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Sunday, July 24, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW: STAR TREK BEYOND







































Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise encounter an alien warrior race when marooned on a distant planet after the destruction of their spaceship in this thrilling sequel directed by Fast & Furious director Justin Lin. ~ Violet LeVoit, Rovi

Director: Justin Lin

Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho

Release Date: Jul 22, 2016

Rated PG-13 Sequences of Sci-Fi Action and Violence

Runtime: 2 hr. 2 min.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Review:

Star Trek Beyond feels like an extended episode of the non existent rebooted series and not a particularly good one.  That’s not to say it isn’t a fun film because it’s an enjoyable lightweight romp which comes and goes with little of consequence really happening.  Justin Lin’s direction is action heavy as expected with lots of big set pieces which are fun and well choreographed.  The biggest asset of the rebooted series has always been the cast and the best thing Beyond does is it gives each of them their time to shine.  Clearly most of the actors have settled into their roles.  Karl Urban has always been a personal favorite of mine as McCoy and here he’s given a much larger role which is to the film’s benefit.  Pine and Quinto are solid as Kirk and Spock with their personal story lines feeling well thought out and meaningful.  Sadly, the overall story is fairly weak even though there’s some nice fan service written into the script, an NX class ship! yelled those few Enterprise fans, but ultimately it’s a waste of Idris Elba as the villain.  Elba is a fine actor wasted underneath a ton of make up and a thinly written character which is really a massive shame.  As is Star Trek Beyond is a mindlessly fun film but one that isn’t terribly deep or meaningful like some of the Trek films in the past.

C

Cindy Prascik's Review of Star Trek Beyond

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dearest Blog: Today it was off to Marquee Cinemas for Star Trek Beyond. Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers. Midway through a five-year mission to deep space, the Enterprise crew is called upon to save the world(s) from a ruthless enemy. While I'm a casual fan of Star Trek in general, I'm positively rabid over the current film franchise, which boasts my favorite cast of any series and movies that I'll happily watch over and over and over again. I am pleased to report that Beyond does not miss a step on the path of excellence set by the first two movies. 
 
First we have the ensemble, for my money, Hollywood's very finest. Every person is ideally suited to his or her role, and consistently turns in sincere, entertaining performances. The more comical tone of the current installment fits co-writer Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, and Karl Urban to a "T," and the picture is not short on laugh-out-loud moments. The sad losses of Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin since the previous film cast a bit of a pall over the experience, but that is in no way the movie's fault. Bring the tissues, though. You're gonna need them at least once. Franchise newcomers Sofia Boutella and Idris Elba are both fantastic. 
 
Michael Giacchino's lovely score is the perfect accompaniment to moments both large and small. Nice-looking sets underscore some great big effects, and the Enterprise's first appearance is, as always, a chill-inducing moment. Under director Justin Lin's hand, we get a more action-oriented movie this time out (insert Fast & Furious joke here), so the film does feel a bit more like a plain old action-comedy than any great step forward for the Trek universe, but thanks to an edge-of-your-seat story, genuine, well-written dialogue, and the cast's terrific chemistry, you're never less than fully immersed. 
 
A few small quibbles: the movie's a little too heavy on the jiggly camera work, some scenes are impossibly dark (a by-product of seeing a 3D picture in 2D?), and whatever they were thinking when they cast Idris Elba as a character who doesn't look like Idris Elba, well, it was clearly misguided. Star Trek Beyond clocks in at 120 minutes and is rated PG13 for "sequences of sci-fi action and violence." A big, fun summer blockbuster that also delivers a great message about the importance of love and friendship, Star Trek Beyond has a lot to love for Trek die-hards, casual fans, and even folks without so much as a passing familiarity with the franchise. 
 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Star Trek Beyond gets eight and a half. 
 
Fangirl points: Idris Elba. Did I mention Idris Elba? Because...yeah...Idris Elba. 
 
Until next time...

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cindy Prascik' s Reviews of The Infiltrator & Ghostbusters

 
 
Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for a pair of strange bedfellows: The Infiltrator and Ghostbusters. 
 
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers. First on the docket: The Infiltrator. 
 
A US Customs officer launches a dangerous undercover mission to catch one of the world's top drug kingpins. 
 
It is both a blessing and a curse that The Infiltrator is good, but not special. In an age where the Internet has no problem convincing people they hate films they haven't even seen yet, being neither great nor terrible enough to be buzzworthy isn't necessarily a bad thing. 
 
Still, structured as it is around a decorated actor (Bryan Cranston) in a role tailor-made to earn him more hardware, the tense tale ultimately can't help feeling a little disappointing. Cranston is solid in the lead, but it's John Leguizamo who steals the show as his loose-cannon partner. Diane Kruger, Benjamin Bratt, and Joseph Gilgun are also terrific in supporting roles. 
 
Characters are well fleshed out, so that even the worst earn a bit of sympathy. Focusing on the money side of the illegal narcotics trade, The Infiltrator is less sensational than movies that detail the gorier realities of drug running, but the intense plot has no trouble holding your attention. Sadly, if it's details that elevate a good movie to great, that's where The Infiltrator fails. 
 
Some of the direction is decidedly amateurish, with too-obvious foreshadowing and lingering frames that almost stray into comic territory. Hairstyles, fashions, and music are sometimes not correct for the picture's 1985 setting. There's no obvious filler, but the movie runs a hair too long and drags noticeably in the second act. 
 
The Infiltrator clocks in at 127 minutes and is rated R for "strong violence, language throughout, some sexual content, and drug material." The Infiltrator boasts strong performances and well-definted characters, offering solid "grown-up" counterprogramming on a blockbuster family-release weekend. 
 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Infiltrator gets six and a half. Fangirl points: Jason Isaacs! 
 
Next up: the poliarizing reboot of Ghostbusters, a.k.a. why it's best to ignore Internet trolls. Three scientists, an MTA employee, and the world's best-looking receptionist team up to quash a ghost infestation in New York. 
 
Dear Reader(s): We all have things we love enough to drive us past the point of reason. I am no stranger to this phenomenon, and, thus, in my presence it is best not to speak of that unfunny, unholy, disrespectful dumpster fire that is 2004's Starsky & Hutch. Herein I shall attempt to give even the staunchest fan of the original Ghostbusters a few reasons why 2016's Ghostbusters is NOT 2004's Starsky & Hutch. 

Ghostbusters is a well-and-truly funny comedy, with laugh-out-loud moments throughout. Rather than bastardizing beloved characters, it reboots with new ones. Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are delightful as estranged friends reunited by the spirit crisis; their chemistry is fantastic. Leslie Jones' wisecracks and physical comedy provide the movie's funniest moments, and Chris Hemsworth is perfect as the dopey but ridiculously-hot office assistant. 
 
There's nostalgia aplenty for those who want it, in faces both living and undead, the recurring Ghostbusters theme, and that very familiar logo. 
 
Though rarer than laughs, there are a fair few proper scares to be had as well. The movie boasts super effects and 3D that is not just worthwhile, but great! Ghosts run the gamut from pretty terrifying to pretty hilarious. The comedy slows up a bit in the movie's second act, displaced by some fun, well-executed action sequences. 
 
Only Kate McKinnon's character, Jillian Holtzman, is a weak link, so jarringly off that every appearance becomes an unfortunate distraction. Writers and actress must share blame for bringing to life possibly the most irritating character I've ever seen on the silver screen (and, yes, I'm including Jar-Jar Binks in that equation). 
 
Ghostbusters runs 116 minutes and is rated PG13 for "supernatural action and some crude humor." Ghostbusters is a uniformly funny movie with a great cast and terrific effects. Only that rare individual who strongly feels Chris Hemsworth is better used in something like Black Hat wouldn't find something to enjoy here. 
 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Ghostbusters gets seven and a half. 
 
Fangirl points: Michael Kenneth Williams and one teeny glimpse of my beloved Shubert Theatre! 
 
Until next time...
 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS






































Director: Paul Feig 

Cast: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth

Release Date: Jul 15, 2016

Rated PG-13 for supernatural action and some crude humor.

Runtime: 1 hr. 47 min.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Review:

Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters isn’t the disaster many predicted but it’s not good enough on it’s own to prove it was necessary either.  I’m one of the few people who always liked Ghostbusters but was never in love with it even though I grew up with it.  There’s a definite fondness for the original film but I never really thought it was sacrilegious to remake it with women.  The director and cast do the best with what they have but it’s clear that there’s an issue with the story.  The overall plot hits a lot of the same notes that the original did but with a more generic punch.  As the film goes on, it does feel like everybody is reigning it in a bit, making me wish they’d decided to go for a full on R rated comedy.  I think that would have been a better choice for this director and cast.  As is, the cast is solid throughout with Chris Hemsworth leaving the biggest impression by displaying some strong comedic chops.  The film is a tad overlong by about 20 minutes or with some noticeable dead spots that could have been easily excised.  The Ghostbusters’ remake isn’t a train wreck but it’s not as good as it should have been to justify its existence. 

C+
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