Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Posted by Francis McKay
J.J. Abrams and the Bad Robot crew take their second shot at the Star Trek universe with Star Trek Into Darkness. Coming four years after its 2009 predecessor, Abrams and company made sure they took their time to get the film right. The good thing about sequels, especially those of an iconic franchise, is that the first movie already introduced the main characters and their relationships. This allows the new film to jump right into the action.
The central thread of the film explores the enemy within. Distrusting superiors, and digging a little deeper for information, is a prevalent theme. The role of the villain may shift during the course of the film, but the narrative never veers far from the main topic. The film opens with the Enterprise crew on an observatory mission of a primitive tribal society. The team decides to intervene when they realize that the civilization is threatened by its own environment. The decision is contrary to the prime directive on which Starfleet is based. Upon their return to Starfleet headquarters, both Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) are disciplined for their actions. As Kirk and Spock deal with the ramification of their choices, we are introduced Jonathan Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch); a mysterious figure that is willing to assist a Starfleet officer with his family health issue for a price. It is only a matter of time before the paths of Harrison and Kirk cross to surprising results.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
In my recent review of Star Trek Into Darkness, I mentioned that that the “lack of true consequences is what is the most annoying aspect of [the film]." This remark did not sit well with fellow film blogger Andrew Robinson who runs the great site gmanReviews. As his comments often do, Andrew’s response sparked something in me that could not easily fit in the regular comments section of this site.
As a result, I have opted to give my response a post of its own as to not spoil anything for those who have not yet seen Star Trek Into Darkness. While I will be mindful not to reveal key points from J.J. Abrams latest film, there may be a few spoilers for other iconic blockbusters of the past. Though I am sure most of you have already seen many of the films I will reference below, considered yourself warned nonetheless.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Abrams seems to have lost sight of this when crafting his new tale which should both please and infuriate devoted Trek fans equally. While a key revelation in Star Trek Into Darkness will bring squeals of delight to some fans, Abrams’ handling of the ramifications of the reveal ultimately ruins the latter half of the film. Most reboots nowadays look for creative ways to retell familiar stories. A perfect example of this is Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, in which he both introduced new characters and provided a new take on existing ones. A person can easily watch Nolan’s interpretation of certain characters, say The Joker and Catwoman for example, and appreciate them in a completely different way than they admire Tim Burton’s take on those same characters. Abrams reimagining of a particular story arc, on the other hand, seems hesitant to truly separate itself from the past.
Friday, May 17, 2013
There comes a point in everyone's life, around the mid to late twenties, where you must decide what you want out of life. For many that point comes rather unexpectedly. One day you notice that everyone else is using words like "career" and "marriage". Furthermore, all the things you and your friends used to make fun of are now the things you covet the most. This is the exact predicament that Greta Gerwig's Frances Halliday finds herself in.
Frances is a 27 year-old dancer who has been apprenticing at a dance company for many years. Though her dream is to become a full member of the company, her chances are slim at best. Despite not having a stable job, Frances finds solace in the fact that she shares an apartment with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner). Frequently referred to by Frances as "me with different hair", Sophie is the only one who truly understands Frances. The pair even share a dream of achieving success in life at the same time. Unfortunately, cracks in their friendship begin to appear when Sophie jumps at the opportunity to live in her dream New York location of Tribeca. Unable to carry the rent alone, and not willing to accept that it is time to take responsibility for her life, Frances’ life begins to take a downward spiral just as everyone else's life seems to be on the up and up.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
The sharing of one’s family history through the generations is something that we rarely give much thought too. In fact, we often take for granted the significances of doing something as simple as sitting around the dinner table reflecting on the past. On the occasions where these stories, be it joyous or sad, are shared we often tend to focus on the content rather than the storyteller. This is rather odd, when you think about it, considering the integral role that the storyteller plays in shaping the tale.
This contemplation of storytelling and family is at the heart of Sarah Polley’s latest work, Stories We Tell. Already a celebrated actress in Canada and abroad, Polley has also proven herself to be a talented director with her films Away From Her and Take This Waltz. While Stories We Tell marks Polley’s first foray into the realm of documentary filmmaking, it marks her most assured directorial work to date. Similar to Bart Layton’s The Imposter, Polley manages to bend the conventional expectations of the documentary format into something that is both captivating and emotionally impactful.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Due to our Hot Docs coverage we missed the April edition of I Have Scene It Before. As a result, we have decided to give you a supersized edition for May! The last time we ran this feature all 11 films were identified. Here is this month’s selection of film scenes. How many can you identify?
Labels: Scene It Before