It may seem a contradiction

It may seem a contradiction. I hate contradictions, but they can be useful for telling stories—as long, I suppose, it winds up one way or another, and if not, face a flat sort of ending. The contradiction I am referring to is when I posted something like “why read reviews” and then publish a review blog a few days later. I must come down one way or another or just let it linger in limbo. Why not let it linger?  Except what is one saying? Does it matter? The answer must be this: Welcome to my new review blog, Pete’s Movie Round-Up . I cover several bases be that story, ‘dodgy’ content,  theme, and artistry all fairly objectively, and also cover the human story, coming down one way or another. I may not like some ‘dodgy’ content. I endeavor to be fair, though, as much as possible , depending on how I feel about what I am watching.

 

 

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A success

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi gets straight to the story from the first line of the three-paragraph scroll which opens the episode. The line shows that the story has moved on in leaps and bounds from the last episode, The Force Awakens.

It’s such a leap that I wondered how what happened got time to happen. The initial meeting of Rey and Luke Skywalker at the end of The Force Awakens is continued in The Last Jedi, but lots of significant things seems to have gotten on in the galaxy during it. It was an awfully long meeting I suppose.

Liberties are taken on continuity here and there, but we are set up in the best way possible. It’s a riveting backstory, an exciting episode, a tight story with parallel plot lines that verge, and a good sense of theme and subtleties.

Action-packed for the first ten minutes as The First Order makes a move on the Resistance base. The Resistance are the good guys in this. The First Order the behemoths.

The story goes in-between the Resistance evading the First Order, Rey and Luke on an island, and a couple of renegades on a mission to deactivate a First Order tracker that should allow the Resistance to escape an ambush.

A back story of Luke and Kylo Ren, the film’s version of Darth Vader, and quite an interesting delivered series of revelations on the island punctuate the middle with a mythical air. Not quite as revelatory as we’d expect though, it keeps in line with Star Wars lore quite comfortably when it comes down to it.

What keeps this exciting is tight storytelling and direction and is always well paced. We the viewers anticipate what’s next. There are surprises and disappoints, not disappointments in a lack of quality, but in the story detail. Dare I say.

It’s not as uplifting—but this is not the Return of the Jedi episode. Thematically I couldn’t—almost—fault it.

Luke and Leia are prominent, especially Luke, with the new characters feeling more developed. I think Mark Hamill delivers the best performance as a grumpy and world-weary Luke Skywalker.

Old characters Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C3-PO don’t come to the fore. BB-8 doesn’t seem to be his chirpy self, though he tries. A lot is going on in this episode that including every quirk and trait is beyond it, there are more important things to show, and it works.

As The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi is authentic in its own right, adding to the originals and bettering the prequels. A success.

[First published at Pete’s Movie Roundup]

While waiting

While I was waiting for the main event, I was almost meditating like in a desert, when I heard “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.

The song was over the sound system in the café section of the theatre.

It’s a U2 song. U2 were described by Time in 1987 as the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world. But they aren’t really rock n’ roll. They are rock although their sound has changed tempo from album to album, even going alternative. They have never gone country.

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is the most popular single from their 1987 album The Joshua Tree. It was nominated for a Grammy.

Listening to it again today, I revisited the old feelings I had for the song back in 1987.

I loved singing along to it in my soul. But following the third section, which describes a love for what Jesus did, the section ends with the line, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. I just couldn’t sing that.

Because I believe that what Jesus can do for someone is the beginning of a journey and not the stepping stone of a quest. Jesus satisfies the believer’s heart and sends him or her on a journey with him.

This U2 song, unfortunately, leaves me cold by the end. By the end of the third section, the song falls flat rather than resonates; I was waiting for the lyric, I have found what I’m looking for. That doesn’t fit this song.

So, where would I sit with the The Joshua Tree? It came to me today. The album’s about a quest that is barely satisfied even with knowledge about what Jesus has done.

I would not sit in the middle as I have always done. I would not sit on the positive. But when it comes to theme I would have to sit on the other side, on the negative.

The album sounds good musically, but looking at the lyrical facts of this album, it lacks the thrust of theme to fully satisfy, unfortunately.

I wish I could say otherwise, but I can’t. I don’t think my experience of the album is a solitary one. I think the feeling is not unusual, depending on who one is talking to.

A calm spirit is better

This week writing has been writing a devotion based on old notes of my bible reading, a humor piece that I completed and submitted, and a significant revise of a poetry.

Patience and time is a key to working on pieces, though one may be tempted to get the work done fast, so one can move on to the next thing. No, don’t do that. A calm spirit is better. Patience and time gets things done better.

Why even watch it?

A question, who asked it I can’t remember, but is it okay to watch and maybe like The Last King of Scotland or something like that but not review or mention it in public because you don’t want to promote it? Why watch it and like it, said the kid, if you can’t be free about it. The adult replied, but was interrupted by the kid. Why even watch it said the kid. You did watch it didn’t you? Why? The adult said I may not have liked it. So why not tell the world about it, said the kid? The kid was really looking for transparency, and wouldn’t have a clue about the matter and hoped someone did. A genuine question, a genuine seeker of truth.

Why read reviews?

Hypothetically speaking, some parting words from a film reviewer who aims to stop the movie habit except for a very few movies. Don’t know who this is, but it sounds good to me:

Reading reviews of movies are not really necessary if you’re looking for a film to see. All it requires is a little research. Go to imdb.com. Watch the trailer first. Does the trailer resonate? Does the trailer give you warning signs that it might not be as good as it wants to be? Read the premise. Does the premise sound all right? Check the parents guide. Is there anything that may shock you in it? We may not need film reviews at all if we just use the information at our disposal first. Judge for yourself.