The Rocky Comedic Adventures of ‘Solo’

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Easily one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2018, Solo had a lot to prove. It definitely didn’t help that most people went into the movie assuming it was going to be bad. I can’t blame it for trying to prove everyone wrong.

In this Star Wars Story, a young Han Solo (played by Alden Ehrenreich, ) is in the initial stages of becoming a smuggler with his best buddy Chewbacca while trying to balance an unfortunate relationship with Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones). He meets Beckett (Woody Harrelson, The Hunger Games, Now You See Me) along the way as well as a very intelligent robot named L3-37 and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover, Atlanta).

As expected, all of these characters affect the story in some way or another, whether it be for entirely comedic purposes or actual damage. The comedy in this is, unfortunately, going to have to be one of my negatives.

Star Wars has gotten into this habit of trying to make every single droid as successful and hilarious as K-2SO in Rogue One, when it’s just not going to happen. L3-37 makes some decent jokes (one being about equal rights for droids), but it feels so obvious that the writers are forcing it.

To future Star Wars Stories writers, stop trying to make the droids as funny as K-2SO, it’s not going to happen.

The movie itself wasn’t the most fun to sit through of the Star Wars franchise. In fact, it may be one of the least enjoyable yet. I had never found myself so bored for the majority of a Star Wars movie than I did with this one.

Luckily, it made up for that with its last 20 minutes which were actually pretty entertaining to watch. I say this because it’s in the last 20 minutes that anything wildly important happens, including a plot twist and introduction of a familiar character that I was saying, “uhm… what?” to.

The cinematography was beautiful, as it is in a Star Wars movie. It was beautifully made, even the camera work wasn’t nauseating like some movies have become nowadays. There were plenty of oddly named planets and several mentions of Tatooine, which I thoroughly enjoyed being a hardcore Star Wars fan myself.

Honestly, I have very mixed opinions regarding Solo. I don’t think it was bad, but it’s definitely in the bottom five of Star Wars movies. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it shouldn’t have been made because at the end of the day, it told a story about a character we all loved that we all wanted to know a little more about.


My Rating: 84%

Acting: 3.4/4

Cinematography: 3.5/4

Story: 3.4/4

Enjoyability: 3.2/4

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‘The Open House’ Is A Darkness In Itself

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

I don’t care what you say about Thirteen Reasons Why, Dylan Minnette is adorable. I say that because he’s equally as cute in The Open House, a new horror flick on Netflix that actually proves to know what it’s doing. The majority of the time at least.

Dylan Minnette plays teenager Logan Wallace alongside his mother Naomi (played by Piercey Dalton) after his father gets killed in a roadside hit. I swear that’s not a spoiler, it happens at the very beginning of the movie and it just happens to be what the entire movie is about.

Despite awful reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (it literally has a 13%), I found it to be a pretty good movie.

The acting wasn’t bad at all. Dalton and Minnette are both experienced actors and clearly knew what they were doing. Minnette has even done horror before (Let Me In, Don’t Breathe), so he knew how to not act amateurly like most actors his age in a horror movie. He kept every creepy moment suspenseful and every scary moment bone chilling.

The scenery was beautiful at first but later fell through after it got repetitive. Many movies have repetitive scenery and do it well, such as Breaking In earlier this month, that used one house for the entire film but made the house have real meaning.

This movie, however, used this house and didn’t add any feeling to it, despite how hard they tried. It was used to successfully build a story, and it did that, but it wasn’t necessarily fun to see for an hour and a half.

The Open House was actually a decent movie to me. It absolutely isn’t my favorite 2018 Netflix movie (Dude and Veronica still hold that title), but it wasn’t the worse. It was a decent horror flick that matched up to some of the other mediocre horror movies we’ve seen the last few years.


My Rating: 75%

Acting: 3.6/4

Cinematography: 2.5/4

Story: 2.9/4

Enjoyability: 3/4

Penetrating the Interminable Mystery Of ‘Ismael’s Ghosts’

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

2018 has already had a good share of foreign films, when you put Zama and Fantastic Woman (which won Best Foreign Film at the 2018 Oscars) in the mix. It was exciting to see that a French foreign film was coming to theatres as I knew it would have an interesting plot and involve a person named Pierre as all french films inevitably have.

Ismael’s Ghosts ended up becoming very confusing very fast. It was simple, at first, seemingly about a woman named Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her boyfriend of two years, Ismael (Mathieu Amalric), who have to recover from a strange turn of events as Ismael’s presumed dead wife Corletta (Marion Cotillard) shows up at an unexpected time.

The acting was slightly better than mediocre. The actors and actresses were new to me, for the most part. Amalric was previously in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Munich, and Quantum of Solace. Cotillard is a one-time academy award winning actress for La Vie en Rose and also appeared in Inception.

As for the plot, it’s complexity develops into something significantly more mysterious, intense, and confusing. This included a story about Ismael as a director and his movie which ends up being part of the twist at the end. At least, I think it was. It got so complicated at the end that I couldn’t tell if it was a twist or something I was just missing the whole time.

Overall, Ismael’s Ghosts was a fine movie. It was confusing beyond confusing but that was its biggest flaw. Make sure you’re ready, though, because it’s the longest 2 hour and 15 minute film you’ll ever watch. As in, it will feel like you’ve been there for a full year before you leave.


My Rating: 74%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 3.3/4

Story: 2.8/4

Enjoyability: 2.8/4

‘Taco Shop’: Slapstick Comedy Gone Wrong

By Therese Gardner, Edited by Olivia Norwood

Despite the other wonderfully done comedies this year including Blockers and Game Night, the new Taco Shop is not all that it’s intended to be. While it is categorized as a slapstick comedy characteristic of broad humor, this film lacks any presence of it. As someone who loves a good laugh, I enjoy films with no social purpose except to make people laugh and feel good. This is definitely not one of those films. As a whole, this movie lacks any sense of direction and its message is vague.

Taco Shop follows Smokes (Tyler Posey), as he plans to resign from his job at Taco Dollar to open up his own taco shop. His plans get interrupted when he discovers his mother has recently lost her job and is now struggling with debt and the possibility of losing their house. As a result of their current financial situation, Smokes is forced to stay at Taco Dollar. The pressure continues to mount when a taco truck decides to park across the street from Taco Dollar causing a war to ensue, as both wish for success.

Can Smokes cooperate with his coworkers in order to save Taco Dollar? Well, obviously, the answer is yes since it’s a predictable film with no motivating meaning. By the end of the film, Smokes has saved Taco Dollar from being taken over by their competition.

One thing I disliked the most about this film was its cringeworthy nature and poor application of crude, sarcastic humor. This was only one of few projects for Director Joaquin Perea and it was not a memorable one. If you couldn’t already tell, I was not impressed even in the slightest. It wasn’t even stupid funny – just foolish.

I don’t want to be completely harsh, however, there were not many strengths, if any, within this film. Considering it is a remake of Taco Shop (2012), I’m not really sure what Perea intended to achieve. If there is anything to be learned from this film, it’s that not every film should be remade and not every director is capable of writing worthy comedy.


My Rating: 39.4%

Acting: 1.5/4

Cinematography: 2/4

Story: 1.8/4

Enjoyability: 1/4

Film Forecast Friday: March 30th

By Olivia Norwood and Anthony Peyton

On Friday, March 30th, we have….

  1. Ready Player One
  2. God’s Not Dead: Light in Darkness
  3. Tyler Perry’s Acrimony
  4. Caught
  5. Fourplay
  6. Gemini

Liv’s Prediction:

Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One will be the biggest film of the weekend, hands down! It’s a big Hollywood movie with special effects like you wouldn’t believe, so it will easily be superior to the rest.

The second biggest film would have to be Tyler Perry’s Acrimony. This is mostly because it’s Tyler Perry and stars Empire’s widely adored Taraji P. Henson. That is a recipe for a box office hit. As for the third installment of God’s Not Dead, I don’t expect much attendance for it. In fact, I think it will crash. It’s not highly anticipated nor does anyone really know about the series itself. Therefore, I don’t see it going anywhere.

As for the indies, only one seems to grasp any type of attention from an average moviegoer. That film is NEON’s Gemini starring the lovely Zoë Kravitz and daring Lola Kirke. The only reason I think that this thriller will do any numbers at the box office is because of the edge factor and that it came from NEON, the production company of Oscar snub I, Tonya. It’s also a story about two beautiful women where one of them could be a murderer. Thoroughbreds, much? I won’t even bother mentioning the other two, Caught and Fourplay, because it has no appeal and no one is anticipating them.

Just know that Ready Player One will dominate at the box office and God’s Not Dead will fall into oblivion like the rest of the films in its series.

Anthony’s Prediction:

Caught has the potential of becoming popular with indie film fans. It has an intriguing story and I am curious on how they’ll go about it. Box office wise… not a hit. This isn’t a major picture that’s going to be rewatched multiple times by the regular moviegoer, but it won’t be awful. As for Gemini, this will also be enjoyed by the indie moviegoer, as many NEON films are. It’ll probably be rated about as well as Caught, if not slightly higher as it has a younger target audience.

Tyler Perry’s Acrimony will be adored by women over the age of 30, as that is its target audience. It won’t fail at the box office but it certainly won’t be the biggest hit, either. However, it does deserve props for filming in a period of eight days. I have confidence that it will be a decent movie if Taraji P. Henson has anything to say about it.

Fourplay and God’s Not Dead: Light in Darkness will be the biggest crashes of the weekend. Fourplay in itself sounds like an already-been-done-before monotone story that won’t be of much interest to the moviegoer who wants to be intrigued by the film they are watching. God’s Not Dead: Light in Darkness has just run its course. This will be its third movie and, given that Christian viewers didn’t even love the first two that much anyway, is on an inevitable path to catastrophe.

The biggest movie of the weekend will be the highly anticipated Ready Player One based on a book of the same title by Ernest Cline. People who have read the book – and those who haven’t – are fascinated by the unique story that this movie is revolving around and, as a result, will be watched by a large audience. This will be the box office’s biggest hit for the weekend of March 30, and that is a fact.

‘Ready Player One’: Throwbacks, Action, (Slightly Mediocre) Acting, Oh My!

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

Welcome to the significantly more intense and highly anticipated Wreck-it Ralph/Tron remix that is Ready Player One. A movie that can only be described by asking you to picture the Iron Giant – yes, the one from the 1999 movie – in an all out war against Godzilla.

Can you picture it? Good.

In Steven Spielberg’s newest movie based off of the highly acclaimed novel by Ernest Cline, we get to live in the world of Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) as he navigates through a crazy complicated Easter egg hunt – which somehow managed to involve King Kong jumping off a building attempting to destroy a DeLorean complete with a flux capacitor – that only took half of the movie to explain.

This was an Easter egg hunt for half a trillion dollars and the sole proprietorship of a video game world called the “Oasis”, given that it’s the only sane place for the majority of people in a post factory apocalypse world. It was created by a slightly senile man by the name of James Halliday (Mark Rylance) who does a good job of showing up at very odd but convenient times throughout the movie.

Sheridan stars alongside Olivia Cooke (Thoroughbreds), who plays Samantha Cook, a slightly self conscious in real life but confident in the Oasis girl, whom is also aiming to win the hunt.

As the first thirty-ish minutes of the movie comes and goes, it becomes pretty obvious that this is no one’s best performance. Cooke is unbearably monotone during certain points in the movie where a little emotion would’ve furthered the character. Sheridan’s performance equals that of X-Men, which may or may not be a good thing.

Take it as you will.

On top of the slightly mediocre acting, the camera angles and special effects towards the beginning of the film can be nauseating and rather jam-packed with the many references you want to scream at (it actually zooms in on Minecraft World before the camera does a 360 degree flip into a space fight). Fortunately, this didn’t manage to bring down the style of the production design and clearly thought out cinematography that was put into the film as a whole.

Aside from these aspects, the actual plot left something to be desired. As aforementioned, the description of the Easter egg hunt by James Halliday was very complex and took half of the movie to fully explain, although it did have a very interesting opening scene that described the  bare minimum of rules – or the lack of them – in the game.

The subplot of Ready Player One actually did better than most movies usually do. This one was very much the classic cliche love story, but it directly connected to the main plot that not many can successfully do nowadays and actually make it look good.

As an audience member, I was more connected to the actual story of the subplot rather than the main plotline. Now, if we are talking about special effects…. Then oh boy did that main storyline have some great effects. You tell me that seeing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the entire character cast of Halo in the same scene isn’t absolutely iconic.

All in all, Ready Player One is simply a movie to enjoy. To see hundreds of fan-favorite characters from movies, video games, and TV shows all over the course of two hours might be a dream to someone, but trashy to another. This movie packed the references, but did it well. With special effects and the beautiful set, it becomes almost easy to look past the acting and the storyline.


My Rating: 84%

Acting: 2.9/4

Cinematography: 3.6/4

Story: 3.1/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

‘7 Days in Entebbe’ Will Keep You Waiting… and Waiting

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Ever wanted a history film about Israeli-Palestinian relations but didn’t want to sit through 5 hours of the entire history? Well, the new film ‘7 Days in Entebbe’ might be the film for you, but you also willing to sit through almost 2 hours of a single drawn out event that happens over the span of one week.

Based on real life events, ‘7 Days in Entebbe’ tracks the 1976 hijacking of an AirFrance plane en route to Paris from Tel Aviv. Widely known as a terrorist plot, it was in hopes for the Israeli government to release it’s terrorist prisoners by holding their Jewish residents hostage.

So far, it seems like the perfect film for the average history buff.

Well, even though it sounds interesting on paper, the film didn’t amount to any high expectation. The lack of action – until the very end – seemed to drag the pace and the audience with it. Most of the film consisted of Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl’s characters waiting around watching the hostages while acting superior and pretending they knew how to use a gun.

For Israeli-Palestinian history I would instead suggest watching the 2011 documentary ‘Promises’. It has much more emotional appeal and a completely unbiased look at the conflict.

Now, I don’t want to attack all aspects of the film considering one of its strengths was actually in its performances. I might be a little biased towards Brühl because I believe that he can do no wrong but the entire cast showed that a bad movie can still have good aspects to it – including acting.

It wasn’t superb, but it was enough to be appreciated.

Overall, ‘7 Days in Entebbe’ wasn’t the Israeli-Palestinian history flick that some were expecting. If you were hoping for a highly entertaining film with an important message – I would pick a different film. The only knowledge gained is that these two nations just need to work things out and find peace – as if we didn’t already know that.


My Rating: 56%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 2/4

Story: 2/4

Enjoyability: 2/4