Blindspot 2017: Seven (1995)

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Plot: Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.

Rating: 8.5/10

Set in a dark and dreary city, homicide detectives Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt must investigate what is turning into a serial killer’s mad spree through town, emulating the 7 deadly sins in the most horrific of ways. Detective Freeman is retiring and after years of witnessing the horrors a decaying city can provide, he’s not too keen about taking up another job. But he somehow can’t pull away – he’s forced to worked with the new young detective and solve this last crime.

I enjoyed how dark and dreary the city was. The constant torrential downpour makes England look like a sunny palace. It’s so heavy, and combined with the decay of the city a sense of hopelessness lies in the air.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s character is a sharp contrast to the city. She’s everything the city isn’t – fresh and sweet and kind. I really liked her, how she balanced her husband out and wasn’t everywhere in the story and somehow remained so important in it.

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A thing that stands out sharply is the difference between the two detectives. Both are good men but so much difference in character. The younger detective is impulsive, perhaps because of his age. He’s by no means unintelligent but is far less cerebral than his older counterpart, who is often reflective and studies the crime and reasoning behind it well. The dynamic between the detectives shift – initially Freeman is cold shouldering his colleague (I think mostly due to impending retirement) but he begins to warm to Pitt with the case developing.

What is it about Kevin Spacey that he is so well capable to play such derange characters? It is creepy. He is creepy. So calm with an underlying menace. Madness coated in quiet demeanor. That flat of his. His belief in his work. A subtle creep. Sheesh.

How intense was the ending?! Edge of your seat business. John Doe concocted everything to make his plan infallible. I was horrified and entertained, because sheesh, what a nail biter.

Serial killers always have this dark glamour about them. It is wrong, but I have been interested in their mind games for years now – how they justify, what motivates them and how carefully they pick their victims. Seven is a film that follows one such killer in his demented ways in the best method I’ve ever seen. The film is backed by solid performances, directing, score and story to bring a thriller that will remain with you well after the end.

If you are looking for a film that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy, Seven is definitely NOT for you. It is scary and gross and relentless and keeps you nailed to your seat, but come prepared because scary man. Scary.

 

Movie review: Kong: Skull Island (2017)

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Plot: A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

Rating: 7.5/10

I was only too happy when I finally had some time free and could head out and see a film in an actual cinema with actual popcorn. My choice was between Kong and Logan, and I might get shot for this but Wolverine has never been my first choice (although I hear from multiple sources that it is well worth the watch). I set out to see the gargantuan monster and my decision was rewarded for an enticing film.

My most predominant thought about Skull Island is that it is Avatar, sans blue people. I checked the inspiration that director John Vogt-Roberts pulled from and Avatar isn’t listed as one of them, but:  Beautiful untainted area without known human habitation? Check. American army swinging guns and bombs in unprovoked attacks? Check. Outrage when indigenous life revolts? Also check.

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The star studded cast carries the movie when it might have been boring with less capable actors. From Samuel L. Jackson who plays a war veteran who just doesn’t want to admit defeat to Brie Larson as the photographer with a conscious, John Goodman as the researcher who is more invested in the discovery that might be healthy and Tom Hiddleston as a tracker and ex British army officer, they are capable enough to entertain us for the hefty watching time this film demands. I also thought John C. Reilly was appropriate comic relief while also providing some wrenching moments where you wish for him to be granted every wish he has after the life he’s had. I only really highlighted the major cast but a shout out has to be given as well to everyone who is sent along on the expedition, they were all well cast.

Tom Hiddleston proves he is more than Loki. After seeing this I am definitely on board with seeing him in more films. I have to say, this adventurer look suits him really well, I was much appreciative for science reasons. It was also a really cool character to root for, and he had the world weary attitude down to a T.

In all honesty, it took me about three minutes to be on #TeamKong. Stupid Americans thinking they have the right to enter untouched areas and bomb it? Typical and the world is weary. The events of Skull Island immediately occurs after the Vietnam War, and we all know how that went down. The political messaging is very strong and we have to wonder whether it is some jabs at the current administration in America. The expedition team is certainly more diverse than anything that is being pushed by POTUS right now, and it is all the stronger for it.

Brie Larson might be the only female cast member that gets actual lines, but she does her job well and carries the girl power flag with excellence. I liked her, I liked her character and she is definitely an actress I’d like to see more of.

Some beautiful cinematography and directing impresses as well. The indigenous folk are terrifying and oddly beautiful in an untouched way. I’d naturally never return to sanity after meeting them. The massive animals alternate between jaw dropping and vomit inducing. They serve as a not so subtle reminder about the glory of nature untouched.
Kong: Skull Island is definitely worth the watch, although heavy on the political agenda. I also felt that some of the fighting scenes were a bit drawn out and over the top, but that is crowd pleasing to the majority of watchers. I enjoyed it thoroughly as it provided a good variety of actors with an important story and great effects.
Have you seen Kong? What did you think?

Movie Review: Annie (2014)

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Plot: A foster kid, who lives with her mean foster mom, sees her life change when business tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in.

Rating: 6/10

The very low rating I gave might suggest that I disliked Annie. I really didn’t though. I certainly thought that it was really very, very optimistic and that literally no one had an ounce of rhythm except Jamie Foxx. Cameron Diaz and Rose Byrne were the epitome of white girls dancing and I wanted to hide when they were subjected to singing and dancing and I was subjected to watching them do it. I thought Quvenzhane Wallis (what a name) was pretty cute as Annie. It seems quite deranged to make films about singing orphans, but the film (and probably theater production) manages to be upbeat and sweet and inspirational and one of those situations where the villains aren’t even villains at the end of the day. I watched Annie with my mom and she really liked it, and for her to really like a movie is almost impossible. There really isn’t much else to say about this – for a musical full of people who aren’t really musically gifted it didn’t go that bad. I wouldn’t claim that the film restored my faith in humanity because there is no way humanity is that good, but I did like it and thought it was sweet.

Have you seen Annie? What did you think?

Movie Review: 10 Things I Hate about You (1999)

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Plot: Adapted from William Shakespeare’s play “The Taming of the Shrew,” 10 Things I Hate About You starts off with Cameron, new student at Padua High, sitting in the office of the quirky guidance counselor Ms. Perky. He is then shown around the school by Michael, who will become his best friend. During his tour is when Cameron first sees Bianca Stratford, a beautiful sophomore with one problem: she isn’t allowed to date. And neither is her “shrew” sister, Katarina, a senior who loves indie rock and feminist prose and hates conformity. But Kat and Bianca’s father alters his house rule: now, Bianca can date… as long as Kat has a date, too. Now, in order for Cameron to date Bianca, he has to find someone to date Kat. So Michael helps him enlist the help of pretty-boy/jerk/model Joey Donner, tricking him into thinking that *he* will get to take Bianca out if he pays someone to take out Kat. His choice: Patrick Verona, a bad-boy with a mysterious reputation–some say he ate a live duck once, others that he lit a state trooper on fire, and even more claim that he had a brief porn career. Will Patrick win Kat’s heart? Will Cameron win Bianca’s? Or will everything hit the fan…?

Rating: 8.5/10

10 things I like about this film

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  1. The deep philosophies of Bianca Stratford

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2. Julia Stiles and her attitude

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3. Heath Ledger and his smile

10things-heath24. This iconic scene

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5. Joey’s amazing self confidence

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6. Joseph Gordon Levit

10things-dad7. And this scene – this is every single dad

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8. Kat’s sonnet

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9. This sneaky little love story

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10. And last but not least, let’s not forget the teachers in this film

I am crazy about this film. It isfeel good, it is hilarious, it is a typical teen film. I think I could watch it once a week for the rest of my life and be totally okay with it. It is everything the 90’s rocked at, and just the typical and perfect high school film in my mind. It always hurts just a little bit to see Heath Ledger so young, alive and beautiful. He was such a charming and talented man and his death to this day remains one that consistently hurts significantly. He has such good chemistry with Julia Stiles, who does the defiant and sulky teenager on point. Bianca Stratford and JGL are so sweet together. Joey Donner? I’m not sure WHO would find him attractive, ick. Though the character was hilarious and the perfect villain for this film, you have to marvel at teenage hormones because that is the only explanation I could have for anyone finding him attractive. Mr. Stratford is probably all of parents – determined to keep his teenage daughters unpregnated and he’s not afraid to use his experience as a gynecologist as a tool. This staple chick flick is just that – a staple. I think a lot of men probably love this too, because it isn’t soppy or stupid and has some pretty damn hilarious moments in. Comment below and tell me your thoughts on this!

Movie Review: The Maze Runner (2014)

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Plot: Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape.

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Rating: 6.5/10

My younger sister nagged me to watch The Maze Runner, so recently on a day off I sat down with her and watched it. I didn’t really love it, but it was okay. The most lacking thing is definitely the storyline – I get that things are supposed to be a puzzle and mysterious, but come on, at least reveal things that would make your movie make sense. Dylan O’Brien is the main character. He’s totally adorable, and I liked him as this main although can we please just all get to a point where a 25 year old male is not cast as a teenage boy? I also liked Ki Hong Lee – his role wasn’t all that clear and I didn’t understand why he was running in the Maze, but I liked him. I really don’t get why Will Poulter is popping up everywhere. I have hated this actor since We’re the Millers, which everyone knows was the worst movie of 2013.Eugh. He was obviously destined to be a pain in the ass in The Maze Runner, and he achieved it quite well because he was a pain in the ass. There were also a lot of male leads and only one female. They are probably doing this for #PLOTREASONS but it was kinda stupid. Also, like I mentioned, the plot is shrouded in mystery. I’m guessing if you read the book it would make more sense, but it seems to be a movie about a maze and some Dystopian drama and feelings. It also felt rather Divergent-ish, but it seems to be the norm that Dystopian authors “borrow” ideas here and there.  So in the spirit of not moaning too much about this, I really enjoyed O’Brien and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. When they finally let us know why these kiddos were in a Maze, it was quite interesting. I liked the images of the desert stricken earth – it was so dystopic dystopian. I am planning to watch the second film, and then the third as soon as cutie pie recovers from his on-set injury. Definitely not as good as The Hunger Games, but luckily not as awful as the Divergent films.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Movie Review: The Wedding Planner (2001)

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Plot: Mary Fiore is San Francisco’s most successful supplier of romance and glamor. She knows all the tricks. She knows all the rules. But then she breaks the most important rule of all: she falls in love with the groom.

Rating: 5/10

A long time ago before Mathhew McConaughey starred in critically acclaimed projects like True Detective and that other horse movie everyone liked, he was involved in some romantic comedies, which, for a lack of a better phrase, sucked. The Wedding Planner is quite bad. I’m talking plot, I’m talking acting. I knew what would happen when Steven saved Mary – it was so damn obvious that he would be the fiancé of Fran. I really hate any movie where there is justified cheating involved. The Wedding planner at least didn’t stoop that low, and points to them for not writing Fran as a terrible woman, which somehow is enough reason in a film to justify her future spouse to cheat on her. What I mean to say is that at least The Wedding Planner did not stoop that low, because I would have not been impressed. For all his dubious actions, at least Steven only made his move after breaking it off with Fran (to be clear, only because Mary told him NO). There were a few scenes where Massimo was deliberately dumbed down, and I couldn’t help but feel a bit irritated – a different nationality and accent does not make you worthy of ridicule, American story writers! I also don’t want to say “Poor Judi Greer is Judi Greer again”, but it is true, and she’s so young here it was probably the first film where she was cast as the supportive best friend with a touch of ditzy. She will be my first choice to cast as a lead female if I ever get to write and produce a movie, because the woman has earned it. Her acting is most certainly better than that of Jennifer Lopez. I’m glad she left behind the urge she had in the early 2000s to be an actress, because while she’s impressive in her music genre, her talent certainly doesn’t pull through to acting.

Mostly, The Wedding Planner is a movie that makes you understand why its’ genre gets hated so much. Predictable, a little bit sexist and completely unbelievable, this film is better suited for the Dark Ages than it is for today

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Movie Review: Rock n Rolla (2008)

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Plot: Lenny Cole, a London mob boss, puts the bite on all local real estate transactions. For substantial fees, he’s helping Uri Omovich, a Russian developer. As a sign of good faith, Omovich loans Cole a valuable painting, promptly stolen off Cole’s wall. While Cole’s men, led by the dependable Archie, look for the canvas, three local petty criminals, the Wild Bunch, steal money from the Russian using inside information from his accountant, the lovely Stella. Meanwhile, a local drug-addled rocker, Johnny Quid, is reported drowned, and his connection to Cole is the key to unraveling the deceits and double crosses of life in the underworld.

Rating: 7/10

I enjoyed this film. A Guy Ritchie film remains a Guy Ritchie film and he generally brings the goods to the table. Rock n Rolla has a specific tailored feel that I spotted in Ritchie’s recent The Man from U.N.C.L.E as well. The dynamic between One Two (Gerard Butler), Tom Hardy (Handsome Rob) and Mumbles (Idris Elba) is great, and when Handsome Rob’s sexuality is revealed, things get really hilarious. Thandie Newton manages to be a cold hearted bitch and still work it throughout. She was amazing to watch. I also love some Mark Strong anywhere. He was so much fun. The plot was a bit vague to me – the painting is definitely at the center of everyone’s problems and the drama its’ disappearance causes. It is a good film, rather lighthearted and if you prefer some class and sass in one film, give it a go. I much prefer The Man from U.N.C.L.E to this, but RnR was a pretty decent watch.

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Movie Review: Pretty Woman (1990)

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Plot: A man in a legal but hurtful business needs an escort for some social events, and hires a beautiful prostitute he meets… only to fall in love.

Rating: 8/10

I’m finally catching up with some romantic comedies from the 80’s and 90’s that I feel is a crying shame I haven’t got to yet – and it is totally worth it! I absolutely loved Clueless when I first copped on that it is an adaption of Emma. Heathers was so dark and disdainful, and I thought it worked well for the film. When Harry Met Sally quickly lined up to be one of my favorite romantic comedies ever.

Pretty Woman now joined When Harry Met Hally. I loved this film quite a lot and was so depressed when it finished because I wanted more of Richard Gere’s 90’s suit and mannitude and more of the gorgeous Julia Roberts being hilarious, sweet, convincing and authentic.

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Pretty Woman is a film that would get trashed if it was released today. People are way too sensitive about suddenly not offending anyone, and this film about a prostitute and a businessman would not have gone down right – and that is society’s loss.

I enjoyed the clothes – just look at these office shorts Roberts is wearing, as well as numerous padded shoulder pieces. Gere is rarely out of a suit, but I won’t complain anytime soon, he looked so male and in charge (cue: delicious). The best outfit was naturally the night they went to the opera – breath taken away. I wish everyone can have a night like that.

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Jason Alexander as Philip Stuckey was very disgusting and convincing. He was such a cutthroat lawyer and out to always win, and jealous of Edward Lewis who had excellent business skills and enviable charm. He suited the tone perfectly proving that although Edward was decent and a gentleman, few of his friends would be like that once they found out Vivian’s occupation.

Hector Elizondo returns as the man who facilitates makeover, and I love him in that role. If you’ve ever seen The Princess Diaries, there is no way that you are not loving this man help young women (which sounds decidedly creepy!).

Pretty Woman is sweet and flows well. There is humor, and Julia Roberts has a surprising amount of comedic ability when she turns it on. I thought she really did an excellent job as Vivian – a bit tarty, but capable, kind and still being able to carry herself around with dignity even with what she does. The film is really sweet in places, and Roberts seems to genuinely enjoy herself and it shows. If you are like me and have never seen this, I suggest that you do because it is great!

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Movie Review: The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

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Plot: Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment.

Rating: 7.5/10

I realize that this is against popular opinion to have really enjoyed this, but who cares about popular opinion anyway? I really enjoyed this, and found it the biggest surprise of 2016. If you can deal with the fact that this is somewhat like Jungle Book but with bulging muscles, more humans and some steamy kisses, you are sorted to have a lot of fun.

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You’ve heard by now that Samuel L. Jackson is tasked with bringing the comedic relief and pulls it off, because that’s what great actors do. He’s totally great, also not a big surprise, a warrior that has seen too many obliteration of freedom and can’t really deal with it anymore.

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Christopher Waltz is good as but perhaps expectantly the soft-spoken villain, something he is excellent at but is limiting his genius when it comes to his work – no great actor deserves to be typecast that way. His one and only aim is to make the King of Denmark really rich and successful, and he seems void of true cause. Djimon Hounsou is a tribal leader that wants Tarzan dead, and the reason is heartbreaking. That, explored, could have been excellent material, but it was thrown down the ravine as soon as they could move Tarzan on further. I loved the look of Hounsou’s tribe, which is in actual fact a real look for some African tribes.

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Alexander Skarsgard is the titular Tarzan, and if you don’t explore the nagging questions like how he adapted to England when he had very little contact with humans in his formative years or how he remained so built, and how he’s even speaking any language, you can enjoy the quiet intensity he obviously worked hard at. Margot Robbie is Jane, and although she had the sassiest comebacks and one escape attempt, she just waited mostly for Tarzan to fetch his Jane, and I couldn’t help but be a little pissed off at her.

There were some truly beautiful scenery of wild and tribal life. I appreciated that while Tarzan had a connection to all the animals, they didn’t go so far and have him speak with them – that would have sent this film into the abyss. There were some moral eyebrow lifting to the slave trade. It seems inconceivable that people really justified barging into a continent and ripping control from the natives, and yet history proved itself over and over again that people really did have that audacity.

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Like I said, the film was thoroughly enjoyable. It was easy to root for the good guys. No one had grey areas and the villain, for better or worse, was pretty straightforward. I thought Skarsgard impressive, imposing, and very drool worthy. I wish they had given some form of a backstory – the flashbacks were far and few in between, and this would have been a better sequel than a first film. He seemed intense and socially shy, and that worked out fine. Skarsgard was even WITH a shirt most of the time, dramatically decreasing the cheese feast I thought it would turn out to be.

Overall, I’m keeping my opinion that this was a 2016 goodie. It’s not perfect, and certainly lacks backstory, but the fight to keep the Congolese people free from slavery is heartbreaking and emotional, especially if you consider the constant state of current political turmoil in that beautiful piece of the world today.

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Movie Review: Furious 7 (2015)

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Plot: Dominic and his crew thought they’d left the criminal mercenary life behind. They’d defeated international terrorist Owen Shaw and went their separate ways. But now, Shaw’s brother, Deckard Shaw, is out killing the crew one by one for revenge. Worse, a Somalian terrorist called Jakarde and a shady government official called “Mr. Nobody” are both competing to steal a computer terrorism program called “God’s Eye,” that can turn any technological device into a weapon. Torretto must reconvene with his team to stop Shaw and retrieve the God’s Eye program while caught in a power struggle between the terrorist and the United States government.

Rating: 7/10

I’m finally through the franchise! I’ve really had a blast, despite some of those first few movies that made me legitimately wonder how they ever got more movies approved.

Furious 7’s production was initially halted when Paul Walker tragically died in a car crash. The world was horrified – both by the death of this well-loved actor and the way that he passed away. Walker has always been a car fanatic, and the car he drove in 2Fast 2Furious was actually his own car. His brothers helped out with filming the remaining scenes, which ensured that Brian O’Connor got the end he deserved.

As for the film? There are numerous mentions for the need for Brian to stop and properly commit to his pregnant wife and son. He struggles with being a standard dad and not an adrenaline seeking ex-cop turned car thief turned assisting the FBI, and wife Mia (Jordana Brewster) notices these struggles. She urges him on one last mission to avenge the death of Han (Sung Kang). Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) is still struggling to regain her memory and Dominic is struggling with impatience because there are obvious things he wants her to remember. Roman Pierce (Tyrese Gibson) returns to make bad jokes and Tej (Ludacris) returns to being geeky and cool. The most recent permanent instalment returns as Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who seems to have found even more muscles since the last film.

Furious 7 is as expected over the top, this time with Lamborghinis crashing through sky towers in Dubai. Brian O’Connor escapes a few certain deaths himself, and I couldn’t help but think the writers really wanted to leave clues everywhere. In terms of insanity, the airdrop scene came only second to the Dubai scene. Okay, there was the final collapse in Los Angeles was very crazy too.

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Djimon Hounsou is some form of African warlord and he is basically ignored only when he’s really needed. Jason Statham replaces Luke Evans as the Shaw brother to sort out, and for all his capabilities in dealing with action sequences, I have never thought him to be the most solid villain. Elsa Pataky returns as Elena, and I am not really sure why, except (hopefully) that she and Hobbs end up together – a girl can dream! Kurt Russel also has some role, and I was surprised when he was the good guy to the end, it seemed shot in a way that he would have ulterior motives.

But is the film good? Well, it’s not bad. I thought it was a bit loose at the ends and it didn’t gel as it should have. Overall, as part of the franchise, the film didn’t feel like the best. I am glad it ended like it did, but I also thought that Brian O’Connor would never leave Dom behind – ever. It’s pretty much that feeling that Mark Darcy should rather be dead (like in the books) than leave Bridget Jones – I can’t believe I just compared the Fast franchise to Bridget Jones, but there we go.

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What are your thoughts? How do you feel about what happened in the last film? Do you agree with the arc regarding Brian O’Connor? Share, share!