New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 5/20/14

 

Star Trek Into Darkness

Action: Good Guys Wear Black, Ready 2 Die, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Sanctum

Eddie Murphy Delirious

Comedy: Eddie Murphy: Delirious, Jenny McCarthy’s Dirty Sexy Funny, Jim Gaffigan: Beyond the Pale, Myq Kaplan: Small Dork and Handsome, Alpha House, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Documentary: The Baseball Chronicles, Dark Girls, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, Resolved

Drama: 8:46, Last Love, Tiger Eyes

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Family: Magic Journey to Africa, Cloud 9, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Television: 30 Days, More TEDTalks, Boss, Lightning Point, Jesus of Nazareth

Thriller: Evidence, 20 Feet Below, Swerve, Frozen Ground

The Summer of Meh

I love summer blockbuster season. I am marginally a film critic and I do enjoy good, prestige movies. I watch innumerable independent films as well but I love a big action movie and summer is the season for those. I had high hopes this year but it has not panned out very well.

Iron Man 3: The Disneyfication of Marvel. Forget Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan, the Black Widow, and War Machine, let’s give Tony Stark a cute kid sidekick. Can we call him Short Round?

The Great Gatsby: A film adaptation of a book where the director honestly didn’t understand what the book was about.

Star Trek: Into Darkness: The plot is utter nonsense but this was a lot of fun just the same. I mean really just the same.

Fast & Furious 6: The World’s Longest Runway. I’m just saying.

Epic: Generic

After Earth: Hmm I already used Afterbirth for Asylum’s take on this film so maybe Crash & Burn. Sorry Will – people like you but are apparently not so keen on your forcing your son on us. Another nail in Shyamalan’s career.

Man of Steel: The Anti-Superman movie – way to Kryptonite the franchise yet many people enjoyed it and the sequel will feature a non-Bale Batman.

World War Z: IF you can forgive it for not having anything to do with the book (hope you enjoyed the payout Mr. Brooks) and don’t mind a PG-13 zombie movie, it was pretty intense and intelligent.

Monsters University

Monsters University: Fun but not the classic that Monsters, Inc was.

White House Down: White House Dumb, Olympus Has Fallen part Deux

The Lone Ranger: Actually Tonto – the movie would have been a lot shorter if Tonto had let him die.

Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2: Fun but not as good as the first PLUS I had to endure innumerable McDonald’s Happy Meals to get the toys for umm my granddaughter – yes my granddaughter wanted them.

Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim: Godzilla Meets Transformers but I still love monster movies. This could have been a lot better but was a bright spot this summer.

Red 2: More nonsense from folks who did not really understand what made the first one kind of, sort of, work. Still I love watching Helen Mirren kick butt.

R.I.P.D.: Men in Black 4, only supernatural instead of science fiction and poor CGI.

Turbo: Generic Cartoon 2: Electric Boogaloo

The Wolverine:X-Men 6 minus all the X-Men save two, and one of those is dead for the whole movie. The saving grace is the post-credits scene.

This was pretty much a summer with no new ideas. Of course the twelve-year-old boy inside of me enjoyed going to all of these movies even if the half-century old man knew most of them were duds.

Star Trek – Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness

Thank you Esurance! I won two tickets to Star Trek: Into Darkness from them. Not only was the contest generous but the tickets covered up to $15.50 each, which is coincidentally what the Biltmore Grande charges for their RPX evening showings in 3D. Not wanting to waste a gift horse that is what we used it for.

One Line Review: Trek is packed with action, excitement, witticisms, and character development – this one will be tough to beat for the summer crown.

My wife, daughter and I all thoroughly enjoyed the movie. The RPX sound was immersive and the bass made the seats throb. The RPX picture quality was amazingly crisp, even in 3D. I don’t normally go to RPX because I love my Carolina and the RPX is about twice the price but WOW I was blown away. This is the closest we have to Imax in Asheville.

While the RPX heightened our enjoyment, Star Trek Into Darkness is a wonderful film on its own. While I derided Iron Man 3 for being made by committee/formula, much the same approach is used here but to great effect.

Star Trek checklist:

Strenuous heroics from Kirk and Spock: Tons! This film is almost constant action with brief respites for clever dialogue.

Fun banter between Kirk, Spock, and Bones: Any time they are not in a fight and sometimes when they are, witty banter abounds and not just for those three.

Good character moments for Sulu, Chekov, Scotty, and Uhura: Uhura’s role is considerably beefed up and the others all have their moment in the sun.

References to classic Trek episodes: I don’t want to spoil any of them but they are nearly uncountable. Plots, characters, incidents are mentioned, seen, adapted, or alluded to.

Ship to ship combat: Yes and wow.

Kirk and/or Spock learn a lesson: Both do, of course.

Cameos: Yes, two – one of which is in the previews.

Three of the four quibbles I have with the film are all minor. The first, which I can only speak generally about to avoid spoilers, is that a lot of elements that they felt were necessary for Trek fans were shoehorned in at the last minute. The second is that the final action sequence, while having a couple inventive touches, pales in comparison to the several before it so it feels more like an afterthought than building to a crescendo. Third, Benedict Cumberbatch, while a wonderful actor, isn’t given enough to do – mostly because there are so many beloved characters to focus on.

The fourth quibble I have, I don’t want to go into detail for fear of spoiling but nearly every plotting aspect of this movie makes no sense (a la Iron Man 3). Almost everything in this movie is done simply to get from point A to point B, action sequence to action sequence. As a for instance, the rescue method in the beginning of the movie could clearly have been used for the insertion but that wouldn’t have been as dramatic. A second example, also from the beginning, is that we have plenty of remote placement and firing mechanisms now (robotic, radio, laser, programmed, etc.) and this is set in the future. Whatever you do, just enjoy the ride and try not to question the logic until you leave.

I am very much looking forward to seeing what J.J. Abrams and crew do with the Star Wars franchise.