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Entries in Star Trek (17)

Monday
Jun202016

Anton Yelchin (1989-2016)

This calendar year has been filled to the brim with unthinkables. The latest terribly sad happening: The talented Russian-American actor Anton Yelchin died yesterday in a freak accident at only 27 years of age. He was crushed by his own car on its steep driveway incline.

Yelchin was best known to general audiences as Chekov in the modern Star Trek franchise but to us he'll always be Byrd Huffstodt (the sensitive brainy teen in the underappreciated cable drama Huff) or awestruck poseur Ian (from the hipster vampire greatness that was Only Lovers Left Alive), and especially Jacob from the college romance drama Like Crazy (2011). Though Like Crazy was mostly heralded at the time for Felicity Jones's work as his British girlfriend, it was Yelchin that gave the movie its lovestruck foolish soul... but nuanced emotionally astute work by male actors, especially young ones, in romantic dramas are rarely given their just critical props. Even when miscast (when Hollywood thinks you're the next big thing they'll put you in anything, even if it's an obviously uncomfortable fit) as in Fright Night or Terminator Salvation, Yelchin was always, at the very least, watchable. 

A tiny gift of remembrance to fans which in no way makes up for this truly absurd loss: Yelchin worked so steadily as an actor that we will still see a handful of new performances released posthumously. The forthcoming films are: Star Trek Beyond (due July 22nd), Rememory (with Peter Dinklage), the family drama We Don't Belong Here (with Catherine Keener as his dysfunctional mother), the international romantic drama Porto (with French actress Lucie Lucas - Yelchin was fluent in multiple languages and it seems likely he would have pursued more international films later in life if Hollywood offers ever got too repetitive or unchallenging), and the thriller Thoroughbred (with Anya Taylor-Joy from The Witch).

He will be missed. Do you have a favorite Anton Yelchin memory at the movies or on TV? 

Wednesday
May252016

Lukewarm Off the Presses: Beyond Ragnarok & Huppert Fever

Reheating some news we never got around to! But perhaps it's news to you...

Cate Blanchett will be playing Thor's next big bad "Hela". We assume she's the antlered one in this concept art so we cautiously look forward to that costume. But confession: I don't trust Blanchett in villainous mode (*dodges tomatoes*) since she overdid it in both Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Hanna and nearly so in Cinderella and I don't mean overdid it in a fun comic-book kind of way but just too much overall. Plus the Thor movies are easily the worst part of Marvel Studio's work to date. Other new players in Thor: Ragnarok will be Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie (a character I loved as a kid so yay, Tessa). And of course Mark Ruffalo as the not jolly green giant and Chris Hemsworth as the guy with the hammer. For some reason they are forcing Sir Anthony Hopkins' Odin back on us (I thought he died in the ssecond movie?) and Tom Hiddleston is back under Loki's horns which is a pity because he deserves to use his time on other things, now, come on. They've wrung that character dry, they've leaned on him so much. 

Apparently the villain in Star Trek Beyond looks like this. It's actually Idris Elba underneath all that makeup. LOUD SIGH. First Oscar Isaac gets buried in ugly latex for Apocalypse and now Idris? Idris Elba is, and I think the internet will back me up on this assertion, one of the most attractive people on the planet. So why won't Hollywood show us his face? It is really pissing me off. This year he's onscreen as a tiger (Jungle Book) a buffalo (Zootopia), a sea lion (Finding Dory), and this alien but not as a human man you can actually look at. As a pasty white boy I am fully aware that there are people who think I shouldn't talk about race... but as a human person stuff like this is really getting to me. I am not one to jump on every perceived racial slight and proclaim racism (As I said much to the internet's displeasure this past season, I think #OscarsSoWhite was oft-misguided because the actor's branch is not the correct target for such things given both Hollywood and Oscar history) but I can't look at Idris Elba's career, and Zoe Saldana's career (note how she's always blue or green in her movies... until she was a black woman doing blackface -yikes!) and Lupita Nyong'o's career post Oscar (a CGI alien and a CGI wolf so far, but not an actress you can gaze at despite her considerable beauty) and not KNOW that Hollywood's race problem is dire and also, I'd wager, subconcious.

This is not complicated, really, if casting directors, directors, agents, executives, managers, and maybe even the actors on occasion would just think decisions through a little more, especially in regards to the optics. FACT: People like to look at beautiful actors. They always have. Stop hiding them from us! 

Isabelle Huppert is having a good year. I missed a lot of articles on Elle and Isabelle Huppert's time in front of the press at Cannes. In a new interview at the Guardian about Elle and her latest stage performance in Phaedra there's a lot of fascinating tidbits including her repetitive unwillingness to talk about other famous actors but her chatterbox response to questions about directors. She also wants to do more comedies...

Viewers do tend to think of her on-screen persona as a full-on neurotic, steeped in psychosexual anguish.

“Yes, but you can be a comic neurotic too.” So does she feel underrated doing comedy? “I certainly do feel…” she hesitates a moment; I take that as a yes. “That’s why I’d love to work with Woody Allen or Noah Baumbach – to do comedy in that New York vein.” But her serious roles, she insists, often contain more humour than is apparent. “Even The Piano Teacher – although I wouldn’t try to persuade anyone that was an out and out comedy…”

Whew. I was worried for a second. That film is not a knee slapper. As for Huppert in comedy. Can you handle that? I liked her in I Heart Huckabees and especially in 8 Women but in both she was working with or riffing on that dramatic neurotic performance so her comedy was stemming from perceptions of her as an actor, just as much if not more than her actual performances.

 

Tuesday
May242016

Nothing Compares 2 Link

MNPP picks 5 favorites from Roger Deakins great filmography - love the write up
i09 Netflix is going to be the exclusive home for Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar movies when it comes to streaming
The Guardian looks back at the career of Burt Kwouk (RIP) who played Cato in The Pink Panther franchise
Variety looks at the top Emmy races. Where are we guaranteed movement in the often stagnant fields?

• Hypable Disney's gay erasure problem (not the pop band) and why the hashtags #GiveElsaAGirlfriend and #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend are so popular. (Captain America already has a boyfriend, of course, but why did Disney include that Sharon Carter kiss?)
Flickering Myth Chris Nolan's Dunkirk shoot has begun (photos from the set). Since he's sick of not being Oscar nominated for directing he's making a World War II picture instead of sticking with sci-fi, magicians, or Batpeople
• Playbill the 61st annual Obie Awards, a prestigious off Broadway prize, have been announced. Winners include Red Speedo (which we briefly wrote about), the musical Dear Evan Hansen, and two shows that have transferred to Broadway and are now up for Tonys: The Humans and Eclipsed
Boy Culture on the Madonna Prince tribute at the BBMAs and subsequent fallout - there's always fallout. Haters gonna hate
MTV Teo Bugbee on the new "tasteful?" nudity in Game of Thrones. I feel bullied by the internet in regards to this show (i don't watch it and don't like it whenever I casually see part of an episode) but this piece is great

In Nostalgia We Trust
Have you seen the new Star Trek Beyond poster? It's pretty but wouldn't this tactic have made more sense for the initial reboot than for a third sequel?  Also just how long until we reach peak nostalgia as a culture? Everything is just old things repackaged.

Yes, we've always had remakes and franchises all the way back to the early talkies but it seems much more dominant now, the whole pie rather than two pieces. 

 

 

Monday
Mar142016

Beam Shohreh up, Scotty!

Manuel here. Here's one way to pique my interest about a film I was totally indifferent if not outright hostile to. Cast Shohreh Aghdashloo. In case you hadn't heard, the Oscar nominated actress has been added to the upcoming Star Trek sequel, Star Trek Beyond.  If you're wondering, Wait, doesn't that come out later this summer (July 22) and shouldn't they have wrapped production already? you would be correct. The film is adding a character (the High Command of the Federation played by Aghdashloo) in a series of reshoots planned for this week.

This won't be Aghdashloo's first brush with threequel high-octane blockbusters: she played scientist Kavita Rao in the dreadful X-Men: The Last Stand. Can we hope that, pre-production scuffles and last-minute reshoots aside, Star Trek Beyond will at least be a more satisfying trilogy capper than that Bret Ratner misfire?

More importantly, will someone finally listen to us and assemble, Avengers-style, all the actresses doing thankless roles in summer box office hits into an Expendables-like franchise? Think: Glenn Close (Guardians of the Galaxy), Winona Ryder (Star Trek—we'll retcon her [spoiler]), Laura Linney (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows), Patricia Clarkson (The Maze Runner) all band together to... I don't know, fight sexism in the industry with Viola Davis (Suicide Squad) at the helm? I mean, I'd watch that, wouldn't you? In the meantime, we should be happy that Aghdashloo will join the Trek universe and that it means casting directors have her in mind for future roles worthy of her talent and beauty.

Tuesday
Feb092016

Bye Instant Watch: United 93, Star Trek, and a Dutch LGBT Gem

Here's another batch of movies leaving Instant Watch services on Netflix of Amazon Prime if you'd like to catch up with them. It also provides us with an excuse to talk about a handful of random movies so why not. We've freeze framed randomly. Let's begin...

UNITED 93 (2006) ends February 11th on Netflix

United 93, Cleveland. Verify your altitude." 

This freeze frame is about 45 minutes in. The terrorists have just taken the cockpit when air traffic control tries to reach them. God this movie is upsetting. 

WERE THE WORLD MINE (2008) ends February 11th on Netflix

-Jonathan. You look luminous.
-I'm in love.  

I dont remember this well beyond its silly everyone straight becomes gay through magic plot. But I think there was a good musical number?  [More films after the jump...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug202015

Goodbye Lovely Batgirl Yvonne Craig (1937-2015)

[sniffle]

I've probably told you this before but when I was a child and they used to show reruns of the old Batman series on tv, I would tense up during opening credits. If the image to your left did not appear I would run outside to play. That sudden Batgirl swing with a kick (who knew that kicks made a "BONG!" sound?) meant that she would appear in the episode and even if I'd seen the episode before I would always watch again.

So yesterday when I heard the news that Yvonne Craig, one of the first celebrities I ever crushed on -- before I even understood what crushes were -- had died of cancer I couldn't even write about it. I needed time to process...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug102015

Links

BuzzFeed Netflix not legally responsible for your 'viewing history' - it's so funny that people thought they were
The Hairpin Mission: Impossibly Silly "I Still Don't Understand How Tall Everyone Is"  
Interview Director Marielle Heller talks about the ratings and sexuality of her daring debut The Diary of a Teenage Girl 

Towleroad George Takei once asked Gene Roddenberry about including gay characters on Star Trek. Interesting historical response but what's their excuse now since that franchise is still alive?
IndieWire How to apply for a Women of Color directors and screenwriters 10 day retreat
This is Not Porn Cute. Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg take a break during Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 

Tim is the Best
Antagony & Ecstasy revisits Dog Day Afternoon... (great films often generate great writing about film)
Antagony & Ecstasy also revisits the very first unreleased Fantastic Four (1994) and claims its still the best adaptation of Marvel's first family (bad films often generate great writing about film) 
.... moral of combining them: Timothy Brayton often generates great writing about film.  

Off Cinema 
Laughing Squid a feline feeding machine to let your cat be more self-actualized indoors
Gothamist sad news: Annie Lennox's daughter's boyfriend has gone missing after a tandem kayak accident 

"Clobberin' Time"
There's a lot of handwringing going round about what exactly happened between Josh Trank and the studio and the source material to make Fantastic Four so bad. Film School Rejects even felt it needed a six-year timeline. But there's also post-mortems about the opening weekend which are lower than usual for superheroes.Variety argues that audiences are getting wise to money grabs (with tanking reboots like FF and diminished returns for Spider-Man) and studios need to think harder about repackaging known brands. But I personally don't know if that's the case -- I mean audiences are still putting up with needlessly padded "part 1 and part 2" finales which everyone knows are not artistically motivated decisions aimed at providing them with the best possible movie. So until audiences start bailing on those, I'm not eager to give them too much credit for protecting their wallets against Hollywood's 'screw-quality / make another billion quick' tactics.