Star Wars: The Last Jedi ****

In some respects, reviewing this film seems like a waste of time because the whole franchise is Marmite. (For my non-UK readers, Marmite is a strong, yeast based spread which “You either love it or hate it” and nothing will change your views).

I freely admit to being a hard-core fan since I was in New York when the first film opened and saw it on Times Square just a week after it opened in 1977.

After seeing this tale from the series, I was left feeling conflicted. There is something missing from the spirit of the film, which I think I have identified.

What is present is an atmosphere of foreboding. Part of this is the realisation that Carrie Fisher will not be in any further films, but also that the story is losing itself in a circle of plot clichés.

So what is missing? Joy.

The simple, innocent joy, that in the eternal fight of good vs evil, knowing that good will always be triumphant.

Also, the pure joy of love and laughter.

Sadly my inner 14yr old child was not excited by this film, but my adult self was.  Tor this reason I give it 4 out of five stars.

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Breathe *****

This is another British period drama carrying the BBC Films and other respected logos.

It has all the cinematic beauty that you could wish for, ranging from middle class England to the coffee plantations of the African rift. The cars and costumes are sumptuous. The script is delivered like butter on a warm crumpet.   The acting, by many of our finest younger stars, is convincing.

You are made to feel the heartbreak and pain of the protagonists and supporting cast. Delicious.

The story weaves the struggles of a whole family in a battle with Polio, a once common but now thankfully almost eradicated disease. As it reaches its inevitable conclusion, we can reflect on the benefits to the whole world from that family’s troubles. This converts a tragedy into a victory worthy of recording in this film.

This film is the debut for Andy Serkis as a director, boding well for his future projects.

A very solid 5 out of five stars.