Tag Archive | "STAR WARS"

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FLICKS: Solo: A Star Wars Story; MODS gets new resident

Posted on 24 May 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


The production history was a disaster. An Oscar Winning director was called to save this much anticipated anthology film. Given the scant marketing, one wonders if Walt Disney/LucasFilm had plans to cut their losses with their first Star Wars bomb. But, surprise, surprise! Solo A Star Wars Story captures the spirit of Saturday matinee popcorn-eating fun and will be a big hit this Memorial Day Weekend.

The best Star Wars movies are those that recall the glory days of yesteryear before computerized special effects. The plot and situations are outrageous; yet, there is a good spirit that motivates the entertainment value of the franchise. There are some thrilling moments of danger, but the loudest crowd reactions featured the budding relationship between Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and his future co-pilot, Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), a 7 ft. Wookie from the Planet Kashyyyk.

Before the title character and Chewbacca meet, we witness Young Han and his girlfriend Kira (Emilia Clarke). The two run street scams, but seek a better life full of adventure and romance. In an attempt to leave the planet, Han and Kira are separated. While Kira’s fate becomes a mystery, Han becomes a soldier in the Emperor Army.

Not one to blindly follow orders, Han becomes a rebel and joins a band of mercenaries headed by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). Through a series of mishaps, Han demonstrates aviation skills and the ability to problem solve. As he climbs the hierarchy of a criminal empire, Han travels the far reaches of the galaxy in search of fortune and glory.

Solo: A Star Wars Story works. The film opens in film noir darkness and, through science fiction narrative, becomes a cowboy movie featuring wide open spaces and a good old-fashion showdown. Musical Composer John Powell does a commendable job keeping the audience energy in light speed and appropriately repeats the music from John Williams classic Star Wars rousing score.

Like Avengers: Infinity Wars, Solo: A Star Wars Story should be seen on the big screen with a movie theater that honors audience participation.

The film will be playing at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery & Science (MODS) until June 13, when it will be replaced by Incredibles 2.

Terry the Otter arrives

MODS welcomed Terry the Otter. Named after Real Estate Developer Terry Stiles, the otter is an animal rescue from Louisiana. Unlike Solo: A Star Wars Story, Terry the Otter will be a permanent resident at the Museum of Science & Discovery. Videos of Terry frolicking with his new friends can be seen on my blog, http://cinemadave.livejournal.com .

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FLICKS: The Florida Project & free Star Wars fun

Posted on 17 May 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


Recently released on DVD, the award-winning film The Florida Project tells the story about disenfranchised people who live at the Magic Castle Hotel in Kissimmee, Florida. At a distance, the hotel looks like something out of a fairy tale, but upon closer inspection one cannot miss the dirt and the filth of a decaying society. It is managed by Bobby Hicks (Willem Dafoe).

We are introduced to Moonee (Brooklynn Kimberly Prince) and Scooty (Christopher Rivera), two children whose mothers are single. When caught spitting on Grandma Stacey’s car, Moonee and Scooty befriend the granddaughter Jancey (Valeria Cotto) while cleaning up the car. The three friends play and go on many adventures, while the parents desperately find money for food, clothing and shelter.

The end credits to The Florida Project acknowledge the debt to Hal Roach and Our Gang/Little Rascals. The children are wild, yet natural and innocent. As reality comes crashing down upon Moonee’s mom, the tragedy is sadly seen through a child’s eyes, making the situation more heartbreaking.

While Dafoe (who was Oscar-nominated) is the most recognizable actor from the film, the actresses portraying the single mothers — Bria Vinaite, Mela Murder and Josie Olivo — seem so real that they do not appear to be acting.

Politically, much has been made about lack of tax incentives for Florida film production. While most big studio ventures are based in Atlanta these days, one must acknowledge the financial creativity of these Florida film productions like Moonlight and The Florida Project. While necessity is the mother of invention, it must be noted that these films do not promote Florida tourism. There is a darkness to The Florida Project that is all consuming.

[Speaking of the dark side], free Star Wars fun awaits this weekend at Deerfield Beach Percy White Library. They will be screening a free Star Wars movie this Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. There will be a costume contest for Elementary, Middle and High School students with a prize for each respected age group. There will also be a random drawing for the DVDs and the first 30 people in costume will receive a comic book from CJ’s Comics.

CJ’s Comics also contributed to ‘the lost museum of the Jedi’ display, which materialized in the Youth Services section of the library. The display features a variety of artifacts. Patrons will be able to see the first paperback version of Star Wars, before the film was released. When the second trilogy was released in 1999, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace featured promotional items from Taco Bell, like Yoda sippy cups. While co-op marketing is a given with a Star Wars movie, one forgets that in 1977 (when the first film was released) the only way to get a Star Wars toy was via mail order.

The lost museum of the Jedi’ will dematerialize Memorial Day weekend to make room for the’ Libraries ROCK! Summer Reading Program,’ so, for Deerfield residents, the fun is just beginning! The library is located at 837 E. Hillsboro Blvd. in Deerfield Beach.

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FLICKS: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Posted on 24 December 2015 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


[Editor’s Note: Some spoilers (plot points) may be in this article for those avoiding anything Star Wars related. May the force be with you!]

After learning about a big spoiler the day before release, I attended my screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with melancholy. It has been 32 years since Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) redeemed his monstrous father Darth Vader. With help from a community of “teddy bears”, Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) defeated the evil Empire and the Star Wars universe seemed poised to live happily ever after. Did I really need to see that the heroic actions I witnessed in my youth were all for naught? Fortunately, this seventh episode brings freshness to the franchise, while honoring the core fun of the original trilogy from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

The film opens with Darth Vader wannabe Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) seeking artifacts related to the Skywalker family. After witnessing him massacre a small village, a storm trooper named Finn (John Boyega) develops a conscience. He rescues the pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and goes AWOL on the planet Jakku.

As if the pace were not fast enough, Finn meets Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger with natural special abilities. When Kylo Ren attempts to retrieve his deserter, Rey and Finn escape the planet and meet the legendary Han Solo and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). The four humanoids, plus droid BB-8, form an alliance to outwit their enemies.

Thus far, I have only mentioned about 25 percent of The Force Awakens storyline and to include any more would take away from the thrill of discovery. Suffice it to say, director J.J. Abrams knows how to manage a fast pace while taking little moments for character development and revelation. In terms of good old-fashioned storytelling, The Force Awakens deserves its success.

Unlike the over-reliance on special effects from the recent Star Wars prequel trilogy (Episodes I-III), Episode VII feels more grounded in reality. While partially shot in Pinewood Studios, this Star Wars film was shot in locations as diverse as Abu Dhabi, New Mexico and Scotland. Even though this film takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, these outdoor locations provide natural realism.

The performances are excellent, with the old and new generations playing off each other with ease and respect. Harrison Ford gives his best performance since his character role as Branch Rickey in the 2013 baseball flick about Jackie Robinson, 42. Daisy Ridley is adorable. Adam Driver has entered the pantheon of rogue villainy reserved for actors like Bruce Dern [for those who have seen the John Wayne movie “The Cowboys”].

Despite my initial depression at having heard a big plot spoiler, I found Star Wars: The Force Awakens to be pure escapist entertainment that is Saturday Matinee popcorn-eating fun. Despite witnessing some PG-13 darkness, I left the theater feeling better than I did when I entered. On that note, Merry Christmas!

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CLERGY CORNER: The original blockbuster story

Posted on 24 December 2015 by LeslieM

Liquid Church in Morristown, NJ has come up with an innovative way to generate interest this Christmas season by pairing celebrations with the latest Star Wars movie release. Seeking to be culturally relevant, the church anticipates 7,000 to attend their Christmas Eve services that will feature a live Star Wars nativity scene, with Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca and R2D2. Children will get to share their wishes with Darth Santa and take photos with his Stormtrooper “elves.”

Pastor Tim Lucas defends the unorthodox approach as a way to “draw on the excitement surrounding Star Wars in order to reach new people and teach them about the birth of Jesus Christ in a way they’ve never heard before.” He further adds, “It’s okay to laugh and celebrate together while talking about Christmas. If that means having Star Wars characters in costume and dancing Stormtroopers, I’m all for it.” Apparently his church’s methods are successful at attracting people and attention. Liquid Church is reputed to be one of New Jersey’s fastest-growing churches.

I’m all for unique and innovative methods to spread the Gospel, but I wonder if we don’t sometimes run the risk of communicating the wrong message?

Star Wars is a great story of good vs. evil and the struggle between light and darkness. I’m a fan of the movie franchise and even have a boxed set of the original trilogy. I am also convinced that the pure narrative of the Christmas story, as told in Matthew and Luke, is enough to satisfy any modern moviegoer or book reader. It does not need to be interpreted through any element of modern pop culture, in my opinion.

You want romance? Consider the love story of Mary and Joseph, a young couple about to be wed. You want plot twists? Think how Joseph must have felt when Mary told him that she was pregnant, and the baby wasn’t his. Can you say scandal? How is Joseph going to handle this situation? You want intrigue? How about the numerous visions, dreams and angelic visitations that surround Jesus’s birth? You need adventure? Magi from the East make a long and treacherous journey looking for the Christ child while bearing precious and costly gifts, and guided only by a star.

Evil shows up in King Herod’s scheme to kill the newborn baby. He had a history of eliminating rivals to the throne. When the Magi foil his plans to discover the babe’s whereabouts, Herod orders the slaughter of innocent children, forcing Joseph and Mary to flee to Egypt for safety. Kings are supposed to be born in palaces, not stables; but that’s where Jesus was born. It sounds like the making of a great movie to me (and it has been put on film numerous times), full of all the things that make for blockbusters.

The story of Christ’s birth is no mere movie script or screenplay, however. Unlike Star Wars, it is no work of fiction and man’s imagination. It is the Biblical and historical record of Jesus’s birth, and the unfolding of God’s plan of redemption for mankind. Many millions of believers for over two millennia have treasured, celebrated and commemorated God’s great gift of redemption.

Christmas is our time to worship and to proclaim the message of His love for mankind. I’ll get around to seeing the latest Star Wars installment; but, for now, I’ll celebrate the purity and significance of the Savior’s birth just the way the gospel writers presented it. It’s beautiful and attractive just the way it is.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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