Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff


And so I end my Star Wars rewatch at the beginning: Star Wars, the one that started it all. Let’s take a look.


  • One thing I love about Star Wars is how complete the story feels and how classic of a tale it tells. Sure its a very straight forward hero’s journey, but what’s wrong with that? A lot is packed into the time frame of this movie, including all character introductions, establishing the world and conflict, learning the backstory of the Jedi, a daring rescue, and a final battle.
  • I love how much focus is on the droids. The first 20 minutes or so is mostly just the two of them, and they are the plot drivers. Artoo and Threepio getting their due.
  • One of the reasons this movie works as well as it does is because of the interactions of the characters. In my Force Awakens write up I talked about how the characters felt like they instantly bonded, and we have the same situation here. I really do think this plays a large yet invisible part in the movie’s success. Luke, Han and Leia all have instant chemistry with each other and is ultimately what endears us to them.
  • I love the sets in this film. The most obvious is the interior of the Falcon, which is beyond iconic now. But I also love the death star interiors, the cantina, Luke’s homestead, the rebel cruiser at the beginning… it really helped build this world. Sorry, galaxy.
  • I really paid attention to the strangeness of all the creatures in the cantina this time around and tried to put myself in the shoes of an audience member in 1977.  Must of been so bizarre.  There are some really out-there designs. Love it.
  • Alec Guinness really brings a lot of weight to the film.  I love his conversation with Luke about the history of Vader and what the Force is.  As a kid this used to be “the boring part”, but I appreciate it so much more now.
  • I know it doesn’t really need to be said, but the music and sound effects are amazing.
  • Darth Vader is a really well-established villain. I know Tarkin sort of seems like the leader here, but Vader has such a commanding presence its easy to see why he’s become the most recognizable movie villain ever.
  • There are so many iconic frames in this movie, from the twin suns, to Leia giving Artoo the files, to the Falcon flying down for the last minute rescue.


  • One thing that has always bugged me is the lack of impact that two of the main tragedies have on the central characters. One is the death of Luke’s aunt and uncle, and the other is Leia and the destruction of Alderaan. I know you don’t want a movie of this vein to be too bogged down with tragic fallout like that, but I do think it needed to be a little more impactful for both of them.
  • I guess it does seem a little weird that the rebels just let Luke fly with them in the battle.  But whatever.
  • No medal for Chewie.
  • Boy, I really can’t think of much else. At least not until I get to the special edition parts.

Special Edition Alert!

  • Lets talk about the worst one right off the bat: the Jabba scene.  First, it looks terrible.  Jabba looks plastic and not very organic.  And having Han walk around and step on his tail makes no sense: as if the biggest gangster on the planet would just let that go.  Second, its a completely redundant scene as the dialogue is just recycled from the much better Greedo scene before this.
  • A lot of the background scenes of Mos Eisley are “enhanced” with background creatures and the like. This is fun on a certain level but also distracting, especially since the effects are so incongruent. There’s one part where they are in their speeder and a bunch of stuff walks in the foreground that is really annoying.
  • Dewbacks are added digitally.  Same problem as above.
  • I actually don’t mind adding the deleted scene where Luke meets up with Biggs. For one thing, its basically just a reinserted scene and still feels of a part with the time and rest of the film. It also provides a little more closure on Luke’s desire to join his friends and gives more context to that idea.
  • They changed to sound of Ben’s fake out krayt dragon call for… absolutely no reason whatsoever.
  • And just in case you are wondering where I stand: Han shot first.

Final Re-ranking List
And so we come down to the question “what is the best star wars film?”  I tell ya, its a tough one.  On one hand, Star Wars feels like a more complete story than its sequel.  Yet while Star Wars is top notch storytelling and one hell of a film, Empire just feels like its slightly better paced and goes a little deeper with its themes and ideas.  So… I’m going with Empire, but only by the slightest of margins.  These two are very, very close together at the top.

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Star Wars
  3. Return of the Jedi
  4. The Last Jedi
  5. The Force Awakens
  6. Revenge of the Sith
  7. Solo
  8. The Phantom Menace
  9. Rouge One
  10. Attack of the Clones
  11. The Rise of Skywalker

Thank you for joining me on this journey back through the Star Wars saga. We recently just had a bunch of announcements from Disney on new Star Wars projects coming up, and the world really seems like its going to get huge. I think we can say Star Wars is definitely going to change going forward, so lets not forget where it all started.

After 10 years, this is my 700th blog post. I’m going to be taking a break for a while, so thank you for those of you who still come to read my ramblings. Hopefully we all have a great 2021 and that our lives can get back on track. Happy New Year!


I’ve now gone through most of the main films, many of which I have already seen many times. Now I’m going to look at the spin-offs, both of which I have only seen once each in theaters.  Rogue One was particularly awkward after watching it, as we saw it in a large group then went out for drinks to discuss after (remember when we could go to movie theaters and then go to the pub? In groups??)  It seemed that I was the only one who didn’t like the film so I remained silent.  My friends have told me many times since then to give it another chance.  So here I am.


  • The basic premise works pretty well. The main character’s father designed the Death Star but purposefully made a flaw. A team is sent to retrieve the information. It works well enough to hang the movie on.
  • There are lots of great visuals. I particularly like seeing the Death Star actually be built. I also think that the final space battle looks amazing. It would have been better had we actually known any of the characters in that battle, but oh well. I really liked seeing the two Star Destroyers collide.
  • The idea of a tropical island planet was a great addition. It looked amazing, and seeing Stormtroopers march on beaches and AT-ATs stomp through the palm trees was a feast for the eyes.
  • K2S0 was a fun new droid character who provided some much needed personality.
  • I thought Ben Mendelson crafted a great villain in Director Krennig. He was menacing enough while clearly having his own motivations and not being exactly like other stiff Imperial officers.
  • It was cool to see Vader again, even though James Earl Jones’ voice sure ain’t what it used to be. It was also fun to actually see him on Mustafar.


  • Perhaps my biggest strike against the film is that its just sort of dull. I found myself bored through most of the middle section in particular. The basic story makes sense, but there’s not really an sparks of interest throughout. This problem may be because…
  • The characters were bland. As much as I like Felicity Jones, Jin Urso didn’t seem to have much personality. Neither did most of the crew they put together, other than the droid mentioned above. The closest was the former imperial pilot, but they don’t really take his arc where they could have. Another problem here is that I didn’t there was much of a relationship built between the characters themselves, which was a huge strength of Force Awakens. They were just sharing the same space.
  • I especially want to point out the blind character, who the filmmakers clearly wanted to be a Jedi, but didn’t want to break canon.  So they made him some sort of half-Jedi, Force cultist.  I didn’t like this; it felt very much like fan fiction.  I especially cringed with that maxim he would constantly chant: “I am with the force, the force is with me”. May the Force Be With You is one of the most popular adages in film.  Stay in your lane.
  • Saw Gerrera was a completely ridiculous character.
  • I like the decision to keep John William’s as composer only for the main series of films. But that means that this movie’s music does suffer as a result, being a definite step down. No offense to Gianchinno, as he’s made some great stuff, but William’s he ain’t.
  • The decision to give us a CG Tarkin really bothers me. I know that the likeness of the character is owned by Lucasfilm, and legally they cold do it, blah blah blah. But I find it really disrespectful to Peter Cushing and I don’t like the door it has opened. I also found the effect really jarring.
  • Lets talk about the Vader scene at the end, shall we? Nerds went berserk when they saw this. Nerds still go berserk about it now. But personally I think it was thrown in there to end the film on a crescendo to make people forget how boring the first half of the film was. I also think its incongruous with Vader’s character. We’ve never seen him go full out like this before, even when fighting Luke. Is he really going to turn into mega-fighter for a few rebels who are already trapped in a room? No, he’s just gonna send his storm troopers in to do the job. This felt like pandering to fans taken to the highest degree.

I am almost through my months long rewatch of the Star Wars live action films.  I just have one more spin-off left before the classic original film will cap things off for me.  So lets take a look at that spin-off:  Solo.


  • Okay, lets be honest here. This movie is fun. Its well-paced and has quite a few exciting sequences which are framed in an appropriate sense of adventure. If nothing else, its entertaining. Much more-so than the previous “a Star Wars story”.
  • Its been said many time, but Donald Glover does a really good job of capturing Lando. Alden Ehrenriech actually gives a good lead performance as well, but I’m going to come back to this.
  • I liked the central friendship that is built between Han and Chewie. They give the relationship its time in the spotlight without going overboard with it.
  • The hover train heist is a blast. The Kessel Run is pretty fun as well, and is visually interesting at the same time. It suffers a little from the “Bigger! Better!” fallacy, but I can look past it.
  • So yes, the action scenes are fun.  But most of the reason why the film is so watchable is the humour.  Han has a lot of good lines and small interactions that really make the film work.


  • As I mentioned before, I do think Ehrenriech works well in the role. But… lets face it: he ain’t no Harrison Ford. Because of this its really hard to think of him as Han Solo. This was what I was worried bout most when the movie was announced, and my worries were not assuaged.
  • I hate Lando’s droid. I understand they are trying to do a different take on the star wards droid, but it just doesn’t work. The character seems to be from our modern times rather than being in the Star Wars universe, and is very obviously so.
  • What is with the dice? All of the sudden, between Last Jedi and this, a ton of importance is heaped onto these metal dice that Han had in his cockpit. I’ve been a Star Wars fan for a couple of decades, and I never even noticed them.
  • I don’t quite understand the ending where the lead Raider takes her helmet off, and its played up like some big reveal. There was no establishment of who this was supposed to be previously in the film. Is it just that we aren’t supposed to expect she is female? Or is she supposed to be younger than we are supposed to expect? I don’t get it.
  • The Darth Maul reveal is stupid. Obi-Wan sliced him in half. I don’t really like this idea of “comic book character death reversals” being in star wars. And before you say “They did it with the Emperor too!”, I hated that as well.
  • This leads to a more general point, that the movie really feels like fan fiction rather than a legit Star Wars film entry. The fact that Han is more of an imitation of Han, again despite the fact that I liked the performance, adds to this feeling. Therefore I have to declare that while I ultimately like this movie as an adventurous science fiction, I don’t really consider it a legitimate piece in Star Wars canon. Now I understand that the idea of fictional canons is a ridiculously nerdy thing to make claims like this for, but I’m comfortable with that.

Current Re-ranking List

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Return of the Jedi
  3. The Last Jedi
  4. The Force Awakens
  5. Revenge of the Sith
  6. Solo
  7. The Phantom Menace
  8. Rouge One
  9. Attack of the Clones
  10. The Rise of Skywalker

And so we come to the most recent film in my Star Wars rewatch: The Rise of Skywalker.  Obviously this only came out a year ago, so my thoughts likely wont change too much from then, but I was interested to see how it works in context with the other films.  In December I found this to be a very disappointing conclusion to the saga.  Do I still think so?  Lets find out!…. but yes, yes I do.


  • There was a while there where the movie felt like our team of heroes off on a series of adventures, which is nice. For example, I liked the idea of the sinking pits and what have you. The giant snake was cool
  • Babu Frick. He’s hilarious. He feels like a creature that would have shown up in Return of the Jedi. If he would have shown up earlier, or been in a better movie, I believe he would be a more beloved character. Star of the show.
  • I really liked Han Solo’s moment with Kylo. When I first saw it I was skeptical of this, but upon reflection its a nice moment. Kylo is on the cusp of turning and is using his father to debate with himself. It felt genuine to me and I like it a lot.
  • I liked the ending where Rey hears all of the Jedi voices urging her on. That really felt like a part which brought all of the trilogies together.


Here we go…

  • Lets start with the big one: the return of the Emperor. I understand the need to boost the stakes in the final film by bringing back the overarching bad guy. I get it. However, they didn’t even bother trying to explain how this was possible; they just threw out this nebulous idea about him being behind everything. But the real issue is that the Emperor’s downfall already came through one of cinema’s most popular character arcs: that of Darth Vader. By bringing him back now, they are really undercutting this idea.
  • And now to the next big reveal this movie gave us: Rey is the Emperor’s granddaughter. What?? What a stupid idea. Its also a weak retcon, since Last Jedi just established that she isn’t necessarily a part of any famous bloodline, and the series seemed to be moving towards this idea that the Force is for everyone. JJ came along and said “well hey, I teased her not knowing who her parents are, and fans want her to be somebody! Better fix that!” Stupid.
  • I have to mention the opening of the film, where Kylo Ren rushes around to find Exegol, following by Finn and Poe “hyperspace skipping”. This was poorly edited and poorly paced. It was so frantic, almost as if the filmmakers thought “we’ve gotta start off exciting and grab everyone right away!” But it turned me off, as it felt choppy, messy and disorganized. Not a good way to start at all.
  • Another big problem is the sidelining of Rose.  It feels like fans complained about her character from Last Jedi, so the studio decided to appease their whining and not include her in any of the action.  This is gross.  They did a great job developing her character in the last film, and especially her friendship with Finn.  Then they just threw it to the side.  Whats worse is they actually replaced her with another character named Janna, who is a character that adds nothing to Finn’s story or the movie overall.  Every time I see her on screen I think “Why isn’t Rose doing this?”
  • Speaking of pointless new characters, lets also bring up that new droid Deo. Its cute, sure, but we already have 3 droids. This was just there to look like Pixar. Also, Keri Russell’s character who inexplicably never took off her helmet. Her relationship with Poe felt forced and I didn’t buy the dialogue between them. Oh by the way, why did they make Poe being a spice runner such a big deal? Its not.
  • Also, what was with the focus on treasure hunting items? This is Star Wars, not Indiana Jones. The Sith way-finders? A secret knife that has the same shape as a crashed Death Star which shows where the next something or other is?? Star Wars has never really focused on physical objects, aside from maybe light-sabers. The closet to this macguffin idea was Artoo having the Death Star plans, but at least then the macguffin is still a character in the film.
  • We’ve got to talk about Leia. I know they were in a tough spot here and there was only so much that could be done. But al of her scenes still felt awkward, especially her death scene. Again, tough spot.
  • The dialogue didn’t feel like Star Wars. The writing felt very platitudinous, and while Star Wars has always been a story about timeless values etc, its never been a spelled out as here. “There are more of us”, “good people will fight if we lead them”, etc. I dunno, it just felt off to me. Am I off base here?
  • After watching Jurassic World, I was worried about Colin Treverrow being in charge of Episode 9 and turning it into complete fan pandering. I was relieved when JJ Abrams took over… but then he made it more pandering then I could have expected! The fan service here was off the rails. The worst, the absolutely worst, example of this is Chewie getting a medal at the end. This medal that came out of no where in the film, and for know reason other than to wink at the audience. I almost threw up.
  • Another huge problem was the two big psych out “deaths” of two beloved characters.  First, they make us believe that Chewie was killed during a battle between Kylo and Rey.  But they didn’t have the guts to go along with it.  Reversal!  Then they do the SAME THING with Threepio.  They wipe his memory and make a big dramatic moment out of it.  But nope! Artoo has his memory backed up!  So, so toothless.
  • Lets talk about the problem of exaggerated powers. In an effort to make this movie “bigger and better!” we get some ridiculous Jedi and Sith powers. The most egregious of which is when the Emperor shoots so much lightning out of his hands that it stops two entire fleets of ships!!! We also have the concept of the Force connection actually allowing teleportation of objects, a fleet of Star Destroyers all with the same power a the Death Star, etc etc. When you get to a point where the powers get too outlandish, its far too easy for the audience to check out. Super hero movies often run into this problem as well. There needs to be some confines and restriction within the logic of the world.

Okay, is that it?  For now.  Wow, apparently I had a lot to say.

Current Re-ranking List

So now the question comes: what is the worst Star Wars film?  This always seemed to be a debate between the prequels, but he now have a new contender.  So which is worse: Attack of the Clones or Rise of Skywalker?  AotC of course has the poor acting, bad love story, and CGI issues.  But at least it was secure in what it was.  Rise of the Skywalker on the other had feels like a response to complaining fans who didn’t like The last Jedi for silly, nitpicky reasons.  This feels so much like it was composited by a committee.  And not just any committee; one that was frightened (for some reason) or angry nerds. 
They made the movie they thought we wanted to see instead of having the convictions of following through with their excellent first two films.  And because of this, I have to put it at the bottom.

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Return of the Jedi
  3. The Last Jedi
  4. The Force Awakens
  5. Revenge of the Sith
  6. The Phantom Menace
  7. Attack of the Clones
  8. The Rise of Skywalker

And now we come to what used to be the final film, but really a middle film, but now is somewhere near the front third… or is it back third? You know what I mean, its…
Revenge of the Sith


  • The structure of this film is actually quite strong. The first half sets up Anakin as a hero Jedi with strong relationships. Doubts and misgivings creep up throughout and accumulate until his turn to the dark side. The turn (reasons notwithstanding, but I’ll get there) works with a lot of emotional impact because of this structure. People make fun of Padme’s “You’re breaking my heart” line, but I think its actually quite powerful in the moment, and we finally start to see some of Portman’s talent shine through.
  • The opening pan down into the giant space battle wowed me in theaters, so I still always eagerly anticipate it.
  • Ewan McGregor gave his strongest Obi-Wan performance here.  He was fun when he needed to be, dramatic when he needed, and gave the film a stable center.
  • I really like that lizard creature Obi-Wan rides in Utapau.
  • My favourite moment of this film is the shot of Vader’s first breath.  It still works.
  • General Grevious is a pretty cool new villain.  He fits in the world but has a unique sense about him.  He’s established well, though he hasn’t been in the other films, and doesn’t overreach in importance. 
  • John William’s is off the hook here.  His score is certainly able to meet the heights of drama reached during this period of the galaxy’s history. 
  • McDiarmid’s performance can be quite over-the-top in many places, but its actually quite fun.  He really does become the Emperor here, and I think a lot of the over-the-top parts fit that, which McDiarmid understands and isn’t afraid to do.
  • The showdown between Obi-Wan and Anakin is still solid.  High ground notwithstanding.
  • I really like the final montage of the Skywalker family at the end.  A great way to cap the trilogy off.


  • While the romance between Anakin and Padme is improved here, they still have that awful “love is blind” scene on the balcony. Its so bad it rivals the “I hate sand” scene on the balcony in Clones. It fact, these two should probably just stay away from balconies altogether.
  • It can be argued that the entire reason for this trilogy existing is to see the tragedy of Anakin play out. The problem is that the reason for his turning is too nebulous. He sees a vision of Padme dying and wants to save her? I know its likely that Sidious probably forced Anakin to have these visions (and Snoke’s powers in Last Jedi seem to confirm this is something that could happen). But its still a weak reason. Luckily there are other factors, like his growing mistrust of the Jedi, etc. But it still feels like the reason for his turn needs to be much stronger.
  • The Wookie planet battle was pointless to the overall plot, but I will argue it helped to establish the war as a widespread event. But what really gets me is having Chewbacca in the command center with Yoda. I’m okay with seeing Chewie here, but this is a bit serendipitous. Maybe as a short cameo. But to actually be pals with Yoda is a bit much.
  • There’s still some pretty stiffly delivered dialogue.  Hayden Christenson and Sam Jackson seem to be the biggest culprits, but Jimmy Smits too.
  • Okay, I know that we needed to get Vader to a point where he becomes very villainous.  But do we really have to have him killing children (I’m sorry, I mean “younglings”)?  Remember how two movies earlier Lucas defended the goofy Jar Jar and pit droid antics by claiming these are movies for kids?  Hard to hold that argument here. 

Current Re-ranking List

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Return of the Jedi
  3. The Last Jedi
  4. The Force Awakens
  5. Revenge of the Sith
  6. The Phantom Menace
  7. Attack of the Clones

After watching the entire prequel trilogy again, I think this re-watch has helped me reconcile my relationship with these films. I’ve come back around to being okay with their existence and appreciating them for different reasons than the original trilogy. However there is still one Star Wars film coming up which will be much more difficult to reconcile…


The rewatch continues, and I now move to the film which used to be the conclusion to the Saga…


  • I love the Jabba’s Palace sequence. The production design of his headquarters is outstanding, and the Jabba puppet itself is so unique and tactile; it really looks great. I also love the atmosphere set up in the palace, mostly accomplished through the ambient echos, music, and crowd noises. And, of course, Salacious Crumb’s iconic laugh.
  • The conclusion of the Vader-Luke storyline is pretty much perfect. Adding the element of the Emperor as this outside force swaying the bond between the two in various directions works very well. And of course, Vader’s ultimate decision really strengthens both this storyline and the whole trilogy in general. Having these throne room scenes really amps up the personal stakes to go along with the larger-scale stakes of the battle outside.
  • I love that we visit a forest planet this time around. It really contrasts with the desert and ice planets of the previous films. And of course there is the speeder chase, which is an excellent set piece that still holds up. I especially like the shots at night, including that amazing shot above the landing platform with the AT-AT moving through the trees.
  • The space battle at the end. I mean, c’mon! Its awesome.
  • Speaking of the last act, I think the editing in this section is incredible. I had just talked about this with The Phantom Menace, but the cross-cutting between the three story-lines happening consecutively is expertly done. I was thinking as I was watching that this is probably a pretty influential movie in this regard; in the way that an action climax is broken into various parts all intercut together. And though the tone of all the three parts (throne room, space battle, forest battle) are all quite different, it flows together beautifully.
  • The musical beat when Vader threatens to turn Leia is awesome.
  • I love how Threepio gets his own moment here. The Ewoks think he’s a god when they see him, and treat him as such. This is such a fun part and its nice to see our beloved goldenrod have that.
  • This is a small thing, but I really like Admiral Piett. He really stands out among the Imperial officers. While most of them disappoint Vader and are usually killed, Piett seems to have figured out a way to confidently survive at the top.
  • I know people complain about how the first act with Jabba has nothing to do with the overall plot, but I think it really adds to the film as an adventure movie. Our favourite characters are going from encounter to encounter, which I really like.


  • I love this movie, but I will say that the acting here feels just slightly off-par a lot of the time. This is especially evident with Carrie Fisher (I’ve never liked her performance on the ewok bridge scene), but it also happens with Billy Dee and even Ford a bit too. Some of their lines just aren’t delivered with as much gusto or authenticity as usual. On the other hand, I highly appreciated Mark Hamill this time around. Its probably his best performance of the three. He really brings it.
  • Speaking of the bridge scene, I know that Leia being Luke’s sister is such an essential part of the lore, but… really??
  • We never see Han in the Falcon the entire movie, which is a drag.
  • I know you want me to say something about the Ewoks here, but I’m not going to. I have no issue with Ewoks.

Special Edition Alert!

  • The ROTJ SE is definitely the most egregious, if for no other reason than for the added song performance at Jabba’s palace. How on earth did anyone think this was a good idea?? The CGI characters really clash with the aesthetic, the song is awful, and the close ups of said characters are so bad I shudder in recalling them. It wrecks that carefully crafted atmosphere I mentioned earlier, especially with how it ruins the impact of Oola’s death and gives us a bunch of unnecessary garbage in an otherwise great sequence.
  • I am against all changes, as you can tell, but I don’t mind the shot of the Bantha herd.
  • When the special editions first came out, I was most excited with the new closing scene that they gave us. I always thought the Ewok song was a goofy way to end things, so I liked that they added new music and showed us celebrations of other planets (including an as-of-yet never seen Coruscant). But now… I want the Ewok song back. There is so much nostalgia loaded in that goofy melody, and I like the way it contrasts from the pathos of Vader’s funeral to the uplifting celebration. Bring back Yub Nub!
  • This isn’t an original SE change, but rather was added in after the prequels. They added Vader saying “No… Nooo!” when he kills the Emperor. I really can’t express how awful this is. It robs the moment of a lot of its power. Remove this immediately! The Jabba’s Palace song is incredibly bad, but this is worse. And going off of this point…
  • Adding Hayden Christensen to the ghost ending? Really??? First, it makes no sense to go to a younger form. Second, don’t throw elements from the weaker films into a classic. Third, its once again disrespectful to the original actor, Sebastien Shaw. Sigh… I’m okay with the special editions existing, but not at the expense of the original films. Come on Disney! What is taking you so long?? Do what is right.

Current Re-ranking List:

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Return of the Jedi
  3. The Last Jedi
  4. The Force Awakens
  5. The Phantom Menace
  6. Attack of the Clones

I still remember the hype around this movie and how excited teenage Ian was to see it.  I avoided knowing too much, but of course images of Amadala and Darth Maul would make their way to my retinas, which only amplified my anticipation.    And it worked.  I was very into this movie.  It was only over the next few years I began to see the flaws and the severe gap in quality between this movie and the originals I loved so much.  Still, its not all bad…


  • I really like most of the ship/vehicle designs, which fit in the universe but are still their own thing.  I especially like the trade federation donut ships, the tanks, and Sebulba’s pod racer.
  • Liam Neeson is the saving grace in terms of acting.  Its not as though he’s going full out, but he does provide the film with a level of gravitas and calm that really grounds it.  He also provides us with a very clear picture of what a Jedi in the olden days would be like.  I have a lot of issues with what the Jedi would be revealed as in the prequels, but Qui-Gon stands a great example of the promise we were given of what Jedi were.
  • Not quite to the same level as Neeson, but I also think Pernilla August, playing Anakin’s mom, anchors her end as well.
  • The pod race, despite many of its sillier aspects, is a lot of fun.  Its kind of cool that they centered their middle act around this big, Ben-Hur style set piece.
  • Watto
  • I like Darth Maul as a villain.  Yes, he doesn’t have any character depth, unlike Kylo Ren (or Vader eventually).  But he works as a great antagonist in the same way that the Terminator does.
  •  The galactic senate looked pretty cool.  Oh, so did the lake monsters.  I really liked the lake monsters.
  • The last act of this movie really brings it together.  Having the four aspects of the battle interlocking is certainly nothing new, and does feel telegraphed when all four parts take a downturn at the same time and then all have their fortunes turn again at the same time, but it still provides us with a clear, exciting climax.  Especially…
  • The lightsaber duel.  People came out of this movie claiming that this was the best lightsaber duel.  I don’t buy into that, as it doesn’t have the same emotional context as Empire and Jedi, but as far as choreography goes it is really a wonder to watch.  One part I appreciated much more is how great the fight gets when Obi-Wan engages Maul alone after Qui-Gon is down.  McGregor really cranks up the intensity and the fight gets even better at the end.


  • This movie’s biggest problem is the level of silliness throughout, mostly by a particular beloved character named Jar Jar.  I know, its incredibly cliche to pick on poor Mr. Binks at this point, but after having just watched it again… its justified.  Its not just him though; there is a lot of goofy, juvenile stuff in this movie.  I know that Lucas’ defense of Phantom Menace has always been that Star Wars is for children.  But I’ve never really bought that.  Its true, Star Wars is a kid’s movie, and thats how I came to know it and love it.  But “movies for kids” isn’t a blanket statement that covers the age gamut, and TPM is at a whole different level of childishness than any other Star Wars film.  Yes, Return of the Jedi had Ewoks.  But the Ewoks didn’t get their tongue stuck in lasers or say pewwwsa after an animal farts on them.  It didn’t have the ewoks win battles by bumbling around and killing things by getting their foot stuck; they didn’t have droids that acted like the three stooges, and Wicket didn’t have friends yelling “woopee!” and acting in a way no kid ever acted. 
  • Sorry, I know that last point was long, but its a pretty big complaint and brings the movie down a lot.  I would say that the majority of problems people have with Phantom Menace derives from this.  There is an argument to be said that this is the one SW movie that is for much younger kids, and I can see that.  But to claim its on the same level as the other movies, especially when two movies from now Anakin is going to kill younglings (puts fist in mouth), just doesn’t gel.
  • I’ve complained about the Jedi before, and Attack of the Clones sees a lot more of this, but the council never really sat right with me.
  • The fake Amidala storyline is really pointless.  There is no reason for her to sometimes be the queen and sometimes not.  In fact, its detrimental as it is a barrier to more character development of Padme and adds a lot of story beats and confusion that doesn’t need to be there.
  • So much of the acting and dialogue is cringe-worthy.  Its so stiff and wooden, especially with Queen Amidala.  Again, this might stem from the stupid decision to hide her identity.  But its hard to draw in audiences when lines are delivered with no emotion whatsoever.
  • The decision to have Anakin build C-3PO is really dumb.  Its this weird choice of convenient, serendipitous nepotism that makes no sense. 

Special Editions Alert!

  • Though technically the SE’s came out for TPM, for future releases they changed the Yoda puppet to the CGI Yoda we see in Episodes 2 and 3.  It does feel more consistent and does look better than the puppet, as I never felt the TPM Yoda came even close to the original.  That being said, they still shouldn’t have changed it.  Its too big of a visual change.  It was a puppet when it was released, and so it should remain.

Current Re-ranking List

So now with my re-ranking list.  This was a tough one.  The battle rages on: which is worse, episode 1 or episode 2?  TPM has many of the same problems as Clones, but they are amplified in Clones.  Phantom Menace does have the childishness problem though, which is pretty huge.  But I think the last act pulls Ep1 into the lead slightly.

1. Empire Strikes Back
2. The Last Jedi
3. The Force Awakens
4. The Phantom Menace
5. Attack of the Clones


On to perhaps the most contentious of the Star Wars films.  The Last Jedi divided fans, though I’ll be honest that I have a lot of trouble understanding why.  Its really unfortunate, as this fan divide would shift the momentum of the new Star Wars film franchise considerably.  But that doesn’t detract from the greatness of the film.  Lets get into it.
  • Lets talk about Luke.  The decision to have Luke become a despondent hermit was very interesting, and his backstory with Kylo brought a lot of understanding with it.  Its still the Luke we all know, but with many more years behind him and more depth as well.  Mark Hamill knocked this performance out of the park.
  • The relationship that was formed between Kylo and Rey through their force connection was an excellent choice.  Having these two foils be able to interact more really strengthens the film for both of them.  Kylo in particular seems like a much more rounded character and is really coming into his own.  One scene that really stands out is when he makes the choice not to shoot his mother in the ship. This is undoubtedly Driver’s best performance as Ren.
  • This movie looks amazing.  The shot composition and the colour palate both pop off the screen.  The verdant island of Ahch-To, the vibrant reds of Crait and Snoke’s chamber, its a visual feast.  Oh, there’s also the Falcon flying through the mineral caves; don’t forget that.
  • Porgs are awesome.
  • As Carrie Fisher’s last real film, I thought she also put in an excellent turn recapturing Princess Leia.  She sort of just had a cameo in Force Awakens, but here she is a vital player.  I like that we actually see her use the Force, though only at desperate need.  I loved the scene with her and Luke as well.
  • The choice to make Rey’s parents be people of no consequence was a great choice.  WAS a great choice…
  • I really liked the friendship that forms between Finn and Rose.
  • There’s lots of cool design choices throughout this film, such as the resistance bombers and the way their bombs have that spiral drop, that weird magnifying glass, etc.  And then of course there is the “Holdo maneuver”, which looked and sounded incredible.
  • I was genuinely surprised when Yoda showed up.  For some reason, an appearance by him was just not on my radar, so when we get that shot of the back of his head I got very excited.  And he really does feel like the original Yoda we all know and love; a mixture of goofy and wise.
  • All of the stuff in Snoke’s chamber is surprising and awesome.  Kylo Ren really comes into his own.
  • But what really caps off this movie as being truly great is the climax, where Luke ‘walks out with a laser sword to take down the whole first order’.  This sequence was epic though confusing, but when the reveal happens everything makes sense and we finally get to see just how powerful Luke has become.  Its shot, written and acted brilliantly.  Such a powerful scene.


  • “Master Skywalker, we need you to bring the Jedi back because Kylo Ren is strong with the dark side of the Force.”  This may be the lamest and most poorly delivered line since “sand”.  I think Daisey Ridley is great, which maybe makes this awkward line stand out even more.  Its odd.
  •  There was a lot of stuff on Canto Bight that I still find kind of tangential.  There’s a lot that feels “prequely”.  I liked the idea of an elitist casino planet, and there’s lots of great stuff with BB8 and a cool chase scene.  But the sentimentality around those weird horse creatures felt like too much.  I also didn’t really need Benicio Del Toro’s speech about the war machine.
  • I honestly wasn’t a big fan of Laura Dern in this movie.
  • I wasn’t a big fan of the very final scene with the broom kid.  I understand the idea behind it; the promise of the Force expanding beyond the central characters and the possibility for new Jedi in the future. And that I’m on board with.  But its placement felt awkward and sort of killed the momentum of the film’s crescendo.

Current Re-ranking List:

1. The Empire Strikes Back
2. The Last Jedi

3. The Force Awakens
4. Attack of the Clones


Remember 2015, when the long awaited new Star Wars film was released?  Such optimistic times, where everyone got on board to enjoy this new film.  Star Wars fans were united and the future of the franchise seemed so bright.  Sigh…
Time to revisit The Force Awakens.
  • What this movie did really well was not only introduce us to new characters, but quickly establish bonds and friendship between them.  There was instant  chemistry between both Finn and Poe, and more importantly Finn and Rey.  I think a lot of the film’s success stems from this.  One of my favourite parts is that very small moment when Rey offers Finn her hand to pull him up, because it encapsulates what I’m saying here.
  • I love the production design. It feels like the original trilogy, but also has a lot of new elements, which makes it modern without betraying that feeling.
  • Kylo Ren being a Vader wannabe, rather than just a villain retread, was a great choice.  Its more interesting to see a younger, more frustrated antagonist.
  • There’s some really great camerawork, as seen in the Falcon chase on Jakku, and some neat camera pans throughout.
  • BB8.  He’s great!
  • Its a small piece, but coming to the realization that Han and Leia are essentially mourning a child adds an undertone of melancholy to the story which really works.  Even to the point where their last interaction dooms Han.
  • Including Han and Chewie as main characters in the adventure was a great choice.  It really solidifies the feeling that this is Star Wars again, and Ford adds a lot of gravitas.
  • This is very much an adventure flick.  The pacing here is great: it keeps the story moving while still allowing us to spend time and care for these characters.
  • There’s some clumsy story beats at Maz’s castle.  I get that Finn starts off cowardly, but the idea of him choosing to run off to the outer rim with a couple of aliens was rushed and awkward, especially when he’s thrown right back into the action again.  Also, Rey finding the lightsaber was nonsensical.
  • Did we really need another Death Star?  The idea of it being built into a planet is neat, but all this does is fuel the complaints about it being too similar to the first movie.
  • I’m not entirely sure I like that it ends on a cliffhanger, but I will admit I was glad to see Luke.  You know what? Nah, I’m fine with it.  This isn’t a downfall.
  • Maz Kanata is kind of ridiculous.
  • I didn’t care for that First Order Nazi scene.  It was a little on the nose.
Current Re-ranking List:
1. The Empire Strikes Back
2. The Force Awakens
3. Attack of the Clones

Continuing with my Star Wars rewatch, and I will just say that I did like this one better than Attack of the Clones.  Hot take, I know.
  • This movie looks gorgeous.  The canvases of Hoth, Dagobah, the Asteroid field, etc.  all weaves into this incredible looking fabric of film.
  • This is Yoda at his best.  It blends funny, quirky Yoda with wise, pensive Yoda in a balance the new films just couldn’t capture.  He adds a lot to this movie.
  • This is probably John Williams’ best and most diverse score.
  • The showdown between Luke and Darth Vader is iconic and amazing.  Vader fights with such power and Luke does his best to keep up.  I love the way Vader taunts him the entire time, and the moment when they both first light up their lightsabers really gets the heart racing.
  • All the main characters are great here.  Luke feels like a real person, Han and Leia have some great interactions, and Chewie and the droids have tons of fun moments as well.  Even small details, like Artoo spitting out swamp water or Chewie putting Threepio’s head on backwards, really endears us to them.
  • Those AT-ATs are badass.
  • The snowspeeders are also great.  The way they fly across that icescape looks amazing.
  • I love the asteroid field stuff.  The space slug, though it doesn’t make a ton of sense, is a fun little splash of adventure and world-building.  Another great world-building piece are the bounty hunters.  Boba Fett steals the show here, obviously, but I always got excited about that recruitment scene which shows a bunch of them.
  • We really get a sense of the force in this movie, mostly through the Dagobah scenes, but also with ideas like Luke reaching out to Leia, Ben showing up as a ghost, etc.  The Darth Vader scene in the cave is a really shocking piece of introspection which is unexpected in a movie like this.  Yoda pulling out the X-Wing is also a powerful moment.
  • I’m really trying to look at both sides, so these are going to be nitpicky.  I can say that one thing that never sat right with me is the time discrepancy.  So Luke was training in Dagobah during the same time period that the Falcon was being chased?  I know there are ways to make sense and that they could have been stuck in that asteroid field for days, not to mention traveling to Bespin without hyperdrive, but its still odd.
  • Han saying “Then I’ll see you in hell!” seems very un-Star-Wars-like and also rather harsh and uncalled for.
  • Um… I don’t know what else. I love this movie.  I suppose there is something to be said about the way the ending feels unfinished in a way. But not really.
Special Edition Alert!
  • Empire seems to be the least defiled by changes than the rest of the films, but there are still some things that bug me.  I will say that there is quite a bit that blend in fairly well.  For example, I can’t remember what parts of the Wampa scene are added and what were there originally.
  • Changing the Emperor scene to Ian McDiarmand and changing Boba Fett’s voice to the guy from the prequels are both awful decisions.  Not only does it remind us of the lesser films of the series, but its also quite disrespectful to the original actors.
  • I would like to mention the bad decision to change Vader’s final line in the film, but I will just direct you to Eyebrow Cinema who already did a brilliant job with it. link
Current Re-ranking List:
1. The Empire Strikes Back
2. Attack of the Clones

I am going to revisit all the Star Wars movies over the next while.  I have been a Star Wars fan since I was a kid and have seen most of the movies a number of times.  This is just based on the current series rewatch I have decided to undertake.  I will start with Attack of the Clones.
I’m going to try to give these prequels a fair shake.  AotC is often considered the worst of the bunch (apart from that awful, awful Clone Wars movie), which is probably justified.  Its hard for me to completely divorce my nostalgia from these movies at the same time, but I do recognize this is probably the weakest of the films.
  •  The sound design for this movie is incredible.  Especially during that chase sequence.  The movie wasn’t even nominated for Sound at the Oscars, which it probably should have been.
  •  I really like the seismic charges, and really the whole asteroid belt dog fight.  It’s a great action scene, and very Star Wars-like.
  • Honestly, the basic story isn’t that bad.  The idea of a civil war brewing and the Jedi investigating various actions around this is a good one.  There are some major problems I will highlight below though.
  • Apart from the excessive digital composition of the film, there are some really nice-looking visuals and some well-composed shots throughout.
  • Let’s get the obvious out of the way first.  The dialogue here is atrocious, and by extension much of the acting is really bad as well.  This is something that comes up a lot in criticism of  Clones, and is the primary reason its often considered the worst SW film.  But I mean… it is really bad.  Ewan McGregor mostly deals with it okay, but not always.  Hayden Christenson gets the brunt of this, as many of his lines are truly awful, and he really doesn’t hit his beats right.  Natalie Portman does her best also, but nope.  I think the acting direction here is really awkward also, resulting in an all-around scripted nightmare.
  • This leads directly into my second point, which is the romance.  This is an entirely unbelievable romantic connection between the two leads.  Anakin unabashedly acts like a creep during the first half of the movie, and there is no way you believe a character as self-reliant as Padme would ever fall for him.  The sand line gets joked about a lot, but its really bad.  Most of the scenes that are supposed to be part of the patchwork of their love connection are just glaringly clumsy and awful.  For example: Anakin tries surfing on a Naboo cow.  And lets not even get started on how awkward the fireplace scene is.
  • While I said that most of the story outline works, the romance obviously doesn’t, nor does the ridiculous plot point of Anakin’s prescient dreams. I agree that he needed to get back to Tattooine and I like the idea of failing his mother as being a driving force for his turn.  But this is a very inelegant way of doing so.
  • The CGI is highly pervasive in the movie, and it doesn’t hold up well.  It really gives the film a plastic look.  For example, the scene where Dooku meets with the council of separatists, there are aliens with animatronic costumes and aliens that are fully CGI, and they are very heavily contrasted.  It doesn’t blend well.
  • Going off of this point, the scene in the droid factory could have been a really cool action set piece.  There was a lot of potential there.  But the CGI, and the way the actors react to it, really make it bad.  You can almost see the green screen and treadmills.
  •  I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t like the way the Jedi as a whole are handled by the prequels.  In the OT, I had this concept of the Jedi as being these wandering, mythical warriors; figures of legend.  Both Obi-Wan and Yoda helped to build this idea in my head, as did the general way that people would talk about them.  Then the prequels come along and suddenly the Jedi are a bureaucratic body of government…  What a disappointment.  Oh, and they die really easily.
  • Going off of this point, Yoda in particular doesn’t really feel like the Yoda we know from the Dagobah swamp.  Yes we all cheered when he got out his light-saber, but looking back it doesn’t really seem like a Yoda move.  Having him sit around talking with politicians and taking part in board meetings doesn’t seem like him either.
That’s all I can think to talk about right now.  I’m sure there’s more, but they will likely come up with later movies.
Current Re-ranking List:
1.  Attack of the Clones
Current Dismemberment tally: 1 (Anakin)
10. The Avengers
I’m not sure this ones going to hold up well over time, but it was a big deal.  Maybe it makes the list more on its significance.  Second half much better than the first.
9. Captain America: Winter Solider
Sure it gave up the MCU’s lamest character in Bucky Barnes that we had to put up with ever since, but otherwise this is a pretty solid action flick.  The elevator scene is great, and I like the old spy movie elements.
8. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
Made two lists.  How about that.
7. Avengers: Infinity War
The culmination of all the MCU that came before.  Some great pairings in this movie with a strong villain at the core.
6. The Dark Knight Rises
The conclusion of Nolan’s trilogy.  Its the weakest of the three perhaps, but its still really good.  Its interesting seeing Bruce have to come back from his lowest point.  It gets a little outlandish with the level of chaos the city falls into, but it works for the drama created from it.
5. Guardians of the Galaxy

Does this really count as a superhero movie?  I mean, its part of the MCU, so that’s why its here.  But there’s an argument to be made its more sci-fi.  Bah, genre classification is stupid.  It ties in with Marvel,so its here.  Regardless, its a heck of a lot of fun.
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past
This is sort of like the Endgame of the x-men universe.  All kinds of stuff gets thrown together here, past and present, and it all works really well.  Centering Wolverine and the central character traveling back to the past is a brilliant stroke.  We get crazy action in the future time, and solid drama in the past.  They could have needed X-men here and it would have been a great send off.
Although then we wouldn’t get this great send-off…
3. Logan
In 2009, we got a long awaited Wolverine spin-off, and then wished we hadn’t.  But a few years later, we wound up with Logan, a contemplative look at the toll of Wolverine’s years and lifestyle.  Adding in Patrick Stewart was a great movie as well.  This movie looks great, is deeply felt, and still has that comic book action we crave.
2. Wonder Woman
I feel like this may go down as a superhero classic.  It has the elements: great protagonist, strong motivation which says something about heroism, an iconic look and an iconic scene (no-mans land).  I appreciate it more every time I see it.
1. Avengers Endgame
The most financially successful movie of all time, built on the backs of 20 other films.  Its a ridiculous smorgasbord of Marvelly action, but its also a pretty solid story, especially in the first half.  The world is dealing with the “snap”, and thinks are looking bleak.  But a ray of hope brings the team back together and then things really get rolling.  They really nailed this one.  I was very impressed.  In a year of big franchises letting us down with their endings, MCU did anything but.
10. Isle of Dogs
I’ll admit that when I first saw this, I was let down.  It doesn’t reach the heights of Anderson’s other stop-motion Mr. Fox and the human parts of the story in particular were uninteresting.  But I’ve caught it on tv a few times before then, and every time I do I like it quite a bit more.  Somehow Anderson can make a dogs furtive glance funny.  It works.
9. The Peanuts Movie
This didn’t and still doesn’t get a lot of fanfare, but I really liked what the Peanuts movie did.  It really seemed to capture the heart and soul of Schultz’s comic in both story and animation.  Its really a solid little cartoon.
8. How to Train Your Dragon
I think this one surprised a lot of people.  This came out at the height of 3D and got a lot of hype for the flying scenes, but I guess this is a reflection of how vivid the animation is.  The story works well and can be quite touching at time.
7. Coco
I’m just a sap I guess.  That scene with the song at the end clinched this for me.
6. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
I suspected that this was mostly people getting over-hyped, but when I decided to watched it I ended up liking it quite a bit.  The mix of animation styles is cool, and the death of … someone major at the beginning and its fallout really won me over.

5. Moana
I don’t know why I like this one as much as I do.  Ts not really my kind of movie, but there you have it.  I even like the songs.  Like, a lot.
4. The Lego Movie
I’ve always been a big lego maniac, but even so I was skeptical of a movie about lego.  But low and behold, what I got was great.  The animation was creative, the themes spoke to the purpose of lego itself, it was funny… it was awesome.
3. Toy Story 3
This might be the best of the series.  I think maybe it is.
2. Your Name
As far as the animation is concerned, the is the most gorgeous looking film on this list.  And the story, though weird, is really quite wonderful.  Your Name really took me by surprise.  It was very close to topping this list.
1. Inside Out
This is Pixar reaching back to its glory days of a decade earlier.  You know, when it made Cars.  I love the themes of Inside Out and how they mesh with these characters.  There’s a lot of imagination happening here.  I seem to like Inside Out more every time I see it.  It also has the added memory of me taking my niece to see this as her first movie when she was 4 years old.
10. Black Swan

Does this count as a horror movie?  Its sort of psychological horror, right?  Anyways, I haven’t seen it in a while, but remember really liking it.  So it makes the list.

9. Halloween

Despite how much I hate that they want this to be a sequel to Halloween, yet called it EXACTLY THE SAME THING, I really ended up liking it.  It felt solidly constructed with lots of weight behind it.  Michael Myers returning as an old man is good stuff.
8. Train to Busan
Again, this might be considered action instead. look; I don’t want to get into a big war with you people on genre semantics.  Its got zombies, its got scenes full of tension, its fine.  It works fine.  Also, its an awesome movie.
7. It
Its one of the more pedestrian choices for the list, and that’s fine!  I like this movie!  Pennywise is creepy, the kids have a good story going, they are able to filter the Stephen King-ness out to keep it essential.
6. The Witch
Bloody freaky, I tell you.  Love the old timey setting.  Really made my skin crawl, especially near the end.
5. Midsommar
I’m still not sure the ending sits right with me.  It’s all kinds of messed up.  But this movie pulled me in quickly sand then just held on.  The Scandinavian colony idea was intriguing and haunting.
4. Hereditary
Hey, same director. How about that.  Again, that ending…   Is Ari Aster okay?   Should someone check on him, make sure he’s doing alright?
3. A Quiet Place
A great premise with execution to match.  Lots of cool details here, lots of tense scenes, an oddly quiet theater experience.  Loved it.
2. Get Out
This one has grown on me more and more.  A nice mystery build up, and a good twist moment when you realize what is happening.  You know what? This is going in my collection.  I just ordered from amazon.
1. It Follows
I was not expecting It Follows to grab me as much as it did.  On first glance it seems like one of those horror movies only teenagers would like, but when I watched it I realized there was a lot of craft behind it.  I also think the idea of the creature constantly and slowly stalking you is very creepy.

Looking ahead to 2020… I’m actually not looking forward to much.  I’m hopeful there will be great movies coming out, but at this point, not quite sure what they will be.  So this is just more of a few that caught my eye, mostly because of who is making them.

5. Wonder Woman 1984
I really liked Wonder Woman and think it might last as one of the best of the super hero films.  I’m very skeptical of the sequel to be honest.  I really don’t know what it could add.  But I’m still interested to find out.
4. Onward
Another one I’m skeptical on; the trailers didn’t actually look that good.  But its Pixar so I’ll give them the benefit of a chance.  I am interested to see what the world building is like.
3. Mank

David Fincher hasn’t come out with a film in seven years, so of course I’m going to be excited to see what he does next.  Its going to be a biopic about the screenwriter of Citizen Kane.  Um, alright.  Seems esoteric, and not necessarily something that excites me.  But I have to remember that ten years ago we were saying”He’s making a Facebook movie? Really?”

2. Dune
And now we are getting to the movies which are really exciting me.  Dune is one of my favourite books, and so far there has just been a poorly developed movie from the 80s and a faithful but cheesy tv movie.  So maybe, hopefully, we get some justice done to Frank Herbert’s masterpiece.  Why am I hopeful?  Simple; the director.  Denis Villineue has quickly become a director to trust, especially after Sicario, Blade Runner, and one of my favourite movies of the past few years, Arrival.
1. Tenet
And of course the top spot goes to the new Christopher Nolan film.  I’m a Nolan fanboy; sorry.  His movies are always big, bold, and above all interesting.  I have no idea what this is about, and I want to keep it that way.  Very excited.

This was a pretty solid year for movies.  But not all can be winners.  Sometimes we have to look at what doesn’t work to appreciate what does work even more.

5. I Am Mother

Netflix has been going all out on producing sci-fi movies and TV shows lately.  Clearly they must be finding it popular, based on their secret statistics.   The problem is that they tend to just want this stuff out there as “new content” and don’t tend to focus on quality.  I Am Mother has the somewhat intriguing premise of a child being raised by a robot.  However, its not actually interested in exploring what a girl who is raised by robots would actually be like.  She just seems like a normal girl.  Its actually rather dull.

4. Alita: Battle Angel
I know that a lot of people actually really like this movie and found it to be a pleasant surprise.  I’m glad it found an audience, but I’m just not a part of that group.  I found the world-building to be lame, the storytelling sloppy, and the main character of Alita wildly inconsistent.  It looks great, but otherwise falls apart at the seams.
3.The Laundromat

Its easy to compare this to 2015’s The Big Short, as they are both trying to explain some sort of confusing financial incident using a lot of fourth wall-breaking techniques and merging multiple stories.  But hooooboy are they different.  Where The Big Short actually helped you understand what was happening, I still don’t really know what The Laundromat was about.  The “merging stories” also seemed wildly disconnected and very unbalanced in the editing.  And it did absolutely nothing to make me care about any of it.

2. Shazam!

If someone was to ask me ‘what is the one primary aspect of a bad movie that makes it bad?’, I would have to say the editing.  Editing is important in creating the right pacing and also adds a lot to the tone of a movie.  If these things don’t work, the film falls apart.  And this is Shazam in a nutshell.  The pacing is all over the place and there are so many extraneous and displaced scenes that it just becomes one big mess. Oh, and for trying to be DC’s fun, light-hearted movies, the jokes and gags simply fell flat.

1. Men in Black: International
This is the epitome of soulless franchise milking.  Its “Hollywood safe” movie-making at its worst.  There is no reason to bring the Men in Black series back (not really that great a series in the first place) other than that its a recognizable product, so why not?  Its bland, its boring, its clearly made by committee; in other words, its everything that’s wrong with the movie industry right now.