Day 143 & Day 144 & Day 145 – Insomnia & Solo: A Star Wars Story & Bonnie and Clyde (Wedding Day!)

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Movie Title: Insomnia

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 58 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Insomnia is a police drama starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and a pre-Million Dollar Baby Hillary Swank. Will Dormer (Al Pacino) and his partner Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan) have been dispatched to a remote town in Alaska to help solve a brutal homicide. The town’s lead detectives and brightest minds are not used to dealing with this type of crime. Ellie Burr (Hillary Swank) is the sharpest of the lot. Dormer and Eckhart get a lead when the bag of the murdered girl is discovered. An all points bulletin is put out for the bag and it used to try and trap the killer. In the chaos that follows Dormer accidentally shoots Eckhart. Dormer decides to cover it up because of an internal affairs investigation back in Los Angeles. Things spiral out of control from there as Dormer suffers from insomnia, collusion, and loses his way.

The performances are all well done. Pacino is good, but Robin Williams is is exceptional in an offbeat role for him. Swank shows glimmers of being a rising star. This was Christopher Nolan’s second hack at directing. Nolan’s direction is strong on the whole even though it has moments where the plot veers into a territory that could have caused it to collapse. It never goes that far off course.

Verdict:

It has strong performances and a solid plot. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

 

Movie Title: Solo: A Star Wars Story

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 2 hr. and 15 min.

Rated: PG-13

Who did I watch with?: Brad

Where did I watch it?: Regal Stadium 12 – Swansea, MA

Review:

I did not review Star Wars: The Last Jedi for this blog because I watched it right at the end of last year. Suffice it to say, I thought it was terrible. The plot was nonsense, the old characters were obliterated, the new characters weren’t built up, important plot points The Force Awakens initiated were abandoned, lasers arced through space, and Princess Leia turned into Mary Poppins. It is the worst movie in the Star Wars franchise. Needless to say I was concerned about how Solo: A Star Wars Story would turn out especially considering its well known directorial and acting problems during production.

This concern carried over into the start of the movie as well. The opening segments of the movie take place on Han’s home world of Correlia and they are a bit hokey. Han (Alden Ehrenreich) is involved in a half baked plan to try and get off the planet. He is successful, but his love interest Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) is not so fortunate. She gets left behind.

Once the story gets off the planet it improves dramatically. Han enlists in the Imperial Academy only to be discharged and sent to some hellish planet where the Empire is embroiled in a bloody war. Han sees a way out in the form of Beckett. Beckett (Woody Harrelson) is running a crew that is looking for one big pay day. Things go sideways as conflicting groups get involved and the group of gangsters squabble with each other and change sides.

Ehrenreich’s performance starts off concerning, but he slowly grows into the role of Han Solo. If you are willing to accept that Harrison Ford can’t play the role of a young Han Solo anymore, Ehrenreich is a good substitute. Donald Glover is fantastic as Lando Calrissian. Woody Harrelson does a good job in the role of Beckett. One weak point would be the role of Dryden Vos played by Paul Bettany. Vos is about as generic a villain as can be found. Bettany does his best in the role, but there wasn’t much to work with. The performances by the other actors are suitable and you even get a nice appearance by Warwick Davis in a small role. No pun intended.

Many iconic moments from Han’s history are shown and they are all done well. Han meets Chewbacca, meets Lando, makes the Kessel Run, and acquires the Falcon. There are many references to the other Star Wars films, but the plot stands on its own as a solid intergalactic crime drama. There is also a very unexpected cameo that ties into both the old and new expanded universe. Is it just an homage to the EU or will it be a building block for future Solo stories? Who knows? But, I liked the addition.

It will never be known how much of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s directing remains in the final cut. With that said, Ron Howard should get credit for producing a strong film.

Verdict:

Hopefully J.J, Abrams can continue the franchises rebound from the debacle that was The Last Jedi. Solo: A Star Wars Story is a step in the right direction. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

 

Movie Title: Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. and 50 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

I’m getting married today! I love you Stephie! Today, I’m watching the ultimate love story Bonnie and Clyde.

Bonnie and Clyde stars Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and a young Gene Hackman. A young Gene Wilder also appears in a small role. All of the performances are exceptional. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker begin their whirlwind romance by chance. Bonnie sees Clyde out the window trying to steal her parent’s car. She is immediately attracted to Clyde and sees a life of excitement and an escape from her dreary existence in West Dallas, Texas.

Their bank heists begin small and build up dramatically as the movie goes on. It is filled with car chases, gun fights, violence, and the group have a lot of fun. That is until their life of crime starts to catch up with them. There is real pure romance in their relationship despite the trail of crime they blaze across the American southwest. It is a beautiful tragedy. You know how it will end, but the journey is the destination.

Verdict:

It is an American classic. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Deadpool 2 (2018)

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