Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) – 6/10 science fiction action movie review

Cast / crew
Director and Producer: J.J. Abrams
Writer and Producer: Roberto Orci
Writer and Producer: Alex Kurtzman
Writer and Producer: Damon Lindelof
Writer (Original Series’ Creator): Gene Roddenberry
Producer: Bryan Burk
Kirk: Chris Pine
Spock: Zachary Quinto
Benedict Cumberbatch: John Harrison

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

As Captain of his own starship Kirk is the arbiter of right and wrong but that doesn’t prevent his decisions having consequences. His maverick attitude seems perfect, however, when a new threat emerges – John Harrison – and Starfleet needs to, against their own ethics, eliminate him quickly and quietly. The only problem: Harrison has taken refuge on Kronos, the Klingon home planet, a species clearly itching for war, and the U.S.S. Enterprise waltzing into their space would be the perfect excuse.

6/10

It would take a brave filmmaker to make a Star Trek movie about space exploration and the wonder and delight of discovery. Anyway, back to reality. J.J. Abrams delivers this highly competent but soulless remake that replaces an intriguing and involving battle of wits with dudes punching each other endlessly. The Audi Spock Challenge ad has a more cerebral plot. Ancillary question: does Spock have a first name? While Into Darkness has a professional sheen and reasonable entertainment value, the movie does have something that rises above the ordinary: Benedict Cumberbatch. The once-floppy-haired posh boy convinces completely as a super-soldier, better at everything; better in the story and better in the movie. He might even have a better Batman voice. (You can tell what he’s saying.) Oh, and this is another movie where the entire climax is featured and spoiled in the trailer.

This movie contains bad language, adult dialogue, sexuality, extreme violence including an inferred skull crush and a leg break.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009, Movie) – 4/10 review

Cast / crew
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Writer: Roberto Orci
Writer: Alex Kurtzman
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Producer: Tom DeSanto
Producer: Don Murphy
Producer: Ian Bryce
Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg
Executive Producer: Michael Bay
Shia LaBeouf: Sam Witwicky
Megan Fox: Mikaela Bane
Josh Duhamel: Major Lennox
Tyrese Gibson: USAF Master Sergeant Epps
Kevin Dunn: Ron Witwicky
Julie White: Judy Witwicky
John Turturro: Simmons
Peter Cullen: Optimus Prime
Hugo Weaving: Megatron
Tony Todd: Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Since the incident in Los Angeles, Optimus Prime and the Autobots have been protecting Earth from the Decepticons while Sam prepares to go to college. A shard of the Allspark, however, is discovered and Sam’s life is about to turn upside-down again.

4/10

If the first was a glorious mess, then this boring, fun-free sequel is just a mess. This is very much an idea-free zone with no clear plot, no clear character arcs and endless, meaningless, interchangeable action with apparently random robots that makes absolutely no sense. I think it takes supremely arrogant writers to write such random garbage because, if it were me, I simply could not stand the inconsistencies (in the franchise and within just this movie) and presence of baffling stereotypes spouting cut-and-paste dialogue from a collection of bad movie scripts. People need to stop employing Orci and Kurtzman and stop now. Michael Bay and his actors all put a lot of effort in but, aside from the fact that it frequently looks fabulous, it’s all wasted.

This movie contains partial sexual swear words, mild swear words, adult dialogue and comic substance abuse and extreme mecha violence, extremely unpleasant scene and sexuality.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Star Trek (2009, Science Fiction Action Adventure) – 7/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Roberto Orci
Writer: Alex Kurtzman
Writer (Original Series’ Creator) Star Trek: Gene Roddenberry
Producer: J.J. Abrams
Producer: Damon Lindelof
Executive Producer: Roberto Orci
Executive Producer: Alex Kurtzman
John Cho: Sulu
Ben Cross: Sarek
Bruce Greenwood: Pike
Simon Pegg: Scotty
Chris Pine: Kirk
Zachary Quinto: Spock
Winona Ryder: Amanda Grayson
Zoë Saldana: Uhura
Karl Urban: Bones
Anton Yelchin: Chekov
Eric Bana: Nero
Leonard Nimoy: Spock Prime

Star Trek (2009)

Self-destructive but deceptively brilliant youth (aren’t they always?) James T. Kirk finds his ego cannot resist following his father’s footsteps into Starfleet Academy but he cannot even begin to comprehend the man, the leader, he can become.

7/10

J.J. Abrams is a much better producer than he is director but he supplies an entirely entertaining, largely satisfying reboot for Paramount’s Star Trek franchise. Critically, he has cast it really well with Chris Pine stepping in to the hard-to-fill ego of William Shatner. Abrams also successfully keeps young James T. Kirk this side of unlikable; instead of arrogant and violent (which he is), he makes him cocky and energetic and manages to show the charisma that is needed to effectively lead. The rest of the cast is good and there are many geek tears of joy for the gravitas and emotional resonance of Leonard Nimoy’s Spock Prime. The time-travel plot also works well enough and successfully solves the problems of restarting a forty-year-old franchise without exactly ignoring what’s gone before. Music, such an iconic motif of previous Trek‘s, is typical of Michael Giacchino’s big-screen output: it works in the movie but it’s forgettable and doesn’t stand alone. Sad to say, I think it is clear that he has already produced his work of genius (Medal of Honor) but that’s more than I’ll ever do.

This movie contains mild swear words, adult dialogue and extreme melee violence, gun violence, inferred extremely unpleasant scene and sexuality.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Mission: Impossible III (2006, Movie) – 6/10 review

Tom Cruise: Ethan Hunt
Philip Seymour Hoffman: Owen Davian
Ving Rhames: Luther
Billy Crudup: Musgrave
Michelle Monaghan: Julia
Jonathan Rhys Myers: Declan
Keri Russell: Lindsey Farris
Maggie Q: Zhen
Laurence Fishburne: Theodore Brassel
Writer (Original Television Series): Bruce Geller
Writer: Alex Kurtzman
Writer: Roberto Orci
Writer: J.J. Abrams
Producer: Tom Cruise
Producer: Paula Wagner
Director: J.J. Abrams

Mission: Impossible III (2006)

IMF’s Ethan Hunt is called out of teaching spies to recover a star recruit captured in Berlin. When the mission doesn’t go as planned, he finds himself with an impossible mission that the entire IMF has been unable to achieve: capture arms dealer Owen Davian.

6/10

Twenty years after break-out blockbuster Top Gun Tom Cruise remains top of the pile of Hollywood A-listers and this solid summer action movie demonstrates why. It’s disappointing to see the rogue agent thing again for the third time in three films, none of the action scenes hit the same heights as the previous two movies and only the opening is brilliant but J.J. Abrams successfully brings one of cinema’s very-bestest-ever bad guys to the screen with the help of a revelatory Philip Seymour Hoffman, delivers quality team-based action and gives his star something interesting to do in-between the running bits.

This movie contains mild swear words and very strong melee violence, strong unpleasant scenes, gun violence and sexuality, maggie q’s wonderfully slinky red dress.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Fringe 1.01 Fringe (2008, TV) – 2/10

Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
Writer (Series’ Creator): Alex Kurtzman
Writer (Series’ Creator): Roberto Orci
Anna Torv: Olivia Dunham
Joshua Jackson: Peter Bishop
Lance Reddick: Phillip Broyles
Kirk Acevedo: Charlie Francis
Blair Brown: Nina Sharp
Jasika Nicole: Astrid Farnsworth
Mark Valley: John Scott
John Noble: Dr. Walter Bishop
Jason Butler-Harner: Richard B. Steig
Peter Outerbridge: Dr. Reyes
Executive Producer: Alex Graves
Executive Producer: Alex Kurtzman
Executive Producer: Roberto Orci
Executive Producer: J.J. Abrams
Writer: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Alex Kurtzman
Writer: Roberto Orci
Director: Alex Graves

Fringe 1.01 Fringe (2008)

An entire plane is successfully targeted by a form of bio-terrorism. FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham is part of the investigating taskforce but when her lover is nearly killed chasing a suspect, she reveals a depth of determination that people higher up take notice of; people investigating more paranormal events around the world.

2/10

Joshua Jackson is an irritating, patronising and unconvincing actor. So Fringe gets off to a bad start by including his name in the credits but, as it turns out, he is not one of Fringe‘s major problems. Anna Torv is much better and makes a nice lead, committed and engaging, but isn’t given anything good to say or do (except strip down to her underwear, an old standby of the idea-less writer, as is the mobile phone not working in modern urban environments for no reason, the identity of the baddie of the week, dreams that can be easily understood and the maverick FBI agent who, yeah, yeah, yeah). Director Alex Graves does nothing to disguise the unconvincing story and dialogue and paces things badly in the first half making this feel like it lasts forever. In fact, the whole thing feels like a big bet by Abrams, Kurtzman and Orci on how much piffle they could get Fox to pay for and the audience to watch. As it turns out, as with the worst of Fox’s X-Files, rather a lot.

This Fringe episode contains mild bad language and substance abuse and extremely gruesome and extremely unpleasant scenes, strong violence and sexuality.

Transformers (2007, Science Fiction Fantasy Action Adventure) – 7/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Michael Bay
Writer (Screenplay): Roberto Orci
Writer (Screenplay): Alex Kurtzman
Writer (Story): John Rogers
Writer (Story): Roberto Orci
Writer (Story): Alex Kurtzman
Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg
Executive Producer: Michael Bay
Shia LaBeouf: Sam Witwicky
Tyrese: USAF Tech Sergeant Epps
Josh Duhamel: Captain Lennox
Anthony Anderson: Glen Whitmann
Megan Fox: Mikaela Banes
Rachael Taylor: Maggie Madsen
John Turturro: Agent Simmons
Jon Voight: Defense Secretary John Keller
Peter Cullen: Voice of Optimus Prime
Hugo Weaving: Voice of Megatron

Transformers (2007)

Sam Witwicky is eagerly looking forward to buying his first car, partly because car equals babes, and he has his eye on hilariously hot mega-babe Mikaela Banes. However, events of universal significance will overtake him as he proves to be a critical pawn in an intergalactic struggle over a object of immense power. A struggle perpetrated by GIANT TRANSFORMING ROBOTS.

7/10

Spectacular and fun giant mecha action movie which suffers quite badly from largely indistinguishable robot designs (only Optimus Prime and Bumblebee escape this problem) and frequent script mechanics that the filmmakers hope you won’t notice but does deliver a star-making performance from Shia LeBeouf wrapped up in a ridiculously good-looking package. A glorious mess, then.

This movie contains partial sexual swear words, mild swear words, adult dialogue and extreme mecha violence, extreme bloodless violence.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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