ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (2016)

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Rogue One: Another Daddy Issue Story

Rogue One’s time frame is too far from Revenge of the Sith to be called Episode 3.5. The entire movie is merely the extended version of A New Hope’s opening scene.

This is the most menacing Vader has ever looked in the franchise. Full-on badassery! Gareth Edwards certainly knows how to work those Vader bits (including the dad joke that got me choked).

Donnie Yen’s Chirrut steals the spotlight for me. He’s probably the most well-written and performed character in Rogue One. And also K-2SO, the second snarkiest robot after TARS from Interstellar.

Last but not least, the honorable mention: The CGI faces. Smooth.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (2016)

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For a spin-off, Fantastic Beasts seems pretty detached to the Potterverse. Apart from essentially connected to Grindelwald, it is a(mericanized) whole new whimsical world with its own terms and rules.

The storyline feels underdeveloped and crammed up, which is rather disappointing considering JKR writes the screenplay herself. She supposedly has plenty of time to tell more backstory since it will be made into a pentalogy!

But great thing is, you can see her signature writing and how good she creates the characters and how she builds their relationships. You’ll grow fond of the new gang once you get to know them.

The actors are well-cast, but there is only one scene stealer. By Merlin’s beard, doesn’t Colin Farrell look dapper in that overcoat?! The actual fantastic beast in the film. Rawr.

HACKSAW RIDGE [2016]

“In peace, a son buries his father. In war, a father buries his son.”

What I admire about war films is it’s never about the war itself. It’s always about the humanity, patriotism, courage — and this time, Mel Gibson’s directorial comeback (it’s been 10 years!) proven to be a solid victory with its portrayal of faith put as the spotlight.

Desmond Doss played by Andrew Garfield (who gives his finest performance) wrestles with his belief not to bear arms in the violence of war, and yet ultimately saves 75 lives.

Hacksaw Ridge is a remarkable visual narrative of inner struggle when man’s religious conscience conflicted with his duty and the safety of his band of brothers. Will he stand on his ground?

An honest illustration of the brutality of war and the unyielding faith of a man.

DOCTOR STRANGE [2016]

I’m not too familiar with the character as much as the other superheroes, but I’m glad they bring him into the MCU because Doctor Strange is a breath of fresh air in a trend where everything exploded and destroyed all the time.

I’m usually not crazy about films that rely too heavily on digital fx. However, this one is a necessity that will not only gratify your viewing pleasure, but eventually becomes a cinematic sorcery that brings art to life. It’s like being inside the world of M.C. Escher’s painting “Relativity”. Surrealism at its best! A wild acid trip you can experience without taking any recreational shrooms. THIS is what CGI made for.

Now let’s put aside the visual orgasm for a moment, and talk about the humor and pop culture references. I love the Hannibal’s mouth & body restraint and Sherlock’s popped collar easter eggs! I initially thought he was a frigid character, turns out Stephen is strangely amusing.

Most important of all, the silver-haired Benadryl Cumbersmaug without a doubt is something to drool over.

THE MAN FROM EARTH [2007]

A young professor claims he’s a Cro-Magnon who survived 14,000 years of living in front of his fellow academics ranging from a biologist, anthropologist, archaeologist, historian, Christian literary scholar, and psychiatrist. Their impromptu farewell party turns into a Q & A of history, philosophy, logic, science, and religion that makes them question his validity and sanity.

Ain’t that an amazing premise??!

Ok, this intellectual sci-fi comes from a really really well-written screenplay. I also like that it’s a one room setting, so the focus is centered on their discussion. Though the production value, directing, and acting aren’t in the best quality, this film deserves a view by the script only.