Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

Metro: Justin Lin continues J.J. Abrams’ homage to Star Trek in new film

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 2.05.52 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

Seven years ago director J.J. Abrams, the brains behind hit TV shows like Lost and movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, thought there was still some uncharted life to be found in the Star Trek universe.

This weekend the third film in his new generation of movies, Star Trek Beyond, puts phasers on stun. Directed by Fast & Furious director Justin Lin it continues Abrams’s mission to seek out new cinematic life and civilizations.

After five television series, ten movies, countless books, comics and video games, a stage version and even an Ice Capades style show Abrams re-launched the big screen Trek franchise. Simply called Star Trek, he took audiences where no man (or director) has gone before, back to the very beginning of the story before James Tiberius Kirk bore an uncanny resemblance to T.J. Hooker.

In this prequel to the original series Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) are assigned to the maiden voyage of the most advanced starship ever created, the U.S.S. Enterprise under Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood).

Star Trek was one of the great popcorn movies of 2009. Notice I didn’t say sci-fi movie. Star Trek is a lot of things but despite all the talk of warp speed, black holes and time travel, it can’t be strictly classified as science fiction. It’s a character based space serial more concerned with the burgeoning relationship between Spock and Kirk than with photon thrusters.

2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness is a sequel AND a prequel (something so illogical Spock would never approve) that gets underway when an act of terror robs Kirk of a close friend. Determined to bring the perpetrator to justice the reckless Starfleet captain takes the Enterprise and crew to a war zone populated by Klingons and one brilliant and ruthless genetically engineered adversary (Benedict Cumberbatch). To finish his mission he must make difficult decisions.

Abrams finds a balance of old—Kirk, Spock et al—and new—the space suits are redesigned, the tech is different and there are younger characters—that should satisfy hard-core Trekkers and attract tenderfoot Trekkies. For fans there are in-jokes like Kirk telling two expendable members of the landing team to “lose the red shirts.”

At the beginning of Star Trek Beyond Kirk’s life on board the U.S.S. Enterprise has become a grind. He’s three years into a five-year mission and he is, personally lost in space, trying to find meaning in his mission. “It can be hard to feel grounded when even gravity isn’t real.”

Lin, taking over for Abrams, does his best to spice things up for the good captain. The director, best known for his Fast & Furious films, knows there is nothing like a wild alien attack to snap James T. out of his funk. Expect more hi-fly action than sci fi intrigue.

Star Trek Beyond producer Abrams admits he “didn’t love Kirk and Spock when I began this journey, but I love them now.” It seems the fans love his interpretation of the characters as well. Trekkers have embraced the new movies but Abrams knows the Star Trek universe is so vast it’s impossible to please everyone. Instead he says he caters to the average moviegoer “who just wants to be entertained, understand, and care about the world and the characters.” As Spock might say, “Sounds logical to me.”

The Captive’s Bruce Greenwood and Atom Egoyan make a dynamic movie duo

fhd007TSS_Bruce_Greenwood_013@013351.923By Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

Bruce Greenwood first met director Atom Egoyan in a singles bar. “Atom was alone in the corner and I felt sorry for him,” says Greenwood. “We were introduced by a mutual friend.”

That was in the early 1990s, when Egoyan was on the brink of international acclaim as a director and Greenwood was a film and television star with a handful of movies and recurring roles on St. Elsewhere and Knots Landing under his belt. That chance meeting led to their first film together, Exotica, a study of loneliness and desire in a lap-dancing club that Roger Ebert called “a deep, painful film” in his four-star review. “We became good friends during that process,” said Greenwood, “and in the ensuing years.”

Three years later the pair collaborated on The Sweet Hereafter, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Russell Banks about the effects of a tragic bus accident on the population of a small town. Greenwood earned a Genie Award nomination playing a grieving father and in 2002 readers of Playback voted it the greatest Canadian film ever made.

Next was a small role in Ararat, Egoyan’s story of a young man whose life is changed during the making of a film about the Armenian genocide, and then, in 2013, a cameo in Devil’s Knot. Greenwood played a judge in Egoyan’s retelling of the events leading up to the West Memphis Three murders and the “Satanic panic” that fuelled the hysteria surrounding the subsequent trial of teenagers Jessie Misskelley Jr., Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin.

These days Greenwood is best known for his work as Capt. Christopher Pike in the 2009 Star Trek film and its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, but he’s not too busy in Hollywood — the Quebec-born actor has lived in Los Angeles since the late 1980s — to reteam with his Canadian cohort. In Egoyan’s new psychological thriller, The Captive, Greenwood joins stars Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson and Mireille Enos in a story of a child kidnapping. Egoyan says he and Greenwood share a shorthand that makes for easy work on set. As for Greenwood, he says he trusts the director, “more than anyone I’ve ever worked with. He can ask me to do anything and if my initial instinct is ‘Oh no,’ it ends up being the right idea. He’s a tremendous guy.”


Star_Trek_Into_Darkness_32People say Hollywood has run out of ideas. How else do you explain all the sequels, prequels and remakes that clog up multiplexes? “Star Trek: Into Darkness” could easily have been lumped in with those movies.

It’s a reboot of a movie franchise that was based on a television show. So it’s a sequel AND a prequel (something so illogical Spock would never approve) featuring a cast of characters originally created by Gene Roddenberry when Lester B. Pearson was still prime minister.

Nothing new there, and there’s nothing much new in J.J. Abrams’ film—they boldly go where many men have gone before—but rarely has a retread of material been as exciting and entertaining as this movie.

The story gets underway when an act of terror robs James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) of a close friend. The reckless Starfleet captain becomes determined to bring the perpetrator to justice. Taking the Enterprise and his usual crew—Spock (Zachary Quinto), Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho) and a new addition, weapons expert Dr. Carol Marcus (Alice Eve)—to a war zone populated by Klingons and one brilliant and ruthless genetically engineered adversary (Benedict Cumberbatch) he must make difficult decisions to finish his mission.

There are certain things you can count on when paying money to see a “Star Trek” movie. Spock will have pointy ears, Bones will speak in terrible metaphors, Scotty will speak in a thick brogue and Kirk will have a thing for alien girls.

All accounted for here. In fact, Abrams skillfully reacquaints the audience with the characters during a wild opening sequence that establishes the traits of each of the major players. It’s a primer for newbies and a reminder for fans, but it also establishes the film’s warp speed pace.

Abrams doesn’t waste a second of screen time, paring the story down to the essentials. The action, story and characters work in harmony, resulting in a near perfect popcorn movie.

Abrams finds a balance of old—see above—and new—the space suits are redesigned, the tech is different and there are younger characters—that should satisfy hard-core Trekkers and tenderfoot Trekkies. For fans there are in-jokes like Kirks telling two expendable members of the landing team to “lose the red shirts.”

No summer tentpole is complete without a compelling bad guy and Benedict Cumberbatch gives good villain. Prone to opining about “walking over your cold corpses,” he has a great villain stare and is suitably unpredictable.

But it’s not all dire and dark like the recent “Iron Man” outing. It’s funnier than you might expect it to be, but it avoids the kitsch sometimes associated with the original series. Abrams finds genuine humor in the characters and situations.

Surprisingly many of the laughs come from the highly logical Spock. “I’m Vulcan,” he says, “we embrace technicalities.” Zachary Quinto’s deadpan delivery sells the gags, but he also does a good job of playing both sides of Spock’s make-up—Vulcan and human—bringing some subtle but real emotion to many of his scenes. SPOILER: A suitable title might have been “Star Trek 2: The Tears of Spock.”

It’s not all perfect, the final action sequence is exciting and well done, but is much more standard than the work that comes before—think Michael Bay—and you might go temporarily blind from the CRAZY lens flares and occasionally distracting 3D, but it is such a good time that none of that matters much.

No ganja on the U.S.S. Enterprise By Richard Crouse Metro Canada May 10, 2013

John Cho Sulu Star Trek Into DarknessJohn Cho is best known for playing Harold Lee, the investment banker and pothead from the Harold & Kumar movies. Not exactly the kind of guy you want behind the wheel, but in Star Trek Into Darkness he is Sulu, the senior helmsman of the USS Enterprise.

Harold and Sulu are as different as the fans they attract.

“They’re more sober,” says the actor of his Star Trek fans. “They call me John Cho. The Harold fans call me Harold.

“Star Trek fans have been wonderful. I’ve been blown away by the variety — there are fans all over the world. There are fans of many generations and they are thoughtful people. I was fearful of them. People worked me into a frenzy about how the fans might take a dislike to the things I did, but they’ve been very warm.”

Interestingly, he didn’t consider himself a Star Trek fan when he signed on to take over for George Takei in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot of the series.

“When I was a kid I thought the original series looked goofy because of the velour and all that,” he says. “But when I was doing research for the first one I went back and watched them and I realized I had seen them all. I didn’t realize how much I had consumed over the years and how much I liked it.

“I think what I liked about it as a kid is that it was overtly intellectual. They had a way of dealing with issues that didn’t speak its name. They talked about racism and poverty or whatever, but they perfected these worlds; an almost sterile environment in which you could discuss an issue.”

Playing Sulu has earned him some new, unexpected fans.

“I was at Griffith Park Observatory in L.A. with my family and we were going to see the big telescope and it was closed to the public, but there was an astronomer in there who (recognized me) and he said, ‘Come on in. I became an astronomer because of Star Trek.’”

As for the future of the series, Cho says, “(I’m) part of something bigger than yourself and it is a special feeling.”

“I have a checkered past. I’m known as a stoner,” he says. “I’m a father now and I’d be happy to make more of these and have my kids watch them.”

From Iron Man 3 to Star Trek: This summer’s must see movies By Richard Crouse and Mark Breslin Metro Canada – In Focus May 3, 2013

iron_man_3_new-wideSYNOPSIS: It’s May 3 and there’s a new Iron Man movie. That means it’s summer movie season and soon theatres will be filled with angry aliens, hungry zombies and giant sea monsters. I guessing there will also be some wild movie characters as well. It’s popcorn movie season and this week the Reel Guys have a look at what movies make them hot as the temperature rises.

Richard: Mark, summer movies leave me feeling conflicted. I’m always in the mood for with substance, so I’ll definitely line up to see Before Midnight, the third part of the Ethan Hawke-Julie Delpy relationship trilogy, but man, I there’s something about the hot weather that makes me want to watch things explode. To satisfy that basic need, Star Trek Into Darkness is high on my list. How about you?

Mark: Richard, there are two kinds of people: Star Trek people and Star Wars people. Unfortunately, I am neither. I am looking forward to the Superman reboot, Man Of Steel. Nothing says “popcorn movie” better than the granddaddy of all superheroes. I’m also looking forward to Wolverine. He’s the most complex and nuanced of all the X-Men characters and I enjoyed the first one even more than the rest of the X-Men series. By the way, I’m not a Before Midnight guy either. During the first two, I kept hoping both characters would fall into the Seine.

RC: How about zombies? I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead so I’m looking forward to World War Z filling the gap between seasons of the show. If brain-eating undeads aren’t your thing, however, how about some brain dead teen thieves? The Bling Ring is Sophia Coppola’s movie about real-life rich kids who used the internet to track the whereabouts of celebrities and then rob their homes. It’ll be the opposite of a gritty true crime story—one of the victims, Paris Hilton, even has a cameo—but fans of LA and Louboutins should find something to like here.

: Two good choices, Richard!  I don’t even like zombie movies and I can’t wait for World War Z! Brad Pitt and millions of rotting ugly faces- the contrast alone will be high drama. And I like everything Sofia Coppola does And if we’re talking indie films, what about The Wonderful Now, a coming-of-age rom com that was a Sundance favorite this year? Or on a different note, Lovelace, the biopic of the Deep Throat star which asks the burning question: how badly does Amanda Seyfried want to change her image?

RC: After The Big Wedding Seyfried needs to shake things up a bit. I think the wildest movie of the summer might turn out to be Pacific Rim. Sea monsters versus robots? I’m in.

MB: I’m looking forward to a movie where there won’t be a single human to get in the way. Or there’s always the next Vin Diesel picture.