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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24 Hour Party People (Michael Winterbottom, 2002)

On June 4, 1976, a television presenter named Tony Wilson watched the Sex Pistols perform at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall. The audience for the pioneering punk band was decidedly small; fewer than fifty people attended. Nonetheless, many of these people would go on to have promising music careers of their own. To harness the energy of this new wave of music sweeping Manchester, Wilson founds a record label he dubs Factory Records, signing a promising collected called Joy Division as their first band.

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Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018)

Thousands of years ago, a meteorite containing vibranium crashed into the continent of Africa. The metal was quickly discovered to be a valuable resource, possessing the ability to leverage thermodynamics in absorbing, storing, and releasing kinetic energy. Realizing its great potential, five tribes warred against each other in an attempt to obtain the material. Through ingesting a heart-shaped herb affected by vibranium, one warrior gained superhuman abilities. Now known as the Black Panther, this warrior united the tribes, excluding the Jabari, to form the nation of Wakanda. In the centuries since, the Wakandans have used the vibranium to pursue countless scientific endeavors all while isolating themselves from the world by posing as a Third World country. In the present day, King T’Chaka of Wakanda has perished in battle, leaving his son, T’Challa, to inherit the Black Panther mantle. Though he intends to maintain the status quo with his reign, he may find this task impossible when a figure from his father’s past emerges from the shadows.

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The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2006)

As the nineteenth century comes to a close, Robert Angier and Alfred Borden work as shills for a famous magician in London. One trick in the magician’s repertoire involves Angier’s wife, Julia, escaping from a water tank while tied up. The act takes a tragic turn when Julia fails to escape the tank and drowns despite the shills’ best efforts. Furious over the loss of his wife, Angier blames Borden, believing that tying a double knot directly caused this tragedy. Shortly thereafter, the two launch their own careers, fiercely determined to upstage the other in a war that threatens to consume them both.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Peter Jackson, 2003)

WARNING: The premise of this film contains unmarked spoilers for the story thus far.

Two hobbits, Sméagol and Déagol, were fishing in a river when the latter discovered a mysterious ring in the water. Upon seeing it, Sméagol killed his friend for the ring and retreated into the Misty Mountains. Over time, the ring’s power twisted his body and mind until he became a creature named Gollum. It was, in reality, the One Ring, an artifact forged by Sauron the Dark Lord in the Second Age of Arda in his campaign for world conquest. Many centuries have passed since that day. Gollum, having discovered that a hobbit named Frodo Baggins now bears the ring, will stop at nothing to retrieve it.

Meanwhile, Saruman, Sauron’s second-in-command has fallen, betrayed by his own servant, Gríma. At Isengard, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and King Théoden reunite with Merry and Pippin. Gandalf retrieves Saruman’s palantír. Pippin looks into the stone as the wizard sleeps only to be telepathically assaulted by Sauron. Gandalf concludes that Sauron intends to attack Gondor in retaliation for his defeat at Helm’s Deep. Taking Pippin with him, Gandalf rides to Gondor’s capital city, Minas Tirith as his alliance prepares for one final battle against the forces of Mordor.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Peter Jackson, 2002)

WARNING: The premise of this film contains unmarked spoilers for the story thus far.

Dire circumstances have torn the Fellowship of the Ring apart. Gandalf the Grey sacrificed himself to fend off the powerful Balrog, Boromir was mortality wounded in an Uruk-hai attack after attempting to take the One Ring in desperation, and Merry and Pippin have been taken captive. This has prompted Frodo and his friend Sam to journey alone to Mount Doom on their quest to destroy the One Ring, though they soon find that one of the ring’s previous owners is interested in reclaiming it. Meanwhile, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, have happened upon the Rohirrim. Their leader, Éomer, has informed them that Saruman’s servant, Grima Wormtongue, has manipulated their king into turning a blind eye to the forces of Mordor running rampant throughout Rohan. As the One Ring draws closer to Mount Doom, the flames of war threaten to erupt in a mighty conflagration.

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