Star Trek Beyond Looks Much Faster and More Furious


Star Trek Beyond

J.J. Abrams reinvigorated the Star Trek film franchise when he did a sort of sort-reboot in 2009. It brought the franchise into the consciousness of a younger demographic who didn’t grow up as fans of the franchise both in film and the many tv series. The film was a success and Paramount made sure to strike while it was still hot and greenlit a sequel that looked to build on the strong foundation set-up by J.J. Abrams.

2013 saw that sequel come out and to say that it underwhelmed and burned much of the goodwill created with the 2009 film would be an understatement. Star Trek Into Darkness (a title derided the moment it was announced) literally took the “darkness” part of the title and ramped it up to 11. There wasn’t any of the fun and adventurous nature of the first film. It didn’t help that screenwriter’s Robert Orci’s 9/11 Truther ideology seeped into the film’s plot.

When it was announced that Robert Orci would end up directing the third film after J.J. Abrams went to go direct the latest Star Wars film, the outcry was loud and clear. Orci was a bad choice and just keeping him on would just sink a film franchise already teetering on the brink of becoming irrelevant in a blockbuster environment where superhero universes and the original blockbuster universe reigned supreme.

So, it was with some relief and cautious optimism when Paramount dumped Orci and went with Justin Lin (hot off the massive success of Fast & Furious 6) and rewrites by Simon Pegg. The franchise was going to get the fun back into the series and everyone was invited. Even the chosen title, Star Trek Beyond, spoke to a creative team who saw a chance to bring back the franchise from just being part of a fandom but for those who wouldn’t know a dilithium crystal from a Sith Lord.

The first teaser shows the fun part of what Justin Lin and Simon Pegg have been talking about. Now, will the next trailer show a much more dramatic side to the events fans are hoping will balance all the fun.

Star Trek Beyond looks to land on July 22, 2016.

LeonTh3Duke’s Favorite Films of 2013


I have to say, this might be the earliest I have ever posted one of these lists. For once I saw everything I wanted to see before the Oscars; and although I haven’t written as many reviews this year, I have loved A TON of what was released. For me, 2013 was one of the better years for film in a while. Which of course makes creating a list such as this so damn hard. But here goes…

…oh, and I should note, this list is ordered according to which films were my favorite/least favorite, not necessarily the best/worst; yes there is a difference if you ask me.

Least Favorite Films of 2013:

5 – “Star Trek Into Darkness” (dir. J.J. Abrams)

5 Star Trek Into Darkness

4 – “Don Jon” (dir. Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

4 Don Jon

3 – “This Is The End” (dir. Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen)

3 This Is The End

2 – “Mama” (dir. Andre Muschietti)

2 Mama

1 – “A Good Day To Die Hard” [Just so happens to be my least favorite AND the worst.] (dir. Satan… Hitler?…no wait, John Moore)

1 A Good Day To Die Hard

Favorite Films of 2013:

25 – “Prince Avalanche” (dir. David Gordon Green)

25 Prince Avalanche

24 – “Drug War” (dir. Johnnie To)

24 Drug War

23 – “The Wolverine” (dir. James Mangold)

23The Wolverine

22 – “Upstream Color” (dir. Shane Carruth)

22 Upstream Color

21 – “The Wolf Wall Street” (dir. Martin Scorsese)

21 The Wolf of Wall Street

20 – “Enough Said” (dir. Nicole Holofcener)

20 Enough Said

19 – “Frozen” (dir. Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee)

19 Frozen

18 – “The World’s End” (dir. Edgar Wright)

18 The Worlds End

17 – “Dallas Buyers Club” (dir. Jean-Marc Vallee)

17 Dallas Buyers Club

16 – “Blue Is The Warmest Color” (dir. Adbellatif Kechiche)

16 Blue Is The Warmest Color

15 – “An Adventure In Space and Time” (dir. Terry McDonough)

15 An Adventure in Space and Time

14 – “Stories We Tell” (dir. Sarah Polley)

14 Stories We Tell

13 – “Much Ado About Nothing” (dir. Joss Whedon)

13 Much Ado About Nothing

12 – “Blue Jasmine” (dir. Woody Allen)

12 Blue Jasmine

11 – “Mud” (dir. Jeff Nichols)

11 Mud

10 – “Frances Ha” (dir. Noah Baumbach)

10 Frances Ha

9 – “12 Years A Slave” (dir. Steve McQueen)

9 Twelve Years A Slave

8 – “Short Term 12” (dir. Destin Cretton)

8 Short Term 12

7 – “Inside Llewyn Davis” (dir. Ethan & Joel Coen)

7 Inside Llewyn Davis

6 – “Museum Hours” (dir. Jem Cohen)

6 Museum Hours

5 – “Stoker” (dir. Chan-wook Park)

5 Stoker

4 – “The Act of Killing” [The BEST of 2013 and possibly beyond.] (dir. Joshua Oppenheimer)

4 The Act of Killing

3 – “Before Midnight” (dir. Richard Linklater)

2 Before Midnight

2 – “Her” (dir. Spike Jonze)

1 Her

 

1 – “Gravity” (dir. Alfonso Cauron)

3 Gravity

 

These last three were honestly neck and neck and neck, and it wasn’t until I was ready to post this list that I bumped “Gravity” up to the top spot, replacing “Her”. As I mentioned above, this was such a great year for film and my favorite could change anytime in the future depending on when you asked me; but at this very moment I have to give it to “Gravity”.

 

(Some of My…) Favorite Performances of 2013 [No Specific Order]:

– Brie Larson (“Short Term 12”)

– Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”)

– Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club” & “Mud”)

– Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson & Amy Adams (“Her”)

(Some of My…) Favorite Filmmakers and Writers of 2013 [No Specific Order]:

– Filmmaker: Joshua Oppenheimer (“The Act of Killing”)

– Writers: Richard Linklater, Julie Deply & Ethan Hawke (“Before Midnight”)

Favorite Score of 2013 (Ran a Half Marathon To This Sucker):

– Steven Price (“Gravity”)

Here Are The Ten Semi-Finalists For The Best Visual Effects Oscar


Yesterday, the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee  announced the ten semi-finalists for the Best Visual Effects Oscar.

And here they are:

Elysium

Gravity

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Iron Man 3

The Lone Ranger

Oblivion

Pacific Rim

Star Trek: Into Darkness

Thor: The Dark World

World War Z

Five of the films listed above will receive actual Oscar nominations and then one will win the Oscar.  And that one will probably be Gravity.

It’s interesting to note that Man Of Steel, a film that basically was just 143 minutes of visual effects, failed to make the cut.

Trash Film Guru Vs. The Summer Blockbusters : “Star Trek Into Darkness”


StarTrekIntoDarknessEnterprisePoster

There are those who have argued online — and in print, as well, I’d imagine — that once you cross the invisible threshold from merely “liking” a recurring or serialized entertainment property/artistic venture (I’ll leave you, dear reader, to decide which of those categories the Star Trek franchise falls into) into becoming a full-fledged “fan” of it that you’re basically fucked, because while “liking” something means you appreciate it for what it does, being a “fan” of it means you like it for what it’s already done, and are quite happy to just have the folks behind it serve you up more of the same. Hell, you might even get pretty upset if they don’t!

I’m not sure I’m willing to go so far as to agree with that sentiment in its entirety — many fans of various works of genre entertainment actually appreciate being offered something new and unique on occasion, in my experience — it certainly applies to a very large segment of most of the various fandoms out there. You know the kind of folks I’m talking about — those who get worked into a mouth-foaming frenzy at the slightest changes or tonal shifts in a given installment of the film, TV, novel, or comic book series and feel the need to shout about what a “blasphemy” has taken place at the top of either their lungs or, as is more often the case these days with computer keyboards and such, fingertips. It gets pretty old pretty fast and I’ve learned to tune most of it out, but anyone who denies the existence of fans such as these is flat-out delusional — the more level-headed among us might like to ignore them, sure, but we can’t admit that they don’t exist. At least not with a straight face.

My point here being, you rightly ask? Uber-conservative fans such as this are bound to be happy with Star Trek Into Darkness (there’s no colon in the title, I checked), J.J. Abrams’ second foray into Gene Rodenberry’s venerable sci-fi universe, because, despite all its superficial “differences” to what has come before, this is really just more of the same.

Which isn’t my half-hearted and/or half-assed way of saying it’s a bad flick — all in all it’s reasonably well-executed and keeps the average audience member more or less interested throughout — it’s just that we’ve seen more or less all of this done before, and unlike with his first go-round, this time Abrams doesn’t even really expend any effort into tricking you into believing (at least on first viewing) that you’re witnessing some bold new take on things here.

And that should suit the stick-in-the-mud types just fine, I would think, since these are folks who go beyond simply being able to see the creaks and joins in a given structure and actually and actively like seeing them, pointing them out, and analyzing them ad nauseum.  In short, I think these people are gonna absolutely love the fact that this film’s big, supposedly-emotionally-resonant “turning point” is just a mirror-image inversion of the same exact scene in Star Trek II : The Wrath Of Khan. They’ll probably also enjoy the fact that, for all their supposed “added depth,” characters like Simon Pegg’s Scotty and Zoe Saldana’s Uhura are still essentially one-dimensional ciphers who just have a few more lines now, and that Karl Urban’s Dr. “Bones” McCoy still speaks in nothing but utterly predictable one-liners rather than , you know, actual, honest-to-goodness dialogue. And I think they’ll also dig the fact that Abrams has quickly established recurrent patterns of his own here — gotta have a Leonard Nimoy cameo, gotta have at least one hot-chick-in-underwear scene, etc.

No doubt about it — if you’re one of these “don’t rock the boat too much or I’m really gonna bitch about it” types of fans, Star Trek Into Darkness  is bound to be right up your alley. In fact, it’s probably likely to make you feel pretty clever, as well, since you’ll be utterly convinced that the poor schmuck in the seat next to you isn’t going to see this movie’s “big revelations” coming.

Guess what, though? He (or she) probably is, since it only takes the most minimal amount of working knowledge of Star Trek lore to have a pretty solid guess as to the real identity of Benedict Cumberbatch’s pseudonymous “John Harrison” villain, the way things are bound to play out once Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk leads leads his crew — uhmmmm — “into darkness” is essentially a foregone conclusion, and shit, your “this guy’s bound to die” radar is guaranteed to be  ringing at top volume from the get-go in relation to one of the story’s semi-principal characters (the oldest Trek trick in the book).

Again, none of which is to say this is in any way an actively bad film — the main cast all acquit themselves pretty well, especially Zachary Quinto as Spock, the CGI effects are uniformly just fine (heck, they always are these days), and the principal narrative is by and large plenty entertaining enough.  It’s just a thoroughly predictable one. If you’re in the mood to kick back, shut your brain off, and just sit through a fairly standard Star Trek romp, this’ll do the job just fine. Just don’t go in expecting anything more — or at the very least anything other — than that.

I have no idea where the Trek franchise is headed from here. Abrams has, as everyone knows, recently been handed the reigns over on Star Wars, as well, so whether or not he intends to do both I couldn’t say. It sounds to me like it would be an awful lot of work  to juggle them both, and maybe now would be a good time to walk away from this one and pass the buck  to somebody else. He’s clearly out of ideas here, anyway, so it wouldn’t be too big a loss.

One last time now, in unison — which is not me saying that this sucked ! It’s just an acknowledgement that it only took two films for the “new” Star Trek to become as safe and stagnant as the “old” version and that a genuinely fresh take on things might be for the best going forward.

Trailer: Star Trek Into Darkness (International)


StarTrekIntoDarkness

Less than two months remain before the sequel to J.J. Abrams surprise reboot hit of Star Trek arrives in the theaters this summer. It’s set to be one of this summer’s tentpole event films and this later trailer looks to set to prove that to be true.

While the first two trailers went light on the main narrative of the sequel this international trailer looks to really focus on Benedict Cumberbatch’s character who is either going to be this Star Trek alternate timeline’s Khan or Gary Mitchell or an amalgam of the two. Either way the trailer is all about action and Sherlock-Smaug looking, talking and acting all superior evil towards Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise crew.

Star Trek Into Darkness is set for a May 17, 2013 release date.

Trailer: Star Trek Into Darkness (Super Bowl Exclusive)


StarTrekIntoDarkness

The sequel to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek is just months away. It returns not just Abrams into the director’s chair but also the whole cast of the rebooted franchise back to boldly go where no one’s gone before.

Star Trek Into Darkness (still an awkward title but then we don’t to watch a film in the theaters because we like or don’t like how the title sounds) just released it’s latest trailer (this time a TV spot) during Super Bowl XLVII. The spot has new scenes and images that the previous teasers and trailers didn’t already show. We may have gotten a hint into the villain portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the film. While the name Khan has never been mentioned in any ad and marketing spots since the film was announced I’d be very surprised if the villain is not some sort of analogue of that classic Star Trek rogue.

Star Trek Into Darkness is set for a May 17, 2013 release date.

Source: Joblo Movie Network

Trailer: Star Trek Into Darkness (Official Trailer)


StarTrekIntoDarkness

Over ten days ago we saw the release of the teaser trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness. This sequel by J.J. Abrams for the reboot of the storied scifi franchise looks to be one of the most-anticipated films of 2013 (if the world doesn’t end in a couple days of this posting that is). Today we get the release of the official trailer which adds in a couple of new scenes and images not included in the teaser.

Again there’s some debate as to which villain Benedict Cumberbatch is really portraying despite being listed in the cast as the character of John Harrison. The even money bet is that he plays a version of Kirk’s archenemy Khan Noonien Singh which is a strong possibility since the early draft for the Khan character was suppose to be a Nordic superhuman by the name of John Ericssen. Even Abrams himself has never said outright that he would never use the Khan character as the villain in this rebooted franchise. Whether he uses the classic Trek villain in this sequel or the next should get an answer as we get closer to the film’s release date.

Star Trek Into Darkess has a release date of May 17, 2013.

Trailer: Star Trek into Darkness (Official Teaser)


StarTrekIntoDarkness

I’m not too overly fond of the title J.J. Abrams came up for the sequel to his 2009 blockbuster hit, Star Trek, but I will still admit that I’m eagerly anticipating this follow-up despite the title.

Star Trek Into Darkess still has months to go before it makes it’s premiere on the big-screen but it’s already one of the most-anticipated film for 2013. One of the things people have been very curious about the film and it’s tightly held storyline is just who exactly the villain is that Benedict Cumberbatch plays. Some have said it’s the classic Trek villain Khan and others say it’s a brand new character with Khan-traits.

If the film builds on the success and quality of the first film then it doesn’t matter who the villain is. Now the next question is whether Abrams has added more or less lensflare in this next film of his.

Star Trek into Darkness has a tentative release date of May 17, 2013.