Star Wars: The Last Jedi
There’s just something about the opening moments of a Star Wars movie. The quiet “a long time ago…,”, the iconic John Williams music, and the moment that the title crawl begins. Now that we’re destined to get a new Star Wars movie every year from now until forever, that impact may at some point wear off, but not yet. The feeling of seeing Episode VIII go across the screen is one that really is still one that’s as every bit as powerful as finally seeing Episode VII appear in the title crawl two years ago.
The Force Awakens ended on a cliffhanger, so for the first time we get a Star Wars movie that picks up pretty much right where the last one left off. The Starkiller base has been destroyed but so has the republic as well as any military presence that the republic may have. The First Order is now the de facto biggest power in the galaxy, and General Leia’s Resistance is even more Rebel Alliance 2.0 than before if that’s possible. General Hux ( Domhnall Gleeson) opens up the movie trying to stop an evacuation of the Resistance. In the opening sequence Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) tries to attack and destroy the far outpowered First Order Dreadnaught ship, and while his squadron is ultimately successful in taking out the bigger ship, the victory comes a cost that possibly puts the remains of the Resistance in even greater danger than they were before.
For those who have never heard of the Winchester Mystery House, it’s a popular “true” ghost story in American History. Sarah Winchester, one of the wealthiest women in the world thanks to her 50% stake in the Winchester Repeating Arms company, oversaw the never ending construction and expansion of the Winchester mansion which was worked on for thirty-eight years until her death. The ghost story about the mansion is that Sarah Winchester believed that the mansion had to be built to appease the spirits of those who were killed by the weapons made by the Winchester company. The never ending, haphazard construction of the mansion lead to bizarre architecture including doors and staircases that would lead to nowhere and windows that didn’t look outside but rather into different rooms and hallways.
The maze of a mansion captured the public’s imagination and the mansion, along with its story became a popular tourist destination for those interested in the supernatural, including the famous Harry Houdini who is said to have been the one to give the mansion the name ‘Mystery House.’
Thurgood Marshall lived a long, fascinating life. He argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court including, most famously, Brown vs. Board of Education. He was also the first African-American justice of the Supreme Court. None of this is explored in this movie. The movie isn’t a biopic detailing the life of the man it’s named after, but instead, it’s a movie that focuses solely on one case early in his career.
In the early 1940s Thurgood Marshall was an attorney for the NAACP, traveling the country and defending clients who were being persecuted in the courtroom due to their race. The person in question for the case that is covered by the movie was a man named Joseph Spell, a chauffeur who was accused of a wealthy, upper class white woman of raping her multiple times before throwing her over the side of a bridge attempting to drown her. When Marshall arrives in Connecticut, he’s faced with a world of obstacles. Not being a member of the Connecticut bar, Marshall is not allowed to talk in the courtroom, meaning that the reluctant Samuel Friedman (Josh Gad) is forced to be the one to speak for the defense while Marshall sits silently at the table, communicating to Friedman through brief notes and raised eyebrows.