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Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Review

Essential

Appealing both to a new generation of viewers and fans of the series since the beginning, this 30-years-later sequel to 1983's Return of the Jedi is a thrilling adventure. Filmmaker J.J. Abrams has managed to capture the tone of the original trilogy while telling a story about young, vibrant new characters whose connection to the overall saga deepens intriguingly as events unfurl.

Over the past three decades, the Empire has regrouped, forming the First Order to crush the Old Republic for good. And the plucky Rebellion hasn't offered much resistance since leader Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) disappeared. The Empire's top henchman Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is searching for him just as diligently as the rebel leader General Leia (Carrie Fisher). But the real action is happening out of their grasp, as disaffected storm trooper Finn (John Boyega) teams up with rebel pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac) and then feisty scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) and expressive droid BB-8. Along the way, Han Solo and Chewbacca (Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew) find themselves back in the fray. And everyone is startled when there's a strong stirring in the force.

Abrams beautifully recreates the scruffy, clanky mechanical atmosphere of the original trilogy, infusing scenes with witty banter and John William's soaring score to throw us right back into that familiar galaxy. This includes the saga's main themes: the temptation of power, how true heroism is often accidental, and the tension between parents and children. Combine this with a plot that propels itself with a series of unexpected adventures and battles, all centred on the characters, and the film taps strongly into the teen in all of us.

Continue reading: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Review

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens TV Spot Trailer


After the victory of the Rebel Alliance over the Galactic Empire and subsequent demolition of The Death Star, you'd imaging life in a certain galaxy would be a little more subdued, but as we soon learn, life for Princess Leia, Luke and Hans wasn't exactly easy following their small yet essential victory.

30 years on and to most citizens - humanoid and alien - the stories of evil Lord Darth Vader and the Jedi Masters are just a legend, a story they tell their children that starts with the well-known overture: 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away'. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the seventh film in the Star Wars series and is an additional story to the original Star Wars outline.

The film follows a set of new characters as they join the battle and fight the evil forces once again threatening to destroy their galaxy. The Force Awakens was directed by Jj Abrams and sees a number of cast favourites return to the story including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.

Greg Grunberg - 2nd Annual Save A Child's Heart Gala at Sony Pictures Studios - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 16th November 2015

Greg Grunberg

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer


It's been thirty years since the Rebel Alliance; led by the noble Luke Skywalker, the intrepid Princess Leia and the lionhearted Han Solo; finally defeated Emperor Palpatine of the Galactic Empire, alongside his redeemed assistant Darth Vader. The second Death Star was reduced to rubble, and the galaxy was free from a tyrannous evil once more. If only that were true. For there can never be good without evil, and sure enough another Dark Lord, Supreme Leader Snoke, has arisen to take the Emperor's place, with even more brutal plans for the civilians across the stars. But this time there are also new heroes, better equipped to deal with the ever looming terror thanks to an example set by the now ageing former Han, Luke and Leia. They are now preparing to help a vindicated former stormtrooper named Finn, an independent scavenger called Rey, and Poe Dameron who is a Resistance X-Wing pilot. 

Continue: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

Jack Coleman, Zachary Levi, Jimmy Jean-louis , Greg Grunberg - 2015 Toronto International Film Festival - 'Heroes Reborn' - Premiere - Toronto, Canada - Tuesday 15th September 2015

Jack Coleman, Zachary Levi, Jimmy Jean-louis and Greg Grunberg
Zachary Levi and Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman and Jimmy Jean-louis
Jack Coleman and Jimmy Jean-louis
Jack Coleman, Zachary Levi, Jimmy Jean-louis and Greg Grunberg
Jack Coleman, Tim Kring, Greg Grunberg, Jimmy Jean-louis, Robbie Kay, Henry Zebrowski and Ryan Guzman

Adrian Pasdar Greg Grunberg - Celebrities attend The LA Launch Of LYCOS Life And The LYCOS Life Project at at the Banned From TV Jam Space in North Hollywood. at The Banned From TV Jam Space in North Hollywood - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 8th June 2015

Adrian Pasdar and Greg Grunberg
Adrian Pasdar and Greg Grunberg
Adrian Pasdar
Adrian Pasdar
Adrian Pasdar

Greg Grunberg - The Geekie Awards 2014 held at Avalon - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 17th August 2014

Greg Grunberg
Greg Grunberg

Greg Grunberg - Celebrities visit Chiltern Firehouse restaurant in Marylebone - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 22nd June 2014

Greg Grunberg
Greg Grunberg
Greg Grunberg and J.j. Abrams
Greg Grunberg
Greg Grunberg
Greg Grunberg and J.j. Abrams

Heroes: Season One Review


Excellent
I came to the Heroes ball late. I watched a bit of the first episode on original release, got distracted, and gave up. Not until the first full season was released on DVD did I catch up on what I'd missed: An excellent supernatural drama filled with interesting, unique characters, exciting stories, and fun plot twists.

Basically, Heroes is a comic book come to life, telling us of average people who suddenly find they have special, superhuman powers. A cheerleader, Claire (Hayden Panettiere), discovers she can heal any injury (it's a good thing, too, she'd be dead about 20 times over if she couldn't). A congressional candidate (Adrian Pasdar) can fly. A cop (Greg Grunberg) can read minds. And so on. The story that evolves over the 23 episodes of season one ultimately concern a serial killer, Sylar (Zachary Quinto), who is preying on superheroes and sucking out their powers for himself, and a nuclear bomb that is foretold by one hero to decimate New York City. Somehow the heroes are involved... but they might be able to stop it.

Continue reading: Heroes: Season One Review

Hollow Man Review


Good
Okay, Kevin Bacon! You're invisible and you can't go back to being visible -- what do you do!?

Well, you spy on some naked chicks, right? That's what I'd do! That's what every guy would do, right!

Continue reading: Hollow Man Review

Dinner And Driving Review


Good
Perennial supporting man Joey Slotnick gets the lead in a romantic comedy -- and not only that, he's got two hot women after him! Too bad this 1997 indie never saw the light of day, only now finding a home on DVD. And that's a shame, because Slotnick has a natural charm that earns him a spot as Woody Allen's neurotic, younger doppelganger.

Director Lawrence Trilling (who would go on to direct for tons of TV shows -- this is his only real film) has a good handle on what's funny and what keeps a movie going on. His plot revolves around an exotic beauty who comes into Slotnick's life on the eve of his engagement to pretty-but-safe Paula Devicq, but a parade of well formed supporting characters in various stages of commitment keep things hopping.

Continue reading: Dinner And Driving Review

Malibu's Most Wanted Review


Weak

There are exactly two funny performances in "Malibu's Most Wanted" -- a one-joke comedy about an over-privileged white-boy wannabe rapper -- and neither of them are by top-liner and co-writer Jamie Kennedy.

Expanding on a two-bit sketch character from his self-titled WB network variety show, Kennedy plays B-Rad G (nee Brad Gluckman), a pathetic poser "from the 'Bu," where "everybody's strapped with a nine" (nine-iron, that is) and "most of the time the police won't even come through" (because the town is pretty much crime-free).

Being from a straight-laced political family, Brad has become such an embarrassment to his father's gubernatorial campaign that daddy (Ryan O'Neal) hires two Juilliard theater graduates to play gangstaz, kidnap the brat and drop him in Compton to scare the imaginary "ghetto" out of him.

Continue reading: Malibu's Most Wanted Review

The Hollow Man Review


Bad

As a movie critic, nothing is more frustrating than watching a film like "Hollow Man," a film ripe with potential that succumbs completely to trite and tepid Hollywood convention.

A slick, initially disquieting but ultimately silly update of the invisible man scenario, re-envisioned for a CGI world, "Hollow Man" stars Kevin Bacon as a mad scientist for the new millennium -- an egoist with an aggressive sex drive, few ethics and a burgeoning God complex that stems from his groundbreaking successes in DNA manipulation.

Having already cracked the mystery of invisibility with experiments on dogs and apes, Bacon opens the picture in his top secret, super-hero-style underground lab as he and his team of researchers struggle with perfecting a formula designed to bring test subjects back from transparency.

Continue reading: The Hollow Man Review

The Ladykillers Review


Weak

The Coen Brothers flopped with last year's comedically clumsy and questionably hammy "Intolerable Cruelty," and now that they have repeated and amplified the same arched-performance mistakes in "The Ladykillers," I am beginning to understand what it is about Joel and Ethan's movies that their detractors dislike so much.

The characters in the Coens' recent comedies have frequently been oblivious to the world beyond their whimsical capers, and in these last two pictures even the protagonists have become objects for audience ridicule, making them poor surrogates for getting us involved in their stories.

Tom Hanks takes that bullet in this loose remake of a 1955 British laffer about a band of crooks inadvertently foiled by the little old landlady who rents them a room. All toothy, affected mannerisms and blabbering balderdash as the endlessly loquacious supposed mastermind of the criminal enterprise, his character is nothing but caricature -- an over-educated, old-fashioned, pocket-watch-and-hankie type Southern gentleman who goes by the tongue-tying moniker of Professor Goldthwait Higginson Dorr, Ph.D.

Continue reading: The Ladykillers Review

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Greg Grunberg Movies

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Movie Review

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Movie Review

Appealing both to a new generation of viewers and fans of the series since the...

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens TV Spot Trailer

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens TV Spot Trailer

After the victory of the Rebel Alliance over the Galactic Empire and subsequent demolition of...

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

It's been thirty years since the Rebel Alliance; led by the noble Luke Skywalker, the...

Advertisement
Hollow Man Movie Review

Hollow Man Movie Review

Okay, Kevin Bacon! You're invisible and you can't go back to being visible --...

Malibu's Most Wanted Movie Review

Malibu's Most Wanted Movie Review

There are exactly two funny performances in "Malibu's Most Wanted" -- a one-joke comedy about...

The Hollow Man Movie Review

The Hollow Man Movie Review

As a movie critic, nothing is more frustrating than watching a film like "Hollow Man,"...

The Ladykillers Movie Review

The Ladykillers Movie Review

The Coen Brothers flopped with last year's comedically clumsy and questionably hammy "Intolerable Cruelty," and...

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