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Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

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I sometimes do not know who is trying to kill the Star Wars franchise faster: Disney, who currently owns Lucasfilm and the rights to the series, or its so-called fans.  When I say Disney, I don't mean the usual complaints that people have of politically correcting the series; I loved The Last Jedi, and am happy to defend it both from those who have a knee-jerk reaction whenever they see a movie has a female lead and the rest who get upset because their fantasies they had playing with toys 40 years ago never made it to screen.

But Disney really needs to figure out what it wants to do with this series, and with the anthology movies it wants (or wanted) to produce alongside the main saga.  What I loved most about The Last Jedi and Rogue Oneis that, even though they fit within the timeline that was retconned by the prequels and Lucasfilm, they still went in directions that were not expected.  One of the main complaints with The Force Awakenswas that it took no chances, even repeating…

The Fearmakers (1958)

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Fake news is one of those buzzwords for our modern times.  Both ends of the political spectrum use it both when there is actual fake news and when one side wants to discredit the other without going through the lengthy process of providing facts to back up their claims.  Opinion polls with loaded questions are used to not gauge public opinion but rather to guide those polled into responding a certain way so that agendas can be pushed. 

And, as usual, we are most afraid of what those dirty Russians might be up to, possibly manipulating everything from behind the scenes.

It's something that is a reflection of our internet age.  The previous generation wrings its hand and dreams of the good old days when news was news and everyone gave everything to us straight.  If it wasn't for those evil computers and the armies of hackers that are trying to control every aspect of our life, things would go back to the way they were, and everyone would be happy again.

Hate to tell you, but th…

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)

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Too often one gets caught up in movies as being art.  The idea, promoted by various critics, books and professors, is that a truly good movie must be the moving version of a painting by Rembrandt or Van Gogh, combined with the plotting of Shakespeare and the poetry of Tennyson.  It is similar to those that want to place "art" so far above the ken of the masses and keep it in its own boxed-in room, reserved for those who truly "know" what it is and can appreciate it.

The truth is that many who appreciate, understand and even collect works of high art - at least those that are not obsessed with sampling their own emanations as if each one smelled of a new form of rose - also understand that the same feelings invoked from the masters can often be found in a four-panel Peanuts cartoon.  There is a reason that the best superhero films hit on every convention of story telling, and while many of the recent films may be repetitive or have major flaws, they are often enjoy…

You Only Live Twice (1967)

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It should be no surprise that Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery chose to use You Only Live Twice as the source for a lot of its parody of the spy genre.  As we have seen with many modern films it is hard to keep things on an even keel with just three films, much less when you reach the fifth one in the series.  James Bond had reached such popularity that it was being copied and satirized (notably with a horribly unfunny film called Casino Royale, released the same year as this installment), it's would have been no surprise if the series itself began to devolve into self-parody.

It didn't help that Sean Connery had already begun to become dissatisfied with the role while making Thunderball.  The constant media attention (including attempts to get pictures of him while sitting on the toilet), friction with his costars and with Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman themselves led to a somewhat phoned-in performance and his ultimate departure, leaving the role open for the…

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

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More and more I have had the feeling that the Marvel movies are taking pages from the old Universal monster films.  As those movies began to run out of ideas, became cheaper and tried to keep audiences, they spent more time trying to jam as many monsters as possible.  Problem is, the promised creatures (usually the poor Frankenstein monster) usually got screen time that added up to a minute or less, while the big bad each time was usually another mad scientist bent on immortality, bringing a dead relative back to life or proving that they were the ones that could do what every mad scientist before them couldn't.  Eventually the returns diminished to the point where Universal had no choice but to just start teaming them with Abbott and Costello and going full parody.

Marvel hasn't reached that point yet, but I was afraid they might with Avengers: Infinity War.  This movie is jam-packed with almost every superhero they could get together.  Combine that with the fact that the la…

Oblivion (2013)

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It is perhaps not the best idea to star in two alien invasion films back to back within the span of a year.  Because almost every trailer seems the same these days, as does most of the big-budget sci-fi spectaculars, they tend to all jumble up in my brain unless something really stands out.  Edge of Tomorrowstood out because it started to get some serious attention after it was out of the theaters and people started to realize it was actually a pretty good movie.  Oblivion, on the other hand, didn't do too bad in theaters, but it also stars Tom Cruise, and I am quite sure that at least for a time I couldn't remember which film was which.

For the record, Edge of Tomorrow is definitely the better of the two, and it was helped to stand out more by the fact that its own confusing marketing (the tagline "Live, Die, Repeat" being bigger than the actual title, thus leading many to believe that was the title of the film) where there is nothing really that stood out about Ob…

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

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It should be of no surprise that maybe Paul W. S. Anderson's Resident Evil series isn't the most consistent with sticking to continuity.  Despite this he managed to produce a successful run of six films even if originally three were all that were planned.  He also may have wrote them, but the sequels got handed off to other directors, most notably Russell Mulcahy for Resident Evil: Extinction

When we last left Alice (Milla Jovovich) most of the world had been turned to uninhabitable desert.  She had run into a bunch of survivors in a caravan led by Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), and helped them escape to a town called Arcadia, located in Alaska and promising refuge.  Meanwhile, she infiltrated an Umbrella Corporation facility in the Mojave Desert, killing the evil doctor in charge of the place and gaining herself a clone army in the process.

As Resident Evil: Afterlife begins we see Alice making good on her promise from the end of the last movie, using her clones to attack t…