Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (J. J. Abrams, 2019)

WARNING: The very premise of this film contains spoilers for the series thus far.

The members of the Resistance have escaped from Planet Crait and are now mounting a counterattack against the First Order. However, as they regroup, a shocking, new development occurs. A mysterious broadcast resonates throughout the galaxy, promising a threat of revenge. The voice belongs to none other than the deceased Emperor Palpatine – the despot ruler of the Galactic Empire. In response, General Leia Organa has dispatched her agents to gather intelligence as Rey prepares for the final battle. As the new Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo Ren attempts to solve the mystery of this phantom emperor, hoping to eliminate any threat to his own reign.

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Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson, 2017)

WARNING: The very premise of this film contains spoilers for the series thus far.

Starkiller Base has been destroyed, but the First Order continues their campaign undaunted. Having disposed of the Republic, Supreme Leader Snoke has deployed his forces in order to subjugate the galaxy. The only thing standing in their way is General Leia Organa’s Resistance fighters. Although certain that her brother will rejoin the fight and light a spark of hope in the Resistance, their existence has been exposed. It is only a matter of time before Snoke’s forces overwhelms the Resistance.

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Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (J. J. Abrams, 2015)

WARNING: The very premise of this film contains spoilers for the series thus far.

After the fall of the Galactic Empire, the exploits of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, and the rebel forces that brought down the oppressive regime became the talk of legends. Thirty years have passed since then, and a new crisis has emerged. Luke Skywalker has vanished without a trace. In his absence, a faction known as the First Order has risen from the ashes of the Empire. General Leia Organa now leads a resistance movement against the First Order backed by the Republic. Desperate to find her brother, she sends her best pilot on a mission to Planet Jakku. An old ally may have found a clue to Luke’s whereabouts.

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Hustlers (Lorene Scafaria, 2019)

Hustlers is a tale set in the seedy underbelly of New York City. Although the city’s most violent period is behind it, there still exist many stories of people barely scraping by and having to resort to desperate measures in order to make ends meet. In the year 2014, journalist Elizabeth approaches a former stripped from New York City named Dorothy for an interview. Dorothy is initially hesitant to tell this story, not wanting to put her friends in jeopardy. Eventually, she relents, though she makes it clear that Elizabeth isn’t to probe certain subjects.

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The Peanut Butter Falcon (Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz, 2019)

Zak is a 22-year-old man with Down syndrome. Because he has no family that can take care of him, he was made a ward of the state and lives in a retirement home in North Carolina. There, he is cared for by a woman named Eleanor. He has made several attempts to escape the retirement home, but to no avail. Idolizing a professional wrestler who went by the sobriquet of The Salt Water Redneck, he dreams of entering the business himself. One night, he sneaks out with the assistance of his elderly roommate, Carl, and hides in a fishing boat.

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Blinded by the Light (Gurinder Chadha, 2019)

The year is 1987. The protagonist of this story is a teenager living in Luton, England by the name of Javed Khan. His parents, Malik and Noor, emigrated from Pakistan many years ago. Although he has lived most of his life in the United Kingdom to the point where he speaks fluent English, he is still subject to significant racial discrimination due to his Pakistani heritage, which is in turn exacerbated by his poor upbringing. Many of these problems are brought on by highly conservative political climate dominating Western civilization at the time. Javed enjoys contemporary rock music, much to Malik’s annoyance. One day, he meets another South Asian student at his new school named Roops. This student introduces him to a musician known in many circles as “The Boss”.

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Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham, 2018)

Kayla is an eighth grade student attending Miles Grove Middle School. She often posts motivational videos on YouTube to help those with little self-esteem, though they receive little attention. Her advice is quite ironic, for she herself is quite the shy person, having few friends at school. It is to the point where she is voted “Most Quiet” by her classmates. She also has difficulties connecting with her father, who tries, and largely fails, to ween her off of social media. In spite of her emotional baggage, Kayla spends her last week as a middle school student determined to leave her comfort zone.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

This story takes place in the year 1969. An aging actor named Rick Dalton has been stuck playing the role of antagonists in various films for several years. He was once the star of a Western television series called Bounty Law in the 1950s, but his time in the sun has long passed. He often confides to his best friend and stunt double Cliff Booth that his career is effectively over. Despite his dire situation, Rick lives in a comfortable house on Cielo Drive. He realizes he may have a second chance on his hands when two rising talents, Sharon Tate and her husband, Roman Polanski, move into the large house next door to him.

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Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017)

A teenager by the name of Christine McPherson, who usually goes by her nickname Lady Bird, has just finished touring a series of Californian colleges. She is now being driven back to her home in Sacramento by her mother, Marion. After graduating, she intends to apply to schools outside of California, discontent with the boring life she leads. Marion, believing Lady Bird to be ungrateful, does not agree with her decision and swiftly rebukes her. Lady Bird, deciding she would rather throw herself out of a moving car than suffer her mother’s interminable lectures one second longer, proceeds to do just that.

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The Farewell (Lulu Wang, 2019)

Billi is a Chinese-American woman attempting to gain a Guggenheim Fellowship while living in New York City. She, along with her mother and father, had moved to the United States when she was very young, leaving behind their remaining relatives – including her beloved grandmother, Nai Nai. One day, they receive distressing news; Nai Nai has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. However, she herself does not know of her affliction with her sister deciding not to inform her. Using their nephew’s haphazardly planned wedding as an excuse to see Nai Nai one last time, Billi and her family travel to Changchun to surreptitiously bid her farewell.

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