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Director: Rian Johnson Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Benicio Del Toro Running Time: 152 minutes

One thing that should probably be acknowledged about Star Wars before launching into a review of the latest entry to the series is that its cultural footprint is simply too big for anything approaching a consensus to form. Every Star Wars film since the original faced heavy backlash after their initial release. Some were also widely acclaimed at the same time. Some grew their reputation over the years. And some were the prequels. A film that aims to be seen by so many simply cannot please everyone all of the time, even if it tried, but despite the pressure of having to deliver to such a dedicated fanbase and such keenly invested taskmasters at Disney, director Rian Johnson boldly declares never to tell him the odds and instead has made The Last Jedi into the kind of film he knows will entertain one person for certain: himself. Make something for yourself and others usually follow, and those of a like-mind with Johnson will see in The Last Jedi an ambitious, electrifying and reflective blockbuster.

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Director: Martin Scorsese Starring: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Yōsuke Kubozuka, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Shinya Tsukamoto, Issey Ogata Running Time: 159 minutes

It will be interesting to see the Irish reception to Silence, a film about struggling with the Catholic faith that’s been mulling around in the head of Martin Scorsese for some 25 years. Though it’s oppression of the Church rather than by it that leads to the crisis of belief the Jesuit priests of the film encounter, their struggle will no doubt resonate with many viewers here. And in fairness, be of complete indifference to others. As a quiet and understated story of suffering, it’s a stylistic departure from recent bombastic displays from the veteran director, but hidden in the performances of its leads are similar themes of determined men and their (often self-aggrandising) efforts to succeed that have been consistent throughout his work. Suffering is all over this story, but when suffering is as glorified as is in Catholicism, at what point do the motivations of those who are suffering get called into question?

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With Rogue One out this week, I decided to take a look back at last year’s Star Wars offering, The Force Awakens. While both new Star Wars films have been both celebrated and attacked for championing ‘minority’ characters, they’re still very much focused on Fathers and the passing on of power, which shows that patrilineage is still king. Patrilineage means the ways that we keep track of, and idolize, biological fatherhood. And nothing has preserved patrilineage quite like domesticated dogs – where would we be without man’s best friend? Probably still figuring out farming.

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