STAR WARS : THE RISE OF SKYWALKER – The Final Word Review :)!

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STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER – TO Set the stage for my thoughts on the rise of skywalker, to help you decide if my review is informative, it is helpful to know what informs my viewing experience.

I go into a film having avoided reviews, or special features, or tirades, or predictions, or pontifications or guesses on what it should be. Beyond the first teaser trailer, for a movie I know I am going to see, I avoid all subsequent trailers, there is no need for them, I know I am going to see the movie.

So I go into a film, as much as humanly possible, there to see the film the filmmaker decides to make, and not hoping to see the idea of a film I have made up in my head.

So off the bat, I liked THE RISE OF SKYWALER. My barometer always being at the end of the film… am I glad I saw this film in the theater? Answer? Yes.

And this is coming from someone who saw the film at a Cinebistro, with spacious selected/premium seating, and meals brought to you. For the two of us it came to about a $140 for movie, meals and drink, and tip. Now obviously for a cheapskate like me who prefers $4 matinees, this is not something I am going to indulge in more than 2 or 3 times a year, and only for special movies. At the end of the day, I liked the film and am glad I saw it in the theater, however I did not love the film.

I think a lot of times when people rail against a film, or say they dislike or hate a film ( not a word I would use for a film, hate is a word best left toward things that have raped and pillaged real things in a real world. First worlders using the word hate, for as innocuous a thing as film, have lived a very small life. Applying words out of proportion to the impetus); a lot of times what they are really saying is, that the film is not the film they were expecting, or hoped for, or wanted.

Whether a politician, or a group, or a show, or a book, or a movement, a lot of times, when we choose to dislike a thing it is  less about that thing being good or bad, than it is about that thing not being a reflection of our prejudices. Not wearing our colors, or speaking with our voice, or laughing to our jokes, or sharing our choices.

A lot of it is about something not meeting our expectations.

And in our current always on, and everything preanalyzied, and pontificated on, and second guessed and armchair quarterbacked before it ever comes out, we build up expectations, that fly in the face of actally enjoying the movie.

A lot of times enjoying the movie is about leaving what you want the film to be at the door, and going in just letting the filmmaker tell his story. Allowing them to not be a mindreader and a puppet, and do more than simply regurgitate the fanfiction in your head.

A lot of people confuse nostalgia with quality. “Oh comics today aren’t as good as they were when I was a kid, and movies, and books, and, food, and candy and cartoons”….and as someone who is older than most of you reading this, and have a fond feeling for a lot of things we have deified, the truth is that nostalgia, while comforting to look back on, the past is not necessarily better. I’ll go further, it is not usually better.

The present and the future builds on the past. The 6 minute mile gives way to the 5 minute mile gives way to the 4 minute mile.

We move, in all things, toward a more perfect union. Not all things surely, but as a median, the quality of things have improved in the hundred years from 1920 to 2020.

And in my lifetime, while I love the comic books of Stan and Jack, and Neal Adams and Denny ONeil and Keith Giffen and David Kraft, and some of those books remain masterpieces, as a whole we produce more great books in a month than they cranked out in a year. And yes, our share of bad, but I would argue the general level of craft, of art and storytelling and production is as a whole superior now to then.

And the same goes for film. Nostalgia is fine when we understand it for a feeling and not a formula or a fact, when we understand it is something that is not a barometer of quality, or a map to follow, or to necessarily always steer into.

RISE OF SKYWALKER almost from the first frame is a film that steers into nostalgia and sentiment, and those can be powerful and effective parts of a story when used sparingly, when earned. Here the early parts of the film, feel very… contrived. The humor, and the banter, and the reveal of the big bad, all feels…by the numbers,  and … yes contrived, rather than the natural outgrowth of the story.

You never get a 2nd chance to make a first impression, and RISE OF SKYWALKER starts off with a lot of telling, rather than showing. There is a lot of ‘we are going here because of this’, and ‘must do this because of that’. And while that is part of many films, it felt very obvious and clunky here, it felt like the one thing it should never feel like… it felt like exposition.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker theatrical poster upper portion with Rey, Kylo Ren, and others

I like JJ Abrams as a filmmaker. I loved his first STAR TREK, and while a huge fan of his 2nd STAR TREK film, concede that it was marred by his need to wink and steer into nostalgia, at expense of the story he is telling. Here in RISE OF SKYWALKER It feels like he is at times making fan fiction, playing to nostalgia, rather than actually having his own story to tell.

Rian Johnson’s THE LAST JEDI was met, I think, by a small but vocal group who wanted the film to be only nostalgia, and only their expectations, and only well trod ground, and Rian Johnson told a story that moved the needle, and was about change, and about the end of old things. I wholeheartedly think it is a masterpiece, that will stand the test of time. And people forget in all the social media bs, all the tornado in a teapot, that THE LAST JEDI was a box office success.

But we have become a very reactionary society, where the faceless mob, the agenda driven mob, and arguably the talentless mob, wants to be the tail that wags the dog.

RISE OF SKYWALKER to me, feels like JJ Abram to some extent capitulating and trying to appease the nostalgia crowd, as well as his own nostalgia tropes. I was and am a huge fan of the late Carrie Fisher, and that he wanted to honor her with this film, understandable. However for me, again it felt a lot of the scenes shoehorned in, at the expense of a more compelling story-line. To some extent, again to me, THE LAST JEDI used both those characters more compellingly than how they were used here.

RISE at times, besides feeling very long, feels like a list being checked off. I am not qualified and virtually no one reviewing this… is qualified to call this a bad film, any more than anyone is qualified to call any of the recent batch of STAR WARS films bad films.These are master filmmakers, all of them, and most of the people weighing in with opinions have not made a single film. It’s like someone who is not a painter, saying this painting is bad or this painting is good. You can say that a thing works for you, or does not work for you, but barometers about the quality of a product, from someone outside the industy, ill-informed at best.

So full disclosure, I like all the STAR WARS films, with the exception of the prequels. And even those I do not call bad, they just were not for me. Not everything is geared for everyone. For the intended audience of kids, those rightly may be their favorite films.

As someone who does not see the world with rose-colored glasses, or confuse nostalgia with quality, or have an agenda of hate to defend, I can say that the new films  I have enjoyed for the most part more than the original trilogy. With the exception of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, which is arguably right up there with THE LAST JEDI as my favorite STAR WARS films.

If you take Nostalgia away from the first STAR WARS film, and compare it warts and all to any of the recent films, the recent films are stronger. They are better shot, better paced, more exciting. And that goes for RISE OF SKYWALKER , which is my least enjoyed of the new films.

 

That said, while the story JJ Abrams ended up telling I found less compelling than the less formulaic story that Rian Johnson was embarking on, there were some things I greatly liked about  RISE OF SKYWALKER. I thought the visuals were stunning. Not as Elegiac and beautiful as THE LAST JEDI, but very close.The battles were stupendous, I liked some of the sentiment, and in moments… it wowed.

So ultimately it was not the movie I would have liked to see, but for what it was, there is a lot of good here, and misgivings about the story-line aside, I overall enjoyed watching it.

Grade: B-.

Tis the Season. Merry Happy Ramadan Christmas Vodun Kwanzaa Hanukaa Festivus!!! :)

Holidays are upon us.

That we, reading this, have the luxury of celebration and remembrance and family, is a blessing. Many do not.

 

And we are stuck in the middle.

Time keeps on rolling… rolling… rolling… into the future.

 

Sorry bits of archaic, near forgotten song lyrics, stuck in my head. 🙂

 

Glad for so much here at the end of this cycle of days.

Here at the end of days, glad for so much.

But also aware of so much… that I should have made better.

 

We are almost a hundred years removed from the wonders and horrors of 1920, and almost a hundred removed from the wonders and horrors of 2120.

Here is hoping that in 2020, that our wonders transcend our horrors. That the places where we aspire, transcend the places where we tear down.

Speculative.

All speculative. All we have of any real import, is our pressure on the moment.

Is our will… applied.

Do we make a better world or a worse one.

Depends on you.

It ripples outward.

Intent.

Will.

No guarantees, but we fall down going forward… it matters. The intent transcends the fall.

Rambling.

Slightly.

All this to say… embrace… better. ‘Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable.’, Blanche DuBois said in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. We are all at times cruel, and petty, but I try to always remember that line, and not be.. cruel, or petty.

Because Tennessee Williams was right, right in his 1947 Pulitzer prize winning play, and right in the Elia Kazan, nearly x-rated for the time, 1951 Academy Award Winning movie… deliberate cruelty is not forgivable.

But it is avoidable and it is correctable.

Here at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, with change like the stuff of science fiction upon us, we must hold to that one true thing… to aspire to better. To be better. And to spend less energy trying to make things (our phones, our tablets, our tv, our refrigerator, our voice operated Alexa assistants, our drones)… human, and more time making humans… humane.

God, whatever God or Gods you bend your knee to, bless you and yours, and give you the wisdom here at the figurative ending of days and at the beginning of a new cycle of days, to judge your wrongs… right.

Be well.

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this rambling, but heartfelt, post, then like and subscribe to this blog, and click the link below and peruse some great gift ideas (ideas for 2020, it is too late to make it for the 2019 holidays). Your purchases keep the proverbial doors open, and are greatly appreciated. And you get great stuff. (ie Everyone should have an emergency bag , one in their car, and one in their house. It’s good karma to be… prepared. )

Today’s Deals of the Day.

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DEALS OF THE DAY!

 

Streaming TV Guide of the Day : Youtube Shows of the Day!

Streaming TV Guide of the Day : Youtube Shows of the Day!

Or in the words of the MANDALORIAN show… I HAVE SPOKEN! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s it in a nutshell guys all the must watch Youtube shows  for today, the 10th Day of December, in the Two Thousandth and Nineteenth year of a Crucified Lord, if you go by the Gregorian calendar, or the One thousandth Four Hundred and thirty ninth year of the Hijri calendar, or the year Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifteen on the Traditional Chinese calendar. Man I love how wacky our world is. 🙂

Anyhow if you love this post guys, give a subscribe, give a like. Takes you two seconds, but it does make a great difference.

Also if you have some disposable income and looking for nifty gifts AND a way to support this Heroic Times blog, in these Heroic… Times, :), then use the link below. We have a goal to move 10 of the emergency bags, quite proud of them, so if moved to, use the link below.

 

Deals of the Day!!

 

Till next installment… Be Well!!!

Best Knives, Multitools of 2019!!! Great Gifts to give the Outdoors Person or Working Person this Holiday Season!

Best Knives, Multitools of 2019!!! Great Gifts to give the Outdoors Person or Working Person this Holiday Season! PT 1 of 3!

So yeah folks I’ve become a multi-tool, knife connoisseur in the last year.

Here then is, in my opinion, the best knives, best bang for your buck knives, for the outdoors person, tech, collector head, knife person out there, that are still available for purchase in 2019.

I think the following, are GREAT gifts, if you know you have a knife multi-tool user to shop for. I OWN some of these knives, and it is my hope to eventually own them all.

If you are moved to reach out and purchase some of the items listed below, please use the attacheD links, you get a great item and it generates much needed pennies for this blog, to keep the lights on.

A win-win. oh, and also if you are reading this take two seconds and give a like. it only takes a second of your time and is hugely appreciated.

Now without further ado, the HEROIC TIMES best knives and multi-tools of 2019!

 

 

KERSHAW: There are a lot of new fancy companies on the knife stage today. But long before these ‘late-comers’ and the fad of gentleman folders, and ‘drop closed’ blades, and ‘tip-up’ carry snobs, you had Kershaw, making dependable working knives, for hard working people.

I’ve had a Kershaw Clash for years, half-serrated, assisted open, tip-down carry. It was then and remains now, the gold standard for working knives at the $30 price point. Everyone should have a couple KERSHAW Clash beater knives hanging around  for that package to be opened, or seat-belt or tie-wrap to cut through. Hell I’ve used mine to strip cables in a pinch. It is a workhorse, a must have when dependability is all.

 

 

 

 

 

Get your Kershaw Clash HERE!!!

 

Okay, next up is…

KUBEY Folding Knife Darknight KU003 with Tanto Point D2 Steel and G10 Handle, Ball Bearing Flip and Liner Lock Mechanism, for Outdoor Hunting and Camping

At the $20 mark this particular KUBEY knife is a no-brainer of a purchase. Almost sold out, get yours now! Honorable mention to the KUBEY KU046TI Titanium Flipper! Currently on sale for $40. I’m a pocket clip guy. I love a well designed pocket clip, and this TITANIUM FLIPPER, hits all the right marks.

BUY HERE!

And get the honorable mention… HERE!

 

 

I could never pay over $200 for a pocket knife,when for a FRACTION of that there are companies like Harnds producing pocket knives like the TALISMAN. Just as a collectible, as a work of art, it is worth the incredibly low $36 price tag. Add to that it is a high quality functional, capable, brilliantly milled tool and it is simply a must own.

BUY THIS GEM HERE!

 

 

Stepping up quite a bit, close to my 2 bills limit, is this STUNNER of a knife, the Titanium KIZER T1. WoW!. At a $150 it is really a big step up, and is it really a $100 better than the above Harnds and Kubey? To be honest no, I would be MUCH happier with this knife around the $100 mark. But man, you talk about a well reviewed, drool inducing knife, this is it. If you have the funds to kick out for this knife, the person who gets it, whether yourself or a gift… WILL LOVE IT! It is definitely one that is calling to me, and I’m going to have to add to my collection sooner rather than later.

 

 

It is absolutely a work of art. Look how brilliantly milled that pocket clip is! Odd the things that does it for us collectors. But yep, if you likewise find it a must own, get yours here!

That is it for this installment.
To see the other installments, go ahead and give a like, and use the links!
Thanks!!!

Movie Posters of the Day!

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for The Call of the Wild

Harrison Ford is returning to film, to do a new adaptation of Jack London’s THE CALL OF THE WILD. Not a Jack London fan, and I can take or leave his most well known novel, so whether this adaptation works, will depend on the screenwriter and director. So FAR, the trailer looks charming enough, though i’m still not sold on the cg animals. particularly when you mix live action actors with cgi actors, yes it can be done well, and it is getting better, but you are still clearly aware of the artifice. whether the movie is strong enough to transcend that artifice is DEBATABLE. honestly if they were going to do this having a real dog there, at  for the non action scenes, would i think help have grounded the movie. just in the brief trailer i didn’t buy ford and the dog, in the same scene at the same time. but, hoping for the best.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Movie Poster

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (#6 of 19)

End of the day, THE STAR WARS films have always (at heart) been fun, larger scale tributes to movie serials of old. They are supposed to be fun, people. And whether brilliant or ‘miss the mark’ for you, they all come from a place of filmmakers… trying to entertain.

If it is not for you, don’t go see them.

Stop bitching, stop whining, either shut the heck up and make your own movies,  or watch something else.  Or wait for the next one and hope it will be better. For those of you, virulently hating on the film because it is not the film your ‘no talent’ ass imagined it would be, and therefore all you have to do with your time… is spread bile on the livelihood of working people, and attack and hope the film fails… I with all sincerity think you are a tragic form of life.

It is space battles. Good guys against bad guys. And if you can’t hope for that film to be good, there is something ineffably broken with you.

For my own money. I hope every movie is going to be great. And if it doesn’t work for me, I move on to something else, and hope the next one they make will be better.

But hoping, and going thru all sorts of machinations to make a film be received poorly, again, it makes that person a particularly smarmy, unctuous and sad form of life.

Again, I’m not saying you have to love Star Wars, or any movie. I may not like the new Star Wars film, but honestly disliking , and having an Agenda against something, based on reasons outside the narrative scope of the film… well it is… classless.

Don’t be that person. Do not be subscribed to that person. 🙂 .

Whether they have a youtube channel, or blog or podcast, or website, do not be the one, spreading the mantra of hate and division and conflict. Let today be the day you speak to those people in the language they understand.

Make today the day, you unsubscribe from people who want to tear joyous things down, and try and embrace the sites and people… that want to hope for the great.

Looking forward to THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. I have to tell you, I have enjoyed all of the new STAR WARS films we have been getting; and THE RISE OF SKYWALKER looks like another one that I will enjoy. 

 

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Knives Out (#14 of 15)

And speaking of STAR WARS; Rian Johnson made one of my favorite STAR WARS  films, so looking forward to this Agatha Christiesque film, KNIVES OUT. The cast looks great. 

 

Hiram A. Murray in The Great War (2019)

 

I don’t love the first poster for THE GREAT WAR, it seems to overlook the strengths of the trailer, also it threw me since the name of the director was either Steven Luke or Luke Schuetzle. However a little research and it appears Steven Luke is the ‘acting name’ of Luke Schuetzle, who directs, produces, and stars in this WWI biopic. However, the trailer… I LOVED. This is a movie I am looking forward to checking out. When it makes it to streaming, or theatrical or bluray/DVD.

 

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for 1917 (#3 of 3)

I have not seen the trailer for 1917 (another WW1 film), but the pedigree of being directed by Sam Mendes of SKYFALL fame, makes me very interested in catching this one as well.

 

Well that is all for this installment, if you enjoyed please give a like, and check out this week’s other posts.

Till next time, be well!

Today’s STEELBOOK Deals of the Day!

 

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I am not the biggest fan of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy, but the odds of me, not owning this ‘work of art’ Steel-book and Movie, and having it proudly displayed on my bookshelf /media room,… those odds are zero.  🙂

If you likewise would like to add the item to your home, please use the following link. You get a great item, and it earns a few pennies for this Blog to keep the proverbial doors open. A win-win. 

Also it makes a great gift/ present.

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Also have the following now available (you will find them using the above link as well):

 

Rambo: First Blood - Zavvi Exclusive (Blu-Ray & 4K Ultra HD) - Steelbook