Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card for 05.08.09

FSR's Weekly Report Card


Studio: Paramount

Rated: PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence and brief sexual content.

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho and Anton Yelchin

Directed by: J.J. Abrams

What it’s about: J.J. Abrams faces the daunting task of rebooting one of the most beloved science fiction franchises in the world. Set at the beginning of Captain Kirk’s historic Starfleet career, this new film sees how the characters meet for the first time and how they ended up on the Enterprise. Fresh out of the Starfleet Academy, the crew faces a bloodthirsty Romulan captain who is bent on destroying the key planets in the Federation.

What I liked: The buzz for Star Trek started nearly two years ago, right around the 2007 Comic-Con, and from that moment I was skeptical. While I thought that Zachary Quinto would make a great Spock, I wasn’t sold on the rest of the crew. However, after seeing this new film, I must say this is probably one of the best casts they could have assembled for this film.

Star Trek walks a very thin line between paying homage to the original series and updating everything for a modern audience. It does not pander to the fans, but there are plenty of moments that pay respect. For example, we are treated to some very classic lines from the characters, there’s an obvious “red shirt” joke and plenty of future history laid out.

This is a hipper, younger and cooler Star Trek than we have ever seen in the past. With Star Trek being the benchmark for uncoolness for years, this movie is giving us what the fans and the mainstream public have been craving for decades: a version of the series that is the new “in thing.” Still, I wouldn’t expect to see the cool kids at school wearing Vulcan ears around town.

Considering everything that J.J. Abrams had to juggle to make this movie work, it is an amazing feat. This new Star Trek is quite simply one of the best reboot of a franchise since Casino Royale in 2006.

What I didn’t: There really isn’t much that I didn’t love about this movie. It was so well paced and filled with action and sci-fi glory, that I can only nit-pick at the things I didn’t enjoy.

While the cast was awesome, Winona Ryder is utterly ridiculous as Spock’s mother. Not only does she seem uncomfortable in the role, her “I’m a relatively young woman acting old” bit just doesn’t work at all. Couple this with Tyler Perry’s relatively unnecessary cameo as a Starfleet administration, and you have the two flies in the ointment for an otherwise perfect case.

And, there is one scene that takes the whimsical humor a bit too far. It’s funny, sure, but we really don’t need an Abbot & Costello scene with Bones and Kirk while they’re trying to stop the Enterprise from running into a trap.

Who is gonna like this movie: Trekkies, Trekkers and even the cool kids. Lock hands, sing Kum Ba Yah and live long and prosper.

Grade: A


Studio: Summit Entertainment

Rated: R for pervasive language, drug content, some violence and brief sexuality.

Starring: Mos Def, Donald Faison, Mike Epps, Wood Harris and Emilio Rivera

Directed by: Benny Boom

What it’s about: Donald Faison plays a toked up package delivery man who accidentally drops off a box of drugs to the wrong apartment. When the guys in the apartment discover the premium shipment, they try to move it on the streets themselves. However, the original drug runners are ready to track them down and get their product back.

What I liked: Not much, to be honest. There are some funny moments, especially with Donald Faison and Mike Epps, who both are fine comedic actors in their own rights. In fact, Faison has the best moment of the film when he faces getting fired from his mother, who runs the deliver service. If only that hadn’t been in the trailer.

The other shining light in this film is Dominican/Colombian model and singer-turned-actress Yasmin Deliz as a drug dealer’s girlfriend. Deliz is simply gorgeous and provides some much appreciated eye candy throughout the film. Her scenes may not have been all that interesting, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen while she was there… even if I didn’t care what was going on.

What I didn’t: Next Day Air tries to do what directors like Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie excel at doing – make a film that shows the gritty world of crime while presenting over-the-top characters that are fun to watch. However, director Benny Boom completely fails at this. He never strikes the all-important balance between humor and action movie.

Ultimately, the focus and nature of the film yanks the audience back and forth, cramming two different styles of film together. It’s a pale imitation of Tarantino and Ritchie’s works, and there’s not a shred of likability for any of the characters.

Who is gonna like this movie: People who wish Guy Ritchie made bad movies about the American ghetto.

Grade: D

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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