All Our Spoiler-Filled Impressions Right After Seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi

We’ve already got a spoiler-free review for you to check out, as well as an open reader discussion thread, but what did we all think of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in all our spoilery glory, now that it’s in theaters?

**WARNING: FULL SPOILERS BELOW.**

We’ve all been dying to see this movie since The Force Awakens left us hanging on a literal cliff, so naturally, we’ve all got a lot of strong opinions about likes and dislikes, both big and small, in a movie that wrapped up a surprising amount of threads from its predecessor. We’re all still processing and discussing amongst ourselves, but here are some of our initial thoughts directly after seeing the movie:

Dan:

I liked the character growth on display with our new trio of main characters: Poe learning what it means to be a leader, rather than a reckless hero; Finn learning to stick around and sacrifice himself for the cause, rather than continuing to try to run away with Rey (even as he was ultimately saved from his actions by someone who maybe learned to be a little selfish from him in return); and Rey learning to be her own hero despite being “nobody,” rather than assuming Luke Skywalker is the only way to save everyone because he’s “somebody.”

I liked how the movie leaned into ongoing discussion about the morality of the Star Wars universe and pointed out the failing of “both sides” arguments (both real and fictional) with Benicio Del Toro’s character. Yes, it’s important to admit that “both sides” have flaws, and that violence has consequences, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to distinguish between the good guys and the bad.

Other likes:

– Leia finally getting to use some Force powers, which she never makes a big deal out of.

– Characters touching on the idea of how the space war economy actually works without getting as bogged down in politics as the prequels did.

– R2 playing Leia’s original message from A New Hope.

– Holdo talking about how Leia inspired her. This conversation both uplifted and crushed me.

– Comments about Poe being a trigger-happy flyboy eventually culminating in Leia agreeing that she likes him. When Holdo first called him that, I was dying for her to mention that it’s probably why Leia likes him, and she eventually came through.

– Rey coming from nothing to be a hero.

– Kylo being an evil sh*t who tries to neg Rey into joining the dark side, and getting denied. I am not into any Kylo/Rey stuff or any “Kylo is actually a good guy, trying to tear down the destructive Jedi/Sith cycle” theories, and I would’ve been disappointed if he suddenly turned over a new leaf.

– The humor. I always liked the personality and humor in Star Wars, and I was happy to have several full-on laughs during this movie, especially when Hux barks identical orders right after Kylo, who then looks at him like “wyd?”

– Luke whining at an inscrutable Yoda. This is everything to me.

– The movie leaning into Luke’s past as a mediocre Jedi. For all the references people have made to Luke’s quick learning when talking about Rey’s abilities in The Force Awakens, he was never really all that great at being a Jedi in the OT. His best use of his Jedi powers was a little bit of a guiding hand from the Force while he was aiming at the Death Star exhaust port in A New Hope.

He wasn’t able to raise his X-Wing out of Yoda’s swamp. He was easily defeated by Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. He may have beaten Vader in Return of the Jedi, but Palpatine would have killed him without breaking a sweat if the fight were on ability alone, and it would’ve been for nothing. In the end, he was only able to win because he could appeal to his father’s emotions. In The Last Jedi, he’s come to terms with the fact that his family lineage and affinity for the Force don’t automatically make him the one person who can save the galaxy, and I love that.

Dislikes:

– Snoke’s role disappointed me. It’s OK that he was dispatched quickly and didn’t get some grand reveal as an incredibly meaningful part of the Star Wars universe, but if that was going to be the case, his death should have been a shocking turn. Instead, it was made abundantly clear what Kylo Ren was about to do, which took any remaining impact of the character, as well as his most pivotal scene, entirely out of the movie.

– The Force communication. The entire reason for Rey and Kylo Ren to need to communicate face-to-face through the Force is to set up Luke pulling off the same trick on a grander scale later on, since everything that passed between Rey and Kylo could just as easily have happened with Kylo trying to put ideas into Rey’s mind from afar every time she tries to connect to the Force for her training. (And that probably would’ve been a less distracting way to go about it, like Luke seeing his friends in danger while he trained with Yoda on Dagobah.)

But with Luke dying at the end anyway, there was no reason for him not to actually show up in person and purposefully go down, Obi-Wan-style. The entire idea of people being projected in other places through the Force was unnecessary, which makes it an odd choice considering how jarring it was.

– I liked what the subplots brought to the story and characters, if not the plot, but they could’ve been edited down for sure.

– Worst use of Gwendoline Christie ever. I’m glad Finn fought Phasma rather than a random stormtrooper this time (and yes, I know there’s a novel that explains why that stormtrooper was meaningful), but she was still underutilized to a frustrating degree.

Kaila:

Y’all got a big dose of what I thought with my review, but now that the porg is out of the bag I can finally talk some specifics. Overall, my reaction was positive and quite emotional, which surprised me. The times when I cried openly during this film are as follows: Leia Force-flying back to the ship; R2 playing Leia’s original message for Obi-Wan; Luke and Leia’s reunion, and Luke handing over the Han’s Millennium Falcon decoration; Luke and the two goddamned suns in the end taking us all the way back to Tatooine and the beginning.

Here are some of the things that made me cranky about the movie that I still can’t shake, however:

– It’s much too long. It doesn’t need to be this long. There was a lot of wasted time in some parts, and others too rushed. There were at least 2,456 climactic show-downs saved at the last moment by some kind of deus ex machina (droid ex machina?).

– It’s hard not to find the Finn/Rose subplot almost completely superfluous. I love them, deeply, and in another Star Wars movie, it would be cool to go to an alien casino and free some space horses in a wild ride. But with so much at stake in other areas of the galaxy, it just felt for me like all the air went out whenever we returned to this plot. Also, it’s built on incredibly shaky ground: they end up not even taking the tracker out, the entire point of the whole escapade, and Finn and Rose end up in a high-security prison where they meet Benicio because they parked their shuttle in the wrong place? What?

– It’s also hard not to see Finn/Rose as a setup for an angsty sort of triangle with Rey in the next movie, that also neatly leaves room for Rey to hook up with Kylo Ren. I hate everything about this: love triangles, and Rey hooking up with Kylo Ren. Let Finn have two girlfriends and a boyfriend.

– Reylo. I honestly thought all of the trailer noise about Rey and Kylo was just misdirection. I expected them to have perhaps one climactic scene together. Instead, the entire film is them Force-skyping each other back and forth, and Rey sending herself in a pod straight to Kylo Ren has to be one of the stupidest moves in any Star Wars movie, ever. The implications of romance for a heroine and a man who has killed his father and participated in multiple genocides does not sit well with me. I liked their dynamic overall, and their tension—let them have an uneasy friendship since they do share quite a lot, power-wise—but keep your goddamned shirt on, Driver. The squick was strong here.

These gripes aside, I still felt very moved by The Last Jedi, and appreciated its surprises and willingness to go where we did not expect it to go, and its beauty and lovely attention to detail. And I’m teary-eyed every time I think of Luke Skywalker and those double suns, even four days after seeing the movie. I think that image just might be with me forever.

Princess:

Every time I watch a Star Was film, I’m pulled into the universe of it—the nobility of it and the bravery of it. They’re my favorite war movies, and I know it wasn’t great, but Rogue One made me cry. Anyway, when it comes to The Last Jedi, I think my opinions are in line with Dan and Kaila. I loved all the Leia stuff, and I enjoyed the fact that Rey was just a nobody who had this gift. I think we got so wrapped up in the “bloodline” that we forgot that Anakin was also a nobody from nowhere once. He began the Skywalker legacy by chance and weird prophecy. Now, Rey can make her own legacy.

Also, moral of the story: trust your female leaders, especially when they have more experience and rank than you, ffs.

Loves:

– Snoke was a snore. Good, we don’t need Palpatine 2.0. Let Kylo Ren rise to be the irredeemable toxic man-child he is. May his black clothes forever have lint.

– Leia using the force and being the hope.

– All of the BB-8. Honestly, as great and adorable as the porgs were, BB-8 has them beat. The friendship with Poe is also adorable. “Where’s my droid?!” Bless.

– With Holdo, I was very happy that she was a competent and intelligent leader who had a long game plan. As for people who are like, “Well why didn’t she tell Poe?” Why should she? He looked at her and instantly didn’t believe she had what it took, so why should she tell someone who was just previously shown to disobey direct orders from Leia that led to the deaths of multiple bombers?

– Rey being of common stock like the rest of us. I think it makes sense that she, like many orphans, wants to believe that she has some secret lineage that makes her more special. It’s more powerful to say that we make ourselves special than saying that we are born special.

– Everything Luke Skywalker. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’m in love with Luke. The entire ending conflict with Kylo was perfect because Kylo is a scrub in the truest form of the word, and Luke owned his punk a$$.

– The Rey and Kylo battle sequence was legit cool and probably one of the most violent scenes in a Star Wars movie. It’s a lucky thing people don’t bleed from lightsaber cuts.

Loathes:

– I’m a Never Reylo, so that shirtless scene was a hard pass. Save the intimate hand-touching scenes for Jane Austen and period dramas. It almost felt like Rey wanted to save Ben to prove something to Luke, but if Luke Skywalker thinks you’re a lost cause, then there you go. Let’s remember that Vader’s redemption came from him choosing family over darkness. Kylo you goofed.

– That Finn/Rose’s storyline was just one giant McGuffin. I enjoyed that we got some great sequences with two dope POC characters, but every time they cut back to them, I was like “okay, but what is the point?” Not to mention the whole thing just undermined Holdo, who was right the whole time, so good job breaking it, hero.

– If there’s a Finn/Rose/Rey love triangle, I am going to lose my mind. Yes, everyone loves Finn, but that just means polyamory, not triangles.

Vivian:

I loved this movie. I loved all four movies that made up this movie. I cried and I laughed a ton, and I was disappointed that the rest of the audience was a quiet one, because I had the urge to clap and cheer a number of times. That said, it definitely had that “middle installment” feel to it. Here are my thoughts:

Love:

– Everything about Leia! Her Force-floating, her space jewelry, the fact that after she tased Poe, she took the time to get dressed and do her elaborate rolled hairdo before boarding the transport ship.

– Everything about Holdo—from Poe realizing how wrong he was to underestimate her to that shot of her hitting lightspeed, she was perfect. (Also, that turtleneck.)

– Rey’s parentage reveal. While I would have been happy with a Kenobi connection, I’m glad she exists without an “explanation.” Where does she get her immense power from? From herself, that’s where.

– Hollywood, please put Kelly Marie Tran in literally everything.

– LUKE’S SHOULDER BRUSH AT BEN’S BIG GUN SHOW. I died laughing.

Meh:

– Adding my voice to the anti-Reylo crowd.

– Ditto the Finn/Rose romance. And if there is a love triangle between them and Rey in the next movie I will burn this whole place to the ground. Just let them be friends! Let theirs be a relationship of mutual respect and deep friendship. If anyone’s gonna do kissing at each other, it’s got to be Finn and Poe.

– Snoke is boring as hell.

– It was far too long, and way overstuffed. When Justin Theroux is making cameos in a Star Wars movie, the stunt casting has officially gone too far.

Teresa:

I have to say that, where Luke is concerned, this film ends perfectly, and that one big image of Rey “moving rocks” made her My Queen.

Now, I’ll nit-pick for a tiny second only to say that sometimes the film tries too hard to be funny, and not all the bits land. There are definitely some clunky one-liners and awkward/corny jokes that fall flat, but you won’t care, because there’s so much other stuff you’ll be paying attention to.

I love that the Rey/Kylo relationship is so much more complicated than mere “good” and “evil.” When Supreme Leader Snoke connected the two of them via the Force, I loved that neither of them backed away from the connection. I loved that despite believing him to be a “monster,” Rey has hope that he can change and is willing to pursue him for the Resistance. I love that Kylo seems to genuinely respect Rey’s abilities, despite thinking her misguided. The scene where they, for one brief, shining moment, fight together, I was exhilarated.

The performances from Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, and Mark Hamill were amazing. It’s clear that Ridley has grown into her role, and her performance as Rey has become much more confident and powerful. Driver strikes a perfect balance between genuine menace and petulant child, all while delivering just the right touch of vulnerability to make his interactions with Rey believable and grounded. And I’ll just go ahead and say it: it’s so nice to watch Hamill play a version of Luke that is not annoying and whiny. Luke was always my least favorite part of Star Wars, but this older, more thoroughly-tested Luke is so much more interesting than that other guy. Hamill absolutely nailed it.

So, what about the other characters?

Leia. Leia. Leia. Yes, watching Carrie Fisher might make you cry, especially since some of the plot involving her parallels real-life events. However, she will do more than make you cry. She will inspire the hell out of you in this one badass scene wherein it’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is the Skywalker that is strongest in the Force. OK, maybe she and Luke are equal after all the events of this film are taken into account, but this is definitely the most we’ve ever seen her actively use her connection to the Force, and it is unbelievably epic.

Her relationship with Poe is awesome, and I love watching him learn how to be a leader from two women: Leia and Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern). This film is also the story of Poe Dameron becoming a leader in the resistance and learning how to do more than just blow things up.

Rose Tico, played by Kelly Marie Tran, absolutely lights up the screen every time she’s on it. I would argue that watching the introduction of this wonderful new character is worth the price of admission all by itself. The first time we meet Rose, she’s crying over the loss of her sister, a Resistance fighter. So, right away, Tran pulls us in with her depth and vulnerability. She continues to dazzle throughout with humor, sweetness, toughness, and brilliance.

Then there’s the issue of her relationship with Finn. I love watching them as a team, and normally her catching feelings for Finn would piss me right off. But she’s such a great character, that it doesn’t take away from how nuanced she is.

Watching Finn defeat Captain Phasma was pretty major. The Force Awakens was all about Finn having the courage to leave the First Order and devote himself to the Resistance in the first place. In this film, Finn closes that loop by defeating the woman most responsible for his subjugation. It’s hugely powerful.

However, I did feel some disappointment about Captain Phasma: I was disappointed that she was killed in this film after having been put to such little use. Now, perhaps she’s not dead. We saw her fall into a huge fireball, so it’s likely, but who knows? She could come back as some kind of disfigured monster hell-bent on revenge. That said, in The Force Awakens, I got the feeling that there was more to the story of her and Finn than met the eye. She seemed to favor him, and try to protect him from The First Order’s punishment a couple of times, leading me to believe that she was especially on his side for some reason. To see her simply reduced to the “muscle” chasing after him, and existing solely to give Finn his one moment of heroism was disappointing indeed.

Despite that, the film answers some criticisms some had about The Force Awakens. Thought Rey was a “Mary Sue” because she was competent? Her raw strength is addressed in this film, as is the fact that Kylo’s particular weaknesses allowed her to have the upper hand when she might not have otherwise. Didn’t like the fact that Chewie and Leia didn’t hug at the end of The Force Awakens? Get ready for their moment in this film. Sometimes, when something bugs you about a film, the answer is just to wait. They’re getting to it later in the story. Let them tell it to you, rather than trying to tell it yourself.

In other news, porgs are adorable, and BB-8 is so much more badass than we may have given him credit for.

What I love most about Star Wars: The Last Jedi is that it moves the franchise in a direction that I’ve been talking about and waiting for forever. The realm of “average people.” It’s basically the beginning of the answer to this TMS post. The film is exciting, unexpected, and full of moral and ethical questions that you’ll leave the theater talking about. It’s clear in this film that the story of Star Wars is changing—it reminds me a bit of the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when she awakens the slayer potential in girls all over the world—and the possibilities of where it could go from here are absolutely thrilling.

(image: Disney/Lucasfilm)

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Let’s Talk About Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Rey on Star Wars: The Last Jedi poster

Good morning! As you may have been aware, there was a Star War last night.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now in theaters, and that means we’re finally ready to talk about the movie in detail, spoilers and all. Oh, yeah, fair warning: massive, that’s-no-moon-size spoilers ahead, following the gif. You have been warned.

Doctor Who Spoiler gif

While the movie received great reviews, I’ve noticed a fair amount of backlash this morning while scrolling the interwebs, not to mention the Rotten Tomatoes fan score coming in significantly lower than the critic score. As someone who really enjoyed The Last Jedi, I’m fascinated as to why that is. It’s not that I don’t think there are legitimate criticisms to be made—my biggest knock against it is that it could easily have been two movies, which led the thinner parts to drag and the meatier parts to feel like they could’ve been explored more deeply.

But overall, I liked the character development on display, and I liked what the movie had to say about heroes, villains, and shades of grey—and the importance of being able to distinguish, rather than getting lost in “both sides”-ism. Some of the things I didn’t like felt more like my own personal expectations and theories getting in the way, rather than failings on the part of the movie.

I’m interested to hear whether others felt that fan expectations were upended to the point of betrayal. On the other hand, I’ve also seen criticism that the movie played it too safe and didn’t take things in bold new directions for the franchise when it had the chance. Did it not meet expectations, or did it stick so closely to them that it was uninteresting—or was the expectation that something daring would be done, and following the expected path wound up unexpected?

Or did you love it like I did and just come here to gush, talk it out with fellow fans, and come up with new theories going forward? Whatever the case, have it out in the comments below, but remember to be respectful!

(image: Disney/Lucasfilm)

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Matt Damon: We Know Al Franken & Harvey Weinstein Aren’t the Same

Matt Damon

Man, there was a time when I really, really liked Matt Damon, but ever since the Project Greenlight fiasco, it has just been a downward spiral from cool liberal dude Matt Damon to “liberal dude mansplainer” Matt Damon.

While doing an interview with ABC for his upcoming film Downsizing, co-starring Kristen Wiig, Damon was asked about his feelings on Harvey Weinstein by Peter Travers, because, you know, he is the father of four girls. Four. Girls. Four. The entire interview is filled with delicious oblivious gems.

I think we’re in this watershed moment. I think it’s great. I think it’s wonderful that women are feeling empowered to tell their stories, and it’s totally necessary … I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior, right? And we’re going to have to figure — you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right? You know, we see somebody like Al Franken, right? — I personally would have preferred if they had an Ethics Committee investigation, you know what I mean? It’s like at what point — you know, we’re so energized to kind of get retribution, I think.

Sigh.

Guys, I know you all think we are just crazy feminists with deep desires to ruin the lives of all men, but believe it or not, we understand the nuances of different allegations of sexual misconduct. Al Franken is not the same as Harvey Weinstein, but that does not mean he should be allowed to just keep his position. Franken resigned, and yes, it was very much the result of pushing by his fellow Democrats, who wanted to have a moral high-ground considering the issue with Roy Moore and Donald Trump both facing much worse allegations. Which was politically the right move for the Dems in the long term.

When it comes to Franken, he denied the allegations against him and said he “remembered things differently,” even when it came to the nature of the photograph concerning his first victimMultiple women have come forward to allege that he groped them or tried to forcibly kiss them. The defense that Franken used his position in the Senate to push bills for women in light of these allegations doesn’t make things better; it makes things worse.

But let’s say this: What if we waited for the Ethics Committee investigation and they just confirmed the stories about all the women? Then what? Would everyone be okay with him stepping down then? Probably not. Why? Because it’s not really about the due process. It is about wanting to prove women to be liars.

And we live in this culture of outrage and injury, and, you know, that we’re going to have to correct enough to kind of go, “Wait a minute. None of us came here perfect.” You know what I mean? … The Louis C.K. thing, I don’t know all the details. I don’t do deep dives on this, but I did see his statement, which kind of, which [was] arresting to me. When he came out and said, “I did this. I did these things. These women are all telling the truth.” And I just remember thinking, “Well, that’s the sign of somebody who — well, we can work with that” … Like, when I’m raising my kids, this constant personal responsibility is as important as anything else they learn before they go off in the world.

[…]

.And on this end of the continuum where you have rape and child molestation or whatever, you know, that’s prison. Right? And that’s what needs to happen. OK? And then we can talk about rehabilitation and everything else. That’s criminal behavior, and it needs to be dealt with that way. The other stuff is just kind of shameful and gross, and I just think … I don’t know Louis C.K.. I’ve never met him. I’m a fan of his, but I don’t imagine he’s going to do those things again. You know what I mean? I imagine the price that he’s paid at this point is so beyond anything that he — I just think that we have to kind of start delineating between what these behaviors are.

Yeah, and Louis C.K. only took personal responsibility because he got caught. He denied the allegations before, dismissing them as rumors, and if the article hadn’t come out, he would have continued to deny it. He didn’t say sorry to the women for what he did, and he still hasn’t done anything to correct the issue. So what personal responsibility? There has to be something between prison and nothing and if right now all it is is professional exile, then so be it.

Also, because you don’t imagine him doing this again, that means he has paid the price? And how do you know he won’t? Because you are a fan?

I just. I want to flip the table, because this is just such bullshit. Like you realize women lose roles and have their careers dragged for much-much less, right? Nothing in Damon’s statements shows concern for the women or any of the victims. It’s only about the overarching effects for these dudes. Plus, this line: “I imagine the price that he’s paid at this point is so beyond anything that he — ” made me feel like he had to just stop himself from saying that C.K. suffered more than the victims, because we are still arguing that jerking off in front of  women … isn’t really that bad.

Women in comedy left their profession because of Louis C.K. Women stopped pursuing their dreams because of Louis C.K., but it’s fine because he probably won’t ever do it again.

The final straw for me is towards the end, where Damon talks about an imaginary situation where if someone lied and made a claim that Matt Damon assaulted them in the past, you were able to just pay the money and get a confidentiality agreement, but now:

Now … with social media, these stories get — it’s like they get gasoline poured on them. So the moment a claim is made, if you make that same claim today to me, I would be scorched earth. I’d go, “I don’t care if it costs $10 million to fight this in court with you for 10 years, you are not taking my name from me. You are not taking my name and my reputation from me. I’ve worked too hard for it. And I earned it. You can’t just blow me up like that.” So I think once a claim is made, there will no longer be settlements. That’s just my prediction, I mean, just based on what I’ve seen.

Damon says that this is a good thing, but it doesn’t feel like it—not when he’s promoting a narrative that paints women as gold-diggers and manipulators. Please, please PR people, prep your stars about how to handle this issue, because it’s plain to see that, even amongst men who say they respect and care about women, they still have a hard time understanding that you don’t rank women’s sexual trauma as a way to feel better about guys you like.

Before we want to start writing redemption songs for people, can we at the very least make sure they actually prove themselves to be worth that kind of trouble? The first step is actually being sorry. Not reactionary sorry.

(via Jezebel; image:  Twocoms / Shutterstock.com)

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Netflix January 2018: Goodbye Mean Girls, Addams Family; Hello Batman, Bring It On, & More – Stop trying to make January happen.

Catwoman in Batman Returns

What will keep you occupied in January as you hide under the covers and wait for the freezing cold weather to end (unless you’re one of those lucky people who lives where that doesn’t happen)? Here’s the full list of what Netflix will have on order to kick off 2018, but beware: This month is also your last chance to watch some classic favorites.

As for new things for you to watch, the whole run of original Batman movies up to Batman & Robin will be available right off the bat, if you have the stamina to make it through them all. There’s also the whole Bring It On franchise and the Lethal Weapon franchises, Apollo 13, all of The GodfatherTraining DayRent, Episodes seasons 1–5, and a slew of Netflix originals, as has become standard, including a new season of Grace and Frankie.

Meanwhile, we’re saying goodbye to so much more with the loss of Mean Girls, E.T., Forrest Gump, Gremlins, both Miss Congeniality movies, the first season (and a few others) of the Pokémon anime, Police AcademyPulp Fiction, The Addams Family, The Mighty Ducks, The Parent Trap, all of Lost, and a few more you might miss. Head on down to the full list below to see what you might want to squeeze in before the end of the year:

Available Jan. 1, 2018

10,000 B.C.
30 Days of Night
Age Of Shadows
AlphaGo
America’s Sweethearts
Apollo 13
Batman
Batman & Robin
Batman Begins
Batman Forever
Batman Returns
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Bring It On
Bring It On Again
Bring It On: All or Nothing
Bring It On: Fight to the Finish
Bring It On: In It to Win It
CaddyshackChef & My Fridge: 2017
Defiance
Definitely, Maybe
Eastsiders: Season 3
Furry Vengeance
Glacé: Season 1 — Netflix original
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never
King Kong
Lethal Weapon
Lethal Weapon 2
Lethal Weapon 3
Lethal Weapon 4
License to Wed
Like Water for Chocolate
Love Actually
Lovesick: Season 3 — Netflix original
Maddman: The Steve Madden Story
Marie Antoinette
Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World
Midnight in Paris
Monsters vs. Aliens
National Treasure
Sharknado 5: Global Swarming
Stardust
Strictly Ballroom
The Dukes of Hazzard
The Exorcism of Emily Rose
The First Time
The Godfather
The Godfather: Part II
The Godfather: Part III
The Italian Job
The Lovely Bones
The Shawshank Redemption
The Truman Show
The Vault
Training Day
Treasures From The Wreck Of The Unbelievable
Troy
Wedding Crashers
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Available Jan. 2, 2018

Mustang Island
Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Rent

Available Jan. 5, 2018

Before I Wake — Netflix original
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee — Netflix original
DEVILMAN Crybaby: Season 1 — Netflix original
Rotten — Netflix original

Available Jan. 6, 2018

Episodes: Season 1-5

Available Jan. 8, 2018

The Conjuring

Available Jan. 10, 2018

47 Meters Down
Alejandro Riaño Especial de Stand Up — Netflix original
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
In The Deep

Available Jan. 12, 2018

Colony: Season 2
Disjointed: Part 2 — Netflix original
Somebody Feed Phil — Netflix original
The Man Who Would Be Polka King
The Polka King — Netflix original
Tom Segura: Disgraceful — Netflix original

Available Jan. 14, 2018

Wild Hogs

Available Jan. 15. 2018

2018 Olympic Winter Games Preview: Meet Team USA & Go for the Gold
Rehenes
Unrest

Available Jan. 16, 2018

Dallas Buyers Club
Katt Williams: Great America — Netflix original
Rita: Season 4

Available Jan. 17, 2018

Arango y Sanint: Ríase El Show — Netflix original
Friday Night Tykes: Season 4

Available Jan. 18, 2018

Bad Day for the Cut
Tiempos de Guerra: Season 1 — Netflix original

Available Jan. 19, 2018

Drug Lords: Season 1 — Netflix original
Grace and Frankie: Season 4 — Netflix original
The Open House — Netflix original
Trolls: The Beat Goes On!: Season 1 — Netflix original

Available Jan. 23, 2018

Todd Glass: Act Happy — Netflix original

Available Jan. 24, 2018

Ricardo Quevedo: Hay Gente Así — Netflix original

Available Jan. 25, 2018

Acts of Vengeance

Available Jan. 26, 2018

A Futile and Stupid Gesture — Netflix original
Dirty Money — Netflix original
Kavin Jay: Everybody Calm Down! — Netflix original
Llama Llama: Season 1 — Netflix original
One Day at a Time: Season 2 — Netflix original
Sebastián Marcelo Wainraich — Netflix original
The Adventures of Puss in Boots: Season 6 — Netflix original
Mau Nieto: Viviendo Sobrio… Desde el Bar — Netflix original

Available Jan. 28, 2018

El Ministerio del Tiempo: Seasons 1-2
El Ministerio del Tiempo: Season 3 — Netflix original

Available Jan. 29, 2018

The Force

Available Jan. 30, 2018

Babylon Berlin: Season 1 & 2 — Netflix original
Death Race: Beyond Anarchy
Retribution: Season 1 — Netflix original

Available Jan. 31, 2018

Cars 3

Leaving Jan. 1

Chicago
Daddy Day Care
Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood
Dressed to Kill
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Forrest Gump
Four Brothers
Free Willy
Grease
Gremlins
I Am Sam
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Fifteenth Year
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Fourteenth Year
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Seventeenth Year
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Sixteenth Year
License to Drive
Made of Honor
Mean Girls
Miss Congeniality
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous
Mona Lisa Smile
Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction
Pokémon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages
Pokémon: Indigo League, Season 1
Pokémon: XY, Seasons 1-2
Police Academy
Pulp Fiction
Requiem for a Dream
Saw
Saw II
Saw III
Saw IV
Saw V
Saw VI
Saw: The Final Chapter
Someone Like You
The Addams Family
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
The Man with One Red Shoe
The Manhattan Project
The Mighty Ducks
The Parent Trap
The Secret Garden
The Switch
Three Coins in the Fountain
White Chicks
Young Mr. Lincoln

Leaving Jan. 3

VHS

Leaving Jan. 4

Lost, Seasons 1-6

Leaving Jan. 5

Fantasia
Fantasia 2000
The Host

Leaving Jan. 15

Sirens, Seasons 1-2

Leaving Jan. 30

Futurama, Seasons 7-10

(via Elite Daily, featured image: Paramount Pictures)

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The Full Annihilation Trailer Looks Amazing! It Just Needs 200% More Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez

Here at TMS, we’ve been excited for Annihilation, the female-led adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, since we first saw the production stills and teaser trailer. Starring a diverse team of women explorer-scientists, with gorgeous visuals from Ex Machina director Alex Garland, and adapted from stellar source material, it was shaping up to be one of my most anticipated movies of 2018. And now we’ve got a full-length trailer!

The full trailer focuses very tightly on Natalie Portman’s character, ominously referred to as only The Biologist on IMDB; she gets all the close-ups, and we’re led through the trailer from her perspective, as she discovers that something’s happened to her husband (Oscar Isaac) while he was on an expedition into an area called “The Shimmer.” The Biologist then ventures into The Shimmer herself, with a team of crack female scientists, to investigate what happened and what exactly The Shimmer is doing.

As a result of the trailer’s framing, we don’t get to see as much of the characters played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson. I was hoping for more of an ensemble piece, given Rodriguez’s popularity after Jane the Virgin and Thompson’s star turn in Thor: Ragnarok, but this trailer is quite Portman-centric. Of course, this might just a matter of marketing. Trailers are tailored for simplicity, to quickly convey a pitch and lure people to the theater, so that might be why it was cut this way. Here’s hoping the movie itself doesn’t save all the meaningful arcs for the white women. (Particularly since Thompson, according to IMDB, plays the Surveyor.)

That said, I do love how this trailer embraces the eco-horror/eco-Gothic vibe of VanderMeer’s book. The Shimmer itself looks a bit like soapy water, but the eerie creatures and unsettling flower-lichen-people tableaus were gorgeously creepy. I’m so excited for this world design to draw on all my worst fears from the nightmarescape that other people call “nature.”

I am also veeery into the soundtrack on this trailer, which comes from the team of Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury, who have also scored Ex Machina and this upcoming season of Black Mirror.

But what’d you all think?

(featured image: screengrab)

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Learn How the Original Star Wars Was Saved in the Editing Room

Film criticism often downplays the collaborative aspects of moviemaking, with an emphasis on the director, actors, and screenwriters as the primary architects of a film. Now, there’s nothing wrong with highlighting the often outsized influence of these roles, but it does mean that other important creators—the costumers, the composers, the cinematographers – can get left out of the discussion.

That’s why I particularly enjoyed this video from Rocket Jump, which goes into the editing process for the first Star Wars movie. After George Lucas showed the initial rough cut to some close friends in February of 1977, “the response was not good.” His friends in attendance, including Steven Spielberg and Brian De Palma, were deeply unimpressed with the story; De Palma, according to Spielberg, “went off the deep end” and called it “nonsense.”

After that disastrous premiere, Lucas turned to his brilliant editing team: Richard Chew, Paul Hirsch, and Marcia Lucas (his wife at the time). By relying on and collaborating with them, Lucas was able to pull a generation-defining film out of a narrative mess. “It was only due to their laborious editorial process that Star Wars snatched victory from the jaws of defeat,” says video narrator Joey Scoma. “… As they say, a film is written three times: first in the screenplay; next in production; and finally, in the edit.”

(It’s also worth reveling here in the fact that “fanboys” who believe Star Wars belongs to white men are saying that about a movie which a woman and an Asian man helped restructure basically from scratch. We’ve always been here, bros.)

The editing team certainly had their work cut out for them. Explains Scoma: “Their job was to rebuild a bloated first act; cut tons of unnecessary material; create clarity, tension, and drama in places that had none; and restructure scenes and entire sequences to propel the story forward.”

The video compares and contrasts various changes to the film, and I loved being able to see the side-by-sides. It demonstrates how radical the effect of a small scene re-ordering, or a few new lines of dialogue, can be when it comes to creating narrative clarity and character development. Some of the changes covered include:

  • Shortening the text of the opening crawl sequence
  • Moving jokes around to better fit the tone of scenes
  • Totally transforming the introduction of Luke Skywalker
  • Making Luke look less callous when he and Obi-Wan hear Leia’s message
  • Restructuring all the information about Alderaan
  • Using Greedo for exposition
  • Eliminating the need for terrible CGI with the land speeder
  • Explaining the tractor beam
  • Adding more tension to the explosion of the Death Star

Of course, the editors weren’t the only ones who helped build a better Star Wars behind the scenes. “Every step of post-production on Star Wars reflected a revolutionary commitment to the craft,” summarizes Scoma. “Looking at how they refined the film through relentless craftsmanship should be a lesson to us all.”

(Featured image via screengrab)

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Everyone’s Entitled to Their Opinion, But This Guy Who Singlehandedly Killed Lady Bird’s Rotten Tomatoes Record Is the Worst

lady bird rotten tomatoes reviews

Greta Gerwig’s beautiful coming of age story Lady Bird recently made Rotten Tomatoes history as the site’s best-rated movie. It was the film with the highest number of “fresh” reviews contributing to its 100% score.

Then today, some dude came along with a “rotten” review, killing that score and declaring himself Film Twitter’s Enemy #1.

Look, everyone is entitled to their opinion. He doesn’t have to like Lady Bird. No one has to like anything. But there’s some bullshit here worth talking about.

First of all, this review is crap. Again, Cole Smithey–like anyone else–can have his opinion. But I think his opinion is wrong. Like, factually wrong. He drops the word “mumblecore” four times in a 400 word review, each time with disdain. Now, Gerwig was a major player in that film movement, but I have trouble seeing how anyone could categorize this film as part of it. Mumblecore is defined by its low budget, overly naturalistic or improvised performances, often from nonprofessional actors. None of that applies to Lady Bird. The entire review reads as a dismissal of a genre that doesn’t apply to the movie at hand.

I get people dismissing my opinions by accusing me of bias in my writing all the time. They say I didn’t like Justice League because I went in with preconceived ideas of DC failures, or I loved Wonder Woman because I only and always like movies starring women. (Still trying to reconcile those two in my mind.) So I’m wary to call out predetermined bias in another’s article. But this? This definitely reads like someone who looks down on the kind of work he associates with Gerwig (mumblecore) and who thinks he’s smarter than the movie. At the very least, he clearly doesn’t connect with the character, and seems sure that he has a better take on Lady Bird’s motivations and general character than the film does.

But, again, that could all come down to taste. I mean, this guy also gave F reviews to Wonder Woman, Logan and Dunkirk but sure, taste.

What’s really weird is that Smithey rated the movie a B- on his own personal website where the review was published. B- doesn’t sound “rotten” to me, and looking through his Rotten Tomatoes history, it would look like he agrees. There are other movies he’s given B- to that were given that little fresh tomato icon. In fact, scrolling through three years of his reviews, every movie he gave a B- to was also marked a fresh rating. Except Lady Bird.

I’m not sure if Smithey manually uploaded his review (that would be my guess for a review published on a personal blog), or if Rotten Tomatoes pulled it and guessed at the fresh/rotten ranking. Either is possible with the way the site works. Either way, it sure sounds like someone wanted to make some headlines. Well, congratulations, it worked. A much-deserved title was earned by a beautiful movie, and some dude who couldn’t even get the genre right just had to come in well, actually all over it. Well done, you’re famous now.

(image: A24)

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Noelle Stevenson Is Making an Animated She-Ra Series for Netflix – “An epic and timely tale that celebrates female friendship and empowerment.”

Netflix and Dreamworks Animation announced their new slate of animated shows, and there’s one that has me particularly pumped.

Eisner winner Noelle Stevenson, of Lumberjanes and Nimona fame, will serve as showrunner and executive producer for a reboot of She-Ra, the “trailblazing property [which] originally debuted in 1985 to satisfy demand for a female-led fantasy series.” Netflix and Dreamworks described the show as “a modern take on the ’80s girl power icon for a new generation of young fans” and “an epic and timely tale that celebrates female friendship and empowerment, led by a warrior princess tailor-made for today.”

Both Stevenson and her girlfriend Molly Ostertag tweeted about the show, which Stevenson has been working on for nearly two years.

She-Ra: Princess of Power premiered in 1985, as a companion show for the He-Man cartoon. The series centers on Princess Adora, who is the twin sister of Prince Adam/He-Man. When she holds aloft the Sword of Protection and says, “For the honor of Greyskull,” she transforms into the powerful She-Ra and acquires the strength she needs to lead the rebellion against evil Hordak and the Horde.

Stevenson is just such a perfect choice for rebooting this over-the-top series, and I can’t wait to see what she and her team have created. Her delightful graphic novel, Nimona, is also being developed as an animated film over at Fox Animation, intended for a 2020 release date. Lumberjanes, which Stevenson co-created with  Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen, has also been in development as a live-action movie since 2015 (though no new details or date have since been released).

She-Ra will premiere on Netflix at some point in 2018.

(Via Variety; image via DC Comics)

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Review: The Last Jedi Is Beautiful, Overstuffed, Action-Packed, and It Will Make You Cry – 4.5 out of 5 blue lightsabers.

It’s hard to know where to start reviewing The Last Jedi, because so much happens in this movie that I have whiplash. But I’m happy about it. The Mary Sue’s spoiler-free review, ahead.

Clocking in at two and a half hours, The Last Jedi is the longest Star Wars yet, a length that is both a blessing and a curse. You’re never bored, but there’s so much material covered here that The Last Jedi easily could have been two movies, and there’s so many final standoffs and climactic scenes by its close that it feels like at least four or five movies’ worth of conclusions.

By the end, you will probably feel as exhausted and exhilarated as I do now, having been through so much; like me, you may cry openly during at least three parts of this film.

The Last Jedi picks up where The Force Awakens left off without missing a beat—hardly any time has passed. Impetuous flyboy Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), who needs no introduction, are our windows into the struggling Resistance; ex-Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) was injured in TFA but soon rejoins the action, with the wonderful Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), a Resistance engineer, at his side. Tran’s Rose is every bit the breakout that she’s being touted as, and I can’t wait for a new generation to love her as she deserves.

Over on the Dark Side of things, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) has plans to swing the fight and the balance of the Force in his favor, assisted by the oft-sneering General Hux (Dohmnall Gleeson) and of course the former Ben Solo, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), whose loyalties are called into question. Meanwhile, amateur Force user Rey (Daisy Ridley) has found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and the film picks them right back up at the last minutes of TFA, with Rey beseechingly presenting Luke his lightsaber. New big-name additions to the cast include Laura Dern as an unconventional Resistance Admiral and Benicio Del Toro as … well, it’s best to let you wait and see. Let’s just say he definitely Benicio Del Toros it.

If even just typing out all of those characters takes two paragraphs, imagine how many we’d need to describe what they all get up to. I’m keeping this as spoiler-free as possible, but if I were to meet you at a bar right now and attempt to explain the entire plot of this film, we’d be there for hours. Thankfully, it successfully hits the beats that we want and hope for from a Star Wars film, even if that means we get a whole lot of beats.

There is intergenerational family drama, defined by deep love and deeper betrayals. There are Force-use training montages. There are adorable and sympathetic alien creatures that feature importantly into the plot (a lot of creatures). There are great friendships and also ever-shifting allegiances. There are sparks of romance. There are twenty movies’ worth of twists and last-minute interventions that turn the tide. And there is a fantastic amount of incredible space jewelry, likely thanks to the late Carrie Fisher, to whom the film is dedicated.

Let’s take a moment to talk about Fisher. She is luminous here. Every time she’s on screen, it’s impossible to look away, and she is as tough, loving, and wily as we would ever want our Leia to be. We drink her scenes in, uncertain if we’ll see her in Star Wars again. Her part is quite central, and it’s impossible to imagine this universe without her. She is responsible for at least 3/4 of the tears trickling down my face during this movie. She, and Leia, are the shining light in The Last Jedi that all characters who dream of defeating the Dark Side look to for guidance.

In fact, it is women who are the leaders at the heart of the Resistance. I have never seen more women occupy important roles in a Star Wars movie, and the screen is also often full of wonderfully diverse faces serving both sides of the Force. Woefully underused, however, is Gwendoline Christie’s shiny, nefarious Captain Phasma, for no reason that I can possibly discern. Otherwise, this is rather a tour de force for the ladies, with Leia, Rey, Rose, Dern’s Admiral Holdo, and even a cameo from Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata all vital to the proceedings. Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd is also back on board as a Resistance Lieutenant who helps out Poe, and no, I’m not crying anymore, you are.

Any real problems in The Last Jedi stem from the fact that there’s just so much going on that it’s hard to stay invested in every subplot. There are also decisions and plans made at breakneck speed that seem crucial at the time and end up not seeming to matter at all; examining the film’s logic under a microscope would not return beneficial results. But we’re not here for logic. We’re here for highly emotional epic drama in space, and herein the film delivers. Surprisingly, the most compelling relationship to emerge is not between Luke and Rey, or Finn and Rose (though I adore them), or Poe and Leia: it is Rey and Kylo Ren’s interactions that rule this movie, and they are the axis upon which everything else turns.

How you feel about those interactions could largely determine how you feel about The Last JediThe first half of the movie moves at a slower pace, with a lot of time given to Rey’s self-exploration and her attempts to engage Luke on his distant island (yes, this is the island of the porgs). Meanwhile, what feels too much like the “B plot” side adventure has Finn and Rose on a mission that takes them into another film entirely, a sort of intergalactic James Bond-meets-Free Willy. It’s hard not to feel that their entire subplot could be axed in order to make The Last Jedi stronger and tighter, which is unfortunate. Luckily, both Finn and Rose get to shine in the latter half, when things really pick up, and then move so fast that you’re left quite dizzy and mostly dazzled.

Visually The Last Jedi is absolutely stunning, and it’s not hard to see why Disney and Lucasfilm are trusting director/writer Rian Johnson with the keys to the Star Wars kingdom going forward. The sets and settings are always evocative and impeccable, as is the costuming; the musical scores we’ve come to love swell at exactly the right moments; the special effects are seamless and convincing.

The only thing that Johnson might need is a bit of reining in: he’s full of so many good ideas and such obvious love for this universe that sometimes he gets carried away, and he has filled this movie to the very brim. But I’ll take that kind of oversaturation any day over the bloodlessness that marked the prequels. No one can accuse The Last Jedi of not having heart. While I expected to be sad at the sight of Fisher, I did not expect to spend whole parts of the screening trying unsuccessfully not to cry. I am not a movie crier, but there you have it.

Ultimately, despite all its bold colors, winning performances, and many moving parts, the movie belongs to Fisher, who is resplendent; Hamill, who plays an altered Luke, weathered by storms, with conviction; and Driver, whose flat delivery can shift into vulnerability or rage when you least expect it. In the end, it’s the oldest Star Wars lesson: you can’t keep those Skywalkers down.

(images: Lucasfilm/Disney)

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Jimmy Kimmel Brings Out His Newborn Son to Make a Plea for Children’s Health Insurance Program

Jimmy Kimmel has no trouble affording health care for his newborn son, who’s needed multiple heart surgeries. Millions of kids across the country would have trouble affording care, though, if not for CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program for which the U.S. Congress has mysteriously failed to renew funding this year, and Kimmel’s not happy about it.

That’s because CHIP usually has no trouble at all finding bipartisan support for its funding, but this year has been drastically different, and some states are already taking the unprecedented step of dipping into emergency funds just to keep things afloat. Why has Congress failed to act? There’s still time to do so, and it’s more than likely that they will, but the program has become an unusual point of contention between political parties this year, with Republican Senator Orin Hatch saying, “We’re going to do CHIP. There’s no doubt about it in my mind. But the reason CHIP is having trouble is because we don’t have any money anymore.”

As Kimmel points out, though, it’s a bit disingenuous to complain of a lack of available funds while attempting to institute a massive tax cut that won’t even come close to paying for itself as its proponents have claimed, and the benefits of which are skewed towards people with more money. The House and Senate still have to agree on a final version for the GOP plan to pass, but so far, this is likely to remain the case with whatever plan they settle on.

It seems like Republicans are deliberately delaying the funding of CHIP until after their tax bill efforts, in order to use it as some kind of bargaining chip. Their plan already seems to be to use the shortage of funds caused by their own tax bill to justify “entitlement reform,” which is code for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, SNAP, and other programs, so it’s easy to imagine they’re planning to use similar logic to justify making cuts elsewhere—perhaps the ACA, as they’ve already proposed—in exchange for CHIP funding.

But whatever their intentions turn out to be, there’s no reason to delay the funding that doesn’t involve turning it into a partisan tool, and that’s not a good reason to throw the program into its current state of emergency and future uncertainty.

(image: ABC)

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