Updated: 12/16/2016 3:55 PM | Print Story |  Email

12/16 Movie Trip

Paul McGuire Grimes of Paul’s Trip to the Movies reviews two great movies to see this holiday season, and Steve suggest a Christmas movie you can watch at home.  

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (theatrical release)

As a young little girl, Jyn Erso is separated from her parents when Imperial forces (the bad guys) led by Orson Krennic land on the little colony her family lives on. Orson has come for Jyn’s father, Galen, in order to use his skills for the dark side. Time passes and Jyn grows up living under an alias not to have her identity known as an Erso. The Rebellion (the good guys) has its ways and captures Jyn in an attempt to track down her father. Rumors are flying high that the Empire has created a massive weapon that can take out entire planets. If you’ve seen the original Star Wars film (A New Hope), you know that weapon as the Death Star. Galen may be the man behind those plans for the Death Star as he has since been living under the Empire’s reign. What Jyn comes to find out is that her father has secretly hidden plans that describe how one could destroy the Death Star before it wreaks too much havoc on the galaxy.

-Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, James Earl Jones

-Felicity Jones makes Jyn Erso an independent and strong character. She’s not afraid to stick to her guns and there’s a nice message about staying true to what you believe when no one else believes you. It can be an inspiring motivation for young kids who identify with her character.

-With this being a brand new story for moviegoers, there are a ton of new characters, planets, and creatures that come into play. It takes the first 20 to 30 minutes to readjust and figure out what’s going on.

-Even if you’ve never seen a Star Wars movie, Rogue One works as its own story, but is strengthened with the very fluid connection set in place leading up to A New Hope. It’s probably easiest to think this movie as “Episode 3.5”

-It’s fairly grim compared to the flashy and colorful world that came with The Force Awakens. It may be a little too dark for younger Star Wars fans.

-There may be a lot of action, but it never loses sight of the father/daughter relationship at the heart of the story between Galen and Jyn. It makes for an emotional journey as you really get connected to many of the characters that come into play.

-It left me wanting more as I grew to really like these characters and Jyn’s journey throughout the movie.

Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Lucas Film has another dynamite film to add to the Star Wars legacy.

LA LA LAND (theatrical release)

Emma Stone plays Mia, an aspiring actress and professional barista hoping for her big break. She’s having the typical bad day where coffee is spilled on her; she’s late for an audition, and stuck in traffic. She has an encounter with Sebastian on the freeway during the opening musical number but doesn’t realize quite yet that she will run into him later on. He is a jazz pianist looking to play in fancier gigs but is stuck playing Christmas carols at a local restaurant. Mia happens to run into him playing there on her awful day. Before she has a chance to introduce herself, he bolts out of there after getting fired. The seasons change and more time passes before Mia runs into him again at a pool party playing keyboard for an ‘80s cover band. They finally strike up conversation and begin dating. The rest of La La Land follows a year in the life of these two artists who struggle to find that balance of keeping their relationship healthy while trying to keep their careers afloat.

-Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Legend, J.K. Simmons, Rosemarie DeWitt. Written and directed by Damien Chazelle who made Whiplash two years ago.

-La La Land will be that movie that sweeps you away from your troubles as you fall in love all over again with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The chemistry is infectious and they make their relationship on screen look so effortless. You will no doubt fall in love with them all over again.

-Despite it taking place in modern day, you feel transported back to the days of the old MGM musicals with Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

-Whimsical and dreamlike in every way. The whole beginning of the film looks like it’s set in a watercolor painting. It then progresses into sweeping strokes of blues, purples, and oranges that accompany the glow of the moonlight and the picturesque world around them.

-Music is a key factor at telling this story to fit the mood and atmosphere of Mia and Sebastian’s relationship. It ranges from simple piano and string compositions that float along to edgy jazz riffs.

-It can be taken at face value as a romantic musical with the “la la land” signifying the silly headspace we get in when we meet someone and fall in love. Chazelle takes it to another level beyond that as a metaphor for what it’s like to be a struggling artist in a big city like Los Angeles.

-Winner of 8 Critics Choice Awards and 7 Golden Globe nominations. I can easily see it winning Best Picture at the Oscars along with wins for Emma Stone and a variety of technical awards.

Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? A pure delight that will make you smile from ear to ear