Solo: A Star Wars Story

A new review from The Movie Snob.

Solo: A Star Wars Story  (C-).  I saw the original Star Wars when I was about 10 years old, so I should be the perfect audience for an origin story about the coolest dude in a galaxy far, far away: the one and only Han Solo.  Sadly, I was bored.  I think Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) is probably a good actor, but his Han is unfortunately bland.  Emilia Clarke (TV’s Game of Thrones) is pretty but otherwise makes no impression as Solo’s love interest.  Donald Glover (The Martian) does a little better as a suave Lando Calrissian, but I could never forget I was watching Donald Glover, who was so funny on TV’s Community.  Woody Harrelson adds another major franchise to his collection (Hunger Games, Planet of the Apes), but he doesn’t really give the story any juice either.  In sum, Solo is a forgettable movie.  My favorite pop culture podcast, The Weekly Substandard, has devoted two whole episodes to Solo, and I’m looking forward to hearing what those critics have to say about it.

Mystery Science Theater: Volume XXVII

DVD review from The Movie Snob.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXVII.

The Slime People (D).  This first-season offering just isn’t very good.  The movie is horrendous, about a handful of humans trying to survive an attack on Los Angeles by subterranean slime people.  Tedious in the extreme, and the riffing isn’t all that great either.  The highlight of the disc is actually a short interview with a woman who was in the movie, reminiscing about the experience and how horrified she was when she first saw the finished product because it was so bad.

Rocket Attack U.S.A. (C).  This second-season effort is not great but at least it’s better than The Slime People.  The 1961 film is a Cold War relic mainly about a spy sent to Moscow to figure out if the Soviets are planning to launch a nuclear attack.  Answer: Yes.  The first half of the movie features some pretty funny riffing by Joel and the robots, but they seem to lose steam towards the end.

Village of the Giants (C).  This okay episode features an old movie starring a young Beau Bridges (The Fabulous Baker Boys), a very young Ron Howard (TV’s Happy Days), and a timeless Toni Basil (the 1982 hit song “Mickey”).  Howard is a brainiac kid in the little town of Hainesville.  He accidentally invents a substance that, when eaten, makes the consumer grow to enormous size.  Unfortunately, Beau and his gang of unpleasant punk teenagers get a hold of the growth formula and proceed to terrorize the town.  Expect lots of unconvincing special effects and lots of whining from Beau’s gang about how adults are always pushing young people around with their rules and such.

The Deadly Mantis  (B).  My grade may be slightly inflated because of the weakness of the other movies in this collection.  This is a 1957 creature feature about a giant praying mantis that was frozen in arctic ice millions of years ago.  Somehow it gets defrosted and runs amok killing people.  There is very little plot beyond finding and killing the mantis, which seems to take an unduly long time.  The riffing is pretty good.  The two extras are an introduction by Mary Jo Pehl and a short documentary about Mantis producer William Alland, neither of which is of any special interest.

X-Men: The Last Stand; The Da Vinci Code

Nick at Nite actually goes to the movies for a change:

X-Men: Seriously, The Last Stand

Perhaps it was just too much to hope for three excellent movies featuring a merry band of mutants. Everything about this film seemed a little tired to me. Even the outrageous special effects had a been-there, seen-it-before feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I love big explosions and Famke Janssen just as much as the next guy, I just wished for a little more after the first two films. Is it just me or has Halle Berry been the star in only one good film? And was the film really good or was it just controversial? I digress. Here the X-Men must fight their own. A battle of mutants ensues. If you love or loved comic books, then you will enjoy this movie. If you still love comic books and you are over the age of thirty, move out of your parents’ basement. If you are a casual X-Men fan and saw the movies because they were big summer blockbuster movies . . . I say save your money for Superman Returns. I give X-Men a “B.”

The Da Vinci Code

*** SPOILER ALERT *** SPOILER ALERT *** SPOILER ALERT ***

Well, ain’t that a poke in the eye. This sounds crazy, but the book almost seems less controversial to me now. (Spoiler) When Robert Langdon looked at Sophie Neveu and proclaimed her the “the direct descendent of Jesus Christ …” I almost heard the critics laughing at the Canne film festival and organized religion the world over screaming for another screening of the Passion of the Christ. Perhaps because the book was longer and located in the fiction section, the book just seemed like a fun read. It has been two years since I read the book, and I honestly could not remember how it ended. This should perhaps be a reflection on the quality of the book. The movie … well it was a fun watch, I like a good mystery and Ron Howard can tell a good, if formulaic story. The scenery is very cool and the pseudo-history lessons are interesting. If you can set aside your religious leanings and are not easily offended, I say go see this movie. If you have a thin skin and thought the book “was based on real life events,” then you should stay away. I give this movie a “B.”