Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Second viewing (the first). The opening bombing run is really good. I’d forgotten about it – holds up on rewatch. The casino interlude is so, so dumb. I appreciate the visual contrasts in the salt planet battle. Not just the colors, but the scale, like with Finn’s tiny figure juxtaposed with the gigantic tanks in empty space. We need more like that. So many close-ups. Love the tortured silence of Kylo Ren. So depressed, a mindset to just let it all go, burn it all down. Broader theme here of how brash, seat-of-the-pants heroism is often foolish. The writing still strikes me as bad in many spots. I didn’t notice the first time around how the kid Force-pulls himself a broom at the end.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I liked it, overall, and it had just enough small things to drive me a little nuts. Snoke is a misfire (just call Ed Harris! You have the budget!), and so were the various little animals. That one ship’s jump to light speed was sublime. And very good space debris throughout. I like our time with Rey and Kylo, and Poe’s debacles. Finn was wasted, unfortunately. Benicio Del Toro is the best, but I wish they could have found him some other way. The space chase could and should have been gut-wrenching, but something about the cuts and pacing made it just sort of… there. I wonder how I’ll feel whenever I rewatch it again. Of the latest batch, this ranks behind Rogue One. Filed under: Star Wars.

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park. Damn this movie is good. One of those movies where just skimming through search results looking for a good headline image had me smiling. Dr. Sattler is up there amongst the best heroines of the last couple decades. Smart, tough, funny, bold, decisive. (“We can discuss sexism in survival situations when I get back.”) There’s a lot of humor I’d forgetten in this one.

“Are these characters… autoerotica?”
“No, we don’t have any animatronics.”

Some catchphrases (“Hold on to your butts.”), and a few great monologues, like…

I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it.

Also nice to see an action/thriller that, despite it’s crazy dinosaurs, is very human. It isn’t heavily reliant on overt evil, just self-interest and shortsightedness that devolves (see what I did there) in just about the worst ways possible. And the heroes are pretty regular people, out of their depth, but thinking on their feet and for the most part working together. Even the kids make some good decisions.

Maybe the best sequence in the whole thing is where that teamwork is undercut by each group working with limited information. Dr. Grant and the kids are making their way back to HQ, while the folks at HQ are working to get the power back on. It’s brilliant. Each group is separately in danger, each one needs to succeed, and the success of one group of good guys, at the wrong time, is really gonna screw over the others. I’m surprised more movies don’t do something like that – the same team accidentally working at cross-purposes.

If you haven’t seen this in a while… fix that.

A Perfect World

A Perfect World. I didn’t realize it had been a year since my last Eastwood movie. Not many directors exploring violence so thoroughly and thoughtfully. The thematic priorities are pretty clear when you consider what is depicted and what takes place off-screen. Ties into the father-son/parent stuff. The kid’s personality is not the most interesting but neither are real kids, so fine. It actually helps the bond with Costner, as you really don’t know where these two are headed. A bigger weakness is that Eastwood and the other cops feel a bit superfluous. It’s not much of a manhunt/chase movie. There’s some story details that come out via the police, and they bring a variation in tone, but the heart is with Costner and the kid.

I’ve got so many Eastwood movie rankings that specific placement is getting silly, but not like it’s gonna stop me…

  1. Unforgiven
  2. Gran Torino
  3. Million Dollar Baby
  4. Mystic River
  5. The Outlaw Josey Wales
  6. Changeling
  7. A Perfect World
  8. Play Misty for Me
  9. Hereafter
  10. The Gauntlet
  11. High Plains Drifter
  12. Bird
  13. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil