Thursday, December 31, 2015


Directed By: J.J. Abrams 
Written By: J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan & Michael Arndt 
Cinematography By: Daniel Mindel 
Editor: Maryann Brandon & Mary Jo Markey 
Based On Characters Created By: George Lucas 

Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Adam Driver, Oscar Issac, Carrie Fisher, Domnhall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Lupit Nyong’o, Max Von Sydow, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels

30 years after the defeat of Darth Vader and the Empire, Rey, a scavenger from the planet Jakku, finds a BB-8 droid that knows the whereabouts of the long lost Luke Skywalker. Rey, as well as a rogue Stormtrooper and two smugglers, are thrown into the middle of a battle between the resistance and the daunting legions of the First Order.

Well my childhood fantasies feel complete.As much as I might be defensive against them. I have to admit Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are a key to my childhoods. Their creations are and were the building blocks to the Dna of my and many others imaginations amongst many other things. Their creativity is part of my heart and flows through my bloodstream.

Though I know they really had no hand in this current film. George Lucas started it. Without him it wouldn't exist. Like Lucasfilm. No longer run by him, but his influence is felt forever across modern cinema. Hate him Or love him. Steven Spielberg In a Different but similar way.

This films makes one feel centered and one with the universe. Felt alive and transcendence during. That after was so full of adrenaline. Had a hard time coming down. So this is me kind of measured, but still coming off the high of contemplation and enthusiasm for the film and he'll even the experience.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I drank the kool-aid and found it delicious and refreshing. (was that cherry or raspberry flavored?) either way it was good

This is a film no matter what I write. The fans and the audience will have their own kind of say , memories and opinions. So all I can speak of here is my assessment of the film.

Look say what you want that this is a cash in or sell out because of the merchandising. You Should have known that soon as it sold to Disney. It is what they do best and especially placing it towards the end of the year perfect for gifts, holiday tie-ins and the works. Plus hoping reviewers like me would tap into nostalgia and just it generally being a good movie and better then the prequels by comparison. That it's cup would runith over with praise and box office receipts a plentiful.

Inspired that energy felt as a kid after watching this and many fantasy films. Here you feel like you are along for the ride and like you are experiencing it. Almost like a video game that you actually get to play and not watching someone else do it. That can doe times ruin a lot of fantasy and sci-fi films. Here you feel more taught yet not lectured to. So there isn't as much being talked down to. Sort of like a teacher who is more interactive rather than stating the facts and hoping you Get it

Maybe that is the difference between the prequels and these films.

The prequels represents more of a watching historical documents and being lectured by a professor who has seen it all, knows it all and kind of speaks down to you. Hoping you understand and get it all, if not he doesn't really care. Not to mention he can change anything he wants to no matter what he taught you. As he is in control of the information.

Where as so far the new film. Is the energetic new teacher who is interactive and knows what works with the material and how to keep the students interested. Even if he isn't totally knowledgable about everything. Though he knows where the syllabus is going and wants to give equal measure and set-up so that it hopefully all works out in the end.

Begins almost as like a galactic espionage tale of spies and secret missions and escape. With a charismatic resistance fighter and a turncoat scared storm trooper who in running away finds strength and bravery by doing what's right and something and someone to believe in. Who is almost the damsel at first but becomes a vital combatant. Though is willing to sacrifice himself for what he and who he believes in.

Though it isn't the first film to introduce it's themes. Though introduces the theme of bravery heroism and doing the right thing. Likes to shade it with humor and for some it just being an end to whatever petty means it began as.

We are brought in when it seems to be in the middle of things and the film begins with a whole scenario that ends up leading U.S. To our protagonist rather then seeing them and setting them up early. The supporting roles are out in front and let us get aquatinted with this universe and the Stakes. It is sort of like putting up your rooks to protect your queen in chess. Plus as we are all new to these characters. It helps keep the mystery going as to who is our actual hero. Who can we trust, who can't we?

Even has a older recognizable European actor (by now considered a character actor, but to most a living legend or established actor almost a star) in a small part, but being integral to the part of the jigsaw puzzle that are the films.

It works as a continuation as well as a new generations beginning and calling card.

On a grand scale feels like going back to the drawing board and becoming a serial. Though because of it's history and our memories adding emotional weight . The film provides plenty of emotional highlights and throwback memories for fans. As well as providing them with references and returning characters.

There is no doubt I am over praising it. Though my enthusiasm for it and I believe the audiences also. It really doesn't matter Eve the technical aspects of it. It truly comes down to what it means to you and how it makes you feel.

Kylo Ren is an interesting nemesis and villain. Though his anger that seems more like having a temper tantrum and dressing like a hipster hat seems more emo. And How does he keep that flowing mane underneath his helmet? Show not only his weakness, but the fact he seems to want to prove himself and will always feel in the shadows and trying. He wants to prove himself and be bigger and better. Prove his worth. Though never feeling complete. It doesn't hurt that Adam Driver played him and if you are familiar with his work in other projects. It does provide a certain amount of baggage. Rather then being just a clean slate. Though he does remind you of Anakin Skywalker only with less embarrassing dialogue and acted better. Though it is also fun to see him disagree with his partner when it comes to the best plan of attack for success. Even though it seems like they honestly dislike one another.

Sure it is questionable a bit why Kylo Ren who is a Jedi master and has the force is struggling in battle with a storm trooper janitor wielding a light saber, but you get so caught up. You don't question.

John Boyega's performance as Finn feels fine, his character is almost a blank and is central in the theme as is daisy Ridley. Here you can tell he is trying to mask his natural British accent. So it doe times leads to thinking the character is hiding even more. Though hen shows an innocence yet also a fierceness that can come out when called into action. Even after the beginning where he kind of flinches. When it comes to carrying out his mission. Wanting to prove himself and his worth. Setting him up for a vital role later in the series I am sure. As at first he seems to be our protagonist or at least one of the leads.

Daisy Ridley as our main protagonist really. Allows women to be represented in a more heroic light. Allows the audience to identify with her completely. As a wide eyed innocent who has always heard these tales and never known them to be true. Who wants to leave home but is afraid to leave. Not only because of what is out there, but afraid they will miss something important of they do leave, but obviously we're meant for bigger and better things. Not necessarily being part of the larger universe. She can see things as new and with different. On jaded eyes. As it is all new to her. This experience and adventure. Also realizing you are meant for bigger and better things and matter in the grand scheme of things. She is clearly set up to be our new hero. She is supposed to be both relatable and mysterious. The past matters, but that will come into play in the future. Right about now her present is happening so fast and dramatically. Like us she is caught up in the moment.

Repeating, and recycling story elements front he original series of films. So that things are familiar and stay true to the analogy that history repeats itself. This film also decided to set up stakes itself to not only to be memorable and prove that anything can happen. No one is sacred and everything has to be earned.

Though already setting us up to question pasts and things we did not see or weren't fully explained in between films as we know in the series past come back to haunt characters.

Throughout fun is felt a little predictable in many scenes and senses. Yet it never takes away from the enjoyment of the film.

Not only a new chapter, but kind of a clean slate as it feels full, but leaves opens a whole bunch of possibilities. That leaves the audience full of hope and the feeling that anything can happen. Even if it sometimes has he audience feeling that hey need some sort of closure. When it comes to certain events. As that would help explain Losing a beloved character, really hurts. Hopefully in the end it becomes necessary.

The original films were like the New Testament, you followed and believed, the prequels were more The Old Testament, explaining how the New Testament came to be. Though showed some similarities and how it all ties together. Even if not as exciting. Though as they came after we can label them the new, Old Testament and the New Testament stays the same, only more rich. Now we all get to see the new scriptures. Maybe even after the ressurection in this case. Which has helped bring me back to the faith and my own faith in the film series. As well as cinema. helped me to believe in things bigger than me, have faith in the universe. I am sure I am not the only one who it affected like that.

Sure it is only a movie, but as we all see and watch things different. In mind I know it is only a film, but in my heart as well as others it is so much more.

As well as opening up the theory of great power comes with great responsibility. Especially in how you choose to use it. It's not only for superheroes folks.

As always here we have a tale to inspire us all. A character coming from seemingly nothing and being seen as insignificant. Then slowly becoming the savior of the world. And truly a master of his own domain as he gets older.

Also lets us relax in the company that we haven't seen all that is out there. And every few years we get to explore and see more.

Don't get me wrong it's not the best film I have seen even for this year. It doesn't further film or challenge what cinema can be. Doesn’t set the bar when it comes to special effects it story telling. Nor does it offer anything new when it comes to technique. But I liked it. I really, really liked it.

Seeing J.J. Abrams style and bag of tricks flares, mystery box and usual assortment of actors from his shows. Partly takes you out of it, but also I have to hand it to him he managed to make something that was both personal and bigger then him and his talents. He will be a influence for the times ahead. He already conquered television and now he has his hands on two beloved sci-fi franchises. He seems the heir apparent. Like everyone he has his weaknesses, but i have no problems and very few if any complaints at this time.

Though shows a restraint and acknowledges that this is bigger.

Not too subtle nazi iconography and references. When it comes to the first order (cough, cough empire) that reminds us of third reich.

The film also tries to show storm troopers in a new light and that they matter, but their armor doesn't still as one shot pretty much takes them down. So it's like faulty armor that might work against a blade attack, maybe punches in hand to hand combat? Except most use blasters and light sabers apparently

Great first part that for me could have been an ending to the series. Though is obvious set-up Would worry that starts off well and wonky know how to end or paints itself into a corner as Abrams is known to do. Though with so many other cooks who are not usually his collaborators. Have faith. Which is what the series is truly all about at heart.

Doing away with it's more scientific study and political in depth That as an older more esteemed person, George Lucas might have been interested in introducing his interest as well as since they were prequels him thinking that that might have been the building blocks of the eventual films. He wanted to give a story while also showing the strings or the boring day to day stuff. The audience likes the world doesn't necessarily want to see how it was built. Even breaking down the mystical force. As George Lucas seems more interested in the technical landscapes and just seems to through in the emotional and character stuff. The. Reducing it to a general nature that he thinks will ring true with the audience and that they will connect with it.

The diversity is a welcome change that seems natural and opens up the world to include all and many different characters. That also helps the film crossover even more than it did originally. Where it was a mostly Caucasian cast. Here most races can feel represented. Which helps with marketing and with a sense of pride and inspiration. I mean fans of the films come in all races. Now they can feel represented. As times change and allows a wrong to be righted.

It also allows the film to be relatable. As ever the events of the film. Aren't exactly the same as the real world but feel realistic enough, without having a direct opinion. Using politics we recognize, but the film not getting bogged down in it.

This film is filled with the spectacle that is missing from movies. This film feels like an event. It's like a roller coaster. It's entertaining and depending how you take it, can be pure entertainment or it can be something deeper for you. After all it does have universal themes. It feels like a day at the movies is supposed to. You got a show, some food and drink and afterwards have a buzz of adrenaline or are wiped out by the intensity.

Perfect popcorn movie entertainment that is entertaining while being emotional on screen and with the audience. Though doesn't have many stakes.

There is a lot of promise here.

Grade: A-


  1. Does Eric do the blog reviews? Also, UPLOAD SOME NEW VIDEOS!

  2. I agree, THE FORCE AWAKENS, is a good NEW beginning. Better than I had hoped. JJ did a great job, with a difficult task.
    Hey there. I have been watching (and now listening)Cinefiles videos
    and podcasts for a long time. Appreciate y'all a lot. BUT, I have been trying to open "this is infamous" site...but it is down. SO, I can't listen to podcast 32. I HOPE you guys are not calling a halt.
    Anyway, what is going on? And Itunes only has 20 (so it seems).
    take care guys............I miss Michael being in the mix.

    1. Yeah, I'm having the same problem. The site seems to go down every now and then. And yeah, the iTunes seems to be a constant issue because once again it hasn't updated since September.

      I want to hear Mike's take on The Battle of the Five Armies.

  3. Boy you really did drink the Kool-Aid, Jeff. I wanted so much to react like you did. But everything about the movie left me scratching my head. Except BB-8. I liked him. I will try again and see if I react differently. I wanted to at least feel like I did with the first new Star Trek movie: it had major problems, but I saw the potential and generally enjoyed chunks of it. Instead, I came out feeling like I did after Into Darkness. Part of that may have been all the fans whooping and cheering EVERY time anything familiar cropped up, which got annoying.

  4. Jeff,

    Glad you liked Force Awakens. It is one of the better Star Wars films, with a great cast.

    On another note, did the This Is Infamous site close?

  5. unfortunately Christopher the This Is Infamous Site got hacked.So they are in the process of cleaning it and putting it back up. It should be up soon with new podcasts