Thursday, May 16, 2013

Midnight Movie Review - Star Trek Into Darkness

I wasn’t going to write this review, because honestly, I’m so backed up with real world projects – and four kids who want dinner Every. Single. Night. – that my blog has had to take a back seat for quite a while.

But I just want to say that I loved that new Star Trek Into Darkness movie.  You know the one: with the cocky captain and guy with the pointy ears.

Director JJ Abrams had a tough row to hoe: on one hand you’ve got Trekkies who are such fans they can speak Klingon (“qaStaH nuq?”), on the other hand you’ve got people who are like: Khan?… hmm, is that spelled Caan or Con? Oh… Khan. 

Then you have peeps like me: reasonably familiar, not a huge fan, but loves a good movie.

I feel like JJ Abrams (who directed the first Star Trek reboot in 2009, Mission: Impossible III, as well as created a couple of my favorite shows: Alias and Lost) somehow provided a movie that will please all three. A nearly impossible task.
Cumberbatch - Odd name, stellar actor

Don’t get me wrong, the movie is loud and brash. But yet you can feel the love for the Star Trek franchise fairly oozing from everyone involved in the film. And Benedict Cumberbatch?  Well, if you don’t adore him yet, you will soon. Crazy name and all.

I won’t give away any of the plot, although there aren’t any real twists to give away. Part of the time I did find myself thinking I’m pretty sure this has happened before somewhere. Well, it’s Star Trek. There’s been a dozen movies and 30 years worth of television in the franchise. So yeah, it’s all happened before. But that's part of the charm.

My poster
I have to admit I saw the movie the way all movies like this should be seen: a sold-out sneak preview, full of fans who took this seriously (they broke out into applause multiple times), and on IMAX 3D. Honestly, I could’ve done without the 3D, but the rest was pure awesome sauce. Plus they gave me a cool glow-in-the-dark poster.

I’m taking hubby to see it next week, for our anniversary. So that should tell you how I feel about it.

Abrams, with Trek cast - can he do as fine of work with Star Wars?
But most importantly seeing Star Trek Into Darkness gives me confidence in JJ Abrams helming the new Star Wars movie next year, something much more important and dear to me.  Abram's vision and adroitness with Trek has given me a new hope, you might say, for Episode VII (see what I did there?).  He knows how to cast, he knows what people want, he knows how to tell a good story. Please, dear movie gods, let it be so.

Help us, JJ Abrams, you're our only hope. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Midnight Movie Review - Iron Man 3

Irreverent. Tongue-in-cheek. Flippant.  Smart aleck. And, for once -- my mom will be thrilled -- we’re not talking about me.

We’re talking about Iron Man 3. I saw it last night at an (almost) midnight showing.  I have to say, I liked it a lot. I liked that it had what so many super hero movies are missing these days: humor. Some Han Solo-esque sassiness.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Shane Black penned and directed it. If you don’t know who Black is right off hand, he also wrote and directed the quirky Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – gawd, how I loved that movie; and wrote one of my all time favorites: The Long Kiss Goodnight.  Let’s just say that Shane Black has perfected the art of winking at the audience and uses that skill in full force throughout IM3.

If you want a full review of the movie without any spoilers hit up my pal Dan the Man here

I’m not going to go into plot. But basically the question ultimately asked (and answered, literally and directly) here was: who is Iron Man – the suit or Tony Stark? 

Who is Iron Man -- the iron or the man?
Suffering from post-Avengers adventure panic attacks, Robert Downey’s Tony Stark provides us with a beautiful mix of fearful trauma and charming cockiness. He knows he’s brilliant, but faced with real superhero friends he was with last time we saw him – Thor, Captain America, The Hulk –  he has to deal with the fact that when it all comes down to it he’s just a guy in an armor suit.

Or armor suits. As the case ends up being.

Ben Kingsley's Mandarin
And Ben Kingsley’s The Mandarin? Best. Worst. Villain. Ever. Although, I have a feeling a few of my Marvel comic-worshipping friends might throw themselves off the nearest ledge upon viewing this film. Sorry guys.

Although I truly enjoyed the film, I will say the end battle scene never really lived up to its potential. Or maybe there was no way it could live up to the last battle scene in Joss’ Avengers, so it decided it wasn’t even going to try.  Lots of booms, but it never seemed to build. (Plus something horrible happens that ties directly in to Tony Stark’s greatest fears, yet holds zero emotional repercussions later. I found that a bit difficult to swallow.)

The big action problem for me in the final scene was the lack of a true sense of how many bad minion soldiers there really were. One just showed up every time a good guy needed an obstacle to get around.  So we never knew how many were still left to get rid of. Again, lack of build.

Ultimately, time after time, when the good guys’ brawn (suits) would fail – they would have to use their brains to defeat the stronger, faster, meaner opponents.  We get it: you have to fight with whatever weapons you have available to you. And your mind is the most powerful weapon of all.  The best heroes are the smart ones.

Of course, even smart heroes still just straight up kick butt every once in a while. Always quite satisfying.

Do I recommend it? Yeah. Good for kids too. I’ll definitely take my 10 and 9 year old sons to see it – although they’ll miss a lot of the humor. There’s violence, but nothing too scary.

And, as if you didn’t know, stay until the end of the credits. It’s everything I like about this movie.

Oh and case you just need some hilarity today. I love this. Best Iron Man 3 trailer ever.