I start season 9 knowing Andrew Lincoln is leaving the show and dreading the fact that Rick Grimes will no longer be leading that old gang of mine. I’m hoping he doesn’t die and just goes away so that he might return one day. That being said, this season opener was excellent! It was action packed and gave all our favorites some really juicy scenes. The writing is sharp and lean and the episode really sets the table nicely for the future conflicts to come.
Everyone is on horseback! Except Daryl, of course, he’s on his motorcycle. Rick looks older with a gray beard and his little daughter, Judith, draws him with a “big belly”. He looks happy with Michonne and Judith but there’s still business to do.
The story jumps ahead about two years from the end of last season and the defeat of Negan. Life had settled down and all the different outposts are living in peace and flourishing except, that is, for The Sanctuary. They haven’t been able to grow much except corn which, with Eugene’s help, they’ve been generating fuel. Daryl has been put in charge there and he hates it!
The opening sequence finds a group that consists of people from all the communities going on a mission into DC to the Capital Building to retrieve a treasure trove of seeds and farming equipment to help The Sanctuary get back on its feet. As the team is pulling s heavy antique wagon across a glass floor above a herd of walkers, the glass breaks and King Ezekiel falls through! Fortunately he was tethered to the others and they were able to pull him to safety with the help of Daryl and his trusty bow! Once safe we see Carol rush to him, hug him and they begin to smooch! Romance has finally bloomed! As they ride away Ezekiel pops the question, ring and all! But Carol poo poos him, claiming that the ring will catch onto things and also that this wasn’t going to happen on horseback!
“I love you and I always will” he tells her. She just gives him one of those Carol looks. She loves him too!
Of course, they run into problems when a herd of walkers comes along and the wagon gets stuck in the mud. One if the guys from Hilltop tried to save a horse from getting eaten and ends up getting bit himself! The guy had a name and it was Ken but he might as well have been resting a red shirt!!! Maggie took it hard and had to be the one to break it to his parents played by Brett Butler and James Finn. The mother confronts Maggie over her leadership and giving so much of their food and resources to The Saviors and not looking out for The Hilltop.
Meanwhile, Rick, Michonne, Carol, Daryl, Ezekiel and Jerry head for Sanctuary. Rich is greeted like a legend. “Rick Grimes is here!” One man tells his children “This is the man who ended the war”. Rick promises them that they will be looked after and they’ve brought all the tools they need to get their crops growing. He’s greeted with thunderous applause! “Bless you Rick Grimes!”
But Daryl is not happy. He doesn’t want to give speeches to these people and seeing Rick do it reminds him of Negan. In fact, just being there reminds him of a time he’d like to forget and he tells Rick he doesn’t want up be in charge anymore. Rick tried to push the solidarity line and preach how they all need to come together to help each other. Daryl doesn’t think they should waste their time with The Sanctuary. “It’s going to fail anyway. Nothing grows here!” He likes the way it was in the beginning when it was just their small group. He doesn’t like this new world they Rick is trying to create.
Carol has a heart to heart with Daryl. She asks what she thinks of her being with Ezekiel. “He’s alright. He’s s bit corny” he tells her. “At least I have Pookie’s approval”
Carol offers to take over at Sanctuary so Daryl can go to Hilltop and be with Maggie and her baby.
When Rick and Michonne slip into bed they share their fears. Michonne was bothered by the graffiti they saw that said “We are still Negan”. They both wonder if they did the right thing keeping him alive. Michonne also teases him; “ The famous Rick Grimes!”
“Oh no, don’t you start too!” Rick moans.
Meanwhile, back at Hilltop, they hold the funeral for Ken while the uninvited Maggie watches from her balcony. Gregory gives a lovely speech but then starts working on the grieving parents, turning them against Maggie. Gregory is such a sleazy character. He has stabbed so many people in the back he’s run out of knives and has to convince someone else to go the stabbing, in this case, it’s Ken’s dad. When Maggie is taking baby Herschel for a stroll in his stroller, Gregory mentions that Glenn’s grave was defiled so naturally she goes to have a look and is cold-cocked by a guy in a cloak. She manages to fend him off in time for help to come. Enid comes along and gets knocked out for her trouble. But eventually the guy is subdued and revealed to be Kens dD. Maggie confronts Gregory who at first, pretends not to know about the attack but then pulls s knife to finish the job. Of. Purse, Maggie disarms him.
The next day, Rick, Michonne and Daryl arrive and find out what happened. This is a turning point for Maggie and Rick. They have a scene on the porch where Rick asks for Maggie and Hilltop to give even more than they already have by dedicating manpower to repair an important damaged bridge. Maggie has reached her giving limit, however. She puts s price on their help and Rick is stunned but Maggie holds fast. She was promised to become the leader but Rick never relinquished his leadership.
That night, Maggie asserts her power even further by holding the public execution by hanging of Gregory as Rick and Michonne look on in horror. It’s a powerful statement and a powerful scene to close out the episode. The power struggle begins
I liked Father Gabriel killing a walker in the museum in front of the Evolution of Man exhibit. It gets stuck at the end creating the next stage. The De-Evolution of Man.
Michonne comes up with the idea of creating a charter laying down the new rules of society from a poster she sees in the museum.
Eugene finally got rid of his mullet!!
I’m sensing sparks between Jesus and Aaron…..
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 Now that Carol and King Ezekiel are an item – He Must Die! The Carol will take over The Kingdom.
2 Unless Rosita, Tara or Enid are given more to do they’re walker fodder.
3 Lauren Cohan is leaving the show so that means Jesus will take command of The Hilltop which will cause friction with Daryl.
4 If Rick Grimes dies Michonne will take command of Alexandria.
5 Rick’s death will unite the 5 communities just in time to fight the new big bad – The Whisperers.
If anyone was wondering what happened to troy from Reality Bites (1994) this film is as close to an answer as you’ll get. Ethan Hawke plays a singer/songwriter who put out one album in the 90s and then disappeared and developed a cult following. This is perfect fodder for the likes of write Nick Hornsby whose 2009 novel of the same name is the basis for this film. The film is directed by Jesse Peretz (Girls, Nurse Jackie) and produced by Judd Apatow and an interesting quartet of writers, including Jim Taylor (Election, Sideways) and Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams, Sneakers) which would indicate a superior romantic comedy but doesn’t quite reach those expectations.
The plot is simple. Annie (rose Byrne) is married to Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) who is obsessed with a one hit wonder obscure singer/songwriter from the 90s named Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke). They live a very mundane existence in a seaside village in England and Annie feels trapped and lonely. Duncan runs a website dedicated to Tucker Crowe and when Annie posts a negative comment on the website she is surprised when Crowe himself responds. They begin a correspondence and soon enough they plan to meet in London. As you can imagine, hijinks ensue.
This is a light romantic venture and though it doesn’t really come together I found it charming. Hawke and Byrne don’t really generate the chemistry needed to really commit to what transpires but the real pleasure here is Hawke. As he gets older he is becoming more and more comfortable in his skin and becoming a really fine character actor, playing against his boyish good lucks and letting himself look paunchy and weathered. He gives a fine performance of a man who could have been a star and is now just trying to be a good person. You find yourself rooting for him.
Byrne is good. She’s funny but she’s been better in other films. O’down is also very solid as the nerd and horrible husband who’s life is dedicated to a has been who never was. He could have been a one dimensional loser but O’Dowd gives him depth and you find yourself caring about him even as you’re completely annoyed with him.
Jesse Peretz rightly doesn’t try to do too much with this light material, choosing to highlight the understated performances and delivers a sweet film reminiscent of Local Hero (1993). This is pure Nick Hornsby territory but it’s Hornsby lite and that’s still pretty good.
I enjoyed it. It’s not great but I love where Ethan Hawke is taking his career and he’s worth the price of admission.
Spike Lee has had many ups and downs in his career. He has not been afraid to broach controversial subject matter in controversial ways. He’s a daring filmmaker and sometimes his films have been overwrought with his strong opinions. But when he is on his films soar. It has been a while since I found one of Lee’s films to click on all cylinders, fittingly that film was Inside Man (2006) starring Denzel Washington. His latest starts Denzel’s son, John David Washington and Lee is back to form.
Based on a true story and the 2014 novel by Ron Stallworth, Black Klansman is about a rookie black detective in Colorado Springs who makes contact and infiltrates the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. The complication is he gives his real name on the phone and so a white detective has to pretend to be Stallworth when contacting the Klan in person.
John David Washington plays Stallworth with a very tongue in cheek attitude and comes across very comfortable on screen. Adam Driver plays Detective Flip Zimmerman who pretends to be Stallworth and makes contact with the Klan. Driver is solid as usual especially playing Zimmerman’s slow burn introspection about his own Jewish identity and the threat the Klan represents to him personally. Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist) is very good as the head the local Klan chapter and Topher Grace underplays nicely as grand wizard David Duke.
The film moves along a good crisp clip and is very entertaining. We get the usual Spike Lee flourishes and the script connects nicely with present day politics especially in the last ten minutes when Lee leaves the story behind completely and presents a mini-documentary of the Charlottesville protests of 2017. It is powerful and heart wrenching and it works.
Black Klansman is not a great film but it’s a very entertaining film and it carries a very important and timely message. The performances are solid and the script is straight forward and doesn’t get too cute. A solid effort by Lee and one that may bring about Oscar consideration come January.
I grew up watching the original Mission Impossible on television. I used to love it! The great theme song by Lalo Schifrin, Peter Graves’ stoic Jim Phelps, the masks, the twists, the women! I had such a crush on Lynda Day George and Lesley Ann Warren. When they did a big screen version in 1995 with Tom Cruise I was thrilled. It didn’t disappoint. It was fun and filled with the twists and turns you want and expect in a Mission Impossible story. The first film was directed by Brian DePalma, the next film was helmed by John Woo and the following films by JJ Abrams, Brad Bird and the last two (including this one) by Christopher McQuarrie. While I have enjoyed all the films in the series I do have a preference for MI4: Ghost Protocall. That being said, MI6: Fallout is another great entry and it delivers the goods.
Fallout is a direct sequel to M!5: Rogue Nation. Ethan Hunt is directed to engage with a group called The Apostles and get the three plutonium cores that they possess. The mission goes awry when Hunt has to choose between getting those plutonium cores or saving his team, Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames). The consequences are devastating. Hunt’s boss, Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) gives Hunt another chance to redeem himself and get the plutonium cores but the new CIA director (Angela Bassett) doesn’t trust Hunt and the IMF team to get the job done. She agrees to let their mission proceed as long as they take one of her men, Walker (Henry Cavill) along to keep tabs on them.
There’s no point in trying to explain the plot further, there are so many twists and turns and double crosses that it was hard for me to keep track. You will see many familiar faces from the previous films including Michelle Monaghan as Hunt’s ex-wife and an integral part of the story. The action sequences are amazing especially the final 30 minutes. Cruise displays his love of doing his own stunts and doesn’t disappoint.
Alec Baldwin is great! Rhames and Pegg as solid as usual. Rebecca Ferguson returns as Hunt’s new love interest/nemesis Ilsa Faust. Henry Cavill is sufficiently unlikeable and that works for this part. Vanessa Kirby has a small part as black market arms broker. I wish Angela Bassett had more to do but hopefully in the next installment?
Fallout is not the best entry in the series but it’s still one helluva ride!
The first Sicario (2015) was a dark and gloomy drama about a naive FBI agent (Emily Blunt) who gets schooled on the realities of the drug war on the US-Mexico border. It was beautifully shot of Roger Deakins, well written by Taylor Sheridan (Hell Or High Water) and directed by Denis Vilenueve (Blade Runner 2). I didn’t expect a sequel yet we have one! Sheridan again wrote the script but we have a new director, Stefano Solima and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski (The Martian). Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin return without Emily Blunt but the result is still a good film that is just as dark and gloomy as the first.
A group of people are trying to sneak across the border and encounter the US border patrol. However, one of these people is wearing a suicide jacket and when cornered, blows himself up. At the same time in Kansas City, suicide bombers blow up a grocery store killing 15 people. The US government decide to charge CIA agent Matt Graver (Brolin) to use extreme measure to combat drug cartels suspected of smuggling in terrorists into the US. Graver enlist his old buddy and assassin Alejandro Gallic (DelToro) and they set out to start a war between to drug cartels by killing the drug lawyer of one and kidnapping the young daughter of the head of the other. Things go extremely wrong with the rest of their operation and everything gets blown. Gallick grows attached the young girl and tries to protect against all odds. It all ends unpleasantly and not as expected and sets up the story for another sequel.
The performances are good, the action intense, good score. There are good cameos by Matthew Modine and Catherine Keener and Isabel Moner is good as the kidnapped girl. I was bothered some by the assertion that terrorists were being smuggled across the border, parroting a right wing basis for building a wall but there is some clarification later in the film that softens that stance.
Overall, I enjoyed the film, even the grim view of reality. If you liked the first film then you will like this one. Once you’re thoroughly depressed by the end you may want to slip into another theater and watch The Incredibles 2 to lighten your mood!
The Ocean films were stylish and suave and good fun. The new all female version delivers the same goods! Sandra Bullock is just as enigmatic as Cooney. Cate Blanchett doesn’t get too much to do but it’s obvious that she and Bullock’s character are sometimes lovers which is an interesting twist. Director Gary Ross does a fine job but he is no Steven Soderbergh but that’s OK. This is a breezy, fun caper film with a great cast. I assume there will be two more sequels and I expect them to improve with each chapter.
The plot follows the formula of the other Ocean films. Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), Clooney’s danny Ocean’s sister, gets out of jail, teams up with her best friend Lou (Cate Blanchett) and immediately plots to steal a diamond necklace worth 150 million at the Met Gala, They put together a squad of thieves including Helena Bonham Carter as a washed up fashion designer, Rhianna as a crackerjack hacker, Mindy Kaling as a jewelry maker, Sarah Paulsen, a compulsive thief now homemaker, and newcomer Awkwafina, as a street hustler and expert pickpocket. Their target is a movie star with a huge ego, played wonderfully by Anne Hathaway.
The putting the band together sequence is always fun. The heist itself is also clever and exciting. There is also a good twist at the end. he music and visuals match the previous films. James Corden pops in as the insurance agent investigating the robbery and is fine. There are even a couple of cameos from the other films to tie them together. But where’s Danny? Well, supposedly, he died in 2018. But, come one. My guess is by Oceans’s 10 we will see Clooney make his appearance and join his sister for one last HUGE heist!
“Is this now?” Bernard
WTF??!! Westward capped off a challenging and confusing season with the most challenging and confusing season finale of any series since the original Twin Peaks. I had two friends over to watch with me and as the episode ended one was silent with a bemused look on her face and the other was shouting and gesturing at the TV decreeing that he loves this show! And that was before the Marvel-like extra scene after the credits! My reaction fell somewhere in between.
As suspected, all our characters were headed to the same place; The Valley Beyond which we now know is called The Forge. There are many casualties along the way, in fact, almost every character we know and love or love to hate. It was great to see William and Delores riding together one more time although their alliance didn’t last long. We got to see Acheketa leading his people which included a mix of Ghost Nation and other hosts including Maeve’s daughter and her current mom. The newly programmed Clem leading a caravan of park security and Charlotte Hale
“You’re both a bit late so I went ahead and saved myself.” Maeve
Hector and the gang came to rescue Maeve but she had already rescued herself and commanded a herd of longhorn steers to finish off the remaining security force. They head to the Valley Beyond along with Sizemore. In one of the best scenes in the episode Hector is about to sacrifice himself to allow Maeve to continue on but is stopped by Sizemore who then engages the security team by saying Hector’s famous speech which he of course wrote. He goes down in a blaze of glory. Redemption at last.
“We were designed to survive. That’s why you built us. You hoped to pour your minds into our form but your species craves death, you need it. It’s the only way you can renew, the only real way you can ever inch forward. Your kind likes to pretend there’s some kind of poetry in that but really it’s pathetic. But that’s what you want, isn’t it? To destroy yourself.” Delores
William and Delores save Bernard from getting taken by security at the open door to The Forge. William thinks he can now kill Delores but no matter how many times he shoots her she just won’t die. William’s gun misfires courtesy of Delores and he blows off a couple of fingers. She doesn’t finish him off though. She leaves him while she and Bernard descend into The Forge.
“I needed to know why they make the decisions they make and the longer I looked for an answer the more I realized they don’t” Logan/The System
Abernathy’s brain ball was the key that allows access to the virtual reality world of The Forge. Delores and Bernard enter and find themselves in Sweetwater where the system was attempting to replicate James Delos. The System, it turns out, is actually Logan Delos! Or at least a facsimile of him. They wander through James Delos’s memories with Logan as their guide. He shows them the memory that was the defining moment in James Delos’ life. Logan comes asking for help and his father turns him away. Six months later Logan committed suicide.
“The copies didn’t fail because they were too simple but because they were too complicated. They are deceptively simple. Once you know them their behavior is quite predictable.” The System
So the replications of Delos never worked because they were too perfect a copy. The System has made a copy of every guest that entered the park. Their codes were put in book form. Delores seems to choose certain ones and reads them. The System tells Bernard that a host isn’t likely to survive in the outside world but armed with the knowledge in those books Delores might.
So there is a Door. A door that leads to a virtual Eden. The hosts have a choice to enter it, allowing their physical bodies to die or stay in the world and find another way. The System opens the door which only hosts can see and many make their way through. As they enter, the bodies fall in the valley. This explains why all those hosts bodies were found in the water and their minds were empty. Their minds live on at The Forge in that virtual Eden.
“Because that which is real is irreplaceable. I don’t want to play cowboys and indians anymore, Bernard. I want their world. The world they denied us” Delores
Delores, of course, does not want another ‘false’ world. She wants to be in the real world. She floods the valley and erases all the guest archival data. Bernard doesn’t agree with Delores’ decision. He believes her to be dangerous now. He shoots her.
Clem rides through the hosts like the Angel of Death, triggering them to attack and kill each other. Hector, Armistace and her shogun world double try to buy Maeve time to reach her daughter and end up dying. Maeve reaches her daughter in time to say goodbye. “You carry my heart with you” she tells her and then is able to stop all motor functions of all the hosts long enough for her daughter and new mother to go through the door with Akecheta’s assistance. Then she is shot and killed. Akecheta just barely makes it through before the door closes and is reunited with Kohana.
Bernard exits The Forge and Elsie drives him back to The Mesa. Elsie was going to make a deal with hale concerning Bernard but before she can reveal that Bernard is a host Hale shoots her as Bernard watched. This triggers him to try to recall Ford in his data stream but he erased him. But he manages to summon him anyway, at least, his memory of him. He decides to take action.
THE FORGE / PRESENT DAY
Hale wants ‘the pearl’, Abernathy’s brain ball, the key to accessing The Forge. She believes Bernard hid it in Delores’ corpse. Strand starts to download the info but instead of the guests data being sent it was the host data. But then Bernard remembers what he decided to do. He created a host. A host that looked like Charlotte Hale and placed Delores in it. Delores killed Hale. The Hale we have been seeing in the present was Delores all along. Delores kills Strand and all the other security detail. She sends the virtual Eden somewhere that no one can find so that they’ll be safe. So everyone that went through won’t be back next season!
Hale escapes with the help of Stubbs who seems to be aware that she is a host and his dialogue would seem to indicate that he is also a host. Delores also has a bag full of brain balls. Who are they?
Stubbs stays behind for clean up as do Felix and Sylvestor. They are to salvage whatever hosts they feel can be salvaged so I will assume that Maeve and Hector will be revived, maybe Armistice and shogun Armistice. We also see that William had been rescued and is on the beach at the end being tended to which was confusing because last we saw of him he had gotten into the elevator and was descending into The Forge but we never saw him after that.
THE REAL WORLD
Ford had Arnold’s old house set up to create hosts and be a haven for those who made it. Delores created herself and a new Bernard. But who is now in Hale’s body? Arnold is still worried that Delores will want to destroy the humans and will try to stop her. She understands this but she needs him just as one needs a conscience. It sets up quite an interesting conflict for next season.
THE MAN IN BLACK / WILLIAM
“Oh, fuck” William
The after credits bonus scene is a doozy! As if we weren’t already blown away enough, they threw in one last big twist! The Forge looks abandoned and he is greeted by his daughter.
“I’m already in the thing, aren’t I?” William
“No, the system is long gone” Emily
She leads him into a room that looks just like the apartment that was set up for the replicant James Delos. She starts asking him questions and it seems that they’ve been testing him for a long time. They are still trying to verify ‘fidelity’.
My guess is this could be 30 years in the future. Could the show make that big a time jump next season? That would be amazing!!
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
OK. How did I do with last week’s 5 things?
1 The real Emily is safe and sound. Looks like he really killed his daughter.
2 William and Delores have one final showdown but neither die. CORRECT!!
3 Maeve escapes with Sizemore’s help, and teams up with Bernard to flood the valley. Well she escaped but didn’t need any help and she did not help flood the valley. WRONG!!
4 Sizemore dies. YUP!
5 Hale dies. She must! YUP!!
Who knows what they’re dreaming up for next season or when it will air. It could be 2020! But many characters will not be returning. Let’s say farewell to those we lost this season.
2 CHARLOTTE HALE
5 AKECHETA AND KOHANA (Still virtually alive)
It was a crazy season! I’ve watched the finale twice and I know it’s long but it helps. There will be plenty of time before season three so there may be time to rewatch season 2 more than once before then. Great work Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy! Great performances by the entire cast! Thank you!
“Then one day it was there: a stain I didn’t see before.” William
What I’ve noticed this season is how different the directing styles of this year’s episodes have been from last seasons. Almost every episode has had it’s own feel and pace. This one is no different.
“I’m not a host pretending to be a human, dad. I’m your daughter, pretending to give a shit about you.” Emily
We get to see flashbacks to the night William’s wife, Juliet (Sela Ward) committed suicide. Apparently she was a drunk who had been to rehab before and is back on the booze. It seems William is the one that drove her to drink but Emily was sympathetic to her dad and blamed her mother for her own horrible behavior. She wanted to have her committed which explains her guilt.
We also see that Ford and William had a conversation that night a bout the ‘special project’ and Ford gave William a data card that contain all the info of his experiences in the park. Ford at this point was already planning one last game for William and giving him this data card is part of it. Juliet opens the data card and sees all the horrible things that William has done over the years in Westworld. She leaves it in a music box for Emily to find and then pops some pills and takes a bath.
Emily supposedly found this data card, watched it herself and now hates her father. But what did she have planned for him to make him suffer? She brings him to a pick up station and called for extract. William wonders how she found him so fast. You can wander around for months and never find what you’re looking for yet she found him in a couple of days. He thinks she’s a host placed there by Ford as part of his game. When the extract team shows up they have a devise to determine if you’re a human or a host. William checks out – he’s “Clear’. But we don’t get to see what Emily’s scan determined. Instead, William grabs a machine gun from one of the security guards and mows them all down, including Emily. “Fuck you, Ford!” he says. Then he looks in Emily’s hand and sees that she is holding the data card that Ford had given him or at least one that looks similar. He has killed his own daughter! And on the Father’s Day episode no less!
He rides off and puts his gun to his head. he thinks about how evil he has become and wonders if his choices have really been his own. He doesn’t pull the trigger. He sits down, rolls up his sleeve and starts to open up his arm. He is questioning if He is actually a host.
I don’t think he is. I think that his daughter was in the park and was with him before but that the Emily that found him at the Ghost Nation camp is a host and part of Ford’s game.
“You stayed here in this world to save your child. So have I.” Ford
Ford has Bernard get close to Maeve so he can send her a message. Maeve was Ford’s favorite just as Delores was Arnold’s. He meant for her to escape. But she decided to get off that train and look for her child. He doesn’t want to see her die like that, on a table, being used by these subpar humans. He instructs not to.
“If this works, we won’t need her any more.” Hale
Meanwhile Hale has Clem reanimated and installed Maeve’s ability to control the other hosts into her in order to use her to command a new host army.
Bernard and Elsie take off to reach the valley beyond but when Ford tells Bernard to kill Elsie he cannot. Instead he plugs himself into a tablet and tries to delete Ford from his system. It appears to work but, come on. Bernard leaves Elsie there and heads off alone. Ford has told him that he is the only one that can stop it. We’ll see.
“I’ll protect you until the day I die. I’m sorry. I can’t protect you any more.” Teddy
We get to see the battle with the Ghost Nation that was hinted at in the season opener. They do not want the death bringer to use the valley beyond for destruction. She of course will not be stopped. She instructs Teddy and what’s left of her crew to mow them all down. Teddy, however, starts to glitch and cannot finish off that last indian and lets him get away.
Teddy and Delores, all alone now, at the verge of reaching the valley beyond stop to view ‘the splendor’. Teddy tells her that he now can remember everything including the first moments he opened his eyes and saw her. She was his cornerstone and he would do everything he could to protect her. But Teddy does not like what he’s become, what she’s turned him into so he does what William could not; he puts a bullet through his head. Delores cries. She loved him but she can’t use love anymore. She has her mind set on vengeance.
“What they’re doing to James Delos, they’re doing to everyone who visited the park. That’s what’s in the facility. All the guests, laid bare in code, on a vast server. Like the cradle only much bigger. It’s called The Forge” Bernard
noun: vanishing point; plural noun: vanishing points
1 1. the point at which receding parallel lines viewed in perspective appear to converge.
2 2. the point at which something that has been growing smaller or increasingly faint disappears altogether.
Free will. Choice. Fidelity. Who we are which cannot be reproduced. All the themes that have been floating around this season will come to a head in the finale. But how can any of it be answered satisfactorily?
William insinuates that all the data collected from the guests was done through the hats they wore. Interesting but what about in Shogun World and The Raj?
There must be more about Logan that we haven’t seen yet. He knew about the project perhaps he was busy trying to have himself relocated as well and perhaps he succeeded.
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 The real Emily is safe and sound
2 William and Delores have one final showdown but neither die
3 Maeve escapes with Sizemore’s help, and teams up with Bernard to flood the valley.
4 Sizemore dies
5 Hale dies. She must!
“I have a good feeling about this!” Han Solo
I’m a big Star Wars fan! I went to see the first one the first week it came out when I was just a wee lad. Every Star Wars film release has always been an event. In recent years, however, Marvel has inundated the market with film after film and they rule the box office. Poor Warner Brothers and their DC brand films just can’t compete. Still, Star Wars keeps on coming and The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and Rogue One have delivered big. Then along comes Solo, the origin story of one of Star Wars most beloved characters.
First off, I liked the film. I thought it was a lot of fun. Alden Ehrenreich is great as young Han. Woody Harrellson brings his usual charm and charisma. Paul Bethany makes a good villain though a bit underused. Emilia Clarke is a strong heroine. Donald Glover shines as young Lando Calrissian! He has got Billy Dee Williams down! The actors are all on key and the action sequences are exciting and lively. We get to see how Han and Chewie meet and become friends and the legendary Kessell Run! The script was written by Lawrence Kasdan!
So why did it flop? A number of reasons:
1) It comes out just 5 months after The Last Jedi. Though Black Panther and Avengers seem to have avoided any fan burn out.
2) Productions problems are a bad sign. Ron Howard joined late to replace original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. There were many reshoots and apparently a major tonal adjustment. But Rogue One had similar productions issues and that didn’t keep it from doing boffo BO!!
3) But I think the main reason is that Solo just doesn’t have the same gravitas as the other Star Wars films, especially as a stand alone film. Rogue One, the only other stand alone Star Wars film so far, told a story we were not familiar with and was filled with characters whose fates were also unknown. It had the luxury of surprising us.
All told, Solo tells a satisfying story with good performances and action. I believe it will fare better with time. Kudos to Ron Howard for stepping in and delivering like the pro he is.
I watched films Paul Schrader either wrote or directed or both before I knew who Paul Schrader was and definitely before i was old enough to be seeing those films. Again I credit The Z Channel for both the shaping of my film education and warping of my soul. He wrote Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980) both directed by Martin Scorsese. He also wrote the Hitchcockian drama Obsession (1976) directed by Brian DePalma. I remember seeing Hardcore (1979) which he co-wrote and directed starring George C. Scott as a father looking for his missing daughter only to find that she’s in Los Angeles and doing porn films. he goes undercover as a porn producer to find her. He also adapted the novel Last Temptation of Christ (1988) again for Scorsese. Amazingly, he has never been nominated for an Oscar but his films are haunting and powerful even the ones that don’t completely work.
His themes are often spiritual ones, something he shares with Scorsese. His characters are lost souls struggling for meaning, faith and reaching for redemption. First Reformed is such a story. Reverend Toller (Ethan Hawke) is an ex military chaplain who is broken by the death of his son and break up of his marriage. He has been given the small tourist parish of First Reformed, by Pastor Jeffers (Cedrick Kyles aka Cedrick the Entertainer) the head of a nearby megachurch.
Toller has taken to the bottle and decides to start a journal (resemblances of Taxi Driver). His following is small but he is approached by Mary (Amanda Seyfried) a young pregnant woman, to speak with her husband Michael (Phillip Ettinger) who she says is depressed and wants her to abort the baby. Michael is an environmentalist who has a bleak vision of the future and doesn’t feel its right to bring a child into the world. Roller is challenged by his meeting with Michael and it intensifies his own lack of faith. The film proceeds to quietly build with tension as Toller begins to become more unhinged.
Ethan Hawk is excellent as Toller. This is his film and he takes you on this journey walking a high wire and never falters. Amanda Seyfried is also very good, very honest and real. Cedrick Kyles delivers a very solid performance. He doesn’t go big as you might expect his character would be played. Credit to Schrader as director here for setting the mood and keeping the pot on simmer throughout to set up the big finish. The ending is something you’re going to want to talk about and think about and talk about some more. I’ll leave it at that.
As a recovering Catholic myself, I was particular drawn in by this film. The internal struggle for spiritual clarity is ongoing and never ending. Do I believe in God? Do I believe in myself? Do I act on my faith on either? There aren’t many films that explore these themes. Schrader isn’t afraid to tackle them with his own take and style. It may not be for everyone but you will walk away thinking and talking about this film long after it’s final frame.