Movies: Solo: A Star Wars Story, Pope Francis: A Man of His Word, First Reformed, On Chesil Beach

Greetings!  We are back in San Francisco for the month of June due to a calendar loaded with appointments.  The good news is there has been time to catch up on movies, some of which were not readily available in Wisconsin.  All of these are good and worth your time.  Enjoy!


Solo: A Star Wars Story

This is another Prequel Star Wars film of epic proportion.  The young Hans Solo joins a gang of galactic smugglers including a Wookie named Chewbacca.

The cast is impressive.  Alden Ehrenreich plays Hans Solo.  Donald Glover plays Lando.  Emilia Clarke is Kira and Woody Harrelson is Beckett.  Joonas Suotamo, a Finnish actor standing 6′ 11″ tall, plays Chewbacca.  There are another 10 actors including a bit part for Linda Hunt.

The film is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.  It is OK for youngsters except for the little ones.  The genre is listed as Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy.  The run time is 2 hours, 15 minutes.


Pope Francis: A Man of His Word

This is a unique film.  It was created using real clips from real events of Pope Francis spanning over five years.  It was crafted by the German filmmaker Wim Wenders with extraordinary access to the Pope, the Vatican and the freedom to explore wide range of topics, some quite controversial.

The cast includes a who’s who of world leaders but the focus is laser sharp on the Pope himself, his personal journey and his work to bring a voice to such global issues as poverty, wealth inequality, the environment, social justice and world peace.

The film is rated PG for thematic material including images of suffering.  The genre is noted as a Documentary with a run time of 96 minutes.  Ultimately, it is a fantastic peek behind the Papal curtains and an extraordinary man. Spanish and Italian with English subtitles.


First Reformed

By contrast, this film caught our attention due to chatter in the press about Ethan Hawke’s stunning performance as a Minister of a small church in upstate New York, its history going back over 250 years as a stop on the Underground Railroad during the slavery era.

The plot is focused on Hawke’s character who is ill, doubts his faith after the loss of his son and the dissolution of his marriage.  He is further burdened by the events of a young couple he meets and their concerns about bearing children in a deeply flawed world.

The cast is compact.  Amanda Seyfried is the widow and Philip Ettinger is her husband.  Cedric the Entertainer is the Pastor of the neighboring mega church.  Only six other actors round out the cast.

It is rated R for some disturbing and violent images.  We do not recommend viewing by children.  It is listed as a Drama/Thriller with a run time of just under two hours. It is a provocative and unsettling story but well worth viewing.  Hopefully the Academy will remember this film at Oscar time.


On Chesil Beach

This film is based on the bestselling novel by Ian McEwan.  It is set in England 1962 with a young couple from radically different backgrounds.

The acting is excellent.  Saoirse Ronan plays the daughter Florence.  Emily Watson is her mother.  Samuel West plays the father.  Billy Howle plays the boyfriend and husband to Florence.

The young couple get married but lack experience with sexual intimacy.  It is partly charming, sometimes comical, and ultimately a disaster.

It is rated R for sexual content and nudity.  The genre is noted as Drama, Romance.  The run time is 110 minutes.


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