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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Matt's Take) Round 2: Four Viewings Later....

I'll still keep this one spoiler-free for now, since there still seems to be a handful of people in this galaxy far, far away that still haven't been able to get to the theater and watch "The Force Awakens." With that being said, I'll just chronicle my last three viewings of the newest "Star Wars" installment before I actually release a spoiler-filled review later this week.

Viewing #2 December 18th

Not even 24 hours had passed before I was in the theater for my 2nd go at "The Force Awakens." This time I went with a buddy from work. The highlight of this viewing was his excitement when a certain character made his triumphant return.

Viewing #3 December 19th

Back in the theater, this time I was with fellow Simplistic Reviewer, DJ Valentine. DJ had also seen the film the night before, so he was going into this film for the 2nd time while I was on round 3. As usual DJ brings some good insight to the film while at the same time being the guy in the theater having fun, namely during the lightsaber fight near the end of the film.

Viewing #4 December 21st

I finally get around to seeing this film with my wife, Nicole, along with her sister and her husband. What I learned that day is that Nicole's sister had never seen any of the "Star Wars" films outside of maybe a few scenes. I guess sister like sister, because Nicole had never seen a "Star Wars" film before we started dating. The highlights for me on this viewing was seeing my wife's reaction to a certain shocking bit of the film and of course when we were leaving the theater and she said "again, again, again." I felt proud that I was able to bring her into this universe and seeing her excitement was worth the price of admission.

Viewing #5 December 22nd

I know this is getting old, and you're probably saying "What the F*ck is your problem?!" but hey, the movie event of the year.....you know. This time around I went with another friend and his wife, with my friend already having seen the film on the 18th as well. Nothing really noteworthy on this viewing, but this might actually be the first time that I've seen a film five times in the theater.

That's about it for this little mini review.

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 60) December 2015

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES



On this holiday episode of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast, Matthew's Judeism is put to the test, Justin continues to try and make sense of the Prequels, DJ laments over Die Hard, and the boys have a hell of a time writing letters to Santa, spinning dreidels and breaking down the finale of Fargo.  All this and more on a Ho-Ho-Ho Holiday Show.



NOTES

Quentin vs Disney
Independence Day 2 Trailer
TMNT 2 Trailer
X-Men: Apocalypse Trailer


MUSIC
Die Hard Score By Michael Kamen
Couple Of Misfits By Burt Ives
Christmas Time Is Here By Vince Guaraldi Trio
Christmas In Hollis By Run D.M.C.
Ode To Joy By Ludwig van Beethoven

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Simplistic Theater: Star Wars -The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI)

George Lucas did it.
Why can't we?
We figured it was best since today
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
comes out. 
So don't get mad and if you would like to write out letter to complain, send that mail to
5858 Lucas Valley Road, Nicasio, CA 94946

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Matt's Take) Round 1, Opening Thoughts

*This will be more of an experience, as opposed to any type of review/critique of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Pardon some of the course language*

As I plan on seeing this film multiple times over the course of the next few days, I'll be reviewing this film to varying degrees over the next few days, so just stay with me, as well as my fellow reviewers DJ and Justin, as I'm sure they'll have plenty to say about this film as well.

Myself and two friends caught the 8:00 pm showing on Thursday, December 17th, and needless to say, the butterflies were pretty heavy for me. The theater was at capacity and there was a lot of energy; you could feel it, like the Force, it was flowing through you.

With a packed theater you expect a lot of cheers; there was one set for the Lucasfilms logo, and to be honest it was a little weird to not hear the old 20th Century Fox fanfare, thinking about it now, it was actually kind of sad.

Silence....."A long time ago.....in a galaxy far, far away...."


Goosebumps......Episode VII......
......Enter the kid next to me who decides to read the entire scroll......pardon my french....but shut the fuck up kid (more on this kid later).....

Most of this film I held my hand to my face and was transfixed by what I was watching. I imagine this is what people felt like back in 1977.

New faces; old face, "The Force Awakens" truly is something special and brings so many people together. Of course there were cheers when characters showed up, and much to my chagrin, BB-8 got some of the bigger pops in the audience, but I guess people are suckers for cute robots.

Back to that kid, at one point he moved to a sit next to him that was unoccupied; great. But than he had the gall near the end of the film to ask, "is this almost over?" Again, pardon me, but go fuck yourself kid, don't you have school tomorrow?

So in a nutshell, this is my completely non-review of "Star Wars" The Force Awakens" and I'll be back tomorrow with something with a little more meat on it. My friends seemed to enjoy the film as well, and we had a small discussion about what the future might bring, but of course nothing too specific.

With that said; May the Force be with you......and hopefully kid-free.

Countdown to the Force Awakens (Episode VI) - Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

So it all comes down to this; one final review that literally brings us to the moment people have been clamoring for probably since 1983. Granted, I still love "Revenge of the Sith" despite the reservations of my cohorts at Simplistic Reviews, so I've only been waiting for another "Star Wars" movie for ten years. Without further adieu, let's slide right into "Return of the Jedi" from 1983.

"Jedi" picks up soon after the events of "The Empire Strikes Back." A rescue mission has brought our cast of characters to the lair of the vile criminal gangster, Jabba the Hutt on Tattoine to free Han Solo, still frozen in carbonite.

All goes well until Leia, disguised as the bounty hunter Boushh, is found freeing Han from his carbonite prison and becomes Jabba's personal cuddle buddy. However, when all seems lost, enter Luke Skywalker, now a full-blown Jedi Knight to the rescue. But of course, he is captured as well after nearly meeting his demise at the hands of a Rancor.

But like all good plans, there is a third man on the inside; that man is Lando Calrissian, the administrator of this rescue. After traveling out to the Dune Sea of Tattoine; Luke, Han, and Chewbacca all learn their fates that they will be fed to the Sarlacc. Springing into action, Luke is able to free his friends, avoid being eaten, and destroys Jabba's Sail Barge, but only after Leia offs him herself.

After the daring rescue, Luke decides he needs to head back to Dagobah to pay Yoda a visit while the rest of the crew heads off to plan their next move against The Empire. Han, Leia, Chewbacca receive a briefing from Rebel Leaders that a new Death Star is in the works and that the shield generator is hidden on one of the moons of Endor, where Luke re-joins them after the death of Yoda. The adventure continues.....

While on Endor, the group encounter Stormtroopers on Speeder bikes, but more importantly, they encounter the fuzzy inhabitants of Endor, the Ewoks. Luckily before Han, Luke, and the rest of the team become dinner, Luke makes them see the error of their ways and makes the ever-worried, C-3PO as a golden god which the Ewoks worship.

After being freed, Luke decides it's time to face his father, Darth Vader, again, while Han, Leia, Chewbacca and the Ewoks assault the shield generator with the rest of the Rebel fleet ready to attack the Death Star.

Captured by Vader, Luke is taken to the Death Star to meet with Emperor Palpatine who tries to tempt him to follow his father's path to the Dark Side. Luke fights his father in an epic lightsaber duel, but rebuffs The Emperor who tells him to strike Vader down. Finally seeing the error of his says, Vader dispatches Palpatine while saving Luke and redeeming himself in the process.

Meanwhile, on Endor, the shield generator is shutdown and the assault on the Death Star begins as Lando leads the charge in the Millennium Falcon. Needless to say, good prevails and evil is defeated, while Anakin and Luke reconcile in his dying breathe. It all ends with a grand Ewok celebration and Lando clapping his hands.

That's the film in a nutshell, and if you got through my plot ramblings, I'll make my thoughts on this film quick.

While "Jedi" isn't, and will never, eclipse the genius that is "Empire Strikes Back" if you go back and revisit this film over and over there are some incredible things going on. From the relationship between Vader, Luke, and the Emperor, which looking back is such an important part of this film, to Luke's decision to finally face his father and try to bring him back to the light, and of course the final words of Yoda before he becomes one with The Force, there is some powerful stuff, but on the other hand......

.......Ewoks. Yes, Ewoks. You can certainly tell this was a George Lucas decision to include more bankable and economic-generating creatures in a galaxy far, far away, but of course close enough to a Toys R' Us. Maybe if I was of an age when this film came out, I'm sure I would have been begging my parents for a stuffed Ewok, but looking at it now from an objective film-goer, the Ewoks rank up there with the Gungans on useless and annoying "Star Wars" creatures. Sure, stone me for comparing Ewoks with Gungans, but in reality it was Chewbacca that got on that AT-ST and helped defeat the Stormtroopers, not the Ewoks.

Ranking as my #3 (current) film in the "Star Wars" film franchise, "Jedi" has it's share of great scenes and high adventure, but there are just enough quirks and overall annoying creatures that keep this from being #2 on the list.

With that being said, we are here....the moment many have been waiting for for ten long years....The Force has awaken....catch all of you soon.

Countdown to the Force Awakens (Episode V) - Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back


APEX
Why do we love The Empire Strikes Back?  A film that is universally considered the best Star Wars film ever.  A film considered one of the best sci-fi/fantasy films ever.  Is it because we're nerds?  No.  Well...yeah...but it's much more than that.

Maybe it's because the great John Williams, from the Imperial March to the Han and Leia Love Theme, created a score that is not only the oxygen of this universe but a constant manipulator of our heartstrings even today.

Maybe it's because of the Millennium Falcon encapsulates cool, freedom, adventure, and hope with every bank turn and asteroid avoiding barrel roll.


Maybe it's because Jim Henson and Frank Oz, two men responsible for bringing to life a majority of our imaginary friends for decades, brought to life yet another creature with more pathos and iconography than many seasoned actors...all while speaking in some strange form of pig Latin.


Maybe it's because Darth Vader, one of the top 3 best cinematic villains of all time, is more villainous and oddly clever in Empire than he is in any other film in the series...but still manages to make us feel for him at the end?


Maybe it's because the romance between Han and Leia was unconventional, confrontational, mean spirited...and still one of the best, most heartfelt and tragic couplings in cinema history...especially since it was originally supposed to end with Han dying.


Maybe it's because it really took the time it did on the self-actualization and development of Luke Skywalker from a meek farm-boy to a confident and capable Jedi upstart...something that would almost never happen today.


Maybe it's because it had one of the most jaw dropping, franchise-altering, twists of all time during a time where twists weren't a cliched Hollywood trope.


Maybe it's because the camaraderie and love felt between Han and Luke and Leia and Chewie and the Droids didn't seem like some manufactured thing for a movie.  It felt obviously genuine.  So genuine, you didn't need to hear Han and Luke say it when they spoke to each other for the last time in that icy Hoth hangar bay


You didn't need to understand the yelping of Chewie when he took those wookiee arms of his, primarily used for tearing off droid arms, and snatched Luke up in a hug.


You didn't need to hear Han tell Leia "I love you too" before he was frozen in carbonite. We knew just like he did.


Maybe it's because George Lucas had the foresight and humility to relinquish the reigns of his creation to another director who had a better understanding of how to bring the heart out of the film.


To be honest, it's all those things and more.  The Empire Strikes Back is the bar.  It is the very APEX of the Star Wars universe and countless childhoods.  It is what every sci-fi adventure film has aspired to be as good as...but not presume to ever be better than.  Because there is nothing that will eclipse The Godfather...nothing that will eclipse Psycho...nothing that will eclipse The Shawshank Redemption...and NOTHING that will eclipse The Empire Strikes Back.  It will forever hold a place in our heart.  AND I DIDN'T EVEN MENTION HOW AWESOME LANDO IS!!!!


Accept Captain Needa's apology...watch out for mynocks...never tell me the odds...watch it...then tell me I'm wrong.

Simplistic Theater Episode VI : Star Wars - Return Of The Jedi

With only 1 day till the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Along with Jay Cluitt, the gang from Simplistic Reviews thought it would be best to do some reenacting of all 6 films. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is

Simplistic Theater

And today we bring you

Episode VI
Return Of The Jedi

 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Simplistic Theater Episode V : Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back

With only 2 days till the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Along with Jay Cluitt, the gang from Simplistic Reviews thought it would be best to do some reenacting of all 6 films. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is

Simplistic Theater

And today we bring you

Episode V
The Empire Strikes Back

 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Countdown to the Force Awakens (Episode IV) - Star Wars: A New Hope - Episode IV

Star Wars: A New Hope - Episode IV
2hr/1min | Action/Adventure/Fantasy | 1977

Magical


In 1977, with a cast of mostly unknowns, the world changed forever. An unknown film called, Star Wars took our imagination and times it by 10. A simple story that became iconic, Star Wars: A New Hope is simply put, Magical. From its cast, to its look, the scope of this film which is just incredible. When you present this film in front of a kid’s eyes, it is almost like a magician preforming tricks. Even now it still kinda comes off like that.

I can’t really review this film because there is a power, a force if you will that is more important then a review. Star Wars is not just a film, for some its life and for others it was their youth. This film is a magical experience.

And it really is amazing just how magical A New Hope is. When I first saw it as a kid in the 90’s my mind was captured by its force. Everything about Episode IV is amazing. When I say that I’m not talking about how it looks or the story, because that stuff is just part of it. But to get this film made is a magical thing in itself. At the time everyone was passing on it. Why not the story on paper probably comes off crazy right?. Imagine reading a script with a Wookie, some droids, the force and a death star. Everyone was probably going, “What the hell is a damn Wookie??!!" 
Yet for $11 million in the 70’s to get this film made is something to behold. Even today this could not be done. Keep in mind as well original ideas were easier to sell back then then today. Thats true, today it’s ether a sequel or remake.  But nonetheless that is still a feat to accomplish.

Star Wars wouldn’t be made today it just wouldn’t

A New Hope is an incredible film to watch. It doesn’t come off cheap or jokey. It’s one of those films that the entire time you’re watching you are just in awe over it. And to think this is the second best film in the saga, and the next one is even more amazing is just wow.


Its sound design is fantastic, sets are incredible, its actors feel perfect and the story is simple.  At any given time, if one of these gears in filmmaking failed the film would have been a joke and bombed big time.


Let's not forget John Williams killing it with that theme song! Tell me the hair on your neck doesn't respond to that song.




The truth is I am not a big Star Wars fan. I watched Star Trek more often then Star Wars yet Star Wars is more embed into my youth. From toys to lunchboxes, Star Wars was there. Of course I had many lightsaber battles, because you know Star Wars! Without A New Hope none of that would of happened.

To watch A New Hope as a child your mind is given a B12 shot and sent into a world of pure imagination. Every kid, boy or girl, since 1977 on has had Star Wars in their life at one part. Star Wars changed the filmmaking world for the better, including the life of a kid.

and that is magical.









Simplistic Theater Episode IV : Star Wars - A New Hope

With only 3 days till the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Along with Jay Cluitt, the gang from Simplistic Reviews thought it would be best to do some reenacting of all 6 films. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is

Simplistic Theater

And today we bring you

Episode IV
A New Hope

 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Simplistic Theater Episode III : Star Wars - Revenge Of The Sith

With only 4 days till the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Along with Jay Cluitt, the gang from Simplistic Reviews thought it would be best to do some reenacting of all 6 films. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is

Simplistic Theater

And today we bring you

Episode III
Revenge Of The Sith 

 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Simplistic Theater Episode II : Star Wars - Attack Of The Clones

With only 5 days till the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Along with Jay Cluitt, the gang from Simplistic Reviews thought it would be best to do some reenacting of all 6 films. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is

Simplistic Theater

And today we bring you

Episode II
Attack Of The Clones




Saturday, December 12, 2015

Simplistic Theater Episode I : Star Wars - The Phantom Menace

With only 6 days till the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Along with Jay Cluitt, the gang from Simplistic Reviews thought it would be best to do some reenacting of all 6 films. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is

Simplistic Theater

And today we bring you

Episode I
The Phantom Menace 

 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

SR Podcast (Ep. 59): Icebreaker - Movie Commentary: Decemeber 2015



ICEBREAKER

Trailer

2000 | Action/Drama/Poorly Made | 90mins

At the the Killington ski resort something has gone awry. Evil terrorists led by the sinister Greig have taken the resort hostage with a stolen nuclear device. It's up to Ski Patrol bum Matt Foster to save the day... and his fiancé.

How did someone think a knockoff of Die Hard with Sean Astin would be a good idea?


It's that time of the year! Sunday Night Movie Night! Since the holidays are near and the snow is on the ground we figured Icebreaker is the right choice! (boy are we wrong)

Even MJ gives it his seal of approval. So everyone snuggle up in your blanket, pure some eggnog, get that fire going and sit back and enjoy the 2000 Classic, 

Icebreaker!




FUN FACTS:
IT SUCKS
A PEZ IS USED AS A WEAPON
A VHS IS USED AS A WEAPON
BOMBS COUNT UP IN THIS FILM
IS IT BASED ON A TRUE STORY
NOPE THATS A LIE
SEAN ASTIN IS 14 IN THIS FILM AND EVERY OTHER FILM
TOOK US OVER A YEAR TO TRACK DOWN A COPY
WHAT A WASTE OF A YEAR THAT WAS
SEAN ASTIN HAS A COKE PROBLEM
THIS FILM IS ALL OVER THE PLACE
STACY KEACH SIT 99% OF THE FILM
DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THE PEZ?
CHRIST KILL ME!




HAVE YOU SEEN THIS 14 YEAR OLD BOY?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Countdown to the Force Awakens (Episode III) - Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Exiting "Attack of the Clones" you might feel a little woozy and maybe even feel a little lost, and think to yourself, "is there any hope?" Well, as much as people might disagree with me, this entry in the "Star Wars" film universe if not only one of my favorites, but also one of the better shot, directed, and acting in the series as well. Let's not stand on ceremony, let's commence with 2005's "Revenge of the Sith."

"Sith" begins in the middle of a giant space battle with both Anakin Skywalker, now a full Jedi Knight, and his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, hunting down General Grevious, the leader of the Droid Army who has kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine. After a daring rescue, Kenobi and Skywalker are met with a heroes welcome back on Coruscant.

The plot thickens as Anakin and Padme reunite and she reveals to him that she is pregnant, however visions of Padme dying during childbirth haunt Anakin who first seeks counsel with Jedi Master Yoda, and later with Palpatine who regales Skywalker with stories of the Dark Side of The Force and and Sith Lord named Darth Plagueis.

There is also worry within the Jedi ranks as Chancellor Palpatine looks to expand his power within the Senate. Many are worried they will need to remove the Chancellor after the Clone Wars has come to an end. Master Jedi Mace Windu and the Council decide that Anakin should keep tabs on Palpatine, who agrees with their plan, but remains conflicted on his loyalty to the Jedi, his friendship to Palpatine, and his worry for Padme.

As Kenobi dispatches of General Grievous on the planet Utapau, meanwhile on Coruscant, Palpatine reveals his true identity to Anakin as the Sith Lord, Dark Sidious, who promises that he can help Anakin save Padme.

After reporting his findings to Windu, a task force of Jedi, led by Windu, look to take Palpatine into custody and re-establish order. Arriving just in time, Skywalker tries to talk Windu into sparing the life of Palpatine, but before Windu can land the killing blow, Anakin cuts off Windu's hand and allows Palpatine to land his own killing blow. Having saved the life of Palpatine, Skywalker pledges himself to the Chancellor and becomes his newest apprentice; Darth Vader.

It's all downhill from here, as Jedi are wiped out with "Order 66," Anakin kills what remains of the Trade Federation, and Obi-Wan and Anakin duel on the fiery planet of Mustafar. The 3rd act moves quick and ties up all loose ends and leads right into what we all know as "The Original Trilogy."

THE BIG.....NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
As much as people give shit to the prequels, this is by far the strongest of the three, and for me at least, my 2nd favorite film in the series. I love the way the tension builds and seeing the descent into darkness for Anakin Skywalker as he finally turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader is a highlight of just not these films, but the franchise as a whole.

There certainly seem to be things that George Lucas learned from his previous mistakes in Episode I and II, including;

1. Keeping the love story almost completely out. While we still know that Anakin and Padme love each other and they are about to have kids, that story is told with less dialogue, which helps moves the action along.

2. He let's the actors act this time. While Natalie Portman was pretty much a disaster in this film, a select few actually improved the material they were given, namely Ewan McGregor and albeit some silly faces, Ian McDiarmid, gives a creepy performance as the manipulator of all the events in the prequels. And let me not forget Christopher Lee, who is, well, Christopher Lee.

3. I buy Hayden Christensen this time. Hey, I mean he's acting isn't the best, but it's head and shoulders much better than his performance in "Attack of the Clones" and his scowling is in full effect as the Dark Lord of the Sith.
SILLY FACE.....ACTIVATE

All in all, there isn't much I can tear apart in this film aside from some atrocious acting and of course the SFX porn that became a staple in the prequels, but honestly, "Revenge of the Sith" is entirely watchable and all together enjoyable. As someone who's favorite in the franchise is "The Empire Strikes Back" this film does a great job of painting scenes that are full of darkness and impending doom, which for me, is when the series is at it's best; dark and gloomy, with just enough light where you think there is hope; and that hope in the darkness for these prequels has to be "Revenge."

Coming up next in Part IV will we go back in time, but fast-forwarding ahead about 20 years in "Star Wars" time with "A New Hope," May the Force Be With You.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Countdown to the Force Awakens (Episode II) - Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Well, here it is, the one that you've all been waiting for. If you thought "The Phantom Menace" had issues, well, we might be here for a while. It's the one, the only, "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones," just the name alone conjures chuckles, a reminder that even Ed Wood used to be called a director. And as much as it pains me to say, while this film isn't very good, it does lay some good foundation for spin-off material such as the animated "Clone Wars" TV show and even includes some actual lightsaber fighting that is longer than a minute.

Saber up Anakin...
So, "Attack of the Clones." Our story begins with an attempted assassination on now Senator Padme Amidala of Naboo. The plot thickens as now Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan learner, Anakin Skywalker, are brought in to investigate the botched assassination and to try and uncover a deeper conspiracy that involves planets erased from the Jedi archive, clones, poison darts, bounty hunters, and as much stuff as you can pack into the longest "Star Wars" films on record (142 minutes).

Once again, George Lucas, who actually stuck around this time and directed all three of the prequel films, packs it all in in this one; from laughable dialogue, convoluted political intrigue that now involves the universally loathed Jar Jar Binks, and one of the most cringe-worthy love stories in recent history. However, there is more polish on the visuals this time around, and on a Blu-Ray copy, the CG doesn't look as dated as some of the CG in "Phantom Menace."

While I sort of remember my experience in going to see "Phantom Menace" in the theater, I have little too no memory of seeing "Clones" in the cineplex. I was just about 19, so I remember that, but could a film be so bad or lackluster that maybe you erase all memory of the film itself. I think the only thing that I might remember, and perhaps this spoiled me, is that I read the novelization before seeing the film and I was looking forward to scenes popping up on screen. Some did, and some didn't, and some even popped up as deleted scenes on the DVD version. Reading the novelization is properly the route I would go at this time. You know the old saying "the book was better" well, this is indeed the case for "Clones."
Another take George?


Now before you all think I'm just going to poo poo all over "Clones" (and I'll get to that) like I've been, and people might argue me on this; there is some good that came out of this film. Namely, both the animated and CG "Clone Wars" series on Cartoon Network and you could even say the success of those shows lead to 2014's "Star Wars" Rebels." You also had the introduction to another decent Sith villain, Count Dooku, played by none other than Count Dracula himself, the late Christopher Lee. Maybe it's just the horror fan in me, but casting an ageless actor like Lee was something very cool and took just a little bit of the sting away from this film. While "Phantom" was so bad, there are some nice takeaways from "Clones" albeit the bad outweighs the good most of the time.

So, transitioning to the bad. Well, at least you can say that "Phantom" tried to incorporate some practical sets and costumes, very little can be said for this film. Much of the film is set on green or blue screens, including some of the acting as well, but more on that soon. There has always been a certain magic to the "Star Wars" films that blurred the line between practical and CG, those days all but died in "Clones." It's like overcooking a Filet Mignon; you can do it if you want, but I wouldn't advise it (why a food saying that doesn't exist? Maybe I'm just hungry).

With that out of the way, can be talk about acting, or "this is what happens when you decide not to re-take a shot and use your first take." It's been harped on how bad the acting is in these prequels, but to be honest I haven't always been the biggest fan of the acting in the original trilogy either. Acting should be secondary to good storytelling, and that is what saves the original trilogy for me. With that being said, "Clones" is lacking in the acting department, but it's even more frustrating when you think about the people that are doing the acting. Natalie Portman won an Oscar later on down the line. Samuel L Jackson, Oscar nominated. Ewan McGregor, gives it a shot, but you can't paint a Monet when all you have is the color brown. I can keep going, but I think you get the point.

You're covered in sand....I don't like you anymore...
Of course this brings me to Hayden Christensen, and I saved an entire paragraph for him. Full disclosure, I liked his performance in "Life as a House" I think him and Kevin Klein but turned in great performances. But outside of scowling, Christensen sullied the likeness of Darth Vader and turned him into a whiny emo brat and turned his Padawan braid into the modern Jedi man bun. But just wait until you see him and Natalie Portman on screen together, that's when things get real hot. Conversations about sand, not being able to be together, eating digitized fruit, and "I call this aggressive negotiation," wow, this could go on all day. My point, I understand why people hate his performance, and yes, maybe he wasn't the best pick for the future Darth Vader, but you need to have a good screenwriter and a director that actual directs to get the best out of your actors. You don't have either.

"Clones" is neck and neck with "Phantom" as being the low-point in the "Star Wars" film franchise. The saving grace is that we at least got something positive out of it with some kick-ass animated series' and the fact that it couldn't get any worse.....or could it? More on that in the next installment.

Spectre

Spectre: Pacing
...Mr. Bond...Pacing
2015Thriller/Action2h 30m

Pick up Spectre! The Greatest Hits of Bond only for the low price of $9.99

A cryptic message from the past leads James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he meets the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing the help of the daughter of an old nemesis, he embarks on a mission to find her. As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.

Spectre is the Bond film of Bond films. Spectre, its meaning should be the process of breaking down 23 films and taking the DNA of those and injecting it into 1 film. Or look at it like this, Spectre is The Greatest Hits of Bond for $9.99

Is that a bad thing? Nope but you must break it down like this

007 Fans | Movie Fans

For us who spend that money every time a new medium is released with a Bond film we buy it. Doesn't matter if it is the same copy that was released 2 years ago, we will throw money down to buy it. Seriously I have like 4 different DVD Sets of the same films. Sure you will get a feature here and there but sometimes they will release the same copy just in a new case. I own the 50th collection, then it was release in the white box, so you know I had to get that one. And yes its the same thing just a different box. Yes I'm a idiot but Bond makes me... me. So I do and that's that. 

So as a Bond fan going in to Spectre I didn't care if it sucked or was the greatest, it was Bond and that is all that matters. Spectre is the Bond film for the fans. Call backs everywhere gave me a smile. And the fact I could see Bond have a fight in a train, Bond in the snow, Bond having a 007 like car chase with gadgets, Bond wearing a white tux gave the kid in me a tear of happiness. This film is 2 hrs and a half, hey I would of like 4 hrs in a half because Bond is a drug that I must have again and again. It's odd because I think all Bond fans would say we wanted more even thought we were already given a lot... And that is the problem with this film.

Spectre is the big hit of a powerful drug, when it should of been just a taste.

When we cross over to the Movie Fans we're given a slew of problems and the answer to why we as Bond fans need more!

Why? Because its 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag. Movie writing 101 you have what is called, "Dramatic Structure". Dramatic Structure dates back to Aristotle, so yeah this isn't a new thing.
With Dramatic Structure you have

Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action and Denouement.

Spectre takes these five parts and throws them out the window. Why? Okay lets make it simple then.

Beginning, Middle and End (Climax)

Nope. Spectre threw it out again...shit...

When your watching a film and the climax comes, the climax shouldn't lead to another climax. What happens then is you begin to pit the two together, which in Spectre's case made the first climax (the best one) follow the films final climax (the weak one) a nasty taste in the viewers mouth. End the film on the one and only climax! Do not end the film on a weak note. It leaves the audience wanting more and with a 2 hr and a half film, you should already have plenty.

But for movie fans, there was too much in this film. Skyfall had a lot less and that makes the film more enjoyable. Again Spectre isn't bad, its really good. But you can't take the process of writing and throw it out the window. Skyfall is 7 mins shorter, yet Spectre feels more like a whole extra half an hour, this is because of its horrible pacing. Pacing is key in movie making, here it looks to be just a afterthought.

Again the Bond fan in me wants to make it clear, it is a fun and enjoyable movie. Craig gives his best Bond yet and that was the big thing that stood out for me, Craig perfected his Bond with Spectre and I need to see him do it one more time in a good paced film. It was great to see Craig bring back the dark comedy that has been missing recently. Léa Seydoux was a great Bond Girl (I know we aren't allowed to say that anymore but hey I'm a ass, that I already knew). The one thing that did it for me was how she didn't want to be apart of this killing world. She wanted to leave and does, even though that becomes a setup anyone could see a million miles away. Her character could of been used better, but a recurring theme with Spectre is her character is not flushed out completely. Christoph Waltz is amazing on screen with every project he does. He is a great villain and my only two issue would be 

1) Not used enough 2) They should of hidden him more when it came to the photos and trailers, especially those TV spots I kept seeing, and I don't even watch TV. The surprise wasn't there and it should of been. 

Again the writers did not flush out the characters.

The film looked great. It had a dark look that I just loved. The opening is Craig's best and yes the barrel was put back in the beginning, I wanted to jump when I saw it there, was so happy.
The opening is stunning. That opening shot is beautiful with a few phantom cuts the flow of the opening is spectacular.

The song is okay. Its a good song but it needs more power, its too soft and it has no kick. For a big action opening that leads to a soft song falls kinda flat. The octopus wrapping around women was awesome. Loved the titles and enjoyed seeing past Bond characters popping up.

There is this nice use of Q and M coming out in the field that I really liked. I think Fiennes' M is shaping up nicely.

Monica Bellucci ooh la la!

The plot with surveillance I didn't care for nor did I with Mr. Hinx's weapon I guess I can say, the thing on the fingers, yeah... I didn't like that nor did I care for his exit.

Spectre is a good Bond film. With so much in there, with such a long run time it seems to be missing things that it shouldn't. And it does this thing with the villain I feel comes off kinda pointless. Trying not to spoiled anything but somethings are best unknown and left in the dark. With the ending things are left kinda opened. The viewer has no conclusion because so much is left over for a sequel it feels like. Then at the same time the whole film feels like 2 films in 1. It's a odd taste that is left in your mouth after the film. On one hand its good on the other the question of why? hangs over some choices the writers made. 

The film should of been broken up into 2

I guess all said and done this film had too many cooks in the kitchen. Spectre is a bloated film with extremely under used characters. But hey Im happy I got to live another day to see another Bond and that's all that really matters to me. But we are at a professional level of movie making. Sam Medes and crew are on a $300 million dollar film here and should be a bit more professional especially 23 films in already.

Robert Wade, Neal Purvis Please Leave Bond.

Wanted
What I wanted when I saw the trailer was a bigger threat towards Bond. I wanted Bond scared. The Double 0 program is hanging on a thread. I thought Bond would connect with other 00's and work on this threat. That's my big issue with what was missing, no real threat. They tried but it came off weak, Bond doing it alone, again, come on people. We have a villain that should be the biggest threat and yet Dominic Greene came off more of a threat. A lot of misses with this one which will make Spectre the most controversial movie of 2015.

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