Not a whole lot of movies heading our way right now and understandably so. This week’s group of films does include one of the biggest movies of 2019 though, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Overall I didn’t mind the movie, but it’s nowhere near as good as The Force Awakens. But the fact that I didn’t mind it is a huge plus considering how much I despised The Last Jedi, the film that came before this one. It had some decent moments and had some anti-climactic moments and felt like a lot of other big budget, all in one universe movies of late. One positive is the return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando. The first two films in this third trilogy reintroduced original trilogy characters and it was cool seeing the original Lando again. Yeah I can be a sucker for “Member Berries” like everyone else. The film’s biggest positive is that it pretty much ignores everything from The Last Jedi besides the death of a character. You could watch this directly after The Force Awakens and it would fit perfectly fine. Storylines, tone, theme, all of it matches The Force Awakens thanks to the return of director JJ Abrams. My biggest complaint is that it’s much too emotional. Two of the main characters have severe parents/family issues. They all ponder about life and their feelings. There are tears and self-doubt and I don’t need any of that in a Star Wars movie. There are two deaths to pull on your heartstrings, one you should be able to predict, the other that did nothing for me because of the lack of character development in The Last Jedi. I’m sure you probably saw it at the theater and I’m sure you have your own opinion on it and you know whether or not you’ll be adding it to your collection. It’s the end of an era and it’s a shame it went out like this, but at least we have the holy original trilogy.
Next we have The Captain, a film from China loosely based on a true story. The film’s synopsis perfectly tells its story. On the morning of May 14th, 2018, Airbus flight A319 is thrown into a state of panic when the cockpit windshield shatters after takeoff. Cabin temperatures plummet, passengers are losing consciousness, and all communication to control is lost. Heading into an enormous storm with the co-pilot sucked halfway out of the cockpit window, the plane’s strong-willed Captain, Liu Chuan Jian, is determined to bring everyone home safely. Think of it as China’s version of Sully. It heavily relies on CGI because you can’t exactly fill a plane with people and replicate what happened, but I did like some of the other effects. When the windshield first pops and the cabin loses pressure, you see people fly up into the air and get bounced around in the plane. I thought it was a cool effect. What I did find super creepy (because of bad timing) is seeing the crew getting their temperature checked when they first get to work. Pilots take a breathalyzer to prove they haven’t been drinking, but they also have their forehead temperature taken. The story is a few years old so it looks like China has been taking temps for years because of, well, let’s call it viruses and diseases. It’s a well made film and keeps it pretty dramatic, but we’ve definitely seen similar films in the past. I wasn’t familiar with the actual story so I wasn’t sure how it would end which is good, but it also means I’m not sure how real it is and how much was made up for the movie.
Third we have Midsomer Murders Series 21. I always like these releases because they are quick and fun binges. This is 4 mysteries over 2 discs and all get wrapped up nicely and easily. The first mystery involves the death of a champion ballroom dancer. It’s a funny look at the gritty side of dance with feuds between ex-partners, sponsorships, and much more. The quirkiness continues with the second episode involving the murder of a real estate agent at the revealing of dollhouse collection. Episode three involves bees! Yep bees! A local dies from bee stings after a beekeeper is hurt during a theft. Episode four involves fishing and a Spartan type run. Fishermen are trying to catch a huge fish when they get tangled up with people competing in the Psycho Mud Run. The show is super light despite being about murder and mystery and helps ease the day when you watch it. I’ve seen countless seasons of it at this point and I’ll keep watching them when they come my way.
Last we have Their Finest Hour: 5 British WWII Classics. This 5-disc box set consists of classic British war films, restored in HD and released for the first time ever on Blu-ray in North America. Went The Day Well is about a small British village pretty much cut off from the war until Royal Engineers head to town. But what they don’t know is that they really are German parachutists and their local leader might be involved. The Colditz Story is about a prison Germans believed was inescapable but a group of British, French, Dutch and Polish prisoners wanted to prove them wrong. Based on Pat Reid’s novel. The Dam Busters is about a scientist thinking that destroying the Ruhr dams could stifle the Germans so a new design of bombs is made and a squadron is put in place to destroy the dams. Dunkirk, not to be confused with Christopher Nolan’s more recent film, tells a similar, maybe more historically accurate version of the story. Charles Forman signs on with the Merchant Navy and volunteers to help evacuate those trapped behind enemy lines. Ice Cold In Alex takes its story to Northern Africa and the devastation taking place there. It has some fantastic cinematography. This is a pretty solid collection of films, none of which I had seen before. It’s also funny timing that last week I watched Band of Brothers so I got a whole lot of World War II viewing lately.