photo saturday: waving

manly shorebetween the waves

big manly boardmanly views
This week involved:
  • a haircut
  • a lot of Assassin's Creed Origins
  • three games of Dungeons and Dragons
  • a trip to the chiro.
Monday was Haircut Day... not much new or exciting to report there... although my hair did end up a little less purple/silvery than it has in the past, which was nice. Also, weirdly, because there was construction on the freeway, I ended up driving for what felt like quite a while at 25kph, which is very odd, considering the actual speed is 100kph.

I also reached that point in every Assassin's Creed game where I stop following the story and wander around the map, unlocking everything I haven't already and finding all the other stuff. In Origins this is much more of a task than it's been since the "collect all these feathers" days of Ezio. And, to be honest, much more interesting. I've also hit the level cap of 40... but that's going to be increased to 45 some time this month when the new DLC comes out.

Have I mentioned before that everybody in our regular Thursday DnD group gets a little bit insane when the the weather gets stupidly hot? I'm not sure if it's because the place we play has questionable air conditioning at best, or everybody was nuts when they arrive, but, yeah.

Also one of them wouldn't shut up about a non-existent dragon during an adventure featuring various kinds of giants... and I'm running for them all next week. Guess who found an adventure with an actual dragon in it? Guess who's also not telling them that there's a dragon in the adventure until we sit down at the table? Guess who's getting hit with it first? Yup... not that I want to kill anyone in that party, but if you ask for something long enough and it will appear.

Otherwise on Monday a different group finished the third part of a trilogy we've been trying to complete since the end of November, and I ran an adventure on Wednesday for some of my favourite people (and some people I'd never met before).

I was actually tempted to go in on Friday and play (since there's now games available every day of the week, but I still think three is about my limit for now), but I was a little bit... cranky after Thursday, so I didn't bother. Instead I just went in for my chiro appointment and then wandered around briefly before coming home.

Today was, kind of brief, to be honest. Or felt that way anyway.

There was the usual shopping, and I realised I probably forgot some stuff, but it wasn't anything urgent. Then we just headed into the city for a bit. Ma watched a Lego documentary on TV the other week and for some reason that (as opposed to me being obsessed for the last several years) has triggered off a desire for her to get her hands on some Lego. She'd already bought a couple of small sets, and I gave her the Beach House, which I had to disassemble to make room for Emmett's Construct-o-Mech.

But she wanted to have a look at what was available in town, so we ended up in both Toyworld and Myer and she decided on getting the London skyline which matches the Sydney one I have.

We also poked around a couple of other places and then went to the new and improved Burger Theory for lunch.

And I do mean new and improved... they've totally redecorated and the place feels very bright with a touch of the 70's, and they've stripped the menu back to just four items, three of which are now made with 80% kangaroo meat and 20% beef and the bun is now one made with potato flour so the whole thing is more sustainable. And it tastes amazing.

I also really like that since they were renaming things, they renamed the former No 1 burger to Truckburger... because that's where it all started, even if they don't have the truck any more.

It was also slightly unusual because both Dan and Rob were in the store, so I got to chat with them both and tell them how much I liked the new burger, which was nice.

And that was about it really... well except for the fact that Ma forgot her shopping when she left my place and I didn't notice it was sitting in the middle of the living room floor for some reason until she was about five minutes from home. Oops.

Current Mood:

movies: coco

coco - the celebration of a lifetime
Disney Pixar's latest, Coco, is beautiful... and reduced me to tears.

This isn't necessarily something new for a Pixar movie, I quietly fell apart at the end of The Good Dinosaur and Toy Story 3, and they usually get to me even on the less emotive titles. But this one got to Ma in a big bad way as well, which is more unusual.

I also appreciate that between this movie and Moana, Disney has shown a level of cultural sensitivity that, while still not perfect (although I'm not an expert on either Mexican or Polynesian culture), definitely feels like an improvement on past efforts.

At its heart it's the story of one family and its relationship to both music and each other, and while some of the story structure feels like things I've seen a number of times before (the proverbial ticking clock, the chance encounter, etc), everything is handled here with the usual Pixar deftness.

It is definitely a slow movie though. Even at it's most frantic, it's still probably the slowest of all the Pixar movies, which isn't a bad thing, and suits the ton of the movie. But I feel like it may be better for a slightly older audience (child-wise). It's also one of the only Pixar movies I can think of with the on-screen death of not just one, but two characters. There's definitely some darkness here.

But, as always, the visuals are stunning... from the bone textures on the skeleton characters to the vibrant colours of the world of the dead and the warm tones of the human world, the whole thing is a feast for the eyes.

It's also partly a musical... I mean it has songs in it, but they're diegetic songs, songs that can be heard by the characters in the movie. So, not a musical as we might think about a Disney musical. But here they also got everything, if you'll excuse the pun, pitch perfect. I'm not surprised that the team responsible for Frozen also wrote the big number in this one.

At the end of the day though, it really doesn't matter what I have to say about Coco, it's just a movie you should go and see.

yani's rating: alebrije out of 5

photo saturday: statuary tones

wearyboy and his lion

la trobeking george
Let's sum up what happened this week, shall we...

Not a lot... played quite a bit of Assassins Creed Origins, played a couple of games of DnD (although I should have run a game on Wednesday, as the DM we had was woeful), took down my meagre Christmas decorations, put away my Christmas presents where appropriate... and that's pretty much it.

Oh, and I also mistakenly thought that Friday was Haircut Day and was a couple of minutes down the road before Tink called me and told me that no, it was actually Monday. At least I'm in the habit of texting her to tell her I'm on my way, it would have been a long way to go for nothing. Well, technically not that long... but it's a drive I only want to make when I have to.

As for today... today was hot... so we spent as much of it as humanly possibly inside airconditioning.

The shopping was... shoppingy. I did clean my fridge out when we got back and dumped some stuff that was on the turn, so it feels much neater now.

Then we headed off to Marion, mostly to go to the movies, but also for a general wander around.

To be honest, nothing of excitement happened, but we went to the movies, which was good.

Afterwards we wandered around a little more, and had some lunch, then got back into a very hot car (since we couldn't find an undercover parking spot and came back here before Ma tootled off home.

So, yeah... a simply thrilling start to 2017.

Current Mood:

2018

happy new year 2018
Hello 2018... how you doing?

Normally I theme the New Years image with whatever the "international year" of the year is (well, 2016 was a little hard)... but "contrary to common practice, the United Nations has not declared 2018 as International Year for any specific topic".

So instead, have this image of Cameron Boyce, beautiful freckled human.

My New Years was average as these things go... and I'll be honest, both yesterday and today just feel like any other day, which has happened a lot across the festive period this year.

I tidied the house a little in the morning, left my Iced Coffee in the freezer a little bit too long (the slush to liquid ratio was sub-optimal), did a little blogging, grabbed some lunch and then settled in to play a couple of hours of Assassin's Creed Origins.

I will just say that even more than some of the other AC games, it's very easy to get totally lost in that world...

But I resurfaced around 7pm, made some dinner (if by dinner you mean cooked a plate of dumplings, then, yes, dinner) and settled in for my usual NYE moviefest.

This year my choices were Cars 3 and Logan... definitely an odd pairing, but I was impressed with Logan. I finished up just before midnight, waited for the clock to tick over, listened to the fireworks for about five seconds, saw the top inch and a half through the trees and then headed to bed (lamenting the fact that You Can't Stop The Music was on yet again, but there was no way I was staying up to watch it).

So, yeah, the thrills never stop around this place.

Happy New Year!

Current Mood:

two thousand and seventeen in review

two thousand and seventeen in review
Here we are, at the end of 2017... it just feels weird, you know... more than any other recent year, 2017 seems to have flown by at tremendous speed... I mean there are perfectly good reasons for that, not least of which is that it's been a singularly weird year.

By all metrics 2017 should be worse than 2016, but I honestly don't feel like it has been for me.

Like last year I wanted to go through and put together a brief history of my year, along with a list of some of my favourite things from this year.

So, let's fire up the WABAC Machine and take a look, shall we...

January: Ma's shoulder was still messed up after her fall. I replied to a 22 year old letter from myself.

February: Good Game came to an end after 10 years. On reflection, it's still a dumb decision. My job at The Nut House finally got advertised. The modem I've had for several years passed away quietly in the night. Fringe started.

March: Fringe continued, culminating in 22 Fringe shows and 2 Festival shows. I turned 43. We found out that Ma's shoulder operation from last year was a flop and would require another try. I had an interview for the job.

April: I didn't get the job. I left work a week later.

May: I started growing a beard, at first through laziness, but then on purpose. I got new glasses, which look exactly the same as the old glasses. I checked out the Wonderwalls artwork at Port Adelaide. I posed nude for a group of artists. Ma had her second shoulder operation.

June: Ma's 70th birthday. We went to 3 Cabaret Festival shows. I threw my back out slightly, again.

July: I went to play Dungeons and Dragons for the first time. Ma started driving again.

August: I had iPhone drama. I went to see the folks from My Dad Wrote a Porno live.

September: Ma drove to my place for the first time in ten months. We saw yet another version of Macbeth. I played DnD at a convention, my character died. The modem I replaced in February died.

October: Nothing much of interest happened, although we did go to more theatre.

November: I DM'd my first game of DnD. We went to Fork on the Road for the first time since July last year.

December: The usual Christmas insanity happened... putting up the tree, making goodies, having Christmas at Ma's place. I played DnD at one of the DM's houses, as well as a charity game.

See, it should have been a shit year, I lost my job and spent over half the year unemployed. But Ma is definitely on the mend, and DnD became something major in my life (more on that in a sec).

Like last year, I didn't get laid a lot (am I surprised, no, not really), but unlike last year there were relatively few "major" health things that sprang up, beyond the occasional issue with my back and the recurring ear problems.

I also wore my glasses a whole lot less this year, not because my eyes got any better, in fact my prescription got stronger, but it now means I can't view things close up while wearing them as well (as opposed to far away, which is what they're for), and most everything I do is close up stuff.

I also feel like I didn't gain much weight this year, due in part to being out of the house three times a week, and not eating quite as much generally.

I've also been generally a lot calmer, part of which I attribute to the lack of work stresses.

Moving on to things I really liked this year...

yani's favourite things 2017

In no particular order...

Dungeons and Dragons

It should be pretty fucking obvious given the number of times I've mentioned it in the above rundown, but DnD became pretty important to me this year. It's something I've wanted to do since at least 2003. But I never had anyone to do it with.

That all changed when I discovered Adventurer's League, I've now played 68 games and DM'd 14 more. It also makes me leave the house three times a week and talk to actual real live people face to face and everything.

Acquisitions Incorporated: The C Team

Closely linked to the previous thing, The C Team is an offshoot of the long-running Acquisitions Incorporated DnD podcast/live show which premiered two days after my birthday (or 16 March) and has become a weekly ritual.

AI has always been yet another reason why DnD seemed like an amazing thing to do, but the main game episodes were always few and far between. Being a weekly show though, C Team really stoked that fire in a big bad way.

It also contains some of the best roleplaying I've seen, and has attracted some of the most amazing fan artists. Hell, I even broke an incredibly long creative writing drought to write some NSFW fan fiction.

One of the characters on the show is a grandmotherly monk, Rosie Beestinger, who canonically has a lot of biological and adopted children, and her player, Kate Welch gave the community free reign to come up with their own Beestinger children/grandchildren/etc.

The combination of this and me not working and finding a local AL group really got me through the door to play DnD.

To quote myself from the last C Team AMA on Reddit:
And a very big and specific thank you to Kate... Rosie's great grandson, Belben Beestinger (of the Silverymoon Beestingers, the ones with the bakery), is now a L8 Arcane Trickster Rogue with entirely too many magic items. I've met more people I now consider friends in the last six months than I had in the last ten years, and it was your generosity in allowing us to play Beestingers that finally got me so excited about playing that I got off my butt, out the door and into a game. I've also DM'd a bunch of games and love doing it. AI and the C Team got me almost all the way there, but playing a Beestinger was that last push I needed. Stay awesome.
Firewatch

Firewatch was an indy game I'd had my eye on for a while, although I don't remember when or where I first saw it... it may have popped up in either YouTube "Let's Play" videos or a list of the top games of 2016, but I didn't get around to playing it until 2017.

It's amazing. And I love it. It also has one of the most interesting ways into a game I think I've ever come across.

I'm also very excited about the game they announced recently, In The Valley Of Gods, although that won't be out until 2019.

Uncharted 4

I never got around to writing anything up for it, but I also played Uncharted 4 this year. In many ways it feels like a game that nestles neatly into the Assassin's Creed universe, even though it's from a completely different developer.

And yes, there were probably a ton of references that I missed given that this is the first Uncharted game I've ever played, but none of it got in the way of me really enjoying myself or the absolutely stunning visuals.

Movies

We're still not up to the "every other week" model of movies, but I did see 14 movies actually at the cinema this year (as opposed to last year's 10). Still not enough for it's own post anymore I don't think, but there were definitely some standouts.

In no particular order, Hidden Figures, Moana and Thor: Ragnarok (although if you wanted to push me, I'd probably rank them in that order).

They're all very different, but what they have in common is a great story and memorable characters.

So that's that... 2017, done, dusted and in the bag.

All I really want for 2018 is "good changes"... I have no idea what that looks like on the ground, but I just want things in general to be better this time next year.

And as always, tonight just before 5:30pm marks my Twitter anniversary, this one being my 8th.

Current Mood:

photo saturday: pre-new-years colours

ferris wheelcoloured flags

beach sailscoloured boxes
Well, that's going to wrap up the last week of the year in a fairly unexciting way...

Also, how the hell did we get here so quickly... it seems like only yesterday we were saying hello to 2017. And now it's gone.

But that's not what this post is about... that's for it's own post tomorrow. Which I still have to write.

The week between Christmas and New Year felt even less like an actual week this year for some reason. Partly because Christmas Day was on a Monday, but then nothing really happened on Tuesday (I think I put the Lego Dimensions packs together) and I decided to stay home from DnD on Wednesday (for the first time since I started... it was too damn hot and I just couldn't be bothered) and play video games.

That essentially turned into me attempting to get things to actually download for Lego Dimensions, which needed not only a huge update itself, but also individual updates to a bunch of the previous downloads for various worlds. All in all a giant headfuck, and it took up a large section of the day. And on top of that, I played through The Goonies levels only to have the game crash right at the end, so that's less fun. I retried it, it crashed in the same place, so I let it be for now. If it happens again, I'll send some sort of message to somebody in an official capacity and see what happens.

I did go to DnD on Thursday night though, even though half of the usual Thursday crew weren't there, and I didn't even get to play with or run for the ones that were. But I still had a decent time running for other people, well, three fifths of the people anyway.

Then Friday I did my walk, came home, got the house in order, did the dishes and settled in to start Assassin's Creed Origins. Guess what I did for the entire afternoon... and evening.

First impressions, combat system isn't anywhere near as good as Syndicate, although I do like that the long/reach weapons from Unity have returned, since those were very much my jam in that game. It doesn't properly feel like an AC game yet though. Well, a bit, but not fully because he's not actually an assassin yet.

And I had been playing the game for at least five or six hours before I even saw the title screen... I know the previous games have definitely stretched that stuff out, but this is a little on the ridiculous side.

But that's also a discussion for another day.

Today was the first Saturday in a while that actually felt like a usual Saturday... which Ma and I actually doing the shopping thing together and without any other foolishness going on.

And because both of us still have a fridge full of food (well more me, because my fridge is tiny and overstuffed), there wasn't a whole ton of shopping... I mean it didn't feel like it, but it kinda felt that way when everything was packed up... but I think we just bought a few larger items.

Then it was back here for the ritual unpacking.

After that we headed out to see if anything in the shops fell within the Venn diagram of "things we like", "things we didn't have" and "things that are on sale at the right price". To that end we went to both Big W and Target and indeed, found things within that intersection. Nothing stunningly exciting to be honest, and mostly DVDs.

Then we took a big of a detour around to North Adelaide to go to the Perryman's Bakery. Because I haven't been in quite a long time and why not.

To be honest all it really did was make me miss North Adelaide yet again. But we did get stuff at the bakery, so it was worth the trip.

And that's a wrap on this year, essentially.

Current Mood:

post christmas round-up 2017

christmas tree with presents 2017
What is it that I usually say at this point? "Well, that's it over for another year"? Or some variation.

Well, consider it said.

After my traditional Christmas Eve pizza and the annual viewing of Arthur Christmas last night, I was in bed relatively early all things considered, which may explain why the hell I woke up at about quarter to six in the morning.

Fortunately it was early enough to send a message to Owlgirl before her flight left... because they decided that leaving on Christmas morning was the best idea. I mean, maybe it is, who knows.

Anyway, I played around on my phone for a bit, got a message back, and finally started getting ready a little after 7am.

I packed up the car (a relatively simple affair this time around) and headed off to Ma's place around 7:30.

When I got there she was deep into making ham hearts, as she'd not been feeling the best the couple of days previous. Which was fine... it's not like we had anything specific to actually do during the morning (beyond, you know, the Christmas experience). So we made a bunch of them (okay, Ma made them, I mostly got the table ready for breakfast and moved the ham hearts in and out of the oven).

And then Ma went and got ready while I made the ham and cheese croissants for breakfast. And got my very icy Iced Coffee out of the freezer. Have I mentioned that I'm kind of obsessed with chilling Iced Coffee to the point it starts to get little frozen bits in it? It's so damn good.

Anyway... we had breakfast, and because La Cousina was coming to us after lunch for a change we didn't have to rush out the door to their place, which was very pleasant. It also gave us time to just chill out, and it also meant that we had the barbeque ready to go earlier than we have done on previous years, which meant we weren't sitting down to eat at like 2pm.

So that meant it was time for presents...

my christmas presents 2017
As always, the problem with essentially picking out all of your own presents is that you've picked out all of your own presents and are therefore not usually surprised by anything. The good thing about picking out your own presents is that you get exactly what you want and don't have to pretend to like crappy stuff (like when I open whatever piece of random crap La Cousina has bought me... which sounds harsh, but c'mon).

Some of this is stuff I would have bought for myself in other years... and wouldn't necessarily have ended up as Christmas presents... but it's all good.
  • Xanathar's Guide to Everything book
  • Letters for Lucardo graphic novel
  • Perryman's gingerbread men
  • Lego Dimensions
    • Goonies Level Pack
    • Teen Titans Go Team Pack
    • Teen Titans Go Fun Pack
    • Powerpuff Girls Team Pack
    • Powerpuff Girls Fun Pack
  • Assassin's Creed Origins PS4 game
  • DVDs
  • Typo Disney 2018 calendar
  • Hallmark Keepsake "Tink Takes A Look" ornament
  • The Gourmet Entertainer - Fennel Marsala Jam and Lemon Myrtle Sticky Vinegar
Ma quite liked her calendar... but then she always does.

To be honest, the unwrapping of presents didn't take terribly long (does it really ever?), and I thumbed through the Xanathar book when we done, while Ma showed me some of the other stuff she'd been given. Then we got the turkey and sausage meat into the barbeque and prepped everything else for lunch.

With one thing and another it really didn't take very long, and I quite literally threw together a salad dressing from some English mustard, cranberry sauce, olive oil and two different kinds of balsamic vinegar. And it was fantastic.

christmas table with salad 2017christmas dessert 2017
Once everything was prepped, it was a relatively easy task to dump everything into the salad bowl and slather over the salad dressing.

Also, the thing I really like about the turkey we've been getting for the past few years is that it's beautifully moist. That's usually the problem with turkey, it dries out really quickly, but this is fantastic. We also had two different kinds of sausage meat this year... the regular kind and also pork sausage meat (to be honest I'm not sure what the difference actually is, apart from the colour, but I'm guessing the pork one is all pork, whereas the regular one has different kinds of meat in it).

I'll also say that this best thing about having a warm Christmas salad is that it's nice and light and even if you eat a couple of (admittedly small) bowls, you don't feel overstuffed in the same way that traditional Christmas dinner usually makes you feel.

Having said that, we didn't have any dessert (which was awesome, see the above photo) until after 4:30pm.

I feel like I've complained about this before, but is there a reason that the TV stations don't just show back-to-back Christmas movies all day Christmas Day? I mean even if you've played them already in the lead up to Christmas, just devote at least one channel to showing decent Christmas movies. And, yeah, people probably aren't supposed to be watching TV, but it'd be nice as something just playing in the background. Having said that, SBS did play both Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away in the afternoon, although neither of them are actually Christmas movies.

We waited around until La Cousina and Princess T (and offspring Princess P) turned up just before 3pm. Little Miss P has entered the grabby stage and within about a minute of them turning up, she'd grabbed and smashed one of the glass baubles from the tree. So that's a thing that happened. Fortunately she didn't get hurt because it was more of a grab and toss, but it really happened faster than anybody was able to react to.

Have I mentioned I prefer children when they're in the very small, chubby, cuddly non-autonomous stage?

I did end up running interference between her and all the non-toddler-safe things in Ma's house for most of the visit. Which was fine, it meant that I could avoid having to comment on the lackluster gifts I got. I really need to come up with a nice way of saying "you know what, either just throw cash at me or just don't even bother with a present anymore". And I know that sounds ungrateful, but neither of the things she got me are things that I have any actual use for, so wouldn't it be better to just not.

Also, that feeling when you refer to your cousin, who is only three months older than you as "grandma" in an actual, "you have a grandchild" way, and you just feel very old.

We also had a conversation about Miss Oh, because there's drama there, which is the least expected thing ever. Princess T, drama, yes. But not Miss Oh... whether it's because she never seemed to actually speak up for herself and she's just bottled a bunch of stuff up, but, yeah, family drama.

Eventually we packed them off with their presents and settled in to watch Spirited Away... or at least I did until we reached that point where the wheels fall off the plot and I'm not really all that interested any more (and for the record, it's right after the No Face frogmonster sequence).

But once it was done we packed up some of the leftovers and I drove myself back home around 8pm. And after unpacking the car, then cramming all the leftovers into my already full fridge, I settled down and just dicked around on the laptop for a while, half watching Flash Gordon.

Well, that's it over for another year... oh, wait, that's where we came in isn't it.

Hope you all had a great Christmas as we all slide together towards the abyss that is New Years...

Current Mood:

ma's presents 2017

We've reached that point... the space between the last time Ma will be here and Christmas Day... also known as the ritual of the present wrapping. And by wrapping, I mean folding things into tissue paper and slapping the same ribbon I've been using since 2010 on it. What, it's environmentally conscious... or something.

I can always tell from either Ma's birthday or Christmas present photos what my employment situation was at the time... and it's clearly this isn't exactly a banner year. I will say that it's not like there were things I would have bought and couldn't... but I also didn't do a lot of looking, which I would have done previously. This is also the first year since 2007 where I didn't get her a pack of nougat. But I 100% forgot until this morning, and nowhere at the Village seems to carry it.

Chalk up another victim to my general vagueness about Christmas this year.

Anyway... it's a short list...
  • Harajuku Lovers Lil Angel perfume
  • Harajuku Lovers Love perfume
  • DVDs
  • Wonderwalls 2018 calendar (and iPhone wallpapers)
So... yeah...

Current Mood:

movies: star wars: the last jedi

star wars: the last jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi... Episode 8...

The short version of the review... Did I enjoy it? Hell yes. There is also a 'but' in there.

The longer version is going to involve spoilers... because there's absolutely no way I can talk about the points that I thought were important without them. I know I usually try and avoid them as much as possible, and I may try and do what I can, but you have been warned.

Let's start with the less spoilery things first up... the movie, for the most part, looks beautiful. Once again I have to compliment the art direction and wardrobe departments, as well as all the CG that did look good. But special note goes to the design of Snoke's "throne room", which absolutely put me in mind of a 1950's musical (American in Paris is the one that sprung to mind), with the blood red backdrop.

However there were some inexcusable instances of incredibly shitty CGI that bugged the hell out of me. I think most of them take place on the island with Luke and Rey, around the mountain peak... not sure what was going on there. And yes, I could have done without some of the CG inhabitants of the island.

Also, for the record, I have no opinions about Porgs. I don't know what I was expecting, but they were just... there. They do look delicious though.

The story felt... less derivative this time. Not to say that it didn't steal massive story moments from the original trilogy (the escape from a base at the start, the look of the base at the end, going to a remote location to train with a Jedi Master, the "Dark Side" cave), there is also direct lifts of dialogue on a least a couple of occasions, but my opinion here is much the same as my opinion of The Force Awakens... they remixed and rearranged things enough that although there were "copy/paste" sections of Empire and Jedi in this movie, that doesn't bug me.

What does bug me is that Po Dameron is an asshole and Finn is a moron.

Yes, I know, I can hear the nerd brigade warming up their laser pitchforks as I say that. But Po (and Finn (accomplish nothing in this movie other than getting people killed. What the hell else of worth do they actually do? I'll even give you the opening battle sequence, which is amazing and kick-ass, but Po's arrogance that if he's not in on the plan then there is no plan... or that he knows better than the people in charge and Finn's stupidity in not going and finding the person they were supposed to find and instead picking up the first random guy they run into do nothing productive in this movie. Their entire storyline is pointless, they contribute nothing to the overall story or final battle other than getting good people killed.

I never understood why people got their panties in a bunch over Dameron/Isaacs in the first movie anyway, but by the end of this one he needs to be court-marshalled and stripped of his rank. Likewise, Finn needs a slap.

Take them and newcomer  as Rose Tico out and then tell me how the end of the movie is any different. No, more specifically, tell me that the story doesn't end in a better place without the three of them and their collection of fuck-ups.

Do you want to know who are total and complete bosses in this movie?  and .

I did wonder if they beefed up Dern's role to take over some of the scenes that Carrie should have been in but couldn't be because of her death (obviously). But I hope not and that she was written exactly as she ended up, because her character, Vice Admiral Holdo is amazing. From the wardrobe to the purple hair to everything that Dern does in that role... she's amazing. It's not a massive role, but Dern really puts some gravity behind it.

I was also incredibly surprised that they didn't kill Princess/General Leia Organa on screen. In fact, they managed to have their cake and eat it too... and the scene where you assume she's dead and how she comes back is without a doubt a fistpump moment. But now they need to find a way to either kill her off offscreen, or mostly leave her off-screen for the final movie. I think I heard something where they said they were going to use unused footage from this movie, but that feels kind of like cheating. Yes, you would have lost a great moment at the end of the movie, but somehow it didn't feel right that that door is still open.

We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

As with the first movie (and by which I mean VII), this one comes down to Daisy Ridley as Rey and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren... and to a lesser degree to  as Luke.

Once again Ridley and Driver were the whole movie for me. And the fact that the characters are both equal parts of the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force is a brilliant choice. Not to mention the connection they share and the way it's used in the movie... fantastic.

The pair of them also act the living crap out of their scenes together. Ridley remains tough and confused, Driver is volatile but still provokes empathy. And not just because I think Driver is a beautiful man (and that was even before they had him take his shirt off for seemingly no real reason).

I also love that they responded to the last two years worth of "who are Rey's parents?" with the only logical and sensible answer... of course she's not a Solo, of course she's not a Skywalker, of course she's not a Kenobi.

Ridley is also amazing in her scenes with Hamill. The scenes themselves are an odd mix... definitely a call-back to Luke on Dagobah with Yoda, but they're enough of their own thing as well (to be honest Rey's whole arc in this movie is a combination of Luke's arcs from Empire and Return of the Jedi). 

I also really loved that Hamill was none of the things we expected him to be after the end of the last movie... he's crotchety and sullen and unhelpful, but it all makes sense for the character, and he managed to pull it off incredibly well.

Even with all that nitpicking, I did thoroughly enjoy the movie though. And I'd even go so far as to say that it was better than the last one.

yani's rating: 4 broken lightsabres out of 5

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