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

Hope, hope, hope, hope, hope….that’s the buzzword in Disney’s latest blockbusting checkbox. A word that too often crops up in The Last Jedi evoking the enduring legacy of the first Star Wars, later retitled A New Hope As creative choices go it struck me as shallow and lazy but for this new chapter in Disney’s ongoing mission to monopolise blockbuster cinema for the next century it’s understandable.  Read more…

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: Kathryn Bigelow Starring: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Anthony Mackie, Jack Reynor Running Time: 143 minutes


Though the clothes and the music and the specific events make Detroit‘s setting of 1967 clear, it’s shot in a haphazard, shaky manner that suggests that this could be happening right now. The point is pretty clear of course, as the events recreated here, racial inequality, police brutality, an unjust legal system, are still happening right now. Bigelow’s film could just as easily be called Ferguson and while that does make its messages abundantly clear and easy to agree with, it may also be the biggest drawback. Here Bigelow and screenwriting collaborator Mark Boal roll up their sleeves and deliver their cinematic treatise on racism in the United States. There’s anger here to be sure, but it’s an scattergun anger, displeasure at a distance and what that results in is a film that’s unrelenting but unfocused. Are these Bigelow and Boal’s sleeves to roll up?

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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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