Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Solo: A Star Wars Story
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Erin Kellyman, Linda Hunt, Warwick Davis
Part of/Sidequel/Prequel to: Star Wars
Seen on: 6.6.2018

Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) has found his way off the planet Corellia in an attempt to find a better life, but quickly running out of options, his path has led him to the army. But he doesn’t do very well there, either. So it seems a lucky break that he finds Tobias (Woody Harrelson), Val (Thandie Newton) and Rio (Jon Favreau) – thieves pretending to be fighters. He tries to join them, but they are not interested, using him instead to make their own escape and getting Han arrested. But that arrest leads Han to Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Chewie buys him a way in with Tobias and the others after all. And pretty soon, Han finds himself in the middle of a heist that throws him right in the path of Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) whom he thought he had lost forever.

Speaking as somebody who is not particularly into Star Wars, Solo was entertaining enough although I felt that it definitely focused on the wrong character.

Film poster for Solo, showing Chewbacca, Qi'Ra, Solo and Lando in front of a colorful background.
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Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (aka Episode VIII)
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Sequel to: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Mark HamillOscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Frank Oz, Justin Theroux, Noah Segan, Michaela CoelWarwick Davis, Joseph Gordon-LevittJoe Cornish, Edgar Wright
Seen on: 18.12.2017

The Resistance are still doing their best to fight against the First Order, but they are taking serious hits. Poe (Oscar Isaac) is frustrated with the slow progress of the Resistance. Meanwhile Rey (Daisy Ridley) has gone to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to get Jedi training. And Finn (John Boyega) wakes from his coma on the Resistance ship and teams up with Rose (Kelly Mary Tran) to make sure the Resistance stays safe.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi was good entertainment but it didn’t capture me emotionally as much as it should have and thus didn’t manage to convert me from being mildly interested in the Star Wars films to want to dig deeper. But then I didn’t expect it to.

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Rogue One (2016)

Rogue One
Director: Gareth Edwards
Writer: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy
Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Ben Mendelsohn, Guy Henry, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, Jimmy Smits, James Earl Jones, Daniel Mays, Geraldine James, Warwick Davis, Michael Smiley
Part of/Sidequel/Prequel to: Star Wars
Seen on: 18.12.2016

There are rumors that the Empire is building a great new weapon, called the Death Star. The Rebel Alliance has caught wind of that and hatches a plan to steal the plans for that weapon as they heard that there was a structural weakness that they may use to destroy it. They believe that Jyn (Felicity Jones) may be the key to success as her father (Mads Mikkelsen) seems to be involved with the planning. But Jyn hasn’t seen her father in 15 years and she’s also not all that interested in helping the Alliance. But they do reach a deal and Jyn finds herself accompanying pilot Cassian (Diego Luna) on the mission.

I will probably never be super excited about Star Wars – it’s just not my franchise. But I did enjoy Rogue One a whole lot, despite a couple of lengths it suffered from.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (aka Episode VII)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
Sequel to: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Mark HamillOscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Max von Sydow, Peter Mayhew, Gwendoline Christie, Simon Pegg, Greg Grunberg, Warwick Davis, Iko Uwais, Judah Friedlander, Daniel Craig, Alec Guinness, Ewan McGregor, Frank Oz
Seen on: 21.12.2015

It was 30 years ago that Darth Vader was defeated and the Empire fell. And it’s about as long that Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has disappeared from the Galaxy. The Resistance is still looking for him. Pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is hot on the trail of a missing map piece for that search when he comes under attack. He hands the map to his droid BB-8 and sends it on its way. Rey (Daisy Ridley) works as a scavenger on that very same planet and she stumbles first on BB-8 and then on a stormtrooper (John Boyega) who deserted. Before they have a chance to think, they are on the run – and run straight into Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Together they decide to try to find Luke.

I’ll come right out and say it: I’m not a Star Wars fan. I watched Episodes 4 through 6 when I was a kid and thought they were okay, watched Episode 1 when it came out and thought it was so stupid, I never even watched 2 and 3. When 7 came out, I hesitated for a while to watch it, but ultimately I figured why not? I have watched films for less reason than the cast of this one alone. And I have to say, I don’t regret watching it. In many ways it has the IQ of a potato, but it is seriously entertaining and very nice to watch.

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There’s more where that came from.

For more theme songs, check out Goldentusk’s Channel. I recommend Back to the Future. Or India Jones and the Song of Theme. Or James Bond. Or Jaws. Or Halloween. Or Superman. Or… oh… I think that’s all of them already…

While we’re at the topic of movie themes, did I link to this one already?

And maybe you know this one, but I just love it:

Mortal Kombat!

And some more people surprising other people by singing:

Or here:

Check out more from ImprovEverywhere!

Okay, I guess, now you’re all settled for some good video love. :)

L’élégance du hérisson (The Elegance of the Hedgehog) – Muriel Barbery

Just to get it right out of the way, I couldn’t finish Muriel Barbery‘s The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I read the first 130 pages or so and then I closed it, never to open it again.

It’s the story of a concierge in a house of rich people in Paris, who comes from the countryside and devotes her life to reading and hiding the fact that she privately educated herself better than most people. In the same house lives a 12 year old girl, who is highly gifted, but fed up with the world, so she decides to kill herself on her 13th birthday and setting fire to the flat of her parents.

It’s told alternately through the concierge’s view and the diary entries of the girl.

dieeleganzdesigelsThe best thing about this book – the beautiful cover.

Now, what was wrong with it?

I don’t know whether I should blame the translator (German) or Ms. Barbery herself, but there’s absolutely no difference in style between the two narrators. You would think that a fifty-something concierge from a working class (even if very well educated) and a 12 year old rich girl (even if very intelligent) talk differently. But not in this book – if it weren’t for the difference in fonts, you’d never know that there were two people talking. Plus, a 12 year old, even if she’s got Stephen Hawking‘s IQ still talks like a 12 year old and not like a middle aged woman.

And, you know, I’m rather easy, usually. Make me laugh, drop some (pop culture) references and I’m eternally yours. But if you mess up the easiest references, don’t bother. Calling Darth Vader “Dark Vador” hurts even me, although I’m no particular Star Wars fan. [It was maybe meant to be funny, but seeing as it came from a rather pedantic woman, whose only pride it is to know just about everything, I don’t think so.]

Then, don’t you dare talk to me about good culture and bad culture. I don’t think that Shakespeare is worth more than Die Hard. I may like it more, but me (or anybody else) liking something is not the measure for good or bad. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that there’s no such thing as good or bad. Snob.

But the kiss of death was that I just couldn’t stand either protagonist. Everytime the concierge talked about how she needs to hide her true (educated) self from the inhabitants of the house, I wanted to slap her left and right and then scream, “WHY? WHY??? You have nothing but contempt for these people, why would you care what they think? And who says that a concierge has to be stupid? Show me the person who would fire a concierge because she reads!”
And the girl just wasn’t a girl, she was a bitter old woman. The emo-ness of it all just killed me.

Oh, and a minor sidenote to the translator: If the girls wants to write down her thoughts as haikus and mentions so in the text, then pleasepleaseplease translate them as haikus. Maybe you have to take a little more liberties with the phrasing, but in this case, structure definitely comes before phrase.

It has raving reviews telling us that it’s funny (I didn’t even smile once), well-written (if you can’t do different characters, you shouldn’t write them) and “radical in its stand against French classism and hypocrisy” (it was a long time ago that speaking against the upperclass snobs was radical), but I can’t shake the feeling that the people saying that read a different book. I found it unbearable.