Throwback Friday: Rian Johnson: Is He the Next Big Writer in Hollywood or a Glorified So-So Movie Maker?

I have now seen two movies of Rian Johnson’s; Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Knives Out. Both left me feeling the same after each first viewing. A bit intrigued, a bit dissatisfied, but overall eager for more. I don’t know if that’s a good thing.

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In the case of The Last Jedi, it took me two viewings to get it and multiple viewings at home following my second viewing in the movie theaters to garner a legitimate appreciation for the film. Why is that? Because Rian Johnson doesn’t tell an overall good story that punches you in the gut with its brilliance. His movies have layers and nuances that you miss until a second viewing, at which case you peel back the facade and witness the true story underneath. That can be hard for most movie watchers and it was downright wrenching for the Star Wars fandom.

Some people love The Last Jedi. Some people hate it. Johnson’s vision is very polarizing and I’ve grown to expect that with his storytelling. Knives Out follows the same pattern.

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It’s visually provocative with bold and muted colors blending in your vision as you’re watching a story unfold before your eyes but the story is a bit of a droll at first…until it isn’t. Then you’re left on this rollercoaster ride that won’t stop until it decides to, leaving you a bit exhausted and a bit pleased (or bewildered) at its conclusion.

Honestly, thank goodness Chris Evans was in the movie because he saved the day for me. He brought an element to the story that the film desperately needed (maybe the movie needed a handsome guy to look at, I don’t know!) but it was after his inclusion that the story finally started getting somewhere.

Don’t get me wrong. Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc was exceptional in the film from start to finish as he hilariously but effectively pieced together a murder mystery that was a bit too elaborate for its own britches. Ana de Armas’s Marta Cabrera was engaging too but she, however, was a bit on the nerves.

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It’s very clear that he directed both Armas and Ridley. I saw a shocking similarity in the way they acted in their films along with Johnson. The gleam of tears in the eyes, the fierce display of vulnerability, as if they’re barely holding on to their sanity by a strand, it seems to be his staple when directing women in movies. Hmm…

So, that leads me to the question of this post; is Rian Johnson the next big writer in Hollywood or a glorified so-so movie maker? I’m going to say a bit of both.

Rian Johnson has good ideas and is a brilliant director but, and that’s a huge BUT, both of his films have left me feeling a bit disinterested, dissatisfied, peeved, you know, negative. I wish I could say that Knives Out was the best murder mystery movie I’ve ever seen but it wasn’t. Not even close.

The best murder mystery I’ve ever seen is The Silence of the Lambs and for good reason. That movie is riveting and TOTALLY HORRIFYING on so many different levels. Knives Out got a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score, yes, but that’s only because it made plenty of political statements laced throughout the film.

I’m giving Knives Out a solid 89 out of 100 and 4 out of 5 stars. It’s not bad but I’m not urging you to watch it either.

Now I’m starting to wonder if I really want to see that Rian Johnson Star Wars trilogy or not. Hmm…

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely day.

 

My Ten Favorite Moments In ‘Star Wars’: Updated

Star Wars is one of the greatest franchises in film history and what makes these go-to flicks so beloved are the iconic moments in these movies. Here’s a much-needed updated list of my ten favorite moments in Star Wars. Enjoy!

10. Rise, Rey

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I’m not a fan of The Rise of Skywalker but even I cannot deny the awesomeness of the moment when Rey is lifted from the throes of death by practically every cool Jedi that has ever been in the franchise. Their voices blend together in a undulating “Rise” that gives me chills every time. Now, why she is so special, the trilogy never seemed to answer that question, and yeah the actual destruction of Palpatine is a bit lame, but I love this part no matter what. I loved it the first time and I love it still.

9. When Rey Finds Luke (The Force Awakens)

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This used to be my favorite scene in all of Star Wars. Unfortunately, it only reminds me now of where everything went terribly wrong. I still love it though.

8. “No, I Am Your Father” (The Empire Strikes Back)

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This is one of the most iconic scenes in film history. If I don’t put this on the list then…that seems a bit strange.

7. Han’s Unfortunate Demise

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This scene conflicts me every time I watch it because not only is it one of my favorite scenes in Star Wars but it’s one of my least favorite too. Here are the pros and the cons of this tear inducing moment in Star Wars. The reason why this is such a good moment is because of its impact to not only the rest of the movie but even the Sequel Trilogy. First of all it was the turning point The Force Awakens needed to turn it from being a good movie to a great movie. Secondly it completed Kylo Ren’s ultimate path to redemption. Plus, it’s a really intense, quiet moment that always draws my attention, no matter how saddening it still is to watch. Now the bad thing about this scene is simply the fact that Han Solo dies! I still can’t believe they killed him off like that. A lightsaber through the stomach, really? And then he had to fall off the bridge didn’t he? Ugh. So yeah, this scene’s on my list but it’s still painful to watch.

6. “I am a Jedi like my father before me.”

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Luke Skywalker is one of the greatest Jedi ever to live and it’s because of moments like this. After a brief plunge to what was essentially the dark side as he thoroughly kicked Darth Vader’s booty he realized, upon seeing his father’s severed robotic hand, that he was slowly becoming the thing he would never want to become.

Like a true Jedi Knight, he threw down his lightsaber before the Emperor, no matter the consequence, and stood proudly as a Jedi “like his father before him.” How can you not get pumped?! Ooh, I’m getting chills just thinking about it.

5. A Death Star Is Born

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After the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker the Not-Wise the conclusion of Revenge of the Sith is nothing short of powerful and this moment here, as Vader and Palpatine stare at the battle station that would mean the ultimate dominance for the Empire being constructed, I get goosebumps on my goosebumps. Such an incredible moment with some serious musical score prominence from, yours truly, John Williams.

4. “Hey kid.”

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I mean come on! In the movie theaters I was crying. I cry at home whenever I see this scene. And yeah, it would’ve been downright INCREDIBLE if it had been Anakin to talk to him in this moment but I’m not complaining. It was a beautiful way to bring Ben Solo back.

3. Darth Vader’s Greatest Scene

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I love Darth Vader. He’s undoubtedly one of the coolest, if not the coolest, villains in film history. All those times I watched Episodes IV-VI I didn’t realize there was one thing he never did that would’ve been so amazing to see, and that is for him to go plum off on a group of non-Force wielding enemies like he did in Rogue One. I really didn’t think I’d ever get to see a scene that looked like something out of the game, The Force Unleashed so of course I’m putting this on the list.

2. Luke Skywalker Is Awesome!!!!

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Luke Skywalker’s story in The Last Jedi may have not been what people expected (or wanted) but it was a powerful conclusion to his arc. His confrontation against the First Order and Kylo Ren will go down as one of the most epic moments in Jedi history. The first time I saw this scene I was in sheer awe and even now I just can’t get enough of it.

Plus, the music is really great too.

1. The Best Scene in Revenge of the Sith

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The prequels can be annoying at times but Revenge of the Sith actually is pretty great and it’s because of scenes like this. His disturbing conversation about Darth Plagueis and his ability to save people from death is chilling because he knows Anakin wants nothing more than to learn this power to save Padme. It’s the ultimate bait and the true beginning of the end for Anakin as a Jedi. When Anakin asks at the end of the scene, “Is it possible to learn this power?” and Palpatine answers, “Not from a Jedi” I’m always like wow, Palpatine you are super crafty.

But what makes this scene most terrifying is the padawan he speaks of killing Plagueis…is himself. 😬

So, this is an updated list of my ten favorite moments in Star Wars.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a thrilling day. May the force be with you.

 

 

 

Movie Review Flashback: My Review of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’

So, I just recently watched Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (a.k.a GOTG Vol. 2) and I was skeptical. I had heard a lot of reviews and not a lot of them were good. A lot of people said that it was decent but not nearly as good as the first one was. And then there was a choice few who said it was pretty entertaining. So when I watched it for the first time I didn’t know what to expect.

I had already had a bad impression because of all of the advertising for the movie. It was like everywhere I looked there was GOTG…and this was months before the movie was even supposed to come out. A lot of times when movies are advertising heavily way before the movie comes out (like Batman vs. Superman) the movie usually isn’t good. So that was already a red alert. And then the content they did show wasn’t that great looking. The first GOTG had me interested from the very teaser that long time ago at the end of 2013. This one…not so much.

So the movie started and I was just hoping it wouldn’t be as bad as Ant-Man because that was a pretty corny Marvel film. (I actually like Ant-Man nowadays which is hilarious.) And then the movie ended. And then the very next day I watched it again because there was so much going on I just had to make sure I got all of the itty-bitty details. And now I’m here, writing this post, and I hope you enjoy. Continue reading Movie Review Flashback: My Review of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’