Saturday, May 26, 2018


Star Wars has been part of my life for 38 years. It will no doubt continue to be a part of my life till the day I die. I cannot help it, the most popular movie franchise in history is forever in my DNA. The film buff that I am today is all thanks to STAR WARS.

Am I the same fan that I was back in the day? Of course not. In fact, I was ready to put Star Wars to rest until Lucasfilm was bought by Disney. When this news broke my fandom became alive again.

If Disney gave the same love and attention to Lucasfilm that they have to Marvel Studios then I was confident that Star Wars was in good hands.

Fast forward to today.

I love THE FORCE AWAKENS and THE LAST JEDI both for different reasons. When it comes to the anthology films I enjoy watching ROGUE ONE; however, are the STAR WARS STORY films really necessary? Not to sound like a gatekeeper, but that Darth Vader ending in ROGUE ONE certainly felt like fanboy pandering.

When it was announced that the next STAR WARS STORY was going to be a Han Solo origin story my excitement just wasn't there. A movie where we find out how Han met Chewbacca and won the Millennium Falcon seems dull and unoriginal in my opinion, especially after a film like THE LAST JEDI which gave Star Wars new life. SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY felt like a step backwards. I don't need a Star Wars movie reminding me why I love Star Wars.

After all the hoopla surrounding SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY with it's new director and extensive reshoots I was seriously debating that this might be the first Star Wars film I don't see opening night! It took me longer than normal but after some heavy convincing from a friend of mine (he practically twisted my arm) I was able to snag one of the last 3 tickets to a Thursday night premiere.

My expectations were low so there's automatic potential that SOLO would be my favorite Star Wars film since THE LAST JEDI! Thankfully that's not the case.

For those that don't know already or can't figure it out SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY is about Han's first adventure in the criminal underworld, where he meets his future co-piolt Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years (possibly a decade) before joining the Rebellion.

Not gonna lie, I enjoyed every minute of SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY. It is easily the best spin off film so far. I love watching ROGUE ONE, but as of this review I think SOLO is the better movie.

My biggest worry going in was Alden Ehrenreich. He did alright. I realize asking too much might turn out to become a Harrison Ford impersonation, and that would have been bad. The most positive compliment I have given the movie is that SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY in my opinion is the best portrayal of the title character since THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

Besides the Kessel run being put to screen, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian is my favorite thing in the film. I know that just got done mentioning that these anthology films are a step backwards, but a stand-alone Lando movie would be amazing! However, I would want it to take place after the events of this film not a boring origin story explaining on how Lando got the Millennium Falcon, or how he fell in love with L3-37.

Watching SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY was an entertaining night at the movies. And at the end of the day isn't that what it's truly all about? The answer is yes. However, this 41 year old Star Wars fan likes to put on the nostalgia goggles every once in awhile, but is more excited about the new possibilities presented in THE LAST JEDI.

This leads me to a minor gripe about this new Star Wars film, it's very safe and predictable. If you've seen the trailer you know who's playing who. It happens twice or more in the film just to keep you on your toes, but if you've ever seen a movie before you know what's coming.

My second gripe is spoiler heavy so if you haven't seen the film yet stop reading and go see SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY the come back and finish reading this post.

Final warning.

Okay, you're loss.

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY, a film about smugglers and gangster almost had zero mention of The Force and lightsabers. For some reason Disney just simply cannot allow that, so at the very end of the movie Darth Maul shows up. For about 30 seconds I thought this was the dumbest thing, Darth Maul the antagonist in future SOLO sequels. Sorry to be a gatekeeper, but Darth Maul isn't as cool as you think he is.

To give myself the benefit of doubt, a quick thought occurred to me that the Darth Maul appearance could be a set-up for the yet-to-be announced Obi Wan Kenobi film? Which is a whole lot better sounding than Maul vs. Solo.

Final thoughts, If you hated THE LAST JEDI then buckle up because this film is tailor fit for you. And if you're like me a loved THE LAST JEDI and cannot help but love Star Wars, you might wanna go ahead and see SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY in theaters.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


After 35 years it's interesting how VIDEODROME is still relevant. Only the technology has changed; no longer is the television screen the retina of the minds eye, but rather the smartphone. Social media and 24 hour cable news channels has rot societies brains. We are definitely are in the Videodrome if we like it or not.

In no way am I trying to come of as preachy, my brain is basically media mush I'm afraid to admit. Excess kills.

I enjoy the thought provoking notion that too much television (in the case sex & violence) desensitize us, or worse, mess with our perception of reality. How many times have we been guilty of rushing home after an 8 hour day to watch or favorite sitcom or drama? Again, not being preachy just seeing the warning signs in VIDEODROME.

Program director of a trashy television station, Max Renn is always looking for new programming to keep audiences tuned in. When he happens upon "Videodrome", a show dedicated to torture, Max sees huge potential and wants to broadcast the show on his channel. After the disappearance of his girlfriend who auditioned for the show, Max investigates and finds out that "Videodrome" and the violence it depicts might not be as fake as he thought.

As much as I love the "philosophy" of VIDEODROME, my favorite aspect of the film is the practical effects! In 1983 I'm sure the effects had to be groundbreaking. Today they are somewhat dated (some more than others), but the visceral impact remains.

And lastly, I enjoy VIDEODROME on a purely surface level.

I'm obsessed late '80's and early '90's sleaze cinema, mainly the exploitation films from that era. A lot of it has to do with the fact that even at a young age I was aware of this sub-culture of film, thanks in large part to cable movie channels and co-workers of my dad who bootlegged some of these films.

To this day I get a taboo nostalgic vibe when watching something like VIDEODROME.

Cronenberg is a master filmmaker who's art makes you think, but I can also enjoy just kicking back and watch a grotesque hallucinatory odyssey of a guy who becoming a weapon for a right wing conspiracy that wants to control and manipulate people via the television. And he also shoot people with his cancer gun.

Body-horror at it's finest.