Archive | May, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness! You Don’t Even Have to Like Space to LOVE IT

27 May

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Star Trek Into Dark is the sequel to 2009’s Star Trek, a reboot of an old television and movie franchise. I don’t know much about Star Trek as a fandom; my only experience with it was that my dad used to watch it and I thought it was terribly boring. I’ve never considered myself much of a sci-fi fan but it seems anything that J.J Abrams touches, turns to gold. He knows how to make franchises that had a strong reputation for being nerdy or dorky and turn them into movies that are extremely accessible and entertaining.  I would strongly recommend seeing 2009’s Star Trek before this, not only because it is entertaining and excellent but also because it would be helpful to your movie going experience to familiarize yourself with the characters.

Star Trek Into Darkness starts with a bang when we find our protagonists in the middle of a life threatening adventure. James Kirk, played by Chris Pine, is cocky and handsome as ever and Spock, played by Zachary Quinto is emotionally removed yet still lovable just as we expect. The foundation of the films, and from my understanding, the entire franchise is largely based around the friendship of these two characters. Spock’s lack of ability to fully understand impassioned emotions is still played for laughs a few times, but the reality of this handicap is apparent as well.

One of the reasons to love this film is actually the entire cast of characters, including Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho and  Anton Yelchin. All of these admirable actors bring a sense of camaraderie and well as their own terrific individual assets aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise ( that’s the spaceship guys.) You really grow to love each character, although Kirk and Spock get the most attention and their relationship is central to the emotional component of this film. 

The structure and content of this film is just wonderful and the pacing is absolutely fantastic. Star Trek Into Darkness pulls you in right away with the perfect action sequences that are neither too long, nor too chaotic to grasp. I can’t say enough about the level of excitement I felt during this movie. The only way to describe it is delightful. I walked out of this movie feeling totally elated; just as I did the last one. The story is interesting and keeps you guessing. There was only one scene near the end that I didn’t care for and that is because it was drawn out for no real reason. 

Of course a new bad guy had to be introduced in this film, however one of the strong suits of this movie is you’re not really sure who the bad guy is (as a newbie anyway.) At first we think it’s newcomer Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison, but then WHOA it might be this other guy.  I can’t say enough about how much I loved Cumberbatch is this role; his voice alone is mesmerizing. I do mean newcomer to this franchise because he actually his many theatre, film and television credits to his name but this may be the first time his name becomes a household one. Or maybe it won’t seeing as it’s difficult and ridiculous to pronounce. Bottom line: He is just terrific in this movie. 

I’m telling you, this movie will suck you in from the get go and you will ride along a euphoric wave of solid performances, excellent pacing, humorous quips and an emotionally involving story. I know many people, particularly the ladies, might be hesitant to pay $12 for this one but trust me, it is well worth it.  You don’t have to like Star Trek, or space or even aliens to appreciate how awesome this movie is. I really love when a film can bring a lot to the table; the ability to make you laugh, make you think, make you empathize with the characters. Star Trek really has it all. 

Robert Downey Jr Kicks Off the Summer with a Fun Start in Iron Man 3

27 May

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How well do you know me? Here’s the thing, if you’ve known me for 20 years (Mhairi Kay) or 20 minutes, you know I have an Iron Man thing. Really, it’s a super hero thing in general. I LOVE superheroes. I didn’t always, but as soon as I saw the trailer for Iron Man in 2008 I knew there was something special between me and…the TV? I remember quite vividly going to see Iron Man at Colossus in Vaughn opening day in May 2008. When I walked out of that movie theatre, with the fullest bladder you can imagine, I was DONE. There’s no way to explain it that doesn’t make me seem like a psychotic moron, but I was, and still am, obsessed. Partially with Robert Downey, and partially with Tony Stark but totally with superheroes. I can, and will, talk about RDJ, Tony Stark, Iron Man and/or superheroes with absolutely anyone and everyone.

That being said, I was hugely disappointed with Iron Man 2. I understood what happened, and why it happened, but there was a massive amount of potential lost there. After the first movie, and learning about Stark’s back story, I was really really hoping they’d take the second film to a dark place. I like dark places. I like Tony Stark in a dark, alcoholic place. However, once Disney bought Marvel there was no chance that was going to happen. However, I was very excited when I read that Shane Black was going to be directing because he directed RDJ and Val Kilmer in one of my favorite movies, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (which you should totally watch if you have not already.) That little picture was extremely funny and smart and I knew I could hope for the same things from an Iron Man directed by Black. Was I excited for Iron Man 3? You betcha. Was I satisfied? Read on.

Iron Man 3 finds Tony Stark a bit at a loss of what to do with himself after the events of New York. For anyone silly enough to miss The Avengers, New York is basically all the events that happened in The Avengers. If you haven’t seen The Avengers YOU NEED TO SERIOUSLY RETHINK YOUR PRIORITIES AND PRETTY MUCH EVERY DECISION YOU’VE MADE IN LIFE UP UNTIL NOW.

What was I saying? Ah yes, Tony. He’s fiddling around with some toys in his garage, when a new threat called The Mandarin becomes known to ‘murica. Do I really need the synopsis here? He’s a superhero and bad guy wants to harm him/Pepper/various others so he has to stop them. There are quite a few laughs in this movie and an interesting plot twist. Some fans have voiced their discontent with this twist, but since I haven’t read the comic books I can’t really speak to it. I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll keep this brief.

Though there are various plot holes in this movie, it’s not hard to look past them and appreciate the wit and charm of this movie; specifically RDJ. If I’m being totally honest, this movie really hangs together on the charm, likability, and entertainment factors. The story is good but not great because the writers expect you to overlook some rather obvious questions when it comes to the Iron Man suit and the film’s central conflict in general. However, this is a summer block buster, and we can’t have Inception level expectations for every movie, can we? There is this kid who plays a great side kick role for Tony, played by Ty Simpkins, who really steals the show. All his scenes with RDJ are excellent and he really plays up the wise cracking kid part to great effect.

Trying to speak as an unbiased film goer, I will say go see this movie to kick off your summer with a fun start. It’s very funny, witty and likable but don’t analyze the plot or story too closely or it might fall apart all over your face. Really try to pay close attention to the dialogue here because Shane Black movies are very quick and if you’re not listening you may miss some great one liners. 

Catching Up with 42, The Place Beyond the Pines and Oblivion

22 May

Well. Well well well. Look who it is. It’s me. AND. It’s you. I’m back, you’re back. I am glad you have returned. I guess I’ve been on hiatus. Why, you ask? Well a number of very personal, private, serious, complicated issues.  Haha just kidding. I don’t have those things. It was pure, unadulterated laziness. I get very busy… doing the uh ….business that I do. The business of life, you know? HEY. On with the movie talk right? That’s what you came here for, isn’t it? So I can dispense my sweet sweet theatre going thoughts and you can lap them up with your greedy greedy…eyeballs.

Okay so I’ve seen a number of movies recently because it’s summer movie season bitches and I DON’T LIKE OUTSIDE. Honestly, I do pretend to. And I feel bad when it’s all summery outside and I just want to sit inside and watch the entire fourth season of Ally McBeal and just skip all the episodes that Robert Downey Jr isn’t in. Sometimes I do like outside. Like for a brief period of time. But then I get sweaty and skitter back inside like a frightened possum. What were we talking about? Ah yes, movies. I betcha wanna know what I’ve seen lately. You do? I’ll tell you.

If you’ve been reading this…”blog” you know I’ve stuck to a bit of a formula but fuck that. Unpredictability is the spice of life. P.S. Here’s a little PROtip. If the review is short, it means that I didn’t find it particularly memorable. Now this isn’t a bad thing, you can’t have an earth shattering experience at the movies EVERY time. Some stuff you just watch to fill your time. I have a weakness for summer blockbusters though, so you might notice my entries getting longer with titles that are bigger, ie raking in shit tons of cash. I’m going to summarize the synopsis and my thoughts on these three movies which I saw over the past two months because none of these films rocked my world and as a result I don’t have much to say on them. In case you are interested, Kenny liked 42 and Place Beyond the Pines but detested Oblivion.

42

This is a lovely biopic on the first black baseball player in professional baseball, Jackie Robinson. It starts Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman.  Overall this is a solid film that meanders a bit in spots but overall is a well-acted, well told, uplifting story. I’d wait for it on DVD or however you view your movies at home these days.

The Place Beyond the Pines

This was an interesting film starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper about what it means to be a father. The movie tells the two interwoven tales of the lives of Cooper and Gosling. It could really be two separate films because their lives don’t overlap much until the third act. It does feel a little long at times but is ultimately very thought provoking and honestly…a bit of a downer. The film poses a number of interesting moral quandaries so I recommend watching it with someone intelligent and articulate so you can afterwards discuss your thoughts on the various dilemmas. Also, there was this very funny part where Ryan Gosling does this very funny this with a dog, which was delightfully weird.

Oblivion

This futuristic pic stars Tom Cruise as Jack, a man who lives alone with a woman in a platform in the sky. Their little sky apartment is very chic. I liked it very much. Did I like this movie very much? The first act was EXCELLENT. We know Jack is having dreams about another woman and that he has voluntarily had his memory wiped. Oblivion is a great looking movie, and I can’t say enough about how great the set pieces and costumes are. However, middle of the second act it dissolves into some ridiculous sci-fi clichés about A.I and other crazy garbage. Trust me, the question is better than the answer in this film. I generally like Cruise, something about him is, obviously, very likable. Also, still looks great for his age. Also, he really feels like an every-man until you remember he’s bat shit crazy because he “practices” scientology.  Poor guy. As well, Morgan Freeman is in this movie. Just basically wasting his own time and everyone else’s. Just collecting a pay cheque. Good for him, I guess.