Tag Archives: Chris Pine

Cumberbatched Into Darkness

It’s a Thursday, there’s precious little on TV – why not take in the latest trailer for “Star Trek Into Darkness”?

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This would be the “Empire Strikes Back” of the reborn “Star Trek” movie franchise, then?  I’m guessing so, what with the doomy tone, Benedict Cumberbatch‘s messianic sociopath running amok and blowing up half of the planet and the gloriously blatant shuttle craft/Millennium Falcon riff showing up in this two minutes and 15 seconds of face-melting, nerd glee.

Oh, and if you’re into that kind of thing, Alice Eve‘s character apparently can’t afford clothes.  Hollywood double standards, how do they work?

Have a new poster for the movie whilst you work that one out…

"Star Trek Into Darkness" - none more dark, squire...

“Star Trek Into Darkness” – none more dark, squire…

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“Star Trek Into Darkness” teaser is…awesome?

Oh hai there, “Into Darkness” bad person, Benedict Cumberbatch! Trailer images (C) Paramount Pictures/Bad Robot

If you haven’t spent your day constantly re-watching the “Into Darkness” teaser trailer on your PC at work, there’s a good chance that you A) Don’t have to use a PC for your work or B) Are Fluffrick and are sadly compelled to rock an office PC so antediluvian that it might as well be considered a Steampunk artefact.

If, like this blogger, you had to wait until home time to catch the new J.J. AbramsStar Trek movie’s teaser trailer, no doubt you’re trying to form words and phrases which can fully encompass the splendiferousness with which your gentle eyeballs have been subject to.

From the look on Chris Pine's face, Cumberbatch isn't playing "Twister".

From the look on Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana’s faces, Cumberbatch isn’t playing “Twister”.  Unless it’s Deadly 23rd Century Death-Trap Twister, of course.

The best that I can come up with is a onamatapeaic noise which sounds like a small child gargling jelly compulsively.  All teaser trailers are meant to pimp the biggest, boldest moments of any blockbuster, but this first look is impressive as much for lead bad guy Benedict Cumberbatch’s superbly gravelly, unrelenting grim voice-over which offers a tantalising suggestion that the shiny-happy territory of the rebooted 2009 film is being jettisoned in favour of Wrath of Khan-style, “I can’t believe they did that! character offing and high stakes scares.  In fact, if you’ve watched the slightly longer, Japanese teaser trailer for the film, the “Wrath of Khan” comparison seems more than justified…

Fringe versus Fringe - who will triumph?

Fringe versus Fringe – who will triumph?

 

Go and press your  face against the screen HERE if you haven’t seen the trailer.  And then watch it 25 times.  You know you want to…

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“Star Trek Into Darkness” gets a new poster

Ominous, much?

Ominous, much?  Image via Paramount Pictures

As we wait for either the nine-minute IMAX prologue playing before selected screenings of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey“, the astute folk at Paramount have elected to steal a march on the marketing for next summer’s “Star Trek” sequel by releasing every geek-centric blockbuster’s must-have item, the enigmatic teaser poster.

Putting on my modish great-coat and a fashionably directional long scarf in the manner of all the best consulting detectives, I note that the poster seems to feature putative “Star Trek Into Darkness” villain, Benedict Cumberbatch, who is of course playing classic “Trek” baddie Gary Mitchell/Khan/Keyser Soze (delete as likely) in the J.J. Abrams directed sequel.

And that scene of urban mass destruction, the hallmark of all contemporary bad guys who seek to threaten our very way of life via the medium of terrorist action – could it be London?  As Empire magazine‘s post on the teaser poster intimated, the background scenery seems to have the ‘Gherkin’ building prominently featured.

England’s capital?  Being destroyed in a summer blockbuster?  Such a thing has never happened before…

A trailer for this must-see geek fest is due before the end of 2012 – I don’t know about you, but I already have my popcorn ready for that one…

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Tony Scott – In Memorium

 

Tony Scott, who died on August 19th 2012 in Long Beach, California. He was 68 years old.

If you’ll permit the indulgence, this is how I want to remember British film director Tony Scott, who committed suicide on Sunday:  On a film set, replete with his signature baseball cap, setting up some kind of practically staged set-piece, with mayhem about to be unleashed.

He was a director whose career and films arrived roughly in parallel with my love of movies – one of my abiding memories from my teenage years is of collecting tokens and sending off via mail order for a Top Gun movie poster, back when that defining Tom Cruise vehicle was the action movie par excellence of its day.

“Top Gun”, from 1986 – when films seemed simpler, even if the underlying politics were anything but.

Whilst a lot of the coverage of his death will focus on the way in which he chose to take his life, please forgive my preference to focus on his work and recommend some of his extensive catalogue of films which you might want to check out.

Scott’s movies were just that – commercial, unashamed action-thrillers and dramas.  Whilst his academic career seemingly set him on a path towards fine art, he duly found himself working in commercials – see his celebrated, iconic SAAB advert here, which largely influenced producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer to hire him for “Top Gun”.   His first film was the stylish, erotic and singular vampire drama, “The Hunger“, which underperformed in cinemas and led to a prolonged return to the ad world until Simpson and Bruckheimer’s Air Force drama pitched him onto the directorial A-List.

His career from there is the very definition of diverse.  He made modern classics like “True Romance“, “Crimson Tide” or “The Last Boy Scout“, and more eccentric, darker fare like “Revenge” , “The Fan” or the unique, one-of-a-kind Keira Knightley starring, profoundly meta bounty hunter flick, “Domino”, which is the very definition of an assault on the senses.

In recent years, he had formed a reliable working relationship with Denzel Washington and their collaboration yielded such films as the aforementioned “Crimson Tide”, “Man on Fire”, “Deja Vu”, “The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3” and their last film together, “Unstoppable”.

Weirdest car chase ever? I think this film is a candidate for that honour…

If I were going to recommend a film which shows Scott and Washington at their best, it would be the very underrated sci-fi thriller, “Deja Vu” – a mind-bending tale of time travel, terrorism and a love story which happens across multiple versions of reality.  Sort of.  It’s indicative of the way that Scott’s bravura style mellowed in recent years – the bullets still fly and the helicopters still zip around on-screen like hyperactive dragonflies, but there’s a human story at the core which makes the more elaborate action sequences somehow mean a bit more.

Period spy wranglings with Robert Redford and his latter-day matinee idol heir, Brad Pitt.

If you don’t like the sound of that, I recommend Scott’s desperately underrated and fantastic espionage drama, “Spy Game”, which applies his warp-driven visual style to the kind of low-key, introspective story which seemed apposite at the time but utterly thrives on the clash of styles.  Scott loved the inherently dramatic possibilities of a ticking clock and “Spy Game” is the very model of a story constructed around  impending cataclysm – veteran spy Robert Redford’s last day on the job is spent covertly trying to save the life of Brad Pitt, the spook he recruited whose execution is imminent.

Two arguing big lugs versus a runaway bomb the size of a football pitch – sounds like a party…

Scott’s last film is one of his best – the runaway train thriller, “Unstoppable”, marked his fifth film with Denzel Washington and one which deals brilliantly with the ticking clock motif (in this case personified by a train stuffed full of toxic chemicals, barreling almost unchecked towards a small town) present and correct and a pair of plucky, underdog blue-collar heroes in the form of Washington and Chris Pine who are the only guys who stop things from going boom.

I love movies which pit heroes against nature and eschew heavy firepower in favour of street smarts saving the day – the compelling thing about this story (nominally based on true events) is that it’s a thoroughly normal, not essentially heroic pair of guys who find themselves doing the right thing in the face of mind-boggling unlikely odds and with a boatload of personal baggage making their already crappy day worse (Washington’s seen-it-all before train driver is about to get canned by the railway company and Pine’s brash young buck is estranged from his partner and having child visitation access problems).

It’s bonkers, but oddly easy to relate to – there’s a purity about his last film which confirms that Scott was a master at diverting your attention from the cliches inherent in a premise and making the arguably shop worn story so compelling that you couldn’t deny it and were gripped throughout.

I loved a great many of his movies – he never made high art, but Tony Scott made Friday Night Movies Par Excellence,  filmic escapism which helped erase the woes of the working week for a couple of hours.  And there’s not much more that you can ask of a film director other than to make movies that people want to see, and sneak some of your personality in there too if possible.  He will be greatly missed by me – selfishly, I’ve lost one of the directors who made me love movies and going to the cinema.

 

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