Star Wars

September 11, 2018

(Ep. 110): The Simplistic Reviews Podcast: September 2018

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast is back from our August break and raring to go. And since we thought the show could use more of a fangirl touch, we got the biggest and best fangirl of them all, Jeanette Ward from The Mundane Adventures Of A Fangirl. And as gracious hosts, we immediately put Ms. Ward in the hot seat during another edition of Questions From The Crowd. The gang also go against their better nature while playing Say Anything. Shane Black, Cardi B Nicki Minaj Beef, and midichlorians…all things discussed on the latest episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

NOTES
Ray Liotta Commercial
Nicki Minaj & Cardi B Fight
Glass Noodles
Blockbuster Video 

MUSIC
60’s Blues Rock Kinda Thing By Aaron Tosti
Gold Medal By Sounds Like Sander
Fast Times Club By Idols

July 17, 2018

(Ep. 107): The Simplistic Reviews Podcast: July 2018

 It’s July, so that means it’s time for a Summer blowout episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast. We broach many subjects including Star Wars’ big problem, Robocop reboots, Chris Hardwick’s troubles, and the Naked Gun. Yes…that assortment of subjects has never been collectively tackled before.

Also Justin is put on the hot seat for the new segment ‘Questions From The Crowd.’

DJ and Justin go crazy with their love for the television show, ’24.’ And the boys try and figure out films by their last line in the new game, ‘Simplistic Last Lines.’ All that and more on this new episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

NOTES

MUSIC

Fast Times Club By Idols

Gold Medal By Sounds Like Sander

4. For Losing It By The Triads

January 15, 2018

(Ep. 98): SR Podcast – January 2018

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES


The boys at Simplistic Reviews are back for a brand new year of hijinks, hilarity, intrigue, and murder…well maybe not that last one.  On the January edition of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast, the gang not only tries to unravel the mystery of January Jones’ secret baby daddy, they also discuss Star Wars, Star Trek, The Crown, The Wire, and the 1991 Macaulay Culkin animated series Wish Kid…yeah…we’re still a pretty weird show.  The boys also reveal some secrets they’re not too proud of in the segment Simply Ashamed.  All that, an office search, a porno movie experience and more on a brand new edition of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast

NOTES
X-Factor
Wish Kid
January Jones Kid Mystery
The Wire’s Best Scene
Billy Joel Accident

MUSIC
Sexy By Ben Sound
Ying And Yang By John 00 Fleming
The Croft By Joakim Karud

Check us out on FacebookTwitterYouTubeLetterboxd, and Pinterest
December 17, 2017

“The Last Jedi” Debate: Seeing It From Both Sides

Well the word is out; “The Last Jedi” is great!

Also, “The Last Jedi” is awful!

Don’t you just love the Internet in all of it’s infinite wisdom.

With Friday, December 15th being the official official release date of Lucasfilm and Disney’s latest cash cow, there’s been plenty of talk about where “Star Wars: Episode XIII The Last Jedi” falls in the conversation of greatest “Star Wars” film. We had the same conversation two years ago when “The Force Awakens” was released and we’ll have the same conversation again in two years when “Episode IX” is released.

But there is disturbance in The Force for Rian Johnson’s sci-fi epic. Whereas JJ Abram’s restructuring of “A New Hope” was met with almost universal praise with nostalgia galore and some actual moments that shook the film universe and fanbase to it’s core, this time around there seems to be more backlash than ever.

Perhaps this is just the world that we happen to live in now. People love what they love, and people love to shit all over what people love. The people that love the thing they love will defend it, and the people that love to shit on the thing that people love will continue to argue until either their mom turns off the Internet in the house or those people move onto the next thing they decide to shit on. Personally, I love to have a rousing debate, but we’ve also gotten to a place in this world, and by world I mean the world of Twitter, message boards on Reddit and anywhere else where people can have an opinion until they can’t afford it anymore because Net Neutrality is gone (but that’s something else to bitch about for a different time) and there is a simple sense of being way too sensitive that someone might not have the same opinion as you. There is also letting the troll win and controlling your emotions in a way that make you re-think what you may really like. Or there is the even more trap of going down to a troll’s level and insulting their intelligence because all logic has been thrown out of the window.

These types of things always seem to rear their ugly heads when it comes to fandoms. We rarely see this type of dissension for dramas, comedies, or action films, but it could also be the case that we’ve all put ourselves in bubbles of protection with like-minded people who all agree on the same thing, and when our opinions are challenged, we usually strike back quite forcefully.

My point is that, sure, you are always going to have to deal with the few people out there with 45 Twitter Followers who bring up a “hot take” and yet we’ll go out of our way to re-tweet, or answer or have the classic post “look at this stupid idiot,” and at the end of the day, what’s the point?

But with all that being said, I love reading an opposing review because honestly most of them are interesting to read. Within our bubble we have built of the safety of protecting all things we hold dear. But isn’t it healthy to actually read another opinion and maybe challenging your thinking about something. You might not agree with it, but there are some people that make some compelling arguments, even if you feel those arguments are petty and silly.

Honestly, and let’s get into it and stop standing on ceremony, I liked “The Last Jedi.” Did I like it more than “The Force Awakens?”

No.

Does that make me a monster? I certainly hope not, but by saying this isn’t the best “Star Wars” film, period, is already putting me in the line of fire and leaving my “Star Wars” card up for grabs by the masses that have already anointed this film the greatest.

Why did I like “The Force Awakens” better? For me, it was simply more fun and exciting. I got plenty of nostalgia with “The Force Awakens” and while it introduced some new and exciting characters, it still gave me a lot of what I was used to and wanted to see.

“The Last Jedi,” while introducing some new ideas and creating some new relationships, come the end of the film, which for me clocked in at a pretty bloated 2 hours and 32 minutes, had my mind a little fried. But this could have been the poor sound mix in the theater and maybe the fact that I had been up for just about 15 hours after the credits rolled.

Let me just get this out of the way with the gripes: Not a fan of the way Snoke was treated, and the same goes for Luke. The middle sagged. Not a fan of Canto Bight and it’s something that could have been cut down to help the run time. Finally, Porgs are just reasons to sell toys, totally worthless.

Could there be some things done in “Episode IX” to fix some of my issues? Of course, and I hope they are and hopefully my worries are assuaged.

On the other side of the coin, there was plenty I liked; The opening space battle sequence. The middle sacrifice. And the ending battle sequence. There was a great scene in all three acts, with two in the final act. But looking at it now, the things I liked don’t add to the overall progression of plot, they are more set pieces that look awesome and give “The Last Jedi” it’s grand scale.

But at the end of the day, are there fundamental flaws with the film? Sure, but there are fundamental flaws with most Hollywood Blockbusters. Should everyone be able to make their own opinion about a film like this without being accused of not being a fan or having someone say “they feel sorry for them” for not liking something that they happen to love? Of course! But just having to justify why you have an opinion is a microcosm of the world we’re living in now. There is always an opinion of someone else’s opinion, and if that opinion doesn’t match someone else’s opinion it is almost always thought of as the wrong opinion. We don’t listen anymore, we simply react and shoot off a “hot take” which can be read in so many different ways.

There are times that I long for the days before the Internet. Those days when you would talk about the movie you saw over the weekend with your other friends. And even if you disagreed, you at least had to look someone in their eyes and explain your stance. Those days are gone and everyone is anonymous and hidden behind a keyboard and can say whatever they want without a point or purpose with the benefit of not being found out.

But hey, what do I know. I’m the biggest hypocrite there is most of the time. But at the end of the days, let’s all just have a civil conversation about these things and agree to disagree without saying we’re all idiots about the things we can’t all agree on.

January 23, 2017

‘The Last Jedi’ is 2017 in a Nutshell

After a long weekend of rambling political stances from both Republican and Democratic crazy people, meaningful marches around the world, and coping with the fact that we now live in a world where a man that shaved the head of Vince McMahon at Wrestlemania 23, is now our Commander in Chief, it’s time to start talking about things that actually matter; like the reveal of the title for “Star Wars: Episode VIII.”

There it is folks. THE LAST JEDI
A few thoughts. I think the timing of the reveal is funny and of course “not at all planned…” After all the dissension this past week, any type of “Star Wars” news is a welcome sight for most, but just seeing the marquee, the coloring, and of course the name, you know things are going to get dark.
As most people see 2017 as the End of Days, it only makes sense that we are going to get a dark sequel to 2015’s “The Force Awakens.” But it also looks like we are going to get a modeled middle sequel that is going to be just as dark as 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back.”
The political climate in 1980 was pretty tense. Jimmy Carter was just leaving office after a pretty tumultuous four-years including the Iranian Hostage Crisis, and we had a former Hollywood actor and at the time oldest president to ever be inaugurated into office with Ronald Reagan.
Fast forward to 2017 and we have an outgoing president where opinions were vastly divided on his eight-year presidency in Barack Obama, but there’s no doubt he re-added a touch of class to the office and while his politics might be polarizing, there is no doubt that he was a likable and affable POTUS. Now, we have a combative, instigating, Twitter-trolling, obnoxious, reality show-starring, no political experience man, Donald Trump, as our POTUS. The comparison to Obama and Trump is night and day, personally and politically. Again, for an uncertain time, we are likely going to have another dark chapter in the “Star Wars” mythos.
Of course this is speculation. This might be the cheeriest entry in the mythic sci-fi space opera. But if history tells us anything, we are heading in the direction of “The Last Jedi” being one dark motherfu*ker.
But hey! Even with my doom and gloom, “The Last Jedi” looks like it’s going to explain a lot. Who are The Knights of Ren? Why did Luke leave everything behind? Who is Supreme Leader Snoak? What is Rey’s family lineage? So many questions to answer, and we’ll have to wait another 11 months to see.
December 19, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Matt’s Take)

Rogue One – Tough

TOUGH

2015 brought about the resurgence of a franchise literally dragging itself out of the fiery pits of Mustafar. “The Force Awakens” was a worldwide phenomenon; it bridged the gap between successful animated fare like “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels” and washed the taste out of the mouths of fans still angry and beating their plastic lightsabers on the dead horse that were the Star Wars prequels. Since the Lucasfilm/Disney purchase that was so highly touted/publicized/argued, everything has been coming roses for the Star Wars Universe and its fans. Plus, now anything that can be Star Wars, IS Star Wars. Pet clothing, lawnmowers, coffee pots, I”m sure there are even Star Wars-themed Fleshlights out there. I mean come on, one can dream, can’t they?

My point is that Star Wars has taken over again. Add in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Disney is literally printing money with pictures of Mickey Mouse on it, hey, in a couple of years, the way we are going, that might end up being a legit form of currency.

Oh it’s a great time to be alive if you’re a fanboy of fangirl.

With all the success that Star Wars has had since it came out of the wilderness following the perceived failure that were the prequel films, there are many that wondered; “When will they slip up?” Much like the MCU, there have been many films where people though the shine was coming off, “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World,” and even “Ant-Man” were films that many can point to where the chinks in the armor were starting to show. And unlike “Star Wars” this was bound to happen with Marvel when introducing characters that were so fringe that it’s almost impossible to find a captive audience, of course “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the exception and not the rule.

This brings me to “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” the first in what is bound to be many stories, and the 2nd film in the “One-Star-Wars-Film-A-Year-Until-The-Day-We-Die” series. Of course that might sound a little snarky, but in this day and age if you aren’t snarky you aren’t a member of this horrible, horrible Internet that was been created.

So was “Rogue One” good? Yes……and no. As a “Star Wars” fan, of course I loved this film. It finally brought the “War” to “Star Wars.” Sure, you get to see “The Clone Wars” in the “Prequel-that-won’t-be-named,” and who really wants to relive that….

The premise is simple. A band of bad-ass ruffnecks are tasked with stealing the plans to a planet-destroying weapon and thwarting an evil army. It’s really as simple as that, The only difference between this film and any other action or sci-fi film that has the same exact plot is that it takes place in the Star Wars Universe. I know….it sounds bad to equate it that simply, but that is exactly what we have here. If this was any other film franchise people would be bashing this film into the ground, but since it’s the holy grail of science fiction mythology, the literal scared cow of cinema, the bashing will be light by most reviewers.

With the finished product that is “Rogue One” we can see why the production might have been a little troubled. This is a dark film; this is a war film, and coming off “The Force Awakens” you can see where they tried to lighten the mood with some cameo appearances that I won’t spoil, the gallows humor of K-2SO helps, but nonetheless, this is still a dark film that of course brings up the comparison to “The Empire Strikes Back,” which in the scheme of things, chronologically, works very well for the canon where you have “A New Hope” now book-ended by two very dark entries.

One of my biggest gripes, and this is similar to a gripe that I have with the MCU as well, is the need for audiences to know EVERYTHING about the universe in order to grasp all the intricacies and “wink-wink nod-nod” moments that fans will love, while casual fans will be left out in the cold. I understand that you have to include fan service, but “Rogue One” is the victim of too much fan service without providing an explanation to crucial plot points. One of the biggest is the use of Kyber Crystals and why they are so important to the universe. Never once, in the history of the FILM universe have Kyber Crystals been spoken about, unless I’m mistaken. Yes, I know, they are used to power a Jedi or Sith’s lightsaber. I know that because I KNOW “Star Wars” and do the research. But this is explained more in the prequel book to “Rogue One,” “Catalyst” where Kyber Crystals are explained to a larger degree and how they do more then just power lightsabers.

Characterization was also lacking for the most part. We see glimpses of motivations for characters like Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), and the duo of Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus (who I would LOVE to see a Star Wars Story about them) are my highlights. But in a film where you pretty much know the end result, I assume this was done on purpose because, SPOILER ALERT, a lot of people don’t make it. With that, to truly understand the motivation for these characters is pretty inconsequential, but that to me, is also a shortcoming of “Rogue One.”

Even with the run-time being two hours and 15 minutes, there were plenty of times where the action could have been dialed back, and we could have gotten to know these characters a little better. Gareth Edwards knows how to do a lot with a little, “Monsters” is a great example of how he was able to generate tension without having to show anything, but with “Rogue One,” he chose to go the route of “let’s blow up a lot of shit” instead of getting intimate with his wonderful characters. Maybe he felt like he was only going to be able to play in this sandbox once so it was balls-to-the-wall, which is understandable, and I might be in the minority of the person liking bigger and better booms and out-of-this-world CG, but characters come first, especially for a film universe that prides itself on it’s mythology.

Overall, for being the first “Star Wars Story” this is a worthy effort despite it’s flaws. This is a Star Wars film for fans, made by fans, and that might be one of the biggest issues. Even with the oversight of Disney, I think the inmates ran the asylum a little too much in “Rogue One” and caused this film to feel disjointed, rushed, and wasted the chance to flesh out new characters and instead chose to do it with a different medium, namely a book and cartoon series, “Catalyst” and “The Clone Wars,” respectively. I can’t knock Disney for trying to tie in their collective mediums, shit, I’m sure there are tons of people buying the e-book or the hardback for “Catalyst” today or binge-watching “Clone Wars,” but I don’t like having to study for a test in order to understand a film as a whole.

I’ll likely give this film another shot in the theater, but unlike my seven screenings of “The Force Awakens” in the theater in 2015/2016, this will be so I can catch all the things I missed. I want to like “Rogue One,” but this was a tough film to get behind, even for the die-hard in me. “Rogue One” is the blueprint, which despite it’s flaws, is still very watchable and will make fans happy as we finally know what happened to the rebels that gave their lives to help the rebellion.

October 14, 2016

Trailer Hot Take: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer #2

Full disclosure: Up to this point, I had really only seen the teaser trailers. I’m trying to go into this newest, or older, Star Wars experience with as little information as possible. Of course, many of us know the fate of the people we are going to meet in “Rogue One” but it’s going to be the journey and emotional attachment that we fell when we all watch this one, two three, four, or however many times you’re going to decide to see this in the theater (I’ll dial it back from my seven times in the theater for “The Force Awakens”).

Without further adieu, let’s breakdown some of the highlights from this newest trailer for “Rogue One.”

It’s always cool to see a moisture evaporator with an Empire transport ship in the background

Looks like Mads is filming a sequel for both Valhalla Rising and Doctor Strange at the same time
Jyn in a cage with an alien friend
Jedi Rock Formations…but on what planet?
Rogue….Rogue One
Krennic speaking with the Dark Lord of the Sith himself
We have hope….Rebellions are built on hope…
This still doesn’t do true justice to what is actually happening here…
Definitely reminds me of a young Zev Senesca
The goosebump moment that we all knew was coming, but still….
Overall, a bone-chilling trailer that should put to sleep most of the bad publicity this film has been getting the last few months. This trailer plays to many emotions, and yes, while some of the dialogue and catchphrases will come off as a tad bit contrite and cliche, that doesn’t mean this is going to be a bad film, not one bit. Is it a Hollywood Blockbuster? Of course, but this trailer sold to me the notion that the people making this little “one-off stories” care about the lore, fans, and the universe that has been expertly crafted, most of the time, since 1977.
April 7, 2016

Trailer Hot Take: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Teaser Trailer)

All the Interwebs is in a tizzy today and having a collective nerd-gasm over the reveal of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” the first in what is to be many one-off stories that will fill in the gaps in Star Wars canon.

With so much to talk about, let’s go to the stills and analyze this bitch!

Look at that title card…LOOK AT IT!!
Here is our first look at Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) She’s got a little Ellen Page going on there….
Erso being led away with a mighty fine X-Wing hanging in the back.
A little Mon Mothma anyone….
Diego Luna looks on while Mothma gives Erso the 3rd degree it seems….
Now here’s the money shot…putting the finishing touches on the Death Star
A high ranking Imperial, but who could it be?
Forest Whitaker strutting his stuff….friend, foe, or something in-between?
Donnie Yen about to go all “Blade 2” on these Storm Troopers.
Now here is the good stuff…Royal Guards seemingly guarding a tube. Could Vader be in the tube, or is that Vader walking up to the tube…or is it something different all together?
AT-AT’s going to war against the Rebels
This will certainly raise speculation, especially with the VO behind it. Is Erso a true blue Rebel, does she betray the cause, or something in-between….again…..
A lot to speculate in just a trailer just shy of :90, but we’ll have much more to talk about when a full length trailer appears soon enough.
December 24, 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.

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

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