Tag Archives: Star Wars

Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

the force awakens poster
via iDigital Times

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

PG13 / 135 mins

Action / Adventure / Fantasy

Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac

Director: J.J. Abrams


Duuuuuuuuh-duuuh-duh-duh-duh-duuuuuuuuh-duuh-duh-duh-duh-duhhhh…. (Just imagine the rest of this review like it’s the iconic Star Wars intro title crawl with the iconic music in the background for added effect)

The Star Wars prequels left a bad taste in the mouths of fanboys across the world.  Episodes I, II, and III had their moments but they were largely underwhelming and incomparable to the original masterpieces of IV, V, and VI.  Making matters worse, it’s been ten years since Episode III came out, meaning the bad taste has just lingered and festered for years.  Fans started to become anxious for the next installment in the storied franchise, just something to cleanse their palette.  Enter Disney.  Famed Star Wars director George Lucas sold his baby to the entertainment juggernaut that is Walt Disney and soon to follow this news was the announcement that a new trilogy would soon be making its way to the big screen.

the force awakens 1
via Vanity

Star Wars: The Force Awakens slowly became one of the year’s most anticipated movies.  Directed by J.J. Abrams, the movie would continue the story of famed movie heroes like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia, along with some newer characters joining the fray.  It is made clear that The Force Awakens is on a mission to set the series back on the right track of what made the classics great.  Now we have something else to talk about instead of the prequels sucking so much.  I don’t know if you’ve heard, but The Force Awakens has been selling gangbusters and breaking records left and right.  It has become one of year’s biggest movies.  J.J. Abrams has successfully accomplished his mission and has made a Star Wars movie to rival the classics.

The Force Awakens takes place thirty years after the events of Return of the Jedi.  A lot has happened since then.  The First Order, led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver of Girls fame), is the omnipotent evil that spans the galaxy.  The Jedi are just a myth of the past.  The characters from the previous films are all doing their own thing now.  Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is still the general of The Resistance, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) are still the rebel bounty hunters that we came to love, and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is missing, which is the main crux of the movie’s story.

the force awakens 2
via Daily Actor

Within the first couple of scenes we are also introduced to the new faces that will drive the new trilogy for the years to come; Daisy Ridley and John Boyega.  These two are the new fresh faces that this series needs.  Daisy Ridley plays Rey, a scrapper from Jakku who is under the impression that one day her long lost family will come back to find her.  John Boyega, on the other hand, plays Finn, a Stormtrooper who wants to change his ways.  The two character’s paths meet up in a play of destiny and they are set on a mission after finding the cute little droid BB-8 that has part of the map that will lead the Resistance to Luke Skywalker.

the force awakens 3
via comicbook.com

John Boyega’s Finn was probably one of my favorite new characters from the movie.  His humor is a refreshing change of pace for the movie and he has an energy that is undeniable.  Daisy Ridley is amazing as well.  I believe that both of them will have what it takes to carry the monolith that is Star Wars into the future.  This movie was their proving ground and they took the baton from the established cast and are ready to move on into the future.  I also want to mention that Adam Driver did a fantastic job as Kylo Ren.  His character was perhaps the most intriguing of the bunch.  Ren is a unhinged and emotional apprentice to the Dark Side that is afraid that he will never live up to Darth Vader.  Driver captured this character’s unstable nature amazingly and I really look forward to perhaps taking a deeper dive into the shroud that this character withholds.

the force awakens 4
via Flickering Myth

The nostalgia factor is out the roof the second the notorious title crawl starts scrolling up the big screen.  Everything from the sights to the sounds bring back pangs of nostalgia and reverence to the original trilogy.  The use of practical effects in The Force Awakens alone is super cool in that it adds to the old school mantra that this movie upholds.  It really made the movie feel like the original trilogy.  In fact, this movie was super similar to A New Hope, maybe a little to its detriment.  Everything from the locations to the story seem to fit right in line with A New Hope, almost like it was trying to play it a little safe, using the already established classic as a crutch to carry it forward.  This doesn’t mean too much right now, but if the next movie starts to fall in line with The Empire Strikes Back, then maybe we should start to feel alarmed.

There’s also the convenience factor that started to make me question a lot of the things that happened in the movie.  I fear that if I started to go deeper into what I mean by this, spoilers would start to arise so I am going to stay out of the mud for now.  If you see the movie, you’ll know exactly what I mean.  Things line up in ways that seem impossible and characters run into other characters at opportune times that make you shake your head a bit.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a problem that a lot of movies have, but that doesn’t make it excusable.  Similar to my point about The Force Awakens being too similar to A New Hope, this isn’t a big problem in the movie, but you can add it to my list of small gripes that I have with it.

the force awakens 5
via comicbook.com

It’s been a while since a movie instilled a feeling of pure childish giddiness in me but The Force Awakens really did that for me.  The feeling of going to see a new Star Wars movie in theaters again was just a delight in itself.  Luckily the movie was pretty fantastic to go along with these nostalgic feelings.  The movie took its time and established the new characters and paid homage to the old in ways that seem to set up the future movies pretty well.  (I should also mention that the movie’s last shot was pretty amazing, setting up the cliffhanger that will be picked up in Episode 8) Whenever J.J. Abrams had his hesitations with signing on to the iconic series, I understood why he would have these feelings.  He can rest easy now because he accomplished a lot of great things with The Force Awakens.  This is the Star Wars movie you have been looking for.

the force awakens score

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2016 Grammy Predictions

It’s that time of year again.  The nominees for the 58th Grammys were announced this Monday, which opened up the discussion on which artist had the best album/song and why they should win in their respective categories.  At some point or another you begin to hear the case for every nominee, which makes speculation a lot of fun.  With that being said, I am going to add my two cents into the fray on who I think will take away the awards music’s biggest night.

2016 grammys kendrick
via Urban Islandz

The Grammy nominations were almost dominated by Kendrick Lamar, which was quite a surprise considering the years that other artists have had.  However, Kendrick Lamar more than deserves these awards and I actually think he will take home a good haul on Feb. 15.  The two other artists that gained a good number of nods are Taylor Swift and The Weeknd.  No surprise there.  One glaring omission is Adele but hey, that’s just a by-product of how the Grammys work.  Just wait till next year, where she will most likely top the nominations list and take home a car full of awards.

Let’s get into the four major fields…

*Predicted winners denoted with ‘(Winner)’


Record Of The Year

“Really Love” — D’Angelo And The Vanguard

“Uptown Funk” — Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars (Winner)

“Thinking Out Loud” — Ed Sheeran

“Blank Space” — Taylor Swift

“Can’t Feel My Face” — The Weeknd

2016 grammys uptown funk
via MCM

There’s a lot of pretty great songs here, but “Uptown Funk” is almost a sure-fire lock.  It was the song that took the radio by storm and dominated the airwaves for most of the summer.  At this point it has been over played, but maybe there’s a reason for that?


Album Of The Year

Sound & Color — Alabama Shakes

To Pimp A Butterfly — Kendrick Lamar

Traveller — Chris Stapleton

1989 — Taylor Swift (Winner)

Beauty Behind The Madness — The Weeknd

2016 grammys 1989

This is a tough category.  All of these albums are pretty great and have wide range in terms of style and sound.  My personal favorite album of the year is To Pimp A Butterfly but it’s hard to deny the kind of year that Taylor Swift has had.  Swift pretty much stole the summer with her massive 1989 tour and her album of the same name is just as great.  Her year is going to be topped off in the best way possible, a Grammy.


Song Of The Year

“Alright” — Kendrick Duckworth, Mark Anthony Spears & Pharrell Williams, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar)

“Blank Space” — Max Martin, Shellback & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)

“Girl Crush” — Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna & Liz Rose, songwriters (Little Big Town)

“See You Again” — Andrew Cedar, Justin Franks, Charles Puth & Cameron Thomaz, songwriters (Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth) (Winner)

“Thinking Out Loud” — Ed Sheeran & Amy Wadge, songwriters (Ed Sheeran)

2016 grammys see you again
via Billboard

Once again, this is another category that made me stop and really think.  “See You Again” serves as the theme song (of sorts) for Fast and Furious 7, paying homage to the late Paul Walker who died due to a fatal car accident.  Wiz Khalifa and the super talented Charlie Puth have given fans what they wanted and more.  You don’t even have to be a Fast and Furious fan to have an appreciation for their song.


Best New Artist

Courtney Barnett

James Bay

Sam Hunt

Tori Kelly

Meghan Trainor (Winner)

2016 grammys meghan trainor
via VIP Seats

The Best New Artist category is always a slightly entertaining category for me.  Because of the Grammys and their weird timing schedule, by the time the nominations are announced, the nominees for this award are not really “new” anymore.  When looking at these artists, Meghan Trainor stood out to me the most.  Title was a great debut album and she is generally just a likable person.  I think the voters will agree. However, Tori Kelly is a close second.

As for some of the other categories…


Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Ship To Wreck” by Florence & The Machine

“Sugar” by Maroon 5

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars (Winner)

“Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift Featuring Kendrick Lamar

“See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth


Best Dance Recording

“We’re All We Need” by Above & Beyond Featuring Zoë Johnston

“Go” by the Chemical Brothers

“Never Catch Me” by Flying Lotus Featuring Kendrick Lamar

“Runaway (U & I)” by Galantis (Winner)

“Where Are Ü Now” by Skrillex And Diplo With Justin Bieber


Best Rock Performance

“Don’t Wanna Fight” by Alabama Shakes

“What Kind Of Man” by Florence & The Machine

“Something From Nothing” by Foo Fighters (Winner)

“Ex’s & Oh’s” by Elle King

“Moaning Lisa Smile” by Wolf Alice


Best Alternative Music Album

Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes (Winner)

Vulnicura by Björk

The Waterfall by My Morning Jacket

Currents by Tame Impala

Star Wars by Wilco


Best Rap Album

2014 Forest Hills Drive by J. Cole

Compton by Dr. Dre

If Youre Reading This Its Too Late by Drake

To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar (Winner)

The Pinkprint by Nicki Minaj


Best Urban Contemporary Album

Ego Death by the Internet

You Should Be Here by Kehlani

Blood by Lianne La Havas

Wildheart by Miguel

Beauty Behind The Madness by The Weeknd (Winner)


Best Country Album

Montevallo by Sam Hunt

Pain Killer by Little Big Town

The Blade by Ashley Monroe

Pageant Material by Kacey Musgraves

Traveller by Chris Stapleton (Winner)


The best part about making these kinds of predictions is that they will most likely be totally wrong and someone you would never have expected will win the awards.  There was a lot of tough categories this year so I could see some of them going either way.  (Yeah, looking at the Best Rap Album was a doozy)  It’s going to be a fun night and I am pretty confident in one prediction: there’s going to be a lot of happy fans and mad fans.

Rogue One Teaser Impressions

If you have been paying any attention to Twitter recently, you should already know that the Star Wars Celebration has been taking place in Anaheim, California this weekend.  The convention has already yielded a ton of new announcements and trailers, including the first trailer for Star Wars Episode 7.  However, today we got a first glimpse at a teaser for the first Star Wars “anthology” film, Rogue One.

The short thirty second teaser is a slow pan with a voice over from Obi-Wan Kenobi from the first Star Wars.  It starts with darkness, but then reveals a forestry region that looks to be either Alderaan, Yavin 4, or the forest moon.  Later on we see a single Tie-Fighter flying into the distance.  The screen then pans up to the sky and reveals what the Tie-Fighter is flying towards…the (possibly under-construction) Death Star.  As you can tell from the fan-captured footage below, the quality is far from perfect, but it still gives us a good picture of what is happening.

via syfantasy.fr
via syfantasy.fr

In the panel discussion afterwords, it is revealed that the movie will detail the story of the Rebels, and their mission to steal the plans for the Death Star.  The dark times brought on by the Empire have not taken place yet, and the world is still at peace thanks to the efforts of the Jedis.  This also lends to the fact that the movie might take place chronologically around Episode 4.

Rogue One will not feature anybody with Jedi powers, just some normal people on a mission to restore hope to the galaxy.  Their motives for doing so still remain unclear, but it leads me to assume that the movie might feature a lot of “rogue” espionage.  The movie likely will not follow in the same vein as the previous Star Wars movies, but it will be it’s own product.

via The Verge
via The Verge

Principle photography has not begun yet, so the teaser was constructed by the people at Industrial Light & Magic to give us a taste of what to expect.  Because filming has not begun yet, we still have ways to go before we get a full scope of what will be taking place in Rogue One.  The teaser makes it seem like the movie will have a lot of promise.  Watch the teaser below…