MOVIE PREVIEWS
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
Rated: PG-13
Release Date: 12/15/2017
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures

Cast:
Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and
Benicio del Toro.

Crew:
Director: Rian Johnson. Producers: Pippa Anderson.Ram Bergman, Candice Di Campos, Boris Dmitrovic, Kiri Hart, Leopold Hughes, Finni Johannsson, Nikos Karamigios and Kathleen Kennedy. Executive Producers: J.J. Abrams,Tom Karnowski and Jason D. McGatlin. Screenwriters: Rian Johnson and George Lucas (Based on characters by George Lucas). Cinematographer: Steve Yedlin.
Plot:
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

The wait is over. The highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has arrived and early tracking shows it will gross more than $200 million opening weekend.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” picks up where the J.J. Abrams directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” left off.

At the helm of “The Last Jedi” is director/screenwriter Rian Johnson, whose previous work includes the indie flicks “Brick” (2005), “The Brother’s Bloom” (2008) and “Looper” (2012).

Johnson’s earnestness and reverence for the Star Wars series is displayed throughout “The Last Jedi” which should delight fans of the storied franchise.

However, at 152 minutes long, it does overstay its welcome by a good 20 minutes or so.

Of course that won’t matter a bit to all the fanboys/girls. Nor will any review that remotely criticizes this beloved sci-fi adventure.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” covers a lot of ground. It features a few new characters—my favorites are Laura Dern (TV’s “Twin Peaks”) as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, a fearless officer in the Resistance and Benicio del Toro, plays a shyster named DJ.

The action gets underway fairly quickly as the Resistance fighters, Finn (John Boyega, “Detroit” and “Pacific Rim: Uprising”), Poe Dameron, (Oscar Isaac, “Suburbicon”), and Rey (Daisy Ridley, “Murder on the Orient Express”) battle the malevolent First Order’s evil Supreme Leader Snoke, (Andy Serkis, “War For The Planet of the Apes”), his masterful and power hungry servant, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver, “The Meyerowitz Stories” and TV’s “Bob’s Burgers”) and former head of the First Order’s Starkiller Base, General Hux, (Domhnall Gleeson, “Goodbye Christopher Robin” and “American Made”).

Rey is determined to find Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill, TV’s “Miles From Tomorrowland”) to have him not only train her in the ways of the Force, but so he can also join the Resistance’s fight.

Luke Skywalker—who looks pretty battle tested already--has actually been laying low on the planet Ahch-To and wishes the Jedi would just die off.

Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Dern) has a strategy in place, but the hotshot flyboy Poe insists on taking matters into his own hands much to the dismay of leading Resistance General Leia Organa, (Carrie Fisher in her last big screen role).

If all goes as planned, a secret mission involving Finn (Boyega) and a feisty maintenance worker named Rose (newcomer Kelly Marie Tran), will unveil a codebreaker that could cripple the First Order’s security system.

There are dazzling moments in “The Last Jedi,” the light-saber fight scenes are real standouts. However, the various tonal shifts disrupt the continuity of the film which becomes weighed down with often impressive, but longer than necessary CGI action sequences.

Still, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is a force to be reckoned with as it has enough humor and even weepy nostalgia involving Porgs, Yoda, Chewbacca, R2-D2, the Millennium Falcon and others that will keep diehard fans on board and spark interest among newcomers to the galaxy.

Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:40 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.

Check Out This Trailer For "STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.

OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

Halls Of Anger Title: Halls Of Anger
Year Released: 1970
Running Time: 96
Production Company: Mirisch Corporation
Director: Paul Bogart
Director of Photography: Burnett Guffey
Screenwriter: John Herman Shaner and Al Ramus
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: Editor's Note: While this "Old School Video Pick" of "Halls of Anger" has run before, I couldn't help but update a few things in it after recently watching it again along with a few other Calvin Lockhart movies, like "Melinda" and "Rain." Lockhart was an enormously talented actor who left us way too soon.

Audiences may best remember Calvin Lockhart, as the tall, dark and handsome actor who...
  MOVIE TRIVIA
 
What racially/controversial Broadway play did Calvin Lockhart star in with Angela Lansbury?
"HAIR"
"A TASTE OF HONEY"
"PIPPIN'"
"A RAISIN IN THE SUN"