So Let’s Talk About Black Panther (Spoilers)

I just got out of my first viewing of Black Panther. Let me start this review by saying that I was rooting for this movie from the beiginning. I loved seeing T’Challa in Civil War and everything about this movie got me hyped. I know this one meant a lot to a lot of people. I can’t claim to understand what it’s like to feel underrepresented in the media but I think everybody should feel like they have a hero and this was set to be that for a lot of people. As important as the social commentary surrounding (and in) this movie was, I also think it’s important that it be, well, good. All of the casting and writing and important messages can go to waste if a movie is bad. So, was it? Well I’ve only been able to come up with one word to describe it. 

Awesome. 

That’s what I found myself saying under my breath through the whole movie. I mean aesthetic was spectacular, the cast was phenomenal, and don’t get me started on the action. Not only does everybody play their part well and stand out from each other, they stand out from the cast of most any other superhero movie. So now I want to break down some of my favorite things.

  •  The Bad Guy. I’m not even sure I feel comfortable calling him that. I’ve seen the Marvel movies and I’ve always enjoyed them. Even the worst ones are at least serviceable. I’ve always been more of a DC fan and when people ask why I always say “A hero is only as strong as his villain.” Marvel has some brilliant and inspiring heroes but I’m never all that interested in the villain. Sure there are a few good ones but compared to DC’s rogues gallery it’s nothing. THAT WAS NOT THE CASE IN THIS MOVIE. Good God was this a good villain. The writers nailed it. Instead of the usual “Here’s the bad guy he wants more money/power/etc” we’re presented with a guy who trained his whole life to avenge his father and carry out a mission that, while a bit sinister, you can’t wholeheartedly disagree with. I mean the guy saw a problem and wanted to fix it he just went about it the wrong way. You feel for him even after what he’s done and when he is beaten, you still kinda want him to see that Wakandan sunset. Props to Michael B. Jordan. He killed it and really brought that character to life. 
  •  Nothing Felt Forced. This movie had an important message to deliver and often when that is the case, it can come across as forced. Nothing in this movie felt like a hamfisted attempt to get a point across. I’m not sure I have a whole lot more to write about it I mean it’s just straight-up good. 
  •  The Message. Like I said, I’ve never felt underrepresented. We all have our struggles and that just wan’t one of mine. I was worried that I would come out of this movie feeling like the message wasn’t for me but I was very pleasantly surprised. A few lines in this movie really hit me hard. Things like “In times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers.” and something about us having more that connects us than separates us. I may be grown but I got choked up a few times. 

So yeah. It was great. Go see it. Go see it twice or ten times. Let Disney and Hollywood know that this is how you do it.  

 

Verdict: Wakanda Forever! 

 

I've Got A Bad Feeling About This. Can Solo Be Redeemed?

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So we FINALLY got the Solo trailer today. It was more of a teaser but at least it was something. I know the general vibe here is that this is going to be a bad movie and so far I agree but I would love for this movie to be good. Look, I've been against this from the beginning. Ewan McGregor is the perfect age for a Kenobi solo film and that's what they should have done from the start. We got exactly the right amount of information on Han Solo in the previous films and there's no real need to delve into his backstory. A huge part of what made his character so iconic is the mystery surrounding him. It doesn't help that NOBODY WANTED THIS MOVIE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Even though I've hated this movie from the time that they announced it, I'm going to go into this with an open mind. Odds are, this is a bad movie but I want it to be good. I love Star Wars and even though everybody seemed to hate TLJ, I enjoyed it. I can enjoy changes in pace and tone and just like the universe and like to see what different people do with it. I don't want to let this movie change that. Star Wars isn't about accuracy or continuity. It's not even always about quality (looking at you, Attack of the Clones). Star Wars is about fun for everybody and right now we're in a phase where Disney is trying to bring in new fans (of all ages). This seems to be something along the lines of filling in blanks and familiarizing older characters for younger fans. I don't agree with it but I see that I'm not the demographic for this.

 

Anyway, Donald Glover is always great. I'm looking forward to seeing him and despite the rumors surrounding the lead, I'm going to try to give him a fair shake. John Williams is back, if only for the theme, and that’s good news. I also hear we may get some clarification on the whole Kessel Run thing. Rumor is Darth Vader was also spotted on set. I hope if that’s true then he’s done well. I would actually like to see some more of him in his prime. The effects look great in the teaser and I’m sure the story is going to be at least interesting. 

 

I want this movie to be good and do well so that Disney won't be afraid to keep doing good stand-alone Star Wars movies. I also kinda want this movie to tank so that Disney will learn not to just try to cash in on nostalgia. Whatever happens with this movie I'll be indifferent I think. 

 

Conclusion: You can’t capture lightening in a bottle twice. When will they learn? 

Three Things Star Wars Should Do Now. [Potential Spoilers]

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Potential Spoilers for all things Star Wars ahead. Ye be warned. 

Despite the best critic reviews of a Star Wars film since Empire, TLJ has opened to mixed fan reviews. You know what they say, nobody hates Star Wars like Star Wars fans. Whatever your opinions are, you can't argue that TLJ is at least a change of pace. Whether you like the changes made by Rian Johnson or not, it is undeniably different. So that got me thinking; now that we're shaking things up what else should we try? 

A Western: Okay hear me out. Western's aren't necessarily about the setting. A western is about a character who is good, with a little bit of a bad streak, standing up to an enemy he should not be able to beat to protect people he doesn't really have to protect. That's not true but tell me I'm wrong. Now this should be the Obi-Wan standalone film. It could take place right after ROTS. Anakin has just killed most of the Jedi and Obi-Wan, having done everything he can, retreats to the deserts of Tatooine. He's broken and has no self confidence. Enter the bad guy. It just some medium level gangster. Some kind of mob boss or maybe a bounty hunter. Somebody who is causing trouble in town. Obi-Wan is indifferent at first. He doesn't want to get involved and feels that even if he did, he would only fail and risk the lives of more people. Then we watch him overcome this, defeat the enemy, and settle back in to watch over Luke as he grows only now he is at peace with himself. This could and should be done on a small budget and be kept very small scale. 

A Post-Apocalypse Survival Movie: Picture this. We open on a planet that has been absolutely ravaged by the empire. Buildings in pieces, big space animals roaming the streets, and a small but powerful ground presence of Imperial (or First Order) troops. Then we pan over to our main character. Together with a rag-tag group of fellow survivors he must... uhh get the MacGuffin from a heavily fortified base across the city or something. Look I haven't fully formed this idea yet but think about it. Picture the huge set pieces we could see destroyed and the crazy things we could experience in a world that was once full of massive space-age technologies and is now being reclaimed by freaky alien nature. We could tell the story of what destroyed the world through flashbacks or a really cool opening sequence and then watch a small group of strangers learn to fight and survive under their new circumstances. Like Zombieland but without the zombies and set on Coruscant. 

A Horror Movie: This is my favorite idea and probably the one that gets the least love when I talk about it. The Star Wars film universe is expanding and I think we're ready for something like this. Who wouldn't love to watch a horror movie set in the Star Wars universe? It doesn't even have to be an Alien knock-off. You could do a slasher movie or get creative and do some kind of paranormal thing. Maybe an alien that has no physical form but inhabits a host body gets on a ship and works it's way through the crew. You could even do psychological horror. Those long space flights have to cause some kind of cabin fever effect. There are a ton of possibilities here. I'm not saying it would be easy to do well but if done well it would be something truly special. If all else fails, it's been done in book form with a zombie situation. That could be a good starting point!

TNG Contributor-EntryFraggot

The Last Jedi (Spoiler Free) Thoughts.

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I am sitting here, drinking a Saint Arnold’s Amber Ale (That should give you a hint of where I’m from) and I am in shock. I am absolutely furious. I am furious because I finally love a Star Wars film more than I love Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. I cannot say enough good things about the direction that Rian Johnson has taken this franchise. Every aspect of this film was flawless. The cinematic and visuals of the film were groundbreaking. The suspense was killing. The character progression, both old and new to the series, was incredibly moving. The plot/story telling was unparalleled. This film was amazing and deserves any future award it may be nominated for and all the praise from fans. As someone who found Rogue One vastly better than Episode VII, I have never walked out of a movie theater thinking that the director, writers, actors, and crew of a film have done this great of a job. I’m dead serious when I say that it rivals and in many ways trumps Episode V, a film that has been one of my favorite pieces of all time. Again, I cannot say enough good things about this film. The twist and turns of it all will leave any Star Wars fan satisfied. I am furious because I have to wait some odd amount of time to get the next installment of the franchise, after being so hooked on this film. It is technically opening day and I am already purchasing tickets for my second showing just so I can not only re-live the film that brought me so much excitement, but so I can go back and pick up on anything and everything that I missed. 

-TheIronMuff

I see both sides of the coin on this one. There were a lot of things I really loved and a few things I didn't care for. On the one hand, it didn't feel like a Star Wars movie. I didn't get the same butterflies that I normally do. That said, it's probably a good thing. The Star Wars universe is expanding and deepening and I think it's time to start adding variety. I feel like under the circumstances of the film, the characters stayed true to who they are and I had a great time watching it. Isn't that what it's really about? It even touched on a few issues I've always had with lightsaber tactics. Overall, I don't have to recommend this movie but I would. I mean face it, if you're reading this it's just for fun. I've never met a more loyal fan-base and I don't know a single person who is on the fence about watching this movie but if I did I would recommend watching it. There were a few moments that I would have done without but all-in-all, I'm glad Rian Johnson came in and shook things up!

-EntryFraggot

Top 5 Christmas Movies

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It's Christmas time again! I suppose it has been for a while if you take hints from your local supermarket. Whenever you start celebrating, odds are you've been bombarded with Christmas films for weeks at the very least and it probably isn't going to end any time soon. So we thought we would pitch our top 5 Christmas movies so you can skip the nonsense and get to the gems. Now it should be stated that the first 4 items on this list are in no particular order. Two of us each picked our top two and then we agreed on the best one to fill the number one slot. Also, Elf. Yeah it's good. I'd even call it an instant classic. I've seen it every year since it came out and I still enjoy it but we didn't put it on the list. We did that on purpose. Call it an honorable mention. Anyway here is the list.

White Christmas- This one comes from co-host TheIronMuff. What do I really need to say about it? It's not only a Christmas classic but a film classic. As much as we tried to think outside the box and avoid cliches, this was always going to make the list. If for no other reason, watch this one for Bing Crosby. 

Christmas Vacation- Okay, okay. I hear you. "But you said you were trying to avoid cliches." I know but come on. Alright here's how this ended up on here. Actually, here's where this list even came from. So the other day my girlfriend mentioned that she hadn't seen Elf. We watched it (she fell asleep) but during the movie it somehow came up that she had never seen Christmas  Vacation either. I started in about how there are certain movies that everybody should see and that's a big one. Anyway now here I am writing out this list to help other couples avoid this sort of conflict in their own lives. This movie is phenomenal and it should be seen by every person at least once. 

Just Friends- I am so mad that TheIronMuff managed to get this out before I did because I wanted to take credit for recommending this. This was the movie that turned me on to Ryan Reynolds. The humor is subtle when it needs to be and bold when it can afford to be. The characters are absurd yet relatable. It has that guy from American Pie in it. No, not that one. Not that one either. Yeah Oz. That one. The story, as bizarre as it gets, manages to feel genuine and even heart-warming. If you're looking for a break from the Christmas norm, watch this.

Time of the Doctor- Yeah okay, this isn't a movie. I get it. But you sit around and try to come up with Christmas movies that both don't suck and weren't going to by watched by everybody anyway. It's harder than you think. Yeah I could have said Scrooged, or A Christmas Story but you all remember those. So watch Time of the Doctor. It is the Christmas special of Doctor Who from 2013. It's also the last episode where we get Matt Smith as the doctor and he absolutely kills it. As far as Christmas specials go, this is up there with Charlie Brown and Johnny Bravo for me. If you want a real treat, watch Day of the Doctor just before you watch this. 

And the number one choice. Hands down the best Christmas movie around is...

Die Hard- As if there was ever any doubt in your mind. See everybody pushes Frozen down our throats but that's a Summer movie. Die Hard is an actual Christmas movie. Go watch it; I'm not wrong. In fact, google Christmas movies. See? There is no way to watch this movie and not enjoy it. If you're not a Bruce Willis fan then it has Alan Rickman. The message is timeless probably and no matter how old the movie gets, it really doesn't age. The winter weather outside will only add to the atmosphere. This needs to be a yearly watch for you.