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Star Trek: Enterprise – Carpenter Street (Review)

Next year, Star Trek is fifty years old. We have some special stuff planned for that, but – in the meantime – we’re reviewing all of Star Trek: Enterprise this year as something of a prequel to that anniversary. This August, we’re doing the third season. Check back daily for the latest review.

This is the point at which it becomes all but impossible to argue that the production team knew what they were doing this season.

The third season of Star Trek: Enterprise holds together reasonably well, if the viewer pulls back to a big enough distance. The broad arcs are discernible and logical – there is a clear start point and a reasonable trajectory, even if the first half of the season tends to get a bit lost. It really pulls itself together during the second half of the season, with one or two exceptions, building towards a finalé that satisfies both the demands of a year-long arc and the franchise surrounding it. It is not perfect, but it is not bad for a first attempt.

Hey kids! It's Leland Orser!

Hey kids! It’s Leland Orser!

Of course, it is also quite clear that the production team really had no idea what they were doing – or even what they were trying to do. The fact that it comes together in the second half of the season all but concedes that it doesn’t hold together in the first half. The first half of the third season is populated with standalone episodes that tend to either fit thematically (North Star, Similitude) or tonally (Impulse, Exile) with the general direction of the show, but a rather limited sense of progress or advancement.

Carpenter Street is the point at which any real sense of trust between the audience and the production team snaps like a twig. It is a story that features the characters time travelling to modern-day Earth in the middle of a gigantic story arc about how they are more isolated than they ever have been before. It throws away any sense of internal logic or consistency, never really exploring how an alien species that can travel back to Detroit in 2004 should have a problem with Earth in 2153. And, crucially, it is not fun enough to excuse those issues.

Hey kid! It's Jeffrey Dean Morgan! (Really!)

Hey kid! It’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan!
(Really!)

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Non-Review Review: The Resident

While I was watching The Resident, I couldn’t help but think of Pacific Heights. Maybe it was the fact that I had just watched Jackie Brown and Michael Keaton was fresh in my head, but I really couldn’t get the comparison out of my head. Both movies have a rather fascinating central premise, and a fertile ground for horror – the notion that we know next-to-nothing about the people we finding ourselves living with – but both also fail to follow through on some truly great potential. There are moments when The Resident seems to be working, but they’re all too briefly brushed aside in a movie that doesn’t seem willing to build or develop its unsettling undertones.

This relationship is suffocating her...

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Swanky Lady: Spare a Thought for Hilary Swank…

I feel sorry for Hilary Swank right now, but also a little hurt and confused. Swank should be a respected character actor at the very least, and I’d argue that she has the potential for a distinguished and competent leading lady. After all, the woman has two Oscars on her shelves and she’s not even forty (for Million Dollar Baby and Boys Don’t Cry). That’s some kind of spectacular acting accomplishment right there. We should be looking at the next Meryl Streep, a woman who can grow old with dignity and remain a well-respected and admired performer. So, I am quite surprised to find that Swank is starring in a direct-to-video Hammer horror film, The Resident.

And I’m trying to understand how that can happen.

I thought an Oscar was supposed to open doors...

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