Movie Review: Star Trek

I have been secretly in love with Spock for years.

There, I said it. Go ahead and laugh, but I imprinted on him when I was a kid and I first saw the old Star Trek series in reruns. When I saw that episode where his passions are unleashed and he goes from icy control to primitive sex beast, my pre-teen self went melted-y-melty-melt. Yes, that is the technical term for what occurred.

Sadly, the movies never focused enough on Spock for my tastes. He always seemed more as a foil for Kirk, who I think is a bit of a man-whore. I don’t hold it against him, of course, because he’s scrappy and charming, but he doesn’t move me on any visceral level. Spock, on the other hand, is a man torn between two cultures: one that demands iron emotional discipline and another, that of his mother, that asks him to lead with his heart. Oh, the delicious internal conflict! You will see echoes in Spock in my heroes, particularly the one in Skin Tight. He too demonstrates iron control and complete discipline, except where one woman is concerned. Nalini Singh’s Judd was spock. All the untouchable dukes …are Spock.

Heaven almighty, do I love Spock.

So imagine my delight when I went to see a new Star Trek movie, a JJ Abrams film that hit me as if Mr. Abrams has been reading my secret “I Love Spock” diary, where Spock gets the girl. With my great and unholy love for Fringe, I am starting to feel toward Mr. Abrams the way some people (I believe) feel toward Joss Whedon. Alas, I cannot worship at the altar of Joss, for my heart belongs to JJ. And Spock.

Let’s get back to Spock.

First, Zachary Quinto was insanely hot. For about the first ten minutes I saw him, I kept thinking, what is Sylar doing with Spock hair, but within a very short time, he was no longer Sylar to me; he was Spock. Pitch-perfect, and so sexy-tough-controlled-icy-vulnerable that… well, I think it best that I don’t go into further detail. Let’s just say my love for Spock has reached a new level.

Yes, there were other people in the movie. They were all amazing. The casting was spot-on. I loved Simon Pegg as Scotty; he was brilliant. Bones was wonderful. Chekov, Sulu — both fabulous. And the fact that Spock is carrying on a secret affair with Uhura? Magically delicious. Everytime she touched him and he closed his eyes, a little tic in his jaw as if he was fighting dark urges and I just went, ohhhhhhh

Leonard Nimoy offered a beautiful gravitas to the project. I am so thankful he gave his blessing to it and participated. One moment in the film is positively breathtaking, like seeing two sides of a mirror. If you’ve seen it, you likely know what I mean. If you haven’t seen it, GO RIGHT NOW. Get a ticket.

Other stuff. The pacing was perfect. This flick began with a bang and just kept banging. There were no dead spots. No lulls. For the time I was in the theatre, I belonged utterly to that film. And there’s no higher praise.

As for the alternate reality premise, that was nothing short of brilliant. They have, indeed, reinvented the franchise and can imbue a whole new generation with love for Star Trek.

As for me, I think I might start watching Heroes again. Just to stare at Zachary Quinto, my one true Spock.

Live long and prosper, yo.

Quarantine

So I went to see this today. First, the trailer, before my commentary:

This is a remake of REC, which I haven’t seen, so I can’t address the issue of whether the remake is as good as the original. I can only say this: it was so scary that I was crying with fear by the time I left the theater, damp with terror sweat and cramped from having my muscles clenched for an hour and a half.

Let it be said now, I like zombie movies. I like disease movies. I like movies that get your heart pounding and make you jump in the dark. I don’t like slasher flicks. Regular horror doesn’t work for me, most times. Some of my faves include Pitch Black, the Resident Evil movies, the Alien franchise, and 28 Days Later.

So I was really excited to see Quarantine. You’ve watched the trailer, right? Did it freak you out at all?

Here’s the thing. I know exactly why this movie scared me so bad. You ready?

Because it was plausible. In most horror movies, you have a certain remove. “That could never happen. It’s set in the future, the monsters came from the stars, or an alien spacecraft. It’s not our world.” So you can enjoy the pleasurable fear and cling to the person you’re with, and then walk out into the sunlight and forget. Not Quarantine. Not this time.

The setup was compelling. As I watched it, I kept thinking: This could happen. Somewhere, some hideous viral plague could be brewing in a tenement. And this is exactly what they would do if it started to spread. I can’t articulate the weight of the horror, watching such intense, painful images and knowing the carnage doesn’t lie outside your reality.

And that’s why after watching Quarantine, I’m back at home, still thinking about this movie.

Because it could happen.

Has anyone else seen it? Come shiver with me.

Movie- featured review: Undead

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Undead

I must preface my review by saying I totally dig zombie movies. In all other respects, I hate horror movies. I don’t like seeing people getting eaten by giant sharks or swamp monsters. I don’t like watching chainsaw-wielding maniacs run around beheading people. But a good old fashion zombie stomp? I am sooo there. If I had to guess, I’d say my predilection for such films harks back to college, wherein I took a film class — and wrote an analysis of the symbolism found in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.

Thus began my love affair with zombies. Well, you know, not literally. Because that would be gross. Imagine all the parts that could fall off when things started getting heated, not to mention the inconvenience of having your lover obsessed with trying to eat your brain. Just…not cool, man.

Anyway, onto the movie. Undead is a totally original gem out of Australia. It combines all the best qualities of Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead and the Resident Evil movies. I know that sounds like a tall order for one quirky little indie film, but trust me, Undead is up to the task. The special effects are astonishingly well-done, and the acting is top-notch. In fact, after watching this, I’ve now decided that I would love to have Felicity Mason (the lead in Undead) play Jax. She’s that good.

Writer/directors Michael and Peter Spierig are ones to watch, mark my words. They’ve written a surprisingly tight story where there’s foreshadowing, clues given, deft touches of bizarre humor, and everything wraps up in a way that was quite astonishingly skillful. Undead is pure ass-kicking fun, all the way.

I give this film two thumbs waaaaaaaay up. But don’t take my word for it:

Wacky, inventive, and outrageously gory, Undead is a reason to believe that low-budget horror can still knock it out of the ballpark every once in a while. More than just echoing the visual style and humor of Sam Raimi and early Peter Jackson, the Spierig brothers have crafted a film that will undoubtedly deliver to midnight movie lovers around the globe who are looking for a laugh-out-loud, bloody time every now and then. Exceptional low-level effects are handled far better than you’d think, while the performances by a mostly unknown cast never come off stilted, but at points, downright inspired. There’s a manic energy to the movie that only tends to come out of gifted filmmakers at the beginning of their game… ~ Jeremy Wheeler, All Movie Guide

Or how about this from MovieBox.net?

Springing from the imaginations of twin brothers Peter and Michael Spierig, Undead is an ambitious low-budget endeavour that succeeds on every level. With the zombie genre, there is no way to avoid certain obvious references and the Spierig brothers bow their heads in respect not only to George Romero, the Zombie King himself, but to the Princes of the domain, Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson – and even to the Court Jester of gunplay, John Woo. Undead is more splat-stick comedy than pure horror, with zombie fish, an insecure cop who spews the most inventive curses ever and re-animated torsos galore.

If you can get a hold of this movie, check it out. It is made of awesome…with sprinkles!

B-movie featured review: Drive

Here’s something you may not have known about me. I looooooooooove B-movies. My preferred genres are SF and martial arts. There’s nothing like a low-budget, low-tech SF masterpiece, unless it’s a kung fu festival of fun. So I’m always on the lookout for B-movies that will surprise and delight me.

That’s why I almost never pass up the opportunity to dig through piles of discount DVDs. Most people would walk by those dusty piles, thinking what the heck could you get for twenty-nine pesos that’s worth watching? The answer — a B-movie, of course! My husband totally digs B-horror flicks, but I don’t like all the random dismemberment. He and I can both enjoy bad SF and bad kung fu, so that’s what I look for.

Yesterday, I found a treasure, so I’m gonna share the goodness with y’all. Drive The movie is called Drive, and it stars Mark Dacascos and Kadeem Hardison. Mark is a real martial artist, who has made a number of martial arts movies — and he’s good, frankly. It’s a pleasure to watch him do his thing. Before watching Drive, I’d have said Only the Strong (where he does the hot Capoeira) was my favorite movie starring Mark, but that was pre-Drive. When I got this movie, I was hoping for entertaining badness.

I read the tagline…

An irrepressible thrill ride combining the high-impact fight-action of “The Matrix” and the comedic interplay of “Rush Hour”.

Then I thought, hm, maybe they’re selling it a little high, but what the hell? For less than three bucks, I can take a chance, right?

Guess what? They weren’t. The stunt work was freakin’ amazing. Even if you pay no attention to the story, the acting, the writing or the plot, the movie is worth it just for the stunts, if you like that sort of thing. But there’s actually a story that makes sense (more or less) to go along with it, unlike Jumper. The script is a bit of ham and cheese, but I expect that in B-action movies. For me, the cheesy villain was awesome cake a la mode.

(bad guy) Vic Madison: Look, it’s my favorite cheese-eating dickmonkey.

If that doesn’t crack you up, coming from a supposed uber-badass hitman, then we have different ideas of what’s funny.

In the beginning, it’s hilarious / awesome because the bad guys seem obsessed with shooting Toby Wong’s toes off (Mark Dacascos), but you find out why later. To my surprise, there’s actually a sensible reason why they keep missing him! Other than them being unskilled idiots, as usually suffices in movies like this. Toby’s preternaturally fast and the boss wants him brought in alive. No, I won’t tell you why.

The comic interplay between Malik Brody (Kadeem Hardison) and Toby Wong (martial artist on the run) is hilarious. Toby kidnaps Malik after a bar fight goes wrong. Malik and TobyIf you like what you get from Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour movies, then Drive actually offers a similar camaraderie. And some of the jokes are funnier. Plus, it was fun to see Kadeem wearing two days of scruff and dreads, playing a chick magnet. Mark’s main claim to fame was playing Eric Draven on The Crow TV series. Kadeem played Dwayne Wayne on A Different World.

Right now, Mark’s got a gig on the Iron Chef. Kadeem is doing movies these days. I saw him most recently in Made of Honor (which isn’t as bad as reviewers say it is).

Anyhow, back to Drive. Here’s a quotable quote:

Toby Wong: Let’s go, let’s go!
Malik Brody: We are going, this ain’t the Batmobile!

Drive was only about 100 times better than I expected when I snagged it. Instead of entertaining badness, I got high-octane kung fu stunts interlaced with quirky offbeat humor. Action Toby It’s made of win! There are so many hilarious moments that I couldn’t begin to name them all, but I’ll throw out a couple at random: Einstein Frog… ingenue with a machine gun. Brittany Murphy steals the movie while she’s on screen — and that’s all I’ll say… except that the name of her character is Deliverance Bodine, and she will crack your shit up.

Check this movie out, seriously. But don’t take my word for it. This guy gives it four stars. Who’s he? I dunno, some dude who reviews movies on the internet. Geez!

I loved this movie so much, I think I’ll go watch it again right now.

movies, romance, and stuff

So I went to the VIP Cinema with my husband on Friday night for a proper date. We were intending too see Resident Evil 3, but it had already been shunted off to the regular theaters. Since the gorgeous leather reclining seats and impeccable service were the reason we went to La Cuspide, we examined our other options.

Turned out we watched Superbad for our date. I thought it was really funny and Andres said it captured the co-dependent angst of two best guy friends moving on with their lives perfectly. I wouldn’t know about that.

I don’t think it was quite as good as Knocked Up, but Andres hasn’t seen that, so we couldn’t really compare / contrast the two.

I will say this: Seth Rogen is awesome.

Also saw I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry last week. Much better than I expected. Yeah, yeah, I know. I have terrible taste in movies. But I’ll watch just about anything that will make me laugh.

About the only movies that were just too stupid get a laugh out of me were the Dumb and Dumber ones. Hell, I’m the one who keeps Rob Schneider thinking he’s leading man material.

I was pondering that this morning. Well, sort of.

See, I don’t really get crushes on actors. Not like I want to put their pictures all over my computer, or look for photos of them naked. But all the same, I get a warm fuzzy over guys like Kevin James and Seth Rogen making it in Hollywood. It gives me hope that normal people, or people who aren’t drop-dead gorgeous, can be seen as leading man (or leading lady) material.

What about in your romance novels? Elizabeth Hoyt did something interesting with The Raven Prince. Edward de Raaf is not by any stretch good-looking. To be honest, he’s not even nice. Have y’all read it? What did you think?

I have to say, I admire authors who can take an unpalatable character and make me fall in love with him or her. What books do you recommend where this happens? I’m tired of the pretty people.

ebook thursday + 300

I have a review over at It’s Not Chick Porn. Run, don’t walk, over there right now, kids, because I gave my first “A”. Make sure you congratulate Ms. Midway. She’s written an engaging story, so let’s show her the love.

So I saw 300 last night. Carrie already reviewed it, so take a look at her thoughts, if you wish.

Gerard Butler rocked the house as King Leonidas, but all the performances were richer than I anticipated. I expected a viusal spectacle, not one that would pluck at my heartstrings. The passion between Leonidas and his wife shimmered, and their love scenes were divinely erotic, rendered in staccato flashes.

I enjoyed the banter between Astinos and Stelios a great deal, and the movie offered touches of humor that I didn’t expect. I was much struck by the epic cinematography and the artistic use of filters. Here, the theatres didn’t permit under under age twenty to see this film. After watching it myself, I can understand why. The violence was intense, if elegantly choreographed.

I’m not sure how I felt about the queen submitting to Theron, there at the end. I know her gesture is meant to show that she would do anything for Sparta, anything for her husband, but I think the Bodaciea in me would have liked it better if she’d simply gutted him then and there for his oily presumption. I know, I know — it offered proof when she killed him before the council and the Persian coins spilled from his purse.

My one moment of disappointment came when Astinos died as he did. I mean, I knew everyone would die, but I felt he deserved a better death. I wanted him there at the end. Xerxes surprised me as well. He was a lot taller (and a lot gayer looking) than I would’ve pictured him. The actor who portrayed him couldn’t hold a candle to Gerard Butler. While he doesn’t do it for me on a pure man-meat basis, he sure the hell can act. Whew.

Anyway, I quite liked this film, though I wouldn’t advocate watching it if you have a weak stomach. I love Frank Miller’s work and I’m eagerly awaiting the next one. You think Sin City 2 will be any good?