Recently in Reviews of the Jedi

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Movie Review: The Sinking of the Sequel Trilogy

Am sorry to see the film and this new trilogy falter as much as it did.
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This franchise became so controversial after The Last Jedi I should probably state where I stand in the Star Wars wars. As stated in my reviews, The Force Awakens has “enough entertainment to satisfy fans new and old, even though the script is filled with repurposed plot points and questionable character motivation.” “The plot [of Rogue One], specifically character choices and motivations, is not well thought out, and at times the film gets a little too inside baseball for those not part of the cult.” The Last Jedi's “plot is overstuffed and at times nonsensical, leading to a lot of

The Toys That Made Us: Season 1 & 2 DVD Review: An Informative, Entertaining TV Series

Am glad to see Netflix is making these shows available beyond their streaming service because, like a toy, these stories deserve to be shared.
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The Toys That Made Us is a Netflix documentary series that looks at the histories of famous toy lines. The seasons are short, running only four episodes each. The first covers Star Wars, Barbie, He-Man, and G.I. Joe, which all debuted on the streaming service on December 22, 2017. The second covers Star Trek, Transformers, LEGO, and Hello Kitty, which all debuted on May 25, 2018. The episodes tell compelling stories about those involved in the toy's creation and the cultural impact they had. The “Star Wars” episode opens with a historical re-enactment, which had me concerned we were going

Star Wars Celebration 2019 Review: One Man's Journey to Find Kindness

It's the end of Star Wars as we know it (and I feel fine).
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If I were a gambling man, I’d bet dollars to donuts that Star Wars Celebration is on your bucket list. Assuming you have a bucket list, of course. I don’t; I have more of a list of Cool Things I’ve Already Done, because in addition to not being gambling man, I’m also not a man who sets goals for himself that he’s not likely see to fruition. After all, tickets for the event sold out seemingly instantaneously and a man of my economic stature would very nearly have to win the lottery to afford it anyway. And as we’ve already

Five Cool Things and The Rise of Skywalker

Here's some cool things I saw this week.
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For reasons I won’t get into here, I’ve decided to shut my little music blog down. Probably permanently. There are a lot of emotions involved with that. I’ve run The Midnight Cafe since 2004 and I’ve been talking about live music since 2008. That is more than a decade of my life. For most of that, I have writen at least one post every day. The blog had become a part of me. It was in my DNA. To walk away from it feels like losing something essential. The emotion I wasn't expecting from this was a sense of relief.

Book Review: Star Wars: The Complete Classic Newspaper Comics, Vol. 3

The stories are enjoyable adventures with an arc that sees the Rebellion setting up on the ice planet Hoth where they are located when The Empire Strikes Back opens.
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IDW/The Library of American Comics' presentation of the Star Wars newspaper comics concludes with Volume 3, which presents nine stories written by Archie Goodwin and drawn by Al Williamson and others that ran from July 26, 1982 until March 11, 1984. Return of the Jedi had been released in May 1983, but none of the movie's events had any impact because these stories are set between Star Wars and The Empire Stikes Back. The book opens with “A Matter of Character,” an essay by Rich Handley about those who joined the ranks of the Expanded Universe, rebranded “Star Wars Legends”

Solo: A Star Wars Story is the Pick of the Week

It was a tough choice to make this week, but I always gotta go with Star Wars.
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Back in 2012 when George Lucas sold Star Wars to Disney, the fandom went completely bonkers. The realization that there would be new Star Wars movies was incredibly exciting. Then a few years later, J.J. Abrams brought us The Force Awakens. It was an enormous success. Critics liked it, fans loved it. All was well with the world. Not long after Rogue One, the first anthology series came out and it too was a smashing success. Disney was promising new movies every year until the end of time. Then came The Last Jedi. Director Rian Johnson took the Star Wars

Solo: A Star Wars Story Movie Review: A Fun Addition to the Franchise

An entertaining space adventure that is best when it's not spending time covering obvious connective plot points.
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Set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Solo tells how Han Solo began his journey towards becoming the character met at a Tatooine cantina in the original film. It's an entertaining space adventure that is best when it's not spending time covering obvious, connective plot points. Han (Alden Ehrenreich) is young thief on the streets Corellia working for Lady Proxima (Linda Hunt), a variation on Oliver Twist and Fagin. He dreams of becoming a pilot and leaving the planet. His only option to accomplish both is joining the Empire. While on an Imperial mission to conquer a

Book Review: Star Wars: The Complete Classic Newspaper Comics, Vol. 2

They are fun adventures that don't require one to be well versed in the movies or other media of the franchise.
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In IDW/The Library of Amercian Comics' on-going presentation of the Star Wars newspaper comics, Volume 2 presents eight stories that ran from October 6, 1980 through to September July 25, 1982. The Empire Strikes Back had been released in May 1980, but none of the events had any impact on the stories because the first, an adaptation of Brian Daley's novel Han Solo at Star's End, is set before the events of Star Wars, and the remaining stories are set between Star Wars and Empire. Adapted by Archie Goodwin, who wrote all the other stories in this colllection, and drawn

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blu-ray Review: Spectacle Trumps Story

The Blu-ray delivers a marvelous HD experience and will likely make best-of lists at the end of the year.
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The Last Jedi is an epic space fantasy filled with brilliant state-of-the-art special effects. Unfortunately, writer/director Rian Johnson's plot is overstuffed and at times nonsensical, leading to a lot of misfires in the story. Following up Episode IV retread The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi opens with an exciting, albeit illogical, action sequence. The First Order, in place of the Empire, is pursuing the Resistance, in place of the Rebellion. (It doesn't say much for the beings in this universe that so many repeatedly cave into authoritarian leaders and so many join their ranks throughout the series.) Against General Leia's

Book Review: Star Wars: On the Front Lines by Daniel Wallace

It's not to often something comes along that makes Star Wars better, but this book does just that.
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The Star Wars universe is defined by conflict. Whether it’s the internal struggle of a young Jedi finding his way in the world while dealing with some pretty heavy family baggage or a ragtag group of rogues trying to pass along some top secret plans, there’s always a lot of fighting going on in these stories. With Star Wars: On the Front Lines, author Daniel Wallace offers fans a unique perspective on eleven pivotal battles from the Star Wars chronology. Starting with the Battle of Naboo and taking us all the way through the attack on Starkiller Base, Wallace uses

Five Cool Things and The Last Jedi Trailer

This week's cool things include Italian horror, Brian De Palma horror, feminist horror, and a Jedi.
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Hi, remember me? I’m your local writer who talks about new releases and cool things each week. Except for the last couple of weeks when I’ve been absent. A big thanks to Gordon for filling in. I won’t bore you with the details except to say it's been crazy in my real life with work, a busted computer and, well, memory lapses. Let's just say this Tuesday came and I actually thought I’d written a Pick of the Week until I realized that Baby Driver was out and I hadn’t mentioned it. Then I looked it up and I hadn’t

Star Wars: Rebels: The Complete Season Three Blu-ray Review: An Excellent New Chapter in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

This season brings new characters to life while adding new dimensions to old favorites.
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The Star Wars animated series have done a good job of bridging the gap between movies and telling stories the movies don’t get to explore. Rebels is no exception to this. Set about 14 years after the end of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Rebels tells the story of how the Empire grew in power and how the Rebellion came to be. The Complete Season Three further explores the relationship between Ezra and Kanan and saw the onscreen debut of fan-favorite Grand Admiral Thrawn. The season opener “Steps Into Shadow” finds Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) leading a mission to

Book Review: Star Wars: The Complete Classic Newspaper Comics, Vol. 1

An enjoyable throwback to the early days as George Lucas' fictional universe was expanding.
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Before The Empire Strikes Back was released in 1980, Star Wars fans who wanted more stories from George Lucas' “galaxy far, far away" had few options. Marvel Comics presented original adventures after its six-issue adaption of the film. Alan Dean Foster's Splinter of the Mind's Eye novel had been intended to be the basis for the movie sequel, so it seemed the most canonical; and of course, the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special on television. In 1979, the Star Wars Universe expanded into newspaper comic strips for five years. The Library of American Comics is releasing those strips in a

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Blu-ray Review: An Impressive and Immersive High-def Experience

A delightful space fantasy with enough action to entertain the casual viewer and enough story elements and links to other works to please the Star Wars aficionado.
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While the Star Wars universe had previously been expanded over the years into multiple mediums, Rogue One was the first time the film franchise focused on a story that didn't primarily involve the Skywalker family, and they chose a great idea. As revealed in the prologue crawl of Star Wars (1977), the Rebel Alliance obtained the Death Star plans. Rogue One tells the story of how. Watching the film a second time, what worked for me and what didn't, as stated in my movie review, remain the same. It's an impressive blockbuster in terms of its action and almost all

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us the latest Star Wars, a new Jim Jarmusch film, and a raunchy comedy.
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I first saw Star Wars…well, I don’t actually remember the first time I saw Star Wars. That’s A New Hope I’m talking about. I was only one when it hit theaters so it wasn’t until it started showing on cable or home video that I first saw it. I do remember watching Return of the Jedi in theaters on several occasions and playing with all the action figures so by 1983, I was certainly a fan. My mother says that A New Hope used to run all the time on HBO way back when and that me and my brother

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Movie Review: The Rebels Strike Back

A special-effects wonder filled with good action; however, the plot is not well thought out.
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Rogue One is the latest entry in the ever-expanding Star Wars cinematic universe. Reminscent of war movies like The Dirty Dozen, it tells the story of how the Rebel Alliance obtained the plans for the Galatic Empire's Death Star, which they put to good use, as those familar with Star Wars: A New Hope can attest. Rogue One is a special-effects wonder filled with good action; however, the plot, specifically character choices and motivations, is not well thought out, and at times the film gets a little too inside baseball for those not part of the cult. As a young

Elstree 1976 DVD Review: Meet the People Behind the Star Wars Masks

Bit characters get their story about their roles in one of the biggest stories ever.
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I love documentaries. True stories are irresistible Maybe it's the story of an product or invention or behind the scenes of a movie or historical event. Often, it's a biography of an important person or group of people. The stories work best when there is a little history between the film and the event. Even if it's your favorite movie ever, I don't want to hear a commentary or see a documentary on Transformers: Age of Extinction. There's just not enough perspective on how important that film is historically yet. That's part of what is wrong with putting all the

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Review: Return of the Franchise (to Great Heights)

One of the more memorable blockbusters in recent years, and the high-def presentation is a fantastic showcase for it.
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens might well have been one of the most anticipated films of all time if the numerous box-office records it set are any indication. Since Star Wars (released in 1977, amended in 1981 with the subtitle Episode IV: A New Hope), the franchise went on to become a major pop-culture juggernaut with a presence in every medium thanks to its devoted fan base and the talented contributors who expanded the fictional universe. The Force Awakens, “Episode VII” of the main film series and the first of a planned sequel trilogy, is an action-packed, thrilling space adventure

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us Star Wars! And some other stuff.
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From the moment George Lucas announced the sale of his Star Wars franchise to Disney and that there would then be more movies, the hype has been astronomical. Every day there were dispatches from TV, radio, podcasts, and more websites than one can imagine. We learned about each cast member as they got hired, about the crew, the caterers, about the shooting locations, the title, the posters, the trailers, the teaser posters for the trailer, and when J.J. Abrams sneezed on his way home. They hype was colossal. It was absolutely insane. I totally loved it. Well, that's not entirely

Book Review: Star Wars FAQ by Mark Clark

Everything left to know about the trilogy that changed the movies.
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Ever since Disney announced plans to continue the Star Wars film franchise, the pop-culture landscape has been flooded with products across mediums and more licensed merchandise than seems necessary. Hopefully not lost in the tsunami is Mark Clark's Star Wars FAQ, an entertaining and informative reference guide about the Original Trilogy published by Applause Books. Before rushing headlong into that galaxy far, far away, Clark grounds the book in Earth history, offering chapters on the movie business, creator George Lucas, and Lucas' influences in creating Star Wars, such as Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a

J.J. Abrams Talks Star Wars: The Force Awakens with Howard Stern

If you can't get enough Star Wars, come listen to J.J., Howard, and Mick the Nerd.
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As the seemingly endless marketing juggernaut for Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues to roll on, director J.J. Abrams sat down for an interview on SiriusXM's The Howard Stern Show on November 30. Below are selected highlights. J.J. Abrams On Why He Directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens J.J. Abrams Discusses The Controversies Surrounding Star Wars J.J. Abrams discusses injuries on the Star Wars set J.J. Abrams on screening Star Wars for Bob Iger and Disney J.J. Abrams on Leonard Nimoy J.J. Abrams on George Lucas Mick The Nerd Asks J.J. Abrams Star Wars Questions

[Updated] Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer, Theatrical Poster, and Exhibitor Exclusives

If you plan right, you can get some swag with your ticket.
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LucasFilm has released the official theatrical poster for The Force Awakens, a nice blend of new and familar characters (but no Luke Skywalker?!) and also delivered other news. The TFA official trailer made its debut during the halftime of ESPN's Monday Night Football [synergy] between the New York Giants and the Philadelpha Eagles. In conjuction with the debut of TFA, LucasFilm is screening a Marathon Event showing all seven films, and some theaters, along with Fandango, are offering exclusives if you buy your tickets from them. Who offers what is listed below. Star Wars Marathon Event The Star Wars Marathon

Star Wars Celebration 2015: The Biggest Star Wars Convention in the Galaxy

The world's largest Star Wars convention offered stars, cosplay, exclusive merchandise and recreated film sets.
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Feel like getting an autograph from Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, or Anthony Daniels? Still want that autograph? The biennial Star Wars Celebration took place over the weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center, an occasionally frustrating experience in extreme fandom. This was the place for fans so hardcore that they camped out overnight for the chance to attend a panel that the rest of the world was able to instantly enjoy via livestream from the comfort of their home/office. Sure, that panel debuted the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer and featured old and new stars live on stage, but

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer Will Awaken Your Interest

"Have you felt it?"
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The first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has debuted in theaters and online. Over the course of 88 seconds, it teases some exciting action scenes from a group of X-wings flying across a body of water and the Millennium Falcon engaging TIE fighters. And John Williams' fanfare remains an exhilarating piece of music. Does this have you looking forward to December 2015?

Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars DVD Review: A Parallel Adventure in the Galactic Empire

Disney's inventive duo run amiably amok through the story of Star Wars: A New Hope.
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Phineas and Ferb works almost entirely on the basis of their engaging formula. While there have been occasional efforts to shake things up, the broad strokes are usually present in some manner: Phineas and Ferb, step-brothers with a knack for invention and a boundless positivity, come up with some crazy new gadget/theme park/wild concept and execute it flawlessly, all while their sister Candace tries to get them busted with their parents, because she feels that's the moral duty of an older sister. At the same time, their pet duck-billed platypus Perry is actually a secret agent (Agent P) who foils

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Lost Missions Blu-ray Review: An Excellent Ending to A Strong Series

The final season for the animated Clone Wars series makes its way to Blu-ray.
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When the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars was cancelled after its fifth season, fans wondered what was to become of the episodes already in the can for season six. Thirteen episodes of the originally intended 22 were produced and were eventually made available on the German TV Network, Super RTL, and, later, Netflix in America and Canada. Now those episodes are available with bonus content on Blu-ray as Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Lost Missions. The season leads off with “The Unknown” and finds Republic forces batting a battle droid army aboard a planet-circling space station. A

Panel Preview: Dark Horse Comics: Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1

Han Solo-the truth behind the myth!
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Beginning April 30, Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1 is the first in a four-issue miniseries written by Matt Kindt (creator of MIND MGMT) with pencils by Marco Castiello, inks by Dan Parsons, and color by Gabe Eltaeb. A young Rebel meets one of the Alliance’s best for his first mission. But the young man’s hero worship is crushed by the reality of Han Solo. A botched escape, a ship that doesn’t work—could it be that Solo is just a lucky bumbler whose luck has run out? The remaining issues will feature Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and Luke.

LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace Combo Pack Review: NNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Sombrero Grande has a bad feeling about this.
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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I used to give a crap about Star Wars. That was before George Lucas started whoring out his beloved franchise to let seemingly anyone create new content and belittle the cherished creations he apparently just doesn't care for any more. Oh sure, it was cute the first time I saw a Santa-hatted Darth Vader bobblehead at Target, and playing the LEGO Star Wars video games was a blast. I even chuckled at the Darth Vader Volkswagon commercial. But now it's clear that Star Wars has been allowed to cross over

Book Review: Star Wars Omnibus: The Complete Saga Episode I - VI: Greedo Shoots First Here Too

If you're still on the fence about the Blu-ray collection, these may be the comics you're looking for
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The comic book adaptations of all six Star Wars films are fairly straightforward and faithful for the most part, but there's a disturbance in the Force when it comes to A New Hope. Much like the current retooled incarnation of its film, the comic book includes Lucas-friendly, fan-despised deviations from the original film such as Greedo shooting at Han Solo first in their Mos Eisley cantina encounter and Solo's scene with a mobile Jabba the Hutt in the spaceport. That's entirely due to the production timeframe of the book. While Empire is derived from the Marvel Comics series run during
One might think that the average sci-fi fan would have equal love for the beloved classics of Star Wars and Star Trek. But as it turns out, there has been...tension. The internets have a good share of comparison essays and speculation columns and even a documentary DVD was made in 2001. Now - all the comparisons are laid out in a 241-page book by science fiction author and game designer Matt Forbeck. The book begins with plenty of food for thought - two forewords - one by Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett of Star Wars) and the other by Tim Russ

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