Currently browsing the "Zachary Quinto" tag.

Quickie Reviews: Hotel Artemis; American Animals

If Ocean’s 8 feels too safe a bet, and Hereditary looks too darn creepy, have no fear — you’ve got a couple of quirky alternatives to choose from in a crazy crowded weekend at the box office. Hotel Artemis stars Jodie Foster as “The Nurse”, the caretaker of a secret “members only” hotel/ER that caters to wounded criminals. The rules are simple and few: No guns. No cops. No killing the other patients. But on a single night in riot-torn Los Angeles 2028, rules are broken – and blood is shed.

Snowden

Unless you never watch the news or have been hiding under a rock for several years, you’ve probably heard of Edward Snowden. A gripping documentary called Citizen Four was made about him in 2013 and won the 2015 Oscar. Here’s what I said about that film:

In January of 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras began receiving emails from a mysterious person who only identified himself as “citizenfour” and who had information about US government surveillance on a scale unheard of in history. A few months later, after a number of encrypted email exchanges, Poitras headed to Hong Kong along with journalist Glenn Greenwald to meet the sender. The rest is history. Waiting for them in a hotel room was Edward Snowden who would hand them evidence of massive citizen surveillance and data mining by the NSA and other government agencies, and would expose our global cyber-spy program.

Oliver Stone’s new movie Snowden begins in that hotel with Poitras (Melissa Leo) and Greenwald (Zachary Quinto) and flashes back to Snowden’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) tortured path to this clandestine meeting. The film succeeds in telling its story without becoming a typical Oliver Stone polemic. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up to you.

Star Trek Beyond

The third installment of the Star Trek reboot is for me the weakest yet, relying on big battles and CGI more than the characters and stories that made the first two so much fun. Which is not to say it isn’t entertaining. I mean it is Star Trek! There is still witty repartee between the crew, and lots of derring-do, mostly by Kirk. And an evil nemesis, this time a scaly alien named Krall (Idris Elba). And the future of the universe does hang in the balance. So it has all the elements you expect. But J.J. Abrams is not at the helm of the franchise this time, and Justin Lin (Fast and Furious) doesn’t quite manage the same balance of adventure and comedy. Nevertheless, as escapist entertainment goes, it works.

Star Trek Into Darkness

I enjoyed Star Trek Into Darkness, but I wouldn’t call it a “must-see” unless you’re a true Trekkie – or, at the very least, a casual fan of the TV and/or movie franchise. The more you know of the characters and the mythology going in, the more you’re likely to appreciate the latest round of challenges facing the familial crew of the Starship Enterprise. Most of the diehard fans have already seen the movie or read the spoilers relating to the villain. But I’m going to play it safe and keep it simple. Basically, the plot involves the Starfleet facing a major threat from within. Ultimately, Captain Kirk and his crew take it upon themselves to venture into some dark territory to capture the one-man wrecking crew responsible for a whole lot of death and destruction. The bad guy is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who I’d never heard of, but certainly has a name (and face) to remember!

Margin Call

If you’re just dying to see how Wall Street crashed and burned in 2008 from the insider view, then Margin Call is the movie for you. Set inside a firm that is a fictional stand-in for any number of real investment banks, the film takes place over the span of one day in which the entire house of cards threatens to fall apart, taking every person in the company down.

Star Trek

The latest entry into the vast canon of Star Trek movies and TV series is a whole lot of fun.  Cute guys in the leads, Zachary Quinto as Spock and Chris Pine as Kirk, certainly don’t take away from the pleasure.  But beyond that it has a good story, going back to where they began their careers in Star Fleet academy. It is no doubt a prequel to all the rest of the movies to come in that  we are introduced one by one to the characters that defined the original series: Uhura, Sulu, Chekov, Scotty and Bones, each takes their place along side Kirk as he performs one heroic feat after another on his path to becoming the captain.  By the end, we are set up for any and all sequels they want to make. And I hope there are many, if they can continue in this vein.