Category Archives: Star Wars

Carrie Fisher – Another Causality of 2016


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fisherCarrie Fisher was, clearly, someone special. Young, vibrant and wise beyond her years when she starred in the original Star Wars trilogy, she obviously found herself at odds with the demands of fame, the requirements of celebrity and the expectations placed upon her. So, to apply a cliched term, she rebelled. Uncomfortable in that skin, one which was false, she chose to inhabit another, one which was real. Her real identify was a writer, a wit, an unabashed critic. What is most powerful to me about Fisher is that she critiqued her own life in the harshest of manners – in the spotlight. Her autobiographical novel POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE and her first memoir WISHFUL DRINKING paint a picture of a woman who learned who she was, how to be at peace with who she was and that she didn’t give a damn about what anyone else thought about who she was. She opened doors for people to talk about mental illness and to discuss addiction. She seemed, in recent years, to be amused by her life, not at odds with it. She seemed at peace.

And, to be sure, she was the first princess this guy ever cared about.

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Link’n’Blogs – 12.23.16 – Life Day – Merry Christmas, Star Wars Style


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

If you have an hour and a half to relax and spend with Star Wars characters (and Bea Arthur!) celebrating “Life Day” – a kind of George Lucas Christmas, well, I am here for you!

The Star Wars Holiday Special – Believe It Or Not!

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – A Movie Review (Spoiler Free)


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rogueone_onesheetA.jpgLet’s start at the end: I cannot recall a third act of a movie I found as exciting, engrossing and surprising as the third act of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I left the theater shocked by the ending of the movie and by the manner in which it concluded the stories of its characters. I left the theater considering the original trilogy in an entirely new manner. I left the theater with one desire: to watch Star Wars: A New Hope to continue the narrative so deftly charted in Rogue One.

I left the theater fully entertained and I left, in some ways, more excited about Star Wars and the possibilities of the stories which can be told in this universe than I was after the conclusion of The Force Awakens last winter.

After seeing the film twice, I can write that I found it, on both viewings, to be an exhilarating experience and one that rewards Disney and Lucasfilm for their big gamble: making a big budget Star Wars movie that features main characters not called Luke, Han, Ben, Anakin or Leia. The question was: can it captivate an audience? The answer: absolutely.

Director Gareth Edwards should be congratulated for the movie. He has created somethign that, while it is certainly of the Star Wars universe, it is also something unique. Rogue One is unlike and of the previous seven Star Wars movies, and that is a strength. While the preceding films can rightly be criticized for covering similar ground and retracing their tracks (Death Star, Death Star II, Starkiller Base, et al. – and I know there is some intentionality around this), Rogue One charts an almost entirely new course and the Star Wars universe is the better for it. It breaks with some established Star Wars traditions (if you’re looking for an opening narrative crawl, you’re not going to find one) and does not apologize for doing so. It also shies away from the Force which winds up being a very interesting choice. Rogue One challenges its audience in a way the other films do not.

If you thought The Empire Strikes Back was dark, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Rogue One is gritty. It is battle scarred. It take place at “ground level,” in the trenches, in the midst of the fighting. It makes the consequences of the war between the Empire and the Rebellion somehow more “real” than any of the other films. The stakes in the movie are high and those stakes are established from the first scene right through to the last.

There is much to love in Rogue One: Felicity Jones is a terrific heroine and her turn as Jyn Erso, a castaway, rebel by chance, leaves the audience wanting more of her. She is the heart of the film and her commitment to the role carries the movie. Diego Luna and Donnie Yen shine as Cassian Andor and Chirrut Imwe respectively. Yen is particularly engaging. Frankly, the entire cast is nothing less than stellar and Ben Mendleshon makes a righteous adversary as Director Orson Kernnic, a villain who not only has multiple agendas in play, but also has multiple adversaries to contend with, Rebel and Imperial alike. Alan Tudyk’s motion-capture performance as K-2SO is wonderful and the droid continues a pattern: like BB-8 before him, he is very worthy successor to C-3PO and R2-D2.

Rogue One deftly balances fan service (and there is a lot of fan service) with its story, never losing sight of the fact that this movie stands alone, that the call backs and cameos are nice, but there are not the focus. Rogue One tells its own story and, while that story that takes place moments before the beginning of A New Hope, its a story that has its own beginning, middle and definite end. If The Dirty Dozen had been set in the Star Wars universe, it would look an awful lot like Rogue One.

There were significant re-shoots for this movie and anyone who has paid attention to the trailers or commercials knows that some of what we thought were going to see is not on screen before us. The little we know of the scenes that were cut and re-edited suggest that Rogue One could have been a very different film. Re-shoots on this scale often suggest a troubled production and protend a sub-par film.

That is absolutely not the case with Rogue One. Whatever tightening was done, whatever plans were changed, the result is a very exciting movie, one that entertains Star Wars fans and non-Star Wars fans alike. Surprisingly funny, shockingly sad, it also introduces themes that resonate after the end of the movie. That’s pretty heady stuff for a Star Wars film.

I would be remiss if I did not add that, at one point during the movie, I noted that none of the heroes of the story were white men. None of them. I must say, I was pretty pleased to realize this. It was almost as if this choice was made on purpose.

Well done, Disney. Well done Star Wars.

Rogue One is terrific entertainment on all counts.

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY receives FIVE KYBER CRYSTALS out of a possible FIVE. 

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And There Came A Creation Of Courage – Star Wars Style


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Too good not to share… and Rogue One is FRIDAY (or THURSDAY if you’re lucky!).

I dare you not to cry…

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 30 – December 6, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 5 comics last week: Batman Annual #1, Superman Annual #1, Star Wars Annual #2, Black Widow #8 and JLA #10.

The best comic I read last week was Batman Annual #1.

batman-annual-one

 

Reading comic book annuals, and enjoying them, is a tricky proposition. There was a time when annuals told chapters of ongoing comic narratives and they were episodes of stories that could not be missed. Then there were the years when annuals, especially as published by DC Comics, were interlocking chapters of broader events (J.L.Ape, anyone?). Sometimes annuals have been new talent showcases. Most often now, though, they tell stories that take place somewhere to the left of continuity, outside the ongoing narrative of a character and can be missed.

Refreshing, then, that this week I read 3 annuals that were excellent. And, while Star Wars Annual #2 and Superman Annual #1 were both wonderful, Batman Annual #1, was truly outstanding. It was also something of a throw back in that it harkened to a time when comics published Christmas themed issues. Featuring a collection of Batman Christmas stories written and illustrated by tremendous Bat-Talent (Dini!, Adams!, Snyder!, Shalvey! and more!), Batman Annual #1 was well worth the increased cover cost if only for one installment: “Good Boy” by Tom King and David Finch.

The premise doesn’t do the story justice (Alfred gives Batman a Christmas gift) but to say more about it might ruin much of the fun. Suffice it to say that I smiled throughout the narrative. Broadly. Well written by King, very well drawn by Finch, the story is the centerpiece of a collection of Christmas tales that are a cut above typical monthly fare, not to mention typical annual fare.

I loved the issue and plan to visit it again before Christmas.

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Filed under Batman, DC Comics, Justice League, Marvel Comics, Star Wars, Superman, Uncategorized

Link’n’Blogs – 11.18.16 – Chewbacca Speaks!


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Ever wonder what Chewbacca is saying? Wonder no more!

Hearing Chewbacca Speak…

chewbacca

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The LEAST Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: October 26 – November 1, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 8 comics last week: Star Wars #24, Wonder Woman # 9, Titans #4, Action Comics #966, Avengers #15, Civil War II #6, Poe Dameron #7 and Detective Comics #943.

The LEAST best comic I read last week was Civil War II #6.

civil-war-ii

 

This is kind of  cheat this week. I normally say what I like best, not what I enjoy least.

Consider this a public service: if you think about buying Civil War II as a trade paperback in a few months, don’t do it.

There are many bad comics. I read too many of them.I stick with them too long. I stick with bad stories too long.

Civil War II is one of these. I should have dropped it long ago, but now I feel I am pot committed.

Billed as a story that would shake up the Marvel Universe, this delayed book has not done much of that (unless Bruce Banner was your favorite character or you really enjoyed Jim Rhodes). Its delays have been significantly felt in recent weeks as titles that were supposed to launch after the conclusion of the story reflecting a new status quo for Marvel have launched prior to the end of the story, muddying their initial attempts to capture audience.

I wanted to like this book. I like Brian Michael Bendis a lot. I like David Marquez. I liked (used to?) line-wide crossovers.

But this one makes me long for the days of Siege and I really, really didn’t like Siege.

Wrap it up, Marvel. Move on.

This was a total misfire.

(Best book this week, though? Detective Comics #943!)

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Filed under Action Comics, Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Marvel Comics, Star Wars, Superman, Titans, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman