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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?

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