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THEATRICAL REVIEW: Star Trek Beyond

July 27, 2016 2 comments
Star Trek BeyondDirected by: Justin Lin
Produced by: J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, Lindsey Weber, Justin Lin
Written by: Simon Pegg, Doug Jung
Edited by: Greg D’Auria, Dylan Highsmith, Kelly Matsumoto, Steven Sprung
Cinematography by: Stephen F. Windon
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Sofia Boutella, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Joe Taslim, Lydia Wilson, Deep Roy, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Based on the TV series created by Gene Roddenberry
Year: 2016

 

These new Star Trek films are seemingly starting to make a lot of fans of the original TV series feel a lot like how Mission: Impossible TV fans must feel when a new one of those movies comes out: befuddlement at the lack of tonal comparability to the source material. Or, in the case of some even more dedicated fans, the lack of total fidelity by way of reiterating information and storylines we are already familiar with (if one must adapt it in the first place). And, you know, I kinda get it. As hard as it is to continue a property after a prolonged period of time – 50 years for Star Trek this very year, in fact – it’s probably even more pressure to adapt something into another medium and/or revive it for a new era, lest the property disappear into obscurity. In trying to appeal to potential new fans and audiences, you run the risk of ruining everything the series had set up previously and getting accused of “betraying” fans or, heaven forbid, “ruining childhoods.” With Fast & Furious director Justin Lin taking over the helm from non-fan J.J. Abrams, it seemed like fans were in for a whole new level of alleged stupidity and mindless action for a series that was previously famous for its philosophical bent. Surely, after the insult of having been lied to about Khan’s presence in Into Darkness, the third reboot film, Beyond, was destined to top even that one in terms of backhanded insults! Read more…

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Theatrical Review: “Star Trek Into Darkness”

May 18, 2013 3 comments
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Produced by: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci
Written by: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof
Edited by: Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey
Cinematography by: Daniel Mindel
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldaña, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, John Cho, Alice Eve, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Peter Weller, Anton Yelchin
Year: 2013

 

After years of anticipation, the sequel to J.J. Abrams’ bold new restart of the Star Trek film franchise is finally here. Though it was the eleventh film in the series, as the first film set in this alternate universe, it was also the franchise’s first step in an attempt to grab at a brighter future after years of the franchise taking a dive in both quality and creativity. With the promise of the series shedding years of expectations and established canon with a bit of time travel, 2009’s Star Trek brilliantly maneuvered the series into a position where it could once again surprise new audiences, Trekkies, and Trekkers alike. Read more…

Review: “Star Trek”

April 30, 2013 4 comments
Star Trek (2009)Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Produced by: J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof
Written by: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Edited by: Mary Jo Markey, Maryann Brandon
Cinematography by: Dan Mindel
Music by: Michael Giacchino, Alexander Courage (themes)
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldaña, Karl Urban, Eric Bana, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, Leonard Nimoy, Ben Cross, Clifton Collins, Jr., Winona Ryder, Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Morrison
Year: 2009

 

It’s one of my favorite films now, but at the time this was first announced, I absolutely hated the idea of revisiting the original series characters. It wasn’t out of any sort of loyalty to the original cast, really, nor out of any sort of deep respect for their final film together, The Undiscovered Country (which contends with The Wrath of Khan for the best film), but more because I was sick of the franchise staying in the past. Other fans were seemingly of the same mind, with viewership so low for the prequel series Star Trek Enterprise that it resulted in the first Star Trek cancellation since the original series, and the abhorrently tacky Next Generation send-off Star Trek Nemesis earning the lowest box office in the series. So why was the studio and director J.J. Abrams, a self-admitted non-fan of the franchise, so keen on moving backward with the new film when stagnation was the series’ biggest problem in the first place? Read more…

2012 IN REVIEW: The Best Films of the Year

February 16, 2013 Leave a comment

At last, we come to the climax of my review of the films of 2012. To those of you who continue to keep up with me, I one again apologize for the slow updates — I saw so many movies this past year and have been doing so much this past month that it’s been hard to keep up with a regular update schedule!

This is how I felt ALL WEEK!

This is how I felt ALL WEEK!

I’m currently in the process of moving, with my best friend / roommate moving back to his hometown to be closer to family, so it’s been tough keeping up with the blog, hanging out with him a few more times after seven awesome years of being roommates, while also just figuring stuff out for the next period of my life living as a single person for the first time. It’s tough, but thankfully he lives where my family lives, and it’s only 100 miles away. Lucky for any fans I may have (Hello!…?), it’ll likely result in me doing more reviews, though the higher amount of rent I’ll be paying will undoubtedly impact my ability to go to the theatre as often as I have been.

On that note, before I get to the meat of this final entry, I want to thank everyone who has been reading this blog, regularly or even sporadically. I may not know you, but I appreciate you! This may be a hobby of mine, but it’s meaningful to me and keeps me sharp. I started The Viewer’s Commentary in September of 2011, after lots of personal setbacks and a good long while of feeling stupid and even being made to feel stupid for wanting to start a blog about movies, and by the time I finally decided to just go for it and not listen to the negativity, I still didn’t really know whether I was going to still be writing in even a few months’ time. So to already be in the middle of my second year and still be having a blast getting my thoughts and opinions out there about one of my favorite subjects has truly been a great experience. To those of you who have read, continue to read, and even to those of you I know personally who encouraged me and maybe don’t even share my passion and probably aren’t even reading this now but you supported me all the same, thank you again for being there! I’m definitely looking forward to what 2013 promises to bring! (STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS! FINALLY!)

The film's villain amongst a bunch of red shirts. This isn't going to end well...

The film’s villain amongst a bunch of red shirts. This isn’t going to end well…

Anyway, enough self-reflection! You’re here for the rundown of the best films of 2012, aren’t you? I assume so, since you are continuing to read this. I’ll let you get to that, but first, let me explain how this list is working, as I’ve changed it up a bit from last year and from most other “Best Of” lists.

First off, last year I did it in multiple parts (here, here, and, finally, here – in order). None of that this time. You’re getting this all in one big wave!

Secondly, and this is related to the third alteration, there are no longer just 10 films on this list, but rather a whopping 17. Why?

Well, that’s because the third alteration I made is that I’ve decided that a lot of the best films of the year weren’t necessarily my favorites, but I wanted to recognize their greatness by putting them on this list anyway, rather than lump them in with the films that were just average. (I did something similar with the “Films I Liked” this year after realizing I didn’t necessary love nor despise a lot of films enough to put them on the worst or best of lists.)

Honestly, what the hell?!

This did not make the list. This shouldn’t make any listsBECAUSE IT SHOULDN’T EXIST!

So, while the films below are all fantastic films and deserve to be considered among the best of the year, their order has everything to do with favoritism over quality. After all, lists like these are highly subjective, and while it’s certainly possible to objectively call a film “one of the best,” ultimately by ranking such diverse works against one another, you just have to acknowledge the fact that you’re playing favorites.

 

So, yeah, anyway to review and summarize: These are, in my opinion, THE BEST FILMS OF 2012, but they are ORDERED ACCORDING TO FAVORITISM. Make sense? I hope so! If not, then just keep reading on, ’cause I think you’ll get it, anyway! Read more…

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Teaser Trailer: “Star Trek Into Darkness”

December 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Oooooo… Aside from the now-cliche “BWAAAAAHM”-like sounds, a la Inception, this first teaser trailer for the new Star Trek movie, Star Trek Into Darkness, looks quite awesome (as all teaser trailers aim to be, ’cause they don’t show much plot).

What can we tell about the new movie from this trailer? Well, how about the fact that it looks to be very earthbound — or, at the very least, a planet with a large humanoid population… but most likely Earth. More evidence to this fact is that we also see what is most likely the Enterprise rising up from a large body of water. How crazy is that?!

Star Trek Into DarknessThe still-unnamed villain, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is obviously holding a grudge against someone, though whether it’s Starfleet in general, someone on the Enterprise crew, or some combination of the two is obviously not revealed in this brief trailer. And, frankly, I hope it’s the first one, at least initially, ’cause if it’s too much of a personal grudge, at least initially, too many parallels could possibly be drawn between this film and Wrath of Khan.

Speaking of which, we also get to see Kirk fighting someone who possibly has some sort of superhuman strength, based on the fact that he’s leaping through the air and swinging around a very large, heavy-looking weapon. Could Cumberbatch and/or his henchmen be genetically enhanced, like Khan? Or has he encountered some anomaly that has caused these enhancements, like Gary Mitchell in the original series episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before”? I hope it’s someone original, but I wouldn’t mind a few nods and references to either character, either. Gary Mitchell already featured in the comic tie-in series to J.J. Abrams’ films, and so that would be kind of redundant anyway and would suck for the comic creators, being written out of canon so fast and so definitively.

And, finally, who’s the blonde girl being played by Alice Eve who we only see fleeting glimpses of? A few possibilities exist in some original characters that haven’t yet been introduced to the Abrams films: Yeoman Janice Rand is one possibility. Given the blue uniform, however, my guess is that it’s Nurse Christine Chapel, a character originally played by Gene Roddenbarry’s wife, Majel Barrett and mentioned off screen in the first film.

Of course, we’ll probably get no official answers until the movie comes out, as it should be. But it’s fun to speculate, all the same! And in case you didn’t get enough of the trailer, why not watch this Japanese version, which has an extra bit of nostalgia at the end that will be familiar to many Trek fans:

Theatrical Review: “Dredd” 3D

October 10, 2012 1 comment
Directed by: Pete Travis
Produced by: Alex Garland, Andrew MacDonald, Allon Reich
Written by: Alex Garland
Cinematography by: Anthony Dod Mantle
Music by: Paul Leonard-Morgan
Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Wood Harris, Lena Headey, Domhnall Gleeson, Warrick Grier
Based on the comic series created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra
Year: 2012

 

Let me get this out of the way first: Before this movie, I had next to no familiarity with the character beyond the existence of an apparently terrible Sylvester Stallone adaptation that broke with tradition and revealed the face of its main character. And my familiarity with that film itself largely extends to a preview on some forgotten VHS tape that I used to watch a lot and the existence of a pinball table located in a bowling alley from around the same time period that I watched said tape.

That being said, I was pretty excited to see Dredd, largely because I had heard about its spectacular 3D effects and slo-mo footage, which was shot using Phantom Flex cameras at 1,000 FPS, and also because word from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con showing was largely positive. By the time I finally went and saw the film in theatres this past weekend, it had only out for 3 weeks, but was already dwindling in show times, especially for 3D films. The fact that three family films (Finding NemoHotel Transylvania, Frankenweenie) are currently occupying the 3D auditoriums probably has something to do with this fact, but also likely due to the relative obscurity of the character, at least on American shores. Luckily, I was able to locate a theatre not far from where I live, and so my roommate and I were able to treat ourselves to what is possibly going to be the most under-appreciated movie of the year. Read more…

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