It’s Not Your Star Wars…

Written by Dan Massey

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away… People used to behave in a decent respectable way towards each other.

There has been a tonne of furore of late regarding ‘Star Wars’; the films and the fandom. More specifically, the treatment of talented actors, directors, producers and crew behind the latest installments in the ‘Star Wars’ legacy since it’s sale to Disney. Particularly post ‘The Last Jedi’, and pre the release of ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’, the atmosphere has reached toxic levels. The treatment of Rian Johnson, Kelly Marie Tran & Daisy Ridley, amongst others (but who I see targeted the most) is nothing short of disgusting and shameful. The idea to boycott a ‘Star Wars’ movie to prove a point and hurt the company and talent producing it is sad, especially from so called ‘fans’, who in truth are only doing themselves out of seeing a fun ‘Star Wars’ film on the big screen.

The reality breaks down like this; it’s absolutely fine to dislike a film, to criticise a story, character or a performance. It’s not ok to harass, bully and abuse hard working people who worked on those films.

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Yet all this got me thinking, what really are the issues the fandom has with the Disney iterations of ‘Star Wars’? The answers are complex and varied. A common criticism of ‘The Force Awakens’ was that it was a rehash of ‘A New Hope’. One of the most common criticisms of ‘The Last Jedi’ was that it was too different, a total disregard for the structure and lore of ‘Star Wars’. Another common theme amongst those who dislike everything Star Wars has done since TFA, is that “diversity and ‘social justice warrior-ism’ is being forced down our throats”.

A female protagonist? A black protagonist? An apparently sexually-ambiguous character? A female stormtrooper captain? A feminist, equal-rights focused droid? Asian and Mexican characters?

Well, that’s crazy, unrealistic and only included to force diversity upon us, let’s go back to the original films where all was good, men dominated the screen time and the Admiral of the resistance army was a fucking fish. Seriously, it’s a movie containing all kinds of Alien races, so let’s not get caught up on the race, gender and sexuality of the characters being unrealistic. It’s tiring, and while you aren’t racist or misogynistic if you dislike these films, you probably are if your reason for disliking these films is because of the inclusion of POC and female actors getting bigger, more important roles.

The most disappointing thing about all this, in my opinion, is that ‘Star Wars’ has always had deep-rooted messages and themes about society, politics, inclusion, failure, redemption, balance and inner conflict. It always had an overriding message of hope. The newer films take these themes and crank them up further than their predecessors. That’s a good thing; and reflects that society today is more open-minded, inclusive and accepting. George Lucas’ original vision was to create something that could provide moral guidance, a sense of spirituality that could transcend religion;

I see Star Wars as taking all the issues that religion represents and trying to distill them down into a more modern and easily accessible construct […] I put the Force into the movie in order to try to awaken a certain kind of spirituality in young people”

Obviously, mentioning George Lucas brings up an important point in the discussion, ownership. Now, as fans, we’re all important. As people, all of our opinions matter. None of that gives you ownership of ‘Star Wars’. IT’S NOT YOUR STAR WARS. ‘Star Wars’ doesn’t exist to be what you want it to be, it exists to be what the creators wanted to be. ‘Star Wars’ owes you nothing, so boo-hoo if the story hasn’t gone the way you wanted it to in your own mind.

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Now, I was born after the OT, saw them and fell in love with them as a kid. I’m old enough to remember ‘The Phantom Menace’ being released in cinemas, the line going all the way down the road, everyone in costumes, a full 16 years after the release of ‘Return of the Jedi’. 16 years. And it actually wasn’t very good. None of the prequel trilogy was actually great, and that was George Lucas telling the story George Lucas wanted to tell. 16 years! So spare me the talk of Disney ruining SW with its story direction and release schedule. We’re getting great ‘Star Wars’ movies almost every year. It’s a huge galaxy, there’s a million stories to tell, as long as the films are good and fun, there should be no issue. Who cares who makes them, so long as they’re good. George Lucas gave us three amazing films, followed by 3 average films and Jar Jar Binks.

So let’s look at the aforementioned issues; TFA being too similar to past ‘Star Wars’ stories. Lucas himself said that the stories always repeat, because that’s human nature. That was his vision for the expanded ‘Star Wars’ galaxy over time; and they do. Luke, a poor boy from nowhere, had incredible Force powers, and rose up to become the galaxies great hope against the evil of the Empire. In the prequel trilogy, Anakin, a poor orphan boy from nowhere, had incredible Force powers and rose up to become the galaxies greatest hope before succumbing to the Dark Side and becoming the greatest evil in the galaxy. TFA, Rey, a poor orphan girl has incredible Force powers, rises up to become the next great hope against the evil of the First Order. You could even make a prequel trilogy about Ben Solo’s rise and fall into Kylo Ren. That’s how in-sync the stories are. AND IT’S EXACTLY AS GEORGE LUCAS INTENDED IT.

Yet, it’s different. The themes of balance are much more present. Internal conflict, not only in force-sensitive people, but in a stormtrooper? The mindless soldiers of the Empire/First Order. That alone raised so many exciting new questions and possibilities, the exploration of the moral compass and conscience of Finn has been fantastic and fresh. Kylo Ren explores the inner conflict and pull of the light and dark more than any other character in previous ‘Star Wars’ films. It’s different because it’s more in touch with modern world views. It’s different because it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been or what you’re past is.

“Let the past die, kill it if you must”.

That line, apply it to the original films. The Skywalkers? The last of that bloodline is now Kylo Ren. Rey? A nobody. Snoke, unimportant, didn’t matter. Bold new steps in the way we tell ‘Star Wars’ stories, yet in line with how we tell Star Wars stories. It completely drives the saga in new directions while being faithful to the original ideals. Good vs bad, balance, inner conflict and redemption.

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In terms of Rey being a ‘Mary Sue’, why does nobody ever mention that Luke is the biggest Mary Sue of them all? He’s amazing at everything and quite easily dispels the pull of the Dark Side without a tonne of effort or sacrifice. I love that ‘The Last Jedi’ particularly explores the idea of Luke as a failure, to himself and to Ben, and the wider universe by his self-imposed exile. I love that there’s redemption for Luke, and his death is a sacrifice after finding inner peace and faith in the force again, knowing that Rey will restore balance and be the light vs Kylo’s dark. A large part of why I love that is because it’s such a fresh take on a central ‘Star Wars’ theme, failure. Obi Wan failed Anakin, and ultimately, he paid the price. His death was sacrificial, but willing, as he had found inner peace, and knew Luke would take up the mantle for the light vs the darkness.

Ultimately, ‘Star Wars’ doesn’t owe anyone anything, it’s not your ‘Star Wars’,  and people should be grateful that we get so much good SW content so often these days, whether it matches how it should of been in your head or not. Trust me, its better than waiting a decade and a half for a movie that didn’t match what you expected. But even when the prequel trilogy didn’t hold up in quality compared to the OT, that was fine. Agree to disagree, discuss what you’d have preferred and your critiques by all means. But, above all, be a decent person and resist the dark side of online abuse and bullying.

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, or discuss with us over on Twitter – @JUMPCUT_ONLINE

 

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JUMPCUT’s Top 10 Films Of 2017

As we prepare for our annual award show, The Odysseys, we asked our wonderful team to list their top 10 films of 2017 and we’ve created the JUMPCUT Top 10 list based on their input. The votes were nail bitingly close, and there’s been plenty of discussion this year amongst the team!

You may recall that last year we posted up our ‘Top 10 Most Anticipated Films Of 2017‘, which featured the likes of ‘Wonder Woman’, ‘Logan’, ‘Dunkirk’, and at the #1 spot was ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, and whilst appearing on some of our team’s personal Top 10 lists, did it make it onto our Top 10 of the year?

Just missing out out making our ultimate top 10 are the following honorable mentions:

and now, for the part you’ve most likely quickly scrolled past everything else for: JUMPCUT ONLINE‘S official top 10 films of 2017 are:


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#10 – IT

One of a number of adaptations of Stephen Kings work to grace a screen this year, ‘IT’ made a record breaking entry to the box office by more than doubling the record takings for a horror film’s opening weekend. Bill Skårsgard’s performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown is not one that’ll leave your nightmares any time soon. With the film arriving on home release shortly, we highly recommend taking Pennywise home with you!

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#9 – Wind River

Taylor Sheridan’s directorial debut was nothing short of heart racing. Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen ditched their MCU costumes for something a little warmer as they investigate the death of a young girl in Wyoming, on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The investigation leaves the audience guessing right up until the third act, and when the truth hits it doesn’t pull it’s punches.

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#8 – Thor: Ragnarok

If a couple of years ago you’d have told us that a Thor film would end up our ‘Top 10’ of the year least, you’d forgive us for not believing you. Whilst the first two instalments of his solo outings are rather lacklustre and dreary, in comes Taiki Waititi to shake things up and deliver one of the best entries to the MCU to date. With lots of colour, humour, and a dash kiwi charm, Waititi left his mark all over the God of Thunder – as well as introducing us to everyone’s instant new favourite, Korg, who is played by Waititi.

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#7 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

‘The Last Jedi’ topped our list last year for most anticipated movie of 2017 and boy did we have a wait on our hands. Now it’s been released worldwide, the latest entry to the ‘Star Wars’ franchise has divided many fans on it’s approach to some of the characters and it’s plot. It’s fair to say that our team, which consists of a number of huge ‘Star Wars’ fans, had quite a bit to say on this film (in a pleasant, civilised, and GIF-happy manner might we add) and it may actually come as a surprise to some of them that it made our list!

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#6 – Baby Driver

If the toe-tappingly catchy and action filled trailers weren’t enough to get you to see Edgar Wright’s ‘Baby Driver’ in the cinema, then we sure hope you’ve corrected your mistake and watched it since it’s home release following it’s wave of praise online. Not only is the film insanely brilliant, the soundtrack ain’t half bad either.

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#5 – La La Land

The UK started the new year hearing nothing but praise for ‘La La Land’. The U.S theatrical release date was in December, whilst we had to twiddle our thumbs and wait  here in the UK until the following month. By the time it was released, it had already won a jaw-dropping amount of awards and was also in the running for a number of Academy Awards, including ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Film’ (let’s not get into that). 11 months later and the film still sits highly on the top of a lot of our team’s list, and we daren’t tally up how many times we’ve all watched it since!

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#4 – Get Out

With a production budget of just $4.5 million, ‘Get Out’ broke records and all expectations when it grossed over $251 million worldwide during it’s run in cinemas. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut was greatly received and is arguably one of the most talked about films of the year. Daniel Kaluuya has received numerous nominations and awards as the lead of the film, and rightly so. Another one we recommend ticking off your list before the year is out!

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#3 – Logan

James Mangold stepped back into the director’s chair to direct another Wolverine solo film, but this time the claws were well and truly out for his R-Rated return. ‘Logan’ showed us Wolverine like we’ve never scene him on screen before. The neo-western take on Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Logan was a perfect send off for the actor and the character, as well as a superb introduction to Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney (aka X-23). ‘Logan’ proved to be an emotional farewell, but also left us with a glimmer of hope that we could potentially see X-23 in her own film in the future.

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#2 – Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan’s latest film was hyped up to no end that some of us were certain our expectations were too high and would never be met. Those doubts were quashed upon viewing the film (numerous times for some of the team) and although the story, told from three perspectives (land, sea, and air), had very little dialogue, the way in which is was shot, and the perfect accompanying score, were enough to keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through.

Sometimes I still hear the ticking…. 

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#1 – Blade Runner 2049

Aaaaand if you hadn’t guessed by now – Denis Villeneuve’s neo-noir sci-fi masterpiece ‘Blade Runner 2049’ sits at number one for this year’s list. With some breathtakingly beautiful cinematography and set pieces, an ear-pleasingly gorgeous score, and strong performances from Ryan Gosling, Ana De Armas, Ryan Gosling, and the rest of the supporting case, there was nothing we didn’t love about this film – although unfortunately it appears that the general audience may disagree with us as it didn’t perform all too well at the box office!

 


There you have it! ‘Blade Runner 2049’ claims the #1 spot this year for us here at JUMPCUT. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this list and what your Top 10 looks like!

In case you missed it, we also wrote up our ‘Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2018‘ – We wonder if any of those will feature in our end of year top 10 next year….

Feel free to leave a comment below, or tweet us your Top 10 to @JUMPCUT_ONLINE 

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Year: 2017
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro.

WRITTEN BY CHRIS GELDERD

This 2017 American sci-fi fantasy is written and directed by Rian Johnson and is the sequel to 2015s ‘The Force Awakens’, the second of the New Trilogy and ninth in the overall Star Wars saga.

Following the destruction of Starkiller Base at the hands of the Resistance led by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), the brave heroes find themselves mercilessly hunted by the First Order under the command of General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis).

As the Resistance attempts to survive the First Order, young Jedi in training Rey (Daisy Ridley) seeks the help of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to join the fight and defeat Snoke and his powerful apprentice, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

Emotions will be pushed to breaking point as Rey discovers shocking truths about key fighters in the Resistance and First Order, and Luke Skywalker himself, which will force everyone to question just where their destiny lies within the galaxy and which side of the fight they are truly on…

I’m going to say it from the off here – I walked out of the midnight showing of ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’ a little disappointed. Not for J.J. Abrams’ thrill ride, but for the new episode from writer/director Rian Johnson. ‘The Last Jedi’ is a blend of all that works from the prequels and original trilogy, but sadly lots that doesn’t. The result is a film that delivers on the most part, but stumbles along the way and gives, I think, little payoff for a film that should offer more resolutions than headaches.

Maybe I will feel different on the second viewing with a clearer head? Or maybe that’s me as an avid Star Wars fan desperate to find more in this blockbuster than I originally found.

We are catapulted into the fall-out from ‘The Force Awakens’ in a typical Star-Warsy narrative that is tried and tested; a number of stories running parallel that converge at the end. The late Carrie Fisher has far more to do this time around leading the Resistance again as General Leia Organa. Oscar Isaac is back as passionate pilot Poe along with John Boyega as Finn and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran as Rose, a maintenance worker for the Resistance. It is this group, along with Laura Dern as the ‘is she good / is she bad?’ Admiral Holdo, that are the ones scrabbling around trying to simultaneously fight against and flee from the First Order.

On the other hand, we have Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker seeking to understand each other, the Force and the state of the galaxy at war. On the OTHER other hand, Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren and Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux ham it up for all it’s worth as the brash, short-fused, volatile but merciless First Order agents.

As you can see, it’s a busy narrative with lots of new and old characters, new planets, species and technology. And as you suspect, there is a lot of waste and a lot of back and forth that messes up the flow. The Resistance has a lazy plot that revolves around breaking a secret code on-board the biggest Star Destroyer in the First Order fleet to allow their ships to flee. So much time is spent on this task that is made out to be much easier to do than it really should be, giving Boyega, Tran and co. reasons to forge relationships and run around on the very prequel-esque digital world of Cantonica and Canto Bight. It detracts from the main flow of the story and is very digital, compared to the practical worlds of Takodana and Jakku from ‘The Force Awakens.’

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The CGI here and throughout is very noticeable. It’s not 100% polished, but because there is so much it’s far easier to spot. From Snoke’s digital body to dozens of new alien species and much more gravity/physics defying action, it reminded me more of the flamboyant CGI of the prequels than the restrained, minimal CGI J.J. Abrams introduced us to. As I said, some of the prequel material worked, much didn’t. ‘The Last Jedi’ plays out like a new modern entry wrapped up in a prequel skin.

It’s a busy film, and the secondary narrative detracts from what we are here to see – the return of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and his relationship with Rey. We get this and more, and it’s wonderful. A highlight of the film is seeing the two bicker, argue try to understand each other, exploring lore from the past and touching on the future. Hamill is not the Jedi we last saw on Endor, but a world-weary, scared and bitter hermit questioning his own existence and the Force itself. He draws us into his story and the spark between him and Ridley grips you, wondering just who is right and who is wrong.

And on the subject of Luke; his Porgs. Not as annoying as you’d expect, and rather amusing in a restrained way. They are NOT the new Ewoks, believe me, and the best of the various digital creatures we have here (the Canto Bight ones truly pointless if you ask me).

But with constant interjections from a slightly boring Resistance story, it becomes frustrating being drip-fed so much about Luke, Rey and Kylo that while it is electric to watch, Johnson doesn’t offer clear resolutions to questions raised in 2015. I felt short-changed by many outcomes, and annoyed at what seemed to be a waste of established material. To be honest, at times I didn’t know if I was watching the middle of a trilogy or the end of one. As both stories crank up to converge, my mind’s eye saw ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ blended with ‘Return Of The Jedi’ in a mish-mash of sequences that, while hitting the humour, emotion and action just right, were just too rushed and hap-hazard to take in. Even the Battle Of Hoth-esque finale  (spot the Gareth Edwards solider cameo!) is pretty boring, un-eventful and jammed with digital creations that I was turning off even when a certain character brushed his shoulder off. It felt too much, too late.

I was seeing things I didn’t want to see happen. Outcomes I didn’t want to witness. Characters go when I couldn’t see a reason for.  The film itself is immersive, don’t get me wrong. There are some really beautiful shots and really tender, well executed moments developing our heroes and villains. I just felt the outcomes were either cheap or rushed.  Even the score by John Williams is devoid of anything standout, and the only motifs that roused me were ones recycled from the Original Trilogy for a truly sentimental impact.

You can see, I am torn, and I’m annoyed that a Star Wars film has made me feel like this especially following such a blistering opening chapter.

As I said, I felt the trilogy was wrapping up towards the end of this. It was strange. Where will they go from here? J.J. Abrams needs to really add something new to ‘Episode IX’ because questions and motives are still clouded and over-looked all for dramatic effect, and opportunities have been missed. While I buy into this new galaxy and always will be an avid fan, I need more to invest in for this current battle between good and evil to give me chills the way that all closing chapters should. Because to me it feels Johnson has peaked the trilogy far too soon.

CHRIS’ RATING: 5.0/10.

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Darkness Rises In Brand New ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ TV Spot

“In Lucasfilm’s ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of ‘The Force Awakens’ join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past”

Directed By: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Billi Lourd
Release Date: 14th December 2017

Rey and Kylo Ren Take Centre Stage In Brand New ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Trailer

“Luke Skywalker’s peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he meets Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of the Force.”

Direct By: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Gwendoline Christie
Release Date: 14th December 2017

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Watch This Space: 9th – 15th October

Every Monday we will be recommending films that are on TV that week, films playing at the cinema, and also remind you of those brilliant films hiding on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and possibly in your own collection.

In Cinemas

Blade Runner 2049: Fans of the original have waited 35 years for a sequel to ‘Blade Runner’, and last week their wish was granted. It may not be receiving the best numbers at the box office, but fans and critics alike can’t help but share their love the this masterpiece. Our full review will be on site later today!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Whilst we know it’s not December yet, we thought we’d take this opportunity to remind you that tickets for ‘The Last Jedi’ go on sale Tuesday AM (UK), and with them comes a brand new trailer! We’ll have it up on site as soon as it hits the web!

The Mountain Between Us: Idris Elba and Kate Winslet are stranded after a tragic plane crash. They must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. ‘The Mountain Between Us’ opened in UK cinemas last Friday, and our full review will be up soon!

On TV

Monday

Se7en (1995): If you discount ‘Alien 3’ because, well, who wouldn’t, ‘Se7en’ was our introduction to a master filmmaker. David Fincher has blessed us with numerous films that rightfully earn their place on countless best films ever lists, though arguably none have managed to be as high on said lists as ‘Se7en.’ It’s a crime noir starring a pre-Fight Club and Morgan Freeman as they investigate a string of murders all based on the seven deadly sins. It’s a deceptively clever thriller that keeps you engaged, guessing, and shocked at some of the truly messed up ways the sins have been visualised as murder scenes. On a personal note, ‘Se7en’ is one of my favourite films of all time. This film can be watched and rewatched countless times and you will still find new things to love about it, right up until it’s brilliant, soul-crushing climax.

 

Tuesday

Southpaw (2015): Directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, ‘Southpaw‘ is the gritty drama about a successful pro boxer who goes off the hinges after his wife is shot at a press event. Gyllenhaal delivers a strong and heavyweight performance as Billy “The Great’ Hope, a husband and father who wins titles in the ring, but ultimately loses himself outside. He’s on top of the world, beating opponents to a pulp with a fight fueled by anger. Hope must rehabilitate himself in order to take back his life and the custody of his daughter. Gyllenhaal’s character is aggressive and the onscreen punches are impressive. If you want something decent and gritty that isn’t afraid to throw punches, this is your film. Catch this knockout boxing drama on Film4 at 9pm.

Wednesday

Locke (2013): One of Tom Hardy’s most astonishing performances makes for an audacious film. Almost entirely a one-man monologue delivered over the course of a long night-time road trip. We watch as Locke slowly unravels and details of his career and personal life are revealed through a series of confessional phone conversations. Remarkable that this film was made at all and I’m very glad it was. Alongside ‘The Drop’ – one of Hardy’s best but underseen roles. Highly recommend.

Dirty Dancing (1987): An iconic soundtrack runs throughout this 80s classic, set in the 60s and telling the tale of a summer romance. Rich girl Baby meets bad boy and dirtier dancer Johnny and an illicit affair is sparked. Throw in a watermelon, a botched abortion and a corner where NOBODY puts Baby and you have one of the most quotable films of a generation. Again, if you haven’t seen it, why not? Rectify this immediately!

The Green Mile (1999): In the season of Stephen King adaptations, why not visit one of the most profound and heart-breaking? Tom Hanks (one of Hollywood’s most reliable actors) stars as Paul Edgecomb, who accompanies men down the ‘mile’, the walk cons take to the chair, to the death. When he meets the simple and naive John Coffey (played to perfection by Michael Clarke Duncan), a giant of a man accused of murdering two young girls, Paul begins to question John’s guilt.

Legally Blonde (2001): Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) has everything: hot shot law student boyfriend, top spot in a prestigious sorority house, a stellar fashion sense, and the most infectiously lovely personality. When her sure-to-be future husband unceremoniously dumps her for being too blonde, she is determined to win him back. Using her unstoppable willpower and wit, she gets into Harvard Law School, and brings all her charm, a splash of pink and her chihuahua with her. Riotously fun and positive, Legally Blonde is the perfect antidote to the darker nights.

Thursday

License to Kill (1989): Rewind 17 years before Daniel Craig made James Bond a badass, and you’ll find Timothy Dalton doing it just as good if not better this time in the darkest 007 film of all. Going up against drug baron Robert Davi with the aid of the kick-ass Carey Lowell, Dalton shoots, stabs, water-skis, parachutes and punches his way into the heart of a dangerous drug cartel to bring them down from the inside in a mission of revenge. Blistering action, brutal violence and a real film of it’s time. The world wasn’t ready for a darker 007. Well, they are now. Enjoy!

Titanic (1997): What can be said about the biggest film in the world? I can’t imagine there are many people left who haven’t seen it. It’s a classic tale of boy meets girl, girl meets enormous blue diamond, iceberg meets boat, floating door not big enough for two people. Despite all the cliches, the second half of the film is still quite thrilling and visually spectacular. Get it in your eyeballs.

Friday

GoldenEye (1995): The Cold War is over, but there are plenty of reasons for James Bond to thrill us in the wake of a 6 year absence from an early end to Timothy Dalton’s run in 1989. Old and new cast and crew come together to take 007 to new heights with classic elements laced with a new, modern twist. Pierce Brosnon re-introduces Bond to a new generation of fans going up against rogue agent Sean Bean from bringing the world to it’s knees with a hi-tech super-weapon. With death-defying stunts, loud action sequences, a rousing theme and all the martinis, girls and guns we’ve come to expect from 007, it’s a new era but one that proves nobody does it better still.

Last Action Hero (1993):  The film that easily divides many Arnold Schwarzenegger fans, this is actually far cleverer than it appears and delves into the self-parodying track of spoofing the action genre and Hollywood in general. Director John McTiernan makes sure the action is played out tongue-in-cheek as we jump from inside the silver screen and beyond when Arnie goes up against villain Charles Dance. As long as the film is understood to be a mockery of the thing it tries to be, it comes across more enjoyable than if watched to be a serious actioner. And don’t worry, there are many Arnie one-liners a plenty here. “Iced that guy, to cone a phrase!”

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I (2011): The Twilight Saga lives on with its second to last installment, based on the novel Breaking Dawn. Bella Swan, the average girl who fell hard for vampire stud Edward Cullen, gets married and soon becomes impregnated with a half-mortal, half-immortal child. Seen as a potential threat to the local wolf pack and humans, the Cullen family must help Bella survive her pregnancy, and protect their livelihood in Washington. The young Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson reprise their roles in this fairytale drama that grossed big box office numbers among book and film fans alike.Catch the popular endearing story on E4 at 9pm.

Gladiator (2000): It’s Friday, and we all know what that means. A cosy night in, all snuggled up in front of the TV with snacks aplenty. And what better way to spend your Friday evening by watching Ridley Scott’s epic ‘Gladiator’, a 155-minute spectacle that throws you into the gladiator pits of Ancient Rome. With mesmerising cinematography by John Mathieson and career-defining performances from Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, ‘Gladiator’ is an epic that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with other grand, cinematic spectacles like ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Ben-Hur’. A must-see.

 

Hiding Online / In Our Collection / Out This Week

 

Wonder Woman (2017): Yesterday we were treated to the final ‘Justice League’ trailer in which we saw Wonder Woman, along with Bruce Wayne, assemble the League to save the world. As of today, ‘Wonder Woman’ is yours to take home on DVD/Blu-ray in the UK! With it’s record breaking run at the box office almost complete, we can probably expect more records to be broken on her home release.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994): Allllrriigghhttyy then! 1994 was a very good year for Jim Carrey. During this breakout year he starred in not one, not two, but three comedy classics. Dumb and Dumber and The Mask were great for Carrey to showcase his talents, but Ace Ventura was the one that he really was allowed to let loose in. With his rubber face cranked up to 11 and his limbs in a non stop hurricane of madness, Ace is a character that Jim Carrey looked like he had the best time playing. It shines through in his performance. The premise is simple. Ace Ventura is hired by the Miami Dolphins to find their missing mascot, Snowflake the Dolphin. What follows is 87 minutes of pure 90s gold. With support from Courtney Cox and Sean Young, Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura Pet Detective is an easy, fun comedy which will keep you entertained for all its duration. They don’t really make them like this anymore so catch it while you can.

Fast Five (2011): The Fast and Furious franchise, whether you love it or hate it, can be an entertaining breakaway from the mundaneness of everyday life. The absurd car chases, the improbable yet insanely fun shootouts, even the fast-paced fight sequences in which the franchise is renowned for is especially present in the fifth instalment; ‘Fast Five’. Arguably the best in the now 8-film series, ‘Fast Five’ is relentless in its presentation, and with the addition of Dwayne Johnson’s hulking Hobbs joining the rest of the charismatic roster, ‘Fast Five’ rejuvenated a franchise that most felt was on its way out. Popcorn entertainment has never looked so good, so be sure not to miss it!

The Notebook (2004):  If you’re a hopeless romantic, the latest addition to the Netflix roster is for you. Adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel (king of the rom-com), The Notebook is a story of everlasting love told in two timelines. With notes of The Princess Bride (‘Always’) and Romeo & Juliet (forbidden love), the lead characters are so irresistible to root for. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as Noah and Allie bring to screen one of the most authentic representations of first love and teenage love, one that is sure to make you feel sentimental. Watch this under a blanket with a hot cup of cocoa.

A huge thank you to contributors this week: Dave Curtis, Chris Gelderd, Jessica Peña, Rhys Bowen-Jones, Fiona Underhill, Corey Hughes, Sasha Hornby

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The Adventures Of Luke Starkiller as Taken From The Journal Of The Whills: Saga One: Star Wars

Written by Chris Gelderd

Every great idea comes from your imagination, or rather; your imagination that has been inspired by something or someone else to give you said great idea.

George Walton Lucas Jr, the founder of small production company Lucasfilm since the 1960s, had a great idea for a movie in 1974; a Flash Gordon adventure. This was encouraged by his love of the Flash Gordon serials and the works of visionary director Akira Kurosawa. Before the seed was planted however, George Lucas had successful graduated from the University of Southern California and been turned down by the United States Army due to his diabetes. So, the only course that beckoned was his love for film.

After a few low-budget films under his belt like the panned ‘Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB’ in 1971 the well-received ‘American Graffiti’ in 1973, Lucas set his sights on buying the rights to Flash Gordon to make his own epic adventure film for the big screen. However, even with the help of his friend Francis Ford Coppola, George failed to acquire the rights and his vision was crushed

But this was a man with a dream, and one way or another he was going to achieve it! So, after ‘American Graffiti’ performed well, George began writing his own sci-fi adventure with a synopsis entitled ‘Journal of the Whills’. And so over the course of the next year, a vision started to come together that fused inspiration from world cinema, various genres and even his pet dog Indiana. Multiple drafts were done, and he threw ideas around trying to think what audiences would want to see; visions of a fantastical future, or adventures of a mystical past? Characters started to come together like General Annikin Starkiller, a large green smuggler with gills called Han Solo and mysterious villains known as Sith.

It became a classic story of good v evil, heroes and villains. A fantastical quest across the stars taken by a band of heroes to save the day, and a damsel in distress, held by evil villains as they try to conquer the galaxy. With conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie helping George turn his ideas of spaceships, sprawling planets, huge control rooms, armoured villains and roguish heroes into reality, by the time the fourth and final draft was complete, the story of Luke Starkiller, Jedi Knight, was ready to go. Securing a budget of $8.5m and the backing of 20th Century Fox, George laid the foundations through 1975

Forming his own visual effects company called ‘Industrial Light & Magic’, George began hiring the talent to bring his story to life. Visual effects engineer John Dykstra. Cinematographer Gilbert Taylor. Producer Gary Kurtz. Composer John Williams. Editor Paul Hirsch. Location scouting took place across America, North Africa and Europe to seek out locations ripe for turning into desert worlds and bustling cities, and Elstree Studios in London was hired for the more focused and controlled shooting.

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Young actor Mark Hamill was cast as Luke Skywalker – formally Starkiller – and with little experience to his name, George felt he was the perfect unknown face to become a young, naïve farm boy thrust into a galactic adventure.

Carrie Fisher, following a debut opposite Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn in ‘Shampoo’, took the role of Princess Leia, a member of the Galactic Senate and royal family, beating off competition from Jodie Foster, Karen Allen and Amy Irving to bag the role.

For the smuggler Han Solo, George Lucas wanted a new face for the role and so initially rejected young carpenter Harrison Ford, whom had worked with Lucas before on ‘American Graffiti’. It was only when Ford read lines for the auditions that his delivery actually won him the part, beating off competition from Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, Jack Nicholson, Steve Martin and Billy Dee Williams to name but a few.

To counter his cast of unknown faces, Gary Kurtz made it clear that George needed some established actors to give the film credibility. For that, veteran actors Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness were cast as Governor Tarkin and Obi-Wan Kenobi respectively to add depth and a gravitas to their roles and importance to the story.

Theatre and radio actor Anthony Daniels was cast as protocol droid C-3PO who would act with his voice and body alone behind a full costume. Kenny Baker, standing at just 3ft 8 was cast as astromech droid R2-D2 to help control and operate the droid from inside. Rounding out the aliens and droids was Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, a 7ft gentle Wookiee with fierce loyalty to the heroes of the piece.

The physically imposing bit-part actor David Prowse was cast as Sith Lord Darth Vader, our villain clad in black. Due to his West Country accent, his physical stance was all that was needed. Orson Welles was wanted to voice Vader, but due to him being too well known, George cast American actor James Earl Jones for his deep and menacing voice as Vader, recorded in post-production to help create a villain full of mystery and danger.

With many more British and American talent filling out the rest of the cast of good guys and bad guys, ranging from farmers to pilots to aliens and soldiers, the shoot commenced in March 1976.

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It initially became more surreal as it went on. Cast and crew injected their passion and professionalism into the shoot for a film that seemed to be nothing but a “children’s film”. The harsh climate of Tunisia hampered external shots and proved difficult for Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker to work in, confined to their robotic suits, let alone the armoured clad Stormtroopers on set. The sets on Elstree were difficult to fit out and light correctly with their dark and brooding black and gray colours. Furthermore, director George was a very quiet and introverted man on set. Focused, serious and adamant to battle on to get his dream to the big screen, he was difficult to work with at times and many of the cast tried to crack his serious shell.

Even the actors, having as much fun as possible, found it one big joke. Harrison Ford lauded the script – “you can type this shit George but you sure can’t say it” – and production design – “there’s a princess with weird buns in her hair”. Kenny Baker felt the film was going to be a flop. Alec Guinness at times felt the film was mindless and had no real direction.

George was diagnosed wish exhaustion and hypertension by the end of shooting. Post-production was also a tough time in getting the visual effects right, working to a tight deadline that pushed a Christmas 1976 release back to summer 1977. Convincing studio execs and peers to have faith in the film was also tricky. It was a tough film from start to finish, and the budget expanded by $3m to a total of $11m taking in re-shoots and added effects. Composer John Williams recorded the soundtrack in March 1977 with the London Symphony Orchestra to help tell the story with music, not just words.

With little faith and marketing from Fox, only 40 theatres ordered the final cut of the film.

On Wednesday May 25th 1977, George Lucas’s dream of a small scale sci-fi space saga was finally released to low expectations.

It was called ‘Star Wars’.

40 years to that day, the rest, as they say, is history…

May The 4th Be With You – More Than Just A Convenient Date

Written by Chris Gelderd

The fourth of May… The day that comes but once a year.

To many, just another day of a season, but to most it’s a day beyond anything this galaxy could prepare us for. It’s a day to celebrate all things Star Wars. Is it official? As in a celebration made official by LucasFilm? No.  But it has transcended boundaries, as Star Wars always does, because it is now recognised by George Lucas himself, and even by Disney, as a day that means so much to fans of the franchise around the world.

The first organised celebration of the day only came later in the years in 2011 at the Toronto Underground Cinema, where fans gathered for trivia games, cosplay competitions and big-screen presentations of internet based tribute films, spoofs and sketches. And even now, Disney incorporates special Star Wars themed attractions and events at their parks on this day because, while not a national holiday, it has something stronger than a government backing to make it a memorable day – the backing of fans!

But even before then, going back to the late 1970s when ‘A New Hope’ blasted audiences into another galaxy, May the 4th became the day when fans could wear their t-shirts and costumes with pride, play with their toys in the streets and generally do anything related to Star Wars, because it was THEIR day.

And in the world media, the first official incorporation of the Star Wars-themed date was back in 1979 when Britain elected their first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Author Alan Arnold, who was working on ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ at the time, remembers:

“Margaret Thatcher has won the election and become Britain’s first woman prime minister. To celebrate their victory her party took a half page of advertising space in the London Evening News. This message, referring to the day of victory, was ‘May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations,’ further proof of the extent to which Star Wars has influenced us all.”

The date soon spread across the world and it was used by fans to further bring the escapism of Star Wars into their everyday life, almost as if fate allowed it to happen. However, the question is more than just landing on a convenient date, what garners a film franchise the right to be globally celebrated.

It is almost a day specifically created in perfect unison with the most ground-breaking and popular film franchise of all to allow fans to celebrate it, and say thanks to it, how they see fit. This is rather a beautiful thing when you look at it, because this day is something created by fans to share with other fans. Not by the studios or production teams, but by the fans who were given these films who now want to show how much they mean to each individual in any way they see fit. They also want to give something back to the people behind the films, the books, the toys, games, clothing….it’s the ultimate fan love letter.

So what better way to celebrate the franchise? It’s not like you don’t have much to choose from. How will you celebrate your love for Star Wars? How about one of the following;

The classic movie marathon. All current seven episodes and our latest spin-off ‘Rogue One’ in order. But, you have to include the ‘Clone Wars’ animated movie set between Episodes II and III, right? At just over 17 hours, it can be done and will take you right from ‘The Phantom Menace’ to ‘The Force Awakens’, spanning  66 years of galactic history and ready to continue this year in December with ‘The Last Jedi’.

Read a good book or three. With SO much material out there spanning some 25,000 years BEFORE ‘A New Hope’, a wealth of canon and non-canon adventures await you from acclaimed authors including Timothy Zahn, James Luceno,  A.C. Crispin and Troy Denning.

Grab a controller and get online for a day of gaming on a classic or next-gen console with a stack of Star Wars games that span the whole saga. Play as heroes and villains from both sides of the Force in land, sea or air adventures ranging from first person shooters, puzzle games, MMORPG and arcade classics.

As you can see, there is so much to do and it doesn’t stop there. Have a Star Wars themed house party! A trivia game at work! Bake Star Wars cakes for your friends! Spam social media with so much Star Wars knowledge your monitor implodes!

The possibilities are endless, but there is no right way or wrong way to smother yourself in Star Wars goodness and know that millions more are doing the exact same thing.

And let’s not forget the new date creeping into fan’s calendars following May the 4th. It’s the revenge of the 5th! 

So this is just a little glimpse into the formation of a day by the fans and for the fans to celebrate everything that is Star Wars. Let us know what you’re doing to mark the day and show us via our social media outlets on Facebook or Twitter.

Thank you, and remember….

Grab Your Lightsabers! The First Trailer for Stars Wars: The Last Jedi Has Landed!

The trailer for the 8th episode of the ‘Star Wars’ saga was shown during the ‘The Last Jedi’ panel at Star Wars Celebration Orlando. It’s fair to say that this was the main event that many Star Wars fans were waiting for this week, and now it’s finally here!

Rian Johnson enthusiasm really shined during ‘The Last Jedi’ panel this afternoon, so much so that he showed the trailer twice to the audience because he wanted to watch it with them again. He has so much love for the films and the franchise as a whole that I have 100% faith he will deliver a film that Star Wars fans will love. 

From the trailer it looks like we can expect a much darker film, compared to ‘The Force Awakens’. From some of the casts comments over the period of the ‘Star Wars Celebration’ this week, this also leads me to believe the characters are going to face a lot of personal challenges, as well as facing the threat of the First Order, who Rian Johnson says “aren’t  just sitting on their hands” following the destruction of the Starkiller base. 

Like most fans, I’ve had the trailer on repeat since it’s arrival and each shot is stunning and full of mystery. We can see Rey training and Luke watching over her, a brief but amazingly awesome shot of Kylo Ren wielding his lightsaber, Finn looks as though he’s still recovering in some sort of pod, Captain Phasma leading her troops, and the demise of Luke’s Jedi Academy. 

December cannot come quick enough! 

JumpCut Writer’s Reactions: 

Rhys (@RuhBuhJuh): This trailer has me more hyped right now than after I watched the Force Awakens trailer. Incredible time to be a Star Wars fan!

Chris (@GelNerd): Light. Darkness. A balance. The Last Jedi has ruined me and I literally can’t comprehend what I’m seeing or what it means.

Noah (@movieswhynotm8): The word orgasmic comes to mind. 

Fiona (@FionaUnderhill)I’m SO excited about seeing Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo-Ren again.

and I’ll finish this piece with Sarah’s reaction, which I think we can all relate to right now… 

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ comes to a cinema not so far, far away December 15th 2017

Written by Tom Sheffield