Star Trek: Beyond!

I’ve Just seen Star Trek: Beyond and I was very impressed. I left it feeling satisfied, entertained, moved and uplifted, despite all the tragedy and controversy leading up to its release that cast something of a pall over it (especially the untimely loss of Anton Yelchin, who was a promising talent and particularly great in Odd Thomas). I urge any long standing sci-fi and ‘Trek fans to see it.

There’s one particular action sequence scored with a very well known and thematically appropriate Beastie Boy’s song (that put a huge grin on my face) that’s worth seeing it for alone, regardless of all the other great stuff (Spaced references that have been snuck in by co-writer Simon Pegg) including ‘York Town’; which is an astonishing bit of design and visual effects work.

The Sulu being gay stuff is sweet and handled well, with no heavy handed fuss made of it in the story, which is how they should’ve let it be revealed to the audience, rather than making a huge deal out of it, because what does it matter (though I agree with George Takei’s argument). We should be beyond this shit now, in keeping with Roddenberry’s vision.

My only complaints are in how director Justin Lin has handled some of the action set pieces. There’s some real confusing transitions, disorienting choreography and jumpy editing going on! He clearly comes from the Michael Bay school of filmmaking; and it’s a bad fit in places. Plus, the light balance was way out in certain night-time sequences, being unnecessarily murky and desaturated. It felt like you were watching it with the brightness set to minimum.

Regardless of these quibbles, it was an engaging and original story that had a classic Trek feel, without lifting material from previous, well established, iconic instalments (which was really the only bad thing about the previous movie – it should’ve been another of the genetically engineered super-soldiers from the Botany Bay; who rose to prominence instead of Kahn in this alternate timeline!); and nicely sets up the next film to boldly go into new and unexplored territory, where no previous ‘Trek enterprise has gone before.

Long may you live and prosper, you magnificent bastards!

startrekbeyondposter

THE KINGS OF SUMMER [Film]

The Kings of Summer
The Kings of Summer: Patrick (Gabriel Basso), Joe (Nick Robinson), and Biaggio (Moises Arias).

The Kings of Summer [film]

The King of Summer

I watched this indie flick recently and have to say it’s one of the finest films that I’ve seen –  even outside of the usually disposable genre of teen-comedy-dramas that it belongs too – and stands shoulder to shoulder with other poignant, coming of age american classics like ‘Stand By Me‘, ‘The Outsiders’ and ‘The Breakfast Club‘ (to name but three). It features well rounded characters and great dialogue, full of idiosyncrasies, witty remarks and amusing banter – without being forced or contrived – remaining true to the people it portrays, their lives and the setting.

An additional bonus is the score and choice of music used in the film, which is consistently excellent and offbeat, perfectly suiting the changing moods of the story without being obvious, trite or guilty of crass, commercial product placement like so many other movies are these days. I can just imagine some suited corporate executive desperately exclaiming at one of their meetings: “Wait gang! Let’s shoe-horn that latest Rhianna track into this sci-fi blockbuster about an alien invasion! It doesn’t have to have anything to do with the movie’s themes, setting or tone right? As long as people hear it an’ go out an’ buy it in droves – that’ll be awe-some! Riiiight?! *COUGH!* Man, I can’t wait to get paid! Got’a get my mouth an’ throat disinfected professionally after sucking on Satan’s steaming hot member all week…”

Ahem, but I digress… The score was composed by Ryan Miller (who is lead singer and guitarist for the band ‘Guster‘) and features choice tracks from Thin Lizzy (if you don’t know who they are you’re either very young or don’t have eyes or  ears), MGMTYouth LagoonThe Orb (feat. Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry), and Kevin Writer and Douglas James (as ‘The Skywalkers‘).

Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller performing with the band GUSTER.

The film comes from an original screenplay written by Chris Galletta – which is his first produced script – and it’s also Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts debut full length feature, so it’s doubly impressive how deftly they and the entire production team have executed the whole thing. All of the choices made for the project are excellent, even down to the placement of leaves littering the exterior locations (maybe I’ve gone too far with that, but what the hock, I’m laying down some serious praise here). The casting and performances by all of the actors – including the smallest walk-on part or cameo – are superb and all perfectly suited to their roles bringing some inspired comic and dramatic weight to their roles and this really helps make the whole thing feel cohesive, slick and exude quality.

Biggio camo.
Biaggio camo.

Young actor Moises Arias who plays the oddball ‘Biaggio’ (and can be seen more recently – playing another wacky ‘B’ – ‘Bonzo Madrid‘ in the film adaptation of the first novel of Orson Scott Card‘s existential sci-fi saga ‘Ender’s Game‘ – which, incidentally, being a great appreciator of the books – I also thought was superb) is especially notable. Arias is a real find, and some might not consider him much to look at, but he’s fascinating and hilarious to watch, with a great dramatic range and excellent, precociously comic sensibilities for someone of his age. This is not to say that any of the other cast featured in the film are in anyway inferior, it’s just that his character is the most eccentric and stand outs because of it.  

Bonzo Madrid
Bonzo Madrid in the film adaptation of Ender’s Game

The film feels classic but is very much a contemporary piece and somehow taps into that nostalgia feeling of similar movies like those mentioned above (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_teen_films#1980s for a comprehensive list) without being a weak homage or losing it’s cutting edge.

Rent/buy/stream it and watch THE KINGS OF SUMMER here:

The Kings of Summer

http://www.cinemaparadiso.co.uk/rentals/the-kings-of-summer-2013–145752.html

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kings-Summer-DVD-Nick-Robinson/dp/B00EALQPAE/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1391348684&sr=1-1&keywords=kings+of+summer

Visit the film’s official website:

http://thekingsofsummermovie.com/

Buy and listen to the films soundtrack/score here:

The Kings of Summer

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vogt-Roberts-Original-Picture-Soundtrack-Explicit/dp/B00EQ439HM/ref=dm_cd_album_lnk_alt

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kings-Summer-O-S-T-Ryan-Miller/dp/B00CXN3WUC/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1391365867&sr=1-1&keywords=kings+of+summer+soundtrack

LINKS TO STUFF I’VE MENTIONED IN THE POST:

Buy/rent and watch ‘STAND BY ME’ here:

Stand By Me

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stand-Me-DVD-Wil-Wheaton/dp/B000050GQA/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1391194169&sr=1-1&keywords=stand+by+me

http://www.cinemaparadiso.co.uk/rentals/stand-by-me-1986–3579.html?trkId=oc3fHwN0smbyeRf_yQ8CxQ2

Buy/rent and watch ‘THE OUTSIDERS’ here:

The Outsiders

http://www.cinemaparadiso.co.uk/rentals/the-outsiders-2-and-nbsp;discs-1983–10088.html

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Outsiders-Disc-Special-Edition/dp/B00525QKR0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1391366601&sr=8-2&keywords=the+outsiders

Buy/rent and watch ‘THE BREAKFAST CLUB’ here:

The Breakfast Club

http://www.cinemaparadiso.co.uk/rentals/the-breakfast-club-1985–12448.html

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Breakfast-Club-Molly-Ringwald/dp/B000AMSSAW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391366516&sr=8-1&keywords=breakfast+club

Official website of sci-fi/fantasy author ‘ORSON SCOTT CARD’:

Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card author of Ender’s Game

http://www.hatrack.com/

Buy/read the book ‘ENDER’S GAME’ here:

Ender's Game

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Enders-Game-Ender-Orson-Scott/dp/0356500845/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391365534&sr=8-1&keywords=ender%27s+game

Rent/buy the movie adaptation of ‘ENDER’S GAME’ featuring Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and Moises Arias here:

Ender's Game

http://www.cinemaparadiso.co.uk/rentals/enders-game-2013–147512.html

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Enders-Game-DVD-Asa-Butterfield/dp/B00AW9MAXO/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1391365617&sr=1-2&keywords=ender%27s+game 

Official website of the ‘ENDER’S GAME’ movie adaptation:

Ender's Game

http://www.endersgamemovie.com/

Official webpage of Ryan Miler’s band ‘GUSTER’:

http://www.guster.com/


Buy and listen to their music here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guster/e/B000AQ2UNO/digital/ref=ntt_mp3_rdr?_encoding=UTF8&sn=d

Official website of ‘MGMT’:

http://whoismgmt.com/

Their track/s featured in the film can be found on this album ‘ORACULAR SPECTACULAR’ and you can buy and listen to them here:

MGMT Oracular Spectacular

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B006ICJMF8/ref=sr_1_2_rd?ie=UTF8&child=B006ICJO4W&qid=1391370898&sr=1-2%3C/a%3E

Official website of ‘THE ORB’:

http://www.theorb.com/

The track/s featured in the film can be found on this album ‘THE OBSERVER IN THE STAR HOUSE’ and you can buy and listen to it here:

The Orb presents: The Observer in The Star House

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00AX4PRQA/ref=sr_1_7_rd?ie=UTF8&child=B00AX4PTQS&qid=1391370658&sr=1-7%3C/a%3E

FAT POSSUM RECORDS artists page for YOUTH LAGOON:

http://www.fatpossum.com/artists/youth-lagoon

Youth Lagoon - The Year of Hibernation

The track/s featured in the film can be found on this album ‘THE YEAR OF HIBERNATION’ and you can buy and listen to it here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Year-Hibernation-Youth-Lagoon/dp/B005HP1FOI/ref=dm_cd_album_lnk