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Movies

Movie review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

There’s been a lot of dubious buzz over the last several months about Solo: A Star Wars Story. A lot of folks have been concerned about the change in directors, and about whether the movie would deliver a cohesive story. It’s only been out a week, and there’s buzz now about OHNOEZ DID IT FLOP, apparently because it hasn’t made quite as gigantic a pile of money as The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi have done.

With all this negative buzz going around, you could easily conclude that the movie sucks. I am delighted to report, Internets, that this is not the case.

As y’all know I’m a lifelong fangirl for Harrison Ford in general, and for Han Solo in particular. So I was absolutely expecting to come into this movie all Judgy McJudgypants. Because of my Ford fangirldom, but also because of my longstanding love of the Han Solo backstory novels by Brian Daley and A.C. Crispin. The Crispins in particular are near and dear to my heart, as I relied upon them heavily for inspiration when playing Han on Star Wars MUSH back in the day.

Happily, while this movie’s story is of course different in the minor details (while getting the major ones generally right), its spirit felt entirely like those novels. It was just generally fun in a way we don’t usually get with Star Wars flicks. By which I mean, we’re not dealing with galaxy-shaking stakes here. This is an origin story, a heist-flick-in-space, with the Empire only a background presence rather than the main point.

And while Alden Ehrenreich isn’t Harrison Ford, I am now happy to accept his take on Han. Also, Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian is absolutely glorious, and so is the droid L3.

All in all, if you’re a Star Wars fan–and especially if you’re a Han fan–go see it!

Now let’s have a swing past the Spoiler Mines of Kessel, shall we?

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Movies

Movie review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (spoilers)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

This is the second of two review/reaction posts for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you might want to go look at my non-spoiler post first, and come back to this one later. Because this is the one that has all the spoilers!

Overall, I’ll note in summary what I said in the other post rather than going into general commentary again here. Namely: the movie’s long but didn’t feel overly long to me. Several characters stood out for me with shining performances. And this was very much a “middle movie of a trilogy”, with considerable darkness of plot and galaxy-spanning stakes and ramifications. If you’re going to see this in a theater, be prepped for length.

Now then, let’s get into the SPOILERS.

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Movies

Movie review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (no spoilers)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Yesterday Dara and I did as we are wont to do on Christmas, and went out for a movie. This year, the movie in question was of course Star Wars: The Last Jedi. As always, I will be doing a review/reaction post! This year, however, there will actually be two of them. I’ve been asked for a non-spoilery overall reaction, so this post is for that.

This movie is very much the “middle movie of a trilogy”, but to my relief, it did not do what I was afraid it would do, and follow all the beats of The Empire Strikes Back the way The Force Awakens echoed A New Hope. Don’t get me wrong–I really liked The Force Awakens. But I was willing to put up with one “rehash the original plot” movie in this new trilogy. I wasn’t willing to put up with two. Fortunately, I didn’t have to!

As I do, I went back and started reading a bunch of the posts on both The Mary Sue and Tor.com, and at those sources, I’m seeing commentary along the lines of how this movie was overstuffed with plot threads. I do agree that it was possibly longer than it needed to be, but one particular B plot I’ve seen people taking issue with actually didn’t bug me. (Canto Bight, to be specific without going into detail; I’ll talk more about this in the spoiler post.) And overall, I didn’t feel like the movie ground to a screeching halt at any point, despite its length.

I will warn nonetheless that if you’re planning to see this thing in a theater and you have issues with movies that run longer than two hours, don’t drink soda beforehand!

There’s not much I can say about the plot without getting into spoilers. So instead I’ll note a few character performances that stood out for me.

Leia

I have seen commentary that described Carrie Fisher’s performance as “luminous”. This is correct. Because she commanded every single scene she was in, and moreover, gets to do one particularly badassed thing that made my heart just leap.

I have also seen commentary along the lines that the real sorrow of this movie is that we won’t get to see Leia’s arc conclude in Episode IX. This is also correct. Sniff.

Luke

Mark Hamill was fucking amazing, full stop. Dara remarked to me that this was the first time she’d been able to buy Luke Skywalker as an actual Jedi Master. She’s not wrong.

Rose

New character Rose was absolutely adorable.

Vice-Admiral Holdo

This woman doesn’t get a lot of screen time, but she owns what she’s given, and she’s responsible for arguably the most cinematically striking moment in the whole movie.

Kylo Ren

I want this boy to be thrown down a reactor shaft for what he pulled in the last movie, but I do have to admit, Adam Driver’s doing a great job with the character.

Rey

Fuck yeah. I adore this girl and every minute she’s on screen.

Overall

I’m going to save what quibbles I have for the spoiler post, since what quibbles I have don’t really detract from my overall opinion of this thing. Which is to say: goddamn, this movie. I cried multiple times, and enjoyed the hell out of it, and am very much looking forward to seeing it again.

More to come in the spoiler post!

Books

First book roundup of the year

Catalyst

Catalyst

A bit delayed on this, but it’s taken a while to get enough titles queued up as acquisitions to actually make it worth doing a post! I’ve been focusing lately on reading the books I actually own versus buying a whole lot of new ones–and as a result, I’ve actually built up a sizable credit balance on Barnes and Noble’s website. Which is kinda funny, given that I’ve stopped using them as my major source of ebooks!

But ANYWAY, here’s some recent titles I’ve picked up.

Acquired in print:

  • Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, by James Luceno. This is exactly what it says on the tin. More specifically, it’s the prequel story to the events of the movie Rogue One, getting into the backstory of the Erso family, and how Galen became involved in building the Death Star. I felt this sounded like fun, and to my pleasure, Dara gave me a hardback copy for my birthday.

Acquired in digital from B&N.com:

  • Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor. SF. Grabbed this because it’s the sequel to Binti, which I enjoyed quite a bit.
  • Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day, by Seanan McGuire. Grabbed on general “because it’s Seanan McGuire, duh” grounds, but also because a) I’ve been enjoying reading novellas lately, and b) I liked the base concept of this, a ghost who’s working on a suicide hotline.
  • Passing Strange, by Ellen Klages. Another Tor.com novella (see previous commentary re: enjoying these lately), which I have grabbed because why yes, a story about queer women in San Francisco in 1940 has my attention.
  • The City, Not Long After, by Pat Murphy. SF. Got this on the strength of James Nicoll’s review of it. It sounds like a surprisingly pacifistic post-apocalyptic scenario, and given the times we live in, that feels strangely reassuring. This’ll be the second thing of Murphy’s I’ll have read and while I was ambivalent about her Hobbit pastiche, I liked it well enough that I’m willing to try another book of hers.

This’ll make five so far for the year.

Movies, News

RIP Carrie Fisher

I just saw the news breaking: Carrie Fisher has passed away at the age of 60, following a recent medical emergency.

Goddammit 2016. :~(

I was afraid we’d see this, when the news originally broke about her medical emergency a few days ago. I’d been at least a little hopeful given that we then saw news that she’d been stabilized… but apparently, this shitstorm of a year just had to get in another punch and take General Organa from us.

Much has been said on the various blogs I follow about Fisher’s openness talking about her past addiction issues, as well as her capabilities as a script doctor in Hollywood, something she hasn’t gotten nearly as much credit for as she should have. But for me, of course, she will forever be Leia Organa, princess and rebel and general. Given how important Star Wars has been to me as an SF/F fan–particularly with my history of playing Han on Star Wars MUSH, which of course meant that I roleplayed with multiple people playing Leia, so yeah, the character is real important to me–it’s safe to say that she’s one of the most iconic characters of my childhood. And arguably the most important female character I encountered early on, in my initial exposure to SF/F.

Star Wars was the first movie I can consciously remember seeing in a theater. I’ve written before about the visceral memory I have of seeing that opening shot of the Star Destroyer rolling up the screen. But I also have very early memories of me and my brothers having Star Wars action figures, and my always being a little jealous and protective of the Leia figure.

And of course when Empire came out, I had gotten old enough to start crushing on Harrison Ford. Part and parcel of this, of course, was how vital Leia was as a part of that–because sure, Han was totally swoonable and all, but Leia’s part of all their wonderful scenes in Empire are just as critical to me as Han’s.

Han: C’mon, admit, sometimes you think I’m all right.
Leia: Maybe. Occasionally. When you’re not acting like a scoundrel.
Han: Scoundrel? Scoundrel? I like the sound of that.
Leia: I happen to like nice men.
Han: I’m a nice man.
Leia: No you’re not–
*SMOOCH*

Not that I’ve memorized that scene or anything. :~}

But oh god yes her lines in Star Wars, too.

“You came in that? You’re braver than I thought.”

“Will someone get this walking carpet OUT OF MY WAY?”

Fuck. Fuck this fucking year.

I think I gotta rewatch A New Hope and Empire now. I was kinda going to do that anyway after seeing Rogue One… but now, yeah.

To all my fellow Star Wars fans, many hugs.

To Carrie Fisher’s family and loved ones and all her fans, deepest condolences.

I choose to believe that General Organa has damn well gone to become one with the Force. As she damn well should, y’know, being Force sensitive and all.

Han and Leia

Han and Leia

Movies

Movie Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One

Rogue One

I now get to say this twice in a row: that? That was a goddamned Star Wars movie.

Dara and I went to go see this thing in 3D IMAX today, and when the credits rolled, we took off our glasses and looked at each other. We’d both been crying. And we nodded knowingly to one another as we realized that, and came out of the theater talking about how we both had ALL THE FEELS.

Because yeah, even more than The Force Awakens (which, let me remind you, I quite adored), this movie grabbed hold of everything I loved from A New Hope and brought it roaring back to life.

Open the shield for transmission because I am about to broadcast SPOILERS.

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Movies

Movie review: Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens

Dara and I, accompanied by friends Mimi and Layna, have finally seen The Force Awakens.

YOU GUYS. That? That right there? That was a goddamned Star Wars film. And let me put this in perspective for you: do you all know the last time I would have walked out of a movie theater entirely emotionally satisfied with a Star Wars film? That would have been 1980–the year The Empire Strikes Back came out.

And I can say this. Even having had a major plot point spoiled for me (and I am STILL cranky at the player on Dungeon Boss chat who blew that for me, grr), I was still full of the feels. And I have many, many thoughts on what I just witnessed, and I shall now share them with you all!

Needless to say, SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS OMG SO MANY SPOILERS YOUR FLEET CANNOT REPEL SPOILERS OF THIS MAGNITUDE AND DID I MENTION SPOILERS? If you’re coming over from one of the social media networks or from LJ or Dreamwidth to read this, I beg you: please stay right on angelahighland.com if you want to drop comments. Because there will be spoilers and I want to minimize their presence anywhere this post gets mirrored. If I see you drop a spoiler-related comment on any of my social media networks where this post goes up, I WILL DELETE THAT COMMENT. Do not make Han cranky!

Han says NO.

Han says NO.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding! Let’s get to it, shall we? And did I mention OMG SPOILERS?

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