When I sat down to watch William Eubank’s Love last night, I wondered how this film had escaped my notice. I usually keep abreast of these things and, in particular, I am a sucker for lofty existential science fiction. Then again, even as such productions go, Love has an added layer of obscurity to it. Produced by a band (Angels & Airwaves), with a vaguely all-encompassing title and a shoestring budget, it is something of an oddity.
When JJ Abrams announced that he was going to reboot the Star Trek franchise, few could have imagined just how spectacularly he would have succeeded. Taking the term ‘reboot’ seriously, he created an alternative timeline in which the established narrative could be bent, modified and in some cases obliterated. Star Trek Into Darkness builds upon this idea and presents a fully-fledged adventure for the crew of the USS Enterprise.
The 20th anniversary of one of the most iconic franchises in history saw with it the release of a new film. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, directed by Leonard Nimoy moved the action from the future to present day San Francisco and proved a commercial success taking $133m from a budget of $21m.
A full sixteen years after the last instalment, Sylvester Stallone’s iconic boxing underdog returned to the silver screen in Rocky Balboa. The success of the film helped to directly lead to the growth of a sub-genre of films that show action stars well past their prime but still able to compete in their various fields. Films like The Expendables, The Last Stand and A Good Day to Die Hard owe a big debt to Rocky Balboa, and it created a fitting final fight for the beloved character to boot.
Nothing But The Truth is a political drama that takes it’s inspiration from the ‘Plamegate’ case. It deals with the heady themes of journalistic freedom and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution vs. national security, and has a tight script and excellent performances. The film was denied a cinematic release by it’s distributor filing for bankruptcy, and is far above the usual direct-to-DVD quality.
The small town of Schenectady near Albany in upstate New York is known as ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ in Mohawk language. This is the setting for Derek Cianfrance’s new movie, the follow-up to 2010’s Blue Valentine, in which he again teams up with Ryan Gosling for a tale of fathers and sons, violence and consequences.
The series of Star Trek: The Next Generation films oddly parallels the films following on from The Original Series in a way: a pretty rubbish first film, followed by a sequel which is generally considered the best of its particular series, with somewhat diminishing returns thereafter. And First Contact is easily the best of the Next Gen films, which admittedly could be seen as damning with faint praise considering the other three, but it is definitely one of the high points of the Star Trek film series.
Bully is the chilling true story of the murder of Bobby Kent by a group of high school friends from Florida following years of relentless psychological, physical and sexual abuse. Adapted from the book Bully: A True Story of High School Revenge by Jim Schutze, Larry Clark (Kids, Ken Park) takes the directing reigns and creates his usual gritty, dark world full of hopelessness and young wasted lives. The result is hard to stomach and incredibly raw and is a story that will stay with you for a long while.
Shane Black, who made a name for himself by writing Lethal Weapon put himself in the director’s chair for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Loosely based on Brett Halliday’s Bodies are Where You Find Them, it creates a wry, snarky pulp fiction noir-comedy-thriller set in modern day Los Angeles.
From Original Series’ episodes like “A Private Little War” and “A Taste of Armageddon” to The Next Generation’s powerful two-part “Chain of Command” and nigh on the entirety of Deep Space Nine, Star Trek has always been strongly political. It should therefore come as little surprise that as the original crew bow out with their final voyage in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, they do so knee deep in a contemporary allegory mirroring the death throes of the Soviet Union.