Star Trek Beyond CRAP

Thou’ must ruin a good thing and that’s for sure.

After two stupendous movies where Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto literally flipped the entire Star Trek fan base for doubting them as Kirk & Spock, it has all come crashing down in the end. Money can’t buy class and this movie highlights that. How else could you explain the fact that Paramount spent something to the tune of $185 million and gave a guy who made Fast and the Furious to make a movie with a history spanning back to 50 years?

Justin Lin (director and main culprit responsible) has taken his brand of shiny cars driven really fast by guys wearing their pants way too low and put that in the suave USS Enterprise. The result is something that makes a Chunky Pandey flick look like Schindler’s List. Lin was probably a step below painting the Enterprise red and having yellow flames on its side! Its unimaginable how someone with so little talent can be given the reins of a movie franchise which established its fan base while he was still potty-training. Mr. Lin, Star Trek is a lot more than fast cars and women wearing short skirts dropping their handkerchiefs to kick start a race, and you’d know that if you bothered to see it yourself.

Star Trek is about exploring science fiction concepts and themes through great storytelling, to borrow a quote “To boldly go where no man has gone before”. To help open our minds, to think of the possibilities and widen our imaginations and not watch a video game in 3D.

The story is lame, but with this being a review and all that….. It’s Star Date 2263.2 and Kirk (Chris Pine) is into the third year of the “5 year mission” and is emotionally ‘Lost in Space’. Spock (Zachary Quinto) also receives some unfortunate personal news and that unsettles him. Spock and Uhura are also “on a break”.  Kirk, Spock, Uhura etc. all are in need of a vacation, and Starbase Yorktown appears to be able to offer them that. (Throw in special effects to show an unbelievable location in space.) The reverie is rudely interrupted by the arrival of a frantic alien called Kalara (the gorgeous Lydia Wilson) from the other side of the galaxy. Her crew has been stranded on a remote planet and she needs help to rescue them. Kirk agrees but as most rescue missions go, this one comes up with a roadblock, mainly in the form of the warlord Krall (the brilliant Idris Elba who I feel is wasted in this movie), whose presence as the bad guy in the movie is literally as important as asparagus in a salad! Kirk and his crew now have to rescue themselves and the crew, throw in some more special effects, a random motorcycle and you have Star Trek Beyond.

Star Trek is much more than just a big spaceship racing another spaceship at warp speed and Justin Lin needs to realize that. Star Trek deserves better than Justin Lin. He is definitely not worthy of handling a franchise of this magnitude. For those making me think I am directing too much hate at him….please remember that he didn’t even make the good Fast & Furious movies!! (He made the 3rd, 4th and 5th one!)

Second comes the writing. Simon Pegg writing movies works well ONLY when he stars in them. Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Paul…all brilliant, all silly, all have Pegg as the lead character. They are funny short stories with little, to no brains required and this is Pegg’s niche. Star Trek needs more capable and able bodies to work through its storyline and not a stand-up comic who can write about a zombie infested city which the lead can clear with a baseball bat.

To give an example of the poor writing…THERE IS A MOTORCYCLE ON THE SPACESHIP!!! There is no rhyme or reason for that. Logically thinking, why would there be a motorcycle in OUTER SPACE!!?? Is the captain thinking,” You know we have never been that far out in space…screw the oxygen tanks and probably travel through thick jungles, let me just keep my motorcycle on board…you know….just in case an alien challenges me to a drag race!”

With poor direction and even poorer writing, the movie just falls apart. There was no character development in this movie, which I personally feel has been the best part of the franchise till date. The complex equations between Kirk and Spock, Ka’an and Kirk, Kirk and Bones, Spock and Uhura…etc. are all part of this wonderful science fiction adventure. Unfortunately, in this movie, there was neither a flow nor any character evolution and you do not learn more about anything really. Instead of Kirk, Spock and Scotty you could stick just any name over the protagonists and the movie would have flown the same. The story is loosely tied and the characters are thinly created and I have seen Barbie Dolls with more back story.

Sorry folks, but this movie is literally a waste of time and money.

 

 

 

Thoughts: The Past, Present, the Future and all that’s in between.

A dystopian future calls me out,
The sirens blare,
I shout out loud.
I scream to the crowd,
My voice drowned by those passing by.
Sigh!

The days merge and the nights blaze bright,
The deep desire to fight, keeps away the option of flight.
My fear keeps me up at night,
It sets my soul alight.
I search for my holy grail,
The ability to lose, to fail
To be honest and at the hint of error
To not bail.
The light, it blinds
The retrocedes my mind,
I trust my sight,
For it’s the only part that shows me my plight.
To see the way things go by.
Sigh!

The voices are gone,
The sounds are drowned,
The rapture is deafening,
It sounds like an awakening.
I look up to see the skies,
Ah…the bliss that meets my eyes.
I see my present,
It speaks in a dialect I don’t understand,
I realize it speaks in the future,
And I rest assured,
For the future is but an allure.
The future is alright,
The future is passing by….
Sigh!

The Eagle has Landed

​There are movies that make you laugh, some that make you cry and then there are some you just watch with a dumb smile on your face throughout. A smile that stays with you long after the credits have rolled, the lights have been switched on and the ushers have started asking you to leave because they need to get the auditorium ready for the next show. (Disclaimer: I didn’t see this in the theatre, but you get the drift, don’t you?( )

Eddie the Eagle is a true heart-warming story about Michael “Eddie” Edwards (played by the super talented Taron Egerton of Kingsman fame), who has but one dream, and that is to become an Olympian. Never mind the fact that he literally has the athletic ability of a new born giraffe jumping on a trampoline, since facts can’t hold back dreams. 

After being removed from the British Skiing team, he eventually finds his calling as a ski-jumper, and seeing/realizing that the British haven’t had an Olympic ski-jump team for quite some time, he finds himself in the unlikely spot of representing his country in the Winter Olympics. Again, the fact that the sport is one which real athletes start preparing from age 7 (and he is roughly 3 times that) is a small detail that doesn’t hold him back. (

Eddie teams up with Bronson (Wolverine aka Hugh Jackman, who really does a wonderful job in this movie), a gifted but arrogant ex-ski jumper, as his new coach. Bronson promises to help Eddie at the bare minimum, which is to ensure Eddie doesn’t die while jumping of the ramp. Eventually, Bronson finds himself somehow drawn towards Eddie’s never say die attitude and the true meaning of being a part of the Olympics. (Wipes a tear)

Barring all my sarcasm aside, the movie is a real gem. 

For starters, one of the best things about the movie (apart from its story) is Taron Egerton. Taron E. is mind numbingly good and dons the role of Eddie like a glove. Egerton switches effortlessly between clueless goofball and steely determined sportsman and it is nearly impossible to realize that this is the same kid who was the street hood turned secret-service agent in Kingsman. Secondly, when I saw the trailer, I didn’t know what to think about Hugh Jackman, since he really doesn’t seem like a “ski jump coach”. But 10 minutes of seeing him as Bronson Peary and my doubts were cleansed away. Hugh Jackman seems to do this role without even trying too hard. Taron really delves deep into the skin of Eddie, and Hugh on the other side does Bronson as an overcoat and this is one of the reasons the movie works so well. The two characters play off each other perfectly. 

A lot of the supporting cast are ….. best described as caricatures. A special mention though goes for Eddie’s mom (played by the less known Jo Hartley) who really does a wonderful job as part of the bit part role team. 

Gun to my head, I guess the one thing not up to par in this movie is the special effects. Now I know it is just a ski jump and an underdog story, but somehow (and this is a purely personal opinion), the effects of a sports film are core to its story (Friday Night Lights, Miracle, heck even Rudy) and despite having the sport as one with a brilliance and elegance of ski-jump, the thrill and jumps are pretty badly shot. 

Do keep in mind that although the movie is based on a true story, it does take some ‘creative liberty’ (well ok, not ‘some’….’somewhat’…..ok maybe more than ‘somewhat’…..well ok it’s a pretty fictionalized account of what actually happened), but it honestly just adds to the movie and adds it well. 

In the end, the movie is a good mix of heart and humor and somehow the director has managed to time both perfectly. It’s not likely to win any Oscars, but this is the Rudy of our generation and that is saying something. 

Thoughts: The 5th Wave….of disappointment!

If there is anything to prove that our future is bleak, it is watching our next generation grow up. Right from their music (that God awful Beaver and his donkey braying!), to reading horse shit like Twilight, the future is clear and it is depressing. All forms of art will soon die and their collapse is imminent, and future historians will probably pin down this decade as the trigger of our civilization’s cultural collapse.

However I digress and that too, is because I have just seen what can only be classified as the pivot in our cultural downfall and it takes its roots in the wormhole that is young adult science fiction. From the genre that gave us masterpieces like the Divergent series, the Maze Runner, I am Number four, Eragon and many such ‘gems’, comes yet another mind blowing crap fest; The 5th wave. The movie is based the first book in the trilogy written by the ex –IRS collector Rick Yancey. The book was a big hit (sigh) and having not read the book I will refrain from making assumptions here.

Seeing that this is a review, I shall delve into the basics and try and explain to the best of my ability how this movie goes. Average high school girl crushes on boys, aliens come, mommy dies, Army takes over, brother is captured by army, daddy dies, girl fights to get her brother, aliens are good guys, army is bad guys, Colonel (or is he a General?!) dies. Girl kisses alien. Ka-BOOM! (Everything explodes).The End!

There I saved you a couple of bucks!

The saving grace in this movie would be Chloe ‘Grace’ Moretz (see what I did there,:)) as the lead. She does a decent job of acting like the confused sap of a teenage girl, who crushes on her class boys, loves her family and dotes on her little brother. Alas, she has dropped a long way from her kick-butt-first-ask-questions-later avatar of Hit Girl (Ref: Kickass), but well, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do! So here we see her in a pretty different role, albeit not a good role, but she does a decent job in it.

The rest of the cast, not so much!

As with all Young Adult Sci-Fi movies, the visual effects were something that could make or break them and somehow I think this one broke. J. Blakson (Director) is pretty new to the scene of movies (I believe it is his 2nd foray as a director of full length motion picture) and on the bright side, he can only go up from here. But he has a long long looooong way to go up, and even then he might just make the tail end of the average director’s herd.

The story of the movie is flat, and there is nothing (and I do mean nothing!) interesting about it. It is so predictable, that you feel you have already seen this movie earlier. And of course logic takes a back seat here, I mean it deals with an alien race which can cause earthquakes and tsunamis and spread viruses and yet need children to kill adults as a way to take over the planet. Most inefficient bunch of morons I’d say. Heck! Paul and ET had a better chance of taking over our planet and don’t even get me started on what would happen if the aliens from Independence Day saw these guys and their attempt.

The movie works well on one level (assuming we have the attention span of a goldfish) and that is some of the individual scenes (very select few) work well on their own. If it weren’t for the bad writing, the gaping holes in logic, the horribly developed characters and the completely unnecessary romantic “tension” crow-barred-in the movie, this has the potential of competing with some of the better B-Grade flicks like Sharkando, or Megashark vs Crocosauraus or even Humshakals.

However for a majority of the roughly 112 minutes, there were instances where I was hoping to stick the straw from my coke up my nose and flood my brain with the cola!

Much like the 5 stages of dealing with grief, there are 5 waves depicting the demise of our culture here and these are:

  • The decline of the music industry
  • The death of Literature
  • Twerking
  • The remorse of seeing our youth icons
  • This movie!

In the end, if you are not a girl aged between 11-15 years old …. Or you are Jaden Smith, you should definitely avoid this movie like the plague.

 

Locke is Rock(e) solid!

Now I agree this is a pretty old movie (2013), though I’m honing my skills here plus I’m pretty sure most of you wouldn’t have watched this anyway. So hush!

The first thing you would need to know about Locke is that it takes place in the confines of A CAR! Yup…just one car and the entire 85 minute story is one person on screen, and to keep your fears at bay, I don’t think it was due to the production team cheap-ing out, I believe this was just how the director planned it. 🙂

I hope that got your attention. If not, you can stop reading now because the rest of it won’t make any sense.

The story is focused around Ivan Locke (The super versatile Tom Hardy! With movies like RockNRolla, Inception, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, Warrior, Lawless, Dark Knight Rises and The Revenant, I KNOW he will win an Oscar pretty soon), a building site manager, who over the past nine years has made his life as secure as the concrete he is in charge of pouring. The movie picks up on the eve of his biggest job, which is also like Europe’s largest ever job of concrete pouring and the movie starts when he enters his car so he can head home.

We follow his car journey from Brighton to Croydon as the world around him is slowly crumbling and he is losing everything. Through conversations on the phone he tries to negotiate an emerging crisis at work with his boss, an evolving domestic situation with his wife and also a discussion with his sons who are desperate to have their dad home to watch the football game.

Locke is a refreshingly short movie and never over stays it’s welcome. The narrative is so constant, that even when Hardy is not in a hands- free phone switchboard mode, we are still hooked, just waiting, watching for what next. Locke provides just as much a character journey as it does a car journey.

The strength of the movie lies in its acting and its writing. Tom Hardy’s taut performance is mesmerizing and more than enough to make you watch the movie. But if that isn’t enough, Stephen Knight (who has written some impressive screenplays: Dirty Pretty Things, Amazing Grace, and Eastern Promises) has also outdone himself with the writing and direction. A movie in a car without any superficial exaggerations (high speed chases, jumping of brides, gunfire, broken roads more than 50 feet in length etc.) and focusing solely on facial expressions and dialogue delivery needs some skill and he has pulled one out of his hat. In short, it’s wonderfully written, wonderfully directed, perfectly acted and definitely one of the better movies I have seen. Filmed in just eight nights and with very low budget, the film is literally a lesson of how unique and quite fantastic minimalist cinema can be.

Now granted I saw the movie on one of my travels and when you are cooped up on the economy section of a flight for about 4 hours you don’t have too much of an option, however I can honestly say that there was not one moment I can think of where I was looking at my watch or was at all bored.

There have been similar movies and the concept of “shot in one place” isn’t exactly brand new. Phone Booth (Collin Farrell) or Buried (Deadpool, I mean Ryan Reynolds) and even 127 Hours (James Franco) all are made within confines (single location, single actor) but this is where this story writing shows Mr. Knight’s skill. In each of the above mentioned movies, the leads always faces a life v. death option and this is where the difference lies in Locke.

Locke does not face this decision, it is just ‘change’ and THAT is the crux of his story. There’s no bomb on the backseat and he doesn’t need to keep the car at a certain speed. There’s no hostages held and there is nothing the lead is running away from. Thus, the director/writer does not try and force the thrill on you and this is where it scores highly according to me. Throw in some fantastic acting by Tom Hardy and what you have is a movie which you could watch on your laptop with your headphones.

It’s obviously not in theaters and thus I would recommend you to try and find someone, who has this movie and get settled in for what I can best describe as a soft thriller.

 

The life after…

He sits in succor,

Loneliness a constant companion.

His patience, a gaze,

He looks unfazed.

With a sky full of stars,

He sits…..

Wondering, blinking, waiting, and thinking.

Reminiscing the days gone by, the times well spent.

The paths well-trodden,

And those paths he left.

 

But his loneliness bites,

He tries a smile, it smites.

His friends long gone,

Solitude is his own song.

His dreams unmade, some promises unwept,

His wishes unfulfilled.

Days remind him of his flaws, days just relent.

He thinks back to his days,

They seemed like an abyss.

Of freedom, frolicking and running in the sun

None could touch him….not even one!

 

But alas that one night,

He thought he drove it right,

But the haze…it removed all light.

The look on her face, full of fright

The twisting wheels, The screeching tires

The smashed glass, the wreckage, the fire

The skidding car and the flips it marred

It took her, only her, for he was barred.

 

He looks up at the skies now

It’s been 3 years, he drags his baggage in tow

The sky is still, the moonlight shines bright,

The stars were spinning that night, but now, they are alright.

He struggles with his depression,

The daily walks for suppression,

Therapist orders for regression.

Life is a bitter teacher,

For you learn slow; you learn blow by blow.

And solace is a bitter pill to swallow,

For those who pity in self wallow,

Can’t rise to ebb the tide against its flow.

 

Pills galore, mixed with the hard stuff,

He falls face first, his brain soft as muff.

The sky is spinning again,

The stars are moving across the plain,

But now there is no fire,

No sound of a screeching tire.

For this is peaceful…

Serene.

And he closes his eyes,

Knows he will be with her soon.

A deep breath, and he can hear her croon.

His life is complete,

Or what is left of it anyway.

Bless his soul, he gave it away.