Where It All Began… Intermediately

Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope

By now, I would assume that some of you would see that I love science fiction in pretty much any aspect. Like any other hardcore fanatic that came before me, this is one of the major reasons why I became one to begin with. Released in 1977, “Star Wars” (Episode IV) swept up everything else that came before its time and became from what I’ve seen, a worldwide pop culture sensation. Kind of weird how another new trilogy is set to be brought to all of us within the next year supposedly. I for one, am completely anticipating it, but like anyone else, I still have to face the curse of patience for Episode VII, but that’s another story…

*SPOILERS*

Back to what I was talking about, “A New Hope” starts off with a completely vast array of characters that play a certain role in not only this film, but in the film series as a whole. Obi-Wan represents the Jedi father figure of Luke Skywalker who is non other than our protagonist along with Han Solo and Princess Leia. So in a time of turmoil where the Galactic (Evil) Empire rules over the galaxy, our Rebel Alliance (the good guys), have managed to obtain a means of destroying the Empire’s most powerful weapon, the Death Star. Oh yeah and our main protagonist is none other than the now infamous Darth Vader.

Believe me, it is hard trying to explain this whole universe and plot without any visual elements so just try to bear with me. Fast-forward throughout the story and our damsel-in-distress plot involves Luke, Han, Chewbacca, and Obi-Wan on a quest to rescue Leia who has since been seized by Darth Vader.

After a lengthy journey during which Obi-Wan performs a useless sacrifice, no pun intended, the rest of our group manage to rescue the Princess and escape the confines of the Death Star. The climax of the film follows the Rebel Alliance as they now try to destroy the Death Star once and for all before it destroys their base. Through a lengthly dramatic struggle, they eventually succeed and thus we have a resolution… for the time being.

So in terms of a story it was pretty much like any other film that involves hero antics, a good vs evil situation, and the struggle of identification for each character. Luke for instance, faces the circumstances of suddenly being thrust into the war between the Empire and the rebels, while starting to discover who he secretly is through the tutelage of Obi-Wan. Han is a bit more cynical as he cares for nothing except his precious Millennium Falcon as well as his first mate co-pilot, the cute and lovable Chewbacca. As the film progresses he slowly begins to have a classic change of heart, which is explored more thoroughly in the sequel. As for Princess Leia, well she does all she possibly can to restore peace and justice to the galaxy, or more specifically, her home planet, even though it ends up being destroyed about halfway through the film by Darth Vader. It actually ends up being her fault. Irony…

As for the bad guys, you can’t help but love them. Darth Vader is the ultimate badass who everyone seems to be scared off for good reason, with the exception of Obi-Wan who knows a little secret about him. Throw in C-3PO and R2-D2 into the mix for comedic humor and you’ve got yourself a universe of amazing proportions. I even loved the fact that both of these droids are just as relevant to saving the universe as are our main heroes.

I won’t explain the reason for this because quite frankly, I’ve now realized, if you haven’t seen “Star Wars” yet, it’s pretty much the time to start already. You can enjoy the CGI or character aspects of the film or basically not enjoy it at all, but the point would be to give it a try. Believe me, I could continue with this post for days, going off about thousands of other aspects about the film series. It could be about the science fiction aspect but for arguments sake, let me just conclude this by saying that “Star Wars” IS the sh-t. Take that censoring 👊.

Let me just include a little scene here so hopefully someone gets persuaded to watch “Star Wars” thanks to me…

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A Dynamic Five-O

End of Watch

In case some of you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not really a big fan of action films anymore. At least not since my childhood came to an exaggerated ending due to college and work. But every now and then, its good to watch a little energetic scene to escape the troubles of everyday life. With some humor in between, 2012’s “End of Watch” took me almost completely by surprise and I do have a bit to say about it.

*SPOILERS*

First of all, let me put it into some perspective. Two LA cops. They’re basically besties. They work in South Central which is pretty much even worse than Harlem. With an abundance of disturbance calls and fast-paced crime response, we get to see how these two police officers live on a daily basis through the eyes of first-person camera shooting.

The concept right there seemed a little different to me and I think in a sense, it actually worked. With first-person viewing, the “energy” of the film, or whatever you want to call it, actually works with full fortitude. Even then, we get a lot of character as well as strong hilarious humor through our main characters, Brian and Miguel.

Through its progressive story, we also get a serious thriller side of how these two become engaged in an investigation of crime, gangs and drugs. I definitely don’t want to give away too much here so that’s pretty much all of the movie’s plot that you’re gonna see coming out of my post.

If you’ve watched “Cops,” you’ll notice a sheer amount of similarity. If you’ve watched first-person films, you’ll notice a similarity there too. That’s why I think this film worked perfectly as an action film or a thriller film or whatever you want to classify it as. In my view it honestly has the full package of emotion, story-telling, humor, etc, etc, blah blah blah…

The point I’m trying to get at here, is that if you’ve never seen or heard about this film, then that would be with good reason, due to the fact that this was an independent production that barely got any mainstream recognition from what I remember. I only happened to stumble upon this film with my friends by complete accident when it came out 2 years ago. Regardless, I usually don’t “recommend” films for people in general, but in the cases of exceptions, I will officially nag you all to watch this if you’ve even bothered to read.

To show you how serious I am, I’ll put the trailer here, in the hopes that at least SOMEONE will have watched this film, thanks to me…

Secrets, Secrets, Secrets

Kill the Messenger 2014

Pretty sure not everyone trusts the government. I know I don’t and they’re probably already tracking the fact that I just said that. Oops… Anyways, another film that I saw with a friend during my vacation was “Kill the Messenger.” Honestly I thought it wouldn’t be that good, but it was actually pretty interesting and informative. I’ll elaborate.

*SPOILERS*

Needless to say that it is based on a true story, this film follows Gary Webb, a reporter who during a deep investigation of a case ends up with an unexpected discovery of secret information. Long story short, it turns out that the government had been secretly supporting the trafficking of cocaine into the US, which turned out to be one of the reasons that the crack epidemic broke out during the 80s.

Now obviously this is a movie so surely enough, they will exaggerate certain details and aspects from time to time. However I was mostly surprised by how very true this story was when I looked it up. But back to the story, it basically just follows up on how Gary continued to struggle with proving his story to be true, even after it became an internet phenomena and a news story that was covered worldwide.

If I’m going to say something about this film, it’ll be that suspense is nicely handled with the story. It keeps you guessing about whether or not Gary’s quest to proving his story true, will succeed or not. This is also thanks to a great performance by Jeremy Renner who handles himself perfectly with a superb way of asking questions and having the characteristics of an actual news reporter.

The biggest spoiler I will give however is that if you’re expecting a happy ending, you’ll get anything far from it. The ending is pretty much why I chose those set of words at the beginning of my post. Other than that, if you want to know what I’m talking about, you can always check out the whole movie for yourselves. You will be left feeling cynical however. At least I know everyone in the theater did after the film was over. Overall it really is a compelling film that I think everyone should watch at least once.

The “Scientific” Romance

Her 2013

So I’ve been trying to find the right movie to blog about as my first post in terms of the romance genre. Keep in mind that I am a guy. Thus I rarely like any romance film or even find one interesting or original enough to call it a “good” film. That’s another reason why I rarely talk about the romance genre in general. But with “Her” I actually have to beg to differ. Released in 2013, this is one that actually makes us examine ourselves and what our lives would probably be like in the not-so-distant future. Even then it also has some very comedic moments in-between.

*SPOILERS*

Technology is advancing and to have a story with a man falling in love with his computer seems like a joke right? But I think Spike Jonze applied this plot a little more intelligently. If he was going to give an operating system a personality, he would do so with a cleverly voice-over performance by Scarlett Johansson for Samantha. Joaquin Phoenix is there with a great performance as well to provide human response towards her.

“Her” also kind of puts us on the spot when it comes to dealing with emotional trauma. Since this story follows Theodore falling in love with Samantha, it shows us how certain people can sometimes cope with negative emotions in the most unhealthy ways. The rarest part of the movie that I think we get as the most incentive, was Samantha’s revelation to Theodore. If you say you are in love with 641 others at the same time, you’d have to be some kind of cuckoo, but in a way it is interesting when you think about how technology is advancing.

That brings me to another aspect that I really liked about “Her.” Since it is also a science fiction movie, it isn’t afraid to cross the boundary where it raises questions about how humans or technology would coexist in the future, especially if it would involve some kind of romantic connection in-between. Everything else from the cinematography to the soundtrack was just what it needed to be to make “Her” believable enough.

I know most people will probably think of this as boring or corny just from reading my post, etc but to me it really is an interesting film, that actually has some originality. It’s definitely way better than “The Notebook” which I know a lot of girls are surely more familiar with and will probably scathe me for saying all this.

9 Months & Out

Juno (2007)

This is kind of weird for me to talk about. “Juno” as it is known by, happens to be one of those films that doesn’t really sink in with me like it probably should’ve. From what I’ve heard about, a lot of people and even critics really like this movie, but I’m admittedly NOT one of those people. I’ll try to elaborate a little bit.

*SPOILERS*

First of all I don’t hate this movie but I don’t like it either, or should I say one particular character. The titular character that was played by Ellen Page was pretty real and sometimes humorous I’ll admit, but sometimes seemed very naive, brash, and cocky. I did admire some aspects of her character. She choses to be smart by actually thinking through her decisions and handle them with care. That’s especially admirable about her, given that she is basically in a coming-of-age situation with adulthood right in her front door. As for her overconfidence though, Juno just never rubbed me the right way. If anything I actually liked her dad better (JK Simmons).

As for some of the other aspects of film like the plot and themes itself, it was pretty much the way you would expect a film about pregnancy to be. Something unplanned occurs, lives take on a new path for the future, drama escalates with hardships, but by some miracle everything works out in the end. I just could never put my finger on it. This film did have some sequences that made me laugh and feel entertained but overall it just wasn’t for my taste. I’m sure others would think otherwise so I’ll just say that “Juno” is still worth a view, given that others may interpret the film differently.