STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
Ugh, what a joyless slog. Benedict Cumberbatch plays a military genius who doesn’t know that complex plans almost always fail. Chris Pine plays a Skipper who really needs to get Division Officer and Department Head jobs under his belt so he can learn (a) how a ship actually runs, and (b) how to lead a vessel that’s part of a larger organization. Zachary Quinto does a fine Spock and the rest of the actors do what they can with what they’re given, but they aren’t given much.
Lost, this time around, is the joy of Star Trek. The real shame, however, is that the film doesn’t trade that joy for proper, meaty darkness, but for a by-the-numbers “things get really bad, and then – fistfight!” actioner.
This puts me in a strange place as a fan. I was all set to hate the first film of the rebooted series, but wound up loving it. I was all set to love the second, but wound up hating it. Will NuTrek truly subvert Trek canon and make the odd-numbered movies the good ones?
ZERO DARK THIRTY
Solid spy picture built on, y’know, actual spying. We all know the ending, yet this film imbued it with real tension. Worth the rental.
Well, I’ve seen two Karl Urban movies over the last few months. I’m glad one of them was good. Dredd was way more fun than I expected. Urban does great work acting through, vice around, the mask. Olivia Thirlby sells her role as the rookie, and cable favorites Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) and Wood Harris (The Wire) create outstanding villains. The movie rocks right along, and it shows that “grimngritty” doesn’t have to be dull.
Dredd deserved to be a hit.
END OF WATCH (Mild spoilers. If you’re spoilerphobic, just take my word for it and see this film.)
End of Watch is a great movie. A buddy cop movie in which the cops start out as buddies (instead of making us sit through the tedium of watching them bond), End of Watch sells us by making the two leads people we enjoy spending time with. Because the film gives the audience time to get to know these people and begin to bond with them as only movie audiences can, we find ourselves that much more invested as their lives get progressively more difficult.
My favorite thing about this movie? I kept waiting for the twist in which the Lieutenant was actually on the take or somebody doublecrossed the hero cops or the rot in the system got exposed. When that twist didn’t come (hey, I warned you about spoilers), End of Watch left us with basically good people doing a hard job in a dangerous place. That, friends, is a recipe for great drama.
Hey, if you haven’t seen Modern Times, you need to get on that right away. Perhaps Charlie Chaplin’s greatest film, Modern Times is timelessly funny and ever-relevant.
When we talk about classic films, the kinds of movies people will still be watching three and four hundred years from now, Modern Times absolutely makes that list. It’s funny, it’s brilliant, and it’s serious. See this film.
My family loved this movie. My wife loved this movie. I was distracted that evening, so couldn’t really get into it. I’m adding the movie here for my own tracking purposes.
If there’s one thing I love, it’s being preached at by some multibillion entertainment company. I particularly love it when that company is preaching against the evils of capitalism. Preach it, oh Universal Pictures! Paint the capitalist villains as Southerners and West Virginians, because surely “those kind of people” must seem very backward to the decisionmakers in Universal City! Give me all $70 million of your production budget’s worth of “profit is evil” goodness!
Or, on second thought, take a hike.