Star Trek: Beyond Review (no spoilers)

Star-Trek-Beyond

It’s All About the Characters

Star Trek: Beyond is the third installment of the rebooted Star Trek franchise. JJ Abrams doesn’t direct the film but handed the reigns over to Justin Lin. He directed three of the Fast and Furious movies and the second season of True Detective.  Simon Pegg and Doug Jung wrote the film after Robert Orci left due to creative differences with Paramount. Star Trek: Beyond excels and expands on character development of members of the crew. The film has had a tragedy surrounding it as Anton Yelchin, Lt. Chekov, died in motor vehicle accident before the movie’s release.  Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock, died last summer and the film is dedicate two both actors who play fan favorites.

The crew of the Enterprise is in the third year of their five year mission. The crew seems to be happy and be enjoying each other’s company despite being away from their different home planet. Kirk and Spock are conflicted though and are considering different options. The crew visits a new Star Base but it is interrupted when they receive a distress call. Kirk and his crew come to the aid of the call but are attacked by a deadly enemy.

Star Trek: Beyond has two minor weaknesses. The weakness is the first act is a set up and build up for the second act when the conflict really gets going. However, the first act (like 20 minutes) isn’t bad. They are entertaining 20 minutes because the audience is introduced to a new alien species and the comradery between the crew. The first act is definitely entertaining. The other minor weakness is the villain. He doesn’t get enough screen time to have interactions with key members of the crew. Star Trek: Beyond does explain the villains motivations which is a bright spot. The film so many bright spots.

The direction and storytelling is a major bright spot. Justin Lin directs a wonderful science fiction action movie with tons of heart. His action sequences are shot perfectly and are so entertaining. The film has hand to hand combat action sequences, chase scenes, and a great sequence involving a classic Star Trek relic.  Lin also brought a Star Trek television show setting to the big screen which made audience enjoy this film better. The best thing about Star Trek: Beyond is the dynamic between crew members and new characters.

The interaction between the characters make this blockbuster so memorable. Kirk and Chekov spend time together on screen. They both really form a solid bond. Scotty meets Jaylen, the new female alien. The interactions between McCoy and Spock or Kirk or even both of them. Bones really drives the heart of the story. He delivers the best lines of the movie, and Karl Urban is the perfect casting for Bones. The rest of the cast are perfect in the film as their characters.

Go see Star Trek: Beyond because the movie is very entertaining, and critics and audience love the film. Star Trek: Beyond gets a 4.0 out of 5.

My Top Ten BEST Movies of the Year

top ten

Best Movies of the Year

I have not seen every movie that has come out this year or even seen the potential Oscar movies like FoxCatcher, Whiplash, or a few others. This list will the best films of the year in opinion that I have seen; however, doesn’t mean they’re my favorite films of this year.  My judgment of these will be based on my experience watching them in a theater and judging all aspects of the film.

Honorable mentions:

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Snow Piercer
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Noah
  • X-Men Days of the Future Past
Directed and written by Jennifer Kent Essie Davis as Amelia Noah Wieseman as Samuel

Directed and written by Jennifer Kent
Essie Davis as Amelia
Noah Wieseman as Samuel

10. The Babadook

The Babadook is one of the best horror movies to terrify audiences since Poltergeist.  I don’t like horror movies because I ignore questions about going to see in the theater. The story follows a recently widowed single mother and her son’s aggressively disruptive behavior.  He has dreams a of a creature called the Babadook, and their home life suddenly becomes strange with a paranormal activity constantly. For example, The Babadook, the creature, has a creepy voice that saids “The Babadoook” and it is freaky as hell to be riding in a backseat of the car while that voice is constantly talking to you. The film has a underlying theme of the difficulties of being a single mother. The Babadook is shot beautifully, and the setting is very dark and grim.   The film was directed by Jennifer Kent who also wrote the screenplay. The Babadook is certainly the marquee horror film of a new generation.

Grand Budapest Hotel characters

Grand Budapest Hotel characters

9. The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel stars Ralph Fiennes and an ensemble cast that includes: Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, William Defoe, and several other famous actors. The movie follows Gustave H who is the concierge at the Grand Budapest Hotel. He gets framed for a murder and his loyal lobby boy, Zero Moustafa, helps him prove his innocence. The film is a dark comedy and the cinematography makes the prison outbreak scenes hilarious. The dialogue is witty and clever. The tone and pacing of the film builds tension but Ralph Fiennes gives a hell of a comedic performance. The film has earned several nominations from the Critics Broadcast Society, Golden Globes, and the Screen Actors guild.

Guardians of the Galaxy directed by James Gunn  Written by Nicole Perlman and James Gunn  Featuring Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon

Guardians of the Galaxy directed by James Gunn
Written by Nicole Perlman and James Gunn
Featuring Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon

8. Guardians of the Galaxy

Originally Snow Piercer was going to make the list; however, I couldn’t let Guardians be left of my list.  Guardians is the second best marvel movie ever made, and one of the most entertaining movies of the year. Guardians is probably one of the best box office successes of the decade. This little known comic book property has made over 770 million worldwide, spawn the creation of a new animated TV show on Disney XD’s channel which will premiere this spring, and number 1 soundtrack.  Guardians is about the a rag team of outlaws who come together to sell a orb after they stole from a tyrant named Ronan the Accuser. The movie is completely entertaining, and is filled with pop culture references like Kevin Bacon, Footloose, John Stamos, and other references. James Gunn directed the film and is currently writing the sequel.  Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper star or provide the voices of the Guardians. Groot and Rocket, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper, do steal most of the scenes of the movie.  This is probably Marvel’s biggest hit so far. (although not financially)

Birdman is the inner voice of Reagan Thomson

Birdman is the inner voice of Reagan Thomson

7. Birdman

First time I saw Birdman and thought it was ok. However, I keep thinking about scenes about this movie; therefore, it means that I do really think it is one of the best movies of the year and one of my favorites. Birdman arguably has the best acting, cinematography, and the best dark comedy of the year. The film is super funny but it drives the point that some actors get pegged for one role for their entire life. Michael Keaton will always be recognized as Batman and some people say he is their Batman.  Keaton plays an actor Reagan Thomson is starring in his own play that he wrote and directs. No major critic takes him seriously and neither do the other actors that work with on the play. Birdman is shot to make it look like the film is one continuous take. Alejandro González Iñárritu wrote and directed the film. Emma Stone and Edward Norton are part of the supporting cast.

Locke

6. Locke

Locke is Tom Hardy at his best. He plays Ivan Locke an architect that made a mistake several months ago. He had an one night affair with a woman who is giving birth to their child. Ivan has the biggest job tomorrow but decides to travel to London from Birmingham to present at the birth of his child. The film is set in a car, and Hardy gives a hell of an acting performance.  Locke was written and directed by Steven Knight. Steven Knight is currently writing World War Z II. Tom Hardy is Tom Hardy that nails any role which stars in. He is going to star in Mad Max: Fury Road and playing Elton John in Rocket Man. Hardy is one of the best actors in Hollywood. His performance of Locke is very compelling. He won the LA Critics best acting award for his performance as Locke. Hardy nails every emotion that Ivan goes with midlife crisis and it makes the film super suspenseful and compelling. Hardy should be nominated for a best actor but that category is filled with good actors this year.

Chef starting Jon Favreau

Chef starting Jon Favreau

5. Chef

Chef stars Jon Favreau who plays Chef Carl Casper. Chef Casper is a prominent chef at LA restaurant who is terminated because of a outburst with a nationwide film food critic. Casper struggles to find himself but with the help of his ex wife, son, and best friend. Casper reinvents himself by starting a food truck that makes Cubanos. Chef is a R comedy but very hilarious. It was my favorite film of the year until Edge of Tomorrow came out.  This movie is a heartfelt indie flick that will make you go hungry while watching it.  Jon Favreau wrote one of the best screenplays of the year and directed a wonderful entertaining film.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou being unethical.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou being unethical.

4. Nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal gave the best acting performance of the year.  He played an unethical bastard named Lou in Nightcrawler. He will do anything for a story and that means anything.  The beauty of Nightcrawler is that show how much the local and national press has changed over time. The Slogan “if it bleeds then it leads” is pretty much the major theme in this movie.  Nightcrawler examines the press and shows how despicable they have become. Dan Gilroy wrote and directed the film.  Gyllenhaal himself lost weight to play the role of Lou and is probably a lock to get an Oscar for the role. (Michael Keaton for Birdman is the favorite right now).

Captain America 2: the Winter Solider by Marvel  Director by Joe and Anthony Russo Starting Chris Evans

Captain America 2: the Winter Soldier by Marvel
Director by Joe and Anthony Russo
Starting Chris Evans

3. Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier

Captain America 2 is the best Marvel movie ever and arguably the second best comic book movie since the Dark Knight is number 1.  Steve Rodgers, Captain America, (Chris Evans) is working for SHIELD and doing their dirty work.  Rodgers has Nick Fury, Samuel L. Jackson, show up at his apartment and sees the Director of Shield get assassinated.  Rodgers becomes an outlaw and uncovers that his longtime foe has taken over SHIELD. The movie has is filled with great action, humor, and is a great spy story. It is a superhero movie that a has Jason Bourne plot. The movie also leaves you to question the authority and power of national spy organizations like the CIA and the NSA.  Honestly, the realistic plot is one of the reasons why this movie hit a homer with a worldwide audience.

Gone Girl based on the novel by Gillan Flynn  Directed by David Fincher  Starring Ben Affleck Rosamund Pike  Neil Patrick Harris Tyler Perry Carrie Coon

Gone Girl based on the novel by Gillan Flynn
Directed by David Fincher
Starring Ben Affleck
Rosamund Pike
Neil Patrick Harris
Tyler Perry
Carrie Coon

2. Gone Girl

Oh Gone Girl! This film has everything and arguably the best movie of the year when it came out.  It is an Oscar favorite. Gone Girl is about Nick Dunne who is having an affair with one of his students but comes home to find his wife missing. He contacts the authorities and their investigation points to Nick Dunne killing his wife, Amy. Nick, Ben Affleck, is follows his wife’s treasure hunt for their 5th year anniversary and discovers that Amy, Rosamund Pike, has framed him for her murder.  The movie is two and half hours of pure suspension with plot twists galore. Gillan Flynn wrote the screenplay and will win an Oscar for adapted screenplay for it. She is the author of the best selling book Gone Girl. David Fincher could be a lock for Best Director and Rosamund Pike for best actress.  Trent Renzor might win an Oscar again for best score. Gone Girl will make you question marriage or even being in a relationship. Ben Affleck also delivers a performance that is his best ever, and also proving that he can be Batman.

Calvary  Directed by John Michael McDonagh  Starring:  Brendan Gleeson as Father James

Calvary
Directed and written by John Michael McDonagh
Starring:
Brendan Gleeson as Father James

1. Calvary

Calvary is an independent British film that no one has seen in America except the big movie markets or the crew from AMC Movie Talk.  I decided to go see Calvary on the Redskin’s bye week because of Breedan Gleeson.  Breedan Gleeson is known for as Mad Eye Moody from Harry Potter to most of the American viewing public.  Calvary deals with the catholic child molestation issue. Gleeson is one of my favorite actors and his son, Domhnall Gleeson, is one of the best young actors in Hollywood.  Calvary is Gleeson’s film and his performance was the best dramatic performance that I have seen all year in a foreign film.

Father James, Gleeson, is sitting in his confessional when one of his weekly members of his congregation tells him that he is planning to kill him in seven days.  The member was a victim of child abuse from a catholic priest who is dead. The member tells him that his reasoning to kill Father James is shock the world and cause the Catholic Church finally do something about the on going child molestation within the Catholic Church.  Father James also has to deal with his daughter who tried to commit suicide. He also is the leader of the town that he lives in. James deals with many problems that the town’s people have.

Calvary emphasizes the importance of Catholic or other religious priests in the small town life. The film is pretty blunt that not all Catholic Priests are child molesters but are really down to earth good hearted people.  The sexual abuse victim and their struggles helps the viewer what these people go through for their entire life. James is seen as the leader and many townspeople turn to him for guidance.  John Michael McDonagh directed a suspenseful and moving story that would be a Oscar buzz film if more people got to see it. Calvary is the best film of the year to me.

Guardians of the Galaxy Review

Guardians of the Galaxy directed by James Gunn  Written by Nicole Perlman and James Gunn  Featuring Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon

Guardians of the Galaxy directed by James Gunn
Written by Nicole Perlman and James Gunn
Featuring Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon

(I am Groot) translation by Rocket Raccoon “Guardians of the Galaxy is the next big Sci-Fi Franchise”

Guardians of the Galaxy was a spectacular space adventure. In 2012 at San Diego Comic Con, Marvel announced that a Guardians of the Galaxy movie was officially being developed. The nerd world was “Alright cool, It will be good.” All of the non nerdy people were like “Who the hell are the Guardians of the Galaxy?” At the end of the credits people were raving about their enjoyment from watching the movie. People were walking out saying out of the theater saying “That was awesome.”  Guardians of the Galaxy does come from an obscure comic book series.   The public will thank Kevin Feige (head of Marvel Studios) for deciding to branch out the Marvel Cinematic Universe in space and allowing this movie to be made.

Guardians of the Galaxy begins with young Peter Jason Quill (Chris Pratt) is abducted from Earth after his mother dies.  The movie flash forwards his life 20 years, and he is a plunderer and a thief. He belongs to a group called Ravagers lead by Yondu (Michael Rooker). He steals an Orb that Thanos (Josh Brolin) and Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) want so they can destroy planets and galaxies.  Quill steals the Orb but gets no where. Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) are after Quill for different reasons. The four outlaws get arrested by the Nova Corps and meet Drax  the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) in a prison. The five outlaws team up to steal the orb and help Drax kill Ronan for killing his family. They realize that need to protect the orb so they form the Guardians of the Galaxy.

First of all, we should congratulate James Gunn, Nicole Perlman, and Chris McCoy (who did an uncredited screen write) for bringing this movie to life.  They developed a fantastic story that brought these five characters to the big screen. Gunn found cast members that had chemistry.  The Guardians drive the movie. The story is great, the visual effects are fantastic, and the dialogue is well written.  The dialogue is so hilarious. For example, Drax at the end of the movie is talking to a Nova Corps officer (Universe’s Police Force) and asks if pulling out someone’s spine would be legal for killing his family. The Nova Corps Officer (John C. Reilly) replies no this that still murder. It is considered the worst possible crime and Drax nods his head and replies with a good.  The audience feels like they are in a space adventure like Star Wars.  It is the cast that makes the movie.

Pratt, Saldana, Bautista, Diesel, Cooper, and Rooker have such a great time together acting with each other. Pratt played a sarcastic pirate in the beginning then turned into leader to lead a bunch of misfits. Saldana is a sexy assassin but she displays so much emotion as Gamora. Bautista was a pleasant surprise. He actually acted fantastically as a renegade out for vengeance and made you feel for his character. He is very loyal to his friends. Rooker is a great Yondu. Yondu is this cold savage pirate that will do anything for money. He might be my third favorite character in the movie. However, the best two characters are Groot and Rocket.

Groot only speaks three words “I am Groot.” Those three words have a different meaning each time. Groot is the most human character of all. His powers are unlimited. He can turn into a ladder for the team to use or kill his enemies with one stroke. He is so loyal, and Vin Diesel did a great of showing emotion with motion capture. Rocket is the show stealer because he is a little prick. He is a foul mouth talking Raccoon who does things to people for the joy of it.  For example, taking someone’s prosthetic leg for no reason except to see him hobble around on one leg.  Rocket is the only one who can translate Groot. Rocket gets offended when you call him vermin.

The negative about  the movie is it can be slow sometimes. The collector (he was the one at the end of Thor 2) doesn’t have a big role. He has a cameo. Nebula (Karen Gillan) and the Collector (Benicio Del Toro) will have bigger roles in the sequel as will Thanos.  These characters are somewhat underutilized.  Gunn added a lot of Easter eggs for future marvel movies.

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy is a success. It will be getting a sequel which is set for release on July 27th, 2017.  The cast is great and the story is good for an action movie. I give Guardians a 4/5. It is not as good as the Avengers or Captain America 2.  However, that is nothing to complain about either.

Guardians of the Galaxy have you seen it. What did you think comment below and let me know.