Movie of the Week: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

My most anticipated film of the year arrives in theaters this week and all I can do to contain my excitement is breathe. Just breathe. The First Order and the Resistance have sustained heavy losses in the aftermath of The Force Awakens but Rey has gained a major victory. The scavenger from Jakku has taken her first steps into a larger world and she is on her way to continue down her path, which leads her to the mythic Luke Skywalker himself. The battle between the light and darkness wages on and Rey must pull Luke out of the shadows and into the light, both figuratively and literally. This is the movie the entire galaxy has waited for. This is Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.

Director: Rian Johnson

Written by: Rian Johnson

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Benecio Del Toro, Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Jimmy Vee and Lupita Nyong’o.

What am I expecting to see?: Where to start? The Star Wars franchise holds a significant and special place in my heart but writer/director Rian Johnson promises that this film will forever change everything we think we know about Star Wars and take the franchise in a direction that has never been ventured before. I don’t even know if I’m ready for what’s coming but I am certain that whatever will come, The Last Jedi will shake me to the core.

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Movie of the Week: Coco

I’m sure everyone has their plans set for the traditional American holiday that occurs this Thursday and I for one hope that all of my followers and fans of my blog have a Happy Thanksgiving. There will be a feature film to watch this week and it comes from the studios behind Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Inside Out and Monster’s Inc. A young boy with an intense passion for music is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime into the afterlife. Coco is the new product from Disney and Pixar and based on the prestigious track record between these two, I believe we are going to be in for a treat!

Directors: Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina

Written by: Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich

Featuring the voices of: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alana Ubach, Renee Victor, Jamie Camil, Gabriel Iglesias, Edward James Olmos, Sofía Espinosa, Ana Ofelia Murguía, Lombardo Boyar and Herbert Siguenza.

What am I expecting to see?: In summary, 99% of my mind has already decided that this is probably the best animated film I will see this year. In fact, I think it may be the only animated film I’ve seen this year and I believe that this will be the only animated film I will remember this year. Coco has the makings of another animated classic from Disney and Pixar and I hope that it measures up to what has come before it. I’m really excited for this.

Movie of the Week: Justice League

Superman was regarded as a savior to some, a god to a few and a threat to many but his sacrifice in defeating Lex Luthor’s abomination known as Doomsday cemented his legacy as a hero. With the Man of Steel out of the picture, the world grows darker by the day as feats of injustice occur on a daily basis, but Bruce Wayne works to honor Superman legacy in the shadows for he knows that a mysterious and massive force is coming to Earth. Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince scour the Earth to recruit special individuals in Arthur Curry, Barry Allen and Victor Stone to stand against this global threat. A new age of heroes is about to begin and it begins with a team. Justice League is upon us.

Director: Zack Snyder (and Joss Whedon)

Written by: Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon

Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Ciarán Hinds, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Diane Lane, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Billy Cudrup, Kiersey Clemmons, Jesse Eisenberg and Henry Cavill.

What am I expecting to see?: This is the movie that cannot afford to fail! Warner Bros. and the DC Extended Universe already have their first win with Wonder Woman and for this franchise to get back on track, they need Justice League to be a success! I’ve gone on record expressing my lack of confidence in Zack Snyder as the guy in charge of these films but I’m going into Justice League expecting nothing but excellence, in light of the fact that Joss Whedon stepping in to finish what Snyder started. I DO NOT WANT THIS TO FAIL!!!

Movie of the Week: Thor: Ragnarok

I have waited for this week’s feature film for so long and looked forward to this for so many reasons! While the Avengers were on Earth waging war against each other, one of their mightiest heroes was off-world fighting battles of his own! When we last saw Thor, he returned to Asgard after the Avengers thwarted Ultron’s plans for global destruction but the Asgard he returned to is not the same as he left it. Thor is up against a vengeful new adversary named Hela and she aims to plunge the entire Nine Realms into oblivion by activating Ragnarok. Though he is without his mighty hammer Mjolnir, the son of Odin must band together with new and old allies to restore order to the cosmos. Thor: Ragnarok is poised to make serious noise.

Directed by: Taika Waititi

Written by: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Zachary Levi, Clancy Brown, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Ruffalo

What am I expecting to see?: Based on what I’ve heard up to this point, I expect Thor: Ragnarok to be the high point for Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe! I can’t wait to see how Taika Waititi makes his mark on this epic franchise by taking the Thor movies to places they have never gone before and I firmly believe this is going to be equal parts fun and profound! I can barely contain my excitement for this film!

Movie of the Week: Marshall

From the pages of history comes this week’s main feature film chronicling the rise of one of this country’s most influential lawmakers. Before he was the first African-American to be nominated to the Supreme Court, he was an African-American with a law degree setting up shop where no one has ever seen a African-American lawyer before. Thurgood Marshall was a hotshot, a fighter and ready to take on the case that would jumpstart his legendary career. Stepping into the role of Marshall is none other than Chadwick Boseman.

Director: Reginald Hudlin

Written by: Jacob and Michael Koskoff

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, James Cromwell, Keesha Sharp, Jussie Smollett, John Magaro and Roger Guenver Smith.

What am I expecting to see?: The moment I heard that Boseman was portraying Thurgood Marshall, my reaction was “I’m in!” I think this is going to be another career-defining performance by Chadwick Boseman, once again stepping into the shoes of another prominent African-American historical figure. I expect Marshall to be a rather riveting film providing insight into Marshall’s life before the Supreme Court and I hope to be more educated and entertained.

Movies of the Week: Victoria and Abdul & Blade Runner 2049

This weekend, I’m going back and forth through time as I watch two of my most anticipated films of 2017. From the director of The Queen, Philomena and Florence Foster Jenkins comes the story of a very unlikely and refreshing friendship between a meager servant and a monarch of great longevity. From the pages of Shabrani Basu’s book, Dame Judi Dench stars as her majesty Queen Victoria who becomes reinvigorated after striking a kinship with a lowly attendant named Abdul. Victoria and Abdul finally makes its way to a theater near me and I’ve been looking forward to this for a while.

Director: Stephen Frears

Written by: Lee Hall

Starring: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Eddie Izzard, Michael Gambon, Tim Pigott-Smith, Adeel Akhtar, Paul Higgins, Olivia Williams, Fenella Woolgar and Julian Wadham.

What am I expecting to see?: Plain and simple, Dame Judi Dench at the top of her game. Stephen Frears’ films, at least for me, I received them in a very lukewarm fashion; I think that they are solid on their own standing with a tremendous leading performance as the headline of why you should see them and Victoria and Abdul doesn’t look any different. I also want to see if newcomer Ali Fazal can hold his own against a acting legend such as Ms. Dench.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the work of the director of films such as Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival. His newest film promises to be one of the most dazzling of the year and his most ambitious to date. We’re going back to Ridley Scott, Philip K. Dick and Hampton Fancher’s post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, where a young cop uncovers a dangerous discovery and must track down Rick Deckard, who hasn’t been seen for three decades. Blade Runner 2049 is ready to get to work.

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Written by: Hampton Fancher and Michael Green

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto, Ana de Armas, Lennie James, Barkhad Abdi, Mackenzie Davis and David Dastmalchian.

What am I expecting to see?: This movie has so much going for it, regarding cast and crew, how could I not turn this down? I had the opportunity to see Blade Runner for the first time almost a month ago, so I have an idea of what I may be getting myself into as we find Deckard 30 years later. I want to come away from Blade Runner 2049 blown away, visually and thematically! Denis Villenueve has directed many excellent features over the past few years and I think this has the potential to top them all!

Movie of the Week: Battle of the Sexes

I had to wait a week for this film to expand into my area but it was worth it. I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of seeing male athletes and female athletes squaring off against each other rather than just against their respective matches and I guess this weekend will be my chance to see something pretty darn close in the latest film from the directors of one of my favorite comedies Little Miss Sunshine, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Emma Stone and Steve Carell will step into the tennis shoes of Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs and face off on the court in Battle of the Sexes.

Directors: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Writer: Simon Beaufoy

Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Natalie Morales, Eric Christian Olsen and Fred Armisen.

What am I expecting to see?: This could be a fun sports drama to watch considering the players involved and who is shaping the picture. Little Miss Sunshine was a refreshing comedy and Simon Beaufoy’s writing has been very enticing in my experience, so I think I will enjoy this under-the-radar indie comedy.