Day 351: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

rogueone_onesheeta_1000_309ed8f6There are reasons I decided to do this challenge and it was to see epic films and there was an ultimate goal that I wanted to achieve besides hitting number 366. That goal was to be at this very point where I am reviewing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for today’s film. The film takes place some twenty somewhat odd years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III. The Imperial Empire has taken over the galaxy with Emperor Palpatine firm in control. The Rebel Alliance with their backs against the wall discover that an Imperial pilot has defected from the empire with information on a weapon that the empire is creating from the lead engineer himself in Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen). After learning this herself, Galen’s daughter Jyn (Felicity Jones) will risk it all along with a group of rebels to retrieve the info to help the Rebel Alliance. The film also stars Diego Luna (Milk) as Cassian Andor, Alan Tudyk (Zootopia) as K-2SO, Donnie Yen (IP Man) as Chirrut Îmwe, Wen Jiang (Chinese Zodiac) as Baze Malbus, Ben Mendelsohn (Australia) as Orson Krennic, Forest Whitaker (Arrival) as Saw Gerrera, Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler) as Bodhi Rook, Genevieve O’Reilly (Glitch) as Mon Mothma, James Earl Jones (Star Wars: A New Hope) as Darth Vader, and the film was directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla). 

gallery-1460037786-rogue-one-star-wars-villain-is-this-darth-vaderSpoiler Alert: There is going to be some information leaked in this paragraph that could give away some details or all the details in the film. So either proceed with caution or do not read any further, but you were warned. First off, I am going to star this by saying that I really and truly enjoyed the film from beginning to end. I thought it was a great stand alone film that was made to explain some details leading up to episode IV that many of you may have wondered about. Now was it better than Star Wars: A Force Awakens? While it may be a valid question, I find it a little unfair because they are two different films. I loved a lot of the individual performances in this film from people like Donnie Yen who was funny and awesome all at once. Felicity Jones was terrific in the film as Jyn and while Diego Luna may not be Han Solo, he was still very cool as well. This film had Darth Vader and even though his appearance was brief, it gives this an edge over F.A. I have to admit that his entrance was pretty bad ass. This film may have had too many quick hard cuts during a lot of the scenes which would be my only criticism. The story was great and the acting was great and it injected humor right in the perfect spots. The battle scenes were pretty amazing as well and it reminded you why you loved Star Wars. I did think it was very awesome to see the late Peter Cushing in the film once again even though he is not listed because it was a CGI version of him. Wait till you get to the end for the surprise visit that comes then. I think there is very little to criticize about the film, but I’m sure others will find the flaws. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 134: The Book Of Life (2014)

the-book-of-life-movie-wallpaper-2014For today’s film, I wanted to watch it because I am a big fan of animated movies when they are done right and cool and because I’ve seen every Friday The 13TH film ever so can’t do those. We’ve seen Disney and Dreamworks dominate the field, but in 2014 20TH Century Fox released The Book Of Life. In the town of San Angel, Mexico, there lives three kids with very different paths in life. You have Manolo (Diego Luna), a young man who belongs to a long line of bullfighters. There is Joaquin (Channing Tatum), a man who will go off and fight wars and battles to become a great general and then there is the beautiful Maria (Zoe Saldana), the sophisticated daughter of the General Posada (Carlos Alazraqui) who both of the men I mentioned are fighting for. So a couple of spirits in La Muetre (Kate del Castillo) the ruler of the land of the remembered and Xibalba (Ron Pearlman) ruler of the land of the forgotten place a wager on who will win the hand of Maria in marriage. Will it be Diego or Joaquin? The film also features the voices of Christina Applegate (Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitters Dead) as Mary Beth, Ice Cube (Ride Along) as the candlemaker, Hector Elizondo (Unnecessary Roughness) as Carlos Sanchez, Danny Trejo (Machete) as Skeleton Luis, Ana de la Reguera (Nacho Libre) as Skeleton Carmen, Placido Domingo as Skeleton Jorge and the film was directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez.

book-of-life-2640_0180_0127_beauty5k_v001_cropI am definitely fascinated by these types of stories and the lure of the Day Of The Dead festival that takes place in Mexico. I saw one review call the film’s story line formulaic and while it might be it is definitely visually stunning to say the least. In the film, you get taken into three different worlds that are all so visually stunning and enchanting to the eye. I mean you get to check out some old Mexican folklore with some very stunning animation, what more could you possibly want from the film. The story is typical where two men are fighting over the girl, but you already know who is going to win her heart right from the beginning. It’s just a question of what obstacles and road blocks is he going to have to face to get there. I think that is what most reviewers are referring to because we’ve seen it all before, but with the effects I can easily forgive them for that. You have to pick and choose your battles with films, but this one is easily enjoyable and pleasant to watch. It has quite the amazing cast attached to it and Guillermo del Toro’s name is attached to project as a producer so what else could you possibly want from the film? I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.