Star Trek: The Next Generation, Mirror Broken- Review By Case Wright


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Happy Horrorthon!!! This review is going to be a deep dive into eeeeeeevil nerdism.  I understand that not everyone reads this site is a techie nerd, BUUUUUUT I think we have a healthy plurality. Nothing is better than to merge an evil universe with my love of Star Trek.

I’m going to give brief recap of the Star Trek Mirror Universe.  There’s a parallel universe in Star Trek that basically capitalist/imperialist.  In that timeline, humans are aggressive and conquered the Vulcans.  You can tell they are evil because they are avaricious and have beards- Think if Seattle/Portland went less drum circle and went more Roman.  It’s common to kill your superior to advance in the chain of command, it’s totally capitalist, and more fun in some ways because it’s a lot less model UN and much more Model Viking.

The evil universe never appeared in the Next Generation, but it did appear in Star Trek: The Original Series and then the second tier properties of Enterprise, Deep Space Nine and Voyager.  In those second tier properties, they set up a timeline that when the “Good Kirk” encouraged Spock to be reformist, it worked.  Too bad for Earth because the Empire got attacked by the other Alien Races we conquered and now Humans are pushed back to their solar system and will likely to be conquered.

Where there’s life, there’s hope.  In this comic, the writers Steven and David Tipton imagine if Jean Luc Picard was an uncompromising badass who is determined to bring the Terran Empire back to its former glory. How does he do this besides being really JACKED? Picard sets out to steal the Galaxy Class Enterprise.  This creates a great heist story, but it’s also super fun because it explores all of the old characters from the Next Generation and I mean ALL! There are character that were all but extras in Next Generation that are featured in the background of the book.  There are so many interesting takes on our old heroes.  Barclay is cunning, Data is experimenting with Borg-technology, and Geordie has his paramour from Next Gen, but she’s an alcoholic.  It’s so fun to go down this rabbit hole.

Back to the story, Picard assembles our familiar crew and seizes the Galaxy Class Enterprise for his own.  He could just take off and be rich, but he doesn’t.  Through some cool maneuvers, Picard decimates the Klingons and Cardassians …..nooooooo not the ones with large posteriors …. the ones with the krinkly heads.  Anyway, they go on war rampage and look like they might actually get to restore the Terran Empire!

TERRANS UNITE!

TEee

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Familiar Faces #8: In Search of Angelique Pettyjohn


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I first became aware of the gorgeous Angelique Pettyjohn, like most fans, through her appearance as Shahna in the STAR TREK episode “The Gamesters of Triskelion”. The statuesque, green-haired beauty fascinated me as much as she did Captain Kirk, churning my then-adolescent hormones into a frenzy! Since then, I’ve been obsessed with the lovely Miss Pettyjohn, and have made it my mission to discover All Things Angelique!

Angelique Pettyjohn was not her given name, of course, nor was it her only screen name. She was born Dorothy Lee Perrins in the City of Angels on March 11, 1943, and studied dance as a young girl. According to IMDB, her first film appearance was the “Blonde in U.S. sex insert” in Argentine director Armando Bo’s PUT OUT OR SHUT UP in 1959, which would’ve made her 16 years old at the time. She’s also credited as a juror in 1961’s THE…

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“Where No Man Has Gone Before”: Fifty Years of STAR TREK


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Gene Roddenberry’s space odyssey first sailed onto the small screen on September 8, 1966. I can remember being allowed to stay up late (I was only 8 at the time!) to watch it with my dad, who was a big science-fiction buff. As a career Navy man, I think he related to the idea of a ship’s travels (he was also a fan of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA). Being a young’un at the time, I was more into the weird creatures the Starship Enterprise crew encountered on their “five-year mission”.

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Unless you’ve been living in another galaxy the past half century, you know all the characters. There’s William Shatner as the headstrong Capt. James Tiberius Kirk, emoting as only Shatner can. Leonard Nimoy became something of a teen idol as the logical Vulcan Mr. Spock (something about those pointed ears, maybe?). DeForrest Kelly played the ornery Dr. “Bones” McCoy, forever…

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In Praise of William Schallert


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“Hey, isn’t that whatsisname?” Chances are, if you’ve watched classic movies and TV shows, you know William Schallert. The actor, who died today at the ripe old age of 93, was never a star, but contributed many fine supporting performances in over 300 films and television episodes. He was one of those guys that, if you didn’t know the name, you certainly recognized the face.

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Schallert’s career stretches back to the late 40’s, with an uncredited role in THE FOXES OF HARROW, starring Rex Harrison and beautiful Maureen O’Hara. The young actor also popped up in MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, the first of his many science fiction films. Schallert had a meaty part as greedy Dr. Mears in Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1951 THE MAN FROM PLANET X , and appeared in GOG, THEM, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, and THE MONLITH MONSTERS. He would return to the genre later in his career in…

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Star Trek Beyond Looks Much Faster and More Furious


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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.

Trailer: Star Trek Into Darkness (Super Bowl Exclusive)


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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)


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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)


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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.

9 Favorite Revenge Films


Having recently seen Michael Caine’s revenge film Harry Brown I got to thinking about other revenge-themed films I’ve watched through the years and I realized that there were quite a bit of them. There’s something just primal and Old Testament about revenge flicks. It doesn’t matter whether they’re high-brow art-house films or the cheapest grindhouse flicks in the end it all boils down to one individual raining down their own version of Divine Wrath on those who wronged them.

Who hasn’t fantasized or thought about going all medieval on someone who just screwed them over. Maybe it was an infraction that was minor that one didn’t need to get overly upset over or something so heinous that only violence at its most basest was the only response. Going through with such thoughts usually stayed there: in one’s thoughts and imaginings. Revenge films seems to be quite popular because they allow even the meekest and most pacifist to secretly live vicariously through the revenge-minded leads in the film.

The list below is not the best revenge films out there but they definitely are my favorites…

Oldboy – This revenge film by South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook wasn’t just a blast to watch but also happens to be one of the best films of the past decade. It takes a simple plot of a man imprisoned against his will for 15 years with no explanation whatsoever that he literally goes insane and back to sane during his captivity. Revenge being the one thing which keeps him going and revenge he gets to inflict on all those he discovers were responsible. The mind-twisting last act in the film takes the revenge-theme right on it’s head as we find out that the main lead wasn’t the only one on a revenge train of thought.

I Spit On Your Grave aka Day of the Woman – This grindhouse classic from Meir Zarchi is the epitome of the rape victim turned revenge valkyrie. The film is not very easy to sit through since there’s nothing subtle about how filmmaker Meir Zarchi filmed every exploitative scene. From the prolonged gang rape sequence to each subsequent revenge act by Camille Keaton’s Jennifer character. Some critics have blasted the film as pandering to the lowest common denominator while others have hailed it as a post-modern feminist film. I like to think that both sides are correct and that the film lies somewhere in the middle. It definitely will put a scare on any group of men who are having thoughts of shenanigans.

Death Wish – When people hear revenge flick they almost always say this iconic film by Charles Bronson from the 70’s. The film was adapted from Brian Garfield’s 1072 novel of the same name and directed by Michael Winner. While critics had mixed reactions to the film with some calling it irresponsible filmmaking, the nation as a whole embraced the film. Here was a film which screamed to the nation that the rising crime-rate in the U.S. during the 1970’s wasn’t going to go unanswered. While some people may have seen the film as a blank check to actually commit vigilantism in the end it just helped a country sick and tired of the crime they see day in and day out. Again here was art becoming a driving force in changing a nation’s collective malaise into something more positive. It didn’t hurt that Bronson was badass as Paul Kersey.

Kill Bill: Volume 1-2 – Who else but the video clerk made good would make what I would consider the greatest genre mash-up film ever made. Quentin Tarantino’s ode to kung fu, spaghetti westerns and revenge flicks became so massive that he had to split the film into two volumes. I am talking about Kill Bill. Not his greatest film ever but I definitely consider it his most geek-friendly and most entertaining. Uma Thurman as The Bride tearing a bloody and witty path of revenge on those who failed to kill her created some of the most iconic fight sequences of the generation this film came out in. Every scene almost seemed to be inspired by other films of a similar theme and genre that film geeks everywhere must’ve exploded in their pants from all the awesomeness they were witnessing. Each volume had two great action sequences that were both fantastical and brutal.

Straw Dogs – One of the most controversial films in Sam Peckinpah’s controversy-filled directing career. Released in 1971 it told the story of how even the meekest person could be pushed into dealing out extreme violent justice on those who have wrong them and those they love. Seen by critics as quite misogynistic due to the nature of the rape scene of Susan George’s Amy character the film was banned for two decades in the UK for it’s unflinching look at violence. Being a huge fan of Sam Peckinpah I had to see it and when I did it automatically became one of my favorite films ever and not just a favorite revenge film. If there was ever a modern retelling of a Biblical-level fable it is this classic from Sam Peckinpah. Every revenge-fueled act by Dustin Hoffman literally oozes Old Testament justice. Just the way I like my revenge. 🙂

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Speaking of Biblical this first sequel in the Star Trek film franchise still considered by fans and non-fans alike as the best in the series. Hard to argue with them since it’s also an opinion I share. The sequel takes a popular episode from the original series and follows it up with all the cast of characters older and more seasoned. In the case of Ricardo Montalban’s Khan Noonian Singh quite seasoned and classy as smooth Corinthian leather. It’s a film with Shatner’s Kirk and Montalban’s Khan in an everending cycle of revenge which would culminate in what would be one of film’s most heartbreaking scenes. One could taste the revenge emanating from the two characters as age-won wisdom and genetically-engineered intellect fell by the wayside to feed the vengeance sought by Kirk and Khan. This revenge flick also has one of the most awesome death speeches by a character on film.

Carrie – Brian De Palma’s film adaptation of one of Stephen King’s better horror novels still seen by many as the best film adapt of a King novel. It combines the existential horror of being a girl and her body maturing in the dog-eat-dog world of high school and the horror said girl can inflict on those tormenting her. It’s high school bullying and revenge with a healthy dose of Stephen King shenanigans mixed in. Sissy Spacek was great as the titular character. One doesn’t have to be a high school girl to feel for Carrie and what she goes through. Her snapping in the last act and inflicting her psychokinetic-brand of revenge on her tormentors must’ve gotten more than a few “Hell yeah!” from some of the teens and adults who went through high school hell. It also has a classic line uttered by Carrie’s mother played by Piper Laurie: “I can see your dirty pillows. Everyone will.”

Orca – This film was to be producer Dino De Laurentiis’ attempt to capitalize on the success of Steven Spielberg’s classic man-versus-nature thriller, Jaws. Starring Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling and Bo Derek the film wasn’t a success when it first came out. While Spielberg’s film was a modern retelling of Moby Dick this killer whale version by director Michael Anderson was Death Wish on water with Paul Kersey as the killer whale. This was one of the first films where I realized none of the people on the screen were worth rooting for to survive. I was all for the killer whale who was on a warpath to avenge his mate and unborn wee killer whale who were killed by Harris and his crew. Shamu this killer whale was not and it always brought a smile to my face whenever the killer whale outsmarted the humans and killed each and everyone in inventive ways. I’m wondering if all the killer whales in all the aquatic parks are just biding their time before they too go all Orca on their handlers and the audience. I’d pay to see that!

Treevenge – Last but not least the greatest film ever made!

Review: Star Trek (directed by J.J. Abrams)


2009 marks the return of Star Trek franchise to the big-screen. It has been seven years since the last entry in the series with Star Trek Nemesis. The critically-panned and box-office failure of that tenth entry in the film series marked a major low-point for the franchise. The franchise was dead in space with no one seeming to be able to figure out a way to bring the franchise back to big-screen prominence. So, it comes as a surprise that it’s eventual savior happens to be a non-fan of the franchise. J.J. Abrams has confessed to not being a major fan of the series, but wanted to see how he could bring back the franchise to a high bar of standard it had set for itself through the decades of its existence. This latest and eleventh entry in the Star Trek film series marks a drastic improvement over the past decade of film entries in the series. Abrams has crafted an enjoyable and fast-paced film which includes equal amounts of details fans of the franchise love, but also creating a film which would appeal to non-fans as well.

To start off, I’m what one might call a Trekker who has pored over all the details of the franchise. Backstory, character bios and details of the expanded universe is bread-and-butter. When first announced that Abrams would be in charge of trying to bring the franchise back to prominence I was quite skeptical. I’m not the biggest fan and admirer of J.J. Abrams and his work. It didn’t help that his idea to bring in more non-fans to the fold smacked of pandering. I will say that I will be the first to eat my words as Abrams’ Star Trek has been the best entry in the film series for the last 15 or so years. It’s a fresh new take on Gene Roddenberry’s universe which has spanned over four decades starting with the original TV series and continuing with the many novels which continue to churn out year in and year out.

The casting of a relatively unknown actors by Abrams and his crew was a bold move as their performances of iconic characters beloved by tens, if not hundreds, of millions of fans could sink the film and put the final nail in the film series’ efforts to stay up on the big-screen. Fortunately, it is this cast of unknowns who make this film so fun to watch. Chris Pine as James T. Kirk does a fine job of not apeing and micmicking the Kirk of Shatner but instead makes the character his own while at the same time bringing enough of the self-confidence and charm Shatner brought to the role. As good as Pine’s performance as Kirk was the film really belongs to Zachary Quinto’s portrayal of a more conflicted and darker Spock. Where Leonard Nimoy’s work as Spock was more of a mature character whose conflicting dual-nature as an emotional human and logical Vulcan would resurface here and there throughout the decades Quinto’s Spock has that conflicted nature simmering right on the surface. We get a much darker Spock who hasn’t fully accepted his two warring sides. One might even say that this Spock was a much darker portrayal than what had been previously done of the character. Quinto’s performance was a star-making one and should make fans relieved to know that an iconic character was in good hands.

The rest of the ensemble cast do a commendable job in their roles with other stand-out works by Karl Urban as Bones McCoy and Bruce Greenwood as Capt. Pike. Urban, especially, does a remarkable job of channeling DeForrest Kelley’s McCoy without seeming to copy the man. Like Quinto’s Spock, Urban’s McCoy should resonate with fans and non-fans alike. Simon Pegg as Scotty, John Cho as Sulu, Zoe Saldana as Uhura and Anton Yelchin as Chekov all do good work but are not on the screen enough to show what they could really do. With the seeming success of this film I’m sure they’ll have more chance to grab a hold of their characters and make them their own. If there’s a weak link to the cast it would be Eric Bana’s Romulan Nero. The character of Nero wasn’t fully realized beyond the maddened, revenge-fuelled archetype for Bana to truly work his skills on. There’s just not enough in the character to make him a great Star Trek villain. There’s hints of Khan in the role but also hints of weaker villains in the franchise’s history. If the writers had done a better job fully realizing the character for Bana I think Nero would be spoken of on the same level as Khan, but he won’t be and that brings up the other weak link in this film: the writing.

I say the writing is a weak link not because of the dialogue spoken but of the the overall plot of the story. There’s a simple enough plot to hold the film together but writers Orci and Kurtzman tried to create an epic storyline which would keep both loyal fans and new people to the franchise happy. By doing this they oversimplified the story where details were left out that created huge plot holes in the story. Also, the way Kirk’s character meets up with each member of what would become his core group relied too much on timely coincidences. They tried to make each meeting to be a memorable one which ended up with action-sequences that could’ve been left out but added to make the next meeting interesting. Like another origins film of the summer, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, both Orci and Kurtzman tried to lump too much origin details into this prequel. The finished screenplay could easily have used one or two more doctoring to make it a much more leaner and streamlined story.

The good thing was that as simple and pedestrian the story ended up being it did create a way for Abrams to connect both the original stories created by previous films and tv series to this new film which now has given the franchise a new path to move forward on without forgetting the canon established in the previous four decades. Star Trek by Abrams could be compared closely to the James Bond reboot in Casino Royale and the Batman reboot with Batman Begins. All three films share similarities in that all three honors the canon of the expanded universes of their respective franchise but brings enough new ideas and changes to re-imagine the franchises to a new generation of fans. Like those two other films Star Trek has laid the foundation for new stories to be told and not having to worry about continuity problems. Now any future films in the franchise have carte blanche to boldy go where the series hasn’t gone before.

In the end, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek turned out to be better than expected as he has created a film that is a fun, action-filled ride with a wonderful performance by the ensemble cast of unknowns. Even a weak villain and premise fail to damper and bring down the film. While it is not a great entry to the series it does bring back the franchise to a resounding return to the big-screen that should please most of its loyal fans while appealing to the casual audience. I, for one, cannot wait to see what Abrams has in store for the forseeable future of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise.