Movie Review #597 STAR TREK BEYOND.
Beyond what I'm not sure however the latest episode in the latter day Star Trek franchise is another exercise in usual trekkie thrills & spills with James Tiberius & crew locked in another round of mortal combat against an alien life form hell bent on destroying the Federation (it's life Jim but not as we know it).
The Enterprise is attacked early in the piece & her crew sprinkled across various parts of the customary uncharted planet where they are forced into deploying usual resourcefulnesses to overcome adversity, turn the predicament to the positive & finally defeat the bad guys.
Standard feel-good camaraderies between the mainstays of James T/Spock/Bones/Scotty are abound with the Sulu/Chekov sidekick pairing getting equal airtime. In addition the Spock/Uhura dalliance proceeds along plus there's a new chum in the form of the spray-painted Jayla, long ago stranded on aforementioned uncharted planet.
Story is predictable with nothing that hasn't been done before yet it makes for a couple of hours of reasonable entertainment & an escape from the Sunday afternoon low-end wind chill factor of a Palmerston North winter's day. I suspect in a year or two there will another Star Trek movie to squeeze even more out of this egg that believe it or not began with a budget TV show that ran only 3yrs from 1966 through 1969.
For this slice of the reinvention, it's a 7.5/10.
Movie Review #2974
Another Nazi-hunt tale, this time featuring old Georg von Trappe himself (Christopher Plummer) as Zev, an Auschwitz survivor suffering from dementia & barely in control of his faculties & the inimitable Martin Landau (Mission Impossible anyone?), his friend Max. Max is also an ex-Auschwitz resident, wheelchair-bound but still pursuing retribution against those responsible for his & Zev's families' deaths in the camp.
Unable to pursue himself, Max constructs an elaborate paint-by-numbers plan that sees Zev escape from their retirement home & embark upon a cross country excursion to track down the main perpetrator, now living in the US under an assumed identity. Zev encounters all sorts of characters & obstacles along the way including an anti-Semitic cop, various small children, a stint in hospital, the Canadian border & other WWII veterans before cornering his quarry in a remote part of Lake Tahoe.
It's at this point the story elevates beyond the norm with a twist bigger than The Sixth Sense & the sudden realisation that things are not quite what they seem. Messrs Plummer & Landau are brilliant as the old geriatrics playing out rectitude in spite of their years with a superb supporting cast including Jurgen Prochnow as the hunted & provider of a few surprises.
Whilst not a thriller as such, the anticipation of 90yr old Zev actually being able to reach his & Max's goal kept me on the edge of my seat in a very strange manner that also had me completely estranged from the eventuality. Awesome movie, well-acted (especially the aforementioned Capt von Trappe) & a fabulous screenplay that keeps you totally engaged then reeling at the final.
Don't think I've ever done this but it's a 10/10.
Movie Review #9367
Yet another reboot that could be entitled Ghostbusters Reslimed except they shouldn't have bothered with the slime. Basing it’s outplay on the 1984 original although totally devoid of any of its charm, it hat tips in all directions but has no real direction of its own.
The Ghostbusters are this time female with current flavour Melissa McCarthy running alongside Kirsten Wiig in the lead roles + another Hemsworth turns up as the girl's eye candy. There's no Sigourney Weaver or Rick Moranis equivalents unless you count Hemsworth & the bad dude this time is a disgruntled janitor rather than a demi-god.
Even the mayor’s office is diluted down to a mere irritation & there's no real skulduggery anywhere just a plethora of ghosts darting this way & that all around New York. Cameos from originals Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Ernie Hudson & Sigourney Weaver provide some light respite from the tedium but all in all, all I can say is they shouldn't have bothered.
Now if they'd CGI'd Harold Ramis in as one of the ghosts that would have been something but this two hours of basic drivel left me thinking I should have gone to see the latest Ice Age instead.
Movie Review #2865 LABYRINTH OF LIES.
Avoiding my usual fare of no-thought-required Friday night movies at Palmy's Downtown Cinema, I took in this German film based on the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials in the 60s. Faced with a hierarchy full of hiding Nazis, a young public prosecutor embarks upon the task of building a case against former personnel from the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Finding a Germany that would rather forget than deliver justice coupled with the aforementioned hierarchy, he has to negotiate his way through the mire of intrigue & with the help of a local journalist amongst others, finds the Auschwitz Angel of Death Josef Mengele in his sights.
Narrowly missing his target on a return visit home, the pursuit turns to obsession & threatens everything he holds dear; fiancée, mother, friends & associates, culminating in his driving himself to brink of despair. However somewhat predictably, he does regroup & the movie comes to a conclusion at the outset of the trials.
Well crafted & acted, L of L hones in on Nazi atrocities but avoids the shock factor of graphic representation & instead satisfies itself with the human reactions to such events. It also throws in a dollop of vulnerability around the main character as he has to face the secrets emanating from his own family & circle of friends.
Nicely done overall & like many European productions, plays out rather matter of factly & without too much over-dramatisation. 7.5/10
Movie Review #9365 with Geoff Horne: INDEPENDENCE DAY : RESURGENCE.
It's bigger, it's better, it's 20 years later & the badass aliens from the original Independence Day, affectionately known as ID4, are back, this time with a bad mama in tow. No Will Smith, other than in a painting on a White House wall, but Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsh & Bill Pulman + a few others all return 20 years older, obviously.
In addition, some of the cute kids from ID4 make a return, woven into the story as now responsible grown-ups with histories & hangups of their own.
Premise is the same as before however rather than the usual sequel rehash, earth has made use of its captured alien technology & used it to advance some 200 years in 20. One of the hallmarks of the original was a certain amount of corniness interspliced amongst the seriousness of the world ending & Resurgence retains this while reinventing the landscape to accommodate all these new whizbang toys. Sprinkle in the standard heart throb hero in Liam Hemsworth + a comic foil & the scene is set for another rip-roaring boys own scifi adventure which doesn't disappoint on thrills & spills.
It's no better (despite what I said earlier) & no worse than ID4, just a bit different & while everyone tries hard, again it misses the mark of achieving true scifi legendary status a la StarWars or even Bladerunner. But, I do hear rumours of yet a further sequel to go and attack the aliens on their home turf & end this threat once & for all. Certainly the final scene supports this but I think the bigger threat is that the money men flog this horse even further & tear down what little bit of scifi legend ID4 has been able to create. 7/10.
Movie Review #286 BASTILLE DAY.
Run-of-the-mill comedy/thriller set in Paris with an unfortunate American pickpocket in the wrong place at the wrong time, inadvertently getting involved in what looks like a terrorist plot. Enter one rogue CIA man in the form of Idris Elba who very quickly figures that our man is indeed wrong-placed, wrong-timed & proceeds to track the real bad guys using our hero's special set of skills. Lotsa twists & turns as we follow the intrepid pair who are later joined by a female accomplice & all three waltz through Paris amidst gunfire, street protests & betrayals.
The city does form a nice backdrop & I quickly spotted a few places that Glen & I inflicted ourselves upon back in 2011 when on our not-so-big & belated OE.
This one is fairly predictable and there's nothing that really makes it stand out from others of the ilk. Performances are pretty bland too although Elba does make for a pretty menacing tough guy, right down the snarky remarks & odd comic one-liner.
Adequate fair for a wet Sunday afternoon but nothing I can really write home about. 6.5/10.
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since, I've been mesmerized by the giant screen, and the darkness that went on forever. Despite the infernally uncomfortable seats, (plus having to stand for God Save the Queen), I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism.