Quick Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

We got out today to catch a showing of the latest and greatest movie in the ever expanding Star Wars universe, Solo: A Star Wars Story. This is a film set in the younger days of our favorite scoundrel, Han Solo, as he begins his life and career, long before he ever met Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

I’ll keep this review short and spoiler free, and simply say, this is one of the most fun Star Wars films I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a heist-style plot (as might be expected with Han being a smuggler) that jumps from one tough situation to another. Just like future Han, sometimes things just seem to always get worse, no matter how good a feeling he has about things. In this movie we meet an array of characters that are new, as well as a couple old friends. In particular Lando (played by Donald Glover) was a complete scene stealer, just like in Empire Strikes Back. He was smooth, cocky, and witty, despite not always being able to get himself out of his bad situations.

The entire movie plays out with lots of action, which flows together smoothly into a wonderfully fun plot that doesn’t require you to have to think too hard. This is a movie that you can just sit down and enjoy. You get nods to a lot of the broader Star Wars universe, but it never pulls you away from the swashbuckling that is happening right in front of you. Solo doesn’t pretend to be anything else. It’s just good, solid, Star Wars fun.

I realize that it hasn’t gotten overwhelming reviews, but in my book it’s one of the most fun movies I’ve been to in a long time. It brought me back to my youth as a big Star Wars fan, with high stakes adventure that is fun to experience. It’s well worth the price of theater admission in my book. Just don’t go in with expectations for anything other than a fun romp.

Avengers Infinity War

As soon as Avengers Infinity War hit the theaters I had to be careful what I clicked on in my social media threads. It seemed everywhere I went there was someone talking about the movie. I wanted to go in to this movie without reading any spoilers, and so it was important to me that we get to see it as soon as possible. That chance came on Sunday when we had the opportunity to visit the theater in St. Cloud, MN after a nice family lunch.

Even though I hate to do it, I need to delve in to spoiler territory to talk about this movie. So here is your warning…

SPOILERS!!! SPOILERS!!! SPOILERS!!!

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Quick Review: Pacific Rim 2

Was off work on Friday with the wife, so we decided to take in a movie with my oldest son. My wife has really been wanting to see Pacific Rim 2, so we grabbed some cheap tickets and hit the local theater.

I really loved Pacific Rim when it came out a few years ago. It was a snappy monster action flick that knew it was all about the visual effects. It’s storyline was over-the-top, and was all there to facilitate more insane action between the giant mechs and monsters. It knew what it wanted to be, and it didn’t try to hide it with some deep hidden meaning.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Pacific Rim 2. I’ll keep this spoiler free, but suffice it to say, the story was poorly written, and seemed very disjointed from the overall goal of getting big giant robots to fight with monsters. There were deaths of characters that were meant to move you, but they just felt tacked on and forced. One of them in particular just seemed dumb and wasteful.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy myself. The visuals in this were amazing, and of course, seeing giant robots fight with monsters is awesome. They even threw in a small twist at the end that was hilarious and amazing at the same time. It feels like the final 3rd of the movie is where everything hit it’s stride, but that was after the monsters started showing up for the robots to battle. I feel like the early part of the movie didn’t add much, and was mostly forgettable. Which is sad, considering the great talent they had in the lead roles.

So should you go to see Pacific Rim 2? Sure, but I wouldn’t spend more than a matinee price. The visual effects are great, and the fight scenes are all that you’d expect. If you’ve got a good home theater setup, it might even be worth waiting for rental. Just don’t expect to be wow’d by the story, or frankly, even consider it more than adequate. When it focuses on being a monster bash-em-up, it’s a lot more fun.

Quick Review: Murder on the Orient Express

I’ve always been a fan of Agatha Christie murder mysteries since I was a kid, and so a year ago when I saw Murder on the Orient Express had been re-done, I was excited to see a new take on it. I ended up not seeing it in the theaters, and then never got around to watching it on rental until the other night. My wife had seen it on a plane recently and really enjoyed it, so I went in with high expectations.

One of the benefits of not having read or seen this movie in decades was that I had completely forgotten about the plot twists. Since this is a Hercule Poirot mystery, it’s best to always go in knowing as little as possible, since the unraveling of the mystery is often brilliant and fun to watch. Therefore, I’ll keep this review short and spoiler free.

The main thing I wanted to comment on was the cast. This ensemble was amazing. Led by Kenneth Branagh, the cast put on one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time. Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley all created an environment that was beautiful and believable. I love movies like this where an ensemble is stuck together and gets to play off of each other. These actors do an amazing job, and it shows how incredibly talented they all are.

I’ll end this review here, as to not give anything away, but I highly recommend renting this one and sitting back with a bowl of popcorn and watching as the twists and turns of the mystery unfold around you. It’s a wonderful film, and well worth your time.

Quick Review: Coco

The wife and I finally got around to renting Coco, the most recent film from Pixar. In the past I used to be a stickler for seeing Pixar films in the theater, as they were one of my favorite studios for storytelling and stunning visuals. However, as the kids got older, and life got busier, we just don’t get to the theater as much as we want.

We had heard a lot of great things about Coco, but I was lucky enough to go into it now really knowing anything significant. All I knew is that it involved a young boy who liked to play music, and somehow ended up in the land of the dead. I didn’t know anything else about the story, and I liked it that way. From this point on **** SPOILERS ****

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