This is a guest review by Fernando Autran. DVD Street is not responsible for any of these views or opinions.

The Thor saga occupies a strange place within the Marvel universe. It’s like that weird cousin in your family or the mysterious friend of your friend that nobody quite likes, but they don’t hate either. What I’m trying to say is that the best way to describe the previous two Thor movies is they were average. Blame it on an uninspiring script or bad direction, but they didn’t leave much of an impression. The question is then, has Thor Ragnarok finally managed to shake the saga from its stupor? Well, I’m happy to say that it has.

The solution came by pouring a big glass of Guardians of the Galaxy essence into the mix, but don’t take this as a lack of originality. Director Taika Waititi managed to take the best elements, implant them seamlessly and make the movie truly his. The humour, the campiness, the colourful characters and settings, are all there to our delight. A feast for the eyes that oozes charisma.

However, an amazing setting is nothing without a good story filling it, and although it’s pretty good overall, there’s a bit of dissonance that drags the experience. You see, the problem is that Thor Ragnarok is two stories packed into one. On one hand, we have Thor and Hulk’s story on the planet Sakaar, and on the other, we have Hela’s conquest of Asgard. From the two, the first one is clearly the best, and the jumps to the second one feel more like an intrusion than a progression of the story. The movie could have been perfect for just the first story.

This is not fault of any of the actors, they all perform their roles perfectly. That said, I would like to give a special mention to Cate Blanchett. She does a fantastic Job as Hela, she devours every scene she’s in. In a movie with so many characters that fell larger than life, you truly believe her when she says she’s the goddess of death.

That said the stars of the movie are definitively the Hulk-Thor duo. The banter and puns between the two wouldn’t have work if there wasn’t chemistry between the actors, but they both deliver, giving us a hilarious performance. The sibling relationship between Thor and Loki also gets developed and although not as humorous, it carries a lot of the drama of the movie, and it helps develop Loki’s character.

I’m talking a lot about the acting and the story, what about the action? It’s pretty much what you can expect from a Marvel movie: frenetic, tense, and exciting without dragging too long. It doesn’t have anything to envy from Guardians of the Galaxy. It speaks volumes of Taika Waititi’s skill as a director that the serious and comedic moments never clash during the action, they nicely flow from one to the other.

Thor Ragnarok is probably the funniest Marvel movie to date. That is its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. The virtues do outnumber the flaws, but they do not suppress them. Marvel has found a good equilibrium between comedy, action, and drama, but when the moments that stand out the most are the jokes you run out the risk of taking away the gravity of the story. So far, the movie manages to stay on balance with a few missteps. Time will tell if they’re capable of maintaining that balance with the rest of the movies.

Before we go on, I must stand up and confess something about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What I’m about to say has nothing to do with the quality of the movie itself, I think it was great, and I enjoyed it a lot. That said, there’s something I must take off my chest. Okay, here it goes: I think it was a shameless copy of a new hope.

Yes, I can already see some of you snarking and rolling your eyes, but please stay with me just a bit longer. Again, as much as I enjoyed the movie, its lack of originality disappointed me a lot. I understand why Disney did it, there was too much riding on the film to take any risks.

That said, it’s my sincere hope that Star Wars: The Last Jedi, takes more risks, a new generation deserves new stories. Thankfully, I’m happy to say that based on the limited information available I think it’s on the right track. With that said here are 5 things to expect in the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi:

1. The end of the Jedi.

I love Star Wars, I Love the Jedi, I love the Sith, but man I’m tired of the conflict between the two. You could quickly summarize the story of the whole galaxy as the war between the light side and the dark side, sometimes the light wins, and sometimes the dark wins, but in the end, nothing really changes. I get the feeling that Luke has finally understood this, the best he can do to end the cycle is to get rid of the Jedi once and for all.

2. The beginning of something new.

Rey and Kylo are force users, but at the same time, they’re something more. If as Luke said the Jedi are finished, then what will take their place? New sith? I don’t think so. I believe that Rey and Kylo will become a new kind of force users, with a preference for the light side or the dark side of course, but different. Perhaps they will become the “grey Jedis” everyone is talking about, a force user that seeks balance above everything else.

3. Luke won’t be Yoda, and Rey won’t be Luke.

It’s clear that Luke is going to be Rey’s mentor, what is not clear is the kind of relationship they will have. What we can see from the trailers and the information so far is that there’s going to be a lot of tension between the two. Luke has been described several times as jaded and cynical after the incident that destroyed his school. He’s terrified he’s going to make the same mistakes with Rey, and so he keeps her at a distance, not fully trusting her. This will certainly affect Rey’s development as a force user in ways it didn’t affect Luke.

4. The bigger picture will take form.

How are Kylo and Rey related? Are they even related at all? Who’s supreme leader Snoke? Why does he have an interest in Kylo and Rey? What happened between Luke and Kylo? A thousand theories surround these questions, some more solid than others. I’m not sure which ones will end being true, but what I know is this: this movie will answer those questions, or at least provide enough information to start discarding theories finally.

5. A war of influence and leadership.

The situation in the galaxy is different from previous Star Wars movies. Both the resistance and the first order suffered devastating loses and the collateral damage left the galaxy in chaos. As such, this means that the war will be as much as making alliances and gaining influence as it is about winning battles. The thing is Leia is old, and she’s exhausted. Perhaps we will see someone else take the mantle? Poe Dameron maybe?

This is a guest post by Fernando Autran.

One of the only redeeming qualities of the fall season is the holidays that follow. First up is Halloween, which is the best of the three. Christmas brings hope. New Year’s brings renewal. Halloween brings darkness and terror, and laughs in the face of impending death. It’s the sexiest of the three. It’s the holiday that comes to the party dressed in black, and doesn’t give a crap about your happiness or joy.

Halloween is Punk.

Halloween is also that time when one can indulge in fictional horrors through television and film. Many of us try to get into the spirit of the holiday through horror films and scary tv.

With that in mind, here are some suggestions that help you celebrate the macabre. At the very least, you’ll get a good fright.

  1. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (with special shout out to “IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN”)

For some of a certain age, Halloween didn’t kick off until you watched “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” The story of Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive is as timeless as it is simple. It was a great kickoff to the holiday season.

Now, thanks to Netflix, a new holiday tradition has begun for the wee ones. Released in 1993, The film tells the story of Jack Skellington, a resident of “Halloween town” who discovers a doorway to other holidays and, out of boredom, decides to take Santa’s place. It’s a delightfully dark film with memorable music and a fantastic score.

Netflix plays it every year now and Disney has caught on to its popularity. You can’t miss Nightmare products at the stores in October.

Watch it soon as the calendar changes. It will set the proper mood for the next 31 days.

  1. THE SHINING

For adults, Halloween often means two things: Dressing up as a “Sexy” Version of whatever’s hip in pop culture, and Scary movies. and while most often go for a slasher flick (like, say, “Halloween”) I tend to go for something with a bit more heft to it.

Something considered a classic of the cinema.

Something that originated from the mind of Stephen King.

THE SHINING has everything you would want in a horror film. A haunted hotel. A boy with the ability to see Ghosts. And a father consumed by madness until he becomes the lumbering monster with murder on the mind.

A suspenseful Classic, The Shining is the one to watch this Halloween . . . with the lights on.

  1. THE WALKING DEAD PILOT

Walking Dead is in its 8th season now, with no signs of slowing down. The Popular show has become the definitive Zombie horror story. And as story about survival against all odds

The Pilot episode stands out as a fantastic hour of horror television. It’s directed by Frank Darabont, and it’s the most cinematic episode of the series.

One scene stands out. Rick, walking down a dark corridor, with nothing to light the way but matches. It’s a close shot of his face, as he’s walking this hallway. Every few moments, the light extinguishes, and for a moment it’s pitch black. And then Rick lights another match. It’s the most suspenseful two minutes on TV. Seven years later I still remember it.

Watch the first episode for that scene alone.

  1. GHOSTBUSTER ‘84

It can’t be all Doom and Gloom, right? Sometimes you want something you can laugh at.

Ghostbusters (the 84 version) still holds up. Staring Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, and Harold Ramis, the film tells the story of three paranormal scientist who figure out how to contain the supernatural and keep them from pestering society. The film was wildly popular, spawning a sequel, a Saturday morning cartoon, and a remake. Kids still dress up as Ghostbusters today, asking “Who You gonna Call?”

  1. STRANGER THINGS SEASON ONE AND TWO

And speaking of the eighties, “Stranger Things” Season 2 starts in time to take advantage of the holiday. The Second Season builds on what happened before and specifically, what happened to Will.

If you haven’t seen the first season, get on it. If you’ve wondered what a collaboration between Stephen King and Stephen Spielberg would have looked like, this is the closest you may get.

There are many ways that one gets into the Halloween spirit, but these five films and television programs are staples. They are but a small selection of media that can chill you to the bone and get your heart rate up. I recommend watching with the lights off and remember, it’s only make-believe.

And that knock at the window? It’s only the wind.

Or is it?