Movie Review

JJ Abrams Star Trek Movie Review

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By: Sheila Roberts

J.J. Abrams brilliantly reenergizes the long running Star Trek franchise and engages us at warp speed with a superb story written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman that’s brought to life by a terrific cast with undeniable on screen chemistry. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are outstanding as the young Captain James T. Kirk and his loyal but contentious First Officer Spock, two of the most instantly recognizable fictional characters created in the 20th century, while the legendary Leonard Nimoy, who originated the iconic role of Spock, turns in a stunning cameo that upsets the space-time continuum.

Intelligent, witty, exhilarating, and visionary, this Trek boldly goes where no sci fi film has gone before. From the sleeky designed, bright, expansive bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise to the dark, shadowy Romulan enemy ship, the Narada, to the dry, rocky planet Vulcan, to the frigid reaches of the remote, bone-chilling, alien ice planet known as Delta Vega with it’s terrifying otherworldly creatures, to a deep space mining platform suspended in air which serves as the setting for the Enterprise’s first big mission as the crew makes a daring ‘space jump’ into a fiercely hostile situation, to Chief Engineer Scotty’s wild ride through the cooling pipe of the inner Enterprise, Abrams and his creative team deliver thrilling action sequences, spectacular set pieces, extraordinary art direction, incredible sound design and visual effects, and a vibrant score by Michael Giacchino — all set against the backdrop of intriguing intergalactic politics.

“Star Trek” is truly a masterpiece in innovative cinematic storytelling inspired by the spirit of Gene Roddenberry’s vision of an enlightened future. J.J. Abrams is uniquely suited to directing this with his talent for working on a large canvas with lots of big action coupled with an innate gift for capturing intimate, compelling moments between people. He delivers a great action/adventure film, a powerful story of conflict and vengeance with the future of whole galaxies at stake, and, at the same time, offers the audience an engaging story of very special people encountering one another for the first time.

Abrams and his creative team capture something that’s always been very specific to “Star Trek”: men and women rising to the challenge of who they are as people by confronting what appear to be insoluble problems. Part of the irresistible fun of the original series was watching these incredibly intelligent and intriguing personalities work together and become the best of who they are. Abrams takes that spirit and puts a fresh spin on it to advance the legacy of Star Trek in this movie, and he never loses sight of the importance of strong character development that’s an integral part of a deftly written script full of backstory as well as the present and future.

His brilliant cast, some relatively unknown, hits every note perfectly and honors the actors who came before them and played these beloved characters in earlier versions of the franchise. In addition to Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, Abrams’ fantastic cast also includes Bruce Greenwood as Captain Christopher Pike, Karl Urban as the ship’s Medical Officer Leonard “Bones” McCoy, Simon Pegg as Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, Zoe Saldana as Communications Officer Uhura, John Cho as Helmsman Sulu, and Anton Yelchin as the U.S.S. Enterprise’s youngest officer, 17-year-old whiz kid Pavel Andreievich Chekov. All will face a harrowing first test that will set in motion the loyalty, camaraderie, daring and good humor that will bind them forever. A tattooed, menacing Eric Bana plays the villainous Captain Nero, who helms the sleek, dark, skeletal Romulan warbird, the Narada, and challenges the U.S.S. Enterprise in deep space when it interferes with his mission to annihilate Vulcan and Earth.

In this ultimate origins story, Abrams takes a new look at the Star Trek universe and delivers a total re-boot of the brilliant world and characters that Gene Roddenberry created. J.J. takes “Star Trek” in an exciting, unexpected direction, heading way back, as it were, into the never-seen 23rd century launch of the U.S.S. Enterprise. This is a truly grand adventure about two very different men whose destiny is not only to become true friends, but iconic partners, guardians and explorers. The greatest adventure of all time begins with the incredible story of a young crew’s maiden voyage onboard the most advanced starship ever created. In the midst of an incredible journey full of optimism, intrigue, comedy and cosmic peril, the new recruits must find a way to stop an evil being whose mission of vengeance threatens all of mankind.

The fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of bitter rivals born worlds apart – two wholly opposite men who come together like two lost halves and embark on a perilous mission in a way neither one could have alone. One, James T. Kirk (Pine), is a delinquent, thrill-seeking Iowa farm boy and a natural-born leader in search of a cause. The other, Spock (Quinto), grows up on the planet Vulcan, an outcast due to his half-human background, which makes him susceptible to the volatile emotions that Vulcans have long lived without, and yet an ingenious, determined student, who will become the first of his kind accepted into the Starfleet Academy.

Kirk and Spock could not be more different. Yet, in their quest to figure out who they really are and what they have to give to the world, they soon become competitive cadets-in-training. With their drastically opposite styles, one driven by fiery passion, the other by rigorous logic, they also become defiant, contentious adversaries, each equally unimpressed with the other, each going all out to be among the special few chosen to join the crew of the most advanced starship ever created, the U.S.S. Enterprise. As fiery instinct clashes with calm reason, their unlikely but powerful partnership is the only thing capable of leading their crew through unimaginable danger to boldly go where no one has gone before.

In its more than 40-year history, one that has impacted multiple generations, “Star Trek” has carved out an iconic place in modern pop culture as the only ongoing story that encapsulates the awe, wonder and bold audacity of the human desire to reach for the stars. With the indelible opening words of the original 1960s television series, “Space, the Final Frontier,” a succession of journeys were launched across the cosmos that did and, to this day, still celebrate the thrill of adventure, the pioneering spirit of exploration and the drive to create an evermore amazing future full of possibilities. The daring and provocative voyages of the Starship Enterprise, and the many ships that would soon follow in her flight path, have appealed to the stargazer in all of us, and our hopes and dreams that technological and cultural advances will bring out the best of our humanity.

For director/producer J.J. Abrams, going back to the beginning after more than six television series and ten feature films was the only way to forge into the future. His vision was to literally start fresh, beginning with James T. Kirk and his one-day First Officer, the Vulcan Spock’s advancement in the Starfleet Academy and their extraordinary first journey together. Abrams came to the project with great respect for series creator Gene Roddenberry and all that “Star Trek” had achieved as the creator of an archetypal modern myth and cult phenomenon. However, he also wanted to take the story where it had never been before: making a state-of-the-art action epic about two heroic leaders as brash young men in the making. The beauty of Kirk and Spock has always been their relationship, but here we have a chance to explore not just the humor and fun of that tension, but also how they first became brothers in arms, to see how they are thrust into an adventure that not only tests them, but bonds them for life.

J.J. Abrams attacks the story with a high-intensity, suspenseful action style and an authentic allegiance to its legacy. This is fresh, imaginative, intergalactic storytelling that is also very grounded in the idea of young men and women with a lot of heart and camaraderie. With his trademark mastery of action and love of scope, J.J. Abrams has brought the Star Trek franchise triumphantly back to life and you don’t have to be familiar with the franchise to enjoy it. This movie will appeal to diehard fans as well as a whole new generation. It’s fun, exciting and immensely entertaining and one of the finest films I’ve ever seen in the sci-fi genre. And the best news is there is already talk of a J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” sequel in the works.

“Star Trek” opens in theaters on May 8th.

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Movie Review

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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I once speculated around Oscars season that the fans’ perception of Wolverine’s manliness might be in jeopardy when Hugh Jackman hosted this year’s Academy Awards in true song-and-dance fashion (which he did quite skillfully, I will note). Further threatening potential box-office glory as the release date approached was that the entire film (albeit an unfinished version) was leaked online for all to view for free. And now there’s yet another possible obstacle: this crazy new swine flu scare. Will audiences pack moviehouses and make this film the first summer blockbuster triumph of the year?

The truth is, Jackman worked hard for this role and he is plenty ferocious, so be prepared for a non-stop, action-packed romp featuring one of audiences’ favorite comic book heroes. All critics don’t necessarily agree. Says Robert Wilonsky of the The Village Voice, “Without fail, the dullest installment in any superhero movie franchise is the origin story, during which audiences anxiously awaiting The Big Bad Guy have to suffer through, yaaaawn, scenes of childhood trauma, romantic tragedy, and other expository effluvia, by which point the closing credits are fast approaching.” Keep in mind, however, that the “Iron Man” franchise kicked-off with what was essentially a superhero origin story, and the Batman franchise re-established itself when Christian Bale first filled the suit in “Batman Begins” a few summers ago. Roger Ebert felt this way: “Nothing here about human nature. No personalities beyond those hauled in via typecasting. No lessons to learn. No joy to be experienced. Just mayhem, noise and pretty pictures.” On the other hand, Claudia Puig of the USA Today feels that, “Although it’s a quintessential popcorn movie, ‘Wolverine’ is not mindless. (Director) Gavin Hood and Jackman bring depth to a comic-book tale of anti-heroes with anger issues.”

I get the impression that most critics now believe that every comic book movie should be of the same level of complexity as last year’s mega-hit, “The Dark Knight.” But let’s be honest, summertime fun is about getting away from it all. So if you like cool-looking, big-time action, get yer blockbuster on with your old pal Wolverine.

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Hollywood, Movie Review

Halle Berry Checks Out “Wolverine” Premiere

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She’s an “X-Men” alum herself, and last night (April 28) Halle Berry was in the house to check out the premiere of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”

The “Monster’s Ball” hottie looked super-sexy in a form-fitting black dress with a see-through neckline as she posed for the paparazzi outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

Halle’s former superhero costar Hugh Jackman is the leading man in the film, which opens in theaters nationwide this Friday, May 1st.

As for Miss Berry, she has two new projects in the pipeline- “Frankie and Alice” with Stellan Skarsgard, and “Nappily Ever After.”

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Bollywood, Movie Review

Keira Knightley Films “Never Let Me Go”

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Hard at work on her latest movie, Keira Knightley was spotted on the set of “Never Let Me Go” in Clevedon on Thursday (April 23).

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” beauty stars alongside Charlotte Rampling and Sally Hawkins in the Mark Romanek directed drama.

A synopsis of the film, per IMDB, describes the movie as “an alternate history story of a woman who, as she reflects on her private school years in the English countryside, reunites with her two friends to face the dark secrets tied to their communal past.”

Of the beautiful seaside resort area where filming is taking place, Clevedon pier mistress Linda Strong tells: “The pier is a great location for films as it is the only Grade I-listed pier in the country and has remained unspoilt. It is becoming a more and more popular location for filming and we have a number of organizations who now have us on their location list.”

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Hollywood, Movie Review

’17 Again’ easily takes boxoffice crown

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Warner Bros.’ comedy fantasy “17 Again” ruled the domestic boxoffice this weekend with an estimated $24.1 million bow built heavily on support from young female fans of rising star Zac Efron.

Universal’s Russell Crowe-toplined “State of Play” took the session’s silver medal despite a soft $14.1 million opening, while Lionsgate’s action sequel “Crank: High Voltage” debuted in sixth with just $6.5 million.

Disney’s tween-girls magnet “Hannah Montana: The Movie” was the top holdover pic, dropping 61% in its sophomore session to register $12.7 million in fourth place for a 10-day cume of $56.1 million.

And Warners’ dark comedy “Observe and Report” finished seventh over its second weekend as the Seth Rogen starrer dropped 63% from opening grosses for a $4.1 million frame and $18.7 million cume.

Industrywide, the $107 million weekend represented a 14% improvement over the same frame last year, according to Nielsen EDI.

Year to date, 2009 is pacing 8% ahead of last year, at $2.73 billion. The year-over-year improvement appears more modest than it might as the year-ago period boasted an extra winter weekend.

In a limited bow this weekend, IDP/Samuel Goldwyn’s fact-based drama “American Violet” unspooled in 61 locations and ran up $257,114, or a sturdy $4,215 per site.

Sony Pictures Classics debuted its Broadway documentary “Every Little Step” in eight theaters to register $72,616, or an auspicious $9,077 per venue.

Story Island’s Michael Caine starrer “Is Anybody There?” opened with six playdates and grossed $45,112, or a solid $7,519 per engagement.

And IFC Films bowed Middle East drama “Lemon Tree” in a pair of New York locations, grossing $14,100, or $7,050 per venue.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, SPC added 30 playdates for its baseball drama “Sugar” and rung up $110,079, or a thin $2,293 per engagement, with a cume of $327,844.

And Focus Features’ Spanish-language drama “Sin Nombre” added 15 locations for a total of 80, grossing $256,813, or an acceptable $3,210 per site, with a $1.2 million cume.

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Movie Review

New Movie, Barah Aana (2009)

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Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Vijay Raaz, Arjun Mathur, Violante Placido, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Jayati Bhatia, Benjamin Gilani, Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwa  Story Writer:Raja Menon, Sound Designer: Debashish MishraDirector: Raja Menon
Producer: Raja Menon, Raj Yerasi, Giulia Achilli
Production Designer: Anuradha Shetty
Banner: Bandra West Pictures Music
Music Director:
Shri

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Movie Review

Slumdog Millionaire

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India, basically known for its good culture and tradition. Every year thousands of visitors come to see this spiritual incredible land. But one thing in this from small to old every one is interested in cricket and hindi movies. I mean bollywood movies. Every year more than 4oo movies releases and its the highest amount as comparing other countries. And in this saga slumdog millionaire make bollywood an enerable one.

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