Sisters (Jason Moore, 2015)

Sometimes cinematic events so huge occur that they transcend cinema and infiltrate the wider global conversation. To not see a film, occasionally, is to almost deliberately stand out from the crowd and, in some cases, refuse to be a sheep. Because everyone else is in love with a film but perhaps didn’t get it at first, the desire to take a stand gets in the way of allowing yourself to be interested.

If you’re in that boat and have taken a stance against Star Wars: The Force Awakens, then perhaps Sisters is the film for you. It is in so many ways the antithesis of an epic and excellent space opera. Yes, it isn’t very good. Yes, it vastly underused its two lead stars. But someone had to take the hit and be THAT film that was released the same week as the film that looks set to be the most successful in box office terms since Avatar.

The story is as banal as the majority of the jokes. Sisters Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate (Tina Fey) find out that their parents are selling their childhood home and have to go home to clear out their rooms. They do just that, but in the process decide to throw a huge house party. Things get out of hand and they wreck the house, though in doing so learn some valuable lessons.

It isn’t without merit. Some jokes are downright hilarious. However, these appear to be the ones that were ad libbed by the two leads. There are a few examples of this is when they are trying on dresses ahead of the party. Additionally, the scenes with Maya Rudolph are all highlights and almost give a feeling of a rewarding experience. Most of the remainder, however, falls disappointingly flat.

A truly entertaining time was had by all. Just not in this screen.

After about half-an-hour I found myself in such deflated amazement that I started to enjoy it out of disbelief that it was such a waste of their talent. This twisted enjoyment sustained until the final section when it started to feel protracted – the party kept going slightly too long and the joke was wearing thin.

The final segment, which awkwardly ties it to Christmas and thus tried to justify it as a festive film doesn’t really convince with conviction. This was clearly an afterthought to a film that was obviously intended for a summer market but that the studios didn’t dare release into clear air when excuses would have been harder to come by than the Star Wars card.

Sisters is on general release worldwide now.

The Force Awakens… quite a few questions…

Warning: This article contains spoilers. Reading it will probably ruin the film for you.

The film is out now and the whole world is busy digesting their first viewing, whilst kicking themselves for not buying more tickets earlier now they’ve realised how good it is.

Whilst the film has achieved a lot, it has also left us with a few questions that may not be answered for another 18 months. Here are a selection.

Rey’s History

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Rey has abilities never-before-seen by any untrained Jedi. The ability to use mind control, telekinesis and force pushes are usually only achieved by Jedi masters, yet she was able to perform everything with no training whatsoever.

In this case, it does make us wonder who her mother and father are. One guess would be that she is the daughter of Han and Leia – Leia is after all a carrier of Jedi abilities (though has never been seen to use them on screen).

Perhaps instead her father is Luke Skywalker, though this would require an explanation as to who her mother is. Given the final sequence of The Force Awakens, this could be a more feasible option and gives room to develop Luke’s recent history through flashbacks.

I’m foreseeing the line “Now the circle is a figure of eight.” Or something.

Where did this guy go?

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Constable Zuvio Ph: Elena Dorfman © 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved.

Constable Zuvio has a very sinister look about him. In the pre-release press he was a reasonably prominent character, and was most recently featured in a large Empire Magazine article about the new film. There was also an action figure released when there wasn’t really many characters to get your hands on.

In the article, Empire reported that LucasFilm described him as a “vigilant law officer on a mostly lawless world” and a man who “keeps order in a frontier trading post”.

Well, his story obviously wasn’t important enough to warrant avoiding the cutting-room floor. I fully expect to learn about his whereabouts when the Blu-ray is released as his is inevitably going to be one of the deleted scenes, probably around the same time as the alleged Chewbacca arms-ripped-from-sockets scene that made the novelization but not the film.

What happened to make Leia and Han lose touch?

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One of the most unexpected elements of the film was when Han and Leia were reunited after a seemingly long time. They passed some comments that seemed to suggest there was some history between them. Furthermore, when the final battle had finished and the remaining team returned, Chewbacca and Leia didn’t seem to even acknowledge each other. That seemed a little strange. Clearly something has happened beyond the fallout from the unexpected turnout of their son Ben, and I’m not buying that Han was just wanting to keep “doing what he did best”. I wonder whether this will be explored in future films or left as it is.

How much of Episode VIII has been filmed?

There were clearly some shots in the trailers that weren’t used in the film and whole characters that were taken out. Given the final scene left Luke with Rey on a distant island, it would seem like a bit of a waste to get everyone over there just for 30 seconds of film. This makes me wonder if they’ve also filmed the opening sequences of the next film.

Why was Captain Phasma so underused?

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Captain Phasmastic

This may be the same reason as Constable Zuvio, but Gwendeline Christie seemed criminally underused when she was so featured in the run up to the film and the press. Perhaps it was due to filming conflicts between The Force Awakens and Game of Thrones, but I’m hoping we either learn her backstory through future installments or perhaps a comic book series. It just seemed really unusual when she’s done so much promo for it and was limited to just a handful of appearances.

Why was C-3PO’s arm red?

Maybe it was explained at some point but I don’t recall when. Seemed a little pointless.

The full review of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is here.