Summary: In the summer of 1979, a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth – something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 9th June, 2011
Australian DVD Release Date: 17th November, 2011
Director: J.J. Abrams
Screenwriter: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Jack Axelrod (Mr. Blakely), Caitriona Balfe (Elizabeth Lamb), Gabriel Basso (Martin), Dan Castellaneta (Izzy), Kyle Chandler (Deputy Jackson Lamb), Graham Clarke (Airforce Airman Korne), Joel Courtney (Joe Lamb), Michael Crawley (Airforce Airman Taylor), Dale Dickey (Edie), Jonathan Dixon (Airman Nevil), Thomas F. Duffy (Rooney), Ron Eldard (Louis Dainard), Noah Emmerich (Colonel Elec), Elle Fanning (Alice Dainard), Britt Flatmo (Peg Kaznyk), Amanda Foreman (Lydia Connors), David Gallagher (Donny), Ben Gavin (Deputy Milner), Michael Giacchino (Deputy Crawford), Bruce Greenwood (Cooper), Jade Griffiths (Benji Kaznyk), Riley Griffiths (Charles Kaznyk), Tony Guma (Sergeant Walters), James Landry Hebert (Deputy Tally), Michael Hitchcock (Deputy Rosko), Richard T. Jones (Overmyer), Beau Knapp (Breen), Ryan Lee (Cary), Teri Clark Linden (Mrs. Babbit), Kate Lowes (Tina), Scott A. Martin (Sal), Jake McLaughlin (Merrit), Koa Melvin (Baby Joe), AJ Michalka (Jen Kaznyk), Andrew Miller (Kaznyk Twin), Jakob Miller (Kaznyk Twin), Joel McKinnon Miller (Mr. Kaznyk), Zach Mills (Preston), Alex Nevil (Rick), Bingo O’Malley (Mr. Harkin), Tom Quinn (Mr. McCandless), Brett Rice (Sheriff Pruitt), Marco Sanchez (Hernandez), Jay Scully (Deputy Skadden), Jessica Tuck (Mrs. Kaznyk), Glynn Turman (Dr Thomas Woodward)
Runtime: 112 mins
OUR REVIEWS/RATINGS OF ‘SUPER 8’:
It’s funny that Steven Spielberg is attached to the movie Super 8 because one of the things that hits you during the movie is that same feeling you felt the first time you saw E.T. The fresh-faced kids, a young actress that you know is going to be a star and even an alien that just wants to get home. It’s all there, but you can’t really say that J.J. Abrams has copied a single thing from the classic… because what he has done is create an individual film that shines for about 90% of its running time.
Super 8 sees a group of kids, led by Charles (Riley Griffiths) and Joe (Joel Courtney) trying to make a zombie film, but in doing so they accidentally catch a massive train crash on camera. However, this isn’t any ordinary train crash because soon the town is haunted by the disappearance of people, dogs and lots of things made by metal. Convinced that something is going on the kids decide to investigate. Meanwhile Joe’s father, Jackson (Kyle Chandler) is called to investigate the crash. He also suspects the military is covering up something but is also worried about his son’s budding relationship with Alice (Elle Fanning)
J.J. Abrams really has outdone himself here. He doesn’t fall into the trap of introducing the alien too early… after all the main part of this story is the relationship between Joe, his friends, Alice and his father. To his credit Abrams never lets the sci-fi aspect of the film overshadow those relationships… perhaps the right way to describe this film is a drama with some sci-fi thrown in. The train crash scene is enough to show anyone that J.J. Abrams is one of the finest directors we have around at the moment. It’s intense and stunning (without going over the top) and you do genuinely find yourself worried about the characters as they run through it. The only let down is the final 15 minutes of the film. The flowery end has ‘Spielberg’ written all over it and is ultimately what prevents Super 8 from being one of the finest films to surface over the last couple of years.
The other stroke of genius Abrams reveals is in his casting. Those who are fans of the TV series Friday Night Lights know what Kyle Chandler is capable of, and he certainly doesn’t fail to deliver here. Chandler is brilliant and it is a shame that his character kind of fades away into nothing towards the end of the film. But where Abrams really has made the right choice is with the kids. They are all brilliant but Joel Courtney seems to be the one that will have the massive career ahead of him… he is a natural talent. He is also well supported by Elle Fanning who seems to be following in her sister’s footsteps and is blossoming into a fine actress.
The first 90% of Super 8 are brilliant and Abrams really needs to be congratulated for his skill and vision, but the last 15 minutes of this film really do leave a bad taste in your mouth, it’s a shame it ends with such a PG ending rather than live up to its convictions. Still, Super 8 does more than enough to impress and is certainly worth a look.
Summary: The brash James T. Kirk tries to live up to his father’s legacy with Commander Spock keeping him in check as a vengeful, time-traveling Romulan creates black holes to destroy the Federation one planet at a time.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 7th May 2009
Australian DVD Release Date: October 2009
Country: United States, Germany
Director: J.J. Abrams
Screenwriter: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Gene Roddenberry (television series)
Cast: Rico E. Anderson (Captain Kelley Bogel), Eric Bana (Nero), Jimmy Bennett (Young James T. Kirk), Ben Binswagner (Admiral James Komack), John Cho (Sulu), Clifton Collins Jnr. (Ayel), Ben Cross (Sarek), Spencer Daniels (Johnny), Calvin Dean (Security Officer Daniels), Tony Elias (Officer Pitts), Amanda Foreman (Hannity), Bruce Greenwood (Pike), Tony Guma (Lew The Bartender), Chris Hemsworth (George Kirk), Brad William Henke (Uncle Frank), Jacob Kogan (Young Spock), Jennifer Morrison (Winona Kirk), Leonard Nemoy (Spock Prime), Rachel Nichols (Gaila), Jim Nieb (Sal), Simon Pegg (Scotty), Tyler Perry (Admiral Richard Barnett), Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Jonny Rees (Chief Engineer Olson), Winona Ryder (Amanda Grayson), Zoe Saldana (Ulhara), Faran Tahir (Captain Robau), Karl Urban (Bones), Jenna Vaughn (Baby Spock), Anton Yelchin (Chekov)
Runtime: 127 mins
OUR STAR TREK REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Despite the fact I’m a huge sci-fi fan I’ve never really been able to get into ‘Star Trek’ so it was with much trepidation that I went to see the new film. But I need not have worried as once again J.J. Abrams shows that he can make anything a great watch, and this time he makes ‘Star Trek’ accessible to those who have never seen one of the films or TV Shows… no mean feat.
This ‘Star Trek’ goes right back to the beginning as we see the birth of James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) as the Star Fleet battles against a ruthless enemy, Nero (Eric Bana). While Kirk travels through troubled teenage years Nero continues on a mission of revenge. This continues as Kirk is introduced to Spock (Zachary Quinto), Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy (Karl Urban), Hikaru Sulu (John Cho), Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin), and even though most of them don’t know what to make of him they are forced to trust him hen Nero comes across technology that allows him to destroy planets one by one.
Taking ‘Star Trek’ right back to the beginning is perhaps one of the smartest things J.J Abrams could do. By doing this even people who know nothing about the ‘Star Trek’ universe can get into the story and this could in turn breathe new life into the franchise. And while this seems to have ruffled a few feathers with older ‘Star Trek’ fans it works remarkably well in my eyes.
Story wise, like any Abrams film (and even Kurtzman scripts) ‘Star Trek’ works as it gives great emotional access to it’s characters while mixing drama with all the elements of a true big-budget action blockbuster. Characters like Kirk and Spock become well-rounded characters that genuinely draw emotion out of the audience… now how many sci-fi films can you say that about. The only weakness that can leave you a little disappointed is the fact that even though Bana is brilliant as Nero he just doesn’t get the screen time (or lines) that an actor of this caliber warrants. It does seem a waste of his talents.
If you are afraid of the ‘Star Trek’ brand don’t be… Abrams has done a wonderful job separating this from the past films and TV shows and you can watch this as an action sci-fi film that stands on it’s own two feet. This is a new beginning for ‘Star Trek’… a film that will keep any cinema lover in awe… and on the edge of their seat. This is ‘Star Trek’ for the new generation
‘Star Wars’ fans don’t be too worried… you aren’t alone. See only a few years ago it was ‘Star Trek’ fans who heard that news that J.J. Abrams was going to bring life back into a franchise that was supposedly ‘stale’. The good news for ‘Star Wars’ fans is that Abrams didn’t exactly do some a bad job on ‘Star Trek’.
The best thing about Abrams’ ‘Star Trek’ was he made it accessible for people that had never watched any of the previous films or television shows…. not only did Abrams breathe new life into the series but he also opened it up for a new legion of fans.
Abrams makes sure that ‘Star Trek’ goes right back to the beginning so far back that the audience actually sees the birth of James T Kirk (Chris Pine – Rise Of The Guardians, People Like Us) as the Star Fleet battles against a ruthless enemy, Nero (Eric Bana – Deadfall, Hanna).
While Kirk travels through is troubled teenage years (with a little bit of difficulty) Nero continues on a mission of revenge. This continues as Kirk is introduced to Spock (Zachary Quinto – Periods, Dog Eat Dog), Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy (Karl Urban – Dredd, Priest), Hikaru Sulu (John Cho – Identity Thief, Total Recall), Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana – The Words, Colombiana) and Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin – The Pirates! Band Of Misfits, Fright Night) and even though most of them don’t know what to make of him they are forced to trust him when Nero comes across technology that allows him to destroy every planet one-by-one.
Many may have scoffed when they heard that Abrams was going to tackle ‘Star Trek’, it was like people had forgotten that he is no slouch when it comes to science-fiction… anybody remember ‘Cloverfield’ or even some of the better elements of ‘Lost’? Like he does whenever he tackles a project he takes the basic story and turns it into an action blockbuster.
Together with Alan Kurtzman (who also proved he can be creative with science-fiction with ‘Transformers’ and ‘The Island’) Abrams remembered to infuse some drama and suspense into ‘Star Trek’ but more importantly he turns characters like Kirk and Spock into well rounded three-dimensional characters… something that a lot of science-fiction writers and directors seem to forget to do.
It also seems like Abrams got the casting right with ‘Star Trek’. Chris Pine used the role of Kirk to reinvent his career and it certainly seemed to impress producers as not long later he was playing Captain America firstly in his own film and then in ‘The Avengers’. In fact the whole cast step up and while Simon Pegg gets to show off some style without going into full comedy mode, but you do have to feel sorry for Eric Bana, while he puts in a good effort he just isn’t given the screen time or lines to show what he is truly capable of. An actor of his calibre was simply wasted in the role of Nemo.
When it came to ‘Star Trek’ Abrams really opened up the franchise to a whole new generation (pun intended) and as a blockbuster it works amazingly well. If ‘Star Trek’ is anything to go by then maybe ‘Star Wars’ is in safe hands after all.
Buzz Magazine Review:
J.J. Abrams once again shows that he can make anything a great watch, and this time he makes ‘Star Trek’ accessible to those who have never seen one of the films or TV Shows… no mean feat.
This ‘Star Trek’ goes right back to the beginning as we see the birth of James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) as the Star Fleet battles against a ruthless enemy, Nero (Eric Bana). While Kirk travels through troubled teenage years Nero continues on a mission of revenge. This continues as Kirk is introduced to Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the Enterprise crew, although they don’t trust him. Will they trust him when they really need to?
Story wise, like any Abrams film ‘Star Trek’ works as it gives great emotional access to it’s characters while mixing drama with all the elements of a true big-budget action blockbuster. Characters like Kirk and Spock become well-rounded characters that genuinely draw emotion out of the audience… now how many sci-fi films can you say that about. The only weakness that can leave you a little disappointed is the fact that even though Bana is brilliant as Nero he just doesn’t get the screen time (or lines) that an actor of this caliber warrants. It does seem a waste of his talents.
This is a new beginning for ‘Star Trek’… a film that will keep any cinema lover in awe… and on the edge of their seat. This is ‘Star Trek’ for the new generation.
Firstly, let me get my Star Trek credentials out of the way. I have never been invested in any incarnations of this franchise. I have only ever watched a handful of episodes of Next Generation and have seen one of the feature films (Star Trek 2: the Wrath of Khan), but I have seen the porn spoof Sex Trek: the Next Penetration if that counts for anything. So it pleases me to report that the new film from Director J.J. Abrams pulled me (a newbie) in like a Romulan tractor beam.
The film starts off with a with a hair-raising space battle and never loses momentum. It is immediately clear: this film has an epic scale.More surprising is the almost instant inclusion of heartfelt emotion. This is a movie that doesn’t sacrifice character for action.
Rebooting the franchise for a new generation has given Abrams’ the chance to populate his film with an exceptional cast. The two brightest lights are Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock. Their natural chemistry injects the film with real heart, the rarest quality in the modern blockbuster. The rest of the cast is decorated with stars: Eric Bana, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg and Karl Urban. Like all good team-based films, each member gets their chance to shine. Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci keep the film moving at a fast pace and manage to establish real motivations for their characters. Their script is so good I almost forgive them for Transformers. Nah, those films are unforgivable.
As good as the cast is, the greatest aspect of this film is not its human element, but its representation of space. The visual effects are staggering, enveloping the audience in the vastness of the film’s universe. Abrams manages to achieve more with this one film than George-nobody-likes-me-Lucas could with his entire ‘Prequel Trilogy’. Disregard any prejudice you may have for the ‘Trek’ and jump on board, you will not regret it.
I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant about J.J. Abrams reboot of this franchise as i am a fairly hardcore Trekkie having watched all seasons of the tv shows and the previous films and have a big opinion on what a Star Trek film should be. Now that this is the highest grossing Star Trek film by a big margin, obviously it’s a big crowd pleaser, not like the previous installment Nemesis.
Straight away this film grabs the attention with an opening scene featuring a ship in peril and the birth of Kirk in space, without bringing a groan to the audience with once again, a time travel story. Nero (Bana), an angry Romulan from the distant future comes back through time to prevent the destruction of his homeworld. Upon arrival, he immediately destroys the ship containing Kirk’s parents, his father sacrificing himself to save his just born son. With this setup, Abrams has licence to give this Star Trek universe an alternate future to the one already established, thereby not completely trashing the memory of Gene Roddenberry’s vision. This Trek is darker, grittier, more intense and more action based.
The recasting of the original crew is inspired, especially Zachary Quinto as Spock. Chris Pine does an excellent job playing a different kind of Kirk. All major original cast have their moments to shine in this film Uhura, Chekov, Sulu, McCoy and Scotty.
Because of the urgency placed on the mission to stop Nero in this film, there is a big rushed action feel. The big themes of Roddenberry’s Trek: Equality, Ethics, Evolution of Humanity, a character’s growth to be more human is completely missing from this film. It is just a big entertaining action explosion fest with the original crew characters thrown together on the same ship. It is missing all the elements that make Star Trek the important vision of the future that it is. An entertaining thrill ride it is, and a sequel is now inevitable, but it’s not the same Trek that Roddenberry strived for. While you go to see a movie primarily to be entertained, Star Trek should always make you think about what could be, and what humanity can achieve if it work’s together. I don’t think I want the direction of this new franchise to exclude this.
Otherwise, anybody not seeing this just cause it’s Star Trek are missing out on a great film. It has a great plot, great characters and is thoroughly enjoyable to everyone as it doesn’t get bogged down in any technical jargon that would alienate the anti-scifi people. And you don’t need to know anything about any previous Trek as it is a reboot.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment Star Trek reviews: The Buzz Magazine Star Trek review first appeared in Buzz Magazine – October 2009.