Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Former scientist Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) lives on a farm with his wife and young daughter Jyn (Felicity Jones). Galen and his wife are just trying to raise their daughter and have her grow up in a peaceful environment. That is until everything spirals out of control and the evil Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) takes him away from his family. After many years have passed, Galen is now the Empire’s lead engineer for the most dangerous weapon the galaxy has to offer, the Death Star. Knowing her father is the only one who knows how to destroy the Death Star, Jyn joins forces with Diego (Cassian Andor) and a Droid by the name of K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) to fight against the resistance and give “Hope” to the Empire.

When people ask me about Star Wars films and if is necessary to watch the others before watching a new one; I always respond with yes. Only for the obvious reason of being able to fully understand the story and follow along as it goes. After seeing Rogue One, I can gladly tell you to not worry about seeing other Star Wars films before this one. Even though this movie is essentially a prequel to A New Hope, it still acts as a standalone movie, which is one of the major reasons why this film succeeded in every way. Starting a franchise with now eight films may seem incredibly intimidating to someone who isn’t a movie nerd, like me, but I strongly believe that after seeing Rogue One you will happily look forward to watching A New Hope.

Rogue One is the new standalone film of the Star Wars franchise that we have not been used to seeing. Gareth Edwards gave us a film that often became dark and depressing, but still provided us with enough action to leave the theater more than impressed. The casting was great and I especially liked how much of Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO droid reminds us of C3PO with the humor. It would have been nice to see more of Mendelsohn as a character because he is just incredible in everything he is in, but we have to take what we’re given here. Jones really impressed me with her lead character because I wasn’t all that sure this was the right role for her considering others where she’s been the lead or somewhat of a lead character. Gladly she pulled this off and was fun to watch. I was all for Riz Ahmed being casted in this movie after seeing his performance in The Night Of, but he is not very memorable because his scenes are limited in Rogue One.

From the beginning of the movie they let us know that this was going to separate itself from the “Star Wars Movies” to the “Star Wars Stories.” Rogue One leaves you with a mark of its own and even though it is not the “fan pleaser” that The Force Awakens was it still should be more than satisfying to any Star Wars fan. This film is one that even if the other Star Wars movies do not exist, you could leave saying that was a really good movie. And that’s exactly what I love about this movie. The fact that we can put this movie by itself and it is becoming just as much of a success as other Star Wars films is something that is making me very excited for what is happening with this Star Wars franchise. Seeing what’s in store for the next “Star Wars Story” movie is something that I really look forward to and if it’s anything like Rogue One, it will be an awesome flick.

Overall, Rogue One is intriguing, exciting and at often times dark, but still delivers on what you would want to see from a Star Wars film even though its stands by itself. Rogue One is filled with well-written and well-acted characters that leave you with probably the most memorable Star Wars film to date.

Grade: A

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Welcome To Me (2015)

Here’s a new movie that was just recently released that I got a chance to see. I can’t wait until I hit the lottery. Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig), has borderline personality disorder. Alice hits the lottery and decides that she wants to spend it on what she always wanted in life: her own talk show on television. In this talk show, Alice will have no one else on the show besides herself and she will just talk about her life and her feelings. A lot of people think she is crazy for wanting to do this. Alice will pay whatever price the network wants for her to have 100 episodes. The whole entire show is completely ridiculous and everyone a the network understand that except for Rich (James Marsden). The network is failing and they need a lot of money and since Alice can pay for it, Rich will take whatever he can get. Problems start to arise when the show starts getting insane and she starts to forget about the people who mattered to her the most.

Welcome To Me is a nice, little indie film that actually surprised me and was a pretty decent film. This was a really brave move for Kristen Wiig. Taking on the role of someone who is mentally ill is really a tough task and she really pulled this one-off. Wiig turned the role of Alice into a funny, dark and often frightening character. That just shows the good acting from Wiig. That’s the whole thing about this movie. The acting is so good and the rest is kind of just whatever. The movie itself is just okay and I think it could have done a few things differently to make this a lot better than it was. I was really excited to see this movie and I left more disappointed than satisfied.

The acting we see in Welcome To Me is fine. I really like how there is some big time actors in this movie. We see some small appearances from Tim Robbin, who is one of my favorite actors of all time and we also see people like, Joan Cusack and Wes Bentley. To be truly honest, the acting is what really saved this movie because the premise is very goofy and extremely ridiculous. The movie itself was not all that great and the acting is definitely not to blame for it. Everyone we see in this movie are their usual selves, meaning that they were fine and delivered nice performances. So we can definitely say the acting wasn’t the problem with this movie because I think most importantly, Wiig gave an outstanding performance and nailed this role.

The reason this movie was not all that great is because it just could not put the missing puzzle pieces together. What I mean by that is the fact that nothing really came together by the end with what are some great actors. Welcome To Me left me very disappointed throughout most of the film. I think that it started off really well and then just kind of got completely messy and boring in the second half of the movie. If you are a person who likes to just sit down and watch a nice, little movie then this is one for you. Other than that, this is no more than an okay movie with some really good acting to try to hold it together. I do think this is one that you should check out, not only because of all its hype, but it can be somewhat enjoyable to watch at times.

Overall, Welcome To Me may not have all the pieces of the puzzle together and the only reason it was as good as it was is strictly because of the actors. Nothing more than an okay movie!

Grade= C (Okay)