Tag Archive: chris pine


Star Trek Into Darkness Review

With J.J. Abrams set to direct the new Star Wars film it is as yet unknown whether he will return for the inevitable conclusion to his finely crafted trilogy that has successfully reinstated Star Trek as one of the most important science fiction franchises in the world. Has he left behind a good legacy with Into Darkness?

Star Trek Into Darkness picks up with Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine) and his new crew, at least new in this franchise, already on a mission on the pre-civilisation planet of Nibiru; it is clear right from the off that the crew of the USS Enterprise are not going to be without danger as Spock’s life is immediately put on the line. Luckily, he survives and manages to carry on with the rest of the film. Where eventually they run into John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), who just so happens to be Star Trek’s arguably most famous villain, Kahn. Kahn is carrying out terrorist acts that turn this film into an emotional chess game between Kirk and Kahn as the two battle it out in a test of will, strength and heroics as they battle to save their respective crews: only one side can win.

“Let’s go get this sonofabitch”

The first thing you notice about Into Darkness (and one of the most significant things) is that it does not feel like a sequel: the film immediately places you at the heart of the action with little knowledge of the previous film (or even Star Trek in general) required to enjoy the film. The whole of the Enterprise crew is back including Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Sulu (John Cho), Scotty (Simon Pegg) and Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) and none of the characters come off badly with each one, even Chekov (Anton Yelchin) having their moment in the spotlight; it would have been nice to have seen Uhura (Zoe Saldana) do more, however as her character does feel less like an equal crew member and more like a pawn to try and evoke some emotion in Spock, something she doesn’t really do that well.

The old faces are joined by new additions such as the incredible Benedict Cumberbatch and the almost pointless Alice Eve. Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Kahn is really spectacular; this is the greatest villain that will hit the screens this summer and is the most memorable in modern blockbusters, as far as my memory serves me anyhow. He poses a serious threat to Kirk and his crew on a mental and physical scale. Right from the off he gives you the creeps and it is clear his plan is very well thought out.

“You should have let me sleep”

The action takes place at a quick pace, occasionally slowing down to give the audience some breathing space and for the characters, mainly Kirk and Spock, to talk their problems through which does sometimes border on the line of good or bad writing; but that can be forgiven as you can guarantee whenever something feels stale Into Darkness shakes things up (quite literally), the amount of times they get attacked off guard id pretty suspicious for a craft of such high technology. But the action scenes are spectacular, right off the bat from Nibiru, to the home of the Klingons on Kronos, right up to the final fight scene between Spock and Kahn.

With such a lot hanging in the balance for Kirk, Spock etc. it seems imperative that there is humour injected into the story and that comes in the, predictable, forms of Bones (Karl Urban) and Scotty. This story centres on Kirk and Kahn but the majority of my attention was on Bones, coming out with quality one liners and throwing around metaphors like they were going out of fashion: he’s a treat every time he comes on screen.

“Damn it man! I’m a doctor not a torpedo technician!”

Into Darkness closes with the USS Enterprise about to embark on a five year mission. Is this five years a hint at how long it will be until we see the third chapter of this Star Trek revival? If so, maybe Abrams will be back on board. Part of me doesn’t want to wait so long but part of me longs for the return of Abrams to finish what he started!

In my Iron Man 3 review I claimed that Iron Man 3 could be the best blockbuster of the summer. Well all that’s changed now: Star Trek Into Darkness will not be topped.

My Rating: 9/10.

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As soon as I saw the first trailer for Rise of the Guardians I instantly fell in love with it. Just from the trailer you could tell it was going to be something special; the characters, the colour scheme, the animation. It soon became one of my most anticipated films of the year… so how would it stand up to my very very high expectations?

DreamWorks’ latest feature film sees the immortal guardians: North – Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), Bunnymund – Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth – the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the mute Sandy – Sandman team up to stop the evil Boogeyman Pitch (Jude Law) from covering the world in fear and taking away all the innocence of the children. To do so a new recruit must heed the Guardians’ call: Jack Frost (Chris Pine).

The story is pretty simple, it in no way tries to over complicate things but that doesn’t take anything away from the way in which the story are told. Right from the off we are presented with this sort of outcast character of Jack Frost and we are quickly brought in to his story, feeling his sense of longing and wishing to know where he came from, wanting to be believed in by the children of Earth. And right from here you are wrapped up in the story. You’re rooting for him right from the word go and the introduction to this magical world is all you need to quickly become engrossed and want to see more. I found myself amazed at how emotionally attached I grew to Jack Frost as the film went on, there was a distinct sense of humanity in his character.

Of course, some of this humanity is installed by the wonderful Chris Pine’s voice acting and the whole cast did a terrific job in voicing their characters. I can honestly say that this is definitely one of Hugh Jackman’s best performances in my opinion, or at least one of my favourite roles I have seen him in. I almost forgot it was even Alec Baldwin voicing North as well, this sort of Russian/Eastern European accent and demeanor he seemed to have really made his character stand out and it was terrific work from Baldwin in doing this. And although Sandy doesn’t say a word (he communicates through sand drawings above his head) he quickly transforms into this lovable little guy and no doubt one of the most popular characters in Rise of the Guardians! As for Pitch, I think he may just be one of the greatest ever villains in a children’s film.

The animation is second to none. We’re talking perfection here in terms of animation. There are some wonderful sets created; Santa’s workshop, Bunnymund’s Easter retreat, Tooth’s palace and Pitch’s headquarters. There is so much attention to detail, everything is so bold and bright and it all feels so real, like your looking at something of immeasurable beauty. And there are some great action sequences to go with the wonderful aesthetics of the film. Right from the beginning where we first meet Jack Frost and he messes about on the iced over pond to the sled ride he takes Jamie (the last believer in the Guardians) on, from the scene in which the Guardians help restore belief in Tooth, right up to the final climax and fight with Pitch.

Everything is done so well. Scenes you thought were pointless when they first appear later show their importance in the film and it has a sort of poetic feel to it. DreamWorks is really showing here, as people are starting to doubt Pixar for the first time, that they can make top quality films as well as anybody else.

Director Peter Ramsay, producer Christina Steinberg, executive producer Guillermo del Toro and Jack Frost himself Chris Pine have all expressed an interest in making a sequel. Usually I do like to see films just stand alone, it makes a nice change these days, but I have to confess I would welcome a Rise of the Guardians sequel with open arms!

My Rating: 9/10.

UK Release Date: 17th May 2013

Stars: JJ Abrams (director), Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Alice Eve.

Plot: After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

The poster for Star Trek Into Darkness was released earlier this week and that has been followed with this brilliant, action packed new trailer. There’s not a lot of things we can learn from this but one thing is that Cumberbatch’s unknown villain is out for “vengeance”, therefore making for a very interesting back story for the villain to have.

We don’t see too much of the crew of the Enterprise in their usual colour coded uniforms in the trailer and that might be an indication to the fact that Into Darkness may not be taking place in space that much. It seems as though a lot of the action will in fact take place on Earth.

This trailer does it’s job perfectly. Star Trek fans across the world have been waiting for their first real glimpse of action from the sequel and they will not be disappointed with this!

Rumours are flooding the internet today surrounding the topic of the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel and whether Kristen Stewart or director Rupert Sanders will return for a second film. With the recent news coming out that Stewart and Sanders were having an affair it is clear this would cause more problems than its worth if these two worked again together, therefore it seems as though the sequel will not be happening with Kristen Stewart playing Snow White because Sanders looks set to return to direct. The attention instead will shift towards Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman and create a sort of spin off from the first Snow White fantasy film. This was always the plan to do so in the third film but have two films about Snow White precede this. They could always hire Lily Collins to replace Stewart in the lead role, she made a fantastic Snow White in Mirror, Mirror and really looks the part, but if they’ve decided to tell a story based around the Huntsman then so be it; but it better be of a much higher quality than X-Men spin off, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

There seems to not be a week go by at the minute when Marvel and its film properties aren’t in the news: be it Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy or this week Daredevil. Work had apparently been moving forward on a reboot to the Daredevil film franchise at FOX and a director was even pretty much set to go for it; Joe Carnahan (director of The A-Team and The Grey) was tweeting about his excitement to adapt Daredevil in the world created by Frank Miller’s successful run on the comic books back in the late seventies/early eighties which had a darker film noir feel about them. Now it seems as though those ideas have gone up in smoke as FOX are clearly in no rush to get the project off the ground and are apparently willing to let the rights go back to Marvel come October. As soon as Marvel gets the rights back (even before probably) work will be done to get a film reboot going and it would be my guess that he would be set in the same universe as Marvel’s Avengers series probably. I hope that Ben Affleck comes in to direct the reboot, he loves the character and even though his starring role as Matt Murdock wasn’t very good he should be considered to direct, I think his Daredevil would be great and have a similar feel and tone to Gone Baby Gone.

And now here’s the latest casting news that has caught my eye this week: first of all, Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame has landed himself a lead role in Nick Hornby adaptation ‘Long Way Down‘ which follows four people who plan to commit suicide by jumping off a building on New Year’s Eve, but become friends with each other before the jump. Keira Knightley has gone and landed herself a part in her first franchise since Pirates of the Caribbean in Kenneth Branagh’s new Jack Ryan film in which Branagh also plays the villain to Chris Pine’s hero. It will be great to see Knightley swap her corsets and what not for a more modern attire in this film. And finally Scrubs‘ Donald Faison or ‘Turk’ has signed on to appear in comic book sequel Kick-Ass 2:Balls to the Wall as Dr. Gravity, a hero who is inspired by Kick-Ass and becomes an ally of his in his new team ‘Justice Forever’. This looks like a fun piece of casting and it is fantastic to finally see some real signs that the sequel is moving ahead!

Matthew McConaughey is a pretty big name actor if you think about it. If you think of romantic comedies then his name will be one of the first few you associate with the genre, along with Jennifer Aniston and Katherine Heigl. Funnily enough, if you also think of plain bad films (and I’m talking really bad, not bad but enjoyable, just bad) then Matthew McConaughey must also be synonymous with that too! He does however, have a huge legion of fans, mainly of the female gender and probably because of his looks rather than his acting ability, but you would be hard pressed to find a man who counts Matthew McConaughey among their favourite actors. Now it looks as though that may be set to change as McConaughey opts for more dramatic roles than we are used to seeing him in.

McConaughey began work as an actor in television adverts and the rare television episode appearance but then he got his big break back in 1991 in Dazed and Confused. Maybe, and I never thought I would say this, McConaughey put in a performance that was too good, because this is pretty much what made him a shoe-in for any male lead role in a romantic comedy. As an actor you don’t want to get pigeon holed into one genre but as a young emerging good looking man then you are always going to be wanted for romantic comedies (the same happened for Chris Pine and Chris Evans in recent years although not to the same extent).

Throughout the nineties Matthew McConaughey tried out many different genres including crime (A Time to Kill), drama mystery (Contact) and action (The Newton Boys) but didn’t have as much success in these as he did with his romantic comedies and at the turn of the century McConaughey really started to churn out the rom-coms. In 2001 McConaughey starred in The Wedding Planner alongside Jennifer Lopez and although he continued to try and be versatile with his career it is his rom-coms in this decade that are his most famous films: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, Fool’s Gold and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.

Now though, there seem to be no signs of Matthew McConaughey returning to make another romantic comedy as he has taken on more serious roles in recent years. This began with McConaughey taking on The Lincoln Lawyer which was a thriller that received great reviews from critics and McConaughey won high praise for his performance in the lead role. Killer Joe, a crime thriller in which McConaughey plays a contract killer/police detective, also won a lot of praise; then Magic Mike came out which also got surprisingly positive reviews from critics. Next up for Matthew McConaughey is Mud, which is already getting a lot of praise from early screenings and that is a drama so it appears that Matthew McConaughey is taking on more serious roles recently and these are really helping his reputation.

McConaughey’s next film project will be another drama The Dallas Buyer’s Club before taking on war film Thunder Run alongside Gerard Butler and Sam Worthington, two more actors who have a lot to prove in my opinion. McConaughey’s recent film choices do signal a more serious approach with his career and this can only be good news. I hope he succeeds.

 

Rise of the Guardians is the latest animated offering from DreamWorks Animation that will be released later on this year and is already the subject of much hype. I think that this film will be a huge success and, take away The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, this is probably the film that I have been most looking forward to this year. But why?

The Avengers smashed records left, right and centre upon its release earlier this year and brought together characters like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk to the big screen to all work together. Well, Rise of the Guardians is The Avengers of childhood; everyone has different lives obviously but there are some things that are the same in everyone’s childhood as they grow up and this is their belief in Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost. Rise of the Guardians brings together these heroes of childhood in the same way that The Avengers were brought together, and who is the Loki to Rise of the Guardians team? Someone that every child has nightmares about; the Boogeyman. It’s a brilliant concept for a film to have these famous characters working together and being aware of each and every one of their existences.

Rise of the Guardians is based on William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood book series and the books, whilst only released last year were instant hits and are surely going to become classic stories that children will be reading for years. Joyce is also already a big name in the world of animated films; he worked on the art design for Pixar’s Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, produced Robots and wrote Meet the Robinsons. Joyce, as well as writing Rise of the Guardians, is producing and co-directing. The fact that he is writing and co-directing the film is great news because it will mean that he will be able to tell the story exactly as he wants meaning the audience will see the film how it is meant to be seen which always makes a film better!

DreamWorks Animation obviously is in a very difficult position because it has to play second place in the animation world to Pixar, although this is nothing to be ashamed of. I think DreamWorks are pretty up and down: the Shrek series was pretty inconsistent despite a great start, I’m not too keen on the Madagascar series and Shark Tale was worse than average. But when DreamWorks get it right they really do get it right! Flushed Away is brilliant, Kung Fu Panda is great and How to Train Your Dragon is up there with anything Pixar have ever done and even better than some of their films. Rise of the Guardians does look as though it will be one of DreamWorks’ best films to date and that means it will be fantastic! The animation from the trailer itself looks amazing and it will be a treat for all the senses.

Who could have ever imagined that Hugh Jackman, the man who plays the berserker rage suffering Wolverine, would play the Easter Bunny, or Bunnymund as he will be called in Rise of the Guardians. It seems strange casting but just from the trailer it looks spot on! Plus, any film that has Hugh Jackman saying the line “I’m a bunny” just has to be good! Rise of the Guardians’ cast also boasts Chris Pine as Jack Frost, Isla Fisher as Tooth (the Tooth Fairy), Alec Baldwin as North/Santa Claus (brilliant casting!) and Jude Law as Pitch, the Boogeyman. It’s a cast of big names and great voices which will no doubt add to the enjoyment of the film.

When I first saw the trailer I said that it was the best trailer I had seen for a very long time and I still stand by that statement; it tells the story, introduces the characters and packs in lots of laughs in a short space of time. Every little bit of advertising I see for Rise of the Guardians just makes me want to see it even more and the release date cannot come quick enough!

30th November 2012… Legends Unite.

UK Release Date: 30th November 2012

This is one of the best trailers I have seen in a long time; Rise of the Guardians looks as though it is going to be brilliant if it is as good as the trailer. Rise of the Guardians is the latest film from Dreamworks Animation and is based on the ‘Guardians of Childhood‘ book series. If this films does well it will no doubt spawn a series of films for Dreamworks.

Rise of the Guardians revolves around a group of Guardians from childhood folk tales: Tooth (the tooth fairy), E. Aster Bunnymund (the Easter bunny), North (Santa Claus), Jack Frost and the Sandman. These Guardians join forces when the Boogeyman attempts to overrun the world with total darkness by inspiring nothing but fear into the hopes, beliefs, and imagination of children all over the world

The voicing talents in this animated adventure film are very high quality. We have Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fischer and Alec Baldwin playing the good guys to Jude Law’s villain.

The trailer, as I mentioned, looks incredible. I think that this will definitely peak the interest of children all over the world and a lot of adults too. It seems like there is something for everyone. The trailer introduces the characters perfectly and the story, it does exactly what it needs to. The animation also looks superb; sometimes I feel that Dreamworks’ animation looks weak compared to Pixar but that can not be said here.

I can not wait to see this film and have very high hopes that I hope Rise of the Guardians exceeds.

***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***

Film makers have always wondered how they could get men to go and see a rom-com without being forced by their partner, the solution they came up with? Cast Bane and Captain Kirk in the leading roles. And, luckily for them and for audiences everywhere, it is a right little treat.

Directed by McG (executive producer of hit TV shows Supernatural and Chuck; director of Terminator Salvation and the Charlie’s Angels films) This Means War is a ‘brom-com’ about two of the best CIA agents who put their friendship to the test when they discover they are dating the same woman.

Reese Witherspoon is Lauren, the woman at the centre of the exploits. When her friend signs her up to a dating website Tuck (Tom Hardy) finds her and asks her out on a date, then after the date she bumps into FDR (Chris Pine) whose persistence, after a rocky start, eventually persuades her to date him too. When the agents find out they are dating the same woman they put down ground rules, soon to be broken, and begin spying on (and sabotaging) each other’s dates with Lauren. All this whilst also trying to catch Heinrich, an international criminal.

Witherspoon’s character is important to the story but, in my opinion, was not likeable as a character. At the start I just found her to be annoying and at the end I was still annoyed by her, especially when she tried to take the moral high ground over FDR and Tuck even though she had been dating the both of them behind each other’s backs.

Tom Hardy’s performance was a calm, understated one, slightly outshone by Chris Pine, but he put in a good performance nonetheless and was believable as a character. You felt his feelings for Lauren but more importantly you felt his friendship with FDR and his love for FDR also. The friendship between the two male leads was vital for this film to work and it was believable down to every single factor.

 

Chris Pine is the real star of This Means War though. He is doing what he does best here, he plays cocky agent FDR who has a real eye for the ladies and, in his own words, is an ‘expert’ with them. Pine’s performance is also the funniest of the three and hopefully he will be in more comedy films throughout his career, if he has enough time away from captaining the USS Enterprise. FDR’s character arc is easily charted throughout the film too and he shows real growth by the end of the movie.

There are plenty of laughs and the film is thoroughly enjoyable. The character’s interactions between the two men are always pretty funny, especially the little ‘relationship-esque’ bickering and FDR constantly calling Tuck when he hasn’t heard from him for over an hour. This Means War is also clever too as one of the very first lines in the film ends up being very important as it foreshadows how they are eventually found by Heinrich.

This Means War provides a lot of enjoyment and is well worth a watch. The real love story isn’t between Lauren and the two agents, but between the two agents themselves: Tuck and FDR. Their friendship is what makes this film work and the fact that they care so much about each other allows the audience to care for them just as much. It will make you laugh a lot and give you some good fight scenes at the same time.

My Rating: 7/10.

In 2009, J.. Abrams introduced Star Trek to a whole new generation of fans with a fantastic reboot of the series. Next year he will be hoping to follow that up with the, as yet untitled, sequel to the blockbuster that was a critical and commercial success.

Not a lot is known about the sequel so far other than the fact that everybody from the crew of the original film will be reprising their roles. Benicio Del Toro reportedly turned down the role of villain which was then passed on to the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch although it has not yet been announced who he will be playing. When that character is revealed we might be able to guess a little about the story.

These first pictures show Spock with the villain in the Vulcan nerve pinch. The villain, by the way, in a Starfleet uniform which is very interesting. The second shows Uhura and the villain after he escapes Spock’s pinch. Hopefully more pictures will be released soon and get anticipation high before a trailer hits, fingers crossed, before the end of the year.