Solo: A Star Wars Story

DAMMIT! I’M SUCH A FOOL! I just realized: I WAS THE ONLY ONE AT THE SCREENING  AND DIDN’T MAKE ANY «SOLO» JOKE at the concession stand! That might have been a better starter to a conversation in which I learnt that an almost empty theatre didn’t really matter nowadays (in some aspect) because movies are delivered digitally now and don’t wear with every projection.

Which wouldn’t make much of a difference because «Solo» isn’t any good to begin with.

Even beforehand, I had pretty much made up my mind about Alden Ehrenreich’s Han-thankful job and his more than Han-likely success in taking over Harrison Ford’s iconic role. Ehrenreich surely didn’t help but after seeing «Solo», he cannot be made solely responsible for this disappointment of a movie. I doubt even Mr. Ford (or Harrison, as I like to call him, though he’d rather I wouldn’t) himself could have made this Han-inspired, Han-funny wannabe Star Wars «adventure» work.

It’s too generic even for a franchise as formulaic as the Star Wars universe. I haven’t seen such an empty, self-serving and Han-motivated mess of jumbled together bits and pieces of canon and fan service in a long, long time. (Not unlike this very review you’re reading right now).

There were some nice ideas in there that I might have liked but they were presented in such a Han-connected way I couldn’t have bothered less.

#notMyStarWars

And now a personal message to my co-worker Cello: Don’t go see that movie! I can’t tell you why because of spoilers. Just don’t!

The Post

«Hit the big story hard!» Spielberg’s latest surely isn’t one of his greatest achievements but solid enough to get out of the cold weather and a surprisingly relevant experience given today’s state of the media industry and the current political climate at that.

Especially interesting to see his depiction of how news were made before distractions like computers, internet, social media (and iFrames) got so damn important and complicated.

If anything, «The Post» excels as an inspiring reminder that journalism has to be about more than clicks, user engagement and the occasional Raclette-Schieber.

(Shame though I still couldn’t find a theater playing «Three Billboards…». The Oscars are getting awfully close now and I still haven’t found my favourite).

My sister finally watched «Guardians of the Galaxy»

We did it! Thanks to the rafe new world sister watch initiative, my sister finally watched «Guardians of the Galaxy». I’m proud to say this goal was achieved in less than 48 hours thanks to my constant nagging and a website specially made for this purpose: sisterwatch.rafenew.world.

But did she like the movie or is she just a bad person? I’m very honoured to let my sister speak for herself in her very first guest article on rafenew.world:


And a very special THANK YOU to my mother who did her part in working on my sister in this matter. I love you, mom! And since there’s still hope for my sister, I imagine she does, too.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Just another very gorgeous looking, very soulless version of how Luc Besson thinks movies are made. I more and more wonder how he managed to create «Léon» where he still seemed to care about characters and storytelling (I think, at least; haven’t watched it in ages).

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

What a great sci-fi fantasy action comedy! I laughed my ass off and if you’re an eighties kid, you probably will, too.
In the end there was not a dry eye in the house (and that wasn’t because of the 3D glasses).

Gantz:O

Man, full CGI movies have come a long way since «Final Fantasy – The Spirits Within»! Just discovered this gem on Netflix. It’s probably not really that good a movie per se but its stunning CGI-work and over-the-top action  are just too damned impressive not to be blown away by it.

Give me more…!

Luke Cage

Is it just me or are the Netflix-Marvel series getting slower and slower? I haven’t completely finished «Luke Cage» yet, but after experiencing the rather unmotivated and quite disappointing twist in one of the last episodes, I kind of wish the producers wouldn’t be as comfortable with their current modus operandi as they seemingly are (e.g. slow-paced drama instead of, well, a little bit of something else, too. A tiny little bit more trust in the viewer’s suspension of disbelief, maybe?)

Granted, as a white male living outside of the USA, I’m obviously not in the immediate focus group of «Luke Cage», and I must say, as far as I’m able to judge, they did a pretty solid job not to alienate folks like me completely. But while watching the episodes I always felt reminded of how little a clue I have of what it must be like to live in country still disrupted by racial tensions. (Not unlike watching «The Shield» or «The Wire», where I felt like I just crashed a party where I maybe, definitely didn’t belong.) Even listening to the wonderful soundtrack, I kept myself asking: Am I allowed to enjoy this music or do I not get to like it because I wouldn’t understand it anyway?

I guess it’s more than fair to give a black male his own show, hell, even the skinny dark haired chick got one, but it feels a little bit like… going through a checklist. Maybe not unsimilar to the creation of «Power Man» when he first was conceived in the comics in the midst of the blaxploitation-thingy of the 1970s. (Nothing wrong with that, I hope they’ll do that in the current presidential election.)

And of course, as always the characters and performances are superb (except the character in the above mentioned twist that felt really out of place) and the soundtrack and photography are well above average… But somehow I didn’t really feel that involved this time. It’s more like the next 007 movie: There is one available,… I’ve been waiting for it, so I’ll watch it. But that’s pretty much it, which is somewhat disappointing, as solid as «Luke Cage» as a whole may be.

I guess I’ll wait for the next caucasian, pale sorcerer to win me back. And not to forget: The references to some comics-related visuals alone make «Luke Cage» a must see for all comic book fans.

marvel-luke-cage-poster2

Star Trek Beyond

So let’s do this. I’m writing kinda «live» from the rooftop bar @ the Blue Balls Festival Lucerne. This is the place where I’m trying to find out whether I liked «Star Trek Beyond» or not or if I will just refer to the much recitet «rule» that every odd-numbered installation of the franchise is one of the bad ones and call it a day – or in this case – a review.

Well, I wrote too much about «Independence Day: Resurgence» (what an awful word to write on those tiny phone keys, gonna try to activate auto-correction now. Just give me a sec… Well that didn’t help much.)

Where were we? Right. I had just written too much about the mediocre but somehow likeable second part of ID4 to let «Beyond» just slip through. Mostly because the newest Star Trek is quite mediocre itself, I’m sad to say. I figure that Simon Pegg’s wonderful writing that I loved in the «Cornetto Trilogy» works much better when it’s brought to live on a smaller scale, taking advantage of the limitations given by a smaller budget. On the other hand: «Star Trek Beyond» sure looks better than «Independence Day: Retelling The Same Story» (as far as I could tell through those godawful 3D glasses), it sounds better, and it even has a tighter story, which doesn’t mean much. But it all remains another by-the-numbers Sci-Fi action adventure that happens to have «Star Trek» in the title. I really missed the almost perfectly written and cleverly re-introduced characters from the first one.

After the creators pulled off the seemingly impossible and rebootet one of the most iconic franchises in the known universe, they got lazy and went back to the standard handbook of cashing in on a blockbuster with «Into Darkness». (Not that «Star Trek» 2009 was especially original, but it sure as hell worked for me.)

«Beyond» is not much better. The tighter story makes more sense in a way for sure, but the characters didn’t really seem to care too much about the arcs they’re shoehorned into. With the exception of Scotty maybe, but it didn’t help that I keept thinking: «of course he would do that, he (Pegg) wrote the damn thing!». And as soon as I realized that Idris Elba was in this one (that wonderful, wonderful voice) I wanted to see more of him – sans the make up. But be careful what you wish for…

Which somehow brings us to the end of the second act of the movie: That’s some really impressive filmmaking right there and one of the most interesting sci-fi action sequences I’ve seen in a long time. And most importantly: it’s very funny. That sequence alone saves the movie from being just «the next one», highly forgettable instance of its franchise.
In the end, it sadly falls flat again and steps back onto the path which much too many movies have, not so boldly, gone before.

So let me do that, too: After writing a mediocre, hopefully tight review with the best ending possible, quoting some Star Trek, let me just keep writing on, just for the sake of a last paragraph:

No, «Star Trek» with the number 13 on its cover (or 3, depending on how you count) isn’t one of the bad ones. But it is, and always shall be, one of the not too great ones.

(Nailed it!)

blueballs_2016