Diana Vacc sees “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

by Diana Vaccarelli


As an avid Star Wars fan I was pumped to see the new film, especially based upon the title, The Rise of Skywalker and that it is the end of the Skywalker family saga.

Walking into the theater I admit to the nerves and butterflies because I expected so much.

This final film in the Skywalker franchise brings back the biggest baddie in the galaxy Emperor Palpatine, which bothers me because the first six films of this space opera deal with the rise and fall of powerful Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker as he becomes arch-villian Darth Vader, and then his ultimate redemption through his son Luke, who defeats and ultimately kills the very same Emperor Palpatine.

To me, bringing the Big Bad back takes away from the whole story arc. So a definite face palm to writer-director JJ Abrams, and the corporate hacks at Disney and LucasFilm, for taking that oh-so disappointing route instead of following up on so many other opportunities.

For example:

One big moment the film explores is when all the Jedi guide Rey (Daisy Ridley) in the final battle against the Palpster.

Anakin Skywalker, voice performed by Hayden Christensen, should have appeared as a  force ghost with her.  I mean, the title is The Rise of Skywalker, right? So shouldn’t the film have gives us a good look at the very first Skywalker?

Who knows? Maybe there is a deleted scene doing just that (or something very much like it) and we can all be thrilled and surprised when it’s included in the inevitable DVD. I certainly hope so.

Another missed opportunity is the chance to explore the moral conflict Kylo Ren/Ben Sold/Grandson of Vader (Adam Driver) feels throughout his journey as Supreme Leader.

I understand that Carrie Fisher’s unfortunate death kept JJ and the Gang from basing the film on her deeply missed character’s arc, but making better use of Driver, who pretty much is the plot’s prime mover, could have elicited the kind of genuine emotional excitement every great film needs.

It certainly would have excited me more than having to watch all those minor characters stand up, sit down, and go rah, rah, just to tie together their old stories.

As far as I’m concerned, ST:ROS had a lot of entertaining scenes but never achieved the greatness worth of the Star Wars name. I hate to admit it, but if I’d never seen this film I’d never have missed it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In case you think Diana, who usually loves just about everything she watches, is picking on poor JJ and company, here’s a short review by TVWriter™ buddy Robert Glenn Plotner:

My review of “The Rise of Skywalker.”
Spoilers, I guess.
The Rise of Skywalker is a head spinning blender that keeps one amused/distracted with wizardry until one is inoculated against the flimsiness of the baseline truth or narrative.
There are people riding musk oxen dropped from star ships onto a capsized star destroyer in the middle of a swelling ocean who gallop around for awhile and are forgotten about when things go boom.
Also, it isn’t clear why Billy Dee Williams or whoever is in Rebel Command thought it was a helpful idea to transport musk oxen into this penultimate battle.
Also, those drop ships are going to have some serious musk oxen poo cleanup.
Also, “get yer ghost cameos here. Ghost cameos here!”
Also, you know when as a kid you scooted across carpeting in your socks and you touched something and got a static electric shock through your fingertips? There’s a LOT of that.

LB’S NOTE: If this film isn’t a true metaphor of life as lived in the year 2019 by myself and hundreds of millions of other human beings, then nothing is. And, yes, by this I mean, “Woah! This was a very bad year…and an awful movie as well.


Diana Vacc sees “Holiday Date”

A couple of actors trying their best

by Diana Vaccarelli

It’s that time of year.  Cheesy Hallmark Channel Holiday Movie Season!!!! As cheesy as these movies are they bring a light to the stress of everyday living.  The third in a series of film reviews from yours truly is Holiday Date.

Holiday Date is a look into the life of aspiring L.A. clothing designer Brooke (portrayed by Brittany Bristow)  as she braces herself to go home for the holidays after a break-up  and has to figure out a way to tell her family.

Yes, really, that’s the big problem she starts off with, but, please, don’t yawn yet. There’s more such excitement to come.

Brooke heads to a party at a friend’s house and meets actor Joel Parker (portrayed by Matt Cohen).  The two hit it off as friends, and Joel’s agent suggests he go home with her and pose as her (former) boyfriend Evan to research a role he is up for.  The two new friends agree to this and travel to Brooke’s small home town in Pennsylvania, where every possible ridiculous mistake that could be made in such a situation is in fact made.

I found myself laughing out loud throughout the whole film.  The humor may not have been intentional, but nevertheless it was truly hilarious thanks to the mistakes Joel makes as pseudo boyfriend Evan in such otherwise normal (and boring) tasks as helping to make a gingerbread house, putting up Christmas lights, and, in a context that should surprise nobody, getting the Christmas tree. I have known a lot of people-pleasers in my life, but Joel as pseudo-Evan is the saddest example ever of that very sad breed.

In other words, writers Karen Berger and Kraig Wenman have written a script with enough cheese to make a dozen pizzas with and topped it with dialogue that I am absolutely certain made the actors cry. Bristow, Cohen, and the rest of the cast give it their best shot, but the writing betrays them so much at every turn that they and the film and the audience all would have been better served by no pizza…oops, I mean script, at all.

I love film and TV so much that TVWriter™ boss Larry Brody often describes me as “my friend who never has met a movie she didn’t love,” but those days have just ended. Holiday Date is a disaster from first bite to last. Anything you do other than watching this, except maybe throwing yourself into an oncoming vehicle, would be a much better way to spend your time.

Yay! Diana Vaccarelli is  back! Find out more about TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large (and a TVWriter™ University grad) HERE

Diana Vacc sees “Christmas in Rome”

by Diana Vaccarelli

It’s that time of year.  Cheesy Hallmark Channel Holiday Movie Season!!!! As cheesy as these movies are they bring a light to the stress of everyday living.  The second in a series of film reviews from yours truly is “Christmas in Rome.”

This holiday movie takes place in the magical city of Rome.  Who doesn’t want to travel to Rome and experience its history and culture?  It’s on my bucket list, for sure, one of the best things about Christmas in Rome is cinematography, with all its scenery and landmarks.

Lacey Chabert of Mean Girls plays the character of Angela De Luca, a tour guide in Rome.  She meets a young man named Oliver Martin, portrayed by Sam Page, on a mission to buy a business that makes Christmas ornaments.  Oliver, being from America, enlists the help of Angela to charm the local Italian business owner.

Chabert and Page demonstrate great chemistry in this film.  The problem their characters ultimately have to overcome is that once his business is over Oliver has to go back to states. Oh my! How do you suppose that will affect their wonderful new relationship?

Unfortunately for viewers who want to be surprised, Christmas in Rome has the usual predictable happy ending. Luckily for me, I love happy endings, especially at Christmas time, so no worries here.

If you feel the way I do, then this Hallmark film is for you. I hope you enjoy this holiday movie season!

Yay! Diana Vaccarelli is  back! Find out more about TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large (and a TVWriter™ University grad) HERE

Diana Vacc sees “Check Inn to Christmas”

by Diana Vaccarelli

Its that time again.  One of my favorites –  Hallmark Channel holiday movie season!!!! Oh yeah!

As cheesy as these movies are, they bring relief from the stress of everyday living.  The first in this series of film reviews from yours truly is Check Inn to Christmas.

Check Inn film follows lawyer and boss babe Julia Crawley, portrayed by Rachel Boston,  as she comes home for the holidays and helps run the small family inn.  Soon we learn the Crawley family has a rivalry with the Masons, another family with a vacation inn and that the rivalry spans many generations.

You can probably guess what’s going to happen. Here’s how writer Anna White takes the “Romeo and Juliet” angle from here:

While on an errand, Julia runs into handsome Ryan Mason, portrayed by Wes Brown, son of the rival Mason family.  And what do you know? That’s right. The two of them immediately fall in love and hide it from their disputing families, of course.

After a secret meeting, Julia and Ryan discover that both their families’ inns are at risk via a big-name resort planning on coming to their small town.  They decide to get their families to agree to work together to get rid of the big ,evil corporate resort inn.

This is a typical Hallmark product, starting with forbidden love, moving directly to the bad corporation trying to take over a small town without passing anywhere near “Go!”, and crossing home plate with the lovers’ families coming together.

As predictable as this film was, however, Check Inn to Christmas was a genuine hoot to watch. I recommedt it to even the most jaded holiday gift wrapper. You may roll your eyes a bit, but you’ll also smile and not and find yourself forgetting the troubles of the day.

Yay! Diana Vaccarelli is  back! Find out more about TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large (and a TVWriter™ University grad) HERE

Diana Vacc sees “A Star is Born”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Speaking of A Star is Born, here is TVWriter™ Critic-At-Large Diana Vaccarelli with a bit of a  different view from that we published last week. Take it away, Diana!

by Diana Vaccarelli


October 7, 2018, Warner Bros. in association with Live Nation Productions and MGM released the fourth remake of A Star is Born.  This film follows the story of famous musician Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) and struggling artist Ally (Lady Gaga) as they fall in love, while dealing with Jackson’s alcoholism and inner demons.


  • The directorial debut of Bradley Cooper soared with perfection when it comes to the writing, acting, and the music.  You can feel his passion for this project watching the film.
  • Not only did Bradley Cooper direct and co-write the script, he also starred as the tortured Jackson Maine.  He excels in this role and reminds people that musicians and actors are human beings too and have their struggles in life.
  • I have never seen Lady Gaga act in a role before and let me tell you I was floored.  The role of Ally couldn’t have been portrayed by any other person.
  • The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga reminds me of the chemistry that Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio had in Titanic.  Watching Cooper and Gaga as Maine and Ally you feel the love these two have for one another.


  • Few films that are released today that touch the soul.  This film is one of them.  It has been a long time since I have genuinely cried watching a film.  All in all nothing negative to say at all.


With the majority of films coming out these days being superhero or at least tentpole-based, it’s refreshing to see a film that deals with issues the people deal with on a real level.

In other words, go see the newest version of A Star is Born. Because, guess what? You’ll see yourself.

Diana Vaccarelli is TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large and a TVWriter™ University grad. Find out more about her HERE