Paramount’s campaign for Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t so much a trail of quadrotriticale bread crumbs as it is the PR equivalent of one of Khan’s ear-crawling Ceti eels: relatively content-free slugs of information that nonetheless burrow their way into our brains and induce total Trek-related obsession. Just who is Benedict Cumberbatch’s starfleet officer-turned-villain John Harrison? Why does he still wear the uniform yet wage war against everything it represents? Why does he seem to have superhuman powers yet can be contained in a transparent holding cell? And where in space is Peter Weller? Well, Paramount’s not scratching our itch for more information, but they are adding to our heap of questions. They’ve just released 11 new photos from the movie (out May 13), most of which are just new angles on shots we’ve previously seen in the trailers. Let’s take a closer look.
First, we’ve got a shot of Kirk (Chris Pine, really looking more and more like William Shatner) standing with Alice Eve’s Carol Marcus. Now, J.J. Abrams has said that Star Trek Into Darkness is set just six months after the events of 2009’s Star Trek. That film was set in 2258. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the only other film featuring Carol Marcus, is set in 2282, when her son with Kirk, David, is about…24 years old! That means we can very much expect Marcus to be Kirk’s romantic interest in the new movie. I’m still holding out hope, however, that Abrams will decree that the alterations to the timeline from his first film will mean that whiny David never exists.
That circular pattern to Kirk's right looks just like the giant circle (A window? The Guardian of Forever?) a hooded John Harrison takes a towering leap in front of in the first Star Trek Into Darkness trailer Paramount released..
We know from the IMAX preview that part of the movie's opening sequence shows Spock (Zachary Quinto) leading a rescue mission from inside a volcano. Very Revenge of the Sith-esque.
The thing that puzzled me from that first trailer was how Harrison made a towering leap that hinted at superhuman ability, yet he was still firing at his foes with a phaser. That would suggest that he's not imbued with godlike powers, even though we all know that developing godlike powers is a common hazard associated with being a Starfleet officer. So what explains the leap? Is he just genetically enhanced?
First of all, I love how similar these uniforms are to the ones Admiral Kirk and the Enterprise crew wear in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Second, we've got our first real glimpse of Bruce Greenwood's Christopher Pike! And he's not in a wheelchair! Clearly, Pike is still playing the role of mentor in the new movie.
Anyone else think these phasers are starting to look more and more like the phase pistols from Star Trek: Enterprise?
I suppose post-Bourne, it's de rigueur for characters in action movies to take a running leap through plate glass. I'm still inclined, though, to chalk this up to some superhuman ability John Harrison possesses that hasn't been revealed yet.
One of the few times in any of the clips from the movie we've seen so far where Kirk is actually wearing his mustard uniform, though I'm sad Shatner's original series velour has been replaced with some kind of vinyl mesh.
Going where Hannibal Lecter, Silva, and Loki have gone before him: inside a glass jail cell.
Why does a communications officer need to pack heat? I'm pretty sure that isn't a phaser she's clutching, though. Maybe a Klingon disruptor?
Maybe Scotty will explain to us in this movie why flip phones experience a mid-23rd century revival.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: Paramount (11)]
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Hot Tub Time Machine a comedy about four friends transported to 1986 by a malfunctioning jacuzzi is funnier than a film built around such a patently dubious premise has any right to be. It’s so funny in fact that it could rightly be called — and I promise never to make this analogy again — the Hangover of home-appliance time-travel comedies.
A title like Hot Tub Time Machine creates certain expectations and so its story spares little time getting us to the eponymous plot device laying down the barest of setups before its four protagonists are jettisoned back in time: Lou (Rob Corddry) is a caustic drunk who must feign suicide to get friends to return his calls; Nick (Craig Robinson) is hopelessly whipped by his domineering wife; Adam (John Cusack) is a type-A insurance salesman reeling from a nasty breakup; his acerbic nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) lives in the basement his every waking moment devoted to his Second Life virtual world. And he’s arguably the coolest member of the group.
The quartet of schlubs sets out for a bromantic ski vacation but no sooner have they unpacked their bags then a bizarre accident involving a grimy hot tub an illegal Russian energy drink and an ill-tempered squirrel sends them hurtling back to 1986 where they awake bewildered and hungover in the middle of the momentous Spring Break weekend that childhood friends Lou Nick and Adam spent together while in high school. It’s a comedic Twilight Zone scenario fraught with all sorts of scary space-time continuum ramifications not the least of which threatens the very existence of young Jacob who had yet to be born in 1986 and whose mother (Collette Wolfe) he awkwardly discovers was a raging slut back in the day.
The greatest hazard with such a storyline is the temptation to overdose on cheap ‘80s jokes (everyone has big hair!) or time-travel ironies (Michael Jackson was still black!) and while Hot Tub Time Machine indulges in both (how could it not?) director Steve Pink (Accepted) looks mainly to his talented leads to carry the bulk of the film’s comedic weight. It’s a smart bet. Duke and Corddry are the cast's clear standouts but Robinson is close behind and even Cusack nearly matches the number of laugh-out-loud lines he delivered in 2012.
Hot Tub Time Machine’s hilariously warped journey through time is not without its bumps in the road. The holes in its plot extend beyond the excusable logical lapses bred by time travel and its complexities and the film’s handful of gross-out moments feel forced and unnecessary (save for one uproarious bit involving Corddry’s mouth Robinson’s penis and Karate Kid badboy Billy Zabka). A superfluous romantic subplot between Cusack’s character and a quirky music journalist (Lizzy Caplan) seems little more than a transparent ploy to add a quadrant to the film’s demographic reach — or perhaps to give more “weight” to its star actor’s role. But with a comedy like this it’s always best to travel light.
The star visited the Caribbean nation last month (Jan10) with U.S. politician John Edwards to hand out food and supplies to the survivors of the 12 January (10) disaster.
He was so upset by the scenes of devastation, he set up the Jenkins-Penn Haitian Relief Organisation (JPHRO) in a bid to gather further aid and raise funds.
And Penn has warned the devastation in Haiti will worsen when the rainy season hits the country - in just two weeks time.
During an appearance on U.S. talk show Larry King on Monday night (15Feb10), he says, "This is the Apocalypse. This is like (the effects of nuclear disaster) Hiroshima. The devastation there is on a level like nothing anyone that I've spoken to has ever seen.
"We're within two weeks from the rainy season. People have in essence no cover. There are tent cities that are made from rugged tarps on top and sheets on the side. It's an incredible fire hazard. The camps are wildly overcrowded, a breeding ground for infectious diseases.
"So what has to happen in the next two weeks... is to try to relocate as many as possible. People are going to die in mass if we don't get those camps closed."
But Penn is full of praise for the strong spirit of the Haitians in the aftermath of the disaster - and is planning to fly out to the country again later this week (19Feb10).
He adds, "The people are probably the most resilient - certainly the most I've ever experienced. We saw amputations without flinching, without anaesthesia.
"These are our neighbours, and this is a country that needs us and ultimately we need them because the character of the Haitian people is seeded in a disconnect from the comfort addiction that so many of us in the country have - that's a powerful force of character and that we need to share. I'm going back. I'll be back in Haiti on Friday."
The Fawlty Towers legend moved to California in the early 1980s and rarely returns to his home country, insisting it is not good for his physical wellbeing.
He says, "I don't actually know where I live. But I'm lucky not to have to live all the time in the U.K. Any day lived there shortens your life by one day.".
September 07, 2004 12:11pm EST
In Paparazzi celebrity photographers are an affliction that torment tens if not dozens of residents of Brentwood the Hollywood Hills and Malibu. Bo Laramie (Cole Hauser) is one such denizen. As Hollywood's brightest new action star Laramie along with his wife Abby (Robin Tunney) is set to enjoy the sweet ride of success until paparazzo Rex Harper (Tom Sizemore) and his marauding band of slimy shutterbugs turn his life into a living hell. Or at least a fairly large inconvenience. With a blatant nod to Princess Di the pesky paparazzi cause a high-speed car wreck which sends Bo's son Zach (Blake Bryan) into a coma of convenient duration and results in the loss of Abby's spleen. Which is fitting as the movie has no discernible spleen of its own. And so our hero who has obviously not received the standard studio briefing on the joys of contract killers takes matters (and a baseball bat) into his own hands. The model for Paparazzi is the vigilante movie: Death Wish Billy Jack Walking Tall and the like. But whereas Bronson's Paul Kersey devolved from architect to cold-blooded killer only when faced with impossibly high stakes (the murder of his wife and rape of his daughter) Laramie by contrast turns into a serial killer and a sloppy one at that over a little retinal glare. And doing it all by himself? One imagines the Anthony Pellicanos of the world dispatching guys like Harper during a Pilates break.
It's problematic asking non-movie stars to play huge movie stars for obvious reasons. Bo Laramie is supposed to be the biggest thing since Ah-nuld held his day job but as Hauser plays him he comes off more like Michael Dudikoff. Even as he's beating paparazzi to death with his own hands there is no sense of a human being or even a movie star being pushed to his limits. Tunney who was terrific in Niagara Niagara has nothing to do and neither does Dennis Farina as the cop conflicted by the A-list avenger. Sizemore of course steals every scene he's in effortlessly and ruthlessly. In spite of his recent legal troubles (or perhaps because of them) he brings just the right dosage of dangerous persona and edgy charisma to his growing roster of manic miscreants. Ultimately though even his involvement is disappointing: When he's on screen he fools you into thinking a real movie is about to start.
First-time director Paul Abascal is but a pawn in Mel Gibson's dogmatic production slate. Screenwriter Forrest Smith had a small role with Gibson in We Were Soldiers and reportedly leveraged the moment to pitch Paparazzi to the actor/producer/Catholic poster boy. Gibson has had issues with his privacy before and has already proved himself shameless in using the movies to promote an agenda. So as with The Passion of the Christ a movie that wouldn't have gotten so much as a sniff at any other studio found itself with a green light. And Bo Laramie became family man/action hero Gibson's violent alter ego. Or maybe just ego. (Gibson also has a brief cameo and the one sheet for Laramie's "movie" Adrenaline Force 2 is a dead ringer for the poster art for Lethal Weapon 2). With Gibson's personal profits alone surpassing the $400 million mark with this week's Passion DVD sales and Paparazzi's budget listed at $20 million Gibson could make 20 sequels to Paparazzi. Or he could use the producer's pulpit to speak out against other vexations in his life. Somewhere at Icon world headquarters Leaf Blower: The Movie just went into pre-production.
One year ago to the day Flight 180 went down in a ball of flame and took the lives of all but a handful of would-be passengers who got off the plane at the last minute--only to have Death (heralded by a John Denver tune) catch up with them one by one. This anniversary is not lost on our spooked heroine Kimberly (A.J. Cook) who's driving with her friends to Daytona Beach when she suddenly has a horrific premonition about a freeway pileup that kills them and those around them on the road. Thoroughly freaked she stops the car and blocks other cars right before the pileup happens--more or less saving the p.o.'d drivers behind her. Death doesn't like to be cheated and the spared motorists are soon being picked off like so many cherries in such gruesome ways they'd have been better off dying in the car wreck. Realizing the events of last year are repeating themselves--with a slight twist--Kimberly seeks the help of Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) the one survivor of Flight 180 who has since committed herself to an institution seeking safety in a padded cell. The girls along with pileup survivor CHP Officer Burke (Michael Landes) team up in an effort to somehow stop Death's ultimate design.
Cook makes a cute and appealing Kimberly but she's on the cold side. The crash survivors meet the grisliest of ends right before her very eyes but she barely bats a long eyelash before running off to save the next victim-to-be. Larter brings nothing special to Clear Rivers who is often downright unpleasant (she's so difficult you wonder why she bothered to leave her little cell to help). As the cop who never seems to be on duty Landes is suitably sensitive and eager to help although that he's an officer of the law doesn't seem to matter much when it comes to using his job to run license plates illegally hold people in custody drive like a maniac on the road etc. etc. None of our three heroes tends toward brilliance but together they make such astronomical leaps of logic that Einstein would be amazed. Among the motley crew of highway survivors which include a Valium-popping single mom a cokehead and a chain-smoking control freak T.C. Carson (U-571) as disbeliever Eugene is the only standout: "This is bool-sheet man " he proclaims before promptly going into convulsive fits of terror after witnessing Death settle the score with one of his compadres. Tony Todd (Candyman) makes an appearance as an over-the-top creepy mortician whose help Rivers and co. seek but bizarrely his cameo has nothing to do with the rest of the film.
The death dismemberment and destruction in Final Destination 2 is so grievous so bloody so seat-squirmingly ghastly sometimes you've simply got to laugh. Out loud. As horrible as they are the fantastical death scenes are this movie's ace up its sleeve. What happens when you put someone in a kitchen with some old spaghetti a lit stove burner a garbage disposal and an open window? Don't even hazard a guess but its good fun to watch--albeit from in between your fingers as your hands cover your eyes. Fans of the first movie which had more character development less gore and introduced an intriguing concept might find FD2 falls short. We already know the premise it's just a matter of watching it be carried out; the characters are so random and knocked off so quickly you hardly get to know them--or care. Most of them are such unsavory types you get the idea Death is doing the world a favor anyway. Director David R. Ellis (Homeward Bound II) is well aware he needs to give moviegoers a few good chills and jolts and he does. Without winking at the audience too much he takes the film to the edge of camp without crossing the line. Quite simply this is a horror movie hoot.