Benedict Cumberbatch, in addition to being one the finest actors working today, possesses THE most English of English names ever to be bestowed upon an Englishman. In case you doubted it was his real name, it’s actually shortened. His full name is Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch. He has, however, endeared himself to geeks and non-geeks alike by already indelibly visiting the worlds of Tolkien (Smaug and the Necromancer), Star Trek (nobody blames Into Darkness on him), and the MCU (where he is the resident Sorcerer Supreme: Dr. Stephen Strange). Cumberbatch, with his distinctive, mesmerizing voice and talent for squeezing his narrow frame into giant characters both fictional and real (Julian Assange, William Pitt, Alan Turing), has already made a lasting mark on the big screen and small, where he has achieved an impossible feat with Stephan Moffat and Martin Freeman in updating Sherlock Holmes for contemporary times, while still maintaining the spirit of Conan Doyle’s master detective better than any adaptation in my lifetime (if not period).
Continue reading Benedict Cumberbatch’s 10 Best Movies
Zoe Saldana was originally a ballet dancer before her interest in theater drew her into films. She has been part of, perhaps, three of the best action/adventure films of this millennium in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Star Trek, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Between reinventing Uhura in Star Trek, portraying Gamora in the MCU, and Avatar (and its upcoming four sequels), Saldana has taken the torch from Sigourney Weaver in becoming science fiction’s action queen. Her dance background makes her extremely gifted with fight choreography and in motion capture, and her acting skills don’t require make-up. She’s held her own with Tom Hanks in The Terminal, Mark Ruffalo in Infinitely Polar Bear, and Christian Bale in Out of the Furnace. I hope the grind of the Ava-sequel shoot doesn’t prevent her wholly from doing other films, because she’s always an outstanding addition to any ensemble she joins.
Continue reading Zoe Saldana’s 10 Best Movies
Star Trek: Beyond is the 13th film to spin out of Gene Roddenberry’s original series, which began-hard to believe-over 50 years ago. The film is a change of tone with a new writer in Simon Pegg (who also plays Scotty) and a new director in Fast & the Furious’ Justin Lin taking over for JJ Abrams. The last installment, 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness, was deeply divisive, but Beyond came out in the back half of a deeply disappointing summer to fairly good reviews and did well enough that a fourth installment with Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto’s new crew is already scheduled. Despite all that, this was the first Star Trek film I didn’t see in the theaters on opening weekend since Star Trek VI. I didn’t see it in the theaters at all. I never felt excited by anything I’d seen. The first trailer, featuring the Beastie Boys “Sabotage” blaring over what looked nothing like Trek really put me off (though if I knew the song was going to be a major plot point I probably would still be putting off seeing the film). Mild spoilers below. Continue reading Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond (2016) *Just Beyond Mediocre*
Paramount has released the final trailer for Star Trek: Beyond (Star Trek XIII), which will open in theaters this weekend. Each one of the four trailers has gotten progressively better, so combined with pretty positive reviews, I’m looking forward to spending some more time with Kirk & Co. As a side not, JJ Abrams (no word on if he’s directing or continuing in a producer role) has confirmed Star Trek XIV will see the return of George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth). That will be a bit of a trick since he died in the first few minutes of Abram’s reboot. But, hey, it’s Star Trek. What’s a little time travel when it’s family? Star Trek: Beyond opens July 22, 2016.
The first trailer for Star Trek XIII or Star Trek: Beyond (people get so squirrelly about numbers on sequels these days) was awful. It was a mess, featured the Beastie Boys song Kirk was listening to as a kid when he was joyriding, but that really did not mesh as the background to a space adventure. The second trailer was a vast improvement. The third trailer, featuring Rhianna’s song “Sledgehammer” from the film’s soundtrack, makes me want to see it.
We’re picking up with the crew of the Enterprise mid-way through the five-year journey of exploration they began at the close of Star Trek: Into Darkness. They’re tired. They’re burnt to a crisp. Things have gotten so sad they’ve taken to wearing the uniforms from Galaxy Quest (or is that just me?). This third trailer, while still featuring the destruction of the Enterprise which is not at all eyebrow raising anymore, gives you a sense that there’s actually a solid plot to the film. Things surrounding Beyond already have a pall cast over them from the tragic death of cast member Anton Yelchin. It’s nice to see his final adventure with his crew may be a good one. Star Trek: Beyond opens wide on July 22, 2016.