Movie Review: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

Starring
Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tuydk, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, Forest Whitaker, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang
Director
Gareth Edwards

With “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” director Gareth Edwards has made an entertaining and intense, if mildly frustrating, war picture set in a galaxy far, far away. As a huge blockbuster, its tone, morally ambiguous characters and often bleak resolutions set it apart from standard studio fare. The first standalone Star Wars picture is sometimes as admirable as it is enjoyable, but it also has some glaring problems that are clearly holding the movie back from reaching its full potential. The good news is that it’s still a fine start to this new branch of standalone Star Wars stories.

The story opens with a young Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) seeing her father, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), being taken away by the Empire’s Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) in order to complete construction on a powerful space station called the Death Star. After her father is kidnapped, Jyn is raised by rebel-turned-extremist Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), a standout character who’s barely human. Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy’s script then cuts to an older, more dangerous Jyn in custody of the Empire. She’s been living much of her life under pseudonyms until she’s intercepted by Rebel forces and commanded to lead them to Saw Gerrera. Leading the mission are Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), who doesn’t trust Jyn, and a quippy, rewired Imperial droid named K2-SO (Alan Tudyk), who calculates that the odds she will betray them are strong. In the end, however, Jyn agrees to join the small band of rebels in an attempt to steal the plans for the Death Star.

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Coolest offices in the UK

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Work is where you’re going to be spending almost 50% of your week, so it seems only fair that an office is designed to be as comfortable as it can be. However, there are a few work spaces around the UK that demonstrate going the extra mile. They’re not just comfy, they’re cool.

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A roundtable chat with the cast and crew of Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle”

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A couple of strange things happened last summer. You might remember them. First, the people of the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union. Then, the Republican Party’s base chose to nominate a reality TV star and alleged billionaire for the presidency of the United States. When this writer found himself in a San Diego Hilton ballroom for Comic-Con roundtables with an executive producer and five cast members of “The Man in the High Castle,” Brexit was a certainty and the dystopian Republican convention had just wrapped. Even so, the election of vulgar reality TV star turned racist demagogue Donald J. Trump to the world’s most powerful political position seemed scary, but kind of unlikely. Yup.

In any case, these two events made for some interesting conversation, considering that “The Man in the High Castle” is the deliberately paced, lavishly produced Amazon TV series drawn from Phillip K. Dick’s dark, reality-bending 1963 science fiction masterpiece. Set in an alternate reality 1962 America some years after the totalitarian Axis powers of Germany and Japan have won World War II and subdivided the nation into a Nazi-dominated East Coast, a Japan-controlled West Coast, and a no-man’s land in the middle, the show portrays the lives of a number of characters caught up in a series of tragic and terrifying events. They are largely spurred by the existence of strange films that seem to show a world where the Allied powers of the U.S. and the UK had actually won World War II. By the end of the first season, it had become clear that other parallel realities would factor into the story’s next phase.

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DJI Mavic Pro: Great drone for travelers and hobbyists

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Drones are one of the hottest gadget gifts this holiday season, and new models are also driving sales for consumers and hobbyists who love exploring all the fun and interesting uses for these devices. New features, particularly built-in camera technology, make these gadgets interesting for so many more potential consumers, particularly adventure travelers, hikers, etc. who want to capture video of their adventures. It’s safe to assume drones will be one of the most popular self-gifting options this holiday season.

The DJI Mavic Pro is one of the best drones on the market and is available at many retailers, including online at Amazon.com. This drone is packed with an amazing bundle of features that make it easy to take amazing video; it’s also portable, so you can easily take it with you on your travels.

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2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

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Hyundai dealers in various states have started selling the manufacturer’s first ever electric cars. The Hyundai Ioniq Electric is available with a plug-in hybrid battery or an electric drive battery. The car is approximately the same size as the Elantra and shares some traits with Hyundai’s mainstream compact car. We can definitely see some identical marks on both cars, but the Hyundai Ioniq has more aluminum parts. For instance, the hood, tailgate and floorpan are similar, which helps accommodate various battery packs. We saw that the bodywork, as well as the structures, were unique on both cars.

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