Minions Review

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It was inevitable that the minions from the Despicable Me franchise would get their own spin-off movie. Supporting characters getting their own movie is nothing new but often criticized because they can’t carry their own movie. Now the Minions are the most popular thing from the franchise with merchandise featuring them flying off the shelves. Add that with countless memes you can find on any social media site and the Minions become the biggest characters in the franchise. Although this was the highest grossing film with the Minions grossing over a billion dollars, it wasn’t critically received well. So was this spin-off justified or just a movie to profit off the successful Minions.

In a cute opening scene, we are shown that the Minions need to serve the evilest creature or person. However every time they get a master, the Minions accidentally end them. Left with no one it’s up to Kevin, Stuart, and Bob to find a new master for the entire Minion community. The minions are like tequila, you can’t have too much of it or you’ll get sick of it. They’re good in a small quantity but an entire movie about them is just annoying. Just when I think they’re cute again, the scene goes on way too long and that cuteness turns into frustration.

Now the voice acting while not as memorable as the two Despicable Me movies are good. Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm as Scarlet and Herb Overkill gives some nice chuckles with how over the top they are. Michael Keaton is really good as the father of the Nelson family, a crazy supervillain group. The only problem with those characters is they’re written flat and only get carried by the talent. All of the actors put they’re all in it which makes the characters a little interesting but you’re not invested in them.

It’s clear that the Minions can’t carry their own movie and should be only supporting characters. What’s missing is Gru who besides being funny, also serves as the heart of the Despicable Me movies. His character arc from being a villain to a hero while serving as a dad is fun to watch. However, he is reduced to a cameo at the end that feels forced in. If you’re a huge fan of Minions then I would recommend this to you. If not then watch some of their short films instead of this movie.

 

Grade: C-

Big Brother 19 Episode 2 Recap

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Previously on Big Brother: Sixteen houseguests enter the Big Brother house to compete for the half of a million dollars. This season theme is all about temptation which leads to our first comp where Kevin wins 25,000 dollars but has to throw the first HOH and brings back Paul. He is instructed to give friendship bracelets (safety) to half the house while the other half competes in another comp. Christmas, Jillian, and Cameron are put on the block with Cameron being the first person evicted from the house, switching him out with Paul.

The House Reels: The house is dealing with the aftereffects of the sudden night 1 eviction. Paul is left in disbelief that they left in Christmas while Megan is trying to figure out the votes. This has made Josh extremely paranoid and we’re only on night 1. In a flashback, Megan is telling Josh about an all guy alliance during the endurance comp. Feeling guilty, Josh opens up to Christmas about him missing his family and confides to us the regret of voting out Christmas.

Another BB18 Player Returns: The doorbell rings and Nicole, the winner of Big Brother 18 returns. Everyone is freaking out except for Kevin who keeps acting like an uncle who is lost at a family reunion. Nicole is here to host the first Head of Household (competition) while throwing some heat at Paul (ouch). Everyone is split up into 4 teams. The Orange team has Alex, Jason, Christmas, and Ramses. Yellow team has Elena, Jillian, Kevin, and Josh.

The First HOH: Everyone is split up into 4 teams. The Orange team has Alex, Jason, Christmas, and Ramses. Yellow team has Elena, Jillian, Kevin, and Josh. The Pink Team has Jessica, Matthew, Cody, and Dominque while finally, the Blue Team has Paul, Marl, Raven, and Megan., Team. One person from each team must get one poison apple and head back with the goal of having 8 poison apples. The person who gets the golden apple back to the start are safe but their team loses. Josh is that person who feels extremely paranoid and takes the apple. This does long term damage to him with everyone on his team is pissed at him (but Kevin had to throw this comp so it worked out for him). Eventually, the Blue and Pink team moves on to the next stage.

The next stage involves balancing two apples on the tree with the goal of getting all of your apples on. There’s a catch with only one person from each team competing for HOH while everyone else on the team is not immune from eviction. Cody and Paul compete with Cody winning the first HOH of the season.

Just Joshing Around: Paul is hoping that Cody keeps him safe for the week while Josh is calling out Megan in front of the entire house. She swears that there isn’t anything suspicious about her gameplay while Josh is trying to get everyone to see his point of view that Megan was gunning for him. Instead of trying to fight Josh, Megan walks away instead. Kevin tells Josh that is he immediately people and he swears to calm down. Understanding that things are tensed, Paul tries to lighten up the mood with some comedy which impresses everyone …… instead of Cody who gives the best death stare second to my mother. Cody talks to Matthew about forming an alliance with Mark making it a trio.

High School Alliance: Feeling guilty about blowing up Megan’s game, Josh apologizes for the fight in the kitchen. Although she feels bad for him, ultimately Josh has safety this week while Megan doesn’t. She tries to catch base with Cody but doesn’t get anything out of him. Cody explains that he wants the second tier of the alliance with the “babes” while targeting the outsiders. He explains to Mark that his goal for the week is to backdoor Paul.

Nomination Ceremony: The nomination ceremony begins with Cody putting Jillian and Megan up on the block. The reason why Megan is up because he simply doesn’t like her (well he cuts right to the chase) while Jillian is associated with Megan. Paul feels pretty safe this week while Megan vows to fight to be safe this week. The next episode will feature our first Den of Temptation with one houseguest chosen by America to get the offer of the Penchant of Safety (three weeks of safety). I have a pretty good feeling that Paul will be chosen and take the Penchant. So what did you think of this episode? Sound off your opinion and I hope you have a nice night!

 

Big Brother 19 Episode 1 Recap

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Technically speaking, summer already started on June 21 but in my eyes, it begins tonight with the premiere of Big Brother. Yes, welcome to my summer tv obsession, Big Brother. This show is just so wacky and out there but sometimes can feature some great strategy moments. Top that with some memorable characters and hopefully Big Brother 19 will be that good. So without further ado, welcome to Big Brother!!!

We begin with Julie Chen setting up the theme for the night and season, temptation. She teases three different temptations for tonight in the form of a money, a returning houseguest, and someone being evicted tonight. But first, we need to meet our houseguests. In a montage, we get to see the houseguests getting their keys for the house. This montage is always a highlight for me because we get to see them in their outside life. It helps to get an understanding of the houseguests before they enter the game.

The first four to enter the house is Alex, Mark, Ramses, and Elena. Ramses (my winner pick) is freaking out over being in the house and Alex notices the theme of the house (with apples and serpents around) is the Garden of Eden. The next four to enter are Jason, Dominique, Kevin, and Christmas. As they enter, Mark immediately sees Christmas’s muscles and correctly guesses that she can kick his ass. Kevin is telling about the houseguest about his kids and how his daughter takes “onesies.” After the game, can we have a book of Kevin’s slang?

Next, we have Matt, Raven, Jillian, and Cameron moving into the house. Quirky is an understatement when it comes to describing Raven. It’s like quirky and adorkable had a baby and it was Raven. Now we have Cody, Jessica, Josh, and Megan to finally enter the house. I’m starting to warm up on Cody, he’s just cool-headed and his future might be brighter than I thought. We get the houseguests giving themselves introductions to everyone. Highlights include Cameron who just reminds me of a muppet and Ramses telling everyone what cosplay is.

Julie Chen calls everyone together to tell about the summer of temptation and gets everyone to the backyard for a competition. Everyone gets into a pod with a button in their hand. When the light turns green, the first houseguest gets money but it unleashes the first twist. Immediately Kevin presses his button and gets 25,000 dollars but now can’t win the first HOH. The doorbell rings and Paul from Big Brother 18 returns.

Now returning players can all depend on who it is and I love Paul. He’s so entertaining and I can’t wait to watch him interact with everyone. Now it’s going to be interesting to see Paul come back with an entire season of experience under his belt. His presence starts the strategy talk with Megan, Jillian, Alex, and Ramses discussing the threat of Paul in the game. Megan is right, I love this little oddball alliance! Julie comes back to explain that Paul is taking someone’s else place and will be evicted tonight. This twist is extremely frustrating because although I love Paul, seeing someone gets evicted immediately is awful to watch.

Now Paul is instructed to go into the storage room and gets a box full of friendship bracelets. People who get the bracelet will be safe from eviction tonight. Those people are Kevin, Raven, Dominique, Ramses, Jessica, Elena, Mark, and Jason. Everyone else has to head to the backyard for a competition. The houseguest must stand on their trapeze and the last person left on wins. For the people who fell over, they will pick an apple that’s good (grants safety) or a poison apple (you’ll go on the block). As the competition goes on, Julie drops hints about the different apples. Jillian and Megan go down quickly while Josh takes a chance of the safety apple. Cameron goes down but quickly forgets the clues. Soon everyone else falls expect for Alex and Cody until Cody wins the competition.

Everyone opens their apple with Christmas, Cameron, and Jillian getting the poison apple. Julie reveals the final temptation which gives the three poisoned trio the decision to either have an eviction or battle out in another comp. Jillian and Christmas want a vote while Cameron votes for a competition. Majority rules and the eviction starts now. Paul will only vote in an event of a tie. We do not hear any of the votes. The person who is evicted tonight is Cameron. Man that is heartbreaking and disappointing to see Cameron who is a huge superfan immediately gone. I had Cameron very high on my rankings in the preseason and I feel like he could have gone far. Despite that ending, this Big Brother premiere was so good and this cast is already very promising. Sound off your opinions down below and have a nice night!

 

 

 

Despicable Me 2 Review

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Back in 2010, Despicable Me was a smash hit for the new forming Illumination Studios. The movies after that (Hop and The Lorax) were just moderate hits in the box office but weren’t received critically well. Luckily, they satisfied the critics and audiences with the highly anticipated sequel to Despicable Me. While critically it was received pretty good, Despicable Me 2 grossed over 970 million dollars with its 76 million budget. However, does Despicable Me 2 “sub come” to sequel problems or does it rise above it?

Gru has settled into his new life of taking care of Margo, Edith, and Agnes as their father. Now Lucy Wilde (played by Kristen Wigg who also played Ms. Hattie in the first film) has recruited Gru into the Anti-Villain League (AVL) to find a stolen mutagen called PX-41. Everyone from the first Despicable Me returns with the expectation of Julie Andrews. Steve Carrell continues to be a stand out as Gru and still provides the best jokes in the movie. Kristen Wigg new character is a great addition to the cast that becomes the new MVP. When she’s with Steve Carroll, their chemistry is adorable and makes us root for them.

Now the Minions were a huge success from the first Despicable Me not only on-screen but with merchandise. So of course, the Minions have a bigger role as they’re involved in a subplot where all of them get kidnapped. Sometimes it gets a little irritating but for the most part, the Minions are still funny and charming. Of course, the Minions got even bigger with more merchandise being sold and even a prequel movie being center around them.

The story has gotten a bit better but they could have gone a little more into the Anti-Villain League instead of focusing on subplots like Margo having a love interest. Did we really need to know about Margo’s love life? The focus could have been more on the AVL or even the mall which had a couple of good jokes (I’m a sucker for puns) but the filler they decided to go with was pointless. That being said Despicable Me 2 is still a good movie. Everything that you love from the first film is still here and has new enjoyable elements like Kristen Wigg new character. If you’re a fan of the first Despicable Me then I’m sure you’ll like the second one.

Grade: B

Baby Driver Review

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People often complain about the lack of originality in Hollywood, especially during the summer season. The season is often filled with sequels, adaptions, spin-offs, and reboots galore but no original movies. Yet there is often one original fantastic movie that not a lot consumers get to see. Take The Nice Guys for example as a movie that was so fantastic that no one saw it (as evident by the box office numbers). This year we got Baby Driver directed by the amazing Edgar Wright. So I will tell you why Baby Driver is so far my favorite movie of the year.

A talented getaway driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort) is one of the best in the world of crime, as the music keeps him focused on all times. As Baby gets closer to the local waitress, Debbie (Lily James), he hopes one day that he can put his getaway business away and start anew. Ansel Elgort is incredibility charming as our protagonist. Not only is he a standout by himself but has fantastic chemistry with everyone in the cast. This is an ensemble cast that does a great job with helping Baby Driver reach its full potential. Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Eiza González are all magnificent at being absolutely terrifying but still giving great comedic beats. Yet the two standouts are Lily James and CJ Jones who plays Baby’s foster dad, Joseph. Joseph is deaf and I didn’t know that CJ Jones was actually deaf so kudos for giving him a chance to shine instead of casting an actor who isn’t deaf. Lily James and Ansel Elgort have amazing chemistry as their love story made me a great big emotional wreck (in a good way).

Now while the cast is a big part of the movie, the essential part is the music. Music is not only Baby’s passion but a necessity as he suffers from tinnitus, the hearing of sound when no external sound is present which his playlist helps with the noise. There isn’t one specific genre of music but several that makes a fantastic blend for the movie. The soundtrack doesn’t feel like someone is just cramming popular and obscure songs just to make the movie unique for the sake of being special. Edgar Wright makes the music personal to Baby as it’s connected to his emotional backstory.

Just like all of Edgar Wright’s other movies, the movie is beautifully edited. The only word that perfectly fits is rhythmic. Not only does the editing matches the beats from the soundtrack but also to the action. Those getaway chases had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. Combine with the music, it was an amazing pair to behold and then you put the cast in that equation and I’m speechless.

This is a film that you need to see immediately because it’s so goddamn great in every way. Edgar Wright pulls off another hit for his record (which is pretty spotless) and I’m thankful for that. If you’re someone who complains that Hollywood isn’t making original movies, then please support Baby Driver. I promise that you’ll be leaving the theater as happy as I was. Baby Driver is out right now and god I hope everyone gets a chance to see it.

 

Grade: A+

Despicable Me Review

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In the animation world, the big competitors are Disney (including Pixar), Dreamworks, and Blue Sky Studios who fight at the box office. However, in 2010, there was a new studio that threw their hat in the ring and they’re Illumination Entertainment. Their first film, Despicable Me, was a smash hit with audiences and critics. Now with a whole franchise and a third movie coming out on Friday, does this film still hold up?

Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, Despicable Me shows how super villains are running amok in the world. Constantly trying to one up each with extraneous heists, we focus on Gru (Steve Carrell) who wants to be the best villain in the world. Unfortunately, that title belongs to the rookie villain Vector (Jason Segal) after stealing one of the pyramids. Now Gru has a plan to shrink and steal the moon but he needs more help so decides to adopt three girls (Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher) to steal a shrink ray from Vector. After bonding with the girls, he must decide what truly makes him happy, being a father or a villain?

Steve Carrell kills it as Gru with an accent so ridiculous that it doesn’t grate on my nerves and is actually infectious. He can be so delightfully cruel to people but sometimes shows a softer side to him. Jason Segal does a great job of making Vector such a jerk but a pathetic one too. There’s this cockiness in his voice that makes me wanna slap him so hard but he’s so pitiful at the same time. Everyone is pretty good from Dr.Nefario (Russell Brand) to the three girls but the real MVP is Julie Andrews. She’s so fantastic as Gru’s mother that every scene with her makes it even better.

With a lot of people, the Minions are becoming less and less adorable as they’re getting overplayed. Now I haven’t watched Minions yet so I haven’t reached peak Minions level yet. However, the Minions are popular for a reason and this movie shows why because they’re so adorable and funny. They’re perfect for supporting roles and give some great levity when needed.

My one criticism is that the movie is by the numbers. The story isn’t that creative and most adults can see what’s coming next. Overall Despicable Me definitely holds up and is a great start to this franchise. The voice acting and animation are really good while the story is a little more generic, it’s still pretty good. Check it out before Despicable Me 3 comes out on Friday.

 

Grade: B

 

 

BB19 Pre-Season Cast Rankings

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Welcome to my coverage of Big Brother 19!!! Big Brother has been a staple of my summer for a very long time. So this summer I will be covering the whole season with episode recaps and power rankings of the cast every Friday. I have seen only the cast bios and interviews with Jeff so this preseason ranking will be judged solely on that. This isn’t a ranking of who I like personally but who has the best chance to win.

 

 

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16: Alex

If you’ve been seeing that Alex is a lot like Pow Pow from BB16, it’s pretty dead on. She doesn’t know the game and will probably get into a fight just like Pow Pow. It’s a long game and I don’t see her making the distance.

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15: Kevin

I really want him to succeed but if these rumors of someone getting evicted immediately then I’m worried about him. Even if those rumors are false, he seems like an easy target for the house to evict so let’s hope he “slashtags” survives. Actually, if he goes far, I hope we found out all of his own personal terms because from the taste I got in the interview then it will be a treat.

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14: Josh

CHOO CHOO ALL BOARD ON THE TRAINWRECK EXPRESS CHOO CHOO!!!! On a pure entertainment level, I love Josh so much however, he’s going to be out so fast. He’s going a mile a minute but Big Brother is a marathon. Now I’ve never run a marathon before but even I know you can’t tire yourself out in the first leg. I’ll be very surprised if he lasts a month so good luck to him.

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13: Cody

If Cody was a song, he would be “Walking Contradiction” by Green Day. I’m so complexed by him and he comes off like a little bit of a jerk. Maybe he can get some sympathy because of his daughter but sometimes that doesn’t work (cough Devon Bro cough). Also, anyone who says that they don’t lie in their life is obviously lying. Well, I’ll agree with Jeff and say Cody is definingly an interesting cat.

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12: Raven

The only reason I hope Raven goes really far is that I want to make so many That’s So Raven jokes. I get a Bronte feel out of Raven and barely see her making to the jury.

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11: Elena

Elena is someone who will probably go to jury house but might get out sooner if she’s on the wrong side of the numbers.

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10: Jason

I got to admit ……. I like Whistlenut as a stage name, maybe it’s the immature sense of humor I have. Jason main goal isn’t to win but just to build his brand. Also, if anyone says they have a strategy but don’t want to share it because “they’re so much to share” is bs. That’s like saying to my professor “I really wanted to write my paper but there was so much stuff I wanted to write about.” However, his lack of the show can be beneficial if someone takes him as a number.

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9: Dominique

Although I personally enjoyed her interview with Jeff, I think Dominique type A personality might rub people the wrong way. Especially when you take the quote from her bio,” I’m not afraid to speak the truth, nor do I shy away from controversy” into consideration. Dominique will probably be in the early jury phrase but hopefully, I’m wrong and she can make it farther than that.

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8: Jillian

Jillian just seems nice and sweet … that’s it. Nothing really special but she’ll make the jury phrase.

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7: Matthew

He seems like a pretty chill dude that can get along with almost anyone. It appears he doesn’t have that much knowledge of the game but can probably learn pretty fast. Matthew might be targeted as a physical threat but he could wiggle his way out. Maybe he can get in an alliance with Mark and Christmas because of the fitness connection??

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6: Jessica

She says that there won’t be a showmance but I can see her getting into one and actually using that to her advantage. People in the house might solely judge on her looks but I think that’s a dangerous mistake. If she really does act like Janelle then everyone needs to watch out.

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5: Cameron

He falls into the “nerdy young superfan” trope which has worked out for two winners (Ian from BB14 and Steve from BB17) and sometimes it doesn’t (Ronnie from BB11). Cameron automatically gets some points for loving Rob Has a Podcast but cmon if you’re a superfan then you shouldn’t use the term “nerd herd”. As long as he gets past the first couple of weeks then I see him going far.

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4: Megan

If she didn’t mention her laugh, I wouldn’t have noticed but God that’s all I hear. I did like her explanation of the experience she wants in the house. This isn’t some recruit who just wandered in but someone who knows this game and wants to win. Her strategy of trying to find a gym buddy can actually work in her faith with all of the fitness personalities we have in the house.

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3: Christmas

I know people are going to complain about the forced Christmas jokes we will probably get on the show but I’m a sucker for puns. As long as we don’t get into Mr. Freeze annoyance of puns level then I’m good. There are so many good things from her interview and the way she described herself as a honey badger that looks like a honey badger is promising. Especially learning that she was an Iraq contractor (not just once but twice), that makes Big Brother look like nothing.

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2: Mark

Besides having my name (Mark’s gotta stick together), I really like Mark. He seems really nice which can charm a lot of people and pull out some comp wins. I predict a connection between Christmas and Mark due to their fitness connection. Might seem ridiculous but if someone shares the same passion as you then that can be really helpful. He was close to being my winner pick but people might target him because of his physical presence, especially if he wins comps.

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1: Ramses

I’m getting huge Andy from BB15 vibes out of him and that’s great. Andy had a fantastic social game with everyone in the house and pulled out some important comp wins. If Ramses is anything like Andy then people in the house should watch out because he might be the winner. The only recurring negative I’ve seen about him is that he’s younger than the other cast but I think Ramses will overcome it. Out of everyone in this cast, I feel the most confident to call him my winner pick so please don’t let me down Ramses!

 

Star Trek Beyond Review

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Usually, the summer movie season has a general mix of a lot of good movies with a few clunkers through in. In 2016 it was a bizarro year with the season filled with clunkers (Ghostbusters, Warcraft, Independence Day: Resurgence, Jason Bourne, etc) and a couple of good movies (Civil War, Kubo, Finding Dory, and Don’t Breathe). Yet there were a couple of movies that flew under the radar like Star Trek Beyond. Not only is this the best film of the rebooted timeline but it’s simply great.

Taking over from JJ Abrams, Justin Lin directs a pure fun sci-fi that I’m sure pleased the Trekkies. The movie begins with the Enterprise crew in its third year of their mission and Kirk (Chris Pine) having an existential crisis. He’s thinking about stepping down as captain but before Kirk can go through with it, an enemy attacks them and leaves them stranded on a planet. At first, I was a little disappointed that the crew wouldn’t be together through the majority of the movie but then seeing different characters like Bones and Spock were fantastic to see. Kirk and Chevoc were bittersweet because they were great but it’s tough seeing Anton Yelchin who tragically passed away a couple of months before the movie came out.

The unexpected highlight was Jaylah played by Sofia Boutella. Jaylah is such a badass warrior and has great chemistry with the rest of the cast. Especially when Scotty is with her because we get more Simon Pegg and that’s not a bad thing at all. Unlike Alice Eve character in Star Trek Into Darkness, Jaylah doesn’t feel like a waste and is actually an integral part. She’s one of those characters you see and immediately want her own spin-off movie or some other outlet just to get more of her. I know they are making another sequel and my request is to please have Sofia Boutella, she is a must have.

Continuing the trend of good villains, Idris Elba does a great job with Krall who surprisedly has compelling motivations. Even under layers and layers of makeup, he conveys such terror with his movements and limited speech patterns. Take the line that’s been in most of the trailers, “I am counting on it.” Most actors would do a fine job but Idris makes us feel fear. Until the third act, Idris takes what he has and goes the extra mile. When the third act begins he can stretch his acting muscles and even outshine Benedict Cumberbatch (trust me, I don’t say that lightly). I was pleasantly shocked that there was no weak link in the cast.

Definitely, give credit Justin Lin who didn’t have the easy job of taking over this franchise and the writers, Simon Pegg and Doug Jung. The way they put in details and getting them to pay off later didn’t seem forced at all. It made the third act which in a lot of movies can dip in quality but they rise above it. From seeing interviews of the two, it seems that they have a real understanding of Star Trek and I’m glad that their passion is shown in this movie.

I mentioned in my earlier reviews of the new Star Trek franchise that I haven’t seen any other Star Trek media. After watching these movies I will definitely check out the Original Series and the movies (maybe I’ll skip the odd-numbered ones and just stick with the even numbers). It’s a shame that not enough people talked about Star Trek Beyond last year because it deserves a lot more recognition. It’s a great summer blockbuster with great special effects, fun characters, and even some effective emotion moments like the tribute to the late great Leonard Nimoy. If you haven’t seen Star Trek Beyond it is free if you Hulu.

 

Grade: A

 

Star Trek Into Darkness Review

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With the success of the reboot, the Star Trek franchise had to ride the high of the first movie to keep the new fans invested. One of the problems with sequels is they’re repeating the original film instead of developing this world. Although Into Darkness is not a rehash of the reboot, it borrows heavily from Wrath of Khan. Even a nonfan like myself can spot the similarities with the character of Khan and the ending. Perhaps my opinion will change when I see Wrath of Khan but this was still an enjoyable movie.

Returning to the director’s chair, JJ Abrams, Into Darkness is about the crew of the Starship Enterprise returns home after an act of terrorism within its own organization. With a personal score to settle, Capt. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) leads his crew on a mission to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction, Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch). It’s still great to see the entire crew back together again and with the setup of getting the team together, we can get right back to the chase. There’s such a great dynamic with the crew that I can watch them argue about directions and still be invested.

Benedict Cumberbatch by far is a huge step up from Nero as he is a fascinating character that has rootable motivations. The main goal of Khan is to save his own people and will go to great lengths to achieve it. With Benedict Cumberbatch being such a huge star, it’s easy to see the actor instead of the role they’re playing. He commands such presence with his acting, especially with that deep imitating yet seduced voice. The only weak flaw in the cast is Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) who doesn’t add to the dynamic. The only reason it seems like she was added because of sex appeal.

Michael Giacchino still provides a fantastic score that really helps out the movie. Some highlights include “Spock Drops, Kirk Jumps”, “London Calling”, “Brigadoom”, “Ship to Ship”, and “The San Fran Hustle”. I forgot to mention my praise of Dan Mindel who did the cinematography in the last film and he’s back again to do a stellar job. When they’re on Nibiru, I was in awe of the stark red and white colors. Especially seeing it on Blu-Ray added more to the experience.

Sadly there are some major problems in the third act. As I mentioned before, the ending is just a role reversal from Wrath of Khan. Without giving too much away (from a movie that came out four years ago), at least fans knew Spock and Kirk from the entirely of the original and a movie. We know this Spock and Kirk for just one movie so when that moment comes, it feels confusing. The other major problem is magic blood. You might explain that with science but that is straight up magic. Now the threat of death in this new Star Trek timeline feels less impactful.

Despite those flaws, I still had an enjoyable experience watching Star Trek Into Darkness. The cast is still great and they’re dynamic is still engaging to watch. For someone who just wants to watch a good sci-fi flick then still might be for you. However, I can understand why I Trekkie wouldn’t want to see this. We’re finishing up the new Star Trek movies with Star Trek Beyond being posted tomorrow.

 

Grade: B

Star Trek (2009) Review

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For at least 50 years, Star Trek has continued to entertain many people with its engaging characters and thrilling sci-fi escapes. Now I wasn’t a Trekkie growing up as I didn’t watch any of the movies and tv shows so this reboot was for me. When the reboot came out, some Trekkies criticized it for trying to create a broader audience instead of focusing on the fanbase. Especially with the quibbles of the new alternative timeline instead of what they were used to seeing in the original series. That being said, the reboot was more than effective to get me invested into Star Trek.

Directed by JJ Abrams, Star Trek is about James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) who tries to live up to his father’s legacy by enlisting in the Starfleet Academy. He soon joins Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the USS Enterprise crew as they fight against Nero (Eric Bana) who wants to destroy the United Federation of Planets. The main benefit of this reboot is not having so many years of knowledge to understand what’s going. Although there are a couple of plotholes that distracted me, JJ Abrams masterfully tells a captivating fun sci-fi movie that had me invested from the beginning.

The whole cast gives great performances but the main highlights come from Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. Chris Pine is so damn charming as Kirk with a certain swagger that conveys on the score. Yet, he effectively shows his anger as the shadow of his father legacy weighs on him. Zachary Quinto is so fantastic as Spock, the half-Vulcan, and half human. The duality of the character is very engaging to watch as the struggle between the two is throughout the film. The Vulcan side of him is great to watch, when we see his human side emerge is outstanding. Sometimes it’s in a form of outburst or we can subtlety see it on his face when he experiences pain.

The rest of the crew is so much fun to watch with Bones (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho), and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) rounding out the supporting cast. All of them keep me watching with anticipation especially when they’re all together. The main problem I have is Nero who is sort of bland as a villain. The acting isn’t bad but like the character, it just feels empty as Nero is simply there as just the villain. We understand his motivation for revenge but I don’t feel anything towards him.

Other aspects of the film like the cinematography done by Dan Mindel and the score were fantastic. Michael Giacchino really outdoes himself with this score. Listening to the original theme of the series, I’m glad it wasn’t just a rehash of it. Although it can be heard a couple of times, it is used effectively while the majority of the score feels a lot more contemporary just like the movie itself. Highlights include “Labor of Love”, “Nero Sighted”, “Nero Death Experience”, and “That New Car Smell”.

Star Trek is not only an effective reboot but it successfully brings new people like myself into the franchise. With only just a few quibbles, everything else stands out in the best possible way. From the acting to the score, JJ Abrams directs a marvelous film that has me now fully interested in the Star Trek franchise.

 

Grade: B+