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Non-Review Review: Star Trek – Generations

This August, to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness on DVD and blu ray, we’re taking a look at the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. Movie reviews are every Tuesday and Thursday.

There are lots of problems with Star Trek: Generations. It feels too much like a two-parter from the television show. It tries to fit in a laundry list of demands from the studio. It wastes Malcolm McDowell. It decides that the only part of the original series deserving a send-off is James T. Kirk, and then pushes him off-screen for an hour before dragging him back into the movie to kill him off in the most ironic and anti-climactic manner possible.

Yet, despite these considerable flaws, Generations also has a lot to recommend it. Although the script occasionally feels a little overcooked, the themes concerning mortality lend it a serious amount of weight. Director David Carson demonstrates that he can work wonders on a tiny budget. Cinematographer John A. Alonzo finds a way to shoot familiar sets in a way that makes them look incredibly beautiful. None of these strengths can fully compensate for the very fundamental flaws with the seventh Star Trek cinematic outing, but they do mitigate them somewhat.

Generations isn’t a great Star Trek film, and it isn’t even the best odd-numbered Star Trek film, but it is far from an unmitigated disaster. Well, except for the way it treats Kirk.

Riding the wave...

Riding the wave…

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Watch! Trailers for The Impossible and Song for Marion…

I love me some Terrence Stamp.

Okay, a lot of that love is rooted in the fact that he was cinema’s best comic book supervillain for well over a decade, playing the iconic Zod (of “kneel before…” fame) in Superman II. However, as I grew older, I came to love spotting Stamp in all manner of roles – whether serious, comic, subversive or even random. Whether it’s small roles in comedies like Yes Man or Bowfinger, or leading performances in films like The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, I just have a massive fondness for Stamp. (It’s a fondness, I must confess that extends outwards to other British actors of his generation, including Malcolm McDowell and Patrick Stewart.)

Anyway, I just received this trailer for Song for Marion, and it looks like it could be fun. Stamp plays a grumpy old man who gets involved in his wife’s choir. Oh, and Christopher Eccleston plays his son. It’s strange, but somehow brilliant casting. Anyway, the clip is below.

There’s also this trailer for The Impossible, starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts. It’s the story of a family struggling to survive the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. I’m very curious to see how this plays out, because it’s a premise that really needs to be handled with a great deal of care.

Whatever Happened to Ron Underwood? One-Shots, Wash-Ups & Never-Has-Beens…

I think it’s happened to all of us. We’re flicking through the television channels, and we hit on an old movie we like. In my case, it was the superb 1990 B-movie Tremors. As we’re watching it, and remembering how much we loved it, our mind gets to wondering, “Whatever happened to that guy?” It could be an actor, an actress, a director or a writer. It’s somebody who showed a decent amount of talent (or, in the most frustrating circumstances, a phenomenal amount of talent), but who seemed to fade from view, and who we never heard from again. In this case, it was the director of the film, Ron Underwood. Whatever happened to that guy? Are they still alive? Are they still working? Why haven’t I heard from them since this one really good film I’m watching?

One shot at fame and fortune?

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Non-Review Review: The Artist

It’s funny that The Artist should end up being so accessible. It’s a black-and-white silent film, shot in an abandoned aspect ratio, set in old Hollywood from a French director. It sounds like an exercise in arthouse excess, and yet it’s easily one of the most charming and engaging stories in recent memory. It’s hard to put a finger on which part of the film works so well, so I’m going to opt for a massive copout: they all do. It’s a love letter to cinema, but not necessarily to “classic cinema” – the movie feels pretty timely for a story set in the twenties. In short, if you are any sort of cinephile, do yourself a favour and check it out. You won’t regret it.

Released just in time for New Year’s, it seems like 2011 might have saved the best for last.

Now THAT's Entertainment!

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Non-Review Review: Easy A

“Just once I want my life to be like an 80’s movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason,” Olive – our plucky teenage protagonist – moans at one point, before sadly reflecting, “But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life.” However, her life really isn’t that far off. Easy A recalls, in the best way possible, all those great teenage comedies from the eighties, like The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It isn’t that it’s a generic imitation – it works very well on its own merits, and selling it as a nostalgic trip doesn’t do the movie justice – rather that is displays a genuine understanding about the facts of being a teenager growing up and the way that social interactions work at that age.

Funny, my hairdresser gave me the same advice...

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