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Star Trek (2009)
To boldly go , and destroy a 40 year franchise
On Friday May 22 2009 I went to the Detroit Science Center and saw the traveling Star Trek exhibit. I was never a fan as a kid but recently I have started watching Star Trek in chronological order according to the canon/time line of the franchise beginning with Enterprise. I have really enjoyed it. The exhibit at the Science Center was terrific, complete with mock ups of the bridge, actual costumes and props from each show, the works.
A few days later I went and saw the new Star Trek. I liked it to a point, and then Spock's mother dies when Vulcan is destroyed, the use of an alternate time line came into play and everything Gene Roddenberry, Shatner, Nimoy and the generations that came after them put on screen, was made null and void.
Kirk is a young rebel rouser from Iowa who in a matter of moments it seems is recruited into Star Fleet and through a 'just happened to be there at the right time' scenario, is put in charge of the Enterprise. Gone is a story about how a young officer worked his way up the ranks at Star Fleet to achieve his later success. Instead we see a bar room brawler who takes command of NCC - 1701 by means of a hurried and contrived plot.
JJ Abrams made no attempt to make the Enterprise look anything like it did in 1967, he has publicly stated he has never sen Star Trek and that is fairly obvious from this over done film. JJ Abrams gave us 'Lost' and with all of the shaky camera work in this film I expected Ben Linus and the smoke monster to appear at any time.
I know the film was made for the short attention spans of today's audiences but some respect for Star Trek fans would have helped. One reviewer stated that the bridge of the Enterprise looked like a perfume counter at the mall, I couldn't agree more. The characters gratuitously speak their famous catch phrases to remind us that we're still watching a Star Trek film. We see Uhura and Spock have romantic scenes together and we see Kirk hiding under a bed in Uhura's room at Starfleet and both are in their underwear. Was this really necessary? The special effects were good yet typically overdone as always in today's movies. The characters were too amped up and the story never took time for the quieter moments that made the original Star Trek great. All of the people involved in the original Star Trek, who have since passed on, are probably rolling in their graves.
The original Star Trek was only on the air for three years but has since become a legend. Sure it was campy and you saw the fake rocks and the zippers in the aliens costumes, but it deserves more respect than the treatment given by JJ Abrams.
At the Detroit Science Center they had a, wall length, display of the entire franchise in chronological order from Enterprise to the current fiasco. Much was on display of characters and plot points. At the very end of the display was this new movie. All it had written by it was 'The adventure continues.' After seeing this new film, I certainly hope not.
Seems Like Old Times (1980)
'Mrs. Parks the doggies ran away again!'
Aurora the housekeeper: Mrs. Parks the doggies ran away again. Glenda the lawyer: I'll just get six more tomorrow.
I first saw this movie in the early 80's and fell in love with it immediately. This is one of the funniest, most quotable movies of the decade and I think it came out around the time of the equally hysterical and quotable Airplane, also a favorite.
Goldie Hawn is at her best as a lawyer with a heart of gold, Charles Grodin is her husband Ira (Myron, Hyram). Chevy Chase plays a writer who is ambushed into robbing a bank in Carmel California and winds up back in his ex-wife's life, needing her help to clear his name.
As it has been said on IMDb, there are many wonderful quotes and the comedy is wound up and running like a second grade class full of Hershy Kisses. Yvonne Wilder is hysterical as the no nonsense housekeeper who has to get her feet scraped. Harold Gould and Robert Guilleume of Benson fame(forgive the spelling)have memorable cameos as well.
I just finished watching it again after many years and it is still as funny as it was all those years ago. Also, Godspell fans, keep an eye out for David Haskell as a police officer.
I highly recommend this movie. Laugh out loud funny from beginning to end.
Will I keep my dignity, will I get my three hours back?
I saw Rent in Toronto in 1998. At the time I was 37 and far too old to be a part of the generation portrayed in the film. I didn't understand a moment of the show because the singing seemed to be on fast forward and 12 to 15 decibels for three hours. I bought the soundtrack and really liked the music. But the characters and their shallowness left me cold.
Ten years later I just happened to flip on the TV on a Saturday afternoon and this cinematic cesspool is on the FX Channel. And I realized what was wrong with this film.
Actors are far too old to play the roles that made them a hit on Broadway.
Characters should get off their whiny behinds and get a job.
This film has a curious case of Attention Deficit Disorder. Other reviews have already mentioned this but there are huge patches of the film where there should be musical underscoring and lines sung in a recitative. These are sacrificed for excruciatingly long pauses and spoken dialog. Case in point: The scene where Mark visits the AIDS support group, on stage this passage went but in a few seconds, but on film it seems to take hours. In that same scene, one of the funniest lines 'I'm a New Yorker, fear's my life' had the pacing of a lump of wet clay drying in the sun.
The director could not direct traffic let alone try to put a Broadway show on screen.
And as it has been mentioned before on IMDb, these people have no talent and it is very hard to feel sorry for the train wrecks that their lives have become. They alone got themselves into their mess, so who can care about them when they are living in warehouse sized lofts in lower Manhatten and don't want to work. Get a damn job you lazy slackers.
And then there is the dancing in the streets. It worked in Godspell and West Side Story but but looks a little ridiculous. In these post 9/11 days, if you were to see these self absorbed, no talent twits in your neighborhood I would imagine you would be tempted to call Homeland Security and for the good of the nation,have these people locked up for a long time.
The Beverly Hillbillies (1993)
There is a trend these days to take a simple thirty minute TV show, toss it up onto the big screen and fill it full of modern references and phrases and situations. Bewitched is a fine example of a great original TV series that went horribly wrong on the big screen. The Beverly Hillbillies was another such series that got ruined on the big screen.
The Beverly Hillbillies on TV was a sweet little comedy, with funny characters in a fish out of water situation. Even when the show went downhill later on, there was an innocence about it.
In the big screen version of The Beverly Hillbies we see such treasures as: The Clampetts are in the truck and while driving by a tree, Granny in the rocking chair, gets knocked off the truck onto the road.
The Clampetts on a Los Angeles Freeway flipping people off.
Granny gets placed in an insane asylum and stoned on God knows what, only to be rescued by Miss Hathaway, in the end we see them crashing Jed's wedding in the Clampett family truck that has somehow been rigged to look like the show vehicle, Bigfoot. Truly awful.
The Clampetts kith and kin fly to Californy and there is a rather disgusting scene where the whole family is spitting. Classy.
While the original Hillbillies was not Shakespeare by any means, the actors who created these memorable character deserve better that this piece of swill.
For some reason I actually paid for a movie ticket to see this schlock fest when it came out in movie theaters. I was appalled that the people around me were laughing their fool heads off. I felt dirty and needed a bath.
Won't ya let me take you on a sea cruise?
*SPOILERS* I saw 'Titanic' the weekend it opened. I have always been a fan of the ship and disaster, etc. I was in a crowded theatre surrounded by teenage girls whom I expected to chatter all the way through. At the end of 3 hours, no one chattered, the theatre was silent and everyone was in tears. Myself included.
I watched it again on video recently for the first time in a long time. Overall the film was done well. The special effects were amazing. It made you believe you were there at the time of the accident. As many posters before me have said, the love story was contrived and not at all convincing.
What was even more distressing about this film is the transformation of Rose. She walked on the ship as a prisoner of the Elizabethan era and within a few hours she's suddenly a female Terminator. She also apparently goes through a time warp and becomes a woman of the 90's. She's swearing like a sailor, she spits in Cal's face, she tells her over the top prudish mother to shut up, she has a chance to be rescued twice and she gets back on the sinking ship. She runs through sinking hallways to rescue Leo. Surely she must have seen him on Growing Pains...that alone is a reason to let him drown. (Sarcasm).
And then, in the cold night air of the North Atlantic, in 28 degree water, she spends way too much time fawning over Leo the ice cube. Who by the way was too much of a 90's smart aleck for 1912. I think if the ship had made it to New York he would have been locked up the moment he got off the ship. Back to Rose, amid a sea of frozen bodies, seems to be the sole survivor. Another poster mentioned that she could have moved over a few inches and made room for Leo on the piece of wood.
Aside from the love story, this movie was done well. As mentioned, the special effects were the star of the show. The only special effect James Cameron couldn't pull off was to make Leo a character I cared about.