A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Star Wars: Episode VIII -- The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson, 2017)

Adam Driver in Star Wars: Episode VIII -- The Last Jedi
Luke Skywalker: Mark Hamill
Leia Organa: Carrie Fisher
Kylo Ren: Adam Driver
Rey: Daisy Ridley
Finn: John Boyega
Poe Dameron: Oscar Isaac
Snoke: Andy Serkis
Maz Kanata (voice): Lupita Nyong'o
General Hux: Domhnall Gleeson
C-3PO: Anthony Daniels
Captain Phasma: Gwendoline Christie
Rose Tico: Kelly Marie Tran
Vice Admiral Holdo: Laura Dern
DJ: Benicio Del Toro

Director: Rian Johnson
Screenplay: Rian Johnson
Cinematography: Steve Yedlin
Production design: Rick Heinrichs
Film editing: Bob Ducsay
Music: John Williams

Fun but just a little bit frustrating. As I said in my comments on Episode VII: The Force Awakens, we need more backstory -- about Ren's fall to the dark side, about Poe Dameron, Finn, and Rey. We get snippets of Ren's story, including Luke's threat to kill Ren when he sees him going bad, and of Rey's, including a revelation that her parents were no one in particular -- which may be unreliable information on both counts. Poe and Finn go their separate ways in The Last Jedi, essentially into subplots that add texture but not substance to their stories. Instead of establishing Poe, Finn, and Rey as the heroic triad comparable to Luke, Leia, and Han, which is what The Force Awakens might have led us to expect, The Last Jedi makes them seem relatively ineffectual. I think the episode suffers a bit from "middle film" syndrome, the need to continue a story without providing the resolution that presumably will arrive in Episode IX.

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