Review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Rating

Director

J.J. Abrams

Screenplay

J.J. Abrams, Chris Terrio, Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow

Length

2h 22min

Starring

Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Greg Grunberg, Shirley Henderson, Billie Lourd, Dominic Monaghan

MPAA Rating

PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action

Original Preview

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This Day in Oscar History: April 8 (2020)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released


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Film Preview: The Wretched (2020)

Page Revisions:

(April 6, 2020) Original

Release Date:

May 1, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A defiant teenage boy, struggling with his parent’s imminent divorce, faces off with a thousand year-old witch, who is living beneath the skin of and posing as the woman next door.”

Poster Rating: C / C

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Review: (#1) Trying to merge sexy and creepy doesn’t exactly work. (#2) Adding better background details and a frontal approach doesn’t improve matters.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: The trailer tries some of the normal jump scares without much success. Where it works best is setting up a rather creepy premise that isn’t quite as evident as it at first appears.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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The DVD Report #667

Show Boat first appeared as a best-selling novel by Edna Ferber (Giant) in 1926. It was adapted into a legendary musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, which opened on Broadway in late 1927. It has been made into a film three times, in 1929, 1936, and 1951.

Fans have been anticipating a Blu-ray package of all three films for years, but that hasn’t happened. Criterion, however, has released a Blu-ray Special Edition featuring a 4K restoration of the 1936 film with audio commentary by musical theatre historian Miles Kreuger from 1989, a new interview with director James Whale’s biographer James Curtis, a new program on the treatment of race in the film and the 1979 Oscar winning documentary short, Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist, narrated by Sidney Poitier. Also included is a four-song prologue to the 1929 film and twenty minutes of silent excerpts from the film as well as two radio adaptations.

James Whale was chosen to direct the film by producer Carl Laemmle Jr. because of his ability to open up films as diverse as 1931’s Waterloo Bridge and Frankenstein, but the principal cast, all of whom had appeared in various productions of the show, were skeptical, thinking of him as a director of horror films even though he had only made four: Frankenstein, The Old Dark House, The Invisible Man, and The Bride of Frankenstein. They were also dismayed by Whale’s intention to make the film from the ground up, not simply repeat what worked on stage. They needn’t have worried. Whale’s vision proved masterful with Irene Dunne from the touring company as Magnolia, Allan Jones from the Canadian production as Ravenal, Charles Winninger and Helen Morgan from the original Broadway production as Captain Andy and Julie respectively, Paul Robeson from the London production as Joe, and Hattie McDaniel from the Los Angeles production as Queenie, all used to perfection. Helen Westley was a last-minute replacement for Edna May Oliver, Broadway’s original Parthy.

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This Day in Oscar History: April 7 (2020)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released

Oscar Ceremonies


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Film Preview: Selah and the Spades (2020)

Page Revisions:

(April 6, 2020) Original

Release Date:

April 17, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Five factions run the underground life of Haldwell School, a prestigious east coast boarding school. At the head of the most powerful faction – The Spades – sits Selah Summers, walking the fine line between being feared and loved.”

Poster Rating: –


Review: There was no poster immediately available for my review. Should one become available in the future, this section will be updated.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: This teaser gives the audience an immediate impression of its politically charged and compelling theme even if it doesn’t tell the audience much about the actual narrative.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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This Day in Oscar History: April 6 (2020)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released


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Poll: Best of Apr. 2019, Wide

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Polls

What’s the Best of Apr. 2019, Wide?

Cinema Sight Asks: Which April 2019 wide release film is best?

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Film Preview: Arkansas (2020)

Page Revisions:

(March 29, 2020) Original

Release Date:

May 1, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Kyle and Swin live by the orders of an Arkansas-based drug kingpin named Frog, whom they’ve never met. But when a deal goes horribly wrong, the consequences are deadly.”

Poster Rating: C / C-

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Review: (#1) A somewhat interesting design that uses symmetry and alignment to make things look detailed even if the design doesn’t have much in the way of actual detail. (#2) Burying a body or money doesn’t matter. This looks like a still from Santa Clarita Diet, yet a lot less interesting.

Trailer Rating: C-

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Review: It looks like a cheap satire about drug running in Arkansas that looks nothing like the state or its citizens with everyone trying hard to use the right accent and not succeeding terribly well.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Almost Love (2020)

Page Revisions:

(April 6, 2020) Original

Release Date:

April 3, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “An ensemble comedy about romance in the smartphone era.”

Poster Rating: C+

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Review: A simplistic title that says a lot more than the image itself does. Kerning is your friend.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: The trailer doesn’t quite put its finger on the crux of why this film has a lot of potential. It tries very hard to get there, but the formulaic nature of the trailer forces the film to feel rather familiar.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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This Day in Oscar History: April 5 (2020)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released


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Film Preview: True History of the Kelly Gang (2020)

Page Revisions:

(March 29, 2020) Original

Release Date:

April 24, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Based on Peter Carey’s novel. The story of Australian bushranger Ned Kelly and his gang as they flee from authorities during the 1870s.”

Poster Rating: D+ / C

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Review: (#1) A batch of ugly colors in a dull layout. (#2) I assume this is intended to look more interesting than it really is. There a lot of details here, but they all seem poorly implemented and looking messy.

Trailer Rating: C

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Review: A haphazard trailer that tries to set up the narrative while making things look interesting and doesn’t succeed on either count.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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This Day in Oscar History: April 4 (2020)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released

Oscar Ceremonies


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Film Preview: Working Man (2020)

Page Revisions:

(March 29, 2020) Original

Release Date:

March 27, 2020

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “When a factory closure threatens a small Rust Belt town, one older factory worker continues going to his former job every day, despite the shutdown. His peculiar decision has a profound effect on the whole community, though his actions yield an outcome that no one ever expected.”

Poster Rating: –


Review: There was no poster immediately available for my review. Should one become available in the future, this section will be updated.

Trailer Rating: C

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Review: This working class drama looks very much like the films of Ken Loach by way of Stephen Daldry. It looks more accessible than Loach, but not nearly as deep.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Oscar in Box Office History (Week 14, 2020)

Every week, we’ll take a look back in 5-year intervals at the box office past to explore how Oscar’s nominees were doing at the box office each weekend historically. The first section under each year is the positioning of all Oscar nominees during that weekend at the box office (as well as a section looking at the inflation-adjusted numbers). The third section is an alphabetical list of those films and the categories in which they were nominated. And to start each week off, we’ll be looking at the films releasing over the weekend that have the best chance of getting Oscar nominations and specifying the categories where we think they have the best shots at this stage of the game. If you have any suggestions for more data you’d like to see, please let us know.

This Year: Potential Oscar Nominees Releasing This Weekend

None

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