How to watch the Star Wars movies: IV, V, II, III, VI

Great blog post from a full-on Star Wars geek about the best way to watch the Star Wars movies. Notice Episode I is ‘missing’. Here’s why: Red Letter Media’s 70-minute review of Episode I

Anyway, check out this blog post to see why this is the best and most entertaining way to watch the Star Wars saga, and read all the way to the end to read about a real test with someone who’d never watched the Star Wars movies before.

The movie filter

I’m on a roll here. Many blog updates in a row! Wow. Shame not many people read this anyway, but that’s alright…

Anyway I was talking to a friend at work about movies, and he mentioned that he’d recently seen Romeo Must Die. I said that never made my cut of movies to see, and then I had to explain how my movie filter works.

When I see a trailer for a movie, or even hear about a movie and who is in it, I will automatically place the title of that movie in a mental hierarchy, such as this:

1. See as soon as possible in the theater/cinema, preferably opening night – this covers good 3D movies like Avatar, action movies like Zombieland and Sherlock Holmes, epic movies like The Lord of the Rings, etc. Probably going on the DVD/Blu-Ray wish list as well.

2. See in the theater before it stops showing – this includes movies I’m sure I’ll like such as Coraline.

3. DVD wish list for future ownership, but not necessary to see on the big screen – movies like 40-Year Old Virgin, The Hangover, etc. Movies that aren’t ‘necessary’ to see on the big screen with full surround sound, and all the whiz-bang cinema stuff.

4. Borrow it from someone who will buy it. I don’t do this often (although I’m happy to lend out my copies…only one at a time so I know where everything goes!) but in the past this has included movies like Batman Begins, which turned into an eventual purchase.

5. Definite addition to the DVD rental list – this includes stuff like I am Legend, which I don’t think will be great but I want to see.

6. Look for it/record it on movie channel (HBO, Sky Movies, etc.) – at the moment I don’t have this ability anyway.

7. When the movie finally shows on cable, my ears will perk up and and I’ll look out for it, and record it if possible – reruns of Smokey and the Bandit and the like fall into this category. Of course this could be years down the line, possibly never, so something like Romeo Must Die and Don’t Mess with the Zohan will get shuffled into this category.

8. Perhaps controversially, the next-to-last level is to simply download the movie. Yes, I download stuff. I still  purchase plenty of movies (wanna see my Amazon wishlist?) and I rent loads as well (Lovefilm DVD rental FTW) but if I’m not sure about a movie and it’s been out a while I might download it and check it out. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a few films (like Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto) and have had my suspicions confirmed by others (such as Steven Segal’s A Dangerous Man). So here’s what I do: if I liked the movie, I’ll add it to the future purchase list and spread the word it’s a good movie; if I didn’t like it I don’t buy it and probably keep my mouth shut, and it’s like nothing happened. See, everyone’s happy in the end.

9. And at the bottom-most level of my movie-watching list is the Never category. Into this falls all the instant shite movies like pretty much all RomComs (ROMantic COMedies, if you’re not down with the Hollywood lingo), anything with Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Steven Segal, Nicolas Cage, John Travolta, Chuck Norris and a host of other deadbeats that should have given up their careers long ago.

So maybe that explains things. Maybe it doesn’t. But it’s a hell of a lot more info than I can squeeze into a Twitter comment!


Let me get this out of the way: go see this movie. It’s amazing.

Does it have an amazing story? Well…no, not really. It’s not ‘There Will Be Blood’ or ‘The Maltese Falcon’.

Does it have truly memorable characters? Again…no, I can’t say that it does. It’s no ‘The Big Lebowski’ or ‘No Country for Old Men’.

What it does have, though – in spades – is tremendous design and effects, which will certainly solidify it in the minds of film tech geeks and most sci-fi fans for all time. Think of the effects in Blade Runner (made in the early 80’s, remember) and The Lord of the Rings movies (the effects in Avatar were done by the same people that worked on the LoTR movies) and what they did for their time.

Unfortunately, the story and most of the characters were secondary to the filming technique and FX and that’s what will make or break Avatar in the minds of sci-fi geeks. Forgetting about the ‘zoom-enhance’ scene in Blade Runner, that movie had amazing design, FX, story and acting. The same can be said for The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved loved loved this movie, but as a total package, on its own, it doesn’t stand up to most other single-movie sci-fi franchises.

I’m hoping for a fantastic DVD set, but I’d rather have sequels (which James Cameron said he would do if the first movie was successful) that more fully explain some of the underlying backstory and maybe more details of the planet, etc.

Just saw Iron Man

I finally saw Iron Man, and wow, is it good.

I’m not a big Robert Downey Jr fan, but he was really really good in this. The computer graphics were way better and less obvious than in Indy 4, the story was good and all the supporting characters made sense (well, most of them) and I quite liked it. If I had to give it a negative for anything, it would be the final big fight could have been longer. But that’s such a minor gripe!

I’m not familiar with the comic story of Iron Man, other than that it’s a guy in a metal suit that can kick ass, but I was ready for a really good, well-done, quality comic book movie after so many nearly-there movies and just rank amateurish efforts. I didn’t realize that John Favreau (of Swingers fame) was the director until the credits rolled.

My rating for Iron Man: 9.5/10!

PS – if you’re familiar with the Marvel good-guy comics, stick around until the very very end of the credits (they are suprisingly long) for a tidy little cameo and foreshadowing.

The Hollywood writer’s strike

I gotta say…I’m with the writers on this one. I’m not always anti-corporate BS but this is one fight I’d have to side against the movie and TV companies.

Some of the writers from The Daily Show put together this pretty funny clip to explain their beef

Basically, the corporations are saying that the writers shouldn’t be paid for writing stuff for the web, when companies are suing Google and YouTube $1,000,000,000 (that’s a BILLION, folks, say it like Dr Evil) for copyright violations because YouTube had some clips of TV shows. Eh? Logic? There is none. Just money-grubbing.

Eastern Promises

Just saw this over the weekend, it was between this and Stardust, which according to is just slightly better in overall ratings (90% to 85). It’s quite well done, and straight from the beginning you know it’s going to be pretty hard-hitting. This is NOT a comedy or light-hearted comic romp. It’s a rough, dramatic look at the Russian mob in London. Overall I’d give it an 8.5 or so out of 10.

Coolest part: the toughest hand-to-hand combat I’ve seen in a long time, with two black leather jacket-wearing tough guys attacking a naked Viggo Mortenstern in a public bath. With curved skinning knives. It’s pretty brutal! But not excessively bloody. What a great scene. No music, just heavy breathing and grunts in a steamy tiled sauna.

Wow, that last line sounds gay!

No offense to my gay/bi friends 😉