming Aquaman film (December, 2018) proves to be a success similar to this 2017’s brilliant Wonder Woman.  2017’s other DC film, Justice League, appears to be somewhat divisive among fans and critics.  I personally enjoyed it, but professional critics (and a lot of fanboys) attacked it for its CGI, what they saw as a disjointed plot, rushed story, and, my personal favorite, too much humor.  Let’s hope that Aquaman can bring fans and critics together once again.  Jason Momoa looked good as Aquaman in the JL film, and gave a nice balance of grit and humor to his character.  I believe that he has enough charisma to carry a film on his own, so here’s hoping for a successful cinematic run for Arthur Curry.


Another wish that I have for Christmas this year is that The Walking Dead finds its mojo when it returns for the second half of season eight.  With an “all out war” promised at the end of season seven, fans haven’t been offered much in the way of actual conflict.  Sure, the season opener featured an attack on the Sanctuary by the Kingdom, the Hilltop, and Alexandria, but it was nothing more than a drawn out action sequence.  There have also been character developing episodes that focused on Negan, King Ezekiel and Eugene, but unlike similar episodes in the past (and I know that I’m in the minority when it comes to enjoying these types of episodes), something is missing this time around.  At the end of this weekend’s episode, I was completely ready for Eugene to die.  He annoyed the fire out of me!  Let’s pray that the mid-season finale amps things up and that it will carry over into the second half of the season next year.


My next wish is a selfish one.  This year I was only able to attend one sci-fi/pop culture convention.  While I really enjoyed my time at Louisiana Comic Con, I sorely missed getting to visit with my friends at CoastCon, CyPhaCon, and Southern Geek Fest.  Wizard World has lost my interest thanks to crazy crowds and absurd pricing.  I’d much rather stick with the smaller conventions where I can actually here myself talk to other people.  Hopefully I will make it to at least one of my favorite conventions this year.

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My list continues with a wish that is really all on me.  I hope to catch up on all of the shows that I have fallen behind on over the last couple of years.  I’m way behind on Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, Gotham, and Doctor Who.  Peter Capaldi’s run as the Doctor turned me off to the show, but with a new Doctor on the horizon, I’ve decided to give Capaldi another chance and have started watching that show again.  As far as the rest of the shows go, I just need more time.  Between work and life, I don’t have time to sit down and binge watch shows like I want to.


I’m not a very big fan of anime, but I do enjoy watching it every now and then.  With Batman Ninja coming soon, I hope that it is better than the last Batman anime that I watched, 2008’s Batman: Gotham Knight, which is an anthology of six anime shorts.  I didn’t really care for any of the shorts that much, even with Kevin Conroy voicing the Dark Knight Detective.   The trailer for Batman Ninja was released in October of this year, and included a peek at a few of the villains that Batman will face, including the Joker and Gorilla Grodd.


Something else that I’m wishing for this year is a truce between Marvel and DC Comics fans over the films, the cartoons, and the comics of each series.  I highly doubt that this will happen, but a boy can dream.  I enjoy both Marvel and DC’s offerings for different reasons, and while I might be a hardcore DC fan, I won’t automatically dislike any Marvel work just because it’s from Marvel.  Let’s all work together to make this wish come true!


Speaking of comics, my next wish is that the Doomsday Clock series from DC Comics is good.  I haven’t read any of the DC Rebirth stuff yet (I’m still reading stories from the New 52), but I’m very intrigued by the combination of the Watchmen and the rest of the DC Universe, specifically the interaction of Superman with Dr. Manhattan.


A project that I’ve been waiting on for some time is about to come to fruition.  It’s the topic of my next wish, which is that I hope that the screen adaptation of Steve Alten’s first MEG book is successful.  I loved the first three books in Alten’s MEG series about Jonas Taylor and his adventures squaring off against Megalodon sharks.  The first book, MEG, is probably my favorite, but I also love The Trench.


The film is supposedly coming out in August of 2018.  It has been green-lighted, halted, restarted, etc. since the 90’s.  The version that is coming out next year will star Jason Statham (Snatch, Revolver, The Expendables) and Li Bingbing (The Forbidden Kingdom).  I’ve never been a fan of Statham’s work, but I’m hoping that MEG is more than just another action yarn in the deep blue sea.


Star Trek makes it to my wish list this year as well.  I haven’t watched Star Trek: Discovery other than the first episode that aired on CBS Television and probably won’t see it until it comes out on Blu-ray and the fan series Star Trek Continues ended last month, so I don’t have a whole lot of new Trek content to look forward to except possibly reading a Trek book or comic.  My wish is that CBS and Paramount come to their senses and loosen up the tight reins they’ve placed on fan produced shows.  Star Trek Continues was a brilliant show and it will be sorely missed.  Don’t let the good guys suffer for the actions of a greedy few.  I guess I’ll just watch some reruns of classic Trek until something new comes along.



My final wish is that all of you have a Merry Christmas.  I’ll probably do at least one more post this year for the upcoming Star Wars film, and possibly an End of the Year review.  Until then, I want to say that I appreciate each and every one of you that read my posts.  May all of your Christmas wishes come true!