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 102: Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

kingsmanThere are so many different spy movies in the world today and the question always remains what makes them different than any Bond film ever released. In 2015, they finally released Kingsman: The Secret Service worldwide and I didn’t see it until now. For Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), there is much point to be a good ole boy when you come from the wrong side of town. That is until you are bailed out of jail by a man (Colin Firth) who claims to have known your father (that you never got to know). Eggsy is recruited to join a very secretive spy organization known as the Kingsmen, a group modeled after King Arthur and his round table. The organization needs a new recruit when one of their own is killed by a mad man named Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) looking to rid the world of humans because of global warming. Now it’s up to them to save the world before it’s too late. The film also stars Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes) as Merlin, Jack Davenport (Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl) as Lancelot, Michael Caine (The Dark Knight) as Arthur, Sofia Boutella (Monsters: Dark Continent) as Gazelle, Mark Hamill (Star Wars: A New Hope) as Professor Arnold, and the film was directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass).

kingsman 2The only thing I regret about this movie is that I didn’t see it earlier than this, but better late than never. This is yet another film that I truly enjoyed watching this month and that is kind of the point of this blog. The film has tons of action in it, plenty of that dry British humor that we all love, and a really cool villain. He’s not your stereotypical villain with his lisp, but he has a bad ass hench-woman by his side. The woman has prosthetic’s with swords or blades on the ends of them and she can slice dudes up with them. Kingsman is actually a breath of fresh air for the spy genre for people looking for something different. If the film is a spoof like people say it is then I’ll gladly take another serving of the film from the franchise. If they play their cards right this is definitely a series that could be around for quite some time as long as the writing is good. One of my favorite scenes in the film is definitely when Colin Firth’s character goes into the church and it’s a bloody massacre in there. That is such a cool action sequence that just blew me away. Some of the special effects in the film are very good especially with a head exploding sequence at the end that is very colorful. Oh and Hanna Alström has an amazing asset that she shows off at the end of the film. This is definitely another favorite of mine that is going to make picking a clear and concise top 25 very difficult at the end of the month. With that being said, I am going to give the film an A-/A because it lies somewhere between those two.