Sunday, April 22, 2018

It: Chapter One. Wow.

Movie Reviewed: It: Chapter One

Director: Andy Muschietti

Date: 22 April 2018

jamesintexas rating: ***1/2

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There was a Missing Persons poster on the door to my daughter's school two weeks ago, and the straightforward terrifying proclamation of a loved child disappeared was completely chilling to me as a relatively new parent.  Movies have changed for me now that I am a dad.  I watch fewer of them, I might be more forgiving or less harsh towards their mistakes, but I think that horror films especially offer a new level of malevolence for me as a parent.  It is a revelation, not because it always steers this story in the right direction (often times, no), but it wins out because of its audacity and unsettling qualities, its burrowing into the sections of my brain that are attuned to this kind of scariness.  I watched It twice, turning it back on immediately after finishing it, but in full disclosure, I broke it up into multiple tiny pieces (15-20 minute chunks) which no doubt diluted its full effect but made it possible for me to finish.  Wow, this is rough stuff.

The Losers Club fight against an indescribable force of evil lurking in the mysterious sewers of Derry, Maine, a force that manifests itself as their deepest fears, often a clown named Pennywise who offers balloons from sewer grates before dragging a victim down to its lair.  The film has so many characters to introduce that it moves at breathtaking speed, as we might Bill (whose brother Georgie succumbs to the balloon trick in the opening scene), Beverly, Ben, Eddie, Mike, Richie, and Stanley, each with their very briefly defined character personality.  There simply is no time.  Derry is also haunted by the menace of the malevolent Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton), who bullies and brutalizes with authority; I like to draw a line between him and Ace, Kiefer Sutherland's baddie from Stand By Me.  The Losers Club come together, rather quickly, as they realize what is happening to the town, and for the most part, we are off and running.  The film's running time (set against the book's epic thousand plus page scope, even when jettisoning the modern day stuff) means that it has to keep things moving, and in some ways, it really does.  Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) appears frequently in many forms, often as frightening as a painting that chases you, a diseased transient near the spookiest old house ever (seriously: it looks like a house  straight out of Mordor), and even in a car driving by a violent scene as a red balloon floats gently to the rear ceiling.  It says a bunch about the film's power if it can wrench true terror from a slide show projector in a garage and a floating red balloon across a near-silent library.  The changing of forms is often a bit of stagecraft; a person will look away, and then It will be there.  Or, he will transform into the form of another character.  It delivers on the story's most terrifying image: Bev being haunted by voices from her sink.  The resulting deluge of blood is positively Kubrickian and breathtakingly terrifying its redness juxtaposed against the light above the spewing sink.  The film's signature set piece is not the sewers, like I thought; it is the creepy house with its doors and unseen menace.  There's a moment of pure body movement horror in Pennywise's emergence from a refrigerator is bone-chilling and unforgettable, and Muschietti wisely plays up the weirdness of Pennywise, his speech patterns, his references, and his gigantic forehead, plastered with white paint and orange tufts, demonic red lines that seem otherworldly and medieval.  The film goes too far and over-the-top only a few times, taking me out of the irrational horror of it, but I really admired its chilling moments.  It earns its R-rating.

Finn Wolfhard is the stand-out here as Richie Tozier, a profanity-spewing jerk of a thousand jokes who seems to be channeling the great Corey Feldman.  The rest of the cast does fine work with what they have.  The set design is pretty terrific too, as is the music and the make-up.  The scares are frequent and real.  I like the often twisted, tilting cinematography of Chung-hoon Chung.  In a darkened theater, this film must have been incredible.  There are a couple of musical cues that play up the late 80's nostalgia nicely.  It's flaws include a denouement that feels a bit off or light in consideration of the horrors of the moment.  There is some editing that suggests Henry Bowers has done some pretty heinous stuff to his friends, but maybe not?  And, I'm wondering where they go with Bowers' character because of some late changes to the story.  And speaking of changes to the story, the film commits to its R-rating, but it concisely tells the story without some of the major moments of the novel, and I'm not a purist who is ridiculous, but I think I'm just eager to see what other changes they will make because the story line is now significantly different and possibly less powerful.  The resulting 27 years will be rough ones for The Losers Club, as Pennywise will no doubt draw them back to Derry, but luckily, this film made so much money that is seems we will have to wait far less for Chapter Two.  What is a bit sad is that there is going to be a complete jettisoning of the cast because of the age jump, unless Muschietti commits to flashbacks.  I cannot imagine what horrors Bill Skarsgard will come up with for the second round.  He's pretty terrifying, though maybe because of my age and association with the novel and original miniseries, I think that I'm a Tim Curry guy, all the way. 

In closing, I think it is a bit unforgivable to deny Eddie Kaspbrak his pivotal moment with the inhaler, speaking for all asthmatics.  Not sure how they screwed that up. 

And, I'm said to note the passing of Harry Anderson, the adult Richie Tozier in the 1990 miniseries. 

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Logan Rides into the Sunset

Movie Reviewed: Logan

Director: James Mangold

Date: 25 January 2018

jamesintexas rating: ***

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I think that it gets stars just for cursing.  Logan, a neo-western in the guise of a comic-book film, is director James Mangold's updating of the dated, PG-13 formula, and it is a welcome breath of fresh air.  A grizzled, beat-down Logan (Hugh Jackman) shines in as scuzzy, messy, and lived-in a performance as you'll ever see in this type of universe.  Protecting Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart, awesome as always) from those who would do him harm, he crosses path with a new, younger mutant, a version of himself many years ago in the form of Lara (Dafne Keen), mute but lethal, who is making a journey towards the Canadian border to find refuge.  Logan must make a decision to protect himself from bounty hunter Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) or make a run for it, against all odds.

Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, and Eriq La Salle round out an excellent cast as supporting characters along the journey.  Some of the action sequences are delightfully wicked.  What fun this must have been for Hugh Jackman to do after many years of playing this character.  Its depiction of Logan as an Uber driver near the border in the near-future is inspired, and the film's constant nodding to the western genre is quite fun.  I found the ending to be a bit less inspired, but overall, the film delivers a thoughtful (at times) and fun end to a story that probably went on too long and didn't have enough great movies (I loved X-Men 2). 

Coco's Wonder.

Movie Reviewed: Coco

Director: Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina

Date: 23 December 2017

jamesintexas rating: *** 1/2

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Coco wears its heart on its sleeve and builds a wondrous universe in its story of a young boy's negotiation with his relationship with his family and his ancestors in a small village in Mexico.  In post-Trump America, Coco's beauty shines even more brightly, especially considering that it is Pixar's first foray into telling a story with a Mexican protagonist, and its strong choices result in an emotional juggernaut with flourishes and artistic grace.

Coco's storytelling and textures build and build into graceful, moving shots of the spirit world visiting the world of the living.  It is surprising and warm, and Miguel's journey is one that I am excited to revisit again and again.  The film's music seems sure to earn the Oscar for Best Song (which it did!), and its undeniably tear-filled climax features "Remember Me" and the intersection of generations in a way that should appeal to everyone.

Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) does not want to make shoes in his Mexican village per his family tradition.  Instead, he prefers to play guitar, idolizing the music of the great Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) to the great consternation of Mama Imelda (Alanna Ubach) and the other elders of the family who have forbid music from their lives.  Miguel's devotion to his music and de la Cruz leads to steal de la Cruz's guitar and thus entering a portal into the land of the dead!  In robust, rich colors, Miguel searches for his hero amidst the borderlands of the dead and the living, a bridge where one may only cross provided that their photo is remembered on an ofrenda by a family member.  Miguel crosses paths with the wayward Hector (Gabriel Garcia Bernal), a guitarist in danger himself of being forgotten, and their alliance leads them to the doors of de la Cruz, a Gatsby-esque host of the undead, with lights, pools, music, and lavishness.  All the while, Miguel's ancestors search for him and hope to return him to the land of the living before he is permanently transformed.

Pixar's glorious attention to detail shines in the lingering shots of the Land of the Dead, with its floating castles and building, trains and skeletons, all set to a wondrous score.  I have watched this film many, many more times in finishing this review because my children love it so, and I think that the ideas behind so many of the scenes are just beautiful.  An adventure film with your own ancestors?  Alebrijes swooping from the sky in magical majesty?  The swirling sounds of "Poco Loco" as Miguel begins to find his voice?  And the powerful ending with its earned tears?  Coco delivers maximum entertainment and maximum heart.  The worst thing about it was the Olaf commercial/short film that ran before it.  Everything else was grand and nearly perfect.
Movie Reviewed: A Wrinkle in Time

Director: Ava DuVernay

Date: 16 March 2018

jamesintexas rating: **

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To cut to the heart of the matter, A Wrinkle in Time is not as strongly rendered or imagined as it could be, and some of the casting weighs the film down, as does some strange stalling of the momentum in an otherwise creative and beautiful film.  The film had an unbelievable build-up of anticipation from its filming to its previews, and it fails to soar as promised despite so many smart and creative people associated with it.  The film is just okay, and it is not one that I would return to.

A young girl named Meg (Storm Reid) loses her scientist father Mr. Murry (Chris Pine) to a strange time accident of sorts, and their family is bereft with young Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) barely remembering him and her scientist mom Mrs. Murry (Gugu Mbatha-Rawa) dealing with her grief and loss.  Three Mrs. descend upon her, offering up oblique clues about her father's whereabouts and a message she has been sent from him.  Here is the film's major misstep.  I don't know if casting Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah Winfrey plays as well as it could or should.  Witherspoon seems particularly off-key in her scenes, which just didn't work for me, and Oprah inhabits a gigantic character, towering above everyone one and somewhat aloof.  Kaling is a delight with some marvelous updates to her quotation-spouting Mrs. Who.  But, I don't know why it does not fully work.  I like the idea of traveling beautiful, strange worlds to see someone like Happy Medium (Zach Galifianakis), but instead of something Oz-like and wondrous, it kind of just loses its way, feels ho-hum, and never really fully gets off the ground.  Reid is fantastic here, but the visuals mixed with the trajectory of the story don't fully work for me. 

I did not read the novel as a child, but as an adult, I remember it being fully realized and powerful.  I do not know if the film collapsed under the weight of its own high expectations because Ava DuVernay is a tremendous director.  I recently revisited Selma with its undeniable power and assemblage of scenes building and building toward catharsis.  I think that thisfilm lost its way, and I wonder if the assemblage of talent and possibility and expectation did not bring out the best in this project.  Would a leaner, less starry A Wrinkle in Time have worked?  Maybe so.  Regardless, I am on board with Ava DuVernay, wherever she goes next, but I do not think this film is reflective of her power as an artist or a storyteller.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Threading the Needle: A Portrait of the Haunted Artist

Movie Reviewed: Phantom Thread

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Date: 16 March 2018

jamesintexas rating: ***

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Phantom Thread exists in a nebulous plane where I feel instantly unqualified to explore its meaning and themes because of my own inadequacy with understanding what it is saying.  I saw it in the same theater and even the same seats that I saw The Master in several years ago, and I remember a similar feeling: this film is important and has something to say, but I am not sure that I get it.  I have found myself swimming in PTA's films this decade-The Master, Inherent Vice, and now this-that have left me mesmerized, confused, and desirous of more viewings, more thinking, and more consideration.

Paul Thomas Anderson does not make boring movies, and Phantom Thread is compelling in its focus on 1950's London acclaimed dress designer Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis in his final role), his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) who manages The House of Woodcock, and the waitress-turned-ingenue Alma (Vicky Krieps) who upends both of their worlds.  Anderson's camera glides in with the phalanx of women, climbing a vertigo-inducing staircase, who sew and imbue Reynolds's creations with life, and much of our time is spent in this insular world with its elegantly designed rooms and beautifully arrayed trays of scones, teas, eggs, and such.  Woodcock prefers a kind of reverential silence and an artist's complete control over facets of his life that his sister is completely willing to provide.  An opening scene reveals him stating, "I cannot start my day with a confrontation.  I simply have no time for confrontations," and Cyril helping jettison his latest relationship.  The plot of the film is nearly nonexistent, but instead, Phantom Thread becomes a contest of wills and an exploration of desire and need within a relationship as Alma proves to be the most formidable person Reynolds has in his life.

During a trip to the country, Reynolds encounters Alma, a waitress who catches his eye, and he, hers.  The upending of routine is tantamount to an earthquake for the fastidious Reynolds.  Jam scraping against toasted bread, the pouring of tea, and the movements of chairs even disrupt him.  Cyril reveals to Alma how a discombobulated morning for Reynolds can obliterate the whole day, but for the most part, Anderson is content to show us Woodcock arranging and sewing fabric for the royalty and the upper classes, fevered into a near-frenzy at a 1950's fashion show where he applies the final touches to the women who wear The House of Woodcock and also views them through a spyglass emboldened in the wall of the studio.  Alma defends his work, makes demands of him and his time and his fastidiousness, and the suggestion is that upfront clashing with him is what Reynolds needs and ultimately wants as a man who sees himself as cursed at times and sees the past living and breathing alongside him.

Anderson is saying something about the reciprocity of desire and fulfillment here, and he shoots hauntingly beautiful scenes of them walking outside, driving in a very cramped automobile with the sky lurking overhead, with them inside the carefully calibrated domains of the dressmaker's studio.  Jonny Greenwood's score is impossibly gorgeous and luminous, echoing shades of his brilliant, masterful work in There Will Be Blood, leaning heavily on pianos and strange, discordant sounds.  The entire production is one of beauty and meticulousness.  Vicky Krieps is a strong challenge to Day-Lewis here, making their pairing a powerful one, and Manville, though she seems to disappear in the final third of the film, an iron presence of will and love for her brother.  There is something profound and beautiful here, and I think I have faith in Anderson to accept that Phantom Thread is going to take much more time and thought (and probably subtitles) for me to learn more about what I think about it.  Anderson makes us consider how love is both rapturous and poisonous, I think, and the importance of changing because as Reynolds puts it, "A house that doesn't change is a dead house."

And finally, a word about Daniel Day-Lewis, who can command the screen just putting on his purple socks or slowly eating an omelette.  To see the man who embodied Christy Brown, Hawkeye, Gerry Conlon, Bill the Butcher, Daniel Plainview, and Abraham Lincoln round out his career in film as Reynolds Woodcock, this enigmatic, oblique, cruel, and, at times impenetrable man is a wonder.  Woodcock's frustrations burst through in florid, painful remarks to those around him and the occasional wonderful round of cursing.  The performance is a more physical and silent one of movements, looks, and gestures though, and his gaze is a haunting one, captured in many close-ups, often peering over frames of glasses or as he straightens out the fabric from a dress.  Hearing him pontificate about the word "chic" is a highlight of the year, as well as his final Oscar clip.

I have been in awe of Daniel Day-Lewis since My Left Foot, but in the theater, probably since Last of the Mohicans.  I saw that film at the York Theater in Elmhurst, The Boxer in Columbus, Ohio, Gangs of New York at the Edwards in Houston, There Will Be Blood at the Ritz East in Philadelphia, The Nine in downtown Chicago, Lincoln in Las Vegas, and I leave him now at the River Oaks Theater in Houston with Phantom Thread, constantly awed, grateful for his pairing with Paul Thomas Anderson, and appreciative of spending so much screen time with this marvelous actor.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Lady Bird Soars

Movie Reviewed: Lady Bird

Director: Greta Gerwig

Date: 6 January 2018

jamesintexas rating: ****

Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird is a triumph of cinematic storytelling and emotion.  With its fully realized and complex performances by Saoirse Ronan as the eponymous heroine and the great Laurie Metcalf as her mother, Marion McPherson, Lady Bird confronts class and place in very moving and specific ways, as well as relationships that we surround ourselves with and what we chose for ourselves.  I'm writing this the day after the Academy Award nominations came out, where there was much love for this film, and yet it does not even seem like enough admiration.  From its casting to its narrative decisions, Lady Bird emerges fully formed and wondrous, and I'm sure that it offers more on its second and third viewings.

Coming of age stories are rarely this nuanced, eschewing the hyperbolic and the gags, and that's a credit to the creative force of Greta Gerwig.  The self-anointed Lady Bird ("It is my given name; I gave it to myself") feels constrained by her life in Sacramento, what she calls the Midwest of California, and shuttles from her warm Catholic High School to her complex relationship with her mom.  She has a close friend in Julie (Beanie Feldstein), and when they both sign up for Drama Club, a sort of chain reaction occurs that leads to different layers, different friends.  Her teachers are foils but also fully realized people with their own agendas and aches.  Her relationships with her brother, his girlfriend, and her father also work themselves into her senior year in poignant and surprising ways.  And, as always, there is college looming and Lady Bird's sense of possibility in herself as a writer and what that means.

To reveal more would be a sin, but rest assured, there are secrets and surprises, quiet epiphanies and heartbreaks, as well as an airport sequence fraught with intense, reserved emotion that comes spilling out over the great Laurie Metcalf's face.  The final chapter of the film is both elegiac and profoundly hopeful in the best possible way; I never knew where the film would take us.  It is also deeply, deeply funny.

Part of the reason that I hope you read this blog is that you are a family member or friend or classmate or student of mine at some point in the many chapters of my life.  Facebook is a constant barrage and collision of those chapters, and it is jarring to see people from my time at YES Prep (where I work now) in the same timeline as people that have known me since first grade at Immaculate Conception Grade School.  Walt Whitman's line is that "We contain multitudes" as a signal on the contradictory nature of us as Americans, as humans.  To say Lady Bird contains multitudes is an understatement. But returning to the reason I hope you read...   Part of the reason that I hope you read this blog is to see something that even with some Oscar recognition and accolades on year-end polls or Rotten Tomatoes still has a much smaller chance of being seen and appreciated, especially when juxtaposed against the Top Grossing Films of 2017, a panoply of special effects, comic book madness, and sequel maintenance (with apologies to Wonder Woman, the rare film that offers style, substance, fun, and emotion).  No matter where you are in your journey with film or what chapter of your life you find yourself, Lady Bird should be seen and appreciated.  To be age 39 and reviewing films means to see a character like Marion McPherson anew, with fresh sympathy and empathy for all that occurs, whereas an earlier version of me would fixate on the main character exclusively.  It is a startling treat about getting older that time and life experience shifts whom you connect with in a film.  My son is four; my daughter, two.  I have no idea what the teenage versions of themselves will be like.  Lady Bird states to her mom, "What if this is the best version of me that I can be?" to a perfectly wry look from Laurie Metcalf that captures her mom's loving disbelief and exasperation at her daughter's emerging public identity.  The quiet moments at the end of the film are more abstract and less expected, but as someone who has emerged and grown in large part away from both of my parents since leaving home at seventeen for college, it was undeniably powerful.

I hope that you take this review as a call to action: Gerwig's voice cannot be denied, and Ronan especially continues to dazzle, even after great performances in films like Atonement, Brooklyn, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.  I am so thankful that I will get to watch her career unfold.  Recommendations are tricky, but I stand by this one.  Lady Bird is among the best films of the year, maybe the best.  See it.

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Well, here we are: Star Wars Episode Eight, The Divergence of the Force by The Mouse.

Movie Reviewed: Star Wars Episode Eight: The Last Jedi

Director: Rian Johnson

Date: 6 January 2018

jamesintexas rating: **

Failure is always an option, and I think The Last Jedi represents a failure of ideas at times despite its many wonders.  "The greatest teacher, failure is" says you know who in an appearance applauded for its puppetry and lack of CGI but another example of pillaging the past.  (Side note: Hasn't this character been through enough when I think of the Sonic-the-Hedgehog type stunts in Episode 2?)  I am also not sure if the creative forces behind this film and the aggressive release schedule which drives forward stories so quickly would align with the master's idea of learning from a failure.  A failure that makes one billion dollars in box office in only a few weeks.  I think that as a long-time fan, I am coming to terms with the world being a place where a new Star Wars film happens yearly and is just less special.  That is what it is.

The Last Jedi.  Even the title to this film lacks conviction and clarity because I do not know who it is supposed to refer to and what it means.  Rian Johnson's bloated, overstuffed take on the Star Wars universe stumbles in its own mythology, seems to mishandle the great Carrie Fisher's last onscreen performance as General Leia (unless maybe there is footage for Episode Nine?), juggles multiple story lines poorly, gives short shrift to characters like Rey and Finn as well as substance in order to fit in multiple CGI cute creatures and quasi-political and social commentary about arms dealing and weapon-building, and ultimately the film embodies the worst tendencies of Peter Jackson's finale in The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King, with an overlong, extended, indulgent denouement.  Here, Johnson flirts with making bold, radical choices with this storytelling and always blinks, never being courageous enough to shock or stir the audience.  In contrast, he is much more comfortable blowing up the tenets of the Jedi world, including the laws that govern them and the Force-ghosts in ways that provide quick storytelling shortcuts but up-end the universe itself without making sense.  And don't get me started on the jump to Hyperspace.

This film is a curiosity: a storyteller's decision to play in the world and muck it up, which I guess is his right, as this new trilogy is significantly farther away from George Lucas's vision than The Force Awakens would have made us believe.  In that film, J. J. Abrams offered a mishmash of old recycled into new, charmingly playing in the destruction of the world of the original trilogy with exciting, fresh characters like Rey and Finn and even Kylo Ren.  My favorite moments included Rey scavenging in the wrecked carcass of a Star Destroyer, now smashed up on the floor of her planet.  Now, the world constructed in The Last Jedi seems constrained by its script, in a rush to go here and there, while being a bit of a tale of sound and fury, as it were.  Many ridiculed George Lucas's focus on trade federations in Episode One; now, we have an entire movie devoted to running out of fuel?

After an exciting, WW2-esque opening battle, there are too many storylines to follow: Kylo Ren's (Adam Driver) dark journey and then rage; General Hux's (Domhnall Gleeson) grandstanding; the unconvincing bad guy Snoke (Andy Serkis); Finn (John Boyega) and Rose's (Kelly Marie Tran) journey to another planet and back to gather secrets to help their failing ship; sidelined flyboy Poe (Oscar Isaac) clashing with autocratic Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern); Rey (Daisy Ridley) following Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) around until he agrees to teach her; and I think that's it?  There is an early fake-out death which goes far beyond the logic of this established universe and feels like a take from a Superman film.  I think that moment took me out of the film, and I struggled to get back on board.  It was distracting and still does not make sense to me.

To say this film signifies nothing is not true.  But whatever Johnson's vision is for this world, I am not sure I want in after this because there is some really strange altering of the world as we know it which offers some great visuals but sacrifices something in the process.  Johnson displays clumsiness and an unsteady hand throughout, which is evidenced by the film's inability to end.  The overlong quality of this movie betrays its own insecurities: Johnson wants to give us everything and nothing at the same time.  Rey engages in an Empire Strikes Back-ish quest to learn from Luke as teased in the closing moments of the previous film.  Luke's reluctance to join The Resistance and become her teacher are the most compelling moments of the film.  When the film is at its best, Skywalker storms around a rainy Ireland island in a cloak with Rey following and trying to engage him while also undergoing her own self-discovery.  Rey begins to psychically connect with Kylo Ren through Force telepathy, and her thoughts are never far away from her origin story.  Who are her parents?  What is her destiny?  How does she negotiate The Force and her newfound power?  Those are my favorite moments, and the more Rey, the better.  Rey and Finn are kept strategically apart this film, and I think that's a mistake because of the chemistry between the two characters, and dramatically, I think I just wanted more of Rey, though she does have a wonderful action sequence mid-film that repairs a missed opportunity in The Return of The Jedi.

As the latest two Star Wars films have proven, you show me an AT-AT, I'm probably on board because of nostalgia and the Hoth Battle being maybe my favorite moments in the series, close second being the forty minutes in Jabba's palace.  And there is a nice apocalyptic quality of some of the final sequence with its stark imagery, snow-like salt on top of red, blazing with light shimmering everywhere, but the final machinations of the film left me nonplussed, about which the less said, the better.  I was emotional in the final scenes, but I also think that part of that emotion was because the film seems to have sidelined its most interesting characters in plot lines that do not allow them to shine.  Ridley and Boyega are so fun to watch; they deserve to do more than just wait around.  Hamill does what he can with a Luke Skywalker that has been given this story line.  The performances generally are strong; I think I just was troubled by the arrangement of the film and storytelling, and some of dialogue is very clunky, even by Lucasian standards.

"We are what they grow beyond" says the green sage.  Growth, I guess, is debatable.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, 2017, 4K