This is Jeff Bayer, and I don't update this site very often. If you'd like to listen to my current movie podcast you can find it at MovieBS.com.

New this Week: 'Drive,' 'Straw Dogs' and 'Star Wars: The Complete Saga (BD)'

Hitting movie theaters this weekend:

Drive - Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston I Don't Know How She Does It - Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, Kelsey Grammer Straw Dogs - James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgård

Movie of the Week

Straw Dogs

The Stars: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgård The Plot: L.A. screenwriter David Sumner (Marsden) relocates with his wife (Bosworth) to her hometown in the deep South. There, while tensions build between them, a brewing conflict with locals becomes a threat to them both. The Buzz: No, this is not really Movie of the Week material, but hey, look at the competition. On one hand, you've got Ryan Gosling racing around in cars, <<yawn>> and on the other hand you've got the washed up Sarah Jessica Parker slapping a title on what all of her non-fans have been thinking for years -- I'm not quite sure how she does it either, and I wish she'd stop already. MGM's bankruptcy coupled with Daniel Craig's lousy and broodish bi-sexual take on Bond, has pissed me off a score, and seeing Pierce Brosnan crop up in this weekend's SJP rom-com just about kills me. You know, Brosnan had wanted to do a couple more Bond films, and they cut him loose. What were they thinking? But I digress, even more than usual...

Yes, Straw Dogs is another in a long line of remakes, and Marsden is no Hoffman, but Bosworth is a step up in the thespian department (and in the eye-candy department) over the original's Susan George. I don't anticipate this particular incarnation of Straw Dogs will do too well at the box office, but I am personally interested in checking it out. I'm feeling Witness meets The Strangers. A city-boy out-of-water tale, where the local country-folk represent mortal threats. Could be good.

Every Friday we'll have new reviews of the latest films. TSR's complete Film Review Database

New Blu-ray and DVDs released this week:

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop (BD/DVD) - Conan O'Brien, Andy Richter, Stephen Colbert Hesher (BD/DVD) - Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Devin Brochu, Natalie Portman Incendies (DVD) - Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette Love Wedding Marriage (BD/DVD) - Mandy Moore, Michael Showers, Kellan Lutz Star Wars: The Complete Saga (BD) - Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Ewan McGregror, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman The Tempest (BD/DVD) - Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones, Djimon Hounsou Thor (BD/DVD) - Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman

Blu-ray/DVD of the Week

Star Wars: The Complete Saga

The Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Ewan McGregror, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman The Plot: I refuse to type up the plot of Star Wars. This is neither the time nor the place for such. The phrase "do you live under a rock?" comes to mind. The Buzz: Natalie Portman is in EVERYTHING. She's got five Blu-ray releases this week alone. Anyone else as sick of her as I am?

OK, I'm easily distracted today -- I'm supposed to be raging about how amazing Star Wars is, how it's the best six-film story ever made, and how it will hang on to that accolade until the end of civilization, and here I am hung up on the over-exposure of Ms.Portman. Anyway, it doesn't matter, as she's great in the Star Wars films. I'll let go of my present day criticism, just long enough to revel in this much hyped Blu-ray release.

I've heard there's some belly-aching going on, about George Lucas again "tampering" with the films for this Blu-ray release. Good for him, who cares. They're his films, not ours. I'm tired of all the whining that goes on regarding Lucas. Get. Over. It.

And say, how's this for a rant:

George Lucas needs no defense. He has committed no crime, and he owes us nothing. We are all forever in his debt for his amazing contributions to the creative landscape. Just look at all of the incredible stories that he either created or facilitated. Without Lucas there would be no Star Wars, no Indiana Jones, no American Graffiti, No THX-1138 (and no THX tech, for that matter), no Labyrinth, no Willow, no __________, no __________ and no __________. Please fill in the gaps here with what I've forgotten, as I'm well aware this list goes on and on.

And let's not forget all of the great people he's inspired, who would in turn, go on to make excellent contributions themselves. Both James Cameron and Genndy Tartakovsky have openly paid credence to the vastly inspiring effect A New Hope had on their creative lives. That's two lone people, and look what spring-boarded from that, Aliens, Terminator, Samurai Jack...geez, awesome...and Lucas has had a hand in all of this, in an indirect fashion, at the very least.

So check your sources before you badmouth the man who's likely responsible for a healthy fraction of your favorites.

And while I've got the Conch, I'll continue...

If I hear one more regurgitation of "The Empire Strikes Back is the best of the series," or "George Lucas can't write," I'll eat a thermal detonator for breakfast, in a bowl of skim milk. I can't express how obnoxious it is to hear these moronic comments over and over again. I happen to think very highly of Lucas' writings, especially considering what profession he's in. These aren't pieces of literature, they are visually spectacular space-operas. The Empire Strikes Back is certainly an amazing episode, but I really have no other choice than to call you out as a non-fan of Star Wars, if you are unable to digest the entire series as one grand story. This is all subjective anyways, so what's the point in saying one episode is better than another. I'm all for discourse, but I'm really sick of hearing people cough up these reheated opinions.

I have a theory about people who blast the prequels: Most of them don't have kids. If they had kids they would be more apt to realize that these new films are capturing the hearts of an entirely new generation. It is selfish and pathetic to think that Lucas owes us anything. He gave us the best filmic experience of our young lives, and he's done it again, for another generation altogether. If you didn't like the prequels, then you're not really a Star Wars fan.

I'm 34 years old, and still very young at heart, and obviously I admire Lucas a great deal. I recognize the fact that these films are supposed to be fun, escapist, and largely aimed at the young (or at the young at heart). I believe that failure to recognize this reflects poorly on both one's character and one's intellect.

Another far-from-laudable tendency, from you "critics" out there, is this tendency you have to paint Lucas as a money-grubbing mogul-fiend. You should really get to know the guy a bit before you lash out. I've seen scores of interviews, read a lot more, and followed his entire career, and I've never seen one dollop of evidence to support that he is, in fact, deviously rubbing his hands together, counting his money 'til the wee hours, or even caring how much money his movies make at the box office. This just isn't a logical conclusion. It is a covetous conclusion, bent on turning a self-made man into a laughing stock, a la elementary schoolyard antics. It's pathetic. The man is generous to a fault, and has made admirable societal contributions of every kind. He has made this world a better place, and in so many ways.

George Lucas owes you nothing, he has earned the right to create what he wants, for whom he wants, and if his creations don't appeal to you, I figure that's strongly indicative that Lucas didn't want them to appeal to you -- you are no longer his target audience. I guess I can see why you're so irked.

Fortunately for me, and countless others, we remain his target audience.

I'm excited to see how the rest of his career unfolds, and in the meantime, I look forward to checking out this Blu-ray release. It's going to be a lot of fun to see Star Wars again -- in HD and cranked up to 11!

***Note: check out boxofficemojo's all-time top-100 highest grossing films of all time (adjusted for inflation), and you will find all six Star Wars films, four of them in the top twenty. People love these films, all six of them.

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