Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Review (Spoiler-Free)

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Review (Spoiler-Free)

The eighth entry brings a new and needed complexity to a saga built on homage.

From the moment that John William’s orchestra introduced the familiar, golden title of Star Wars, I felt an overwhelming sense of excitement and nostalgia rush through my veins. Having the privilege of a midnight premiere a day earlier here in England than back in the States, I remembered back to the stories my parents told me of seeing the original trilogy when it came to theaters. Getting the chance at real excitement for new Star Wars films as they premiere, I feel a connection to the previous generation of fans and the unspoiled pleasure of finding out what is next in store for the saga. As I read the opening description which set the scene for the eighth entry, which picks up right after the end of The Force Awakens, I considered my expectations for what this film would bring. Good guys, bad guys, hope, fear, action, one-liners – the common characteristics of a classic Star Wars episode. It had those things, but it had something I had not foreseen – complexity.

This film, similar to the (likely) eternal-reigning Empire Strikes Back, brought in shades of gray between the light and dark side of the Force. Many people agreed that Rogue One made strides in showing the darker sides of the Rebellion, but The Last Jedi showed the nuance of every character we’ve been introduced to – Luke is a struggling hero of the past, Rey and Kylo Ren are conflicted, powerful beings, and Poe Dameron clashes with authority. The good guys are not all good, and the bad guys are not all bad. This film brought a balance and a complexity to every character and situation that the series as a whole has desperately been missing since Empire.

This shift led to a deeply engaging film that made me forget to blink for the over two-and-a-half hour runtime. Not only was it engaging, but it was nerve-racking. In most of the other episodes, you have a pretty good idea of who is going to live and who has the potential to die. In VIII, everyone felt like fair game, and I was scared for my favorite characters like never before. This didn’t just have to do with death either, because I was anxious to find out some of the burning questions left from Episode VII - who were Rey’s parents going to turn out to be? Why did Luke really go into exile? Which way was Kylo going to turn to next? Don’t worry, I said that this would be spoiler free, so if you want these answers, I implore you to go see the film (and seeing it in the theater is the best option for an epic like this).

The Last Jedi was not completely devoid of negative aspects, but there were certainly very few. If anything, the long runtime could have been cut down slightly in some places, but I’ll take as many minutes of Star Wars as I can get. Aside from that, there were a few moments that left me thinking things like “Hmm, was that really how it turned out?” Once you see the movie, I’m sure you will be able to pinpoint a few spots that apply to that query.

The latest entry in the Star Wars saga succeeds in so many ways because it has strayed from what the prequels and JJ Abrams’ The Force Awakens tried to do, and that was to pay homage to Star Wars. This was a Star Wars movie first and foremost, but one that was not afraid to tread through the taller grass of unfamiliarity, nuance and complication. It established the idea that conflict is much deeper than what the other films have made it out to be. It was humorous, it was thrilling, it was intense, it was badass and it was thoughtful. Rian Johnson made a greater Star Wars directorial debut than I expected and effectively exceeded the very high standards that were set for him. As always, hope was a large theme, and this film followed through by giving us exactly that – hope that Star Wars moving forward can be so much greater than it already is, or than we had ever imagined it could be.

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Top 5 budget-friendly kids’ fashion tips for 2018

Kids are angels of god and to care for them is very important for every parents.

Raising a child is one of the most fulfilling experiences in the world. There is no manual describing the perfect way to raise a child. When you have an energetic baby jumping around the house, all you can do is just go with the flow. 

Kids grow too fast. They outgrow the cutest clothes in a matter of weeks, and then you are left with the desire to replace those old outfits with new ones that your kid will rock every day. 

Clothes for children happen to be more expensive than those for adults. You find yourself in the children’s clothing aisle frequently while you wear the same shirt on repeat. It is easy to splurge on kids’ fashion, thanks to the amazing styles that hit the stores regularly. Sooner or later, you regret the haul and the dent in your wallet.  

Today, we are going to share 5 tips to help you devise a strategy that can keep your kids looking like a million bucks while you stay on a budget. Try ones that work for you, and you will spot a big difference in your spending pattern. 

Ask family or close friends for clothes their kids have outgrown:

It is the easiest thing to do, and safe for your baby as well. If you have friends and family who have had kids a few years ago, you can get baby clothes from them. Most parents pack away old clothes safely for their next arrival. 

You can keep your kids in top fashion by using what your friend’s kid has outgrown. You’ll find that many of these items haven’t been worn more than 3-5 times and are almost as good as new. 

Manufacturers also send cards and samples to maternity wards. The busy staff forgets to dispatch this lot, so you can ask them if there are freebies around. 

Use coupon websites: 

You will be thrilled to see how coupons can save you money. Coupon websites make shopping more fun. With coupons, you can shop at your favorite outlets at a discounted price. 

For example, at Couponobox.com, you will see a list of brands where discounts can be availed. In fact you can get as much as 50-70% off on your favorite kids’ brands.

Moreover, with coupon websites you can enjoy big seasonal discounts and sales, weekly promotions and much more, saving you some major cash. 

You can even become a ‘Super Couponer’ by paying attention to the right deals. Now you can fill your shopping cart to the brim at your favorite children’s clothing stores. Just use Justice promo codes for kids’ shopping and viola!

Don’t miss garage sales:

Garage sales are like treasure chests. Those who have experienced a garage sale will agree with this statement. It is the ideal place to look for baby clothes that are affordable. 

Clothes which would normally cost you hundreds of dollars can be bought for $50 or $100 at a garage sale. If you are a keen seeker, almost everything can be bought from a garage sale. You must be at your creative peak when you go to a garage sale because that can help you turn seemingly useless clothes into fabulous masterpieces. 

Pay with cash:

An MIT study found that people were ready to pay 65% more for a basketball game because they were using cards to pay for it. Retailer-branded credit cards have much higher APRs than standard credit cards—23.2% vs. 15% - Time. 

In your case, that adorable basketball t-shirt may be costing you much more because you are swiping the plastic. If you want to keep a tab on your purchases, pay with cash. It will keep you on your target and save a lot of money. 

Layer old clothes with new pieces:

It is not necessary to buy seasonal clothes every time. You can layer your kids in old season’s clothing and put a new jacket as a top layer. Be a little creative, and you will soon master the art of layering your kids in multiple socks, shirts, and rompers to prepare for biting cold while they look fabulous!

Last word:

So, there you go. These are the top tips which can keep your kids looking great throughout the year. You have to think creatively and style every outfit accordingly. Because your youngster is already super adorable, it will only take smart purchasing to dress her to look her best. 


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10 Musical Productions You Don't Want To Miss Out On

From "Les Miserables" to "Miss Saigon!"

Let's be honest here, we all have guilty pleasures, and most of those are musicals. In my case, that guilty pleasure is not that subtle, but nonetheless, just as big. I love musicals, in film, but especially in theatre. So I've made a list with some of the best musicals ever!

1. "The Wiz"

"The Wiz" is generally known for the movie starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, but that movie is actually based on this wonderful musical, which is a retelling of L. Frank Baum's 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'. The musical has great songs, including one of my favorites 'Home'. I saw this musical in my home country, the Netherlands, in 2006.

2. "Mamma Mia!


"Mamma Mia!" is a jukebox musical based on the songs of ABBA. It is generally known for the movie adaptation starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried. But years before that it was an original musical! My favorite ABBA song features in the show is: 'The Winner Takes It All'. I unfortunately have never seen this musical live.

3. "The Phantom of the Opera"

"The Phantom of the Opera" is cult in musical land and is the longest-running musical on Broadway, till this day. Sierra Boggess is one of my favorite Christines ever (she starred in the 25th anniversary edition!), you can hear her singing my favorite song from the show in the video above. I unfortunately have never seen the musical live.

4. "Chicago"

"Chicago" is also a cult musical and has been in various countries. "All That Jazz" is a classic musical sing-a-long and also one of my favorite songs from the show. Our very own Dutch musical artist, Pia Douwes, plays Velma Kelly on Broadway and that, of course, brings pride to my little country. I have seen a high school performance of the show, but never the real deal. Chicago was also made into a movie starring Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

5. "Into The Woods"

"Into The Woods" is musical containing elements from various fairy tales. It's dark stories and humor make it one of my all-time favorites! It was also made into a movie in 2014 starring Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and many more. 'No One Is Alone' is my number one favorite musical songs of all time and it is from this show. I have also been lucky to see the show live in the Netherlands, in 2017!

6. "Les Miserables"

"Les Miserables" is also a classic musical, that you have to see at least once in your life (even though I haven't yet, but I NEED to). With classic songs as 'I Dreamed A Dream', 'On My Own' and 'One More Day' it contains incredible musical songs, but my favorite is 'A Little Fall Of Rain'. It was also made a movie in 2012, it starred Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and many more!

7. "Elisabeth"

"Elisabeth" is the most successful Austrian musical in history. There's no English version, but in the Netherlands it was also immensely popular (when it was translated into Dutch). It's also really popular in Asia, where it has been adapted in various languages. Pia Douwes, known for her Broadway role as Velma Kelly, launched her career with the title role of Elisabeth and has played it in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. Elisabeth is based on the life of the Austrian empress of the same name. My favorite song can be heard above and I was fortunate enough to see an 'In Concert' version of the show since it hasn't been played in Dutch since in 2001.

8. "Miss Saigon"

We're in the hard part of the list. Since Elisabeth the choices are one, to be honest. I cannot really make a choice between my top 3, but this is the one I made. "Miss Saigon," the musical that launched Lea Salonga's career is one of the best in my opinion. It contains so many beautiful songs, but I choose for 'I'd Give My Life For You'. I have no words for this show, it's so good. I saw it live in its Dutch version in 2012 and it was amazing.

9. "Rent"

"Rent" is a rock musical based on the opera 'La Vie Boheme' and it is one of my favorite musicals ever. It's so inclusive, diverse and doesn't shy away from hard topics. My favorite song is 'Goodbye Love', but songs like 'One Song Glory' and 'Without You' are also favorites. The musical was made into a movie in 2005 starring most of the original cast, including Idina Menzel (Wicked), but also new faces as Rosario Dawson (known now for her role as Claire Temple in the Netflix Marvel series).

10. "Wicked"

My all-time favorite musical must be "Wicked" starring Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel. Although our very own Dutch Willemijn Verkaik is a close second Elphaba (she has played her for years now in Germany, the Netherlands, West End and Broadway). This show tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz and it is amazing. I saw in 2014 in the Netherlands, with my favorite song being 'No Good Deed'. It will be made into a movie, scheduled for 2019, with no cast yet announced!

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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