Summary: A family that are led by a domineering father are put through a catastrophic series of events.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 9th July 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: NA
Australian VOD Release Date: TBA
Country: USA, Canada
Director: Trey Edward Shults
Screenwriter: Trey Edward Shults
Cast: Joshua Brockington (Stan), Rueben E.A Brown (Wally), Sterling K. Brown (Ronald), Justin R. Chan (Chang), Clifton Collins Jnr. (Bobby), Alexa Demie (Alexis), Harlan Drum (Sophie), David Garelick (Ryan), Renee Elise Goldsberry (Catherine), Kelvin Harrison Jnr. (Tyler), Holland Hayes (Doctor Steve), Lucas Hedges (Luke), Neal Huff (Bill), Harmony Korine (Mr. Stanley), Taisha Perez (Coroner Jessie), Viva Pineda (Elena), Taylor Russell (Emily), Bill Wise (Coach Wise)
Running Time: 135 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia)
OUR WAVES REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths’ Waves Review:
One of the things I missed most during the cinema lockdowns was that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you discover a truly brilliant film for the first time. Yesterday, that feeling returned for me as I sat and watched Waves, a remarkable film that is made a masterpiece by a creative director, an amazing script and performances that deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the word Oscars.
From filmmaker Trey Edward Shults (It Comes At Night) Waves chronicles life for a family led by dominating father, Ronald (Sterling K. Brown – Black Panther), as a chain of events occur that will change their lives forever.
Despite warnings from the family’s step-mother Catherine (Renee Elise Goldsberry – Hamilton) Ronald keeps pushing his teenage son Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jnr – Monsters And Men) to succeed, especially when it comes to his High School wrestling career. But as Tyler struggles to keep going while obviously injured things start crashing down his life and flow on effect keeps on affecting everyone especially his girlfriend, Alexis (Alexa Demie – mid90s), and sister, Emily (Taylor Russell – Lost In Space).
There is a power to Waves that very few films in modern day cinema can match. With notable exceptions like Mud and The Perks Of Being a Wallflower a lot of coming-of-age films released over recent years have shied away from many of the hard-hitting topics that films like Kids or Bully did nearly two decades ago. To me that has always seemed like a weird notion seeing that the modern day teenager not only faces topics like sexuality and bullying plus a range of new vices and issues that the past generation could only dream about.
Unlike its contemporaries Waves doesn’t hold back and instead pushes the audience head-first into the world of a crumbling teenager that has moments that will leave them shocked to the core. Waves is like a spectacular yet beautiful car-crash. It hits hard and will affect all that watches it but at the same time you can’t look away from it.
One of the keys to Waves working for me was its unpredictability. Just as you think Shults’ plot-line is going one way he sharply, but realistically, takes it another way. As a story-teller Shults doesn’t sign-post key events during the film and the result is moments of true shock that the audience will never see coming.
Also adding to the experiences of watching Waves is Shults experimental style of changing the ratio of how the film appears on the screen depending on where we are in the family’s story. It seems a small gesture but you do notice it and it works to enhance the cinematic experience of the story rather than hindering it.
Rounding out what makes Waves one of the best films of 2020 are the performances from its cast. We haven’t had a clean sweep at the Oscars for awhile but if Sterling K.Brown, Taylor Russell, Kelvin Harrison Jnr and Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased) don’t get Oscar nominations for their performances here than a huge cinematic injustice has occurred. Their scenes together are delivered with pure emotion and the result is nothing short of phenomenal.
Waves is not just one of my favourite films of 2020 it was one of the best I have seen in the last decade. A sensational script, a creative director, a Trent Reznor soundtrack and a highly skilled cast lead to an explosion of brilliance that is not to be missed.
Summary: A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 15th August 2019
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 12th September 2019
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States, UK, China
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Screenwriter: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Zoe Bell (Janet),Gillian Berrow (Gillian), Kansas Bowling (Blue), Parker Love Bowling (Tadpole), Madison Beaty (Katie), Michael Bissett (Officer Mike), Robert Broski (Abraham Lincoln), Austin Butler (Tex), Julia Butters (Trudi), Josephine Valentina Clarke (Happy Cappy), Clifton Collins Jnr (Ernesto The Mexican Vaquero), Maurice Compte (Land Pirate Maurice), Bruce Dern (George Spahn), Adrian Dev (Raj), Leonardo DiCaprio (Rick Dalton),Omar Doom (Donna), Lena Dunham (Gypsy), Dakota Fanning (Squeaky Fromme), Gabriela Flores (Maralu The Fiddle Player), Spencer Garrett (Allen Kincade), Rebecca Gayheart (Billie Booth), Zander Grable (Hermann The Nazi Youth), Nicholas Hammond (Sam Wanamaker), Danielle Harris (Angel), Tom Hartig (Sweet William), Maya Hawke (Flower Child), James Landry Herbert (Clem), Damon Herriman (Charles Manson), Cassidy Hice (Sundance), Emile Hirsch (Jay Sebring), Courtney Hoffman (Rebekka), Dallas Jay Hunter (Delilah), Lorenzo Izzo (Francesca Capucci), Keith Jefferson (Land Pirate Keith), Lenny Langley Jnr (Dashihi Donnell), Damien Lewis (Steve McQueen), Mikey Madison (Sadie), Michael Madsen (Sheriff Hackett On Bounty Law), Hugh McCallum (Lancer Camera Operator Hugh), Scoot McNairy (Business Bob Gilbert), Mike Moh (Bruce Lee), Timothy Olyphant (James Stacy), Al Pacino (Marvin Schwarz), Victoria Pedretti (Lulu), Eddie Perez (Land Pirate Eddie), Luke Perry (Wayne Maunder), Daniella Pick (Daphna Ben-Cobo), Brad Pitt (Rick Booth), Margaret Qualley (Pussycat), John Rabe (Darrin Stephens/Red Apple Man), Rachel Redleaf (Mama Cass), James Remar (Ugly Owl Hoot on Bounty Law), Rebecca Rittenhouse (Michelle Phillips), Margot Robbie (Sharon Tate), Samantha Robinson (Abigail Folger), Costa Ronin (Voytek Frykowski), Kurt Russell (Randy), Gilbert Saldivar (Land Pirate Gil), Chris Scagos (Benjamin), Ruby Rose Skotchdopole (Butterfly), Harley Quinn Smith (Froggie), Monica Staggs (Connie), Craig Stark (Land Pirate Craig), David Steen (Straight Satan David), Rage Stewart (Humble Harv), Sydney Sweeney (Snake), Lew Temple (Land Pirate Lew), Heba Thorisdottir (Make-Up Artist Sonya), Victoria Truscott (Gina), Brenda Vaccaro (Mary Alice Schwarz), Dreama Walker (Connie Stevens), Mark Warrick (Curt), Rumer Willis (Joanna Pettet), Rafal Zawieucha (Roman Polanski)
Runtime: 161 mins
Classification: R (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
OUR ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths Review:
The release of a Quentin Tarantino movie is now considered a cinematic event. It’s funny when a new Marvel movie is about to be released you see red carpets galore yet outside of America Tarantino’s movie just creep into cinemas, even the media screenings are 10am affairs with no big fanfare. Yet somewhere deep down inside every movie lover there is a sense that something special is about to happen. Let’s be blunt for a moment – Tarantino never makes boring films and he certainly hasn’t made a bad movie yet.
Now maybe I am in the minority because I prefer Jackie Brown to Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained to Inglorgious Basterds but I have unashamed love for the work of Tarantino and every time I go to see one of his movies for the first time I find myself turning into that little kid that I used to be when I eagerly anticipated movies like E.T. and Gremlins coming on TV again. The great news is that with Once Upon A TimeIn Hollywood Tarantino reaches out to his true fans with a brilliant masterpiece, but be warned it may leave casual cinema goers a little perplexed.
Tarantino sets the film in 1969 – Hollywood’s golden age that is seeing big changes happening. His central characters are aging television cowboy Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio – Inception, The Departed) and his out-of-favour stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt – Mr & Mrs. Smith, Moneyball). Living next door to Dalton is star-on-the-rise Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie – Suicide Squad, The Wolf Of Wall Street).
Life for the two households couldn’t be more different. Dalton reflects on the days when he was a television star while he now treats bit parts in television pilots like they are the answer to his resurrection. Then there his is best buddy Cliff Booth who only gets work through Dalton and even then that is tainted due to the story going around that he killed his wife. Then you have Tate whose career is taking off, she is on the verge of something big. What the three don’t know is their lives are about to be changed in a way that they could never expect.
If the synopsis makes the film sound like a character piece, that is because that is exactly what you get with this film. If you are looking for another Tarantino shoot ‘em up then look elsewhere because for three-quarters of this film the screenplay allows the audience to almost be a fly on the wall of the friendship between Dalton and Booth. Tarantino has no qualms showing Dalton have a lengthy conversation with a young actress (played brilliantly by Julia Butters) on the set of his new pilot and nor should he. When you have the screenwriting abilities of Mr. Tarantino there is no problem creating a heavily dialogue driven movie that at times wouldn’t feel out of place being a stage-play.
Perhaps what makes this film so special though is Tarantino’s eye-to-detail and the pay offs that true cinema fans will get from his references. From actual radio ads of the time playing on car radios, a killer soundtrack and appearances from greats like Bruce Lee (Mike Moh – Empires, Inhuman) and Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis – Homeland, Band Of Brothers) this perhaps one of the greatest cinematic tributes to this era of time and is something that will be long remembered.
As usual Tarantino also brings out the best in his cast. While some people may be disappointed that Robbie doesn’t get more screen time her screen presence is enough to counter-act that. Make no mistake though this is the DiCaprio and Pitt show. The on-screen chemistry between the two makes Dalton and Booth one of the best buddy relationships that Hollywood has ever seen. The two men also completely embrace their roles. As usual DiCaprio completely dissolves into being the character he is playing and this time he takes Pitt with him. Fans of movies like Moneyball will know that Pitt is not just the pretty-boy actor he used to be but here we see Pitt find another acting range and he matches DiCaprio in every scene they share.
While Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is different to anything that Tarantino has ever done before this movie can be summed up in one word – a masterpiece. Not many directors can pull off a film that is largely dialogue driven and then explodes with a graphic thrilling finale like this film does – but then is there anything that Mr Tarantino can’t do. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is pure cinematic bliss for serious cinema lovers.
Average Subculture Rating:
Other Subculture Entertainment Once Upton A Time In Hollywood Reviews: N/A
Summary: When young Detective Chris Allen (Casey Affleck) is moved into a tough squad of the Atlanta Police Department he is unaware that his new partner, Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie), is corrupt and working with a group of criminals including Gabe Welch (Aaron Paul), Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Russell Welch (Norman Reedus) and another corrupt officer, Franco Rodriguez (Clifton Collins Jnr.).
With the group running a series of robberies for Russian Mafia boss Irina Vlaslov (Kate Winslet) they find themselves stretched to the limit and it is decided that the only way to pull off the hardest of the robberies is to have Triple 9 (Police officer down) call put across the airwaves. Their chosen target is Chris because they know his uncle, respected Detective Jeffrey Allen (Woody Harrelson) will pull every officer onto the case.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 3rd March 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: John Hillcoat
Screenwriter: Matt Cook
Cast: Terri Abney (Leah Green), Casey Affleck (Chris Allen), Armando Alonzo (Emilio), Michelle Ang (Trina Ling), Carlos Aviles (Fernando Rivera), Alexander Babara (Ben Feldman), Anthony Belevstov (Yussel Gotlib), Ian Casselberry (Gomez), Clifton Collins Jnr. (Franco Rodriguez), Luis Da Silva Jnr. (Luis Pinto), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Michael Atwood), Gal Gadot (Elena Vlaslov), Michael Harding (Walter Sims), Woody Harrelson (Jeffrey Allen), Karen Kaia Livers (Shanice), Anthony Mackie (Marcus Belmont), Blake McLennan (Felix), Valiant Michael (Sergio), E. Roger Mitchell (Smith), Teresa Palmer (Michelle Allen), Aaron Paul (Gabe Welch), Norman Reedus (Russell Welch), Terence Rosemore (Joshua Parks), Labrandon Shead (Sgt. Pete Nelson), Christiana Simonds (Christina), Michael Kenneth Williams (Sweet Pea), Kate Winslet (Irina Vlaslov)
Runtime: 115 mins
OUR TRIPLE 9 REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Yes it might be a year when we are getting films like Batman vs Superman and of course another Captain America film but one of the films I was most excited to see this year was Triple 9. Triple 9 looked like it would be interesting watch, not only did it have a stellar cast involved including two of my favourites Woody Harrelson and Kate Winslet (who never normally chooses a bad script) but was also directed by John Hillcoat whose filmography contains films like TheProposition, The Road and Lawless all films that have revealed that he is gritty director certainly worth watching the work of. Throw in a healthy dose of Police corruption and this was well and truly on the road to becoming one of my fave films of the year. That was until I sat down and watched it.
To be honest Triple 9 isn’t a bad film, in fact many elements of the film do in fact work. Hillcoat is at his normal gritty best with some realistic action sequences in which a normal cops and robbers chase across Atlanta becomes something of violent beauty, while some of the urban shoot-outs will have the audience on the edge of their seat. The problem with Triple 9 though is that it tries to do too much and is sadly let down by a script that needed just a few more re-writes.
It’s not surprising to learn that Triple 9’s screenwriter Matt Cook is a first time feature writer. The idea behind Triple 9 is sound but still the screenplay itself has some very big holes. First of all there is way too much happening and too many of the characters are too similar, so similar in fact that some of the critics at the Melbourne media screening were turning to each other and asking ‘who the hell was?’ after the screening… never a good sign.
As a screenwriter Cook seems to created quite a good world with a massive amount of back story that just doesn’t come through during the film. Just how did Michael start having a relationship with Elena, what ended etc are just never fully explained. Then there are huge plotholes like if all the team need is for a Triple 9 call to go over the airwaves do they really need to shoot a cop or can they just ‘pretend’ a cop has been shot? A seasoned screenwriter would have known to have ironed out things like that during the writing process but sadly that is something that Cook has overlooked. Hillcoat does all he can to make the screenplay watchable but just falls short of making this a decent film.
Likewise the weak screenplay also leaves some of the cast floundering as well. Luckily Casey Affleck and Kate Winslet are there to save things. Affleck does a more than admirable job playing the fresh faced Chris, but it is Winslet that really excels herself. Casting Winslet as a Russian Mafia boss was a risky pick. A pick so risky that if she had failed she could have been looking at finding herself in Golden Razzie territory, luckily though she is up to the task and Winslet delivers another fine performance… this time showing that she can pretty much handle anything that is thrown at her.
Also up to the task is Harrelson who seems to borrow a little bit from his role that he had in Rampart. Those suffering though are the likes of Antony Mackie, Aaron Paul and Chiwetel Ejiofor who in roles where they are severely hampered by the fact that their characters are dangerously clichéd. Then there are poor Gal Gadot, Teresa Palmer and Michelle Ang whose characters just seem to go missing for huge chunks of the film.
There is no doubt that with a little bit more work on the screenplay Triple 9 could have been a brilliant film. The poor screenplay unfortunately though leaves the audience asking too many questions and dumps this film right in the middle of a heap of other average films. While it may appeal to fans of The Shield don’t expect the writing of Triple 9 to ever lift it to anything near as brilliant.
Australian director John Hillcoat makes visceral, violent, dark and aggressively masculine thrillers, ranging from the bleak prison drama Ghosts… Of The Civil Dead through to the gritty outback western The Proposition, the apocalyptic journey into a heart of darkness with The Road or the prohibition era crime drama Lawless. And he seems to be able to attract A-list actors to work with him. Hillcoat’s latest film is another gritty and morally murky crime drama that is not for the squeamish or faint hearted. Triple 9 features a strong cast, some strong action sequences and a high body count. But it is also something of a disappointment given his body of work.
Written by first time writer Matt Cook, Triple 9 is set on the mean streets of Atlanta, Georgia, a lawless city full of crime and corruption where the gang and gun culture seems out of control. But the script itself raises too many questions and there are some gaping holes in the plot. Some of the dialogue is cliched, and the characterisation underdone.
When the film opens a carefully planned bank robbery is in progress. The thieves rob some money but their prime interest lies with a safety deposit box that holds some important documents vital to a Russian gangster incarcerated in a Siberian gulag. The thieves turn out to be a couple of former special forces operatives and a couple of corrupt cops. They have been blackmailed by the powerful Irina Vaslov (Kate Winslet, cast against type), the wife of the Russian gangster, into working for the Kosher Nostra, a criminal gang of Russian Jews. But Irina welshes on paying them, instead she forces them to break into a Homeland Security safe house, an even more secure location, to steal further incriminating evidence. The thieves plan to distract the police by killing honest cop Chris Allen (Casey Affleck).
On the trail of the daring brazen thieves is veteran detective Jeffrey Allen (Woody Harrelson), who happens to be Chris’s cousin.
The title comes from the police code for “Officer Down,” a code that sees police officers everywhere stop what they are doing and respond immediately to the distress signal. The film itself is full of some violent action, double crosses and revenge. But this contemporary heist thriller is also a morally empty film, and its seedy air of corruption and desperation reminds audiences of Training Day and the films of Sidney Lumet (Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, etc).
Hillcoat certainly directs with energy and he maintains a fast pace throughout. He effectively ramps up the action with a superb urban shootout that imitates Michael Mann’s superb Heat, and an exciting adrenaline charged car chase on the city’s freeway.
Belgian cinematographer Nicholas Karakatsanis (the moody crime drama The Drop, etc) gives the film a grimy authenticity as he has shot the film largely using a restless handheld cameras to take us into the action. This is particularly effective in a couple of tense scenes. He has also shot in muted colours, lots of reds and blacks that is meant to intensify the mood, but the colour scheme also sometimes renders it hard to discern what is happening. The film has also been edited in that rapid, kinetic style by Dylan Tichenor (who has worked with the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson and Wes Anderson) which sometimes renders the action incomprehensible. And too many of the characters seems too similar and we never really get a handle on them and what makes them tick.
Strong performances from Affleck, Winslet and Harrelson bolster the film. Winslet steps into a role originally intended for Cate Blanchett (who wisely said “nyet”), but she adopts a convincing Russian accent and a cool icy demeanour. Affleck delivers one of his best perfomances yet as the fresh faced cop unaware of the corruption surrounding him. Harrelson is also good as the seedy and jaded veteran cop with an addiction problem, a role that has some similarities to his recent work in True Detective and the gritty drama Rampart.
Unfortunately, talented players like Anthony Mackie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Clifton Collins jr, Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul and The Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus find themselves stuck with cliched, one-dimensional characters ands do not leave much of an impression.
With its convoluted plotting and cliched characters, Triple 9 is unfortunately just another police action thriller that doesn’t really offer anything particualrly new or surprising.
John Hillcoat has an impressive back catalogue to show off. All of them tapping into a vein of masculinity being tested. Whether it be Ray Winstone saving face in The Proposition, Viggo Mortensen going above and beyond fatherly duties in The Road, or literally every cell mate in Ghosts… Of the Civil Dead. Based on a screenplay by Matt Cook, Triple 9 lets Hillcoat return to these themes and, well, triple them. Not always to great effect.
In Atlanta, Georgia, three professional criminals (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Norman Reedus and Aaron Paul) join up with two corrupt lawmen (Anthony Mackie and Clifton Collins Jnr) to rob a bank at the behest of a Russian mob wife (Kate Winslet). She stiffs the group on their reward, politely and violently asking them do one last robbery for the sake of her incarnated husband.
Each of the man has a lot to lose, financially and personally, if they don’t steam ahead. Ejiofor, for example, will lose custody rights to the kid he’s fathered with Winslet’s sister. So, realizing that the robbery is impossible unless they come up with a big enough distraction, the decision is made to kill a cop on the day. With Atlanta’s police searching for a cop killer, they should have plenty of time to get in and out unnoticed. Enter Casey Affleck as Mackie’s new partner, who he clearly doesn’t care for.
Triple 9 is bolshy, angry and suffers from excess in all departments. With such a pedigree of cast on display, I haven’t even mentioned Woody Harrelson yet, it’s understandable the film wants to get plenty of bang for its buck.
This should be an ensemble piece, but it feels like Triple 9 can’t decide who its focus is. Is it Affleck stumbling around naively? Is it Mackie wrestling with his subconscious? Perhaps it’s Ejiofor battling to see his son. Triple 9 wants it to be all of them. And that’s fine, but it doesn’t achieve its goals.
Meanwhile, Hillcoat’s direction paints a suitably sweaty, gritty world lit in blue and red. At it’s best, it’s a reminder of Ghosts… of the Civil Dead. At it’s worst it’s Heat as directed by Michael Bay, where men are real chest beating men and women have minimal dialogue or clothing. That’s not an exaggeration as Triple 9 ensures that anyone remotely female is saved for background or wifely duties. It’s only really Winslet that manages to rise above the heap and she does so with an outrageous accent.
There is still a lot to enjoy here, with some breathtaking set pieces that suggest Hillcoat could be eyeing up an action movies as his next gig. But this is then clouded by overripe dialogue, undercooked characterisation and so much backstabbing it makes Wild Things blush. Please understand, this isn’t a bad film. It’s perfectly serviceable, but it is not what we expect from Hillcoat, who has proven in the past he can play with restraint. Enjoyable, but a bit of a misstep.
Triple 9, directed by John Hillcoat and containing a decent cast consisting of Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson and many more. Personally I am not one who is into all the Police and crime films but after seeing Triple 9 I must say that is a film that is definitely worth watching. The film opens with a bang consisting of a bank robbery and from that point on the film is non-stop action. There aren’t any big defying scenes of the film that consist of car chases and explosions but the film is very confronting when it comes to the criminal side of things. The film has a lot of graphic scenes which really gives the film a very dark feel to it. Some of the things I liked about the film was the story and the acting. The story itself had many twists and turns that you don’t see coming and it adds so much to the film when you see something you don’t believe would happen. The acting in the film from all the actors was incredible. The pure emotion that was seen on screen was great to me.
If your a fan of the Police and crime films this is a film that you really should go see.
Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s Transcendence review on Southern FM
Transendence is one of those films that a first time director can only dream about being at the helm at for their debut. Just think about it, it’s an intriguing very modern story and then you find out that the likes of Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman and Paul Bettany are queuing up for roles. It is no secret that the true cinemaphiles have been waiting for the day that cinematographer Wally Pfister steps up to the director’s seat. After all this is a man who has worked on some of the most iconic films of the modern age – films like Memento, Insomnia, Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy. Pfister has more than done his time as the ‘apprentice’ and when his mentor Christopher Nolan decided to pass on the Transendence project he was the perfect man for the job, but sadly he is let down by a script that never really gave this film a fighting chance.
The film takes it audience deep into the world of artificial intelligence by following Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp – Lucky Them, The Lone Ranger), his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall – A Promise, Closed Circuit) and his co-worker Max Waters (Paul Bettany – Iron Man 3, Blood). The together the three of them have been taking the science world by storm as they come closer to closer in bridging the gap between computers and humans.
While there work has impressed rivals such as Joseph Tagger (Morgan Freeman – The Lego Movie, Last Vegas) it has also warranted the attention of a renegade group of vigilantes, which includes Bree (Kate Mara – Deadfall, TV’S House Of Cards), who believe that science is going too far. The result is that one of these group members guns down Will with a radioactive bullet. Evelyn and Max then work hard to bring Will online before he dies while Agent Buchanan (Cillian Murphy – Aloft, The Dark Knight Rises) tries to hunt down those responsible.
The second half of the film that takes a completely different tack. With Will online and working with Evelyn, Max has now teamed up with the vigilantes and believes the work is evil and needs to be stopped. Together with Agent Buchanan and Joseph Tagger they all work at a way to stop Will from taking over the world.
If that synopsis sounds ridiculous then it goes part of the way of explaining just how hard it is to watch Transcendence. The film starts well enough but by the time the lone gunman guns down Will with a radioactive bullet rather than just simply killing him you begin to realise that this is a film that jumps the shark at every possible chance.
At a glance Jack Paglen’s screenplay seems intelligent but after giving the film much thought you soon begin to realise that the plot makes no sense at all and that he has simply tried to use techno babble throughout, that actually makes no sense. Honestly at times it does seem like the actors have no idea what they are reading at all.
Then there is the plausibility of what actually happens. Nothing ever seems to be fully explained, not even simple things such as Max’s defection to ‘the other side.’ One moment he is kidnapped and the next moment he is working with the group, what was it that he was shown that made him change his mind, or was it just simply a case of Stockholm Syndrome… we don’t know because we are never told. Paglen can’t even work out whether he is for or against such technology at all, this is evident by the fact that the film just seems to skirt around the edges and never make a serious stance either way.
Even the top notch cast here cannot save Transcendence. Johnny Depp once again shows that when he is away from his Pirates Of The Caribbean his lack of acting ability is evident for all to see while the likes of Cillian Murphy, Paul Bettany and Morgan Freeman are simply wasted in their roles. In fact you can only wonder why the three of them even decided to sign on for the film in the first place. The only cast member who does get a chance to show anything at all is Rebecca Hall, but then even she isn’t really a standout.
Transcendence will go down as one of the biggest cinema failures of 2014, and rightfully so. The wishy-washy script makes for a dull watch that even seemed to bore its cast.
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.