REVIEW: “STAR TREK: BEYOND” (2016) Paramount Pictures

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The storyline… well let’s face it.. you know the story line. We all do as it is after all, a Star Trek movie. In case you don’t, bascially a Space ship is roaming the galaxy, runs into problems, has battles, etc etc.. BUT it is how well done these same plots can be that can make all the difference in the world.

While starting off on a bit slower pace, it picks right up with our usual crew: Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones McCoy (Karl Urban), Lt. Urhua (Zoe Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho), & Chekov (Anton Yelchin).
Add in a minor villian in Kalara (Lydia Wilson) who then of course, leads them to a major villian, Krall (Idris Elba). Throw in the requisie new character ‘star fleet member’ Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) and you have rounded out the cast all of whom work well enough together. As I’ve stated before, an important part of these films are the villians and for me, you are only as good as your villian. While neither one excels here, it’s mainly because I think it’s hard to really come off as a villian you love to hate with such dramatic costuming & make-up, so taking that into note, I will say both Elba & Wilson did well.

Ostar trek 1n a technical level, the film is stunning visually with brilliant CG and I didn’t mind the 3D as much as I usually do, though I will say, there are a lot of shaky-cam moments, which I was not expecting and which is not very appealing to me motion-wise. One of my favourite personal highlights is the Enterprise fighting scene with Beastie Boys – Sabotage underlaid. An amazing score once again composed by the brilliant Michael Giacchino does bring some brilliant moments back.
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Two things to finish this up as first: I simply loved the fact they went ‘old school here and brought it all back around to what we all remember was just a simpler time in space!! hahahaha
Second: My guest hadn’t seen any previous Star Trek films, though knows the jist of it and whom the characters are. He did like it and noted that he felt that wasn’t necessary for someone to watch or enjoy the film. Good thing! though he did question the doubles of each character when they went ‘old school. Ahh..well..you can’t explain it all to them. 😀

Grade: B-
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This review is dedicated to Anton Yelchin..one of our best and brightest young actors..one of my personal favourites, who passed all too soon. Rest in Peace Anton.

Review Screening: Wednesday, July 20, 2016 ~ Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Release Date: Completely worldwide ~ Friday, July 22, 2016

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Review: “THE LOFT” (2015) Universal

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The Loft

Is it bad that I just went to see this movie for the men in the cast?? I mean, Karl Urban, Wentworth Miller, Matthias Schoenaerts, James Mardsen, and to an extent, Eric Stonestreet. I was truly all in for purely the eye-candy factor. Sadly, yes, I know how shallow that sounds, and I don’t care. I meet guys all the time who tell me they are seeing a film just to see Cameron Diaz or Jennifer Lopez, Scarlett Johansson etc. naked or whatever. So this was my freebie and I’m good with admitting that. 🙂

But sadly the movie, which thinks itself a “thriller” is not. It’s basically about five close friends, “Vincent Stevens” (Karl Urban) an architect, “Chris Vanowen” (James Marsden) a psychiatrist, “Luke Seacord” (Wentworth Miller), “Philip Trauner” (Matthias Schoenaerts) Chris’s half-brother and all around drunk/drugged out mess, the last bachelor-soon-to-be married guy of the bunch, and lastly “Marty Landry” (Eric Stonestreet) trying his hand at the dramatic, though so veritably miscast here it’s painful as all he can seem to talk about throughout the film is cheating, huge breasts or wanting to screw everything that walks by even though they are always well out of his league. It’s basically a film of married guys who want to cheat on their wives with other women they deem ‘prettier’…probably the same guys I have met a thousand times or like the ones mentioned above. These guys range from the despicable, to the disturbed, to just plain sleazy. the loft 1

The five take it a step further on the advice of Vincent, to secretly share a penthouse loft in Downtown Los Angeles as a place where they can carry out their affairs and indulge themselves with drink, drugs & women all without having any credit card receipts or motel bills to get caught with. But this whole fantasy soon becomes a nightmare as it comes to a screeching halt when they discover the dead body of a woman in the loft, who is seemly unknown to some of them at least, along with some ominous words written in Latin. It’s then they realize one of the group must be involved since there are only five keys and the men begin to suspect each other of murder.

Yet somebody may be in on their dirty little secret. Or perhaps one of them has something to hide. Either way, it was hard to feel much more than boredom – and slight disgust – for any of it. the loft 4
It really is a shame to see such talented, good looking actors doing such a mind numbing and dull feature. It’s even worse for the women playing their wives. Rhona Mitra “Allison Vanownen”, who does nothing other than walk around with the air of “I’m better than all of you” attitude with her ‘bitchy resting face’, Valerie Cruz “Barbara Stevens” seems to know her husband is a sleaze but only enough to give him bad accusing looks, Kali Rocha “Mimi Landry”, who’s tiresome quips back n forth as she calls her husband Marty, ‘Tubs’ isn’t funny, Elaine Cassidy “Ellie Seacord” the diabetic wife who seems in a constant panic as if we are to feel sorry for her for this, and lastly Margarita Levieva “Vicki Fry-Trauner” Phillip’s new wife whose daddy “Hiriam Fry” (Graham Beckel) owns everything & everyone yet SURPRISE cheats constantly also..in this case, like father like son-in-law. The only actress able to offer a little heart is Rachael Taylor “Anne Morris” who plays what else in this ‘let’s treat women like trash’ film, but a prostitute. Even if her delivery of the dialogue is miserably bad. Of course it’s a thankless role requiring her to have an very unconvincing romance with James Marsden. Isabel Lucas “Sarah Deakins” is one of Vincent’s conquests, and gives one of the film’s poorest performances as she is unable to bring this character to life in any way, shape or form. This is a huge problem as much of the film revolves around her. the loft 2

While most of the cast here is capable of doing so much more, I’m especially talking to Schoenaerts here who’ve I’ve put a pin in since seeing his fantastic performance in The Drop, and I truly hope this isn’t what he’s destined for. Although when it comes to some pivotal scenes, it is impossible to take any of them seriously thanks to a few silly plot points.
One scene where it becomes clear that the wives may actually be aware of their cheating husbands is about as subtle as a sledgehammer hitting a brick wall. While the mystery unfolds to reveal what really happened, leaving the final scene a bit of a surprise, the fact that it’s impossible to care at all makes it a mute point.

THE LOFT is devoid of any real suspense or smarts. It has some plot twists and turns and I think they are meant to be suspenseful, but they are not. The characters defy any real logic as well, they are just all awful people so waiting to see what happens to them is just painful at times. And let’s be clear, you can certainly create morally bankrupt characters in a film that are fascinating, it gets done all the time, but that is simply not the case here. Sometimes I can sit through a movie like this at maybe at home home and get some enjoyment out of it, and I think that would be the perfect way to see this film actually as paying for it hurts. It wastes a decent cast and forces audiences to spend time with hateful people that spout bad dialogue. _MG_3082.CR2

From what I understand, this movie is a re-make of a Belgium mystery film of the same name from 2008 with one original cast member being Matthias Schoenaerts. I don’t know if it’s any better, but truthfully, it can’t be much worse.

Grade: C-
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(See grading scale)