Tag Archives: Star Wars

The Last Balcony: An Oral History of the Uptown Theatre

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I wrote an oral history of my favorite cinema, the Uptown Theater on Connecticut Ave. NW here in DC, for the Washington City Paper. I love the oral history format. Cutting this down to publishable length tested me. My apologies to the various people whose comments were cut for length.

AMC Theatres declined to make attendance figures available for publication, but they told me they’ve ticket up slightly in the last year. I hope that means the Uptown will stick around a long time.

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The Yule Prologue: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, reviewed.

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My NPR review of what is probably the second-most-review-proof movie of the year after Captain America: Civil War (which I reviewed) is here.

Hark! The Christmas Force Awakens Is Now Fully Armed and Operational

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Side B of my 2015 yulemix, The Christmas Force Awakens — Yuletunes Eclectice & Inexplicable Perfect X: Final Sequence, is posted. (Both sides are posted together on this page.)

There are always a couple of outtakes, but this one had more than a few. Cutting the mashup of The Pretenders’ “2000 Miles” and Chrissie Hynde’s controversial October 2015 Morning Edition interview about her new memoir was a hard call, but the right one. Cutting the mashup of John Williams “Imperial Death March” from The Empire Strikes Back and “The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” from The Nutcracker was probably insane; we’ll never see this level of Star Wars fever again in my lifetime. The others may surface if I can summon the resolve to do this for an eleventh time.

May your days be shiny and chrome, and may the Christmas Force be with you. Merry Christmas.

Pop Culture Happy Hour No. 274: Star Wars — The Force Awakens and Merch, Merch, Merch

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I was delighted to join Linda Holmes and Stephen Thompson — and to share my first Pop Culture Happy Hour panel with the estimable Gene Demby — to process our reactions to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We recorded this episode just a few hours after seeing the movie; the review I wrote to accompany the release of the podcast came from a day or so later. I know my opinion had not entirely settled yet, but we had a fun, lively discussion.

When I sat down to watch the film again two nights later, with Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon seated next to me, he asked if I missed the 20th Century Fox fanfare before the glowing green Lucasfilm logo appeared. We’ve spoken before about how that fanfare always gives us a ripple of excitement no matter what we’re about to watch, because of the sense-memory of Star Wars. Strangely, I hadn’t noticed its absence until Glen pointed it out. (There was a lot of other stuff to notice, c’mon.) Continue reading

Hark! The Christmas Force Awakens is now streamable for your hall-decking merriment.

2015-booklet-outsideHark! The tenth installment in my indefatigable Christmas mixtape series, entitled The Force Awakens — Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable Perfect X: Final Sequence, is upon us. Side A is, anyway. Side B shall appear like the clanky ghost of Jacob Marley upon Ebeneezer Scrooge’s doorstep in one week’s time.

In the unlucky event your computer or personal electronic device is not equipped with a tape deck, you can stream Side A below. May your days be shiny and chrome, and may the Christmas Force be with you. Continue reading

Bring Me the Head of Han Solo

Harrison Ford believed Han Solo should die, and he was right. So let's kill him.

It was actually my pal Village Voice Film Editor Alan Scherstuhl who pitched me on this piece. When Disney announced the other week that Harrison Ford would be returning for at least one more Star Wars movie, Alan figured — and I immediately concurred — that it’s high time for Han Solo to receive the heroic demise that Ford wanted to give him in Return of the Jedi, 31 years ago. With apologies to Mike Ryan, whose work I admire, here’s why Solo gotta go-lo.
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