Browsing Category



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, 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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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!


Movie review: Blade Runner 2049 happily does not suck

This past weekend, Dara, Paul, and I, along with our pal Jenny, saw Blade Runner 2049. As a household, the Murkworks had varying levels of consternation about this movie. Paul in fact told me that he couldn’t bear to go see it if it turned out to suck, while Dara and I were somewhat less nervous. Even though we both have healthy respect for the original Blade Runner, it’s never been a movie we frequently go back and rewatch.

Hell, I’m a Harrison Ford fangirl, and I’ve maybe seen the original Blade Runner at most four or five times. Compare and contrast this with how many times I’ve rewatched the original Star Wars trilogy. And especially how many times I’ve rewatched Raiders of the Lost Ark!

That said, I did always rather like this particular Harrison Ford pic:



And, well, the prospect of seeing Mr. Ford in a movie that didn’t suck was tempting indeed. Fortunately for me, Blade Runner 2049 doesn’t suck!

We all agreed afterwards that while it was too long, it ultimately stood as a worthy successor to the original. I’m not sure I like it better than the original. But its story is definitely compelling, and I’ve kept thinking about it since seeing it.

Usually when I do a movie review post, I’ll talk about spoilers behind a cut tag. This time, not so much. After seeing good reviews on both (very mild spoilers) and The Mary Sue (specifically avoiding as many spoilers as possible), I’m rather inclined to the latter approach. This movie offers a lot to think about, both within its own context and in how it links back to the original. And I’m reluctant to interfere with a viewer’s ability to get at those things without any preconceived notions.

I agree with the Mary Sue that this movie is gorgeous. Likewise, with’s dissatisfaction that the women in the cast ultimately function as little more than plot propulsion for the male leads. And yeah, the movie is kind of too long. Yet on our way out of the theater, we couldn’t nail down where exactly there should have been less movie. It did indeed need to take its time and let everything build.

And while I’m a trifle cranky about how the movie treats its women, I can at least say that there are multiple interesting female characters. Seeing Robin Wright as a police chief is particularly satisfying, after her turn as General Antiope in Wonder Woman earlier this year. Plus, the movie passes the Bechdel with one of her scenes, so there’s that! Plus, I can say that multiple female characters inspired the pondering I’ve done about this movie since we saw it.

Worldbuilding-wise, the movie does an excellent job showing how the world has progressed since the first film. As of this writing, I haven’t watched the shorts that cover some of this backstory in more detail. But the movie didn’t make me feel like I need to.

Director Denis Villeneuve, it turns out, also directed Arrival–which I quite liked. And he’s from Quebec, which adds another thing to my list of Awesome Quebecois Things. He has certainly produced a gorgeous movie here, so he’s now two for two on films of his I’ve seen and liked. This bodes well for further encounters with his work.

And Harrison? Let’s just say that goddamn, it was satisfying to see him. Gruff, crufty old Harrison. I still love him to bits. And those of you who know me and my musical affections will know instantly which of his moments, once he finally shows up on camera, is my absolute favorite. (For that matter, those of you who know my history with CrystalMUSH also now have on-camera evidence of what exactly I had in mind when I was playing Tance Vokrim! Because old Harrison? Yep. That’s Tance.)

Old Deckard, Who Could Also Totally Be Tance

Old Deckard, Who Could Also Totally Be Tance

So yeah. Go see it, if you haven’t already. Maybe keep your expectations down a tad. I’m not a hundred percent sure Blade Runner 2049 achieves greatness, or brings anything truly new to the table that the first one didn’t already present for us. But it was still a fun viewing and I’m quite glad I saw it.

If you have seen it, drop me a comment or two about your thoughts! (Everybody else, beware of comment spoilers!)


Movie Review: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Ever since I heard that there was finally going to be a standalone Wonder Woman movie, I’ve been living in anticipation of seeing it. Last night, my household went to do so. Picoreview: goddamn, you guys, that was satisfying. 😀 I had a few quibbles with it, but they were minor quibbles at best. I teared up twice during the movie. Chris Pine is now certainly my favorite of the small sample set of versions of Steve Trevor I’ve seen. And most importantly, Gal Gadot was a complete delight to watch, from start to finish.

I shall also note for the record that even at our showing at the local iPic theater, we had two different women in full on cosplay, one as Wonder Woman and another as Supergirl. And I spotted a third woman wearing a Wondy tiara. Because we are a nerd town. It’s TRUE.

Spoilers lie beyond the veil that hides Themiscyra from the world of men! And I DO MEAN SPOILERS.

Continue Reading

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–

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


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.

Continue Reading


Movie review: Captain America: Civil War

Divided We Fall

Divided We Fall

Dara, Paul, and I went and saw Captain America: Civil War last night, and I can say without reservation: gracious, that was satisfying.

Now, Cap’s name is in the title of this thing (and Dara opined that its title should have been Captain America: Why Don’t Any of You Fuckers Listen to Steve?, or perhaps Captain America: He’s Not Perfect, Except For His Abs). But really, this is way more of an Avengers movie. Though granted, it also has a huge focus on Cap. I mention this though because if you go in expecting this to have the same focus on Cap that the previous movies did, you might be a bit disappointed. But if you think of this more as an Avengers movie with a focus on Cap, it works way better. Particularly given how so much of this movie’s plot draws from the events in Age of Ultron.

But of course, it’s also drawing on events in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This is not a good movie to come in cold to the MCU, is what I’m sayin’ here. If you haven’t seen either of those movies yet, this one will make way less sense.

I’ve seen a lot of enthusing about the new kid playing Spidey. Of whom I mostly have this to say: I’m having a hard time mustering much giveadamn for yet another iteration of Spidey, particularly when pulling him into the MCU delayed Captain Marvel. Marf. Though, even given my crankiness about that, I’ll cheerfully grant this kid was charming and fun. Yesterday I put up a post on Here Be Magic about why I love Supergirl, and one of the things I call out there is how DC’s doing such a lovely job bringing a tone of brightness and optimism to that show. This iteration of Spidey is helping do that for the MCU, I feel, and I can’t help but appreciate that.

Still, though, I think I would have been way more on board with another Spidey if this one had been Miles Morales instead of Peter Parker. Which is why, when it comes to the new faces introduced in this movie, I was way more excited by Black Panther. His character was amazing, and I am 100% ON BOARD with his forthcoming movie.

Before I get into spoiler discussion, here are some other reviews from sites I regularly follow, which I just doublechecked now that I’ve seen the movie myself. I’m pretty much ON BOARD with everything these links have to say, too. Particularly the parts about the biceps. 😀

Captain America: Civil War is the Emotional Pinnacle of Superhero Movies on

Review: Captain America: Civil War Is Good (but Too Stuffed to be Great) on The Mary Sue

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

And now, for spoilers! ALL THE SPOILERS behind the fold!

Continue Reading


Movie review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition

I am quite behind on doing this, but I’ve finally gotten a chance to watch all of the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. And I can report with distinct satisfaction that it is definitely a more coherent cut of the movie than the one which was released in the theaters, which makes a clean sweep of my preferring the Extended Edition of all six of Jackson’s Middle-Earth movies.

As a general reminder my review posts for the theatrical cut are here and here, two posts since I saw it twice in the theaters. And by and large my overall opinion of the movie hasn’t changed much. So I’m going to focus instead on what the EE version brings to the table in this post.

Obviously, there are spoilers in this post for both versions of the movie, so if you haven’t seen Five Armies at all and you think you might want to, you might want to hold off reading this until then. Spoilers behind the fold!

Continue Reading