Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker review – death is only the beginning

SPOILER FREE

Everyone was invited to the goodbye party for the George Lucas Trilogy that expanded beyond all imagination with J.J. Abrams’s putting his stamp on the universe again.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Star Wars burst onto the screen and life has never been the same for fans rather Jedi, Empire or Rebel it has permeated our lives to animation, comic books, games, cosplay and (for some) a life philosophy.

I have been counting the days since they announced that this was the final chapter of the saga. I wasn’t sure what to expect after Disney took over and began to make it their own.

This final film was what I expected but still had surprises that I didn’t know I wanted but when I saw it filled my Jedi Rebel heart with joy. This is Rey’s movie. It’s her journey as she gets to know herself and place in the universe everyone else is along for the wild ride. BUT what a ride where everyone has a moment where we see into their souls or motivation. We get to say goodbye and hello again as the film returns to the beginning from when this entire universe began from our own George Lucas. We all realize we’re getting long in the tooth and aren’t the young hero anymore but that we still have our place with the rebels or empire or just trying to survive to keep our heads down and not come to the attention of the stormtroopers.

It’s a lot and some might say it’s stuffed but for me, a film that was a little over two hours that had so many stories to give closure to well J.J. did the job solidly. I mean as a fangirl I’d have cut some and focused on a few stories that have made me excited but I’m no Hollywood big wig so what do I know.

All that I can say is that it’s beautiful and follows along with the original films where Rey focuses on her Jedi training to take on the Sith Lord out to dominate the galaxy snatching freedom from those who’ve fought so hard. Rey, Finn, and Poe are the found family that holds the film together as it intertwines with beloved original characters handing the universe onto the next generation. At heart this is a story of hope and light through the darkness, love, and friendship intertwined, and how everyone (even a Jedi Knight) needs a support system. 

I didn’t love the film the way I love Star Wars (A New Hope) but I saw that as a child and with a kids’ eye and well Star Wars is for kids. Anyone complaining that this isn’t ‘their Star Wars’ is suffering from having an old soul. Nothing can remain to stagnate to keep living the heart must keep beating. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is keeping the universe beating showing a new generation of heroes and villains. It’s worth seeing in Imax, 3D and well on any screen, you can find it. I plan to see it a couple of more times so that I can focus on not only the main cast but supporting characters that all had their own stories to tell from a glimpse of LGBTQ representation (don’t blink) to the fact that we have Black, Asian, Latino, and other minorities surviving into the future <phew the race war was averted or maybe we won?>. This isn’t the Star Wars of my childhood 

Thanks, Imax for the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Tshirt I got seeing at AMC Century City

Cast: Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Naomi Ackie (Jannah), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Richard E. Grant (Allegiant General Pryde), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Keri Russell (Zoril Bliss), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Ian McDiarmid (Darth Sidious/Palpatine), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian)

Director: J.J. Abrams

Writer (Based on characters created by George Lucas

Writer (story by): Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, Chris Terrio, J.J. Abrams

Writer: Chris Terrio, J.J. Abrams

Cinematographer: Dan Mindel

Editor: Maryann Brandon, Stefan Grube

Composer: John Williams

Action, Adventure, Science Fiction

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi, violence, and action

141 minutes

The Shasta Triangle is bringing the chills

Where Would You Go to Get Home? You’ll be able to answer the question December 3, 2019 when the movie is released on all digital platforms in US/Canada.

“I’m a minority female in the industry with a long-time love of sci-fi and horror, specifically shows like The Twilight ZoneSupernatural, and The Magicians. I really wanted to tell a story that could live in a similar world and spotlight a diverse cast of women in a way that hasn’t been seen much in the genre. And with the current hunger for female driven narratives, The Shasta Triangle delivers a complex and compelling story.”

Helenna Santos, Producer

The Mighty Pharaoh Films team of Barry W. Levy (writer/director) and Helenna Santos (Producer) are behind the diverse sci fi/horror film The Shasta Triangle. It’s a film that will appeal to fans of the genre as a woman returns to her hometown to investigate her father’s disappearance with childhood friends fight to break the darkness controlling the town of Shasta, CA. The sci fi/horror movie will have fans of the genre who are hungry for woman and diverse led films will be excited to see.

“Never have there been more questions about what’s ‘real’ in our world, as we see in concepts like Simulation Theory, multiple dimensions, the Earth’s ley lines and hot spots, and mysterious ‘Sounds’ heard around the world.”

Barry W. Levy, Writer/Director

The Shasta Triangle stars Dani Lennon (The Love Witch, FEARnet’s Bite Me), Ayanna Berkshire (Twilight, NBC’s Grimm), Helenna Santos (CW’s The Flash, ABC’s The Good Doctor), Madeline Merritt (The Guest House, Auteur), and Deborah Lee Smith (Here Awhile, Last Three Days).

The Shasta Triangle was Produced and Executive Produced by Helenna Santos and Barry W. Levy, with Executive Producers Sean Kojoori, Deborah Lee Smith, Todd Foster, Co-Executive Producer Bill Aylesworth, Co-Producers Jason Satterlund, Deborah Lee Smith, Lex Benedict, Greg Cruser, Brian Confer, with Associate Producer David Roberson. The film was Edited by Barry W. Levy, Cinematography by Richard Galli, with an Original Score by Sean Barrett.

About Mighty Pharaoh Films Mighty Pharaoh Films is a film production company run by husband and wife team Barry W. Levy and Helenna Santos, and based in Los Angeles, California and Vancouver, British Columbia. Visit: http://www.mightypharaohfilms.com/ 

About GIANT PICTURES Giant Pictures is a boutique digital distributor based in NYC and Los Angeles, which is dedicated to elevating the digital experience. We work directly with filmmakers and rights owners to distribute movies and TV shows to VOD & OTT platforms in North America and worldwide. Giant is a division of Giant Interactive, an award-winning digital media and technology services company. Giant is an iTunes Preferred aggregator and encoding house. Recent movie and documentary releases include: ‘Love, Antosha’ (Dir. Garret Price, Sundance 2019), ‘Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.’ (Dir. Steve Loveridge, Sundance 2018), ‘In Reality’ (Dir. Ann Lupo, LAFF 2018, Austin FF 2018). Visit us at: www.giant.pictures

It’s been 40 years and the Xenomorph keeps stealing our hearts! 

ALIEN 40th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION LAUNCHES WITH SIX NEW TERRIFYING TALES FROM TONGAL’S EMERGING FAN FILMMAKERS

2019 is the 40thAnniversary of the suspenful horror film that created a genre I had never seen before with acid-bleeding Aliens and a strong female hero. 

Twentieth Century Fox Film partnered with the global creative community of Tongal for die-hard talented fans to develop and produce an original short set in the world of ALIEN. 

Over 550 pitches from filmmakers were submitted and six final stories were selected to bring their stories to life. The selected filmmakers had unfettered access to the franchise from storytelling elements, creatures, and characters that could be used to enrich their vision. 

The six shorts pay homage to the original film but allow the directors to put a personal ‘stamp’ vision to terrify horror fans. The first four were screened for fans at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle on Friday, March 15th, and than C2E2 in Chicago on Saturday, March 23rd. The final two shorts both directed by women filmmakers were screened at Wondercon on Saturday, March 30thfollowed by a moderated panel with the directors Kelsey Taylor, Kailey  &Sam Spear. All six are available on IGN for Alien and horror fans. Starting May 3rdall six shorts and exclusive behind-the-scene content will be available on the official @AlienAnthology social channels and AlienUniverse.com.

Fox continues the celebration of the 40thAnniversary of the premier of the original ALIEN film with a special exhibit at the USC School of Cinematic Arts from all six films in the franchise. This includes concept art by Academy Award winner H.R. Giger, plus costumes, props, memorabilia, and fan art.  Fans all around the world celebrated Alien Day on Friday, April 26thwith a 24-hour. Join the conversation and follow @AlienAnthology on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, and dive deeper into the terrifying world of ALIEN on AlienUniverse.com.

Avengers: Endgame Review | Cherry at the Movies SPOILER FREE

It’s the end of the MCU as we know it but the Avengers: Endgame brought old friends, cameos, call backs, laughter and a few sniffles

My spoiler free review is keeping it vague on details but we all know Avengers: Infinity Wars ended on a snap. Of course MCU began in 2008 with Iron Man and for true comic book purists Blade the comic book movie that ignited a universe of the genre.  But the Avengers are still standing sort of with Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in charge for some reason, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Clint Barton/Hawkeye still under house arrest, Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), and temporary/honorary members Rocket the Space Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Nebula (Karen Gillian). It’s such a mission impossible I expected Tom Cruise to make an appearance. They come up with a scheme to destroy Thanos, get the six Infinity Stones and try to restore balance.  It’s a long, long, LONG road from the plan to closing credits and I do mean LONG since the movie clocks in at THREE hours <yikes> with NO bathroom breaks!

Thanos was able to succeed to wipe off half of all living creatures in the universe out of a sense of strain on the ecology (over population, pollution, and that sentient creatures are awful). Thanos (Josh Brolin) was able to make this villain a depth that painted various shades of pitch black to shade (he wants to kill everyone so not an anti-hero). Anthony and Joseph Russo worked really hard to bring all the storylines into a cohesive thrilling movie. It’s a huge project and didn’t succeed a 100% but wrangling cats is hard so they get an A for effort for even trying to conclude the many stories and timelines. 

I don’t want to reveal any major plot points but it’s a rollercoaster ride from the surviving Avengers and general populace ‘stuck’ unable to get their minds around the absence that Thanos created. I suppose one of the things that disconcerting is the flippancy towards PSTD/depression for one of the characters. It was played for laughs but for me it made me sad and a little frustrated that what could have been an enriching storyline was treated so dismissively. I saw a preview and everyone else laughed so maybe it bothered me more because of my experiences. Endgame jumped through time as it tied up and explained what happened. The Russo’s also made time to concentrate on all the major characters so fanboys/fangirls will be ecstatic seeing favorite characters able to really shine. It’s surprisingly serious MCU movie at times but had great one liners and lots of visual Easter eggs for hardcore comic book and MCU movie fans. We got to say goodbye to Stan Lee for the last time <sob>.

Endgame isn’t perfect and in my opinion would have benefited from editing it down to 2 ½. But I understand that the MCU has a lot of stories to tell and goodbyes so the Russo Brothers didn’t want to miss anything.  It’s not a perfect movie but it’s perfect to end the MCU as we know it. 

Fast Color Review | Cherry at the Movies

Ruth is on the run from her past, her powers and to her family to fix what’s broken. It’s a dissolute barren landscape where water is the ultimate commodity and the power that Ruth has puts a target on her back. Fast Color is a quiet film focused on three generations of women (a child on the cusp of girlhood) who have a special ability making them a target of nefarious government operatives.

The film opens with Gugu Mbatha-Raw saying, “The world’s gonna die—I can feel it coming.” It’s a slow methodological  build up of an hour and forty minutes exploring women who are far from perfect trying to survive in a dry wasteland in the near future.

It hasn’t rained in eight years and water is a commodity that is more precious than diamonds. Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is running and decides that it’s time to go home. To try to better harness her abilities and to see the daughter she left behind as an addict trying to still the tremors. Bo (Lorraine Toussaint) is the matriarch who is the keeper of secrets raising Lila (Saniyya Sidney) a child that has inherited the ability from her mother, grandmother, great grandmother and is being kept hidden from the world. It had an eerie feeling of genetic mutations that learned long ago to keep the secret ‘us against’ the world but as the world comes to an end desperate government officials will try to harness them even not really understanding what they can do or how it can help. 

 “A new world is coming,” says Grandma, “this is only the beginning.” 

I’m a geek with a weakness for origin stories. I found Fast Color to be an interesting movie that made you think about freedom vs common good and how ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. Gugu puts in a solid portrayal of a woman who selfishness puts her entire family in danger. Toussaint is able to keep her secrets and as an consummate actress can speak volumes with a look at the rebellious Lila. The final scenes where she peels back the layers of the history of the family makes me want to learn more about Fast Color and if they can save the world. 

I do love a geeky movie and a film that sparks my curiosity and conversation with other people after the movie is over says so much about Julia Hart and the characters I want to see again. It’s a thoughtful film that meanders like a river that ends at an unexpected waterfall bringing us crashing into a pool.