Star Trek Beyond

“I realized where part of my apathy with this summer movies is coming from. Yes the overabundance of reboots/sequels/remakes is the bulk of the issue, but this then means that every week there’s a big event movie. Except they’re no longer big events. What once happened only a few times over the season is happening repeatedly. And the excitement is dulled as a result. These flms hafta be damn good in order to be memorable, and frankly even the better ones aren’t quite living up, when they could have easily owned the summer a few years ago.

That’s sort of where I fall with Star Trek Beyond. To put it simply, I have nothing really to complain about the film, but nothing really to highlight either (except maybe Chris Pine’s gorgeous baby blues). I remember the firstin this series being a huge deal, with friends taking up a full row at the midnight release. Now I barely even realized it was coming until a couple days before.

Actually, there is one thing that made this stood out. It was very emotional in how it dealt with the loss of two bright stars in the galaxy: Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin. Nimoy’s death occured early on enough in the process that there were some beautiful tributes written in. Yelchin’s was so sudden that my heart simply broke every time I saw him on screen. I’m sure the next installment will have a fitting memorial for him, but for now, I made sure to stay long enough thru the credits to see “”For Anton”” at which point I ran out before I teared up.

So yeah it was a perfectly serviceable installment, I only wish that I could have been more excited for it or that it wouldn’t have faded into the noise of the summer. Maybe it’s time to consider less traditional release dates, similar to what Marvel has been doing…

Star Trek Beyond – \m/ \m/ \m/”

The Shallows

“I was in LA this past week! It was only semi-vacation, since the primary goal was to get things lined up for the big move. On my last day, I was able to head down to Santa Monica for a little fun before my red eye flight to Boston. After lunch at Bubba Gump (my favorite!) and an hour spent playing that Wizard of Oz game at the arcade on the pier, I wandered back to the promenade for a movie. I realized that this choice of film would be about as close to the beach as I was gonna get this trip, even if it was merely two blocks away from my location.

The Shallows is pretty simple. Blake Lively is surfing on a secluded beach in Mexico, when she’s attacked by a shark and stranded on a rock just a little too far away from shore. It seemed too simple to me, so I initially avoided it. But the buzz was pretty good (far far better than I’d anticipated) and I do love a good thriller, so I figured I’d give it a chance. Was it worth it? Eh, debatable. The suspense was there, but so was the simplicity.

The thing that bothered me most though was the great divide between how equally smart and stupid Lively’s character was. On the one hand, she was quite the survivalist. Her character’s med school skills helped her Macgyver her way through the situation. On the other, how could you possibly think it was a good idea to go out there all by yourself, and to stay in the water to catch one more wave after the only other people around left. I mean, I know we wouldn’t have had a movie otherwise, but c’mon, sharks or no sharks, it’s not a good idea to surf by yourself in a foreign country.

So it’s no Jaws (though it borrowed some of its minimalist approach to amp up the scares), but it was okay enough. Probably not worth prioritizing during a crowded summer movie season though

The Shallows – \m/ \m/ \n”

The BFG

“I almost let this one slip by me. It was released when Mom was still in town, so it got pushed down the priority list. Honestly, I kinda didn’t really wanna see it. The sense I got from the trailer was that there wouldn’t be a whole lot happening, and that it’d mostly rely on nostalgia and feels for Roald Dahl and the CGI effects for the giant. However, my respect for Steven Spielberg kept it on the list, and compelled me to go when the opportunity arose.

As fate would have it, my trailer intuition skillz are pretty refined and my instincts were spot in. The movie looked gorgeous but was utterly boring. The storyline was too simple. That would work in a children’s book, especially when your imagination is doing all the heavy lifting of creating the world of the giants, but when that work is done for you on screen, there’s not a whole lot left. Maybe this should have been done as a short or some liberties should have been taken to expand the plot. All I know is that this didn’t quite deliver on the magic it promised.

The BFG – \m/ \m/”

The Infiltrator

“If we were just going off the info I had from the trailer, I probably wouldn’t have seen this. Nothing about it seemed too special from any other undercover-cop-in-too-deep story we’ve seen, true or not. However, throw in Bryan Cranston and all bets are off. You know that no matter how the rest of the movie may be, you’re going to get an incredible performance out of him, and that alone is worth watching. Which is pretty much how The Infiltrator turns out.

Cranston plays actual US Customs Agent Robert Mazur, whose undercover work helped take down a big chunk of Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel. In a role that’s the closest we’ve seen to Walter White since he hung up Heisenberg’s pork pie hat, we see him toe the line between light and dark, questioning his motives as he plays everyone around him. He is utterly captivating every moment on screen.

Unfortunately the film itself isn’t quite worthy of Cranston’s expertise. The details of the story are kinda confusing, and I found myself zoning out here and there. The supporting cast is pretty solid, especially John Leguizamo and Diane Kruger, but it’s hard to get fully behind them when you can’t keep the twists in the con of the storyline straight.

I met up with some friends after the movie, and of course was asked how it was, and if it was worth seeing. My response was that Cranston’s performance is worth it, but the rest of the movie not so much. “”So, wait for Netflix?”” “”Yeah, pretty much””

The Infiltrator – \m/ \m/ \n”

The East

“I saw a trailer for this back at the indie movie theater a couple years before. I was so excited. This looked like the kinda dark and suspenseful stuff I love, with the added bonus of Brit Marling, Ellen Page, and Alexander Skarsgaard. But then it was in and out of the movies with little fanfare and no opportunity to go see it. I bought it last summer in that video store firesale and found out why it was shuffled along so quickly. It’s kind of a mess.

Marling, who also cowrote the script, leads as an operative in a secretive security agency for very high profile clients. She infiltrates an anarchist group that is believed to be targeting one of her firm’s clients. Her mission is to find out what their plans are in the hopes of protecting her client, but of course she ends up in over her head.

You find out fairly early on that the group is planning three attacks, or “”jams”” as they call them. We’re okay through the first one. But then the plot kinda falls apart, not really sure where it wants to go. Actually, there’s some uncertainty early on. Are they just a bunch of punks? Are they a cult? Just some idealists? We eventually see some of hte leaders’ motivations, but the dynamics of the group are never really clear. Page seems underutilized until she’s thrown into a shaky and ill-defined spotlight. Basically, the whole thing could have been better. It’s disappointing, but not a major loss.”