Opening this weekend is the 12th Star Trek movie (and 2nd for J.J. Abrams) Star Trek Into Darkness. It’s no small feat for Abrams, to take a movie franchise that was on it’s last legs (save for the die hard fans) and make it something that is once again exciting and fun.
Look, I love the franchise, it was my subsititute best friend as a kid while I waiting patiently for Star Wars to get it’s rear into gear… and when the SW franchise was seemingly over, Star Trek TNG became a regular watchable treat. I enjoyed the shows and the movies, but I also began seeing the end of the road. As the actors got older (Next Generation actors too) and they tried to keep squeezing themselves into outfits and do movies that still required sci fi action, I knew that something had to change. As much as I loved the old actors, I would rather have them burn out early than watch them get older and worse for wear as they pulled out yet another lackluster movie that none of my friends would want to watch with me.
Then J.J. Abrams came, he did something I would never have had the guts to do, and recasted all the beloved characters… and it worked. Using Star Wars themes and visceral images, he made Star Trek what it should be. Now don’t get me wrong, ST was already good, but like SW sometimes it needed saving from it’s creator, and Trek’s creator has been dead for some time.
If there is a problem with Into Darkness, it’s not the story or the fact that it’s not canon (Abram’s established altered timeline lets the purists have their Trek while he explores this new one) It’s that this movie at times may be too dark. I wondered that in various times as Kirk and crew went on a manhunt to kill for revenge, (something Roddenberry would certainly never have written) and Starfleet is caught up in a plan to go to war with another species. It is a far cry to the original premise of mankind learning it’s lesson from war and being a peaceful race.
Despite that, it’s got everything I want in a science fiction movie. Explosions, a great climax, and a chick in her underwear. This movie (and it’s 2009 counterpart) suceeds in doing what other Star Trek movies have failed to do. It grabs the casual movie fans attention. You don’t need to have seen the other 11 movies to get what is going on here, and even more so, you can whole heartedly enjoy the movie when you do see it.
Will there be people who don’t like it? Sure. There always are. But I submit that for the purists’ beloved franchise to survive, it needs this update and it needs this director. Seeing the Enterprise soaring through the screen leaving a cosmic vapor light trail when going into warp is a treat, and one that should be witnessed in a full theater rather than an empty one.
When I heard Shane Black was taking over the third Iron Man movie. I had mixed feelings. The dude did a winner (Lethal Weapon) and a stinker (Last Action Hero) close to twenty years ago and I just for the life of me couldn’t figure out why they were giving this to him when he had John Favreau’s shoes to fill from the last two movies not to mention a little flick called “The Avengers” which was going to be the movie it would have to follow.
********** WARNING… I’m a spoiler fiend and don’t care **********
So before I get into the bitter old man comic book fan rant that is Cinema Beer-Te “Iron Man 3″ Edition… Let me just say that as a whole, Iron Man 3 is fun. As a redblooded American Male, it’s got the big three action movie staples:
1. Lots of Explosions
2.Good guys kicking bad guy ass in a big finale
3. A hot chick in undergarments
Bam… you win Shane Black, there you go. That formula has been around since the 80′s and thank you for not straying. This formula mixed with the hype, is going to ensure that Joe America sees and loves the movie.
Now here’s what I have issues with:
It’s not The Avengers:
That’s cool man, it doesn’t try to be. But the sad thing is, I wanted it to be. In my heart, as the Marvel issued movies got better and better leading up to The Avengers (with the exception of the snoozefest that was Thor) I was hoping to see the bar get raised. It’s not Iron Man 3′s fault, this was the act that had to follow probably the best superhero movie to date. The issue I have, is that this movie (as far as I see) did nothing to further the big Avengers storyline for phase 2 Avengers stuff (the phase 1 movies all had an easter egg or plot that would give us a hint of what to expect with the Avengers… and while we are on the subject of plot…
The Plot had more holes than a Goth kid in a piercing studio:
Why oh why is Tony messing with one suit of armor throughout the whole movie? Why is he trying to repair it so bad when Jarvis already reminded him that it is not battle ready? Why is there a 12 year old kid in the movie acting as a sidekick (didn’t they see Phantom Menace? That never works)
When it comes crunch time… BAM! Tony’s underground garage opens up and 41 other Iron Man suits fly out controlled by Jarvis. Yes… all 42 suits survived. So why is Tony stuck in Tennessee trying to repair one crappy untested suit with no weapons?
One more thing on the suits… In the other movies, Tony has fought villains, big robots, alien invaders and giant space worms using the Mark 2 or 3 only… can someone explain why his other 40 suits seem so fragile while fighting henchmen? It was like the slaughter of the Iron Men as they just seem to fall apart. The old armor stood up to blows from Thor for Pete’s sake, why are these so fragile?
Speaking of fragile…
Dude when did they make James Rhodes such a wimp? So as a comic fan who keeps up to date (and loved the siege and thunderbolts storylines with him) I was happy to see Iron Patriot’s armor on the big screen (even if it wasn’t really Iron Patriot) what I’m bummed about is that War Machine is so much more cooler already, but I totally get the fact that kids now have two James Rhodes toys to buy instead of one, (plus 42 Iron Man suits, a Pepper, a few Extremis henchmen, and we can get an even 50 toys out of this)
My big dissapointment in this is that we don’t actually get to see Iron Patriot fight at all, he flies around, and basically gets captured, then in the finale, he is denied a suit to fight in, making him the bumbling sidekick. Hell Gwyneth Paltrow sees more action than him.
In The End:
It was different. It felt different. It moved like a reboot, except with the same cast. Don’t get me wrong, it was worth the price of a ticket, but I came home feeling a little bummed. If any Marvel franchise (besides Avengers) let me leave feeling happy, it was the first two Iron Man films.
Still, Pepper looks hot, The Mandiran character was a suprise (but they shouldn’t have made Iron Man’s best villain a joke) and the movie is paced decently with good special effects. But there is a certain tone and feeling that is lacking from this movie versus the first two.
Don’t get me started on the book.
I met Ethan Minsker a few weeks ago at the Victoria TX Independent Film Fest. He was in town to promote his film “The Dolls Of Lisbon” and I was scheduled to interview him, so while doing research prepping for the interview, I discovered that besides being a film maker, Ethan was also an artist, curator, amd writer. While talking with other members of the Antagonist Art Movement a few days before Ethan arrived into town, the discussion of being driven, punk rock, and scenes developed and melded into one topic, to which they said, “You’ll love Ethan.” So when I met Ethan, we sat across from each other in a restaraunt that was way too fancy for me, and we both kind of sat quietly weighing the situation and listening to everyone fill him in on the last few days activities before we actually begin a conversation. It’s a life skill I learned from years of being in a scene filled with volatile and chaotic people. I could tell immediately that Ethan was a lot like me and had learned the same skills by habit. I knew I wanted to read his book.
So I picked up “Rich Boy Cries For Mama” and read it in two days.
RBCFM is a memoir based in Washington D.C. during the 70′s and 80′s punk and hardcore scene. The book follows the main character as he is diagnosed with a learning disablility, finds friends and belonging in a music lifestyle that celebrates the misfits of society, and all the mayhem that goes along with it.
Most people reading this get it. They have been there. Drugs, romance, fights, rivalries, loss, and of course music. It is the stuff that makes or breaks a person involved in any type of subculture. You either let it consume and change you, or it becomes a “fad” and you trade that leather jacket in for a blazer and get on with the rest of them.
That’s what makes this so special. Ethan is not a coke addled rock star with a ghost writer, he is not sharing stories of partying with members of the Go-Gos in a limo or giving pretentious stories of things that we can’t relate to. This is a believable, flawed, sometimes scared, sometimes cocky kid, finding his way in the world.
Punk rock is his mistress even if he doesn’t know it. Like a bad girlfriend, he is seduced, sometimes misled, and often getting into fights with his friends because of her. The book follows the intial high of the discovery of music. It’s something that I remember vividly, as we old school fans (pre-internet) would pour over record stores, go to shows, and read zines or liner notes to try and find our next favorite bands. It talks about meeting new people and finally feeling happy for belonging to something. It is a feeling that creeped back up to me reading this book. I miss it, it comes back now and again, but not nearly enough.
Then comes the disenchantment and the violence… First it is a means to stand up for yourself, to not be bullied or weak, then it slowly becomes mixed with the pack mentality and directed at people who are different, slowly becoming the things we hate. It is a slippery slope, in a subculture bathed in machismo and testosterone. It is hard to be the calm one, who only raises his fists to protect what is theirs while staying true to your friends who will kick in heads at the drop of a pin.
But even through the flaws, the subculture and the music do more good than bad. We come to terms with it. It is flawed like us. But it has made us better. Bigger than what we were. It opens the doors to art, to bands, to music. Years later, someone tells you that you changed someones life just by being who you were. That makes all the difference in the world.
If it seems like this review took a turn for the personal side. It did. That’s what this book does. It’s Ethan’s story. But it could be the story of any kid who doesn’t belong searching for something. When you get close to finding it, you look back and realize that the journey is the best part. This isn’t just Ethan’s story, it’s the inspiration to tell your own, it is the reminder to look through your old records and photo albums and call an old friend before it’s too late.
The book is “Rich Boy Cries For Mama” and it’s a good one.
Here is Day 3 from OMBG’s wandering Camera
The first cool thing that happened was we synced up with Ethan Minsker of the Antagonist Art Movement and he came over to the OMBG studio home to shoot some footage for an upcoming film project. Ethan and the Antagonist crew have been very inspirational the past few days just like our German friends Boris, Karla and Stohead. They have shared their stories and experiences with us and have given us the inspiration we need for those dark days when it seems like we should just quit. I can’t thank them enough for their inspiration and it was a treat to be on the other side of the microphone for once as he explained our story is just as interesting as anyone else’s
Soon afterwards Crispy and Rubio showed up and we were able to interview everyone about their role as artists and the film “The Dolls Of Lisbon”
After that, we went downtown where Ethan did a quick workshop with us teaching stop action animation with a camera…
Then we caught ALL AGES at the Golden Gecko
Then headed over to VIP to catch up with our buds from WHEN WE RULED H TOWN
watched Wackford Squeers play at the Golden Gecko…
and Something Called Nothing…
There is a lot going on at VTXIFF, here’s OMBG’s wandering camera
First we went to the Stout City Luchadores recording session
And we stuck around for Joe Reyna’s session
We finished up in time to catch Joe Reyna at Cinema Under The Stars
Then we walked over to the Welder Center to meet Rutger Hauer who gave us lots of insight on indie films and his roles over the years.
Then stayed for the Q&A of Il Futuro
Grabbed a bite at Tasty’s Tacos…
Then headed over to Cinema Under The Stars
and capped the night off at the insanely crowded Roundball Afterparty…