STAR WARS AT 40: A space opera in eight films, five directors, and two studios

A long time ago—May 25, 1977, to be precise—in a Hollywood far, far away, Star Wars took cinematic hearts and minds by storm. Later subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars was a ragtag space opera about a young farmer and two mercenaries trying to rescue a captured princess from the evil clutches of the Empire and return her to the Rebel base so she could deliver the stolen plan necessary to destroy the armored base. The backstory was sparse, the plot points were standard, and the characters were archetypal. This was all by design. Writer/director George Lucas drew heavily from Joseph Campbell’s theory of the monomyth—detailed in his book-length … Continue reading STAR WARS AT 40: A space opera in eight films, five directors, and two studios

Movie Beat – 12.25.13

47 Ronin – A ronin is a master-less samurai, a drifter, a wanderer who makes his way from village to village, performing meaningless tasks for room and board. Kai (Keanu Reeves) joins up with a bunch of other ronin, 46 to be exact, to defeat a bunch of evil spirits and demons plaguing the land. Kou Shibasaki, Rinko Kikuchi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, and Min Tanaka co-star. Writers Hossein Amini and Chris Morgan retell the legendary tale with direction from Carl Rinsch. Out in wide release from Universal Pictures.   August: Osage County – Holidays mean family time. Some of … Continue reading Movie Beat – 12.25.13


The Impossible has an unfortunate title. When I first saw it, I was immediately reminded of a quote from Star Trek via Spock, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” I have since learned that Spock gleamed this gem from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but that is not where the title of this film comes from. Halfway through the film, two characters look at the stars in the sky. Some stars shine brightly for all to see, some stars are long dead and only now is their light reaching us. “Is there … Continue reading THE IMPOSSIBLE (2012)

Movie Beat – 12.21.12

Barbara – Germany’s official submission for the Foreign Language Academy Award, written and directed by Christian Petzold and starring his muse, Nina Hoss as Barbara. Set in Cold War Germany, Nina is banished to a rural East Germany hospital when she applies for an exit visa. While her lover is working on a way to get her to West Germany, Barbara lies low and tries not to entangle with anyone. Andre (Ronald Zehrfeld), the head physician of the hospital, takes a liking to her, and she to him, but she can’t be certain if he is a spy or not. … Continue reading Movie Beat – 12.21.12