The Force is weak with lackluster ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ (Movie review)


irst, some background on some apprehensions I carried with me into the theater when I saw “Solo: A Star Wars Story” last night.

My excitement for “Solo” dropped to near zero when Lucasfilm fired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, two of the weirdest and most inventive filmmakers working today, and brought on Ron Howard, a talented guy without a shred of Lord and Miller’s oddball charm. All of the trailers make it look like Opie gave them just what they wanted, something workmanlike and safe and ordinary, utterly lacking the spark of insanity a Lord and Miller version would have promised.

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‘Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi’ review

“Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi” – If you’d have told me that the eighth “proper” episode of the “Star Wars” saga was going to be an epic treatise on the importance of failure and its ability to teach and shape us, I’d have told you that you were nuts, but that is exactly what writer/director Rian Johnson gives us, and it works so well! This is a film with narrative meat, something that takes risks, something blessedly different from the other films in the franchise. “The Force Awakens” was fun and “Rogue One” was great, but for the first time since “Empire,” “The Last Jedi” makes this saga utterly enthralling on multiple levels.

– Michael Olinger, Top 20 films of 2017, Jan. 21, 2018

Michael’s top 20 films of 2017


here were a lot of great films in 2017. So many, in fact, that this year I have decided to do a top 20 list instead of my usual top 10. It means more writing, but trust me, this is a problem any movie buff loves to have.

2017 was a good year for superheros and small indie films, for action and drama and comedy alike, sometimes all within the same movie.

So, what was the best? Let’s get to it!

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The 10 funniest moments in the ‘Family Guy’ ‘Star Wars’ parody ‘Blue Harvest’ (TV review)


here are broad “Star Wars” parodies, and then there are insider-y “Star Wars” parodies, and then there’s a near-perfect mix of the two: The “Family Guy” episode “Blue Harvest,” which aired 10 years ago today. According to the DVD’s bonus features, the project came about when Lucasfilm approved all of “Family Guy’s” “Star Wars” parodies and Seth MacFarlane and company figured why not ask if they could do a whole episode?

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘The Clone Wars’ (2008) (Movie review)

Disney’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is getting a lot of buzz, an odd contrast to the last time a “Star Wars” film outside of the numbered episodes premiered. In August 2008, I mentioned “The Clone Wars” movie to friends, and they responded with “There’s a new ‘Star Wars’ movie out?” Although it was a wide-release film, there wasn’t much of a marketing push behind it, because George Lucas decided fairly late in the game to release the first four-episode arc of the new TV series as a “movie.”

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