Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

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It’s only a coincidence that I’m writing this on the day Man of Steel hits home video, and it has nothing to do with the approaching 35th anniversary of Superman: The Movie. Rather, it’s something I’ve been wondering during the discussions of the latest Marvel movie post-credits “stingers.” Thor: The Dark World finishes with three separate teases. The first (not a stinger) comes before the credits and hints at something that will presumably be dealt with in Thor 3. The next comes midway into the credits and introduces a character and teases plot that is part of the larger Marvel/Avengers franchise storyline. And the third is just a funny post-credits scene that I expect to be the vaguely reported link between the film and an upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode. Personally, I have no problem with these or any stingers. The midway scene in Thor 2 is pretty goofy, though, and has been met with the usual confusion that, hopefully for Marvel’s sake, translates into curiosity instead of annoyance. And perhaps the way they’re done is a little tired, so maybe it is time to try something different. Like a prologue stinger. I don’t know if that phrase makes sense (I’m not totally sure of where the term stinger comes from), but here’s what I mean: set up the next film before the latest even begins. For the one and only example, as far as I know, look to the opening of the first Superman, which features the trial of […]

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I realize that I am one out of millions when I say how much influence the original Star Trek series had on my life when it premiered in 1966. I was four years old then, had an older brother of seven and we were hopelessly addicted to the adventures of the USS Enterprise and her crew. When Star Trek conventions started popping up in New Orleans in the very early 1970s, I even put together a “Gorn” costume (the lizard creature from the episode “Arena”) and won an honorable mention. When Star Trek disappeared from television, it was a bit shocking for us young fans, and it would be a few years before it reappeared in syndication, at least in New Orleans. When Star Trek: The Motion Picture opened, I was in High School. Already tainted by the adventures of Luke Skywalker and pals in Star Wars, I was a bit less enthusiastic by this big screen effort. However, when I saw Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in college a few years later, I knew that Star Trek was back on track! I was a fan again. Getting the call from make-up effects artist Richard Snell was one of the early highlights of my career. I had worked with the bay-area artist on House but our paths had diverged since. I knew that the Star Trek IV job was “floating” around Hollywood because I had done some bid sketches for James Cummins who was also pursuing the project. […]

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Earth Day: the red-headed stepchild of world holidays. Founded in 1970, the celebration of our planet has been mounted (and basically ignored) every April 22nd. When was the last time you paid respects by going outside and planting a seedling? Or left a plate of cookies out for Mother Earth? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Earth Day may not have the allure of its cheerful , laid back holiday counterparts, but it’s certainly no less important. Recognizing environmental concerns is more relevant than ever, and Hollywood has been trying its darndest to prod you in to taking action. Think of it as a  “scared straight” course of action: if you’re afraid of impending environmental doom, maybe you’ll do something. Here are seven movies that a sure to reinvigorate your ecological awareness and get you back on the green track this Earth Day:

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