Saturday, July 23, 2016

Movie Review … Star Trek Beyond


Since 1966 the ‘Star Trek’ TV and movie series has garnered new generations of fans.  All seem enthralled by the exploits of Captain Kirk, Spock and others as they travel the universe on their eternally bold mission where no man has gone before.  ‘Star Trek Beyond’ celebrates the franchise’s 50th anniversary and is the 13th in the film series.  This number proves lucky as the latest adventure of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew dazzles as much as previous instalments.  No doubt even Trek’s creator Gene Rodenberry would marvel at how long his work has lasted as it zooms to collect more enthusiastic admirers.

Continuing their five year mission, the U.S.S. Enterprise team set forth on new horizons.  Helmed by Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine) with the help of Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest, the ship is nearly destroyed during a deadly skirmish.  Stranded on a remote planet ruled by war-lord Krall (Idris Elba), the crew try to find ways to escape.  Only by working together to defeat their latest adversary can the Enterprise team truly live up to their stellar reputations.

‘Star Trek Beyond’ is a celebration of what has made the series so popular.  Whilst it has drifted away from being the intellectual sci-fi drama of its TV origins to become a block-busting movie event, the series still adheres to its character concepts.  This is keenly felt in ‘Star Trek Beyond’ as it celebrates its golden milestone while moving the franchise forward.  Pine and Quinto have grown into their roles, successfully giving their own spin on classic characters.  This is the case for their co-stars who make the core Trek crew feel like a fully formed unit.

The plot might be standard Trek-fare but it’s no less exciting. Directed with eager zeal by Justin Lin, each sequence glides into the next with furious speed.  As expected the CGI looks amazing with the action superbly staged.  Neither takes away from the involving story or actors who combine to make this one of the better Trek film entries.  Although some scenes may feel familiar to long-term fans, the occasional hints to the past shows the respect the current keepers of the flame have for what’s gone before.

‘Star Trek Beyond’ is a fast-paced adventure sure to please audiences.  It’s a classic big-budget affair worth the ticket price.  Whilst some of the original Trek actors may vanish from our lives, their contribution to the Trek brand ensures their legacy will always live long and prosper.
 


Movie Review Rating out of 10:  8

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.


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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Movie Review … Demolition

‘Demolition’ explores moving on from tragedy.  This can be difficult to do with someone eternally bound to another and various emotions hard to shake.  If in a marriage, one half is gone with the other searching for ways to go forward.  With the thespian skills of Jake Gyllenhaal, ‘Demolition’ benefits from his acting and a strong story.  It can be heavy at times but like any rewarding film offers much in return for viewer investment.

When his wife is killed in a car crash, investment banker Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal) falls to pieces.  Although his father in law Phil (Chris Cooper) tells him to pull himself together, Davis can’t easily let go.  While writing a letter of complaint about a faulty machine, Davis captures the attention of customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts). Despite having her own issues, she and Davis form a mutual connection.  With her help, Davis sets out to demolish his old life in favour of a new and potentially hopeful one.

A film about a man going through a nervous breakdown and dealing with grief hardly sounds like a good time.  Although ‘Demolition’ deals with weighty issues, it has elements making it absorbing.  Davis’ anguish feels genuine thanks to Gyllenhaal’s magnetic performance.  He is ably backed up by Watts who gives a fine performance as an equally lost soul.  Their strange combination helps them through their emotional turmoils even if those around them can’t deal with their behaviour.

Jean-Marc Vallee’s direction delivers the authenticity ‘Demolition’ needs to feel believable.  Despite a meandering narrative and a few scenes not quite working, Vallee ensures the characters hold the attention.  Along with Gyllenhaal and Watts, Cooper delivers his usual solid rendition of a father coping with losing his daughter.  You feel his character’s perplexity at Davis’ actions with the cinematography and soundtrack adding much to these sequences.

Re-connection and re-discovering who you are become the key points ‘Demolition’ makes.  It is an often confusing and difficult journey to take but ‘Demolition’ proves dealing with death is like that.  How we come to terms with loss and how long it takes are issues ‘Demolition’ effectively explores.
 


Movie Review Rating out of 10:  7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.


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Movie Review … Sing Street

‘Boy meets girl’, ‘Boy loses girl’, ‘Boy gets girl again’.  This scenario has been around since cinema’s birth.  We should be fed up with it by now but aren’t. The reason is how it is told with many movies using this simple device to huge effect.  Put in some cool music, striking fashion and a hit is sure to materialise.  ‘Sing Street’ is one such film.  Full of those elements, it’s a shameless crowd-pleaser with 1980’s fashion making one wonder if we ever looked like that.

Living in Dublin during the 1980’s, Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is a teenager wanting to impress the new girl in town Raphina (Lucy Boynton).  Unsure how to do this, he comes up with the idea of forming a band.  With his wayward father Robert (Aiden Gillen) looking on, Conor hopes to capture the girl of his dreams.  This is easier said than done with obstacles and calamities the order of the day on Conor’s rocky romantic road.

Whilst ‘Sing Street’ is filled with clich├ęs, the way it tells the story is charming.  You can’t help but be engaged in Conor’s plight not only in securing the girl but his family and social situations.  Spending days at a Catholic school with tough Christian brothers along with bullies makes his life intolerable.  Using these to fuel his desire to write songs and break away from his fractured existence is something many can relate with.  The ‘give it a go’ mantra and following dreams motif is universal and is well conveyed by strong performances.

Writer and Director John Carney must be an 80’s child as he generally captures the era perfectly.  His script is fairly well realised even if it’s filled with a few too many sub-plots.  He also loses focus on certain characters who aren’t as interesting as others detracting from the film’s cohesiveness.  Overall ‘Sing Street’ is enjoyable with original music mixed amongst 80’s classics. 

Although corny in places, ‘Sing Street’ has plenty of ragged energy successfully capturing an era where raw initiative was applauded.  With characters determined not to stay in an emotional bind, ‘Sing Street’ is worth checking out for that and seeing how big hair got in the decade of excess.




Movie Review Rating out of 10:  7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.

Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.


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