When a high level intelligence member of Star Fleet (Benedict Cumberbatch) turns coats and begins a one man war against humanity Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine) is tapped to lead his team into a warzone and put an end to the battle. But with ethical dilemmas at hand and Mr. Spock’s (Zachary Quinto) insistence, Kirk and crew discover the battle they’re fighting may in fact be misguided. Who’s the real enemy and to what lengths will each member of the USS Enterprise have to go to prevent a galactic battle of epic proportions? Directed by Sci-Fi visionary J.J. Abrams this recreated cast of beloved characters continues in the spirit of Gene Roddenberry, with a twist of course. And, with acting from the principal ensemble living up to expectations, fans of the original cast will find plenty to smile about. Nods and references to previous Star Trek plotlines also make for extra levity. Although, overall pacing hits a few lulls with stale exposition and drawn out bro-mance moments. As far as overall plot points go this isn’t a terribly deep or philosophical head trip. But fear not, to counteract all of this and reassuring us of Kirk’s manliness comes the answer to every fan boy’s question “What’s the official Star Fleet underwear look like?” A totally gratuitous and laughable moment between a semi naked Alice Eve and Pine shows us– a bit on the nose, thanks J.J. now I can sleep at night. Of course we also get the obligatory and controversial J.J. lens flare effect that was overused in the last Star Trek film, but what’s new? Meanwhile, well done effects/CGI and a charging score makes for a full sensory experience; 3D effects however do nothing or very little. Regardless, It’s big, bold, fun and worth your while. Star Trek Into Darkness is rated PG-13.
Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), World War I vet, writer turned financial bond salesman, and silent confidant to many is attempting to put his own life together when he discovers the mysterious world of the new money millionaire next door, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Attracted and perplexed by Gatsby’s carefree and almost reckless habits, the two become quick friends, but for Carraway there’s a hidden cost. Adding to the mix, Carraway’s cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), happens to be married to old money, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). But Gatsby’s interest in Daisy means old money mixing with new money, suspicions grow, meanwhile marital relations seem to be on the brink in the Buchanan household. The setup for great tragedy and heartbreak is at hand, perhaps it can all be avoided, after all, it’s Jay Gatsby’s unrelenting optimism that got him to where he’s at today, and what is it that Gatsby is really seeking? Directed by the artistic and creative visionary Baz Luhrmann, it appears as though Luhrmann is once again attempting to bridge 19th, 20th, and 21st century musical styles ala Moulin Rouge; alas, where Moulin seamlessly blends genres and decades, Gatsby seems to lack the savy and poetic touch to pull off the illusion. From a visual standpoint, there are moments where Gatsby is truly breathtaking, loaded with nods to all that was the roaring 20′s bleeding into the 30′s, an Art Deco splattered dream. Some might find this over the top, but in retrospect, it’s probably not significantly more flamboyant or garish than any other actual film from the period, Bugsby Berkeley comes to mind. Acting from the ensemble feels on par, although there’s something about a 30 something Gatsby saying “Sure thing old sport..” that just comes across as a little awkward, meh, champagne problems I suppose. Bottom line, It’s entertaining, doesn’t quite live up to Luhrmann’s potential, but still might make for a nice matinee. The Great Gatsby is rated PG-13.
It’s been several months since Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) helped to save the world with the Avengers; and, while the battle may have been won, the psychological damage he sustained continues to be an impact. The cocksure and whip smart inventor/millionaire now spends his sleepless nights in his workshop tinkering while paralyzing anxiety attacks appear to run their course at random. But, when a new and unknown terrorist known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) begins bombing seemingly innocent targets including Tony’s personal body guard Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), Stark’s ire is mustered, something must be done. Making matters worse, backing the Mandarin are two incredibly sharp individuals from Tony’s past– an ex-girlfriend and a like-minded inventor (Rebecca Hall and Guy Pearce). Stop The Mandarin and his associates, save his love, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), save the country, and help his friend in the Army, Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), oh, and get over his anxiety, tall orders, but who better to put to the task than Iron Man? Directed and partially written by Shane Black, no slouch to the genre, the action blockbuster is alive and clanking making for an entertaining and interesting watch. And, for the first two thirds a compelling story seems to take shape, sadly, it’s the all important final act where things become a bit mundane and played out. Mind you, this doesn’t necessarily make the film bad, but leaves a fairly average finish to what was a strong start. Of course acting all round fits nicely. Effects and CGI work come across nicely on screen and anthemic scoring adds extra polish. Big, loud, and flashy, it’s fun. Iron Man 3 is rated PG-13.