Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Country: USA
Running Time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story shows that it’s possible to make a Star Wars film without the Jedi or the Skywalker family drama. Even so, Rogue One can’t get away from the original trilogy. I saw the movie with a friend of mine who deliberately avoided Rogue One spoilers, including its synopsis and trailers. Imagine her surprise when, instead of continuing adventures of Ray, Finn, and Poe, she got yet another Star Wars movie about the Death Star. Although I don’t share her disappointment, I can relate.

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Westworld (2016)

HBO Westworld TV show 2016Country: USA
Created by: Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy

Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins

Even with all the reboots and remakes nowadays, it’s rare to see one of them actually expand and improve upon the original. Sci-fi western series Westworld is one of those rare exceptions.

Westworld was created by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan who, together with his brother Christopher, made movies such as Inception and Memento. The cast of the show includes acting heavyweights such as Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins. Audience expectations were high and, for the most part, Westworld delivers.

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Ascension (2014)

Poster - Ascension

Country: USA
Created by:  Adrian Cruz, Philip Levens
Starring: Tricia Helfer, Gil Bellows, Brian Van Holt, Brandon P Bell, Jacqueline Byers, Lauren Lee Smith, Jessica Sipos

Ascension is a sci-fi show about a giant nuclear-powered spaceship built in the 1960s that’s been flying towards the new solar system for 50 years. How amazing is that?!

During the 1950s, US scientists on something called Project Orion. The idea was to build a spaceship that would use explosions of A-bombs to propel itself through space. Project Orion was an awesome insanity, something straight out of Fallout computer games. Naturally, the project was cancelled. Something about the ship’s nuclear fallout raining all over the planet. Stupid sensible people with their sensible precautions!

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Matinee Episode IV: A New Hope

star-wars-episode-iv-new-hope-posterOn January the first, 2016 I made one single New Year’s Resolution: to manage my time better. Then, throughout the year, I failed again and again. It is hardly surprising people make fun out of this tradition! But here’s the thing: we need to keep making these silly resolutions and plans even if we’re unsure we’ll be able to fulfill them. Even the best-laid plans fail. Life happens. What was the name of that song from the Beatles? “Tomorrow Never Knows”? Ain’t that the truth!

Politically and culturally, 2016 was a mess that will keep on rolling in 2017 as well. Personally, I am still dealing with a number of private problems that, well… Suffice to say I should start sorting them out. It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life. There are 365 chances not to mess up this year. 365 opportunities to take the phrase “Happy New Year!” and turn it from wishful thinking into reality through work, dedication and patience.

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The Company of Wolves (1984.)

Neil Jordan Sarah Patterson The Company of WolvesCountry: Great Britain
Running Time: 95 minuta
Directed by: Neil Jordan
Starring: Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Micha Bergese, Stephen Rea

Thanks to the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movie franchises, there’s been a resurgence of the fantasy genre in film over the past decade or so. Among them emerged a distinct subgenre telling darker, edgier versions of well-known fairy tales. Just this year we had Oz the Great and Powerful, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and Jack the Giant Killer. Last time these darker fantasy films were this popular was in mid-1980s and recently I saw one of them: Neil Jordan’s The Company of Wolves. Jordan has, throughout his career, made quite a few films dealing with strange and supernatural: beside this one, he also made Interview With a Vampire, Ondine, High Spirits and recently released Byzantium.

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